Real Salt Lake had every reason to play tentatively Saturday night, with the weight of a 5-goal San Jose blowout on their backs, and the Rocky Mountain Cup on the line. But these guys have learned from adversity this season. They played calm and collected. Owning the vast majority of ball possession in the first half and a slight percentage more in the second, the boys in Claret and Cobalt patiently enduring Colorado's pack-'em-in-and-wait strategy. Fabian Espindola broke the blockade in the 32nd minute, when he charged down a misguided Marvell Wynne back-pass and glanced it off a charging Colorado goalie Matt Pickens to find Alvaro Saborio standing alone in front of the goal for his easiest score of the season. Colorado came out more offensively minded in the second half, adding Omar Cummings to the lineup and pressing harder against RSL's solid defensive line. But Nat Borchers and company never broke, holding Colorado to 0 shots on goal. Will Johnson was the beneficiary of a perfectly executed steal by Alvaro Saborio in the 90th minute which Johnson took to the goal to make the final score 2-0, RSL.

Game Stats

Match Info

Referee: Silviu Petrescu
Attendance: 19,492

Goals
RSL - 2 (Saborio 32', Johnson 90')

Cards
Colorado 45', Joseph Nane, Yellow
Real Salt Lake, 82', Jonny Steele, Yellow, reached yellow card accumulation. Sits out next game.

Real Salt Lake | Colo. Rapids
12 Attempts on Goal 3
4 Shots on Target 0
5 Shots off Target 3
3 Blocked Shots 0
5 Corner Kicks 3
16 Fouls 12
12 Open Play Crosses 13
3 Offsides 2
1 First Yellow Cards 1
0 Second Yellow Cards 0
0 Red Cards 0
45 Duels Won 52
46% Duels Won % 53%
426 Total Pass 404
78% Passing Accuracy % 78%
51% Possession 49%

Nick Rimando (GK)

Nick wasn't necessarily tested with shots on goal, but Colorado did send some very good crosses into the box that made Nick look like superman as he parried two out of harm's way and went skyward on another two to pluck them literally off the heads of waiting Colorado players. But what Nick can do with his hands can often be outdone by his feet. His distribution with his feet was superb Saturday night as he sent ball after ball downfield with pace - both set balls and punts - to find his players. What makes Nick's distribution so incredible is his instinctive ability to find players in stride and put the ball right at their best foot. With all that, Nick not only won the clean sheet, RSL's sixth straight Rocky Mountain cup, but his 132nd career win, which moves him past Zach Thornton for sole possession of No. 2 on the All-Time MSL career wins list.

MIN 90
SHT 0
SV 0
GA 0
A 0
FC 0
FS 0

Cards: None

Grade: A

Tony Beltran (DEF)

Real's 2012 season has been one of growth for Tony. He's seen some low points like the mistake the let LA into the game they eventually won in June despite Real's 2-0 lead. But he's also seen some high ones. Saturday wasn't one of them. But it was evident he's been studying tape, watching his counterpart Chris Wingert on the left and settling into what's looking more and more like a veteran starting role. Tony can sometimes find himself stuck out of position on offensive runs. But Saturday he was more patient and measured. He found opportunities to push forward, playing a key role in helping RSL to dominate the right line the whole first half, but he made his way back into position quickly and without hesitation - something he's struggled with in the past. He might not have had his usual flash Saturday, but that seems to be because he's convinced himself that the little things like positioning and spacing can and should take precedence.

MIN 90
G 0
A 0
SHT 0
SOG 0
CK 0
OF 0
FC 0
FS 1

Cards: None

Grade: A-

Nat Borchers (DEF)

RSL coach Jason Kreis had his first choice defensive line all together for the first time in what seems like ages. At least for most of the game. Nat Borchers took his place as director of the line and everything fell in to place to help RSL goal keeper Nick Rimando win the clean sheet. Even when Kwame Watson-Siriboe entered the game in the 62nd minute in place of a clearly wounded/winded Jamison Olave, Nat kept the defense marshaled against Colorado's desperate sorties forward. Nat had double duty Saturday, helping Yordany Alvarez find his place on a number of times without veteran defensive center midfielder Kyle Beckerman in his regular place due to red-card suspension.

MIN 90
G 0
A 0
SHT 1
SOG 0
CK 0
OF 0
FC 2
FS 0

Cards: None

Grade: A

Jamison Olave (DEF)

Jamison Olave's right calf has been giving him fits much of the season and it was evident that he was hampered by it much of the first 60 minutes of the game. But even an injured Jamison Olave is a heck of a defender. Olave willed himself into one of his most solid defensive performances of the season, winning most balls that came near him out of the air, chasing down 50/50s and beating out Colorado's front line with his size and speed. Thought RSL press-handlers said it wasn't due to injury, it was clear his leg finally got the better of him in the 63rd minute when he was subbed out for Kwame Watson-Siriboe.

MIN 63
G 0
A 0
SHT 0
SOG 0
CK 0
OF 0
FC 1
FS 0

Cards: None

Grade: A

Chris Wingert (DEF)

Chris was on his game Saturday night. It was nice to see the veteran in rhythm because when he is, he's not flashy, but he can be an extremely effective winger (no pun intended). When he wasn't in near-perfect defensive position all night long, he could be found lobbing balls in from the outside and and making well timed overlapping runs up the side to hook up with Will Johnson and Javier Morales.

MIN 90
G 0
A 1
SHT 0
SOG 0
CK 0
OF 0
FC 1
FS 3

Cards: None

Grade: A

Yordany Alvarez (MID)

Alvarez had big shoes to fill as he filled in Saturday night for a red-card suspended Kyle Beckerman. While his passing wasn't as confident as Beckerman's and Nat Borchers could be seen all night directing him into position in front of the defensive line, his motor was on full-tilt all night. And it made a difference. Colorado's midfielders might not have know quite what to expect from Alvarez in only his fourth start of the season and his aggressiveness often was just enough to throw off any momentum they were building.

MIN 90
G 0
A 0
SHT 2
SOG 0
CK 0
OF 0
FC 2
FS 1

Cards: None

Grade: B-

Ned Grabavoy (MID)

Ned is known for his defending but Saturday he brought a decidedly more offensive mindset to the game, completing the diamond of Javier Morales, Fabian Espindola and Tony Beltran that seemed unstoppable marching goal-ward down the right side of the field. Ned pulled back a bit in the second half to help Real hang on to the 1-goal lead as the flow of play turned more to the left side of the field.

MIN 90
G 0
A 1
SHT 1
SOG 0
CK 0
OF 1
FC 0
FS 1

Cards: None

Grade: B+

Will Johnson (MID)

Will Johnson has been on a mission to score these past few games. He's been pushing hard on opposing team's defensive midfield and back line every time he takes the field. Well, mission finally accomplished. He was the benefactor of a tremendous defensive play in the 90th minute by Alvaro Saborio who won the ball away from defender Tyrone Marshall just outside Colorado's box, sent it wide right to a streaking Johnson who saw the door open and didn't look back. He took two touches and slotted a nifty ball across Colorado keeper Matt Pickens to find the net just inside the left post.

MIN 90
G 1
A 0
SHT 2
SOG 1
CK 0
OF 0
FC 1
FS 1

Card: None

Grade: A

Javier Morales (MID)

Teams may have learned that Javier Morales is bothered by physical play. And that's true, but in addition to MLS referees finally getting the memo to watch for it, Javier has learned to turn it to his advantage with honest play, good positioning and a good dose of patience. The strategy earned Joseph Nane a somewhat questionable yellow card in the 45th minute. The charge that earned it might not have been enough for a yellow if it had come against another player. He hurt them in other ways. Like his possession and passing in the final third that was typically Moralesesque despite the physical play.

MIN 90
G 0
A 0
SHT 1
SOG 1
CK 5
OF 1
FC 2
FS 4

Cards: None

Grade: A

Fabian Espindola (FWD)

Fabian pestered Colorado's defense incessantly all night long, hitting pay dirt in the 32nd minute when he charged down a terrible pass-back by Colorado defender Marvell Wynne and glanced it off a charging Matt Pickens in the goal leaving it for the simplest of tap ins by Alvaro Saborio. Brilliant play. Fabi nearly had his own scoring moment in the 65th minute when RSL keeper Nick Rimando sent a perfect ball out his box, finding Espindola right on Colorado's defensive line where he beat his defender and lashed a half-volley just wide left of the goal. He continued to pick apart Colorado's defense all night but after two warnings, RSL coach Jason Kreis felt it best to pull him in the place of Jonny Steele in the 77th minute, moving Morales up into the forward position.

MIN 77
G 0
A 1
SHT 2
SOG 0
CK 0
OF 0
FC 4
FS 1

Card: None

Grade: A

Alvaro Saborio (FWD)

Sabo continued his home scoring streak, scoring his fourth in two home games, when Fabian Espindola did the work to win the ball away from Colorado defender Marvell Wynne and Colorado keeper Matt Pickens to leave Alvaro all alone with an empty net and only a yard to go for the tap in. Easy as they come, but you have to give Alvaro credit for tracking back when he saw Fabian's attack to be in the right place at the right time. Alvaro has clearly rediscovered his confidence, taking another brace of very good shots that Colorado keeper Matt Pickens turned aside. But it was his defense that really stood out Saturday night, culminating in a tremendous play in the 90th minute when he won the ball away from defender Tyrone Marshall just outside Colorado's box and found a streaking Will Johnson who put a perfectly place ball past Pickens for RSL's second and final goal of the night.

MIN 90
G 1
A 1
SHT 3
SOG 2
CK 0
OF 1
FC 1
FS 1

Card: None

Man of the Match
Grade: A

Kwame Watson-Siriboe (DEF, SUB)

Kwame came on in relief of Jamison Olave in the 63rd minute and was solid. He seemed much more comfortable with Nat Borchers at his side than he did with Jamison in the San Jose game last Saturday. His passing was better, which could have been as much the effect of a Chris Wandoleski-less forward line as anything, but it also helped him find his positioning, which did the job against a desperate Colorado offense watching the Rocky Mountain cup slipping further and further away as the game drew to a close.

MIN 27
G 0
A 0
SHT 1
SOG 0
CK 0
OF 0
FC 1
FS 0

Card: None

Grade: B+