By TATE STEINLAGE
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Real Salt Lake isn’t used to playing without Nick Rimando in goal, but they got a performance Saturday from Jeff Attinella that was anything but a drop off.
Attinella had to make eight saves and face a total of 20 shots from Sporting Kansas City to help his team earn an important 0-0 draw in front of 19,838 fans at Sporting Park.
The defending MLS Cup champions were unable to score on a barrage of chances, including a 63rd minute scrum inside the box that led to two saves — one by the post and another by defender Chris Schuler — or overcome a 83rd minute red card given to Oriol Rosell en route to a disappointing finish.
The result is Sporting KC’s second draw at home so far on the season, putting its record at 2-1-2. Real Salt Lake remain unbeaten and see its record move to 2-0-3.
The initial 45 minutes lived up to the week-long hype of a revenge-and-defend tale. Both teams came out and opened up the field with aggressive play that would lead to 12 total shots in the first half. Real Salt Lake set the match’s tone two minutes into the contest with forward Olmes Garcia firing a shot inches above the crossbar and Sporting KC goalkeeper Eric Kronberg after receiving a well-excuted pass from midfielder Javier Morales.
Sporting KC nearly responded with an opening goal of its own in the 11th minute. Defender Matt Besler found a wide-open Dom Dwyer on a long run, leaving the forward all alone to deal with Attinella. However, the back-up would do what he would do all evening: stonewall Sporting KC’s shots.
Real Salt Lake will take the road draw with them into next Saturday’s match in Philadelphia against the Union. Sporting KC have next weekend off before returning to action on April 19 at home against the Montreal Impact.
Watch highlights of the match below: