SANDY, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – In the first ever meeting between the two teams, Real Salt Lake and Nashville FC played to a scoreless draw in front of 10,555 fans at Rio Tinto Stadium Saturday night.
David Ochoa made three saves for his first career MLS shutout. But the RSL offense was not able to generate a single shot on frame, and was shut out for the first time this season.
“It’s great for the team,” head coach Freddy Juarez said about the clean sheet. “We knew that we were playing against a team that was really stingy and good at what they do. I thought we created some chances and I thought we were also pretty good defensively.”
In the first half neither team was able to register a shot on target to test either goalkeeper. Anchored by the centerback pairing of Erik Holt and Justen Glad, RSL held Nashville SC at bay while maintaining nearly 60 percent of the possession to bring the teams into the break scoreless.
The second half of the match saw each team press to break the deadlock as the match opened up. Nashville SC forward Randall Leal registered the first shot on target in the 69th minute when his low shot from just inside the right corner of the penalty area was smothered by Ochoa. Perhaps the best chance of the night came in second half stoppage time when Maikel Chang’s cross found Holt at the back post, but his header skipped just wide of the frame as the match ended scoreless.
“It feels really good to get my first clean sheet,” Ochoa said. “That is what we want to do. It feels really good and especially because of all the work we put in preseason and training every week. We try to emphasize our defensive block, and to be nice and really sharp back there. It feels really good to get the clean sheet and hopefully it is the first of many.”
“It’s not an easy team to deal with, because of all that service into the box and the big bodies that they throw at you,” said Juarez. “I’m more than pleased with the guys. We’ll keep building on this good shutout. There was a lot of sacrifice from the guys. We had an opportunity in the last second to get the win.”
Real Salt Lake (2-1-1) next plays at FC Dallas Saturday, May 22nd at 6:00 p.m.
“It’s a whole lot better than going there in August,” Juarez said. “It’s a good team. They’re more possession oriented so it’s a different team than this team as far as play styles go. We’ll get ready. We’ll enjoy the day off tomorrow and get back on Monday. It’s a long season, and we continue to build. I thought it was a good effort defensively today, and we got the shut out. We grinded it out together and we have to keep that same mentality.”