Real Salt Lake report card: Attinella the star in 1-1 draw with Columbus Crew
Barbara J. Perenic, AP
Jeff Attinella, 9, made save after save — each one more spectacular than the last. Attinella may have struggled against the Seattle Sounders last weekend, but he blew the match out of the water against Columbus Crew.
Rich Balchan, 8, stepped in at right back in the absence of Tony Beltran and was solid in defense and a spark in the attack. He may not have played many minutes over the past two years, but he’s showing not only potential, but a remarkable ability to step up when called on.
Carlos Salcedo, 7.5, was most visible when clearing the ball away — something he was forced to do a bit too frequently — but he was a strong presence on defense and not a huge step down from the veteran Nat Borchers.
Chris Schuler, 8, was near his best against the Columbus Crew, stepping into channels and intercepting passes with aplomb. He’s not the fastest player, but his understanding is up there with the best players in the league.
Abdoulie Mansally, 5, was having a good game — one of his strongest in recent memory — but his mistakes hurt his rating significantly. His failure to track a deep run and the goal that ensued resulted in a rating that while accurate, is not entirely reflective of his overall contribution.
Cole Grossman, 7, started again at the defensive midfield spot, but with John Stertzer beside him, he was able to hold a more stable defensive position and to get more forward in the attack. A good game for the man tasked with replacing Kyle Beckerman in what is arguably the most difficult position on the pitch.
John Stertzer, 6.5, wasn’t as involved as he’d like to be; too often the attacking play bypassed him. He was the more defensive of the pairing with Cole Grossman, and that helps to explain it.
Ned Grabavoy, 5.5, was strangely uninvolved in build-up play on the left flank, and he didn’t get particularly involved defensively. He had some moments of good movement, but it was hardly his best game — or even close to it.
Javier Morales, 6.5, was good, but not at his creative best. Playing in a hybrid striker-midfielder role, he was kept out of the most hairy defensive moments and that enabled him to play his role fairly effectively. But for being as involved in the attack as he was, he should have been looking to shoot more often and his one shot wasn’t enough.
Luis Gil, 7.5, scored a fantastic goal that required good awareness on the rebound and real skill to put it away at the far post.
Olmes Garcia, 6, struggled. There’s nothing entirely surprising about that. The Real Salt Lake system rarely functions properly with only a single striker, and that was reflected in Garcia’s performance.
Tony Beltran, 6.5, came on and had some great moments of one-on-one defending to keep the match in a sane position.
Luke Mulholland, 5.5, wasn’t on long enough to do much.
Devon Sandoval, 5.5, struggled to get involved in the attack when he came on, mostly because RSL struggled generally to get the attack moving after scoring its only goal.
Matt Montgomery is the managing editor of RSL Soapbox. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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