Sandy — A battle between two top teams in the Eastern and Western conferences turned into a beat down Saturday, Aug. 9, at Rio Tinto Stadium as Real Salt Lake (10-4-9) beat D.C. United (11-7-4) 3-0.
RSL scored three goals in the first 24 minutes to bury D.C. United early.
RSL forward Olmes Garcia set up the team’s first goal off a hustle play as he saved the ball on end line before it deflected off a D.C. defender. Luke Mulholland trapped the deflected ball and crossed it to an open Joao Plata, who headed it into the back of the net. It is Plata’s 10th goal of the season; he leads the team.
Head Coach Jeff Cassar praised RSL’s relentless attacking play tonight.
“I felt like things were going good right from the get-go. Right from the first whistle, we kept applied pressure and kept it on,” Cassar said. “We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy game, but we didn’t want to let [D.C. United] gain any confidence. We wanted to keep our foot on the gas.”
Lighting struck twice two minutes later when midfielder Javier Morales passed the ball between a D.C. defender’s legs. Chris Schuler broke through heavy traffic and got his right foot on the ball to bury it in the back of the net.
Morales and Schuler connected again 10 minutes later. Morales’s second assist was equally impressive as his first. His perfectly placed corner kick sailed in the middle of the box. Schuler rose up between two defenders and whipped a header into the bottom corner of the net.
Schuler remained focused on the overall team effort after scoring his first pair of goals this season. He said tonight’s game felt good because the team controlled all 90 minutes of the game.
“It feels pretty good when you can go up early in the game and we’re able to control it for the entire game since we got those big goals early,” Schuler said. “It shows that we’re playing consistent.”
Nick Rimando earned his 113th career shutout, highlighted by two saves in 15 seconds at the 70th minute. Rimando now holds the Major League Soccer record for most shutouts in league history.
Rimando’s response to the career achievement was full thanks and gratitude.
“First of all, I don’t think that any shutout is just for myself. I might have my name on the shutout, but it’s a committed effort from the team. This is not only my record,” Rimando said. “My name is on it, but there are a lot of guys that should be getting credit for this too. Nat Borchers, Eddie Pope, Ryan Nelson, Chris Schuler, Tony Beltran, there are a lot of players. Man, I’ve been around a long time. But there are a lot of people that need to get credit for the record that I achieved tonight.”
The Rimando shutout and RSL win give the team sole possession of first place in the Western Conference.
Real Salt Lake plays an International friendly against Tijuana Aug. 12 at Rio Tinto Stadium before welcoming Clint Dempsey and the Western Conference leading Seattle Timbers Aug.16 at 12:30 p.m.