Nick Besler Had Standout Game For RSL In Win Over Rapids

May 14, 2019, 2:55 PM
(Real Salt Lake)...
(Real Salt Lake)
(Real Salt Lake)

SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake visited the worst team in Major League Soccer, the Colorado Rapids over the weekend and came out victorious.

The game consisted of five goals, two penalties, a red card that was reviewed and subsequently supplemented with a yellow and countless chances that continued into the dying seconds.

The action started in the 25th minute when Bofo Saucedo danced his way around 16-year-old full back Sebastian Anderson only for Anderson to drag him down and gifted RSL a penalty kick. Albert Rusnak calmly put the ball passed Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard to give the visitors the lead.

Two minutes later in the 27th minute, Nick Besler played a long ball into the feet of Corey Baird who took it in stride, struck the ball with the outside of his right foot and gave Real a two goal advantage.

Justen Glad went into a challenge with the studs up and was shown red, however, referee Robert Sibiga jogged off to the monitor and deemed that it was worthy of a yellow card, not a red. A big break for RSL.

Glad made headlines again in the 46th minute when his flying left foot whiffed on a ball only to give Colorado life as they enter the half trailing 2-1. Then, minutes out of the halftime break, Colorado put their second in the back of the net after miss communication from RSL players defending a corner kick, leveling the match at two.

Remember, the most dangerous lead in soccer is being up 2-0.

Enter Sam Johnson, the newly equipped striker, who has made his mark over the last month for Real Salt Lake and the Liberian international came up big again as he got on the end of a Damir Kreilach cross.

Real goalkeeper Andrew Putna made a massive penalty kick save in the 59th minute as his right foot got in the way of Kei Kamara scoring the equalizer.

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.


Andrew Putna, 5
Putna struggled with his footwork, as his disposal was not up to par. It’s a shame considering he has been very good with his feet lately. However, his big 6’2″ frame got in the way of Kei Kamara’s penalty attempt in the 59th minute.

Right Back: Aaron Herrera, 6
Herrera had an okay evening. His work rate up and down the right hand side was impressive, however he turned the ball over in his own half on 8 different occasions. Herrera is still learning the pace of play at the professional level and like most young pro’s, we should expect some bad games mixed in between some very good games.

Center Back: Justen Glad, 6
Glad did not have a great evening. His challenge in the 35th minute was scary as he showed his studs which is normally a good indication that a red card is coming. Then his clearance effort on the second Rapids goal was poor. However, Glad has an ability to make mistakes and bounce back from them. His speed is always impressive and his willingness to take the game on is always fun to watch.

Center Back: Nedum Onuoha, 8
Onuoha was again very solid at center back. He has a presence about him that intimidates opponents. His clean up work across the back line is as good as it gets in MLS. Onuoha is the best defender for RSL.

Left Back: Donny Toia, 7
Donny Toia has clearly heard the words coming out of Mike Petke’s mouth from a few weeks ago when Petke mentioned that he would like to see the fullbacks push up the pitch and get involved in the attacking front. One of the many reasons you play a left footer at left back is so that you can utilize that left foot to whip balls into the box and help create chances. Toia did however cause the penalty in which Putna eventually saved, so there is room for improvement.

Center Midfield: Nick Besler, 9
Nick Besler was the best player on the pitch against the Rapids. Kyle Beckerman did not play and you would have never known with how well Besler ended up filling the void. The assist to Baird in the 27th minute was one of the prettier goals RSL has scored all season long. He will continue to get minutes for the Claret and Cobalt, however, despite how well he played over the weekend, if captain Kyle Beckerman returns this week you can bet that Besler makes way for him.

Center Midfield: Damir Kreilach, 7
Kreilach had moments of brilliance and moments of…well, not so brilliant. He had a hard time defending the corner kick’s and it eventually led to Colorado’s second goal. However, he did get the assist on the game winner.

Right Wing: Sebastian Saucedo, 8
Bofo was very impressive. His confidence when the ball was at his feet was fun to watch, and he has no problem unleashing a shot from deep. Early into the first half, he created havoc going up against the 16-year-old Anderson and eventually was rewarded when he was dragged down and gifted RSL their first goal through the penalty spot.

Center Attacking Midfield: Albert Rusnak, 7
Rusnak scored from the penalty spot to lift his season total to 5. However, his delivery struggled early into the game as he often over-shot his intended targets. Rusnak is and will continue to be a key player for the success of this club.

Left Wing: Corey Baird, 7
Baird was on fire early and was rewarded with a very classy goal in the 27th minute. There is no question that he feels at home on the right or left wing as opposed to playing striker. He danced and maneuvered his way into a number of shots that missed just wide and was very effective creating chances.


Striker: Sam Johnson, 8
“Sam The Man” as he has come to be known, delivered once again for RSL, scoring the game winner in the 53rd minute. He has now scored four goals in his six games that he has started. After his comments after the 2-1 loss at home against Portland, which he criticized his teammates inability to find him, he backed up those words against the Rapids this past Saturday. Another strong performance from the current and future striker of RSL this season. 

The Bench

Joao Plata, 5
Plata entered the game in the 68th minute when he replaced Bofo Saucedo and created a few chances for RSL in the short time he played. Fresh legs are always key off the bench and Plata rewarded Mike Petke by working hard up and down the wings.

Brooks Lennon, 3
Lennon came on in the 79th minute for Corey Baird and much like Plata, created chances with his speed and fresh legs. Lennon is a swiss army knife for Mike Petke as he has the ability to play at many different positions.

Marcelo Silva, 2
Silva came on in the 85th minute for Sam Johnson with the intention to close out the game victorious. The move from Petke paid off as RSL was able to scramble, despite the late pressure from Colorado, and run out the 90-plus minutes victorious. Despite Silva having very little impact, it was good to see the veteran back on the pitch after yet another muscle injury.

Next Up

Real Salt Lake return home to face Toronto F.C. this Saturday at 1 p.m.

Toronto has lost their last two MLS games and currently sit in sixth place in the Eastern Conference.

The match on Saturday can be streamed on, as well as on the KSL TV app. in collaboration with Real Salt Lake has launched a new podcast, The RSL Lion’s Den. It is the official Real Salt Lake podcast for all your club news and updates. Tom Hackett, Spencer Warne and RSL’s Director of PR, 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 podcasts are found. Don’t forget to rate and subscribe!

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Nick Besler Had Standout Game For RSL In Win Over Rapids