Real Salt Lake report card vs. Chivas

By Chris Higbee

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, May 7 2011 9:00 p.m. MDT

RSL's Javier Morales is brought down by Columbus Crew midfielder Danny O'Rourke as Real Salt Lake host the Columbus Crew in MLS action at the Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy Saturday. Real won 2-0. Morales scored both goals.

Mike Terry, Deseret News

Enlarge photo»

Real came away with a 1-0 victory over Chivas USA at Rio Tinto Stadium Saturday afternoon. But the score doesn't tell the whole story. The Claret and Cobalt lost star midfielder Javier Morales most likely for the season when he went down in the 37th minute with two broken bones in his left leg and a dislocated ankle. To add insult to injury, Real still looked a bit shell shocked from its CCL loss a week ago. "We need to come out of this funk," said RSL head coach Jason Kreis. "And I don't think that performance showed that we are out of this funk."

The players grades may give you some indication of what he meant.

Nick Rimando

Tough to give Rimando anything but an A since Chivas never really challenged him with two men down fairly early on. He saved one shot on goal and ended the game with a clean sheet. Grade: A

Chris Wingert

Wingert might have been looking to shave away the doldrums of the past week with his newly shorn head but his play was still shaggy, lacking crispness and conviction. The second half proved better as he seemed energized by the challenge to avenge his fallen comrade with a win. Grade: B-

Nat Borchers

Nat's not usually considered the most athletic defender on RSL's backline but Saturday showed he's got more than enough chutzpah to hold off the likes of Alejandro Moreno and Chivas speedster (and Utah native) Justin Braun. Bochers is proving to be the glue that holds RSL's defense together. He played a massive role in holding Chivas to only one shot on goal in the first half before losing two men to red cards. Grade: A-

Jamison Olave

Off target passes and lackluster effort is not what you expect to see from the 2010 MLS defender of the year, but Olave wasn't what we're used to on Saturday. He used his terrific speed a couple of times to keep Chivas from getting a couple shots off, but once the game became more of an offensive struggle, he was caught ball watching instead of contributing. Grade: B-

Robbie Russell

Robbie Russell must have caught the same bug Olave had because though his play in the midfield was very good, his passing on the backline and poor spacing made Chivas look better on the front line than its really is. His play improved and by the time he was pulled he was back to form, so it was curious of Kreis to pull him so early in the second half. His crossing ability could have been valuable as Real tried to break the log jam in front of the Chivas goal. Grade: B-

Kyle Beckerman

Saturday was a blue collar day for Kyle Beckerman. He was adequate, but never showed the brilliance we sometimes expect from the gritty middie. That could have been because he was being asked to play more of an offensive role than he's used to. Grade: B

Ned Grabavoy

Ned seemed the only midfielder interested in challenging Chivas inside the box. He nearly sprung two goals on Chivas but alas, couldn't find the back of the net. Grade: B+

Will Johnson

Will Johnson played his typical hard-nosed defense but rushed his runs and passes in the box. Good thing he's a persistent sun-of-a-gun because it finally paid off in the 87th minute with the game's only goal off a Warner cross into the box. Grade: B+

Javier Morales

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