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Espindola scores twice as Real Salt Lake blanks Rapids

Aug 30, 2008 - 5:41 AM SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) -- If Real Salt Lake is able to make the playoffs for the first time in team history, it will need to look no further than its success at Rice-Eccles Stadium for a reason why.

Fabian Espindola scored twice on Friday, leading Real Salt Lake to a 2-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids.

Goalkeeper Nick Rimando turned away two shots to post his eighth shutout of the season - and 51st career - for RSL.

Though RSL has the worst road record in MLS at 1-8-1, the club has been unbeatable at home, outscoring opponents, 20-7, in going 7-0-5 here. It is the league's only remaining team without a home loss.

"Maybe I'll just change everything up on the road and we'll do everything completely differently - including meals, when we train, everything," RSL coach Jason Kreis said. "I'm willing to try anything at this point."

The win moved second-place RSL (8-8-6) within two points of idle Houston (8-5-8) for first place in the Western Conference.

Espindola opened the scoring in the 23rd minute. Javier Morales passed into the box to Andy Williams, who executed a back-heeled pass to the Argentine forward for his fourth goal of the season.

In the 59th minute, Morales fed Espindola with a long lead pass on the right side of the goal. As Preston Burpo came out to confront the attack, Espindola chipped the ball over the goalkeeper's head and into the left side of the net.

"It's a fantastic pass by Javier Morales and a fantastic right-footed finish out of a guy (Espindola) that usually just stands on his right foot," Kreis said.

"Both goals were great finishes by Fabian," Morales said. "I was so glad to see that finish on the second goal."

The goal was Espindola's fifth in just seven starts for RSL after missing 10 games earlier this season with an MCL injury.

"It was spectacular," Kreis said of Espindola's performance. "It's been a long time coming and I know he's been so very, very frustrated with his injury situation because it's lasted a lot longer than he anticipated, or any of us anticipated."

Burpo recorded four saves for Colorado (7-12-3), which fell to 0-7-2 over its last nine road contests.

"Due to our lack of quality in possession, we allowed (Morales, Espindola and Williams) to express themselves a little bit more than they should have been allowed to," Rapids interim coach Gary Smith said.








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