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Attinella stellar in goal as RSL tie Sporting KC at Sporting Park

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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:


  1. I don’t follow RSL games but I catch their highlights…

    Knowing Omar Gonzalez bad play for both club and country, and I know he’s recovering from foot surgery but is a healthy Chris Shuler a possible solution for Klinnsman’s defense?

    • Schuler only just came off the injury list for RSL, his foot could re-break at any moment. I say this because since 2012, he’s been sidelined every season for some amount of time for his foot.

    • Yes, Schuler is a beast. If he can stay healthy, he is absolutely a contender for the USMNT. He was invited to January camp this year but had to have another surgery on his foot. When healthy, he is the best American CD. Late last year and in the playoffs he dominated for RSL. When healthy, he is a beast on headers, had good positioning and excels in distribution. Health is really the only concern. FYI, I believe he is 26 so he still has a few years and could be a 2018 candidate.

  2. Agree that the rsl keeper was superb. However the officiating in this match was another example of inconsistency and a rash of shocking calls. It made me line for the days of the replacement officials.

    • I actually thought Villarreal had a rather good game, considering this was one that had the potential to get out of control very easily.

      • I don’t know what game you watched then. He swallowed his whistle on a number of blatant calls against both teams. He missed a Collin takedown right in front of him and he was planning to book the rsl defender (forgot his name #28) for a second caution until he saw who it was and then swallowed his whistle. And the studs up tackle on bowler in the middle of the park was much more red worthy than the call on uri (where replays showed little to no contact). He was poor and inconsistent.

      • What minute are you referring to for Schuler (#28)? I’m going to rewatch the game today. But I agree, the ref was better than I’ve seen in other games, but he missed Borchers getting a second yellow, maybe just a red. From what I saw on Uri’s red, definitely a yellow and a good talking too. Sandoval jumped right up and continued playing.

      • May not have been number 28. It was the first player carded for rsl yesterday, early in the second half he had a challenge that the ref had his whistle ready to call and then pulled it out after seeing the player involved. Not likely something you would be able to see unless one was at the game.

      • Yeah, it’s at kick off of the second half, the ref let it play on then gives Schuler a talking to.

    • It was one of the better officiated games I’ve seen this year. Villarreal didn’t buy in to the players on each side whining or embellishing. Didn’t give in to the emotion of the players or fans. Just called each play as he saw it. Gave out cards on both sides when needed.

  3. Attinella is MoM in this one. We can thank Kreis for getting a great quality backup for rimando when he’s away with the NT. RSL will need attinella this summer during the WC.

    In a twisted way I wouldn’t mind if beckerman didn’t make the WC team so he can help RSL stay towards the top of the table. Let’s face it, all mls teams with NT players will suffer a drop in quality with their backups.


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