Real Salt Lake’s Season Ends Against Sounders In Western Semifinal
SEATTLE, Wash. – Real Salt Lake falls to Seattle Sounders and lost in the Western Conference Semifinals for the second consecutive year. RSL was outplayed by the Sounders who dominated the chances in front of the goal all night long. It was a disappointing end to what was a remarkable season for Real Salt Lake.
To make matters worse, Nick Rimando’s illustrious career as a player has come to an end after 369 games with Real Salt Lake. Thank you, Nick.
First Half Chances Favored The Home Team
The first chance of the game came in the seventh minute of the game when Seattle Sounders midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro beat Nick Rimando by curving the ball into the far post from 25 yards.
The Sounders had another good opportunity to score in the 12th minute when Raul Rudiaz’s header required a diving save by Rimando.
RSL dominated 63 percent of possession throughout the first 15 minutes, however, they were unable to create any dangerous chances.
Interim manager, Freddy Juarez, had hopes of forcing Seattle’s left-winger Jordan Morris to defend. When RSL maintained possession, Aaron Herrera would fly up the field and play more like a right midfielder. Jefferson Savarino would then push inside and Justen Glad would cover Herrera and play right back.
The game picked up a gear in the 27th minute when Nedum Onuoha received a yellow card for making a challenge on Jordan Morris. Onuoha came in and behind Morris to make the sliding challenge, much to the disdain of many Seattle players.
Seattle continued to pepper Nick Rimando’s goal. Joevin Jones hit a mean strike from 23 yards in which Rimando was able to make a routine save to his lower left side and maintain possession for RSL.
Jefferson Savarino had the first attempt on goal in the 37th minute for RSL. His shot from distance was deflected before it sailed just over the crossbar and out for a corner.
Deep into the first half, Seattle had thought they had scored after Nicolas Lodeiro found Raul Rudiaz who made a dangerous run into the box. Rudiaz flicked the ball towards goal with his right toe and Nick Rimando was able to make the save.
Despite Seattle dominating the majority of the chances in the first half, RSL went into the half time break all tied at 0-0.
Breakthrough For Seattle
The second half picked up in a similar fashion to how the first half ended. RSL was under the pump, and if it weren’t for the face of Nedum Onuoha they would have conceded the first goal of the game just two minutes into the second half.
Nick Rimando made yet another spectacular save in the 60th minute after he was able to push the ball over the crossbar from a set-piece in which Christian Roldan flicked the shot towards goal with his head.
The breakthrough for the Sounders came just four minutes later when Gustav Svensson found space at the near post and beat Nick Rimando with a glancing header, the goal came from a corner kick in which Nicolas Lodeiro was credited with the assist.
Immediately following the goal, RSL took a far more attacking stance. They had far more possession in Seattle’s half and looked to start creating chances.
Freddy Juarez also started to make his moves. Joao Plata, Sam Johnson, and Sebastian Saucedo were all brought off the bench in the hopes of getting the visitors back in the game. Unfortunately, their impact was minimal.
Raul Rudiaz made a run down the left wing in the 81st minute and found himself in acres of space. He then played a gentle ball to the feet of Nicolas Lodeiro who hit the ball first time and curved the shot passed the outstretched hands of Nick Rimando. 2-0 Seattle.
Frustration then boiled over for Everton Luiz who was shown red after a hideous challenge on Gustav Svensson. Luiz led with both feet and studs up. Seattle was furious with the challenge, and rightly so.
It is the second consecutive year in which RSL has fallen in the Western Conference Semifinals. Last year it was on aggregate to Sporting Kansas City.
There are many question marks that require answers for RSL this offseason, has Freddy Juarez done enough to take over the manager role full time? Who will replace Craig Waibel as General Manager who mutually departed the club a number of weeks ago? What does the future for the likes of Jefferson Savarino and Albert Rusnak look like? Both players have been linked with European clubs throughout the majority of this season.
Only time will tell.