Real Salt Lake’s resident homeboy was again strong in goal against the tough attack of Monterrey even though he allowed two goals. The first goal appeared to be a ball played through the box with both Rimando and the defense out of position and the second goal was a penalty kick after an handball in the box. He made enough saves (4) to get the tie. Grade: A-
Russell was strong along the backline for RSL most of the night, but occasionally seemed to be chasing the offense of Monterrey and was out of position, along with most of the defense, on the first goal of the match. He still put in a full night of work, being subbed off in the 82nd minute for Tony Beltran, which was more likely a move to get fresh legs into the game than a reflection of his play. Grade: B
Olave was probably the among the strongest players on the field for Salt Lake, using his size and speed to close on attacking players throughout the match and helping to clear the ball seemingly every time he was needed. He did give up the penalty kick that lead to Monterrey’s second goal on an inadvertent handball, but his play dictated that he deserved to be better remembered for his defense rather than as the person who allowed the penalty kick. Grade: A-
Borchers was very active in his role in central defense as usual, and helped to control the back for RSL on numerous occasions. He pushed forward as well, scoring the first goal for the visitors in the 35th minute on a header that was perfectly placed past the keeper. His goal seemed to deflate Monterrey for the final portion of the first half, and he no doubt helped keep Monterrey from scoring more goals late in the game. Grade: A-
Wingert played well in his full 90 minutes tonight, and his workman-like performance seemed to have him all over the pitch. He regularly broke up the attack, and if he wasn’t in the proper position, he was always running to put pressure on the ball or getting in on the play. A couple times in the second half he went one-on-one and forced Monterrey to make decisions in the defensive third of the field. Grade: B+
Grabavoy got the start in the midfield for this match and held possession well for most of the game. He also made sure that he was helping back defensively and collapsing to the ball. He may have been getting tired during the run of play, and was the first substitute for RSL in the 61st minute. Grade: B
The dread-locked captain was his usual self in his role as the holding midfielder, helping trigger the attack and defend. A yellow card, which some fans may deem questionable, will cause Beckerman to miss the second leg at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, which might be the worst part about the result that was earned Wednesday. Grade: B-
The newly bald Johnson was back to his usual tricks after missing the previous match against Colorado due to a broken thumb. Playing the game in a cast, Johnson was all of the pitch with his incredible motor and was on marked when he sent a perfect cross into the box to assist on Borchers goal in the first half. Grade: B
The Argentine playmaker played like the MVP for Real Salt Lake for the entire 90 minutes of the match. He held possession for the visitors while drawing fouls, his precision passing was almost always accurate and took his place as an RSL legend with his gutsy move on the Monterrey defense before unleashing a shot that was placed perfectly out of reach of the diving keeper. The last-minute tally gave RSL the draw that it so desperately deserved. Grade: A+
Espindola again did all the “dirty work” that was described by RSL coach Jason Kreis after last week’s match against the Colorado Rapids. Although he didn’t score Wednesday, he applied pressure to the Monterrey backline for the entire first half and much of the second. While pressuring the goalie in the first half, he forced the corner kick that led to the first goal of the game. He is becoming the unsung hero up top for this team. Grade: A-
Saborio played much better than he did against Colorado, but his touch and finishing still seemed slightly off from the usual skill that RSL fans have grown accustomed to. He placed a perfect give-and-go pass from Espindola right to the goalie early in the match and had at least one shot that was off target. He may be struggling from his off-season knee surgery still, and was replaced in the 82nd minute after earning a yellow card for contact on the goalkeeper. Grade: B-
Bomma came on the pitch as the first sub for the visitors and was key in keeping possession for RSL. He earned a yellow card for a “professional” foul against the attacking Monterrey's Osorio in the 74th minute. All in all, it was a very well played 30 minutes for the RSL original. Grade: B+
Beltran replaced Russell in the 82nd minute and helped the defense prevent Monterrey from scoring their third goal, which would have been disastrous for Salt Lake. He was active during his limited time on the pitch and made enough plays to conserve the draw. Grade: B
Alvarez was the third and final substitute for RSL in the 82nd minute, entering for Saborio. He showed his hustle and determination during his short time on the field and was responsible for taking the ball from a defender before passing it to Morales at the top of the box for the game-tying goal. He may be earning some more time on the field after his last two appearances have helped the team claim last-minute results. Grade: B+
Landon Walters is a history and political science major currently studying at Salt Lake Community College and is an avid sports fan. He can be reached at email@example.com
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