Real Salt Lake report card: Forward's unselfish play leads to 3-0 victory over San Jose

Published: Sunday, June 2 2013 9:17 a.m. MDT

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Starters: Ned Grabavoy, Javier Morales, Kyle Beckerman and Khari Stephenson

Substitution: Luis Gil for Stephenson

The midfield started the game connecting on nearly every pass. The ball seldom made it past the RSL midfielders who broke up the majority of San Jose's passes. However, following halftime, the midfielders let up and the fluid play they had exhibited early on was sparse in the second half. Grabavoy credited this to changes San Jose made during halftime.

“They change formation, they step up and press us a little bit, and so the soccer wasn't necessarily there in the second half,” he said. “It was a little sloppy, but in saying that, I think we battled hard.”

Grabavoy and Javier Morales scored the first two goals to help Real Salt Lake take a commanding lead. In the 33rd minute Plata's fancy footwork earned him a shot which bounced off the hands of San Jose keeper Jon Busch. The rebound sailed straight to Morales who one-timed it into the far corner.

Despite playing 120 minutes just a few days ago during the Open Cup match, Morales and Beckerman fought through fatigue and used accurate passing to cut down on energy expenditure.

Khari Stephenson earned the call-up to start in Saturdays game after netting a beauty in the Real Salt Lake Open Cup 3-2 victory over Atlanta on Tuesday. This was Stephenson's first start since the RSL home opener against Colorado on March 16. He, like many of his fellow teammates, has been battling a stubborn injury and it took some patience to get in sync with the rest of the midfield against the Earthquakes.

“We're all on the same page, we can all read off of each other,” Stephenson said. “I think for the most part we were (connecting). A little rusty with me not starting a game with them for awhile, but as the game went along it got better.”

Although he is always looking to play well for the Claret-and-Cobalt, playing against his former team is always fun for the midfielder and he is pleased RSL has taken all three points in both matches this season.

“We went to San Jose and got three points the first game of the season — and then they came here and we got another three points,” Stephenson said. “So its definitely a great feeling to get the win and a little more special for me because it was against my old team.”

Overall it was a good night for Stephenson and the rest of the veteran midfield gang, which put in a solid performance.

Grade: A-

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