Sam Johnson Earns Man Of The Match In Win Over Sporting Kansas City

Jul 1, 2019, 3:55 PM

Real Salt Lake players celebrate a goal against Sporting Kansas City, before the play is overturned...

Real Salt Lake players celebrate a goal against Sporting Kansas City, before the play is overturned by referees, at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Saturday, June 29, 2019. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

(Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake took down Western Conference rivals Sporting Kansas City on Saturday night to the tune of 2-0. Sam Johnson scored a brace, both goals coming in a dominant first half display.

As expected, the game heated up as the intensity and frustration grew from SKC. Midfielder Felipe Gutierrez, who leads the team in shots, shots on goal and goals, was constantly in the ear of referee Nima Saghafi. Everton Luiz was also seen barking at Gutierrez, even once the final whistle blew Gutierrez and Luiz were still shouting at each other.

After Saturdays victory, Real Salt Lake currently sits in the 8th spot, just one point behind the 6th and 7th Minnesota United and Houston Dynamo, respectively.

Here is how the players were rated after the loss, 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.

Head Coach

Mike Petke, 9
Petke had arguably his best performance as manager as he has had all season long. The changes to the lineup worked to perfection with Sam Johnson playing striker, Damir Kreilach central and Albert Rusnak on the right wing. The flow and tempo was very impressive, specifically in the first half. Petke also used his substitution pattern differently than he has this season, he brought Brooks Lennon on in the 60th minute. Much earlier in the game than he is used to doing. A very impressive performance from the gaffer!


Nick Rimando, 8
Rimando did everything that was asked of him, including a clean sheet. The MLS veteran ended his evening with three saves and helped organize the defenders throughout the course of the 90 minutes. A very solid and impressive performance from the Wall of the Wasatch.


Right Back: Aaron Herrera, 7
Statistically, Herrera had a very effective game. He had four header clearances, won two tackles, had two interceptions and was even able to get a shot off from inside the box. Herrera defended well and did a nice job getting involved in the attack when the right time called for it.

Center Back: Justen Glad, 8
Glad was very good playing the role of center back. Glad ended his evening with four clearances, 17 successful passes and one interception. He was a big part in keeping a clean sheet as he was able to control the center back position playing alongside Nedum Onuoha.

Center Back: Nedum Onuoha, 7
Onuoha led from the back line and was a big reason why RSL was able to keep a clean sheet. He had two interceptions and two clearances. His disposal was effective as well. He remains the most important piece to the puzzle on the back line.

Left Back: Donny Toia, 7
Much like Herrera, Toia was able to judge when the right time was to push forward and get involved in the attack. Toia had seven interceptions, a statistic that led the team. Toia unfortunately still struggles with his disposal as he turned the ball over six times in the final third.

Center Midfield: Everton Luiz, 8
After being bought by RSL, Luiz responded with a very physical performance against SKC. The Brazilian native ended his evening with fourteen successful passes in the oppositions half. His physicality and skill are a big reason why RSL was able to control the midfield battle in the first half.

Center Midfield: Kyle Beckerman, 7
Captain Kyle Beckerman played his role. The MLS veteran defended at will and ended his night with sixteen successful passes and three interceptions.

Right Wing: Albert Rusnak, 8
Rusnak was spectacular in the 2-0 win. Donning his black boots for the first time this season, the Slovakian International had his part in setting up both goals for Sam Johnson. Rusnak looked at home playing on the right wing.
Center Attacking Midfield: Damir Kreilach, 8
Kreilach ended the evening with two assists and controlled the ball with ease throughout the course of the 90 minutes. His tall frame gives RSL a threat in the air and makes life a lot easier for goalkeeper Nick Rimando during goal kicks.
Left Wing: Sebastian Saucedo, 8
Saucedo found the form he once had prior to the extended mid-season break. The homegrown product was attacking and beating defenders and it was a joy to watch.


Striker: Sam Johnson, 9
Johnson scored the only two goals of the match, both coming in the first half. Johnson was very effective with his shots to goal ratio as the Liberian International was superb in front of goal. There should be no question that Johnson is the future at striker for RSL. He was the man of the match against SKC.

The Bench

Brooks Lennon, 6
Lennon came on in the 61st minute for Sebastian Saucedo and slotted onto the left wing. Lennon had moments where he did not look comfortable, but was able to generate a shot that deflected for a corner kick. Lennon has a lot of work to do with his touch and skill, but one thing is for certain, his speed is enough to warrant him minutes.

Corey Baird, 6
Baird joined the action in the 67th minute for Sam Johnson and moved out to the right wing, pushing Albert Rusnak into the striking position. Baird had a few nice runs down the right side of the field and was able to give a spark to the attack, albeit only getting 23 minutes of playing time.

Tate Schmitt, 1
Schmitt came into the game in the 91st minute as the substitution was more of a time killer than anything.

Next Up

Real Salt Lake will take on the Columbus Crew this Wednesday at 8 p.m. The match 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!

Head coach Mike Petke and TV analyst Brian Dunseth have launched a new podcast titled “Off The Chest”. The duo discuss all matters of the world game in a entertaining and informative podcast that will be sure to make you laugh.

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