RSL RETAINS ROCKY MOUNTAIN CUP VIA 0-0 DRAW AT COLORADO
Tie in Final Regular Season Road Game Allows Utah Side to Snap Four-game Losing Streak;
RSL Pushes Advantage over FC Dallas for Third Place in Western Conference Race to Three Points;
GK Nick Rimando Makes Pair of Stops to Notch MLS-best 13th Shutout of 2011 Campaign
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (Friday, October 14, 2011) – The Rocky Mountain Cup trophy will reside with Real Salt Lake’s supporters for a fifth consecutive year after the Utah side fought to a scoreless draw against the archrival Colorado Rapids tonight in front of 16,272 fans as Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
Tonight’s draw snapped RSL’s four-match losing streak – the Utah side’s longest such run since July 2007 – and pushed the Claret-and-Cobalt’s advantage over FC Dallas for the third and final automatic playoff spot from the Western Conference to three points. Real Salt Lake is in the driver’s seat for the automatic qualifier position and can clinch it with a victory in next Saturday’s regular season finale in Sandy against the Portland Timbers. FC Dallas will try to make up the ground on RSL tomorrow at home against Vancouver Whitecaps FC before wrapping up their campaign next weekend at the San Jose Earthquakes.
While Real Salt Lake’s offensive attack could only muster four shots – none of which challenged the Colorado goal – the team’s focus tonight was squarely on defense, and the Claret-and-Cobalt responded with its first shutout in six contests. RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando was forced to make only two saves, but the latter stop on Rapids FW Caleb Folan in the 83rd minute went a long way in preserving the road point. The ensuing corner kick saw Folan again challenge the RSL goal with a powerful header, but this time the shot rattled the crossbar and bounced straight down and off the goalline before being cleared from the six-yard box via FW Álvaro Saborío’s bicycle kick.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes
- Tonight’s draw, coupled with Real Salt Lake’s 1-0 win in Sandy back on April 13, allowed the Claret-and-Cobalt to win the Rocky Mountain Cup rivalry series outright for the first time since the Utah side claimed its inaugural series win back in 2007, which it also clinched at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. RSL had retained the trophy as the defending trophy holder after series draws in each of the last three seasons.
- With the shutout, Real Salt Lake broke a five-game streak without a clean sheet, the last occasion coming back on Sept. 17 in a 1-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City at Rio Tinto Stadium. GK Nick Rimando’s 13th clean sheet of season – and 87th of his career – broke the tie he had with FC Dallas netminder Kevin Hartman for the MLS lead in the category, while the 14th shutout for the Claret-and-Cobalt drew them even with the LA Galaxy for the most shutouts for an MLS side this season.
- The 0-0 draw was the first featuring Real Salt Lake since its scoreless duel at the Chicago Fire all the way back on June 22, breaking a streak of 18 RSL contests in which at least one team moved the scoreboard. Tonight marked RSL’s fourth scoreless draw in regular season play in 2011.
- For only the second time in Real Salt Lake’s seven-year history, the Claret-and-Cobalt were held without a shot on goal for the full 90 minutes. The other occasion also occurred at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park back on May 2, 2009 in a 0-2 defeat.
- The Utah side’s four shots were tied for the second-lowest output in team annals [Aug. 26, 2006 @ NY (0-6 L); June 14, 2008 @ CHV (1-0 W)]. The only match in which RSL logged fewer shots came back on June 20, 2009 at Houston, when the Claret-and-Cobalt registered just two shots in a 1-1 draw.
- Real Salt Lake will close out its 34-game MLS regular season slate and celebrate the best fans in Major League Soccer next Saturday, October 22, when the Utah side welcomes the Portland Timbers for their first-ever visit to Rio Tinto Stadium. Kickoff for Fan Appreciation Night in Sandy, presented by Molding Box, is slated for 7:00 p.m. MT.
RSL POST-GAME QUOTE SHEET
COLORADO RAPIDS 0 : 0 REAL SALT LAKE
REAL SALT LAKE HEAD COACH JASON KREIS
On the game overall:
“We’ve got so many things going wrong I think it’s important to try to focus on one thing and build from that. For me that was this week, competing as a team, showing some pride and getting back to all the defensive details that we built this team upon. So tonight to see them walk out of here with a nil-nil draw, shutout, that means something to us and we’ll look to build on it in the next week.”
On how to create chances offensively going forward:
“I think it’s something we don’t really need to worry about. I think we just keep our group out there together and get some more time for our attacking minded players like Javier [Morales], Fabian [Espindola] and [Alvaro] Saborio spending more time together. We won’t have to deal with international call-ups, I don’t think we withstood any suspensions and I don’t think we withstood any injuries so perhaps a little consistency will help us next week.”
On Colorado dominating possession throughout the game:
“Look at the statistics; they dominated us in shots, corner kicks, and all the offensive categories. But as I said I think some of that comes down to our players being so focused in on defending right, and starting again to try to improve in one particular area and that was the challenge that was placed before them this week. They met the challenge and rose above it.”
REAL SALT LAKE GOALKEEPER NICK RIMANDO
On the game overall:
“The intention was to get a shutout and get a point and i think we did a pretty good job at that. At the end they threw everything at us and some big boys up top got some chances. But we battled and we fought and kept the shutout which is good.”
On Caleb Folan’s chances on goal:
“He’s a big boy and when the ball gets in the air he’s going to fight for it. Luckily I saved one and the other hit the post and had the right spin and went out. But in the playoffs we’ve got to make sure we’re little tighter and we’re not giving up those chances, maybe step out a little earlier and deny the cross or be a little tighter on headers.”
On whether getting a tie after four losses feels like a win:
“It does, it’s definitely a step in the right direction especially with playoffs right around the corner. We keep on saying we need to get back to getting our zeros and shutouts and just pay attention to details. We took a look at tape this week and I think we pointed out a lot of things we weren’t doing right and I think we corrected tonight. It’s definitely a plus and I want to say it feels like a win but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.”
COLORADO RAPIDS HEAD COACH GARY SMITH
On the team’s recent form:
“I think our form, if we look at the way we’ve played now in the last three home games – San Jose, Dallas, and Salt Lake – three good teams, and we’ve steadily improved. I’d like to think that all the fans that came here tonight and everyone that was watching are starting to see a side that are just regaining some of that passion and that desire that we showed. I think they’re getting back into the groove.”
On the passion of the match:
“These games can quickly get out of hand. There’s a lot of passion out there. Both teams want to win, there’s silverware at stake, the rivalry is building, and of course, we want to win a game to secure our playoff spot. So there’s a lot going on, there’s a lot of emotion, and along with many other qualities, the discipline that the group showed was way up there…. They showed a lot of restraint, and what we didn’t allow [frustration] to do was detract from what we were trying to achieve, which was to build pressure, build opportunities, threaten the goal, and give a real good account of ourselves in our last league home game.”
On the team’s performance:
“I thought the first half display was as good as anything that we’ve seen here, against a very good team. You would expect there to be moments where you lose some pressure or possession; in the main, we were dominant. I was delighted with the way that we built our pressure, the patience that we showed, and the sheer determination to win it back quickly. It put them under a lot of pressure and they gave it back to us regularly. The second period, as you might expect, a little bit of snap went out of some of our pressure, and that’s through fatigue, because the guys had worked so, so hard. There was a lull in the middle part of that second half where we just couldn’t quite get any fluency. And it sometimes happens.”
COLORADO RAPIDS DEFENDER TYRONE MARSHALL
On the team’s goal tonight:
“Like the coach put on the board: desire. From minute one to minute 90, you can see it in the guy’s faces, everything we did was all heart and desire. We left it on the pitch. We wanted to get a result tonight, and I thought we should’ve come away with a victory. But with the other circumstances, that’s how the game goes sometimes. But we played it to the best of our ability, and that’s all you can do.”
On where the game could’ve changed:
“We had a good header that I thought crossed the line but it didn’t, we had a questionable call in the first half, would’ve been a penalty kick, but that’s how the game goes. We have to make our own luck, and I thought we did that tonight but we just didn’t get the calls. The boys really left it on the pitch, and everyone fought hard. It felt like a victory tonight, to be honest. That’s how hard everyone fought. It felt like a win tonight, but unfortunately it’s not. We got a point, and we have to be ready to go next week to get three points in Vancouver.”
On his message to the fans:
“Thanks for the support, all year. They’ve been there all year, with the ups and downs, when we’re struggling to get the wins here at home and getting lots of ties, they’re still behind us. Tonight was a great evidence of them coming out and still cheering us on and rooting for us, and it’s been a good season for us. We just need to go into Vancouver now and bring it home for them so we can get a playoff game here.”