Real Salt Lake vs. Colorado Rapids report card

Published: Saturday, March 16 2013 8:55 p.m. MDT

Real's Alvaro Saborio (15) is hugged by teammates Luis Gil, left, and Joao Plata, right, after scoring as Real Salt Lake and the Colorado Rapids play to a 1-1 tie in the home opening game of the MLS soccer season Saturday in Sandy.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

Real Salt Lake came out confident before a packed Rio Tinto Stadium of 20,370 screaming fans on a beautiful day for their home opener. Everything looked to be going Real Salt Lake's way. Colorado's veteran goalie Matt Pickens went out early with a broken forearm, and the boys in Claret and Cobalt had an untested rookie in Clint Irwin to pelt with shots. But it was Colorado's Deshorn Brown who did most of the pelting in the first half with three shots on goal — one of them making it past Nick Rimando to put Colorado up 0-1.

The second half saw RSL retain the majority of possession, but Colorado looked poised to take advantage of its few fast-break opportunities until it ran into Rimando, who had numerous goal-of-the-week saves. Alvaro Saborio squared things up in the 80th minute off a Gil/Plata assist, and RSL starts the season 1-1-1.

Nick Rimando (GK) Colorado's three forwards seemed to be able to cut through RSL's defenses like a hot knife through butter all through the first half, leaving Rimando vulnerable. Deshorn Brown made two strong runs into the box. His second best run came in the 24th minute when he put a strong, low shot on frame, which Rimando handled easily. His best challenge on Rimando came in the 38th minute when he dribbled past Chris Schuler and went to the far post far beyond Rimando's reach. Rimando came up big when Colorado found itself breaking toward goal in the 68th minute with no defenders in its way. Dillon Powers took the open shot, which Rimando had no problem smothering. Rimando had a great moment on a reflex save in the 78th minute when Tony Cascio found his way into the box for a point-blank shot that Rimando deflected to keep Colorado to just a single goal. GRADE: A, MAN OF THE MATCH

Lovell Palmer (DEF) Palmer got his first start Saturday for RLS and provided a nice spark on the left side. His hustle created opportunities on the offensive end while he rarely lost position on the defensive end. Near the end of the game he struggled some, and his cross in the 74th minute, meant for the goal-face, was just plain awful. GRADE: B

Chris Schuler (DEF) Schuler showed his youth a number of times Saturday, but most in the 38th minute. He allowed the pesky Deshorn Brown to dribble around him easily in the 18-yard box for a point-blank shot at Nick Rimando, which he buried in the far right corner of the box. He nearly lost him again in the 39th minute when he put a shot on goal that Rimando saved. While Schuler settled in better in the second half, his passing and positioning were still lacking. Saturday may have been Schuler's poorest in an RSL uniform so far this year. GRADE: C+

Kwame Watson-Siriboe (DEF) Watson-Siriboe struggled Saturday afternoon to keep Colorado, and especially Deshorn Brown, contained. Brown found space several times between Watson-Siriboe and Beltran to get shots on goal. GRADE: B-

Tony Beltran (DEF) Beltran may have started the game a little too bold in his offensive play forward, with the speedy Deshorn Brown looking for every opportunity to get in behind him on fast-break opportunities, and he did twice. Neither time turned into a goal, but Beltran settled back into position the rest of the game and clearly got word at halftime from Jason Kreis that Brown was not to be allowed unimpeded progress while in RSL's final third. Beltran happened to be in the perfect place at the perfect time in the 64th minute, when a Ned Grabavoy cross ricocheted out to the right of the 18-yard box. Beltran blasted the ball point-blank at Colorado's Clint Irwin, who was just enough of a speed bump to keep the ball from finding the back of the net. GRADE: B

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