Seattle Sounders 2 – 0 Real Salt Lake

Seattle Sounders hosted Real Salt Lake in CenturyLink Field for the faceoff between top flight teams of the MLS Western Conference, with hosts and guests coming into this playoff match as second and third seed respectively.

Its’ been a while since Seattle and Salt Lake met in the playoffs, going head-to-head on a playoff spot in 2011 (with Real advancing), and 2012 (with Sounders advancing this time around). Real Salt Lake won four, out of the five previous games against Seattle Sounders, last being a 3-0 home win.

Still, Seattle has a tradition of reaching the playoffs every season since the club has joined the MLS, and a newly-formed tradition of reaching the Western Conference Finals (this will be the Sounders’ third time in the last four years). So the Sounders came to this match knowing exactly what they had to do, and boy did they do it right in this conference semi-final game.

Still, there was notably one visitor who didn’t go down without a fight: RSL’s goalkeeper Nick Rimando, who marked his last career-game after 17 years in the MLS (4 in D.C. United and the last 12 in Real Salt Lake). Rimando managed to keep his team alive for just over the first hour of the match, constantly battling the Sounders’ pounding and making seven saves in his farewell game.

Nick Rimando RSL

Nick Rimando: Classy farewell after 17 years in MLS; Photo Credit: RSL Twitter 

But eventually Seattle managed to find Rimando’s net, when Sounders’ Gustav Svensson scored a header from near the post, off Nicolas Lodeiro’s corner kick (64’). Lodeiro went on to score his own goal, adding a late insurance goal and doubling the hosts’ lead (81’).

Not everyone in RSL carried themselves with dignity and style like Nick Rimando. Real’s midfielder Everton Luiz let frustration get the better of him, and was shown a red card and sent off for a serious, two-footed foul on Gustav Svensson.

Seattle will next travel to LA to face LAFC for the Western Conference Finals on Wednesday, October 30th.