Mike Terry, Deseret News
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.
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
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'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-
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 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-
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 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 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 was Real's spark in the early going, playing tough defense in the midfield and putting dangerous ball after dangerous ball into the Chivas box. He was also responsible for two of the three shots on goal recorded in the first half. Javi looked poised to turn this into an easy win until going out with a broken leg from a reckless challenge by fellow Argentine Marcos Mondaini in the 37th minute. Could be devastating for Real. Although his time was short, he's my man of the match. Grade: A
Brought in to replace the injured Javier Morales, Andy Williams was a step slow all game and lacked the leadership Real depends on from the crafty vet. Andy's been able to build momentum out of the gate better than off the bench so far this season. Might be one reason for his lackluster performance Saturday. Grade: B-
Somebody threw off Sabo's groove. He seemed to be on the comeback trail but stumbled Saturday with numerous missed scoring chances one expects from a striker of his stature, speed and skill. Expectations are still high for last season's newcomer of the year, but Saturday looked like a step in the wrong direction. Grade: B-
I have to admit, when he started the game, I was concerned about Fabian's mental state given how badly he took the CCL loss. But he was solid making great runs off the ball and two or three terrific displays of skill. Grade: B+
For the third game in a row, Arturo Alvarez forgot how brilliant he can be. You have to give him credit for taking the attack through the midfield when he had the chance, he certainly has the skill, but lacked the patience and confidence in his team to bring them in on the attack. Grade: C+
It took Warner quite a while to get into the game even though he had most of the second half to get it together. RSL could have used his skill Saturday to break down Chivas' young defensive line inside the box. However, it was his pinpoint cross that gave Johnson the scoring opportunity that meant the difference in the game. Grade: B
Chris Higbee is the Product Director for DeseretNews.com. He can be found @chigbee on Twitter.
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