Seattle Sounders vs. Real Salt Lake: Final score 0-0, Rimando negates Sounders' dominance in first leg

Otto Greule Jr

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.

The Seattle Sounders were aggressive and inventive. They were organized and creative. They were absolutely dominant and just about everything that Sigi Schmid could have wanted. But the Sounders did have one problem. They didn't have Nick Rimando.

The Real Salt Lake goalkeeper was absolutely sensational, making save after save, some of them jaw dropping, to steal a scoreless draw from the Sounders in the first leg of the teams' Western Conference semifinal. The two teams will now head to Salt Lake City for Thursday's second leg with pretty simple stakes -- the winner goes on and the lower's season comes to an end.

After a but of a slow start, the Sounders found their footing about five minutes in and controlled the match the rest of the way. They earned eight corner kicks, seven in the first half, and were dangerous with seemingly every foray forward.

Seattle's aggressiveness finally looked like it would pay off when Sammy Ochoa got free and got a shot away that looked goal bound, but Rimando made a sensational save to push it just over the bar and on top of the net. Ochoa came right back, though, and once again looked like he had a goal, but just like last time, Rimando was there. He sprawled to paw Ochoa's shot wide of the post and Ochoa had been bested a second time.

Rimando wasn't done there, though. As Seattle kept hitting crosses, Rimando kept having to come off of his line to punch the ball away. They were not easy punches either, but Rimando was there to do it and in the second half he was also asked to come way out again to collect a long ball before the Sounders could get in alone on goal.

Salt Lake did have a few bright moments, usually through Javier Morals and Alvaro Saborio, but Michael Gspurning was up to the task. He got down to make a save from close range and denied Saborio late, while also commanding his box well, but he was no match for Rimando. On this night, nobody was as good as Rimando.

The only thing that could stop Rimando was a collision with Christian Tiffert that left him on the turf for seven minutes. The training staff treated him, apply a bandage next to his right eyes and the delay led to eight minutes of stoppage time, but the Sounders couldn't beat Rimando then either. He was too good and RSL was good enough defensively to earn a valuable away draw in the first leg.

While the Sounders certainly played well and were the better team, they have to wonder what they have to do to score in the first leg of a playoff tie. This is their fourth postseason and they have failed to score in the first leg each time. The first three all resulted in a second leg elimination, something they will try to avoid on Thursday, but if they go out it will likely be as much their inability to find the net in Seattle as it is any loss in Salt Lake.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.