Sandy • Real Salt Lake saw a chance at victory evaporate a week ago in Vancouver when defender Nat Borchers slipped on the turf and accidentally touched a bouncing ball. The Whitecaps buried the late penalty kick to force a 1-1 draw.
And on Saturday night, once again, a handball call seemed poised to doom RSL.
Midfielder Ned Grabavoy's hand made contact with the ball in the 35th minute, setting up a chance for Chivas USA to break a first-half stalemate.
But while a foursome of Chivas players discussed the penalty kick, RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando waited.
"The last game, they finish it and you're kind of thinking to yourself, 'Nick is going to save one out of every couple,' " Grabavoy said after Saturday's win over Chivas USA.
"Obviously at that point [when the penalty is awarded], you're not feeling too great about things. But knowing he's in there, you know you have a pretty decent shot. He hasn't saved the last couple, so you know he's due."
When Chivas midfielder Edgar Mejia stepped up to the spot, Rimando was ready. The keeper stretched and dived to his left, blocking Mejia's shot.
"I kept on second-guessing myself with PKs leading up to this one today, and I just stuck to my guns and really committed myself to going left," Rimando said. "He kind of opened up early, and I was there for the save."
RSL coach Jason Kreis called it an "incredible moment" that prevented a huge swing in momentum.
"Everybody that's been around us and been around Nick knows he's quite capable of that," Kreis said.
It was the 18th penalty kick save of Rimando's career, adding to the Major League Soccer record he already held. Opposing takers are 41 for 59 against him.