SANDY, Utah -- Despite a franchise-record home unbeaten streak and the return of captain Kyle Beckerman, the mood in the Real Salt Lake locker room on Saturday had more than a tinge of regret.
The defending MLS champs wasted a tremendous goal from sub Ned Grabavoy and watched typically sure-handed All-Star Nick Rimando cough up a late goal as Chivas USA rallied for a 1-1 draw at Rio Tinto Stadium.
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The dubious and definitive moment of the match unfortunately belonged to Rimando, who will suit up in next Wednesday’s MLS All-Star Game in Houston. The veteran was more than willing to take the heat on a 70th minute flub on a shot by Jesus Padilla, who drew the Goats even when Rimando botched what looked like a seemingly harmless shot from 30 yards out.
“I’ve gotta do better on that,” confessed Rimando. “I’ve got to put my hand up for sure and take care of that.”
The goal came just minutes after a gorgeous one-timed shot from Grabavoy, who came on for Beckerman early in the second half. Grabavoy blasted a shot after an RSL corner kick deflected out of the box off the shoulder of Justin Braun.
“It just kind of fell the right way, and I just hit it well and it just curled into the top corner,” Grabavoy said.
Said RSL coach Jason Kreis: “It was fantastic. It was one of the few strikes that gets me to jump off of the bench.”
For his part, Beckerman felt he had a solid 60-plus minutes in his first action since late May, when we went down with a tendon injury in his left foot that effectively kept him out of next week’s All-Star festivities.
Beckerman also mixed it up with longtime foe Paulo Nagamura, who made his 2010 league debut with Chivas USA on Saturday after a recent stint in Mexico.
“He was good. His energy level was good,” Kreis said of Beckerman. “He was a little bit rusty. He lost a few more balls than he typically would.”
Despite the draw, RSL extended their home unbeaten streak to 19 games dating back to May 2009, leaving them currently three matches short of the Columbus Crew’s record of 22, set from June 2008 through Sept. 2009.
They’ll look to extend the streak on July 31 against D.C. United.
“I think we’ve made a point of having a lot of firsts,” Kreis said. “We take pride in those sorts of things. Why shouldn’t we try to go after that, and take some pride in doing it?”