SANDY — Although Real Salt Lake might have only walked away with a point Sunday, it sure got a surprise.
Nick Rimando was welcomed back and plugged into the starting lineup, making his way home from the Netherlands where he was on-call with the U.S. National team.
“It was always just up in the air. Maybe I was going to come back, maybe I wasn’t going to come back, but the opportunity came and I was able to come back and happy to be able to contribute,” Rimando said following the shutout. “When I landed, it was, Give me a call, let me see how you feel, how’s the body holding up, and my body felt well. I wanted to play, and we made the decision from there.”
RSL coach Jeff Cassar hardly seemed surprised by Rimando’s return, and mentioned the club tried to get Kyle Beckerman back but to no avail.
“Nick was supposed to be here the whole time. We had been communicating with U.S. Soccer trying to get both of them back,” lamented Cassar. “We knew Nick was coming back the whole entire time and it was still up in the air if Kyle was going to come back. But they have a few players that have some injuries on the national team, so they couldn’t afford to let Kyle go.”
OLAVE EXITS EARLY: Defensive anchor Jamison Olave was forced to exit Sunday’s Rocky Mountain tilt against the Rapids within the first ten minutes of the match.
“I believe Jamison either strained his quad or his hip flexor, something in there. So, we’ll have to tackle that,” Cassar said.
Coming on as a seventh-minute substitution for Olave was Aaron Maund, who ended up on the wrong side of the referee’s decision to award the Rapids a penalty kick late in the match.
Maund was late to challenge Colorado’s Luis Solignac, whose second touch in the box kept the ball just out of reach of a sliding Maund.
Luckily for Maund, PK taker Dillon Powers whiffed the opportunity, sending the ball wide right.
HOMESTAND BEGINS: With somewhat of a two-week break upcoming for Real Salt Lake, the lads in Claret and Cobalt nearly delivered in a 0-0 finish Sunday afternoon.
It was a critical three points on the line at home for RSL, who wanted to start on the positive side of hosting six of its next eight games at Rio Tinto Stadium.
“First of all we’ll deal with some injuries. Hopefully Jamison is okay and some other lingering things other guys have,” said RSL defender Tony Beltran. “Then once we come back we will have a one-week practice before this next big game, and so we use that as an opportunity to regroup and again go to the drawing board and work at getting better.”
An RSL win Sunday would have been the 13th all-time over its Rocky Mountain rival — the most wins for RSL versus all MLS clubs. The 12 wins versus the Rapids currently is tied for the most along with now disbanded Chivas.
UP NEXT: The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is next for RSL, with most of the first team unavailable due to international duties.
Alvaro Saborio, Beckerman and Rimando are just three of the nine players Cassar will possibly be without until a June 21 regular-season match at home versus Sporting KC.
RSL will host a fourth-round match in the Open Cup June 16 when USL side Seattle Sounders FC 2 journey to the Beehive State.
RSL were eliminated in its first game in the tournament in 2014, just one year removed from hosting and eventually losing the 100th Open Cup final 0-1 to DC United.
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