November 2, 2012
Rimando stones Sounders
REAL SALT LAKE 0, SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC 0
|Nick Rimando made five saves as Real Salt Lake played Seattle Sounders FC to a scoreless draw in the first leg of their Western Conference semifinal series Friday at CenturyLink Field.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
SEATTLE—Goalkeeper Nick Rimando was the man of the hour for Real Salt Lake on Friday, shaking off a hard knock to the head in the second half and coming up with a handful of world-class saves to preserve a scoreless draw with Seattle Sounders FC in Friday’s Western Conference semifinal first leg at raucous Century Link Field.
The series will be decided next Thursday (Nov. 8) at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Although Sounders netminder Michael Gspurning was credited with four saves – including a clutch stop on Alvaro Saborio’s counterattacking shot in the 85th minute – Rimando absorbed by far the more dangerous pressure. Before the intermission, he one-armed away a bending shot by Samuel Ochoa and turned away a point-blank attempt by defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado. In the 52nd, Rimando went low to stop a sharp shot by Christian Tiffert to keep the Sounders off the board. But 15 minutes later, he went down in a heap after taking an elbow to the right eye from Tiffert as the two went for a Mauro Rosales cross into the six-yard box.
After a delay that led to eight minutes of stoppage time, Rimando returned to action, and RSL packed the box to protect their battered ‘keeper. The Salt Lake defense managed to repel most of Seattle’s increasingly desperate attacks, and got some help in the 85th minute, when substitute David Estrada couldn’t get a foot on a cross from the right wing that was flocked across the goalmouth by Rosales. In the third minute of stoppage time, Rimando neutralized the final Sounders threat by picking off another Rosales cross just ahead of the oncoming Fredy Montero.