SEATTLE (Saturday, May 20, 2017) – Real Salt Lake (3-8-2, 11 pts) suffered its fifth road loss of the season Saturday afternoon, falling 1-0 at Century Link Field in downtown Seattle against the defending MLS Cup champion Sounders.
With a new-look 4-4-2 formation featuring a flat midfield and 2017 RSL draft picks Reagan Dunk and Justin Schmidt on the outside in the back, RSL’s first 45 minutes saw limited possession, Seattle outshooting RSL, 11-1, GK Nick Rimando forced into four saves. Seattle peppered the RSL back line with wave after wave of attacking opportunities, Seattle taking the lead in the 42nd-minute on a deflected strike from Sounders MF Harry Shipp.
RSL reversed field in the second half, turning the tide in both possession and chances created, buoyed by a penalty save by GK Nick Rimando in the 55th minute. Rimando, affectionately known as “The Wall of the Wasatch,” reiterated why he sits atop the Major League Soccer record books just ten minutes into the second half, saving fellow U.S. international Clint Dempsey’s offering from the penalty spot.
The denial was Rimando’s 22nd penalty-kick save of his MLS career, with opponents now just 50-for-80 against the 18-year MLS veteran. The save was Rimando’s second penalty kick save of 2017, after denying a Sebastian Giovinco strike in the season opener on March 4. Since arriving in Utah in 2007, Rimando’s opposing PK takers are just 29-for-50 from the 12-yard spot.
RSL pushed for the equalizer in the second half, as Venezuelan FW Jefferson Savarino brought a spark to the match after coming onto the field in the 57th minute. FW Joao Plata, MF Albert Rusnák and FW Yura Movsisyan also provided danger for RSL Head Coach Mike Petke in the second half, but again Frei came out ahead on multiple attempts as the game finished 1-0 in favor of the home side.
Head Coach Mike Petke moves to 3-5-0 at the Real Salt Lake reins since taking over on April 2.
UP NEXT: RSL will return home for a cross-conference match against the Philadelphia Union (6:00 pm MST kickoff) at Rio Tinto Stadium next Saturday, May 27. In 2016, the two sides played to a thrilling 2-1 match with RSL walking away with the full three points in Chester behind second-half goals from Plata and Javier Morales. The Claret-and-Cobalt have never lost to Philadelphia, posting a 3-0-6 all-time against the Union, scoring 16 goals in those nine games.
SEA – Harry Shipp (Gustav Svensson), 42nd minute: After multiple attempted crosses into the box were deflected, Svensson found the ball at his feet before he poked the ball out to Shipp at the top of the box. Shipp attempted a first time, curling shot that took a massive deflection that sent Nick Rimando sprawling as the ball trickled into the net.
KEY SAVES AND DEFENSIVE STOPS:
RSL – Nick Rimando, 4th minute: Sounders playmaker Nicolas Lodeiro attempted a free-kick near the corner of the penalty area after RSL defender Justin Schmidt brought down Brad Evans. Lodeiro struck the ball past the wall and through traffic to force Rimando into an early save, as he punched away the effort for a corner.
RSL – Nick Rimando, 14th minute: An early corner taken by Seattle caught RSL out of position. Sounders midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro swung in an early cross that found the head of striker Jordan Morris at the near post who flicked the ball towards the far post. Rimando got a hand to the ball to paw away the danger before RSL defender Chris Schuler cleared the danger.
RSL – Aaron Maund, 26th minute: A well-played through ball from Seattle put Jordan Morris into the box with eyes for goal. Morris elected to cross the ball back across the face of goal towards Clint Dempsey but Maund was there to intercept the pass to clear the danger.
RSL – Nick Rimando, 35th minute: Another dangerous corner kick curled in from Nicolas Lodeiro saw Sounders defender Gustav Svensson get his head to the ball and turn it towards goal. Rimando was quick and balanced to read the header and make the easy collapsing save.
RSL – Nick Rimando, 39th minute: Another long ball over the RSL defense by the Sounders put Jordan Morris in on goal. Morris attempted a shot as he neared Rimando but Rimando stood tall to deflect the shot away.
RSL – Nick Rimando, 55th minute: Seattle earned a penalty kick after Jordan Morris was taken down by RSL defender Chris Schuler in the box. Clint Dempsey stepped up to take the penalty going to Rimando’s left. Rimando read the strike well and pawed away the effort.
SEA – Stefan Frei, 60th minute: A long drive from RSL midfielder Kyle Beckerman forced Frei into a diving save, collapsing low to his right to bat away the shot and out for a corner kick.
SEA – Stefan Frei, 73rd minute: A quick counter attack from RSL put Joao Plata in on goal who attempted a left footed drive towards the far post. Frei got a strong hand to the shot to parry away the ball.
- With his penalty kick save against Seattle, RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando now has 22 penalty kick saves, the most by any goalkeeper in Major League Soccer history. Opponents are now just 50 for 80 against Rimando all-time from the spot, and 29 for 50 since Rimando has worn an RSL uniform.
- RSL now sits 0-14-5 on turf in its last 19 games on artificial grass, the club’s last win on the fake stuff coming in a Western Conference Final Leg 2 victory at Portland in 2013.
- Now sits 2-8-2 all-time on the road against Seattle, with the home team in the RSL/Seattle series winning each of the last 12 matchups (7 in Seattle, 5 in Utah).
- RSL has now allowed a first-half goal in seven straight games after conceding in the 42nd minute against Seattle. However, RSL’s run of allowing a goal in the first 30 minutes of a match was snapped Saturday.
- The shutout suffered Saturday at Seattle signifies the seventh of the season for Salt Lake (through 13 played of the 34-game campaign).
- The veteran centerback combination of DF Chris Schuler and DF Aaron Maund has now appeared in three games together, allowing just two goals in 270 minutes of action (0-0 March 25 at New York Red Bulls, 2-1 Wednesday v. NYCFC and 0-1 at Seattle today).
Match: Real Salt Lake 0 : 1 at Seattle Sounders FC
Date: May 20, 2017
Venue: CenturyLink Field; Seattle, Washington
Weather: Sunny and 66 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 0 0 0
Seattle Sounders FC 1 0 1
SEA – Harry Shipp (Gustav Svensson) 42’
Real Salt Lake (4-4-2): Nick Rimando; Justin Schmidt, Chris Schuler, Aaron Maund, Reagan Dunk; Albert Rusnák, Sunny (Luke Mulholland, 75’), Kyle Beckerman, Omar Holness (Jefferson Savarino, 57’); Joao Plata, Luis Silva (Yura Movsisyan, 74’)
Subs not used: Matt Van Oekel, Chris Wingert, José Hernández, Ricardo Velazco
Seattle Sounders FC: (4-5-1): Stefan Frei, Joevin Jones, Gustav Svensson, Chad Marshall, Brad Evans (Jordy Delem, 66’); Cristian Roldan, Osvaldo Alonso, Harry Shipp (Álvaro Fernández, 63’), Nicolás Lodeiro, Clint Dempsey (Will Bruin, 81’); Jordan Morris
Subs not used: Tyler Miller, Oniel Fisher, Nouhou Tolo, Seyi Adekoya
Stats Summary: SEA/RSL
Shots: 17 / 11
Shots on Goal: 6 / 5
Saves: 5 / 5
Corner Kicks: 8 / 3
Fouls: 8 / 18
Offside: 1 / 1
RSL – Sunny (caution) 25’
RSL – Kyle Beckerman (caution) 75’
Referee: Kevin Stott
Assistant Referees: Cameron Blanchard, Felisha Mariscal
4th Official: Alex Chilowicz