SEATTLE–Real Salt Lake’s Nick Rimando and Seattle’s Michael Gspurning were the featured stars in this first round playoff matchup between two of MLS’ stingiest sides. It was poetic justice the two teams played to a scoreless draw.
The bruised, battered and bloodied Rimando made four highlight reel stops in one of his best performances ever. The RSL keeper was credited with five saves. Gspurning held his own and kept the visitors off the scoreboard with several acrobatic stops on his way to four saves.
Man of the Match: Nick Rimando
The veteran keeper was humble in his post-game interview with the media. Rimando credited the team for their efforts in keeping Seattle scoreless in the first leg of their playoff encounter.
Follow this link to see and hear Rimando’s comments.
Other perspectives on Rimando’s performance:
“I think it will have to go down as one of the single best individual performances by any player that’s ever worn an RSL jersey.”–Jason Kreis, RSL head coach
“It’s just pretty unreal. Both of those corner kicks in a row I’m on the post so I have the best view of anybody and I see the ball come in and I see that their guy is going to win it no question. He goes ahead and I think it is a goal all the way. The first one he just tips right over the crossbar. The second one was another split second reaction. Nick’s a battler and there is no question that he is the best goalkeeper in the league in my eyes. He’s a pure shot stopper and just a guy that’s won everywhere he’s been. I can’t say enough about Nicky, he’s the man of the match tonight.”–Ned Grabavoy, RSL midfielder
“Yeah, I don’t like it when goalkeepers get hot against us. I know Nicky (Rimando) fairly well and he’s a good goalkeeper. He’s courageous and his reactions are good. The one save he made against Sammy (Ochoa), he actually parries the ball off the crossbar and over the goal. If he doesn’t get quite a hand on it, three inches lower, it hits the bottom of the crossbar and goes in. He played well, he had a good performance.”–Sigi Schmid, Sounders FC head coach
“He had a great game and awesome saves. I looked afterwards at his face and he looked a little damaged. So all the best to him that he recovers 100-percent, he was one reason we didn’t score today.”–Michael Gspurning, Sounders FC keeper
Rimando’s injury and impact on the game
“They crossed the ball in, and it was just a split second reaction where I had to kick it out, the guy was coming in to attack it, and Nick was coming out to defend it I couldn’t really see, but he has a nice little gash on his eye.”–Kyle Beckerman, RSL midfielder
“After the injury to Rimando, which killed a lot of clock, obviously, but it really killed the momentum a little bit. I think it took us a while to get back into the flow after that. I thought prior that we were really all over them. Nobody wants anyone to get injured, but for them it was very timely injury because it helped slow the game down and kill some momentum.”–Sigi Schmid
“We thought he was going to have to come out. We thought it was going to be a laceration that they couldn’t get the blood stopped, and if that’s the case, then he has to come out. They did a good job getting the blood stopped and Nick continued on with a real brave effort.”–Jason Kreis
Seattle’s inability to score against RSL
“When you’re creating chances, that’s the object of the game at the end of the day. Obviously, finishing that is the quality. Could Eddie Johnson have made a difference? Possibly…I’d be more concerned if we weren’t creating chances. I think there’s times where we have to do a better job in terms of moving their center backs. We talked about that at halftime and that’s something we’ll work on this week.”–Sigi Schmid
“Before the game I talked to your colleagues and told them we don’t have much space in this kind of game. Two similar teams with similar kind of players and it’s tough to play each other with two tough teams in the league…Today, we came out with good mentality and good character and it’s something we have to keep.”–Mauro Rosales, Sounders FC midfielder
They said it:
“These playoff games are about whoever puts it away and to see who’s going to go through. We just got to hope next we finish our chances because we might just have one and that one might be the difference.”–Sammy Ochoa, Sounders FC forward
“We left everything out on the pitch today and we fought and played good the only thing we didn’t do was score goals. We have to go and take a win on the road and it’s tough with them being the favorite but we aren’t afraid to go there and see what’s going on.”–Michael Gspurning
“We got a result we wanted. We kept it zero and going back to our home turf and I think it is going to be another difficult game. Nothing is over by any means and I think Thursday is going to be another test for us for 90 minutes maybe plus.”–Ned Grabavoy
“I think I start with praising my team for an unbelievable effort they put forth tonight, and showing just a real desire to be committed and to stay together. It’s fantastic, and we had a lot of individual performances that were incredible, but I think I walk away feeling so proud of my team because they defined the word ‘together’ for me tonight.”–Jason Kreis
Sources: Sounders FC media communications and personally-conducted interviews
John Zielonka has been reporting on the Sounders since they joined MLS.