Big Team Effort Helped Real Salt Lake Beat Orlando City S.C.
SANDY, Utah – After losing in four consecutive MLS games, Real Salt Lake won their second game of the season over the weekend beating Orlando City S.C 2-1.
RSL had control of the game from the get go as Sam Johnson opened his MLS account scoring his first goal, and the games first goal after a powerful left footed strike found the back of the net in the 17th minute. That lead doubled in the 55th minute as Jefferson Savarino found a streaking Damir Kreilach just inside the 18 yard box, the powerful Croatian hit the ball with the inside of his left boot to find the back of the net.
However, the win did not come easily for the home side. Portuguese and Orlando star, Nani curved the ball over the wall and past Nick Rimando from a free kick 25 yards out in the 81st minute to give the visitors momentum with ten minutes to play.
Fortunately,RSL was able to hold on and give the home crowd something to cheer about, picking up three points against a very talented Orlando City S.C side.
Here is how the players were rated after the win, 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, but 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.
Nick Rimando, 7
Rimando made four very important saves over the course of the 90 minutes. He will be disappointed that he could not do more with the Nani free kick that resulted in a goal in the 81st minute. Regardless, Rimando was again very good and was an important factor in helping RSL pick up three points.
Right Back: Aaron Herrera, 7
Herrera looked far more comfortable playing in his preferred right back position. He had a part to play in RSL’s second goal playing a very impressive long ball onto Savarino who eventually found Kreilach in the box. Mike Petke commented on the play of Herrera during his post game press conference, stating that he would have liked him to push up the field more often than he did.
Center Back: Justen Glad, 8
The return of Glad was seamless. The young homegrown player returned to the starting XI after suffering a broken toe only days before the season opener against Houston. Glad was spectacular playing alongside Onuoha at center back, making multiple challenges and helping stop any Orlando City attack. His speed at center back was influential in chasing down runs made by Orlando attackers.
Center Back: Nedum Onuoha, 8
Onuoha had another spectacular game for RSL. The experienced Englishmen has played every minute for RSL this season and there is a reason why. His experience and leadership is never questioned, he was big in stature and made his presence known. Onuoha did however give away the free kick in the 81st minute that resulted in Orlando’s only goal of the match.
Left Back: Donny Toia, 7
Toia returned to the starting XI to face his former team and played admirably. Again, Petke mentioned the play of the fullbacks in his post game press conference saying he would have liked them to play further up the ground at times. Regardless, Toia added confidence and experience to the back four. His play will improve with the more minutes he accumulates.
Center Midfield: Everton Luiz, 4
Unfortunately, Luiz suffered a left knee injury in the 28th minute and went straight to the hospital for MRI scans. RSL analyst and The Lions Den host, Spencer Warne, tweeted late on Saturday evening that the news regarding Luiz’s injury seems better than what the club first feared.
Center Midfield: Kyle Beckerman, 8
After Luiz left the game mid way through the first half. Beckerman was asked to fill the shoes of the Brazilian star. That he did, putting in a shift that RSL fans have not seen for some time. Beckerman was the controlling factor for RSL throughout the game, his defensive work ethic and his ability to spark counter attacking opportunities was very impressive. Just when you thought the 20 year MLS vet maybe slowing down, you are asked to think twice.
Right Wing: Jefferson Savarino, 8
Savarino was again dancing his way around Orlando City players, while creating chances for RSL frequently. Savarino had a shot from outside the box that was curling into the bottom left hand corner before it was saved by a flying Brian Rowe hand in the first half. He also had an assist, finding Damir Kreilach just inside the box for RSL’s second goal.
Center Attacking Midfield: Damir Kreilach, 8
Kreilach returned to the starting XI as he returned from his red card suspension. Kreilach proved, once again, why he is such a critical piece to this RSL team. He scored the second and defining goal of the game in the 55th minute and was helpful creating many chances for RSL over the course of the match. His skill, matched with his power was very daunting for Orlando.
Left Wing: Albert Rusnak, 7
Rusnak found himself playing slightly out of position, however, the young Slovakian assisted Sam Johnson’s first goal of the game. Rusnak was and continues to be a very important piece to the puzzle when it comes to RSL having success. Rusnak is best when he finds himself with the ball in space, the ball he played to Johnson for the opening goal was created by Rusnak attacking Orlando’s defense.
Striker: Sam Johnson, 9
Johnson opened his MLS scoring account after he found the back of the net with a powerful left foot strike in the 17th minute. Johnson’s work rate was very impressive, constantly chasing down the ball when Orlando had it. His skill, matched with his speed is world class, it seems RSL has found there go-to target man up top.
Nick Besler, 6
Besler came on for the injured Everton Luiz and played his role in the center of the park. Playing alongside captain Kyle Beckerman, Besler was a nice addition to the midfield and played a big role in helping RSL get the result.
Corey Baird, 4
Baird did not have any influence on the match, coming on for Damir Kreilach in the 67th minute. He attempted to play a ball in and behind the back four of Orlando but played it too hard. Baird was able to showcase his skill in the 23 minutes he played, he is a young and exciting player for RSL, there is no question about that.
Brooks Lennon, 3
Lennon was brought on in the 86th minute for Sam Johnson as Mike Petke attempted to shut the game down giving the 2-1 lead. Lennon slotted into the right wing back position, playing a back five. The move worked, as RSL was able to hold off Orlando City and take the three points.
Real Salt Lake has a short turn around, traveling to Cincinnati for the first time and playing the MLS newcomers this Friday evening at 5:30 p.m.
FC Cincinnati currently sits in 7th place in the Eastern Conference, they are coming off a 2-0 loss on the road against LAFC.
The match on Friday can be streamed for free on KSLSports.com, as well as the KSL TV app.
KSLSports.com in collaboration with Real Salt Lake have launched a new podcast. It is the official Real Salt Lake podcast for all your club news and updates. Tom Hackett, Spencer Warne and Director of PR for RSL Matt Gaschk break down the games and discuss important club matters.
To listen to The Lion’s Den, click here. It is available on iTunes, Google Play or wherever you get your podcasts. Don’t forger to rate and subscribe!
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