Monterrey at Real Salt Lake: Report Card

Published: Saturday, Oct. 10 2015 12:46 a.m. MDT

Monterrey at Real Salt Lake game stats

Nick Rimando

Rimando had a solid game with terrific distribution both with his throws and on goal kicks. He had some clutch saves including Santana's shot that couldn't be cleared and ended up in space Rimando simply couldn't cover. Grade: A-

Chris Wingert

Wingert showed why he's a favorite of coach Jason Kreis on the backline. His workrate was second only to perhaps Will Johnson, and his ability to feed the ball up the sideline became a major part of Real's game plan because Monterrey clogged up the midfield. He was lucky one first-half mistake didn't end up giving Humberto Suazo a goal earlier in the half, but other than that he was solid. Grade: B+

Nat Borchers

While his defense was solid as always, his passing out of the backfield wasn't what we're used to seeing. On a few occasions he had the chance to give RSL some break-away opportunities, but they were slowed due to miss hits and poorly directed passes. Grade: B+

Jamison Olave

The big Colombian doesn't just look like a linebacker, he plays like one and Wednesday was no exception. Aside from being all over the field, even playing a significant offensive role in the final five minutes where he nearly scored an equalizer off a power header, he kept Suazo at bay with pestering defense, speed and on more than one occasion his Olave-says-no! body blocks. Poor positioning was his only fault because he allowed Santana and Suazo room to create the game's only goal. Otherwise, he's my man of the match. Grade: A-

Robbie Russell

Russell's speed and physical presence were critical in Wednesday's game, and he was spectacular for 40 minutes. Unfortunately, in the last five minutes of the first half he let up and it proved to be costly as Suazo and Santana squeezed themselves between him and Olave to score. Jason Kreis later confirmed Russell pulled his hamstring and that's why he was switched out for Tony Beltran in the second half. Too bad. With RSL using more wide crosses in the second half, Russell's big leg and accurate long balls could have been the difference. Grade: B+

Ned Grabavoy

Defensively, Grabavoy played "admirably" as Kreis put it. Grabavoy more than filled Kyle Beckerman's shoes in that aspect, but when it came to creating forward momentum out of RSL's third like Beckerman does so well, Grabavoy couldn't live up to the captain and it hurt Real's rhythm in the midfield. He especially became very stationary once Monterrey took the midfield over in the second half. Grade: B

Andy Williams

The Jamaican Jedi was shifty as always in the midfield and seemed to omnipresent. His pace was relentless and for the first 30 minutes of the game, and Kreis couldn't have asked for more. Unfortunately, it might have been too much because he ran out of steam the final 15 of the first half and in large part, RSL lost its momentum due to Williams being lost in the shuffle. He never quite got it back in the second half and was subbed out for Arturo Alvarez. Grade: B

Will Johnson

Johnson might want to change the name on his jersey to Charlie Hustle. The cast on his hand didn't slow him down a bit and he was literally everywhere on the field. Getting back for several out of nowhere takeaways and driving forward to create numerous opportunities in Monterrey's third including a long strike that dipped too late to make it under the cross bar. My man of the match. Grade: A

Javier Morales

After his heroics in Game 1, the fans' expectations may have been too high for Wednesday's game, but Morales just couldn't seem to get past third gear. It could have had something to do with playing without Beckerman or it could have been Monterrey's double-team strategy. Real needed heroics from Morales that just didn't materialize. Grade: B+

Alvaro Saborio

Saborio's play was much improved in the last few games and he began to show some of those flashes of brilliance RSL fans became accustomed to last season. His best suit was his defense in playing high and hard attacking all game. His first touch is still a little shaky, but his positioning and physicality were spot on all night. Too bad he couldn't convert some of those holding balls into better quality shots or assists on goal. Grade: B+

Fabian Espindola

Fabi was a pest, and that's how we like him. His defense in Monterrey's third was terrific by creating numerous counter-attack chances that Real couldn't convert on. However, for all his hard work, Espindola's lack of patience and anxiousness may have cost Real a goal or two. Rather than waiting for players to show up and give him options after winning balls away from Monterrey, he tried to go it alone and often got caught trying to be more tricky than he needed to be. Grade: B+

Arturo Alvarez

The Twittersphere was buzzing when Alvarez was subbed in for Andy Williams in hopes he'd provide the spark needed for RSL to come back in round one, but it wasn't meant to be. In fact, Artie's decisions and poor passing left much to be desired. He could have been the spark RSL needed but just never seemed able to find his rhythm. Grade: C+

Tony Beltran

RSL fans are so used to seeing Beltran step up when subbed in to big games that the sting of losing Russell to a leg injury for the second half wasn't so bad until Beltran didn't prove his usual dependable self. Poor passes along the sideline and slow decisions kept RSL in a bit of a funk during the opening minutes of the first half. Grade: B-

Chris Higbee is the Product Director for DeseretNews.com and a soccer fan for life. He can be found @chigbee on Twitter.

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