KANSAS CITY, Kansas – Real Salt Lake (2-0-3, 9 points, West #2) earned a hard-fought point at Sporting Kansas City (2-1-2, 8 points, East #3) on Saturday night, getting a big performance from backup GK Jeff Attinella to tie SKC 0-0 in a MLS Cup 2013 rematch at Sporting Park.
Real Salt Lake was without three of key players on Saturday night due to injury. GK Nick Rimando (knee) and DF Tony Beltran (ankle) didn’t travel to Kansas City after picking up knocks while playing with the U.S. Men’s National Team in its 2-2 draw against Mexico on Wednesday, while DF Chris Wingert also remained in Salt Lake after sustaining a groin injury in last Saturday’s win over Toronto FC. Attinella, DF Rich Balchan and DF Abdoulie Mansally were inserted into the lineup for the injured trio, all making their first starts of the season.
Attinella put on a show in the first half, making three big saves to deny Sporting KC. His first big stop came in the 11th minute, when he made an excellent save on Kansas City FW Dom Dwyer. SKC DF Matt Besler played a long ball to Dwyer over the top, with the English striker running onto it behind the RSL defense for a 1-v-1 with Attinella. The RSL ‘keeper quickly came off his line to meet Dwyer in the left side of the area, quickly dropping to his left to make a miraculous stop.
Attinella made another good stop in the 27th. Sporting FW Graham Zusi played a corner short to DF Seth Senovic, who uncorked a 20-yard shot on frame from the left side that Attinella acrobatically parried over.
Attinella came up with a third big stop in the 34th. Besler started the play, launching a long throw into the area from the right side. RSL DF Chris Schuler headed away, but SKC MF Benny Feilhaber collected at the top of the 18, hitting a vicious 18-yard volley toward the left post that Attinella kept out with a diving stop.
SKC continued on the front foot to start the second half, registering a pair of good chances in the 51st and 52nd minutes. Zusi had the first look, wriggling free in the left side of the area before hitting a left-footed shot just wide of the far post from the top-left corner of the six. Zusi created the second look, getting free in the left side along the end line before cutting a ball back to the top of the six to Dwyer, who had his sliding attempt blocked by Schuler.
RSL Head Coach Jeff Cassar made his first switch in the 55th minute, bringing MF Luke Mulholland on for MF Luis Gil. The change seemed to settle RSL, which began to hold more of the ball and get a bit of a hold on the match.
Still, it was SKC that had the next chance, coming inches away from going ahead in the 63rd minute. Kansas City DF Chance Myers chipped a ball down the right side, with Dwyer beating RSL’s offside trap and running onto it unencumbered. He quickly dribbled into the right side of the box, rounding a well-off-his-line Attinella near the right edge of the area before rolling a shot off the right post from a tight angle. RSL wasn’t out of the woods yet though, with the rebound bouncing to KC FW Sal Zizzo in the middle of the box. Zizzo hit a shot toward the empty net with his first-touch, but RSL DF Nat Borchers came up big, blocking the effort from his position inside the six.
Real Salt Lake went up a man in the 83rd minute, when Sporting KC MF Uri Rosell was shown a straight red card for a studs-up challenge on RSL substitute FW Devon Sandoval. RSL couldn’t find a winner after getting the man-advantage, with neither side unable to create any clear-cut chances in the game’s final minutes.
RSL will return to action next Saturday, taking on Philadelphia Union at 2:00 p.m. MT on ABC 4. Real Salt Lake will return home on Saturday, April 19, when it will host Portland Timbers at 7:30 p.m. MT. Tickets to the Portland match can be purchased at the Rio tinto Stadium box office, online at www.RealSaltLake.com/Tickets or over the phone at 801-727-2700.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes – RSL 0-0 SKC
- Tonight’s scoreless draw at Sporting Park was Real Salt Lake’s only meeting with Sporting KC in the regular season this year. Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City last met in MLS Cup on Dec. 7, 2013, with the Claret-and-Cobalt suffering a loss in a penalty kick shootout at Sporting Park.
- RSL and KC have now faced off a total of 10 times in Kansas City, with RSL posting a 1-5-4 road record at Sporting. Real Salt Lake has only won once in Kansas City, a 1-0 over the then-Wizards on Aug. 29, 2009. Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City met once in the 2013 regular season, a heated 2-1 loss at Rio Tinto Stadium. With tonight’s draw, RSL has a 5-8-4 MLS regular season record and a 6-8-5 record across all competitions against Kansas City.
- Real Salt Lake had to deal with injuries to three starters this week – RSL DF Chris Wingert suffered a groin injury in last week’s home win against Toronto FC, while GK Nick Rimando and DF Tony Beltran suffered injuries in the United States’ draw with Mexico in a friendly on Wednesday. Real Salt Lake only had three matches in the 2013 regular season that did not feature all three RSL veterans, Rimando, Wingert and Beltran. The Claret-and-Cobalt went 1-2-0 without the trio in the lineup last year. The last time RSL went without the trio before 2013 was in the Claret-and-Cobalt’s U.S. Open Cup loss to D.C. United in June of 2010.
- The last time Real Salt Lake played without both Beltran and Wingert was RSL’s 1-0 win at Vancouver Whitecaps on Sept. 28, 2013. RSL posted a 1-2-1 record without Beltran or Wingert in 2013.
- Tonight was backup GK Jeff Attinella’s first start and appearance for the Claret-and-Cobalt in 2014, and marked his second career clean sheet for RSL. Attinella’s last appearance came in RSL’s 1-0 win at Vancouver Whitecaps on Sept. 28, 2013. Attinella made a total of five appearances last year, four of which were starts. The Florida native made his first career MLS start in RSL’s 2-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City at Rio Tinto Stadium on July 20, 2013. Attinella posted a 1-2-1 record last year – his first in MLS and for RSL. Real Salt Lake posted a 5-3-2 record without Rimando in net last year.
- RSL DF Rich Balchan recorded his first start for the Claret-and-Cobalt tonight. Balchan made his RSL debut last week against Toronto FC, subbing on for DF Chris Wingert in the second half. Balchan did not appear in any first-team games for RSL in his first season with the club in 2013, missing most of the year due to a shoulder injury.
- RSL DF Abdoulie Mansally made his first start and appearance for the Claret-and-Cobalt in 2014 tonight. Mansally made 14 appearances, including nine starts last year. This is the Gambian international’s third season with RSL.
- RSL FW Devon Sandoval made his second appearance of 2014 tonight, entering the match in the 72nd minute for FW Olmes Garcia. Sandoval had missed the start of the season recovering from a foot injury suffered in preseason.
- RSL DF Aaron Maund dressed tonight, marking his return to the game day roster after missing several matches due to a hamstring injury. MF Sebastian Velasquez (hamstring) and MF Jordan Allen (ankle) and FW Joao Plata (hamstring) did not travel to Kansas City.
REAL SALT LAKE 0–0 SPORTING KANSAS CITY
SATURDAY, APRIL 5, 2014
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 0 0 0
Sporting Kansas City 0 0 0
RSL – Chris Schuler (Yellow; Foul) – 40’
SKC – Chance Myers (Yellow; Foul) – 76’
SKC – Oriol Rosell (Red; Foul) – 83’
RSL – Nat Borchers (Yellow; Foul) – 87’
SKC – Claudio Bieler (Yellow; Foul) – 90’+1’
Real Salt Lake (4-1-2-1-2): Jeff Attinella; Abdoulie Mansally, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Rich Balchan; Kyle Beckerman (C), Luis Gil (Luke Mulholland, 55’), Ned Grabavoy, Javier Morales; Alvaro Saborio, Olmes Garcia (Devon Sandoval, 72’)
Substitutes not used: Lalo Fernandez; Aaron Maund, Carlos Salcedo; Cole Grossman, John Stertzer
Sporting Kansas City (4-3-3): Eric Kronberg; Seth Sinovic, Matt Besler, Aurelien Collin, Chance Myers; Paulo Nagamura (Lawrence Olum, 85’), Oriol Rosell, Benny Feilhaber; Graham Zusi, Dominic Dwyer (Claudio Bieler, 76’), Sal Zizzo (Toni, 80’)
Substitutes not used: Jacob Peterson; Jon Kempin, Igor Juliao, Alex Martinez
Referee: Armando Villarreal
Assistant Referees: Corey Parker, Craig Lowry
4th Official: Fotis Bazakos
Weather: Clear and 56 degrees