VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Nick Rimando played out of his skin Saturday afternoon at BC Place as Real Salt Lake drew the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-1 in front of 19,216 fans.
In the end, it was only a converted penalty kick from Camilo in the 84th minute that brought the sides level as Rimando stood tall and thwarted chance after chance from the home side from open play.
"Rimando has been electrifying for us at the beginning of this year," RSL head coach Jason Kreis said. "Typically he takes a little longer to get going, but he's been amazing. (He's) kept us in multiple games now and given us a chance to pick up points, so hats off to him."
Rimando faced his first real test nine minutes in, as Lee Young-Pyo struck a ball well from the edge of the area only for the keeper to push the ball out of play. On the ensuing corner, Camilo headed the ball down and then pounced on the loose ball only for Rimando again deny the Whitecaps from close range.
The 33-year-old shot stopper would deny Camilo twice more before the first half was out, stopping a curling free kick destined for the top right corner with a strong hand in the 18th minute before dealing with a long range strike from the Brazilian in the 25th minute.
"We did OK," Rimando said of his side's performance. "We got a point on the road, a crucial point where we haven't had the best results on the road. To come here, it's a tough place to play, but I thought we stuck in there, and we're happy with the point. I thought the second half was much better than the first."
For a while it looked as if RSL could pull off the ultimate heist — despite attempting only four shots to Vancouver's 16 — when Olmes Garcia spectacularly curled the ball into the top right corner of Joe Cannon's goal from outside the edge of the area in the 65th minute.
Garcia then took off his shirt to reveal a picture of a woman named Alejandra, who passed away last year — she was a friend of his in Colombia who died of illness.
"When I started playing, my friend who was close to my heart," Garcia said of the woman on his shirt. "We had a really good friendship and unfortunately she died on Dec. 1 and that's why when I scored my first goal here I dedicated it to her."
For a while it looked as if Rimando's heroics and Garcia's cracking effort would give RSL a road win, but then a bizarre situation led to the equalizer, as Whitecaps rookie Kekuta Manneh crossed a ball into the area where it bounced off Tony Beltran and back toward Nat Borchers, who slipped and handled the ball.
Referee Drew Fischer then awarded the penalty, which Camilo converted for the equalizer. There was some controversy, though, as to whether the referee made the correct decision because the handball by Borchers wasn't deliberate.
"The handball, I don't know; it's questionable," Rimando said. "Sometimes the ref will call it, sometimes they won't, but it's not intentional so you can go back and forth with that. I thought we played a good defense, we were organized. Garcia had a fantastic goal, and it would have felt good to get three points but we're OK with one."
While seemingly happy to leave Vancouver with a point, Real Salt Lake was disappointed to lose midfielder Kyle Beckerman, who left the match half in the second half due to a rib injury.
"Kyle had picked up an injury on Thursday," Kreis said, before suggesting he made a mistake in selecting the midfielder to play. "The head coach made an error. He probably should have taken a smarter approach and not played him because it cost us a substitution."
RSL, now 2-3-2, is back in action on Saturday against Chivas USA at Rio Tinto Stadium.
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