Real Salt Lake report card: Defenders steal the show, other position groups contribute

Published: Thursday, June 27 2013 2:50 a.m. MDT

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

Substitute: Yordany Alvarez (79th minute)

The midfield was not RSL's classic, fine-tuned diamond Wednesday evening. The passing and communication was a far cry from its usual precision. Real Salt Lake's playmaker, Javier Morales, struggled to advance the ball and find open forwards, which hurt his team offensively. But, Morales did play solid defense and made it difficult for Carolina's offense to make it past midfield.

Kyle Beckerman played well overall, despite making a few passing errors. He played with urgency and fight, which in turn led to him winning a lot of 50-50 balls. He also cut off many passing lanes for Carolina and his defense in the midfield was key.

Yordany Alvarez came in for Morales in the 79th minute of play at the same time Olmes Garcia relieved Khari Stephenson. When these two subbed in, RSL appeared to drop into a 4-5-1 formation to slow the panicking, frantic RailHawks.

Grade: B

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Nussdorfer AC
Salt Lake City, UT

Ned looked a little off against Carolina, but still did fine. It was a nice performance by the entire team. Stephenson seems to thrive in the Cup games.

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