It took heroic goalkeeping from Nick Rimando for Real Salt Lake to earn a 0-0 draw Friday against the Seattle Sounders.
The Salt Lake keeper gave his team a needed road result and the inside track to win the playoff series going into next Thursday’s finale at Rio Tinto Stadium. The series is now a one-match affair with Salt Lake holding home field advantage.
The match was scoreless even though both sides had great opportunities to score.
Seattle got its first good chance when a field switch caught the Salt Lake back line by surprise in the 10th minute. Mauro Rosales charged forward with Chris Wingert pursuing. Rosales sent a cross into the box, but Kwame Watson-Siriboe made an impressive sliding tackle to break up the play.
Seattle continued to attack, though Salt Lake controlled the bulk of possession early on. MLSsoccer reported almost 70 percent possession for the visitors in the first 20 minutes.
Both goalkeepers had their chance to shine. Michael Gspurning came out and beat Ned Grabavoy to a ball to prevent an open shot from the Chicagoland native in the 23rd minute. Rimando was the hero in the 25th minute when he came out on a ball that Brad Evans was pulling down and stuffed the Seattle midfielder before he could get a shot away cleanly.
Rimando made two incredible saves in the 33rd minute off of corner kicks. Both came on hard shots from Seattle attackers. The Salt Lake netminder was able to tip both over the net and preserve the clean sheet.
Gspurning robbed Johnson in the 38th minute when the Canadian International picked up a rebound and fired hard on goal. The Seattle keeper got a hand on it and preserved the draw.
The half ended scoreless in spite of good attacking play from both sides.
Salt Lake came out with an early attack in the second half. In the 47th minute, Tony Beltran took the ball near the end line and fired a cross into the box. Alvaro Saborio got his head on it, but it bounced weakly and was saved by a diving Gspurning.
Rimando made another diving save in the 51st minute when Christian Tiffert got into the box and fired a hard header on goal. The Salt Lake keeper again made an impressive save to keep the match even.
Rimando took a knock when Tiffert landed an elbow to his face during a challenge for the ball in the 67th minute. Play was stopped for a few minutes while the training staff attended to Salt Lake’s man of the match, but he was able to continue.
Saborio got a shot on frame in the 85th minute when he connected a diving header with a lob from Javier Morales. Staying consistent with the theme of the match, Gspurning made a diving save to keep the match scoreless.
That was the last good opportunity for either side as the match ended 0-0. The series will be decided by the winner of Thursday night’s match in Sandy.
Category: Game Review