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Real Salt Lake report card: Rimando saves RSL for win against Chivas

Published: Thursday, July 30 2015 1:09 p.m. MDT

Real's keeper Nick Rimando blocks a penalty kick as Real Salt Lake and Chivas USA play Saturday, April 20, 2013 at Rio Tinto Stadium. Real won 1-0. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News) Real's keeper Nick Rimando blocks a penalty kick as Real Salt Lake and Chivas USA play Saturday, April 20, 2013 at Rio Tinto Stadium. Real won 1-0. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SANDY — Real Salt Lake met the pesky goats of Chivas USA Saturday night at Rio Tinto for their first of a three game home-stint. Chivas has been playing a new brand of soccer this season that is very energetic, frenetic even. With only three fullbacks, Chivas is pushing as many as six players extremely high, meaning RSL's defense was taxed, but their attackers just had a lot of fun! Olmes Garcia was a breath of fresh air, leaving absolutely everything on the field before being subbed out in the 63rd minute for a fresh Robbie Findley. His hard work helped to clear the box more than once for his strike partner Alvaro Saborio, whose assist in the 53rd minute created Javier Morale's first scoring opportunity of the season, which he converted to give RSL the lead, and the win.

Nick Rimando (GK) - Rimando was tested early, when late in the sixth minute Jose Correa pounded a shot inside the 18 right at the 'keeper, who parried it away with both hands. Nick Rimando came up huge in the 36th minute when he stopped an admittedly weak PK from Edgar Mejia. Mejia tried to finesse to his left, but Rimando had no trouble parrying the shot wide and Real's defense pulled out their inner bulldog to keep Chivas from putting two rebound shots into the back of the net. The rest of the night Rimando was automatic, saving three more shots on goal to keep the clean sheet. GRADE: A, MAN OF THE MATCH

Lovel Palmer (DEF) - Lovel Palmer is proving his mettle. With Chris Wingert out recovering from a broken foot, Palmer started for the second time in as many games, holding down the left side adequately. Actually, more than adequately. Chivas tried overloading the right side of the field during the opening minutes of the second half and Palmer showed tremendous grit and determination to send Chivas a clear message - not in my house. Grade: A-

Chris Schuler (DEF) - Jose Luis Sancho Sola seems to be the Nelly of MLS this year, playing 21 different players and starting 20 of them. Chris Schuler wasn't quite sure who he might see in manning the forward line for Chivas Saturday night but it didn't seem to phase him as previously uncomfortable situations have. Chivas mounted the majority of their attacks from the flanks, so Schuler was primarily called on to win balls out of the air, both in the box and on kickoffs. His height came in handy as Chivas earned 6 corner kicks in the first half alone, requiring the young Schuler to use every bit of it to make the hungry and tall Goats uncomfortable on the set pieces. Grade: A-

Nat Borchers (DEF) - Borchers looked every bit the man in charge, organizing the back line with veteran savvy. His positioning and timing on headers is usually impeccable, and Saturday night was no exception. Grade: A

Tony Beltran (DEF) - Chivas threw pretty much everything but the kitchen sink forward early in Saturday night's match, putting copious amounts of pressure on RSL's wings. Beltran never flinched. Even when Carlos Alvarez got loose in Real's box in the 45th minute, Beltran used his speed to close down Alvarez's angle, forcing him just wide to keep Rimando's sheet clean. His efforts on the offensive end were impressive as well, dealing the Goats right before the half to get the ball into the box in gorgeous fashion. Grade: A-

Luis Gil (MID) - Luis Gil seemed to struggle early to assert himself in the run of play. Around the 25th minute, Gil warmed up and played into the RSL counterattack along the right side, pressing the Chivas defense all night on the counter attack. Gil was subbed out in the 74th minute for Sebastian Velasquez. Grade: B

Yordany Alvarez (MID) - Yordany Alvarez struggled early in the game to get on the same page as his strikers as far as where they wanted his distribution. He settled down by the 12th minute and had a handful of very good sequences with Javier Morales, one in the 15th that went from Morales to a streaking Luis Gil who one touched it into the waiting hands of Chivas keeper Dan Kennedy. His positioning, however, lacked a lot to be desired on both the offensive and defensive side of things. Two times in the first 20 minutes he was out of position to receive a breakaway pass by Javier Morales and he was too high to effectively handle Chivas penchant to push up themselves. Grade: B-

Ned Grabavoy (MID) - Ned was called for the handball in the box in the 36th minute that put Chivas' Edgar Mejia at the spot for his failed PK. Grabavoy, along with the rest of the boys in Claret and Cobalt was energized by Rimando's save, and the final ten minutes of play during the first half saw Ned slashing and burning along the Chivas final third to will a Real goal before the first half. It was not to be. His efforts were rewarded early in the second half when he played into the fast break that gave RSL the go-ahead goal. Ned's efforts were especially strong Grade: A-

Javier Morales (MID) - Morales is showing terrific improvement to his fitness since coming back from his injury three weeks ago. He clearly wanted to take advantage of Chivas' odd three man defensive line, connecting quickly and often with his strikers. Morales started the break near the midfield line in the 53rd minute, that he scored on off a terrific streak into the box where Alvaro Saborio was able to find him with a chip into the six-yard box, which Morales redirected perfectly into the lower left of the net, out of reach for Dan Kennedy. Javi continued to lead the charge all night, completing his second full game of the season. Grade: A

Alvaro Saborio (FWD) - Sabo and Garcia made a very good pairing on the forward line. Garcia's speed and foot skills allowed Saborio numerous opportunities to post up in front of the box. His fading volley in the 29th minute off a Garcia cross reminded RSL fans how good he can be when given the opportunity to use his strength and skill to create scoring chances. It appeared it was only a matter of time before the combo's scoring chances might start falling. The first half ended without Real striking pay dirt. But he didn't waste much time in the second half, beating Chivas into the box on a breakaway where he posted up right of the box to feed Javier Morales with a perfectly weighted chip that gave RSL the go-ahead goal. Grade: A

Olmes Garcia (FWD) - Garcia came out swinging, pinging the crossbar in the sixth minute. He showed why Jason Kreis is so high on the kid again in the seventh minute when he chased a ball all the way to the end line with terrific speed, crossed it while sliding to save it from going out and almost perfectly found Ned Grabavoy's head right in front of the box - just a hair high, Grabavoy sent the cross over the crossbar. Garcia went down hard in the 17th minute when Chivas defender Mario de Luna clocked him in the head with a flying elbow and spent the next few minutes shaking it off. His second half wasn't much different, within the first five minutes he'd pinged another off the crossbar and his untiring runs, and brutal closing speed kept Chivas' defenders extremely busy backpedaling. He was subbed out in the 63rd minute for Robbie Findley.Grade: A

Robbie Findley (FWD, SUB 63') - Robbie Findley subbed on in place of a winded Olmes Garcia who had just left everything on the field. Findley seemed inspired, using his speed and skill to match Olmes efforts for the final 27 seven minutes. He wasn't able to get a shot on goal, but his efforts chasing down balls, tracking back on defense and just pestering Chivas' defense meant a lot to keeping the game to 1-0. Grade: B+

Sebastian Velasquez (MID, SUB 74') - Tian joined the fray in the 74th minute when he was subbed on in place of Luis Gil. He brought some additional spark that Luis couldn't quite ignite most of the night. Chivas was clearly tired by the 80th minute and while Velasquez was more energetic than his predecessor his fresh legs could have meant another goal had he and the fresh Robbie Findley found the energy and field sight to make it happen. Grade: B+

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