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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: Nat Borchers, Carlos Salcedo, Chris Wingert and Tony Beltran

Real Salt Lake's defense is short-staffed these days. There is talk of Chris Schuler's injury keeping him off the field for longer than expected, meaning RSL must rely on a small group of defenders indefinitely. That’s why it’s a good thing the back four are playing remarkable team defense, and also contributing significantly on the offensive end.

The Real Salt Lake defense should take a lot of credit for the win and advancement into the U.S. Open Cup semifinals. Both starting outside backs, Tony Beltran and Chris Wingert, fired powerful ground shots from outside the box to score. Neither defender had scored in quite some time — two years for Beltran and three years for Wingert — and both enjoyed the attention for a night.

"Unfortunately, defenders don’t always get the spotlight," Beltran said. "We do a lot of the dirty work but when you do get the goal it’s nice.”

Wingert admitted his goal wasn't exactly brilliant, but he'd take it nonetheless.

“I don’t think you can compare the two," Wingert said. "You know his was a blast and mine was clearly a deflection. Whatever we’ll take it.”

The defenders also took care of usual business by protecting the net and only allowing one shot on goal for Carolina.

Grade: A

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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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