MLS Playoffs: Rimando Saves Real Salt Lake from Defeat in Seattle
There are very few goalless draws that can be called entertaining after the full 90 minutes have been played. Friday night's MLS Western Conference Semifinal first leg between Real Salt Lake and the Seattle Sounders has one of the select few 0-0 draws that left spectators and critics alike speechless.
The man who single handedly made the match his own personal highlight reel was RSL keeper Nick Rimando. The United States international saved his club from being down by a few goals at the match played at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.
Rimando's first moment of brilliance came in the 33rd minute when he saved the shot of Sammy Ochoa. He was at it again less than a minute later when denied Jhon Kennedy Hurtado's headed attempt on goal.
Seattle's efforts on the RSL goal continued in the second half and again it was Ochoa who had an attempt on goal but he sent his shot high over the net after a wide open look in front of an empty net.
Right after Ochoa's miss in front of goal, Rimando jumped back into the middle of the action with a save on Christian Tiffert.
That interaction between Tiffert and Rimando would not be the last the two would have on the night. 15 minutes after Rimando's spectacular save, the two collided in the RSL penalty area and the RSL keeper was down on the ground with a head injury for quite some time.
Rimando was able to eventually get back up and continue on in the match after his right eye was bandaged up by the club's trainers.
For the rest of the match, that included eight minutes of stoppage time due to Rimando's injury, Seattle dominated possession but were unable to convert on any chances as they clearly missed the presence of leading goal scorer Eddie Johnson, who was out due to a hamstring injury he suffered in the final regular season match with the Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday.
Rimando was not the only keeper who excelled when he was called on by his club on Friday night, Sounders keeper Michael Gspurning was forced to make four saves for the home side against a RSL attack that was kept quiet for most of the match as the road side were playing for a draw from early on.
The 0-0 draw sets the stage for Thursday's second and deciding leg at Rio Tinto Stadium, which has been a home fortress for RSL throughout the years.
Thursday's match will be a winner-take-all affair and the Sounders will be looking to avenge a 3-0 loss that they suffered last season in the first leg of the conference semifinals, which they eventually lost by a single goal to RSL.
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