Tom Smart, Deseret News
Real Salt Lake faced a frustrated and hungry Chicago Fire Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium. RSL owned possession. It owned shots on goal. But it couldn't find their way past Chicago's rising keeper Sean Johnson, who had several Nick Rimando-like saves to keep the score nil-nil, until 60th minute sub, Alvaro Saborio, found himself on the end of a perfectly weighted ball by Ned Grabavoy for a 1-0 header goal that looked like it would keep RSL in the lead, but Quincy Amerikwa had a goal-of-the-week volley in the box off a Jamil Anibaba throw-in that gave Chicago what felt like the win, with a 1-1 tie.
Nick Rimando (GK) Rimando wasn't tested much Saturday night, but when he was he was true to the task. The few goals he saved were not spectacular, but his positioning, particularly in the sunny first half on Chicago's many corner kicks, was tremendous, and his distribution created a handful of breaking opportunities for RSL. GRADE: A
Tony Beltran (DEF) Beltran was solid as always, and with Chicago's 4-5-1 formation, he ended up playing more of an offensive role than other recent games, playing a key role in RSL's ownership of the midfield. GRADE: B+
Carlos Salcedo (DEF) Salcedo's positioning was much improved Saturday over the Chivas game, and it's clear Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis' confidence in this young man is well-founded. His potential goal-saving slide in the 39th minute was one of the defensive highlights of the game. GRADE: A
Nat Borchers (DEF) Borchers luckily was never called on to match speed with Chicago's Patrick Nyarko. The combination of his positioning and RSL's control of the midfield kept Nyarko at bay. GRADE: A
Chris Wingert (DEF) Wingert seems to be returning to form, back in the starting line-up for his fifth game. Like Beltran, much of his work came higher on the pitch than normal. His tracks back, especially during a lull in the first half when RSL was struggling to gain momentum, were critical in fending off what could have been a devastating Chicago burst of energy. Wingert's near goal in the 58th minute came at a time when RSL needed to grab some momentum, and it got it. GRADE: B+
Luis Gil (MID) Gil played the role fans often equate with Ned Grabavoy, playing somewhere between Kyle Beckerman and Javier Morales. Not necessarily defensive on purpose, but less attack centric. Grabavoy and Morales had that covered. Not to say Gil didn't make his way into the attack. In fact his combination play with Grabavoy gave Beckerman two of his shots on goal. GRADE: B+
Kyle Beckerman (MID) Beckerman finally got the taste of a goal this season with his first against Chivas last Sunday. He clearly liked the taste, getting off three very good shots on goal in the first half alone. RSL's captain didn't neglect his defensive duties, but he did find his way up the pitch more than usual. GRADE: A
Javier Morales (MID) Morales was masterful in the midfield Saturday. It was perhaps his finest passing game yet this season, despite a near goal-yielding give-away in the 39th minute. But it's Morales' willingness to take calculated chances that makes his game so exciting to watch and dangerous to defend. He didn't have many opportunities for set pieces, but when he did he was dangerous, especially his free kick in the 77th minute that was saved by a half inch of cross bar rather than the spectacular Sean Johns. GRADE: A
Ned Grabavoy (MID) Like Beckerman, Grabavoy's two-goal stint last Sunday must have given him the taste for more because he was the central player through whom most of RSL's goal-scoring chances went, including one shot of his own off a perfect Plata cross into the box that would have found net if not for a very good Sean Johnson save. GRADE: A
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