Harris’ early goal holds up, Rapids beat RSL 1-0

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COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (AP)—Goalkeeper Clint Irwin’s hunch helped the Colorado Rapids win their first game of the season.

Irwin guessed right as he stopped a first-half penalty kick and Atiba Harris’ goal in the fifth minute held up as the Rapids beat Real Salt Lake 1-0 on Saturday night.

Goalkeeper coach Chris Sharpe gave Irwin a scouting report and when Alvaro Saborio was awarded the penalty kick, Irwin decided to spring to his left.

“I had a pretty good idea of what Saborio was going to do and how he takes his penalties,” said Irwin, whose team improves to 1-3-2. “I think the fans can see that we’re trying hard, we’re really pushing, trying to put something good together. It finally came together tonight.”

Before Saturday, Saborio was automatic on penalty kicks for Real Salt Lake.

“It’s football. It happens,” he said of his miss. “It was a good save (from Irwin) and we missed a chance to tie the game.”

Edson Buddle set up the only score by sneaking a pass between defenders in the penalty box and straight to a wide-open Harris, who booted it in with his left foot.

Harris dedicated the goal to his new daughter, Keriana, who was born March 26.

“It’s always a blessing to bring a new life into this life, so I decided to honor her,” said Harris, whose team tied 1-1 with RSL on March 16 in Utah. “Whenever we play Salt Lake, we have to win. There is no doubt about it. We’re at home, we need three points, it’s against our rival and we have to win for the city—for the whole state.”

Real Salt Lake (2-3-1) couldn’t overcome the early goal as the team lost for the second time in three contests.

“We did a lot of talking about starting really well, and we didn’t get it accomplished, obviously,” RSL coach Jason Kreis said.

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