SANDY, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Real Salt Lake fans wanted to thank Nick Rimando for an outstanding MLS career, and Rimando rewarded the fans with another shutout.
Rimando, who announced this would be his 20th and final MLS season, made five saves and recorded another shutout, extending his own MLS record to 145, as RSL beat Vancouver in its home opener at Rio Tinto Stadium, 1-0.
Albert Rusnak scored the game’s only goal on a penalty kick in the 21st minute. The goal was Rusnak’s second of the season.
Corey Baird was taken down in the box by Vancouver defender Jakub Newinski, resulting in the PK, which Rusnak buried in the top right corner of the net.
“Tough game,” Rusnak said “1-nil is a hard result to get, but there are a lot of positives to take from today. First and foremost in the three points, then the clean sheet, the way we defended.”
RSL made that 1-0 lead stand up thanks to an outstanding defensive effort. Vancouver’s best scoring chance came on a header by Doneil Henry in the 67th minute, which was stopped by Rimando.
Damir Kreilach had a chance to make it 2-0, but his shot hit the post in the 86th minute.
“A win is a win and it’s a great win,” said head coach Mike Petke. “The first half, I thought we were very good and very dangerous and in complete control of the game. In the second half, they came out looking to get come after us. We need to do a better job of killing the game off, but at the end of the day, we did that, and the 1-0 win is a great result.”
The Whitecaps put 5 of their 16 shots on frame, while RSL had 18 total shots, with 6 on target.
Real Salt Lake is now 1-0-1 on the year, and next plays at D.C. United on Saturday, March 16th.