Miller Time: Sounders stay alive in Open Cup on goalkeeper’s great night

(MLSsoccer.com) The four-time champion Seattle Sounders continue to be US Open Cup darlings, and on Tuesday night they rode a legendary performance by backup goalkeeper Tyler Miller to a 4-1 penalty-kick shootout victory over Real Salt Lake in a Round of 16 match at Rio Tinto Stadium.

An extra half-hour of extra time couldn’t break the 1-1 deadlock between the two teams with Seattle’s compact play and eight saves by Miller helping them survive the RSL pressure. Then in the penalty-kick shootout, Miller stopped shots by RSL’s Joao Plata and Kyle Beckerman, while Seattle made all four of their kicks to punch a ticket to the quarterfinals, where they will face a rival: the Portland Timbers or LA Galaxy.

RSL took the lead just before halftime after pressing for almost the entire first half. Yura Movsisyan was pushed in the back by Seattle’s Tony Alfaro after running onto a through ball in the penalty area. After some discussion over who would take the penalty kick, Plata stepped up and sent it flying past Miller.

The Sounders were able to equalize early in the second half when Nelson Valdez took advantage of some miscommunication between Jeff Attinella and his back line. RSL’s backup goalkeeper had come out to claim the ball, but failed to secure it and the ball eventually fell to Valdez who directed the ball toward the open net from outside the penalty area.

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