RSL: Nick Rimando unfazed by broken nose
Sandy • Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando's broken nose will be "a little fragile" Thursday night.
He will play without restrictions, however, in Game 2 of the Major League Soccer playoff series between RSL and Seattle at Rio Tinto Stadium.
In the 67th minute of Game 1's drama-filled 0-0 draw, Rimando suffered a three-stitch gash near his eye in addition to a broken nose following a collision with Seattle's Christian Tiffert.
Rimando still managed to play the final 23 minutes of regulation and eight minutes of stoppage time, helping RSL survive an aggressive effort by the Sounders.
"I feel good," Rimando said Monday. "Obviously it hurt when it happened. But the adrenaline got going and kept me in the game. I wanted to stay in there, help out my teammates and keep that zero in the bag."
Asked if he would play with any restrictions in Game 2, Rimando said, "Zero. Everything is fixable repairable. That's what the doctor said. ... I just have to make sure I have an appointment on Friday to get it reset again."
Rimando was joking, although he wasn't laughing moments after suffering the first broken nose of his career.
"I didn't know exactly what to feel or how to feel," he said. "I didn't even know I broke it. But when I was down, the doctor came over and said, 'How does your nose feel?' I was like, 'My whole face hurts.' He said, 'Yeah, you probably broke your nose.'"
RSL forward Fabian Espindola missed the second half of Game 1 with hamstring issues and did not practice Monday.
According to RSL coach Jason Kreis, Espindola's availability for Game 2 is "50-50, at best."
Meanwhile, Seattle's Eddie Johnson is expected to return after missing the series opener with an adductor strain. He scored a franchise-record 14 goals during the regular season.
"To me," RSL defender Nat Borchers said, "he's been one of the best strikers in the league this year, with his movement, his pace and his finishing. He's been very good. He gives them another dimension. ...
"[Sammy] Ochoa and those other guys like to check to the ball and keep possession. But with Johnson, he likes to get in behind [the defense], and that's going to create some space for them in the attack."
Meanwhile, the Seattle Times reports midfielder Mauro Rosales might not play in Game 2 because of a hamstring injury suffered in the final moments of the opener.
Real Salt Lake hasn't scored a goal in its last four games.
RSL also has played scoreless draws the last three times it faced Seattle, including games July 4, Oct. 17 and last Friday.
Is Kreis concerned about his team's lack of scoring?
"Nope," he said, without offering an explanation.
Seattle at RSL
P Thursday, 7:30 p.m.
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