Real Salt Lake report card: Rimando saves RSL for win against Chivas
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
SANDY — Real Salt Lake met the pesky goats of Chivas USA Saturday night at Rio Tinto for their first of a three game home-stint. Chivas has been playing a new brand of soccer this season that is very energetic, frenetic even. With only three fullbacks, Chivas is pushing as many as six players extremely high, meaning RSL's defense was taxed, but their attackers just had a lot of fun! Olmes Garcia was a breath of fresh air, leaving absolutely everything on the field before being subbed out in the 63rd minute for a fresh Robbie Findley. His hard work helped to clear the box more than once for his strike partner Alvaro Saborio, whose assist in the 53rd minute created Javier Morale's first scoring opportunity of the season, which he converted to give RSL the lead, and the win.
Nick Rimando (GK) - Rimando was tested early, when late in the sixth minute Jose Correa pounded a shot inside the 18 right at the 'keeper, who parried it away with both hands. Nick Rimando came up huge in the 36th minute when he stopped an admittedly weak PK from Edgar Mejia. Mejia tried to finesse to his left, but Rimando had no trouble parrying the shot wide and Real's defense pulled out their inner bulldog to keep Chivas from putting two rebound shots into the back of the net. The rest of the night Rimando was automatic, saving three more shots on goal to keep the clean sheet. GRADE: A, MAN OF THE MATCH
Lovel Palmer (DEF) - Lovel Palmer is proving his mettle. With Chris Wingert out recovering from a broken foot, Palmer started for the second time in as many games, holding down the left side adequately. Actually, more than adequately. Chivas tried overloading the right side of the field during the opening minutes of the second half and Palmer showed tremendous grit and determination to send Chivas a clear message - not in my house. Grade: A-
Chris Schuler (DEF) - Jose Luis Sancho Sola seems to be the Nelly of MLS this year, playing 21 different players and starting 20 of them. Chris Schuler wasn't quite sure who he might see in manning the forward line for Chivas Saturday night but it didn't seem to phase him as previously uncomfortable situations have. Chivas mounted the majority of their attacks from the flanks, so Schuler was primarily called on to win balls out of the air, both in the box and on kickoffs. His height came in handy as Chivas earned 6 corner kicks in the first half alone, requiring the young Schuler to use every bit of it to make the hungry and tall Goats uncomfortable on the set pieces. Grade: A-
Nat Borchers (DEF) - Borchers looked every bit the man in charge, organizing the back line with veteran savvy. His positioning and timing on headers is usually impeccable, and Saturday night was no exception. Grade: A
Tony Beltran (DEF) - Chivas threw pretty much everything but the kitchen sink forward early in Saturday night's match, putting copious amounts of pressure on RSL's wings. Beltran never flinched. Even when Carlos Alvarez got loose in Real's box in the 45th minute, Beltran used his speed to close down Alvarez's angle, forcing him just wide to keep Rimando's sheet clean. His efforts on the offensive end were impressive as well, dealing the Goats right before the half to get the ball into the box in gorgeous fashion. Grade: A-
Luis Gil (MID) - Luis Gil seemed to struggle early to assert himself in the run of play. Around the 25th minute, Gil warmed up and played into the RSL counterattack along the right side, pressing the Chivas defense all night on the counter attack. Gil was subbed out in the 74th minute for Sebastian Velasquez. Grade: B
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