Rick Bowmer, Associated Press
Jason Kreis has been on his team all season about coming out on fire for the first 25 minutes. The first 25 minutes of Saturday night's match were hot for sure — just not for the home team.
Before the 14th minute had come, L.A. was up on Real Salt Lake 2-0. The first half ended that way before L.A. parked the proverbial bus in its box in the second half. RSL coach Jason Kreis tried to break through by shifting to a 3-5-2 formation with about 30 minutes left, but while Salt Lake had many opportunities at goal, none went RSL's way and the club lost 2-0 Saturday night.
Nick Rimando (GK) Rimando had a tough night, but not necessarily due to any lack of quality on his part. His defense struggled to keep L.A. out of his box in the first half. Two miscues by Tony Beltran gave L.A. two shots that Rimando had no chance saving. Once L.A. scored, it dropped back and rarely presented a challenge the rest of the game, other than a few hurried pass backs — and one major chance that Rimando saved. That save resulted when L.A.'s Sean Franklin got a fast-break ball played to him in an empty 18-yard box. Rimando denied Franklin, however, by closing down the shot for what will likely be yet another save-of-the-week contender. GRADE: A
Tony Beltran (DEF) Saturday was not Beltran's night. He started the game by getting beat in the fifth minute when Mike Magee perfectly timed a jump in the six-yard box off a Juninho free kick to head it over a grounded Beltran, who could do nothing to keep it out of the net. Beltran fell victim again in the 13th minute when, while trying to keep L.A.'s Charlie Rugg in an offside position even though Lovel Palmer was clearly keeping him on, he ended up a step behind Rugg. L.A. forward Jack McBean then sent a low cross into the box that Rugg had no trouble slotting past Rimando. Beltran looked for revenge in the 31st minute when he blasted a 25-yard rocket at L.A. 'keeper Brian Rowe, but sometimes revenge is bitter. No goal. GRADE: C-
Chris Schuler (DEF) Schuler was in the right place at the right time all game long, especially when it came to defending headers. His passing, however was not. Numerous times he unnecessarily created dangerous situations with poor passes. Thanks to veteran play from his defensive partner Nat Borchers, however, the mistakes never provided L.A. with anything more than a few moments of excitement. Grade: B-
Nat Borchers (DEF) Borchers was an iron man Saturday, taking massive hits all night, including a vicious one from McBean that sent the RSL defender flying. Borchers got right back up but McBean ended up leaving the game with a broken collarbone. Borchers' positioning was excellent as always and his effort over the last 30 minutes was terrific while holding down the fort after Kreis went to a 3-5-2 formation to try to break L.A.'s defense down. GRADE: A
Lovel Palmer (DEF) Palmer started his third game of the season in place of usual starter Chris Wingert. His play has been solid, but when he went into a slide tackle with his spikes up in the 19th minute it didn't matter that he didn't touch L.A. midfielder Hector Jimenez. Palmer was still shown a yellow card. He settled in the rest of the game and was adequate playing into Real's attack during the second half. GRADE: B
Ned Grabavoy (MID) Grabavoy was Mr. Effort Saturday night, hearkening back to his first days with RSL. It seemed wherever you looked on the field, Grabavoy was there. However, he struggled around Minute 75 to stay energized, right when Real needed to give L.A. its best effort. GRADE: B+
Kyle Beckerman (MID) Beckerman was a little out of sorts Saturday. After playing very well to begin the season, RSL's captain went out with a separated rib two games ago. Saturday, he came out a bit flat against the Galaxy, most likely due to his injury. He had a couple of decent distance shots and his cross into the box in stoppage time stopped most of the spectators' hearts by falling to Olmes Garcia's crossbar-doomed head. GRADE: B
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