SANDY, Utah — Nick Rimando posted his 97th career shutout as he made Will Johnson's 48th minute goal stand up as Real Salt Lake beat D.C. United 1-0 Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium.
From the onset the action was lightning-quick. In fact, it was too much lightning that caused a delay.
In the fourth minute, Mother Nature took over. After a couple of too-close-for-comfort lighting strikes, the officials deemed it was too dangerous for the fans, staff and players and suspended play.
The two teams, heading back to the locker room for a 1-hour and 24-minute delay after only 3:15 of play.
But as soon as play resumed, the attack was on.
Both teams took several half chances in the early going, with Javier Morales going close for RSL and Chris Pontius returning the favor for D.C. inside the first 15 minutes.
The left post saved Chris Wingert and RSL in the 28th minute after a bad giveaway, as Dwayne De Rosario’s spectacular 30-yard effort was denied by the woodwork.
The action continued fast and furious with big gaps beginning to show in the shape of both sides. But neither team was able to capitalize as the squads entered the half scoreless.
The second half started just as quickly, and this time, Johnson found paydirt. In the 48th minute Ned Grabavoy played a nifty back-heel ball to Paulo Junior, whose cross was met by an on-rushing Johnson just ahead of United ‘keeper Bill Hamid.
United began pressing the attack following the goal and had a couple of chances to draw even. In the 54th minute Nick Rimando made a save on Pajoy shot inside the goal box, and stymied De Rosario 15 minutes later.
De Rosario had another chance at evening things with a free kick from 25 yards, missing just inches wide to the left.
In the 61st minute Kwame Watson-Siriboe appeared to give RSL an insurance goal, but it was called back for a foul on attacker Alvaro Saborio.
With United throwing everything into the attack, both sides continued to get chances. But Rimando was a wall at the back making saves and snatching or punching crosses out of the air.
Things got chippy in the heat of the action as cautions flew for both sides. Morales, Wingert, and Watson-Siriboe saw yellow for RSL, and Marcelo Saragosa, Emiliano Dudar and Chris Korb had them for D.C.
RSL (14-10-4, 46 points) provisionally reclaimed second place in the Western Conference with the result. They next travel to Houston to face the Dynamo on Thursday, Sept. 6.
D.C. (12-10-5, 41 points) who just finished a five-game in 14-day stretch, now sit fifth in the East and get a well-deserved break before playing the New England Revolution on September 15.
Lineups and boxscore (MLSsoccer.com)
Opta Chalkboard (MLSsoccer.com)