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RSL report card: Javier Morales nearly perfect vs. Dynamo

Published: Monday, May 12 2014 2:44 p.m. MDT

Real Salt Lake's Javier Morales, right, celebrates with Jou Plata (8) after scoring a goal against the Houston Dynamo during the first half of an MLS soccer game on Sunday, May 11, 2014, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) (David J. Phillip, AP) Real Salt Lake's Javier Morales, right, celebrates with Jou Plata (8) after scoring a goal against the Houston Dynamo during the first half of an MLS soccer game on Sunday, May 11, 2014, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) (David J. Phillip, AP)

A first win in Houston for Real Salt Lake, a hat trick for Javier Morales, and the fastest-ever RSL goal — all this came in 90 minutes as Real Salt Lake systematically dismantled the Houston Dynamo.

Nick Rimando, 7.5, saved a penalty to boost his score, but he really didn’t have too much to deal with throughout. His distribution wasn’t at its best, but it never really looked like a punishing factor.

Tony Beltran, 7, was effective but not too much beyond that. One goal came down his side as the entire defense fell asleep in the second half, but it was a generally solid game for the right back.

Nat Borchers, 6.5, was brilliant in passing play with 98 percent accuracy, but he criminally lost Mark Sherrod for the second Dynamo goal.

Aaron Maund, 7, was nearly as awesome in the pass as Borchers (95 percent accuracy for the Schuler replacement) and didn’t have the set piece mistake to his name.

Real Salt Lake's Javier Morales, center, is mobbed by teammates after scoring a goal against the Houston Dynamo during the first half of an MLS soccer game Sunday, May 11, 2014, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) (David J. Phillip, AP) Real Salt Lake's Javier Morales, center, is mobbed by teammates after scoring a goal against the Houston Dynamo during the first half of an MLS soccer game Sunday, May 11, 2014, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) (David J. Phillip, AP)

Chris Wingert, 6.5, was actually pretty good, but playing only one half doesn’t help his score. His injury that saw him removed was unfortunate and had a big impact on RSL's rocky second-half start.

Kyle Beckerman, 7, wasn’t at his best, but he didn’t need to be. He couldn’t settle the midfield down on his own in the second half — he hardly got on the ball for 30 minutes, but he gets high marks for being everywhere all the time. We’ll miss him when he departs for the World Cup.

Ned Grabavoy, 7, didn’t get on the ball as frequently as he’d have liked, but he was a safe option in the midfield and an important cog in RSL's play. His headed ball back into the area that saw Javier Morales score from the corner; that he had the foresight to send it back in rather than try something himself displayed some of his best attributes.

Luke Mulholland, 7.5, penned another tally mark in the goals column and played his first 90-minute match for the club. He looked beat during the second half, but he also found the energy to beat Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall for his goal late on.

Real Salt Lake's Javier Morales, top, is tackled by Houston Dynamo's Servando Carrasco during the first half of an MLS soccer game Sunday, May 11, 2014, in Houston. Carrasco was issued a red card on the play and ejected from the game. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) (David J. Phillip, AP) Real Salt Lake's Javier Morales, top, is tackled by Houston Dynamo's Servando Carrasco during the first half of an MLS soccer game Sunday, May 11, 2014, in Houston. Carrasco was issued a red card on the play and ejected from the game. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) (David J. Phillip, AP)

Javier Morales, 9.5, was at his effusive best against Houston. He scored three goals, had an assist, and could have done even more but for some ineffective finishing from other players. He scored his first professional hat trick and dominated proceedings from start to finish.

Joao Plata, 7, put in the fantastic corner that led to Morales’ second goal, but he wasn’t at his most impactful in the match. He wasn’t bad, though, and will be vital moving into the World Cup period without Alvaro Saborio.

Alvaro Saborio, 8, was a force in everything except finishing. He had a goal and an assist, though, so despite firing tamely during a one-on-one with Tally Hall, he gets high marks.

Substitutes

Abdoulie Mansally, 5.5, is inconsistent in some troubling ways. After excelling in his substitute appearance against Chicago, he was ineffective against Houston. He needs more time and space to operate than he was given, but he needs to shift his game to match that.

Real Salt Lake's Javier Morales, left, celebrates with Luke Mulholland, right, after scoring his third goal of the game against the Houston Dynamo during the second half of a MLS soccer game Sunday, May 11, 2014, in Houston. Real Salt Lake won 5-2. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) (David J. Phillip, AP) Real Salt Lake's Javier Morales, left, celebrates with Luke Mulholland, right, after scoring his third goal of the game against the Houston Dynamo during the second half of a MLS soccer game Sunday, May 11, 2014, in Houston. Real Salt Lake won 5-2. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) (David J. Phillip, AP)

Devon Sandoval, 6.5, won the penalty that Javier Morales finished and got into some dangerous positions.

Cole Grossman, 7.5, came in and settled the match down for Real Salt Lake. He got a bit of time in that defensive midfield position he’ll be taking over with Kyle Beckerman gone, so getting him minutes was a high priority; he excelled during that time.

Matt Montgomery is the managing editor of RSL Soapbox. Contact him at montgomery.matt@gmail.com.

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