Backup goaltender Kyle Reynish made two key saves to help Real Salt Lake tie the Chicago Fire 0-0 on Wednesday night.
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With a point for the tie, Salt Lake (7-3-2) took the Western Conference lead – a point ahead of San Jose and Seattle. Salt Lake is 2-0-2 in its last four matches.
Reynish, seeing his first action of the season, started with regular keeper Nick Rimando sidelined by a right shoulder injury. Reynish made a difficult save on Dominic Oduro in the sixth minute, and ranged to his left to stop Marco Pappa’s hard 16-yarder with 5 minutes remaining in regulation time.
Rimando is expected back Saturday against Seattle.
Sean Johnson picked up his first shutout of the season for Chicago (3-2-3).
Paulo Junior had Salt Lake’s best opportunity to score. Johnson stopped his 17-yard shot 20 seconds into the second half, the most difficult of his three saves. Before and after that, the Fire defense marked Real closely, especially with defender Austin Berry’s coverage of forward Alvaro Saborio. Saborio, Real’s leading scorer with four goals in the first 11 matches, was held to one shot.
The Fire controlled the scoreless first half. Reynish watched Oduro’s header carom off the crossbar 3 minutes before stopping him from close range. Chicago also pressed late in the first half, with midfiender Sebastian Grazzini’s shot from 15 yards out in the 40th minute deflecting wide before it reached the goal.
Salt Lake lost midfielder Javier Morales with a right quadriceps strain 28 minutes into the game. Morales was replaced by Luis Gil.