New Mexico United Surprises with Victory Over Real Salt Lake

New Stars Emerge as Favorites Stumble
New Mexico United v Real Salt Lake: Round of 32 - 2024 U.S. Open Cup
New Mexico United v Real Salt Lake: Round of 32 - 2024 U.S. Open Cup / Sam Wasson/USSF/GettyImages

In a Wednesday full of exciting games, we witnessed the debut of four new MLS teams, while other fierce battles unfolded on fields across the country. But it was the clash between New Mexico United and Real Salt Lake that truly captured attention.

At Isotopes Park, New Mexico United staged an impressive comeback against Real Salt Lake, securing their spot in the next phase of the competition. In a thrilling match, the hosts relied on a stellar performance from Zico Bailey, former right-back for FC Cincinnati, who netted two goals within a mere two minutes, establishing an imposing early lead for his team. Despite efforts from Fidel Barajas and Diego Luna, who scored for Real Salt Lake, New Mexico United showcased their determination and quality, solidifying a 4-2 victory with additional goals from Nicky Hernandez and Jacobo Reyes.

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New Mexico United's surprising win not only underscores the unpredictability of the U.S. Open Cup but also highlights the growing quality and competitiveness of USL Championship teams, capable of challenging MLS giants and clinching impressive results.

In other competition matches, MLS favorites confirmed their status by advancing to the next phase. Sporting Kansas City, LAFC, and Seattle Sounders FC displayed their strength and skill in overcoming their opponents, joining Atlanta United, FC Dallas, and San Jose Earthquakes, who had already secured their berths earlier. These teams, with their stellar rosters and high-level experience, remain the top contenders for the U.S. Open Cup title, but the journey is just beginning.