Soccer • For third time in five years, team suffers a devastating shutout at Rio Tinto.
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Sandy • That all-too-familiar feeling hovered over Rio Tinto Stadium.
And it set in when the whistle blew final.
The tournament final bugaboo. It was back.
Rewinding in time to 2008 when the New York Red Bulls came to Rio Tinto Stadium and topped RSL in the Eastern Conference Finals 1-0, to Monterrey shutting out RSL 1-0 in the 2011 CONCACAF Champions League final, to Tuesday night in Sandy at home again in the final of the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, RSL couldn't cross the line.
Another loss. At home. No goals. So many chances.
On the heels of their 1-0 loss to D.C. United, the worst team in MLS this season, the final scoreless streak added up to be 270 minutes.
And, like the previous finals, the shutouts came in the most dramatic fashion. Crossbars pinged, loose balls cleared, no goals.
"You're just left searching for answers a little bit," said midfielder Ned Grabavoy. "You can't find the words."
In the 2008 final, in which RSL was 90 minutes away from advancing to the MLS Cup, they hit the crossbar often, and were so nearly close to equalizing. Javier Morales hit the post in extra time.
In 2011 against Monterrey, to be crowned the top club team on the North American continent, RSL created more chances, but fell.
On Tuesday night, the chances were there. RSL created chaos in the box as it pushed for an equalizer.
Midfielder Sebastian Velasquez struck the crossbar in the 59th minute on a left-footed shot from distance.
Forward Alvaro Saborio's stoppage-time header hit the post.
"You scratch your head," said RSL coach Jason Kreis. "We did everything necessary to get to the point where we should have goal-scoring chances and we just seem like every single time … it just wasn't going to happen."
For the third time in five years, Rio Tinto was left deflated, no goal by the home side, and another team celebrating a storied accomplishment in Sandy.
"You can have so many chances … it just has to go in," Velasquez said. "It has to touch the net."