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Courtesy of RSL
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RSL’s Herrera Earns Man Of The Match Honors For Strong Outing Against Vancouver

Courtesy of RSL

SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake beat the Vancouver Whitecaps  1-0 in their home opener last Saturday. RSL’s Albert Rusnak booted a penalty kick goal in the 21st minute and that proved to be the difference maker.

Here is how the players were rated after the victory, on a scale of 0-10.

0-5: The player Did not play well or did not get enough minutes to judge performance correctly.

6-7: The player played well and had moments where they did not make good decisions.

8-9: The player was very impressive, had very few mistakes and offered a lot of production.

10: The player played a perfect game. No mistakes, everything the player touched turned to gold.

Goalkeeper

Nick Rimando, 8

It was another clean sheet and another fine performance from the seasoned veteran in goal for RSL. Rimando made a massive save late in the second half after Vancouver’s center back Doneil Henry found space in the box only to head the ball right to Rimando’s throat for the denial.

Defenders

Right Back: Brooks Lennon, 6

Lennon still has some work to do when it comes to figuring out the right back position. His attacking instinct is still in full flight, as he tried to get involved in just about every attack. Occasionally, Lennon can find himself out of position, which in turn caused problems for Real Salt Lake defensively. His attacking mindset and confidence is fun to watch, however.

Center Back: Marcelo Silva, 7 

Silva was solid in the back for RSL. At times, he broke the line of the back four in the hopes of winning a 50/50 ball which did open a few avenues for the Vancouver attackers to operate in. Fortunately, his teammates, Nedum Onuoha, was there to clean up the mess and prevent any damage.

Center Back: Nedum Onuoha, 7

So far, Onuoha has brought a lot to the table for the Claret and Cobalt defensively.. He is strong, physical and hard to get around and also very vocal and experienced. He occasionally tries to play long balls as opposed to the easy ball along the ground which can create a turnover and gifts the ball back to the opposition.

Left Back: Aaron Herrera, 9 

Herrera was the man of the match for RSL. He is traditionally a right back by trade but has been playing left back ever since his promotion into the starting 11 last season. Against Vancouver he did a sensational job of stopping attacking chances with some very impressive challenges and also made good decisions when it came to joining the attack.

For his efforts, Herrera also made the bench on MLS Week 2 Team of the Week.

Midfielders

Center Midfield: Everton Luiz, 8.5

Luiz has already become an RSL fan favorite. He is not afraid to get in the opponent’s face when he doesn’t agree with a challenge or whistle. He added a real spark to the midfield and accompanied Beckerman very nicely. He’s also an attacking player who flies end-to-end helping out on both sides of the football. Since he did pick up his second yellow card of the season, he will need to be weary of the potential consequences. He will be suspended for a regular season game once he reaches 5 total yellow cards.

Center Midfield: Kyle Beckerman, 8 

Beckerman played another nice game next to Luiz. He held his ground and made many nice stops when Vancouver were trying to counter attack. A nice start to the season after an off season that had many question marks around Beckerman’s name.

Attackers

Right Wing: Jefferson Savarino, 7

Savarino was turning players inside and out as he normally does. He did take a few shots where he should have passed instead. Regardless, he is exciting to watch and is growing in confidence every minute he plays.

Center Attacking Midfield: Damir Kreilach, 7 

Kreilach should have had a goal to his name after hitting the goal post on a header late in the game. Kreilach did a nice job controlling the pace and flow of the game from the attacking side of midfield. He is still the target man for Rimando on goal kicks and wins far more headers than he loses.

Left Wing: Albert Rusnak, 8

Rusnak was the difference on Saturday after his penalty kick was put away with pure class. Aside from the penalty, Rusnak had a few chances in which he was unable to capitalize on. His creative instinct does not go unnoticed.

Striker: Corey Baird, 7

Baird was active whether he had the ball or not. He was tireless worker who gave RSL the penalty kick after going down on a Whitecaps penalty in the box. It may have been a legal challenge by Vancouver, but Baird sold it well. As a result, Rusnak buried the penalty kick to the hosts a 1-0 advantage. Throughout the match, Baird’s touch occasionally let him down, hopefully after a few more games the young American will find the form from last year.

The Bench

Sam Johnson, 7

Johnson rewarded manager Mike Petke for bringing him on early in the second half by putting himself in dangerous positions frequently. A hybrid striker who has the ability to beat opponents in the air and on the ground, Johnson made the most of his 25 minutes off the bench. His runs into space caused headaches for the Whitecaps.

Sebastian Saucedo, 5

“Bofo” offered a spark as well off the bench, despite only seeing 15 minutes of playing time.

Nick Besler, 4 

Besler entered the game in the 87th minute in replacement of Damir Kreilach to add another defensive presence on the pitch and help hold off the Whitecaps from equalizing.

Next Up

Real Salt Lake’s next game is on the road against DC United on Saturday, March 16 at 6 p.m.

The RSL vs. DC United game can be streamed for free on KSLSports.com as well as the KSL TV app.