RSL advances to playoffs with third-straight shutout

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Real Salt Lake tied the Vancouver Whitecaps 0-0 in a difficult game, giving the team a guaranteed second or third spot in the playoffs.

RSL’s placement now depends on the Seattle Sounders’ game against L.A. Galaxy.

If Seattle wins the match at L.A., RSL will play Seattle at home on Nov. 3 for the first leg and then travel to Seattle on Nov. 8 for the second leg. If the Sounders lose the game this weekend, then RSL will travel to Washington to play Seattle on Nov. 2 and host the second leg game on Nov.8 here at Rio Tinto Stadium.

The match against Seattle next week will be the second year in a row RSL has played the Sounders in the first round of the playoffs.

RSL defender Chris Wingert expressed his concern for the upcoming game.

“It’s going to be tough,” Wingert said. “It’s going to be a huge challenge for us to play Seattle, but we’re looking forward to it. I think no matter who we would have played in that first round, it would be tough.”

RSL midfielder Ned Grabavoy, who started after missing the last four games with a right quad strain, understands Seattle is one of the best.

“Their team has been towards the top part of the league during the past few years, so every game we play against them has been a big game,” Grabavoy said. “They’re a really good team, and maybe one of the best coached teams in the league. Sigi (Schmid, the Sounder’s coach,) is going to have those guys organized and ready without a question, but we need to be ready as well and go up there and be ready for anything.”

RSL started out strong against Vancouver, possessing the ball 69 percent of the time in the first half. The strong possession was not enough for the Salt Lake team to put in a goal and get a win.

It seemed as if the roles reversed in the second half as Vancouver began to take control of the game. There were a few attempts by the Whitecaps to execute a goal, but they were stopped by RSL’s second string goalkeeper Kyle Reynish. Nick Rimando, RSL’s main goal keeper, watched the game from the sidelines as he rested for the upcoming game against Seattle.

Saturday’s game was the sixth-straight sold-out crowd at Rio Tinto and its 11th overall this season. Coach Jason Kreis expressed his appreciation for the support from fans.

“We can never give (our fans) enough ‘thank-yous,’” Kreis said. “We truly do believe they are part of our family, and we hope in turn that we are part of their family. We think it’s a very symbiotic relationship.”

Kreis also gave a suggestion for RSL fans.

“We need our fans here early, they were here a little late tonight, we need them here early rooting us on for that first playoff game, so when that whistle blows we can get after it.”

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