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Real Salt Lake: Rookie defender Justin Schmidt holds his own in first start

Published March 11, 2017 4:25 pm

In focus • In first start, defender helps limit Chicago to 6 shots.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Bridgeview, Ill. • If there was anyone who performed well for RSL in its first loss, it was rookie Justin Schmidt. He made his first career MLS appearance in starting alongside David Horst because of the club's injury-plagued situation at center back.

"I think they did well with the elements, being paired for the first time in a really meaningful game," goalkeeper Nick Rimando said.

There were no noticeable mistakes for Schmidt in replacing Chris Shuler. A dangerous Chicago attack totaled six shots in a 2-0 win.

"I think the guys gained a lot of respect for him," Horst said. "It's not easy to step in as a rookie, especially last minute like that.

In the locker room after the game, Horst said the club isn't too concerned yet about not breaking through with a goal, even with just one shot on target on 12 attempts, and with Yura Movsisyan failing to get any on frame. Last weekend, RSL had three of 17 attempts on target in a draw with Toronto FC.

"Our guys know how to score. Yura's a proven scorer," Horst said. "These guys are all proven scorers and when it comes, it's going to come in bunches."

And although RSL played in windy conditions last week at home and frigid ones this time, that had nothing to do with the lack of productivity.

"There is no such thing to be looking at weather or the field or that we were on the road," midfielder Albert Rusnak said. "Those things are just excuses, we were not good enough today."

Rusnak enjoyed a brief postgame chat with Chicago defender Johan Kapelhof. Rusnak, Kappelhof and Fire striker Michael de Leeuw all played together in The Netherlands with FC Groningen.

"It was gonna happen, whether it was at the start or at the end," Rusnak sad. "I knew they were here."




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