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Seattle • After the final whistle sounded, Clint Dempsey unwrapped his shin guards, dropped them on the turf inside CenturyLink Field and made the slow walk toward the man who kept him out of the back of the net.

Dempsey tapped Nick Rimando on shoulder, shook his hand, wrapped him in a big hug and exchanged some words with his U.S. men's national team roommate.

The Seattle Sounders star then tugged at his rave green jersey, Rimando did the same, and the two exchanged jerseys before sharing another hug and walking their separate ways. Real Salt Lake's star goalkeeper eventually sauntered toward the tunnel, having done everything he could to keep RSL in a match it eventually lost 1-0 Saturday afternoon.

"It's why he's the best in history, for me," RSL coach Mike Petke said.

Not only did Rimando deny Dempsey from doubling Seattle's 1-0 lead in the 55th minute, he also had five saves that kept the high-octane Sounders at bay for much of the day. If not for Harry Shipp's 42nd-minute goal that deflected off RSL rookie right back Reagan Dunk, RSL's defensive-approach would've paid off.

The 22nd career penalty kick save — another tally on another Rimando MLS record — brought to life an RSL group that was on its back foot for most of the day. The final 35 minutes included a five shots on target, opposed to the zero in the first half.

"It doesn't matter who it is, we're going out there to win and get three points," Rimando said. "My job is to try to make that stop, and luckily I did. Unfortunate we weren't able to capitalize and tie the game up and get a goal in the second half. Doesn't matter who it is, it's my job to save it. Nothing to do with being roommates."

Petke deployed RSL in a 4-4-2 formation for the first time this season, with the hopes of keeping Seattle's dynamic combination of left back Joevin Jones and attacking midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro in check. For 41 minutes, it worked.

Thanks to timely clearances, whiffed chances by the Sounders and four Rimando saves, RSL's bunkering worked. Then Shipp found himself wide open on a Seattle corner kick that he eventually fired into traffic.

"We knew we weren't going to have much of the ball in the first half," Petke said, "and we were OK with that."

Rimando said he was trying to tell referee Kevin Stott that Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan had a bloody nose. Roldan eventually returned to the game with a backup jersey that featured no name plate or number.

"He let him stay on the field, of course the ball bounces around and they score off that," Rimando said. "Unlucky."

Forwards Joao Plata and Jefferson Savarino forced three-second half saves as RSL pushed for an equalizer that never came. Instead, RSL lost its seventh-straight game in Seattle, and the winless streak on artificial turf extends to 19 straight games (0-14-5).

"Seemed like with some of those chances, just a stiff wind would've blown the [ball] in," Petke said. "Listen, I told the guys after the game, and they understand it and I think they agree, this was not a loss tonight. We made so many strides in what we want to do, who we want to be in this one game alone and I'm proud of them."

RSL has lost a bit of the glow it earned Wednesday's 2-1 win over New York City FC. The club has lost five of its past six outings, but will be thinking about the missed opportunities in being shutout for the fourth time in five games.

"I thought we did some really good stuff and had them on the ropes," RSL captain Kyle Beckerman said, "but when you have a team on the ropes, you've got to score to change the game. Just weren't able to do it today."

Twitter: @chriskamrani —


R RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando makes 22nd career PK save in loss.

• RSL has lost seven straight matches at CenturyLink Field.

• RSL returns home to face Philadelphia on May 27 at 6 p.m.