[MLS PLAYOFFS: Seattle-Real Salt Lake] Four times the Seattle Sounders have faced Real Salt Lake this season, and four times they have been shut out. The teams
played their third scoreless draw in a game that saw both keepers come up big, especially RSL's Rick Rimando, who had what RSL coach Jason Kreis called "one of the single best individual performances by any player who's ever worn an RSL jersey."
-- Rimando came out quickly to smother Brad Evans' shot when the Seattle midfielder broke free on the right side of the area in the 25th minute. But Rimando outdid himself in the 33rd minute, stopping first Sammy Ochoa and then Jhon Kennedy Hurtado on bullet headers off corner kicks. Ochoa looked in disbelief after Rimando flew through the air to stop his header with his left arm.
-- Rimando's stop on Christian Tiffert showed his versatility, diving to his left to keep the German's bouncing header out of the goal. Remarkably, Rimando stayed in the game, after later colliding with Tiffert and needing stitches to close a cut on the right side of his eye. The delay forced eight minutes of stoppage time.
-- RSL now has shut out four straight opponents. It hasn’t given up a goal since the 2-1 win at Los Angeles on Oct. 6, a streak of 433 minutes across all competitions.
-- Seattle coach Sigi Schmid wasn't surprised with Rimando's display. After all, he coached him in college. "Yeah, I don't like it when goalkeepers get hot against us," the former UCLA coach said. "I know Nicky fairly well and he's a good goalkeeper. He's courageous and his reactions are good. The one save he made against Sammy, he actually parries the ball off the crossbar and over the goal. If he doesn't get quite a hand on it, three inches lower, it hits the bottom of the crossbar and goes in."
-- Rimando deflected credit for the away draw. "Everybody stepped up tonight," he said. "It wasn't just me. I did my part for sure, but so did everybody else."
-- Rimando's efforts overshadowed another strong game by Seattle keeper Michael Gspurning, who made quality stops on Neil Grabavoy, Will Johnson and Alvaro Saborio.
Second Leg: Thursday, 9:30 p.m. ET.
Nov. 2 in Seattle
Seattle 0 Real Salt Lake 0.
Seattle -- Gspurning; Johansson, Parke, Hurtado, Burch; Rosales (Zakuani, 94+), Alonso, Tiffert (Martinez, 82), Evans; Montero, Ochoa (Estrada, 57)
Real Salt Lake -- Rimando; Beltran, Watson-Siriboe (Olave, 76), Borchers, Wingert; Beckerman, Grabavoy, W.Johnson; Morales (Alvarez, 87); Espindola (Paulo Jr., 46), Saborio.
Referee: Hilario Grajeda.