Real Salt Lake entered Saturday night's matchup against the Los Angeles Galaxy in the thick of the playoff picture. Entering the match, it was holding the fifth seed in the playoffs. By the time the night was through, it looked as if it would be on the outside looking in. That was until Kyle Beckerman equalized the match with seconds to go.
The night started with Los Angeles on the attack, putting pressure on the Real back line. Marcelo Silva received a red card in the 14th minute, and the away team was a man down the rest of the match. Bradford Jamieson scored the only goal for the Galaxy, in the 41st minute, giving the Galaxy a 1-0 lead into halftime. In the second half, it continued to look bleak for RSL, but Beckerman scored at the death, giving Real one point to stay in the playoff picture.
Nick Rimando (6.5) — Rimando kept this match a lot closer on the scoreboard than it could have been. He came up big with early saves against a mass amount of challenges from the Galaxy.
Tony Beltran (7) — Beltran was not intimidated by the great Emmanuel Boateng and matched his physicality throughout the match. His presence along the back line helped counter the early pressure from L.A.
Marcelo Silva (1) — Early in the match, Silva had noticeable trouble with the pace of Giovani dos Santos and Boateng. Ultimately, it was Silva's demise with a red card in the 14th minute that almost cost Real Salt Lake any points at all.
Justen Glad (6.5) — Glad and the back line needed a terrific performance after Silva exited the match. They were close to perfect with Glad and David Horst not missing a beat at centerback.
Danilo Acosta (6) — Acosta had more looks offensively than he knew what to do with. He didn't pull the trigger right before halftime, which looked like a scoring opportunity, and there was a terrible decision made on his part. Luckily, his defensive role was where he shined with constant interceptions and physical play against the Galaxy.
Kyle Beckerman (8.5) — Beckerman and the rest of Real struggled to hold possession in the first 15 minutes. The energized play from the Galaxy caught the Claret and Cobalt off guard, and they were never able to keep control. RSL only held possession for less than 40 percent of the match But, don't tell that to Beckerman, who only need one strike at the death to win the match as time expired. The man is unbelievable.
Luke Mulholland (N/A) — Mulholland barely got his feet wet, when Coach Mike Petke decided it was time for a defensive substitution after Marcelo Silva left the match with an early red. Unfortunately, the strategy was not in Mulholland's favor.
Joao Plata (6) — Plata's five shot attempts led the team, but credit the L.A. goalkeeper, Clement Diop, for stopping some of his chances. Two of Plata's attempts looked like they would find the back of the net.
Albert Rusnák (7) — New father Rusnák came out and ran his tail off in this one. With a man down most of the match, Rusnák was all over the field, and seemed to propel the troops forward. Even though he did not score or assist on a goal, his impact was great.
Jefferson Savarino (6) — Not many scoring chances for the Venezuelan on this night. What's more concerning was the injury he sustained in the second half. We all hope his injury is not the end of his season.
Luis Silva (6) — Good effort in the second half for Luis Silva. His creativity at the top of the box gave Real some great chances to equalize, but RSL never managed to score when he was in the match.
David Horst (8) — Horst subbed in for Mulholland in the 18th minute. A nice run right before the half gave him a good look at a header. But his defensive slide at the end of the match kept it a one-goal game after Rimando got beat in the 89th. What's more was Horst assisted on the Beckerman death strike. Horst was definitely the Sub of the Match.
Brooks Lennon (5.5) — Lennon entered in to cause havoc against the back line of the Galaxy for Luis Silva in the 66th minute. His play never materialized, and the youngster needs more consistency.
Sebastian Saucedo (6) — The last substitution of the night for RSL brought Saucedo in for the injured Jefferson Savarino in the 69th minute. He almost made his mark on the match with a goal soon after, but Diop made one of many great saves.
Shane Reinhard is a graduate of Weber State University and a teacher and coach at St. Joseph Catholic High School in Ogden, Utah. Email: [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @hoopsters12.