Real Salt Lake Update
REAL SALT LAKE TO HOST CHIVAS USA IN REGULAR SEASON FINALE ON WEDNESDAY
Real Salt Lake will close out regular season play on Wednesday night, when it hosts Chivas USA at Rio Tinto Stadium at 7:30 p.m. MT. The RSL-Chivas contest will be broadcast live on CW30, ESPN 700 and 102.3 La Gran D FM.
The Claret-and-Cobalt enters Wednesday's contest needing a win in order to have a chance at finishing third in the Western Conference and avoid the Knockout Round between the fourth and fifth-place teams. RSL can only clinch third-place if it defeats Chivas USA, and FC Dallas loses or draws against Portland Timbers on Saturday, Oct. 25. If both RSL and Dallas end the season even on points, the Texas club claims the first tiebreaker - total wins - as it has two more than the Claret-and-Cobalt with only one game remaining. RSL currently sits fourth in the west with a 14-8-11 record and total of 53 points.
In its last MLS action, Real Salt Lake played Portland Timbers to a scoreless draw at Providence Park on Friday. Claret-and-Cobalt GK Nick Rimando continued to show why he is one of the best in the league, making a total of six saves to record his sixth shutout of the year and his 114th career clean sheet. Real Salt Lake went 1-1-1 against the Timbers in 2014 and now posts an 8-2-4 all-time record across all competitions against the Cascadia club. The match in Portland was also RSL's final regular season road game, improving its 2014 road record to 4-7-6.
Wednesday's contest in Sandy will be the third and final regular season meeting between Real Salt Lake and Chivas USA, with RSL looking for its first win against the SoCal club this year. In the first encounter on June 28 at StubHub Center, RSL went down to ten men in the ninth minute after MF Luke Mulholland saw straight red for a tackle on MF Martin Rivero. Chivas USA FW Erick Torres went on to score the lone goal in the 35th minute to put the home side up 1-0, a lead RSL could not overcome. RSL suffered a similar fate when it faced the Red-and-White in California again on Oct. 5, falling 1-0 as the visitors for a second time.
Real Salt Lake posts a 12-12-4 all-time regular season record against the Red-and-White and a 13-12-5 record across all competitions. The Claret-and-Cobalt has had more success at home against Chivas USA, going 6-3-3 against the Goats in the regular season in Utah.
Chivas USA enters Wednesday's match coming off a 2-1 win over Colorado Rapids on Oct. 11. The SoCal club has now won two of its last matches to improve its season record to 8-18-6.
REAL SALT LAKE DRAWS PORTLAND TIMBERS 0-0 AT PROVIDENCE PARK
Real Salt Lake (14-8-11, 53 points) GK Nick Rimando is the all-time MLS leader in shutouts and he showed just how he earned more clean sheets than any goalkeeper in league history on Friday. Rimando finished with six saves and commanded the RSL defense en route to a 0-0 draw with the Portland Timbers (11-9-13, 46 points) in front of a crowd of 20,814 at Providence Park.
Rimando's sixth shutout of the season and 114th in his career kept RSL two points ahead of FC Dallas in the Western Conference standings after the keeper returned from a 1-1 draw on Tuesday with the U.S. National Team in a friendly against Honduras.
In the first 10 minutes of the match, RSL MF Luis Gil asserted himself in the match with two shots from the edge of the 18-yard box. Starting in place of MF Luke Mulholland, Gil got the first threatening chance in the third minute, ripping a shot from outside the box that took a deflection on its way toward goal, putting it wide of the far post for a corner kick.
In the 10th minute, Gil took another shot from outside the box, but missed high as RSL continued to press the homestanding Timbers early in the match.
In the 18th minute, Rimando sprung off his line to thwart the Portland counter-attack. Timbers MF Diego Chara pushed up the right side and crossed the ball toward the penalty spot. Rimando slid out to knock the ball clear, but it spilled to the left side for MF Rodney Wallace. However, Rimando again sprung to action, smothering Wallace's shot to keep the match scoreless.
RSL nearly nabbed the lead in the 39th minute when DF Tony Beltran sprayed a cross into the box from the right side. RSL FW Robbie Findley rose for a header, but Portland GK Donovan Ricketts got his hand to it for the save and FW Sebastian Jaime couldn't get to the rebound before it was cleared from the goalmouth.
Before the halftime whistle, Portland would put the ball into the Salt Lake box, but couldn't convert. In the 44th minute, MF Diego Valeri sent a corner kick into traffic in front of Rimando's net and, after it bounced around in front of the net, fell back to Valeri on the right side and the Argentine midfielder missed high with his final effort and with that the two sides went into halftime knotted in a scoreless deadlock.
The second half started much like the first, with Gil taking an early shot from distance to test Ricketts, but Ricketts made the stop on his 50th-minute shot.
Valeri had a pair of opportunities miss just wide early in the second half in the other direction. His first came on a ball up the right side that he collected at a low angle before shooting just high and beyond the far post. Then, in the 60th minute, Valeri blasted a shot that just missed wide of the near post on the right side.
Moments later, Rimando thwarted a flurry from Portland in the box.
Portland MF Darlington Nagbe got the first shot away in the 61st-minute flood, taking a left-footed shot in the middle of the box that Rimando speared down. Wallace and FW Fanendo Adi both had cracks at rebounds that were blocked, the latter seeing RSL DF Chris Wingert knock it away for a corner kick, narrowly avoiding falling behind to the Timbers.
In the 66th minute, it wasn't Rimando, but Gil coming up big in front of net. Portland DF Norberto Paparatto got his head to a corner kick and nodded it toward the near post, but Gil was on the post and made the clearance to keep Portland off the board.
In the 75th minute, a deflected ball left Nagbe 1v1 with Rimando up the left side. Rimando initially charged the loose ball, but thought better of it and retreated to his net, leaving Wingert enough time for a sliding stop.
Portland would continue to throw men forward over the final minutes of the match, but Rimando kept the Timbers off the scoreboard and the Real Salt Lake defense did its part to see out the shutout.
RIMANDO NOMINATED FOR MLS SAVE OF THE WEEK
Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando is up for MLS Save of the Week!
Rimando is nominated twice for two extraordinary saves in the Claret-and-Cobalt's 0-0 draw at Portland Timbers last Friday. The first came in the 18th minute when Rimando came off his line to get a paw to a dangerous cross from Diego Chara and then retreat and save Rodney Wallace's attempt that seemed ticketed for the back of the net. The second amazing save came in the 61st minute when Rimando was able to scramble all the way across his goal line to stone Darlington Nagbe from close-range.
This week, Rimando is up against Portland Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, Columbus Crew "keeper Steve Clark and LA's Jaime Penedo.
RSL has a total of six Save of the Week wins this season, with Rimando winning back-to-back honors for week one and two, as well as weeks 21 and 25. RSL backup GK Jeff Attinella took home the award in weeks 11 and 13.
Voting for Save of the Week runs until 12:59 a.m. MT on Friday morning.
REAL SALT LAKE INJURY REPORT
OUT: MF Jordan Allen (R knee injury), MF John Stertzer (R fractured tibia), DF Chris Schuler (L orbital wall and floor fracture, L nasal bone fracture)
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