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Real Salt Lake at Saprissa: Report Card

Published: Monday, Aug. 31 2015 9:53 a.m. MDT

Starters:

Nick Rimando: A Despite allowing two goals, one on Cordero's wonder strike and the other on a PK, Rimando's performance in goal was solid as usual. Slowed down the pace of the game early and maintained excellent positioning through out the match. His play and temper helped to settle down a some what frantic RSL back line.

Chris Wingert: C- Saprissa put tremendous pressure on the RSL defense and midfield, and Wingert looked well out of his comfort zone. While his defense held form, his distribution from the back was lacking which made it difficult for the visitors to settle into comfort zone.

Nat Borchers: C His size alone made it difficult for the home team to penetrate RSL's defense and as a result Saprissa played away from him most the night. His back field distribution was slightly better than that of his back field companions but RSL fans expect more from the six-year MLS veteran.

Robbie Russel: C+ Seemed to be everywhere on the back line. Excelled at tracking the high pressure Saprissa strikers and allowed them zero breathing room. Worked his way into the midfield a few times but still sent far too many balls over the top of RSL midfield. He earns the plus for starting the build up that lead to the RSL corner that Olave scored on.

Jamison Olave: A+ The standout defender of the night for RSL. Scored the lone goal for RSL which took the legs out of Saprissa's recent momentum. Scored the goal; gets the A. Man of the match.

Will Johnson: B The work horse of RSL. His tireless runs up and down the pitch stretched the Saprissa defense and upset any rhythm the home team tried to develop. Sacrificed his body more than once and would have earned an A if it weren't for his suspect positioning on Codero's rocket goal. Not a whole lot can be done against a strike like that though.

Kyle Beckerman: B- Didn't have his normal amount of touches on the ball that he is accustomed to at Rio Tinto. At times the RSL captain seemed more than uncomfortable with high pressure that Saprissa attacked with, but for the most part maintained excellent composure throughout the game. Nearly scored a fortuitous to open the visitors' score sheet but Saprissa's keeper was equal to the task.

Andy Williams: C+ As usual the Jamaican veterans distrubution was excellent but got off to a slow start in the second half. Although he wasn't directly responsible for Saprissa's first goal, he definitely could have closed the distance on Cordero.

Javier Morales: B- He rarely touched the ball without having two or more Saprissa players swarming to his position. It was obvious from the first whistle that the home team wasn't going to allow the Argentinean any room to create with the ball. His corner kicks were on point the whole night which led to the Claret and Cobalt's lone goal.

Alvaro Saborio: C Sabo was a non factor for most of the match. With the exception of a lone header off of a corner kick his shots were well off the mark the whole night. It could have been nerves for ex-Saprissa star, but he could have showed more on his homecoming.

Fabian Espindola: A Although he will not see his performance as positive, the RSL striker did what he does best; pester the defense. Although his first touch was heavy at times due to the slick playing surface, he got under the skin of the Saprissa defense. Not only did he earn the corner kick that RSL scored on, but he was also dragged to the turf by the defense which freed up Olave to clean up the rebound. If Olave was the man of the match, Espindola was Mr. Congeniality.

Substitutes:

Ned Grabavoy: F Came on mid way through the second half and was a non factor for RSL. Committed a needless penalty in the waning moments of the game which almost gave Saprissa life late in the game. It was a questionable call but Grabavoy could have done better with the time given to him.

Arturo Alvarez: B His fresh legs late in the game gave the visitors some breathing room in the midfield and up front. Almost had an assist when he played a beautiful give and go with Javier Morales that Javi uncharacteristically missed on.

Overall Team: B Saprissa did well to disrupt RSL's controlled style of play, but the visitors created its chances and earned a trip to the CONCACAF Champions League final, a first for an MLS team.

A honest opinion from a simple point of view. Andrew Reeves. UVU Alum with a love for writing and passion for soccer

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