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RSL jumps ahead early, hangs on for 1-0 win over Vancouver in home opener

By Paul Swenson, | Posted - Mar. 9, 2019 at 8:41 p.m.

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SANDY — Real Salt Lake continued their history of home dominance by earning their first win of the season against Vancouver Saturday.

An Albert Rusnak penalty kick proved to be the difference as Nick Rimando and the RSL defense held true to earn the full three points at home. Rusnak scored his second goal in as many games this season after Corey Baird was taken down inside the box by Whitecap defender Jake Nerwinski.

The RSL defense buckled down for much of the game after Rusnak’s penalty kick put them on the board in the 21st minute. Vancouver put pressure on the home team after falling behind 1-0, but weren't able to capitalize as RSL took a one-goal lead into the break.

The Whitecaps continued pressing in the second half, but Rimando and the RSL defenders stayed true.

Rimando, who announced a week ago he will be retiring after this season, finished the game with five saves in his 145th career shutout.

RSL head coach Mike Petke said he was pleased with the way his team played on the defensive side of the field in the shutout win.

“From a defensive standpoint, it was just a good performance,” Petke said. “Defensively we were extremely sound.”

Sam Johnson came off the bench for RSL in the second half, providing energy on the offensive end for the final 25 minutes of the match.

“Sam’s got quality,” Petke said of his forward. “He’s somebody I know is going to play a big role for us … I’m excited about having Sam here.”

RSL will hit the road again for their next two matches of the season. The Claret and Cobalt will take on DC United next Saturday and LAFC in two weeks.

Paul Swenson

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