Real Salt Lake Player Grades Versus Minnesota United

Jul 20, 2020, 3:23 PM
Douglas Martinez #12 of Real Salt Lake looks on with his teammates before a corner kick against Min...
Douglas Martinez #12 of Real Salt Lake looks on with his teammates before a corner kick against Minnesota United during a Group D match as part of the MLS Is Back Tournament at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on July 17, 2020 in Reunion, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Real Salt Lake fought tirelessly to gain a point against Minnesota United. Both teams struggled to find opportunistic chances in front of goal, it was certainly an impressive defensive display from both teams who battled for a 0-0 draw.

Goalkeeper: Zac MacMath – A+

MacMath was the best player on the pitch for RSL. He made a number of very impressive saves that ultimately gave the claret and cobalt a point. He finished the match with three saves to his name.

Right-back: Aaron Herrera – A

Herrera was, yet again, one of the most dominant players on the pitch. Herrera controlled the entire right side of the pitch, his work rate and skill execution were on full display against Minnesota. At just 23 years-young, Herrera is developing into one of the top right-backs in the entire league.

Center-back: Justen Glad – A

Another impressive display from the young center-back. Glad helped close down space, mark and use his speed to defend. Lately, Glad has also been tasked with playing a number of long balls into RSL’s attacking third, attempting to catch the opposition off guard. A trait very few center-backs are capable of.

Center-back: Marcelo Silva – A

Silva has looked comfortable, despite not having many minutes under his belt over the past year and a half, alongside Glad since the tournament began. Unlike Glad, Silva is the enforcer across the backline for RSL. His big frame is matched with his unwillingness to go into a tackle. Silva is fearless with his attack on the ball and strikes fear into opposing attackers.

Left-back: Donny Toia – A

Toia has grown since his second stint began at RSL. The left-back is starting to look more comfortable joining attacks and is not turning the ball over as much as he did last season.

Right-midfield: Albert Rusnak – D

Rusak’s impact on the match was minimal due to the hip flexor injury he suffered in the first half. Prior to being taken off in the 34th minute, Rusnak was attended to on two previous occasions. The right hip flexor gave him pain when he got his legs caught while trying to beat a Minnesota defender. Unfortunately, his status ahead of the final group stage match against Sporting Kansas City is questionable.

Center-midfield: Everton Luiz – B+

Luiz is one of the most important players for RSL anytime he enters the pitch. The Brazilian brings energy and flare to the game when he plays. He is not afraid or opposed to tell the referee how he really feels nor is he afraid to get in the face of opposing players. Against Minnesota, Luiz was quieter than he normally is, but was still very effective nonetheless.

Center-midfield: Pablo Ruiz – B+

Since returning from FC Pinzgau in the Austrian third division, Ruiz impressed on debut. His wicked left foot was constantly pushing the football back and forth across the pitch with the hope of finding adequate space to attack. If Ruiz can consistently play to the level in which we saw against Minnesota United, he could quickly develop into yet another fine, young product who will see a lot of minutes for RSL.

Left-midfield: Corey Baird – C

You can never fault Baird for his work rate and yet again it was tireless against Minnesota. However, Baird was unable to get into very many dangerous positions against the Loons. He had a difficult time generating chances and being dangerous in the attack. That will likely change soon, however, Baird is a fun and entertaining player to watch when he is up and running.

Striker: Douglas Martinez – C

Martinez got his second consecutive start for RSL against Minnesota. Unfortunately, the second time around was not as influential for Martinez as his debut tournament match was against the Rapids. Against the Rapids he became very dangerous in space and out on the right-wing, setting up the first Rusnak goal from a cross into the box. That tactic did not work for him against United who was comfortable with Martinez drifting wide to receive the ball. Martinez still has a lot of growing pains, his potential is exciting though.

Striker: Damir Kreilach – C

Kreilach was unable to influence the game. The big Croatian was thrown to the top of the attack, despite his preferred position being in the center of the park. As one of the leaders of the team, Kreilach will likely rebound and bounce back as the final group stage match looms.

Impact Of The Bench

Sam Johnson – B-

Johnson joined the match in the 79th minute and was eager on making a difference. The best chance of the evening came when Johnson slipped in behind the Kansas City defense and found himself one-on-one with goalkeeper Tyler Miller. Unfortunately, the shot attempt drifted past the far left post.

Next Opponent

RSL will take on Sporting Kansas City in their final group stage match. Kick-off is scheduled for 7 a.m. Wednesday, July 22.

Tom Hackett is a Utah and Real Salt Lake Insider for and host of the It’s Utah’s World Podcast (Utah Football themed) and The Lion’s Den Podcast (Real Salt Lake themed). Follow him on Twitter: @TomCantHackett.

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