Keepie Uppie – Real Salt Lake Week 5

Nick Rimando
MLS Shut Out Record Holder

The Week That Was

For the first time in the new Avaya Stadium, Real Salt Lake came away with a 1-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes. In a match that saw the return of players from international duty, the newest name on the starting line up sheet was Jordan Allen, his first career start.

Rimando and the defense were tested early, and after a controversial call with Alvaro Saborio taken down in the 18th minute, the tone was set that this would be a physical match. In the 44th minute, RSL took the lead on Javier Morales’s second goal of the season. This was the 9th goal in 15 matches against San Jose for Morales. Both teams slugged it out back and forth, the 1-0 score held, and RSL earned the win and three points in the standings.

With the win, Real Salt Lake joins the New York Red Bulls as the only teams without a loss this season.

The Week Ahead

Up next, RSL will travel on the road for a match up against Sporting Kansas City. This will be the first between the two clubs since Sporting returned to the Western Conference. The most notable meeting between the two clubs came two years ago when they squared off against each other for the MLS Cup, which ended in a heart breaking loss for Real Salt Lake.

This will be a new look Sporting Kansas City team, following a fury of moves. The big names leaving have been Aurelien Collin (traded to Orlando City SC), CJ Sapong (traded to Philadelphia Union) and Sal Zizzo (sent to New York City FC via Expansion Draft). Sapong may be the big missing piece for this SKC team, as he was responsible for 20 goals in a three year span for them.

Sporting Kansas City started the year with a draw against the New York Red Bulls. After dropping a 3-1 beatdown to FC Dalls, they ended a match with the Portland Timbers in a draw, then went on to defeat New York City FC and Philadelphia Union. While a win is a win, and crucial for three points, they have struggled to start the season. This is a test for both RSL and Sporting Kansas City.

Sizing Up The West
Vancouver Whitecaps FC – 12 points (4-1-0)
FC Dallas – 10 points (3-1-1)
Real Salt Lake – 8 points (2-0-2)
Sporting Kansas City – 8 points (2-1-2)
Seattle Sounders FC – 7 points (2-1-1)
San Jose Earthquakes – 6 points (2-3-0)
Portland Timbers – 6 points (1-1-3)
LA Galaxy – 6 points (1-2-2)
Houston Dynamo – 5 points (1-2-2)
Colorado Rapids – 3 points (0-1-3)

Player Spotlight

Nick Rimando – Rimando is the All-Time Clean Sheet record holder in Major League Soccer. As much as we give Rimando credit for it all, he is still perceived very under appreciated.

With his last shut out, Rimando continued to add to his impressive totals for Real Salt Lake. Rimando registered his 99th RSL win. The club has a total of 122 wins. Rimando also registered his 71st clean sheet in an RSL uniform. The club total is 99.

Fun Fact of the Week

The 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the oldest ongoing competition in American soccer, features teams from all three tiers of men’s soccer plus teams from amateur leagues. By winning the Open Cup, the winner receives $250,000 and the runner-up gains $60,000. Also, the team from each lower division that advances the furthest receives $15,000.

This year, three teams will enter the tournament from the state of Utah. The BYU Cougars, playing in the Premier Development League, will start out in the 1st round of the tournament. BYU dominated the Collegiate Club Soccer Championships for a decade, winning national championships in 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2001 including an unprecedented run of 30 straight victories at the Club National Championships. This dominance has led to the program seeking higher quality competition in order to create a challenging environment where players can develop. Thus they left the collegiate level and joined the Premier Development League.

In the 2nd round, the USL teams join the mix with Real Monarchs entering the tournament after their 1st round bye. This will be their first appearance in the Open Cup.

In the 4th round, the MLS clubs enter the tournament. Real Salt Lake will be a favorite to win it. RSL has been in the tournament ever year since 2011, including being the runner ups in the 2013 edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.