Don Ryan, Associated Press
Real Salt Lake midfielder Luis Gil, right, chases the ball ahead of Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Chara in the second half of the second game of the Western Conference finals in the MLS Cup soccer playoffs Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, in Portland, Ore. Real Salt Lake won 1-0.

Real Salt Lake were felled 3-1 by the Portland Timbers, but with a red card and a penalty for the home team, controversy wasn't on short order.

Here are the grades (1 to 10, 10 being best):

Jeff Attinella, 6, wasn't to blame for any of the three Portland goals, and, in fact, his goalkeeping prevented a more sobering scoreline.

Tony Beltran, 4.5, committed a smart foul to prevent a clean breakaway, earning himself a yellow. But a second foul on essentially the next play — a yellow-worthy foul if there ever was one — saw the right back sent off. It was uncharacteristic, but it was also poor.

Nat Borchers, 6, was solid, and for once, he looked likely to get on the end of a set piece. It didn't play out that way

Chris Schuler, 5, gave up a poor penalty when he unnecessarily slid in to prevent Diego Valeri from an easy goal. Nuances of the handball rule aside, Schuler was in a poor position to overcommit to the play.

Chris Wingert, 6, switched without issue from the left to the right flank when Tony Beltran was sent off, and he didn't allow too much in the way of Timbers' attack down his side.

Ned Grabavoy, 5.5, dropped into the classic Beckerman role with aplomb, but his strengths are more attacking than the role affords. It was not his best outlay, but surely it was an improvement on his last two matches. Still, for most of the 30 minutes before he was substituted through injury, he didn’t get on the ball, and that’s worrying.

Luis Gil, 7, had a strong attacking game, but he also had a solid defensive night. He was more dangerous than most, which will surely come in handy moving forward in the long season.

Luke Mulholland, 6.5, took his goal well but struggled to involve himself in play for the duration of the match. His attacking influence was felt in the first half, but beyond that, he was noticeably absent save some dangerous shooting opportunities.

Javier Morales, 6, was in dangerous positions but didn't capitalize on his chances. This was particularly the case from set pieces, as RSL had enough that he really could have made a goalscoring impact.

Olmes Garcia, 6, looked dangerous but describing him as much more than that would be a mistake.

Joao Plata, 6.5, was the player substituted when Tony Beltran was sent off — reasonably so, as he’s only just coming back into fitness and wasn’t likely to go more than 60 minutes regardless.


Abdoulie Mansally, 5.5, came on not as a left back, but as a hybrid left winger with some very minor defensive roles. Given our losing position, this was a positive attacking substitution, but given he rarely plays the position these days with Real Salt Lake, one couldn’t expect too much.

Cole Grossman, 5.5, came on when Ned Grabavoy succumbed to a hip flexor injury. He stuck a bit more centrally and did the dirty work, but it wasn’t much use by the 60th minute.

Devon Sandoval, 5, came on but had neither time to make an impact, nor the creative resources around him to assist in that regard.

Matt Montgomery is the managing editor of RSL Soapbox. Contact him at