Real Salt Lake Vs San Jose Earthquakes Report Card

Real Salt Lake took 3 points from the San Jose Quakes in an extremely physical match Easter Sunday April, 5th 2015.  Professor Zeek is handing out his weekly reports for his post match marks on RSL’s performance.

Starters:

Alvaro Saborio – C+

Saborio is a player I have a love / hate relationship with.  In my opinion he is the textbook definition of ‘he’s good when he wants to be’ and will only put out the effort when he wants to.

This opinion is one that some Real Salt Lake fans will share with me from his performance in last year’s playoff game against LA Galaxy; he was lackadaisical and seemed to be off doing his own thing.

However, in this match Saborio showed a huge amount of hustle (for him), and had a relatively quiet game.  His passing was average but was at least scrappy.  Also he didn’t have too many shots (2 with none on target).

Not anything special in this performance but good enough to pass.

Apr 5, 2015; San Jose, CA, USA; Real Salt Lake defender Tony Beltran (2) and forward Alvaro Saborio (15) talk with Real Salt Lake defender Jordan Allen (7) after Allen hit his head going for a header against the San Jose Earthquakes in the first half at Avaya Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Allen – A-

Allen is the definition of hustle; fearless on headers, made smart runs whenever available, and showed fantastic defensive ability even while playing on the attacking wing.

While this effort is great, he might want to consider having a small bit of restraint so he doesn’t injure himself.  His violent collision with Shaun Francis in the 34th minute could have put Real in a poor situation since they already have Joao Plata and Sebastain Jamie out with injuries.

At the end of the day it was a gutsy showing which lead to 3 points.  They only thing missing from his performance was his name in the box sheet.

Olmes Garcia – C-

Garcia is a player who’s making my patience run thin.  He has moments of greatness sprinkled into a lackluster performance very consistently.

Garcia’s speed only brings out the worst in his already lacking ball-skills.  While he may have lost a handful of possessions because of this, Olmes actually improved over last weeks decision making problems.

His scrappy play led to less errors than usual, making his grade just passing.

Javier Morales – A+

Apr 5, 2015; San Jose, CA, USA; Real Salt Lake midfielder Javier Morales (11) directs teammates against the San Jose Earthquakes in the second half at Avaya Stadium. The Real Salt Lake defeated the Earthquakes 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The ‘Maestro’ did what he does best; play smart soccer and succeed off of set pieces.  His volley off of a deflected free kick in the 44th minute was absolute perfection.

The rest of Javi’s play consisted of smart passing and defensive pressure in the attacking half.

Defensively his play was solid as well, best shown by his 2 great tackles in the 33rd minute to prevent San Jose from a lop-sided attack.

At the end of the day, it’s Javi being Javi.

Luke Mulholland – A

‘Handsome Luke’ had a fantastic performance and acted as a second defensive midfielder along side Captain Kyle Beckerman.

Mulholland found a way to be all over the field without placing himself out of position.  He managed to have several successful tackles and interceptions while only committing 1 foul.

Luke’s style of played today looked like ‘Kyle Beckerman Light’ as he won multiple battles in the air, marked very well, made smart passes, and was only aggressive enough on defense to make his man lose possession of the ball.

Mulholland is the defensive difference maker in this contest against the San Jose Quakes.

Kyle Beckerman – B

Beckerman did what he did best; play smart soccer.  Marking well, feeding the ball to proper outlets, and filling empty spaces made his performance strong.

The only two negatives were a rushed shot in the 49th minute and an uneventful match.  Still, his role as CDM doesn’t exactly lead to glamour so a high passing grade is given to the captain.

Tony Beltran – B+

Beltran (much like Beckerman) had a relatively uneventful match.  He played smart soccer and showed his leadership all game long: good runs, solid defense, and always in position.  Capping off his performance with a strong tackle in the 85th to seal up the win.

Apr 5, 2015; San Jose, CA, USA; Real Salt Lake defender Jamison Olave (4) kicks the ball away from San Jose Earthquakes forward Adam Jahn (14) in the first half at Avaya Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Jamison Olave – C

Olave had very different performances based on which half you were watching.

In the first, Jamison was beat physically several times against Adam Jahn.  Jahn constantly out muscled Olave and it wasn’t until the second half that battles where traded evenly between the two big men.

Aside from these one-on-one battles; Olave was a timid on clearances.  Instead of controlling the ball, he was quick to panic and play it out of bounds or dump them back to goalkeeper Nick Rimando (I understand it’s safe but more opportunities could have been had).

Jamison’s one redeeming quality from the first half was successful runs and positioning during set pieces.

Meanwhile the second half was opposite the first; solid play overall but with one bad play.

Poor marking led to needing Nick Rimando to save the team by scrambling left of the goal to prevent San Jose from tying the game at 1.

At the end of the match, it’s a low passing grade from me; Olave isn’t the same athlete he was and needs to improve his technical play.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he is a completely different player (for the better) at the end of the season.

Chris Schuler – B-

Schuler’s performance is extremely easy to cover.  Great on the defensive side of the ball, not the best touches tough.

With weak clears early on in the match and a horrifically sliced through-ball, which landed out of bounds, were the only negatives from his play.

San Jose tried arguing a handball from Schuler in the box at the 58th minute but it was ruled as a no call due to the lack of intent.

Schuler’s defensive play bring his overall grade up from his few lacking attempts.

Kenny Mansally – F

What in the world went on in Mansally’s head today?

He was over aggressive on the defensive side of the ball, had his passes intercepted (or miss the target completely), and was beat off the ball all match long.

Luckily he had 1 moment of positive play: making a good run into the box at the 39th minute, which was followed by passing the ball to the San Jose defense.

Mansally not only had a poor performance, but mouthed off to a line judge to earn himself a yellow card in the 82nd minute.

I hope Mansally can get his act together because if he keeps playing like he did Sunday playing time will be hard to come by.

Failing Grade.

Nick Rimando – B+

Apr 5, 2015; San Jose, CA, USA; Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando (18) prepares to kick the ball against the San Jose Earthquakes in the first half at Avaya Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The ‘Wall of the Wasatch’ was solid as usual.  He bailed out RSL when he had to but luckily the defense put him in a good position for the majority of the match.

He picked up not only on the team’s slack on San Jose’s fast free kicks, but also for Mansally and Olave.  These defenders made Rimando earn his stripes against the Quakes’ attack.

The only reason why Rimando’s grade isn’t higher is because he only had to deal with 3 shots on target.

Subs:

Devon Sandoval – B-

Sandoval was subbed in at the 68th minute, first few touches where rough but other than that he played smart soccer.  He seemed to play far more relaxed compared to seasons past.

I look forward to seeing Sandoval get more minutes in the future.

Luis Gil – B

Gil played very solid for the minutes he took over for Jordan Allen, including a fantastic run that was shot just wide in the 82nd minute.

He hustled full speed for the few minutes he had and even created chances in extra time.

John Sterzer – N/A

Not enough time on the pitch to give him a fair grade.  If he stays healthy watch for him to add serious depth to the midfield in 2015.

Team Grade – B+

Overall Real Salt Lake played a very tough, physical match.

They played a very defensive game and could have used some higher quality offensive chances.

Set pieces raised some awareness from me on both sides of the ball.  Offensively set pieces where fantastic: positioned well, overall had great attempts from Javi, and even a goal off of a rebound.

Then there’s the defensive side of the ball.  3 times RSL gave San Jose great opportunities to capitalize on quick kicks.  Thank goodness Nick Rimando was aware on every attempt and politely yelled at the defenders to pay attention.

Not a dominating win in any way but one that was very well fought and well deserved.