Real Salt Lake report card: Defensive line made whole in Wingert's return

Published: Saturday, May 4 2013 11:39 p.m. MDT

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Starters: Devon Sandoval, Joao Plata

Joao Plata was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back in this match. It was almost entirely due to Plata's touches that RSL scored at all; Plata banked two assists on two RSL goals.

Through the first half of the match, Plata showed speed and energy. His tempo allowed RSL to make transition and counterattack plays throughout the entire match. He broke on the ball well, but his passing in and around the area suffered early on.

The difference in Plata's passing from first to second half was almost night and day. RSL head coach Jason Kreis said the team spoke about passing in the final third during the break, and focused on getting that finishing touch. Plata definitely took those words to heart. His assists in the 47th and 71st minutes are a testament to that.

"We weren't clean enough with the ball," Kreis said. "I thought we got better and better and better as the game went on. (Plata) and Devon (Sandoval) started out pretty darn rough, but got better as the game wore on. I think that was Plata's third and fourth assist (of the season) tonight. That's nice."

Devon Sandoval, however, struggled with possessing and positioning. As a forward, knowing where to be is half the battle. Sandoval showed his youth and inexperience as he struggled to maintain the ball and execute plays. Furthermore, Sandoval didn't make a single shot attempt, which is a very troubling statistic when you're a forward.

Grade: B

Man of the Match: Joao Plata
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