RSL report card: The 'Man of a Million Rebounds' among the few RSL standouts
RICH SCHULTZ, AP
Real Salt Lake’s 2-2 draw with Philadelphia Union Saturday was as mixed a bag as fans could have asked for. With two goals in the final 10 minutes — one that put Real Salt Lake ahead and the other that drew the Union level — excitement wasn’t exactly in short order.
Jeff Attinella, 6, gets his rating only for never really being tested. His distribution left something to be desired, but it may have been in part a desire . Further, part of his responsibility is to organize the defense on set pieces. That last corner doesn’t help his rating for that reason, but once the shot came in, there’s nothing he could really do about it.
Tony Beltran, 6, drops in consideration being the last player caught out on Philadelphia’s first goal, but he also gets a bit of a boost from his involvement in the second goal for RSL. He had a generally good night, but those two moments rather defined his contribution.
Nat Borchers, 6.5, was sharp for most of the match. A better touch and he has a goal to his name, too, but there were several moments of disorganization that he should have been aware of.
Chris Schuler, 6.5, was a fantastic last-ditch defender. He and Borchers are developing a strong partnership and that has required Schuler to adjust his game a bit. He’s done that very well, and while he gets the same knock as Borchers and Attinella for this one — organization falls primarily on those three for the final set piece — he was strong.
Chris Wingert, 5.5, was hardly at his best, but nor was he really awful. He didn’t present much defensively, and he didn’t offer much in the attack. It was a middling performance if there ever was one.
Kyle Beckerman, 7.5, took his goal fantastically well, but he uncharacteristically gave the ball away on a few occasions that led to dangerous moments for the opposition. Still, he had good moments in the attack of his own, and he was surely one of the more creative players on display.
Ned Grabavoy, 6.5, was tasked with the usual: connect play on his side of the diamond (the left on this occasion) and get forward for creative play. But he is at his best when he plays with more freedom of movement across the midfield, which there seemed little of on the day.
Luke Mulholland, 7, is establishing himself well as The Man of a Million Rebounds — this was his second goal scored in that particular way. Despite his positive impact in the early weeks of the season, he’ll want to get to a point where he can play 90 minutes. After 60 minutes, he looked positively gassed.
Javier Morales, 7, was quiet for long portions of the match. His best impact came in the build-up to the second goal when his commitment to the play saw him regain possession to cut the ball back for Beckerman. While not at his most creative, he dropped into deeper positions well to regain or build possession, and he worked as hard as one can ask.
Alvaro Saborio, 5.5, had a few great flick-on headers in the first half, one of which found Olmes Garcia in the moment preceding the penalty call. His lethal finishing was off a bit, though, and on another night, he could have had three — one for the penalty and two fantastic chances that ended up right at Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath.
Olmes Garcia, 6, justified his selection with his performance. He doesn’t get high marks because frankly, he wasn’t particularly successful, but he didn’t get much in the way of opportunities. He looked less like a man on a dreadfully lonely island and nearly had a real beauty of a goal on the break in the second half.
Devon Sandoval, 6, will just work and work and work, but fans also know he will get into dangerous positions, somewhat owing to that work ethic.
Sebastian Velasquez, 7, was a true breath of fresh air. Interestingly, his best moments all came at the base of the upper third, where he was a markedly creative influence.
Matt Montgomery is the managing editor of RSL Soapbox. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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