Real Salt Lake-Colorado Rapids: Report Card

Published: Saturday, April 7 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Luis Gil was fire and ice in his attacking midfield position, using his speed and determination to play one of his best games on both sides of the ball this season. He picked up his first assist of the season when he placed a perfectly weighted ball forward to a streaking Fabian Espindola in the 54th minute for the Claret and Cobalt's second goal of the game. His yellow card in the 81st minute showed Gil's feisty side when he took a hand to the face from Drew Moor, and charged after him with fire in his eyes.

Grade: B+

Sebastian Velasquez played the best defense of the game, hands down, using pure hustle and determination to win joust after joust to keep Colorado from ever getting too comfortable in the midfield. His defense in the first half played a major role in holding Colorado to only two non-threatening shots on goal.

Grade: A-

Alvaro Saborio looks like he's back in form after being held out four of the first three games with an injury. He won a beautifully placed ball from Chris Wingert in the Colorado right corner and juked Colorado defender, Kosuke Kimura in the sixteenth minute to fire a difficult angle shot that turned out to be the second heater in so many shots at Matt Pickens, who once again parried it away. He scored the first goal of the night four minutes later in the 20th when he received a beautiful cross from Tony Beltran that required a deft touch to get it onto his right foot where he easily put it past Pickens outstretched left arm. His header in the 54th minute nearly found the net but ricocheted off the top bar, coming down just in front of Pickens. Alvaro still has work to do on his passing, particularly on the run, but with the season still in its beginnings there's reason to be optimistic that it will.

Grade: B+

Fabian Espindola had a brilliant opportunity to score in the 39th minute off a perfectly timed run down the left center of the field but he drifted to far left and rather than getting a better angle with his right foot, he used his favored left and ended up shanking it wide right. True to form this season, he threatened all night. His best opportunity came in the 51st minute when he took a touch too much on a great breakaway that amounted to a corner when it should have been a goal. He finally found the net when he slotted a Luis Gil assist through two defenders and an onrushing Matt Pickens in the 57th minute, his 3rd goal of the season. There's room for improvement still with Fabian's decision making - pass or shoot - and he could strengthen his right foot some, but his maturity and the fact that there is a never ending threat when he's on the field make him my Man of the Match.

Grade: A-

Jonny Steele is cut from the same metal as Ned Grabavoy it seems, showing very good ball control and the patient work rate that has been Grabavoy's hallmark. Some of his passing decisions could be better but all in all, he's a very good one-two punch at the right midfield position with Sebastian Velasquez.

Grade: B

Yordany Alvarez was subbed on for Luis Gil in the 82nd minute for defensive reasons. He held his own but played too few minutes to earn a grade.

Grade: Incomplete

Emiliano Bonfigli made his MLS debut in stoppage time, subbing on for Fabian Espindola only a minute or two before the whistle was blown.

Grade: Incomplete

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