Sandy — When asked if he couldn't have asked for a better result than the 3-0 defeat of Seattle in the opening leg of the Western Conference semifinals, Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis snapped back, "How about 4-0?"
He wasn't kidding. If not for keeper Kasey Keller, the score may have been worse. Meanwhile, RSL goal keeper Nick Rimando didn't have too much to do.
"We’re lucky we didn’t lose 6-0," Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said moments after Saturday's defeat at Rio Tinto Stadium. "We were well-served by losing only 3-0. We played not well and I thought Real Salt Lake played very well. It was a bad time for us to choose to have a bad game, and obviously they had a really good game. Hats off to them."
With the exception of the injuries to Jamison Olave and Nat Borchers, the game could not have gone any better for RSL.
Seattle did not put on shot on frame. Alvaro Saborío scored twice and late substitute Ned Grabavoy added a third in front of 17,067 loud spectators. RSL will carry its three-goal cushion in the home-and-away aggregate goals series into the second leg Wednesday at CenturyLink Field for an 8 p.m. (MT) kickoff.
Borchers and Olave, will be re-evaluated by the team’s medical staff on Sunday, the process including an MRI for Borchers to further diagnosis the severity of his left knee strain. Olave suffered a quad injury.
The three goals tied RSL's largest offensive output in postseason history, matching the output against the Columbus Crew in a 3-2 victory at Crew Stadium on Nov. 5, 2009, in the second leg of their Eastern Conference Semifinal Series.
"Yeah, I was very, very pleased," Kreis said. "For me that was a complete match, and we haven’t had a complete match of good soccer and good focus and the requisite commitment for a very long time."
As for the crowd, which was short of a sell out, Kreis had nothing but compliments.
"I thought our spirit was really, really high. And I’ll tell you what, that’s a credit to the crowd. That was the first time in a long time that I can remember at the beginning of the match looking around and saying, ‘the stands are almost full.’ Typically we have to wait until close to halftime to get the stands completely full and tonight they were almost full from before the kickoff. So it was a very, very loud start."
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