RSL’s season and Nick Rimando’s career end in 2-0 playoff loss to Sounders at CenturyLink Field

Seattle Sounders and Real Salt Lake players, including RSL's Albert Rusnak (11) and Sounders' Roman Torres, third from right, scuffle during the first half of an MLS Western Conference semifinal playoff soccer match Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Seattle • This was not the ending Real Salt Lake envisioned, for itself or goalkeeper Nick Rimando, but it’s the one they’ll have to settle for.

Moments after Seattle Sounders captain Nicolás Lodeiro scored in the 81st minute and secured a 2-0 playoff victory for the home side, midfielder Everton Luiz made a slide tackle near the center circle that floored a Seattle player, immediately resulting in a scuffle at midfield. Luiz received a straight red card for the foul, and took his time leaving the field after engaging in some pushing and shoving with Sounders players.

As Luiz made his way to the locker room, he walked by the Seattle bench and had some words for the players there. The 37,722 fans at CenturyLink Field booed him as he passed the supporters section and avoided the giant flags being waved in his direction.

Interim coach Freddy Juarez said he did not need to have a conversation with Luiz about his behavior or his red card because he didn’t feel the sequence was a dirty play.

“He’s not a dirty player,” Juarez said of Luiz. “He added a lot to our team. … He’s a competitive guy.


• Real Salt Lake is eliminated from the MLS playoffs.

• Nick Rimando has seven saves in final MLS game of his career.

• Everton Luiz receives red card late in the game.

It was an ugly ending for for Real, concluding a season in which they finished third in the Western Conference and won a home playoff game in the first round. The loss also meant the end of Rimando’s illustrious 20-year career in MLS, 13 of which were spent with RSL. He notched seven saves in his final match.

“Obviously this is the end to my career,” Rimando said. “Maybe [I’ll] stay in the game somehow. But right now, it sucks.”

Salt Lake had difficulty creating chances for practically the entire 90-plus minutes of the match. Midfielder Albert Rusnák sounded disappointed in the team’s lack of offensive opportunities.

“It’s a shame that we didn’t really create 100 percent chance to score a goal,” Rusnák said, adding that the Sounders had at least six players back on defense when RSL would try to go forward.

An early shot attempt by the Sounders proved to be a bad omen for RSL. Lodeiro chipped a shot in the fifth minute of play. He aimed to the right of Rimando and almost beat him.

But Lodeiro’s attempt hit the post, causing the fans to groan in unison. That shot, however, was just the first of many opportunities the Sounders had before eventually securing the win Wednesday, eliminating RSL from the 2019 MLS Cup playoffs and sending Rimando into retirement.

Gustav Svensson provided Seattle’s first goal in the 64th minute, and Lodeiro scored in the 81st to seal the deal.

Salt Lake endured a rough first half, needing Rimando to make three impressive saves just to keep the Sounders scoreless. Although they kept more than 62% of the possession in that span, Real didn’t do much with it, only getting off one shot on target.

RSL’s best opportunity in the first 45 minutes came on a shot well outside the box by Damir Kreilach in the 11th minute. That was RSL’s lone shot on goal, and it was saved easily by Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei.

Meanwhile, Seattle amassed eight shots, three of which were on target.

RSL enters an uncertain offseason in which it needs to find a permanent coach and general manager. Juarez, however, could only speak about how proud he was of the team and how it showed growth this season.

“I’m proud of them,” Juarez said. “With [what] the group had to deal with this year, the respect they gave me to try to lead them. And we can’t forget that the team has grown from last year to this year. … We need to continue to grow and the goal is to learn off this and get better next year.”