Real Salt Lake report card: RSL takes command in second half, beats L.A. 3-1

Published: Sunday, June 9 2013 11:09 a.m. MDT

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Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Tactics: Khari Stephenson starts in the midfield for RSL's third game in a row. Ned Grabavoy continues to charge the box.

Ned Grabavoy: Ned Grabavoy seems to have gotten the message from Jason Kreis about attacking from the midfield. The last seven games he has been a major difference-maker in both linking up with the RSL forwards and making his own appearances in the box. Ned didn't have a shot on goal Saturday, but he was a critical part of RSL's attack and one of the key reasons they were able to stay in la's half much of the game. If anything sour might be said about Ned's performance, it might be in the fact that his higher line in the first half gave la too much room to break through the RSL midfield.

Javier Morales: Javier struggled to make an impact defensively much of of the first half, which allowed la to break down RSL's midfield far too easily. By the second half, Javi was slightly better, but what he gave up on defense he made up for in spades on offense. His link-up passing with the forwards was as good as it's been all year, particularly in the second half. He earned two special assists on the night. One with a deftly floated cross into the box for Olmes Garcia to back-shrug into the goal and another perfectly weighted through ball to a streaking Olmes Garcia who worked some magic of his own to beat la's Brian Rowe for his second goal.

Kyle Beckerman: Captain Beckerman came on a little slower than one might have expected given his tremendous play last week in three full games, given the week of rest and light training. But Kyle shook off the dullness by the 15th minute, and after sizing up la's attack, he was the Honey Badger in the flesh. Defensively he was rock solid but he shone brightest on offense. His work in the 83rd minute kept RSL on the attack and earned him a second assist when he dropped the ball to Javier Morales who flew a perfectly weighted ball into Olmes Garcia for his first goal.

Khari Stephenson: Jason Kreis calls Stephenson one of the most dangerous outside shots in Major League Soccer. His rocket in the 23rd minute was only inches from proving why Kreis gave Khari the start. His 27th minute gimmick free kick found la Keeper Brian Rowe flatfooted. If only it had been two inches to the right, the woodwork wouldn't have been in the way. But they say if at first you don't succeed, try try again. And so Khari did in the 44th minute, off a break that he created with terrific control in the midfield, and a nice run and positioning atop the box where he received a deft pass from Robbie Findley and was able to send it low and hard into the lower right of the goal to put RSL up 1-0.

Sebastian Velasquez (Sub '70): Sebastian came on for Khari Stephenson in the 70th minute as an attacking midfield option. He sent a couple of very dangerous balls into the box, but it was his defense and energy that turned out to be the difference against a gassed la Galaxy team that struggled to keep the pace they set in the first half.

Grade: A-
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