SANDY, Utah (Sunday, October 16, 2016) – Real Salt Lake had an opportunity to punch its ticket to the postseason with a win over Sporting Kansas City on Sunday at Rio Tinto Stadium. If RSL clinches a playoff spot, it will be on the final weekend of the season, as a scoreless draw against Kansas City kept Salt Lake in playoff position, but wasn’t enough to secure a berth in the postseason.
GK Nick Rimando finished the match with five saves, including a game-saving swipe to rob Dom Dwyer of a would-be goal in the 86th minute, securing his sixth shutout of the season.
Real Salt Lake will now head to Seattle to face the Sounders at CenturyLink Field on Decision Day in MLS, October 23.
MF Javier Morales had the game’s first big chance in the ninth minute when he slalomed around the Kansas City defense and fired from just inside the box, missing just wide of the left post.
RSL had another near-miss in the 20th minute, this time on a scramble in the box that ended with FW Juan Manuel Martinez heading a shot right to Sporting goalkeeper Tim Melia. Off a free kick from FW Joao Plata, DF Chris Schuler headed the ball across the box. FW Yura Movsisyan attempted a side-winding shot just as Martinez lunged for a header, nearly catching Melia off-guard, but he made the stop and the match remained scoreless.
Just before the halftime whistle, Schuler got his head to a free kick from Morales, but his shot skipped wide and the two teams went into halftime in a scoreless deadlock.
RSL held a 5-3 advantage in first-half shots, with both teams putting one shot on goal.
Salt Lake nearly grabbed the lead in the 59th minute through Plata.
In the 64th minute, Kansas City got its best opportunity to that point in the game. Paulo Nagamura put a ball over the top for Dom Dwyer and he got in on goal against Rimando, but the RSL goalkeeper made the save to keep Dwyer off the board.
Two minutes later, Rimando came up big again, this time snaring a rocket shot from Saad Abdul-Salaam for his third save of the match.
On another pivotal play from Rimando in the 86th minute, Roger Espinoza darted up the left sideline before whipping a cross in for Dwyer, whose header jumped off the grass bound for the top corner only to be knocked out of play by Rimando with a swipe of his left hand for the spectacular stop.
Plata would have one more chance to find a winner in stoppage time, but his header skipped wide and RSL settled for the 0-0 draw.
In the match, RSL held 55.5% of the possession and outshot SKC 15-12, though both teams put five shots on target in the scoreless draw.
Real Salt Lake will play the regular season finale on October 23 at CenturyLink Field against Seattle Sounders FC.
REAL SALT LAKE 0-0 SPORTING KANSAS CITY
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2016
RIO TINTO STADIUM
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 0 0 0
Sporting Kansas City 0 0 0
RSL: Luke Mulholland (Caution; Foul) 32’
RSL: Justen Glad (Caution; Foul) 58’
Real Salt Lake (4-2-3-1): Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Justen Glad, Chris Schuler, Demar Phillips; Kyle Beckerman, Luke Mulholland; Juan Manuel Martinez (Jordan Allen 77’), Javier Morales, Joao Plata; Yura Movsisyan (Olmes Garcia 57’).
Substitutes not used: Lalo Fernandez, Jamison Olave, John Stertzer, Sunny, Chris Wingert.
Sporting Kansas City (4-3-3): Tim Melia; Saad Abdul-Salaam, Kevin Ellis, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic; Benny Feilhaber (Ike Opara 91+’), Soni Mustivar, Paolo Nagamura; Graham Zusi, Dom Dwyer, Roger Espinoza.
Substitutes not used: Alec Kann, Ever Alvarado, Nuno Coelho, Conner Hallisey, Benji Joya, Cameron Porter.
Referee: Ismail Elfath
Assistant Referees: Ian Anderson, Adam Garner
Fourth Official: Chris Penso
Weather: Partly Cloudy and 57