Real Salt Lake vs. Columbus Crew report card

Published: Sunday, Aug. 25 2013 12:11 a.m. MDT

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Tactics: Carlos Salcedo returned to the starting lineup after sitting out last Wednesday's game against Portland per coaches' decision, perhaps to help settle his nerves after getting schooled by L.A.'s Robbie Keane the previous Saturday.

Chris Wingert seemed eager from the opening minutes of the game to get involved in the attack. By the sixth minute, he'd found his way into the box to send a ball into Olmes Garcia, who was alone just above the six-yard box, but could not convert.

Nat Borchers received eight stitches after his collision in Wednesday's match with Portland. Saturday night he still had his head wrapped in gauze like a Revolutionary War vet. It didn't seem to have much of an impact. Borchers was his standard solid self.

Carlos Salcedo sat last Wednesday against Portland. Probably a good thing after struggling mightily against Robbie Keane and the L.A. Galaxy. One of the best things a central back can have is a short memory, something Salcedo seems to have in spades. He was confident and seemed no worse for the wear. Salcedo has been a revelation in his rookie year, when RSL's back line has been troubled with injury. His one knock this season has been his willingness to hit the dirt a bit too early and a bit too often. Saturday, Salcedo kept his feet much better and was instrumental in winning RSL the clean sheet.

Tony Beltran is having the kind of season you hope to have in a signing year. Good thing for RSL brass he's already signed on for three more years. His one-on-one defending may be the best in MLS this season, and his presence on the ball is underrated among defenders. His work along the midfield line in RSL's possession game Saturday night might have gone unnoticed by some of the spectators, but it was one of the reasons for the Claret and Cobalt's domination Saturday night.

Grade: A
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