Nick Rimando, RSL topple rival Rapids
Commerce City, Colo. • Nick Rimando scrambled for the ball, which sat loose in front of the goal in the dying seconds of Saturday night's game, begging for a kick that would have undone 90 minutes of effort.
The Real Salt Lake goalkeeper won the race to the ball, and in doing so he helped ensure his team would return home with three points, a trophy and a piece of Major League Soccer history.
"A shutout is a shutout for me," Rimando said after RSL's 1-0 win over rival Colorado.
But this one, of course, was different. By blanking the Rapids, Rimando recorded his 112th career shutout, tying Kevin Hartman for the league's all-time record.
"The ingredients for a shutout is the guys in front of me, whether that's 112 or the one tonight," Rimando said. "The effort in front of me was fantastic. [Now] I can get that monkey off my back and kind of move forward with the season."
The win was RSL's second victory of the season over Colorado, allowing Salt Lake to reclaim the Rocky Mountain Cup, which it relinquished last season for the first time in seven years.
But victory and Rimando's record did not come easily.
Javier Morales' sixth goal of the season gave RSL a 1-0 lead early in the game.
After a Rapids defender tried to clear the ball, outside back Chris Wingert slipped around his man and headed it back into play, then raced 25 yards upfield to win the ball again. Wingert looked up and slipped a pass to Morales at the top of the box, and the RSL midfielder beat the keeper low and left.
But victory was put in jeopardy just two minutes into the second half.
A poor giveaway and some defensive miscues left Rapids striker Vicente Sanchez one-on-one with Rimando just outside the box before RSL defender Aaron Maund challenged him from behind. Sanchez fell and Maund was shown straight red, leaving RSL with 10 men in the 47th minute.
The team was up for the challenge Saturday.
"You never want to get a red card, but the commitment from the guys was unbelievable," Cassar said. "â¦ Colorado really threw everything at us, but our guys stood and defended awesome."
Defensive substitutes Carlos Salcedo, Cole Grossman and John Stertzer helped slow the Rapids.
After the game, Cassar also praised the efforts of defender Nat Borchers.
Borchers, meanwhile, shifted his focus to Rimando. The goalkeeper needed six saves Saturday and he and his teammates faced 22 total shots, most coming after a red card put RSL down a man.
"I'm really proud of him," Borchers said. "He just comes in and quietly has had such a great career. He's never gotten the recognition he deserves. This should be his year to be Goalkeeper of the Year, hands down. He should have had it five, six years running. But this is his year."
R Nick Rimando ties Kevin Hartman for the Major League Soccer shutout record (112 all-time).
• RSL recaptures the Rocky Mountain Cup after losing it to Colorado last season for the first time in seven years.
•Â Colorado outshoots RSL 22-6 on the night, thanks to a 47th-minute red card that left RSL down a man and defending its lead.
RSL 1, Rapids 0
Real Salt Lake 1 0 1
Colorado 0 0 0
First half Â» 1, Real Salt Lake, Morales 6 (Wingert), 14th minute.
Second half Â» None.
Goalies Â» Real Salt Lake, Nick Rimando Colorado, Clint Irwin.
Yellow CardsWingert, Real Salt Lake, 34th Beckerman, Real Salt Lake, 62nd Beltran, Real Salt Lake, 84th.
Red ardMaund, Real Salt Lake, 46th.
RefereeBaldomero Toledo. Assistant RefereesAdam Garner. Anthony Vasoli. 4th OfficialYounes Marrakchi.
Attendance Â» 17,554 (17,424)
Real Salt LakeNick Rimando, Tony Beltran, Aaron Maund, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert, Ned Grabavoy, Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales (Cole Grossman, 74th), Luis Gil (John Stertzer, 85th), Devon Sandoval (Carlos Salcedo, 50th), Robbie Findley.
ColoradoClint Irwin, Marvell Wynne, Marc Burch, Chris Klute, Drew Moor, Jose Mari (Carlos Alvarez, 73rd), Nick LaBrocca, Dillon Powers, Dillon Serna (Gabriel Torres, 73rd), Deshorn Brown, Vicente Sanchez.