Real Salt Lake started their campaign for the Rocky Mountain Cup with 3 points after a strong performance at Rio Tinto Stadium. Improvements can be made by RSL, but they were able to lock in a win and give Nick Rimando the first clean sheet of the season.
Midfield possession concerns
RSL had trouble in tonight's match to keep possession into the midfield third. There was no fluidity to the game and it felt choppy and disconnected at times. RSL was able to create good defensive pressure and have a good defensive line to get a lot of offsides called against the Rapids. The goal by Plata was a perfect a example of why he is MLS's best player. His positioning when the ball is floated to him and how he was able to split the center backs and to fight through the challenge to tap in the goal after the goalie made a career changing mistake, was perfection. There were moments of individual brilliance like in the 21st minute when Burrito Martinez took on three Rapid defenders and was able to get the ball to Yura and have a clear chance for a goal. To the final shot, RSL keep trying to get the elusive 2nd goal. While this game was closer than we, as fans, would have liked, RSL came out on top at the RioT.
The biggest thing that happened in tonight's game was the PHENOMENAL saves by the greatest goal keeper in MLS history, The Wall of the Wasatch, Nick Rimando. He was able to keep his first shut out of the season. He did have help from break out stud, Justen Glad and the ever-improving Aaron Maund. In the 43rd minute we saw the best save in MLS this weekend from Maund saving the clean sheet by making a save off the goal line with his head. Rimando had many saves that solidified his legacy as the greatest MLS goalkeeper ever.
Real Salt Lake is a force to reckon with and they are starting to take over the league game by game and goal by goal. This next week, RSL will keep the momentum going to take on the Whitecaps in the ever emerging RioT.
The officiating in this game was not just frustrating to watch but was hard to take the officiating seriously. The inconsistency of the calls on the field were hard to comprehend. The no calls in the 14th and the 16th minute for fouls on Yura and Mulholland were hard to swallow because they were right in front of the referee. He was not calling ticky-tack fouls for RSL but when they made the exact same fouls, they were reprimanded. The last, and worst, call by the officiating team was the offsides called on Yura Movsisyan in the 84th minute that would have given RSL the 2-0 lead over the Rapids.