Otto Greule Jr

Sounders vs. RSL, 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs: Seattle dominates, but Rimando earns Salt Lake draw

The Sounders and RSL are still considered two of the best in MLS, but after a string of disappointments, the spotlight is really on them now.

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RSL, Sounders resume series

The Sounders and Real Salt Lake will play the second leg of their MLS Cup semifinal series on Thursday with the winner advancing to the Western Conference Finals.


Rimando saves RSL, earns them draw with Sounders

The Sounders were dominant, but Nick Rimando was sensational and almost single-handedly sends RSL back home for the second leg even at 0-0.


Rimando and Gspurning keep Sounders, RSL scoreless

The Seattle Sounders are still in search of their first ever goal in the first leg of a MLS Playoffs tie, but they cannot be blamed for not finding the net so far tonight. The Sounders were inventive and aggressive going forward, earning corner kicks and creating chances left and right, but some fantastic goalkeeping by Nick Rimando has kept Real Salt Lake level in a 0-0 game at halftime.

After coming out a bit tentative in the first few minutes, the Sounders found their footing and took control of the match. They did not have the bulk of the possession, but they were efficient when they did have the ball and finished the half with seven corner kicks as well as four shots on goal.

Two of Seattle's shots looked like they would be sure goals, with Sammy Ochoa headers seemingly bound for the net, but Rimando was sensational. Twice in quick succession he was able to make sprawling save to push Ochoa's headers high and wide of the net to keep the score level.

Despite the Sounders having the upperhand, RSL wasn't completely outplayed. They did have a couple moments of their own, most notably right after Rimando's two saves when they forced Michael Gspurning into action with a fantastic save of his own to keep the visitors from going in front just before the halftime break.


No Johnson, Olave in lineups

While both Real Salt Lake and the Seattle Sounders will field the lineups they were widely expected to use, the inexperience (or lack of form) of a couple of starters is still a major talking point. RSL central defender Kwame Watson-Siriboe has been a professional since 2007, but has less than 30 MLS games under his belt. Sounders striker Sammy Ochoa has plenty of professional games under his belt in MLS and the Mexican Primera, but scored just once in MLS this year and struggled in last year's playoff series between Seattle and RSL.

Besides those two players, both teams have sent out first-choice sides.

Real Salt Lake lineups (4-1-3-2): Nick Rimando; Chris Wingert, Nat Borchers, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Tony Beltran; Kyle Beckerman; Will Johnson, Javier Morales, Ned Grabavoy; Fabian Espindola, Alvaro Saborio

Seattle Sounders lineups (4-4-2): Michael Gspurning; Marc Burch, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Aron Johansson; Mauro Rosales, Osvaldo Alonso, Christian Tiffert, Brad Evans; Fredy Montero, Sammy Ochoa

Each team is missing one key starter. RSL central defender Jamison Olave is fit enough to make their bench, but striker Eddie Johnson will play no part for the Sounders. Kickoff is at 10 p.m. ET from CenturyLink Field, and the game can be seen on NBC Sports Network.


Sounders vs. RSL a rematch of last year

The Sounders and RSL square off in a rematch of last year's Western Conference semifinals.


Battle of backups could decide Sounders-RSL

The Sounders will likely be without Eddie Johnson, while RSL is hoping to get Jamison Olave back.


Seattle and RSL still in search of 2009 hype

The Sounders and RSL were once bound for MLS dominance, but now they are playing to avoid being pegged as MLS's biggest underachievers.

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