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Real Salt Lake 3rd Quarter Report Card- Team and Players

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Well with 22 matches under their belts and that marks the 3/4 way of the MLS season, after 8 matches RSL was 4-3-1 and then after 15 matches RSL were sitting at 9-3-3 and now after 22 matches RSL are 11-4-7.  That means they went a mere 2-1-4 in the 3rd quarter, not nearly as impressive as the 2nd quarter but just one loss is still a nice stretch of matches.  

So if we look at the team numbers so far this year (after 22 matches) they are simply top knotch for RSL:
Points - 40 - 3rd best in MLS (LA is 1st with 43) - best in team history (previous best was 30 in 2008)
Goals Scored -  36 - Best in MLS (LA is 2nd with 32) - best in team history (previous best was 31 in 2006)
Goals Allowed - 16 - Tied for best in MLS with LA - best in team history (previous best was 27 in 08 and 09)

So here is the curve that I use for grading:

A=Exceeds Expectations
B=Meets Expectations
C=Meets Requirements
D=Below Requirements
F=Failure to meet Minimum Requirements
I=Incomplete

I gave the team a "B+" in the first quarter, with a 5-0-2 2nd quarter I upgraded the team to a straight "A".  That being said for the 3rd quarter I would give them a "B" as two wins in 7 matches simply isn't good enough and had it not been for the struggles of LA we would probably be out of the Supporters' Shield race.  While many teams made moves in the summer transfer window, RSL didn't make a move and given their position in the league and form it is hard to blame them.

The final quarter of the season should be a great one as there are a couple huge match, starting with hosting Thierry Henry and the New York Red Bulls on Saturday.  We still have both our matches with Colorado on the schedule and we will close out our home regular season by facing the only team to hand RSL a loss in 4 months as FC Dallas will come to town on Oct. 16th.

OK, after the jump you will find the player grades:

In order to be eligible for a grade you must have played in at least 10% of the minutes for the year (198 of 1980 possible minutes), anything less than that and you will get an "I".

Player

Grade

Last grade

Min - Goals - Asst

Reason For Grade

Jean Alexandre

B-

B-

433-0-0

Jean has gotten some minutes lately to prove that he can be that dominating physical player in the center of the midfield for RSL.  He is still a bit rough with tackles but I have seen improvement in both his positioning and passing in the recent matches.  His size will make him a very dangerous player for RSL if he can get his touch and passing to be as good as his speed and strength.

Kyle Beckerman

B

B

1166 - 2 -2

Kyle is a pure gamer, he has gotten his fitness back and you only have to look at the fact that RSL haven't given up more than 2 goals in a match all season long.  The rest of the midfielders know that with Kyle in the match they can join in on the attack and that someone will always have their back.  There is a reason why Kyle wears the armband and it is well deserved.

Tony Beltran

B

B

953 -0-1

While the rotation plan continues, and I have to say that I think the competition has done wonders for all three of the mainstays at outside back for RSL.  Each of them have upped their quality and production this year and Tony has learned how to better use his speed to create offensive openings for others as well as to keep opposing teams from getting their attacks organized.

Nat Borchers

A-

A-

1953- 0-0

With Olave named to the All Star match, it was a shame that Borchers didn't get to go with him.  We have seen that when Olave is out of the lineup how much more work Nat has to do, and he does it so very well for us.  I keep waiting for Nat to get on the scoreboard as he is providing RSL with yet another target on corner kicks and other set pieces.  His steady nature and incredible fitness are attributes that make him one of the best in the game.

Pablo Campos

C+

B-

304-0-1

I thought at the start of the season that Pablo would likely get more minutes this year, but the superb play of Saborio has clearly limited the available minutes.   Still you see Pablo practice hard and stay ready for his chances, he provides a nice target for long balls and breakout plays later in matches when teams are often forced to push numbers forward.  I have a feeling it won't be long before he finds the back of the net this year. 

Fabian Espindola

B

B+

1235-5-2

This is a very different Fabian than the one that left the team a couple years ago.  While his productivity in pure numbers is less, his energy and effort are simply off the chart, and I think only Will Johnson matches him in distance travelled in a match.  While his temper and frustration levels are still issues he has been playing more in control lately and I think that makes him even more dangerous.  Like all forwards he sometimes looks for a tough shot rather than an easy pass, but that isn't always a bad thing.

Robbie Findley

B+

B+

945-5-3

I have noticed a lot of people knocking Robbie lately, and I simply do not get it.  Every striker misses shots, but with under 1,000 minutes he has 5 goals and 3 assists his productive per minute played is on the very high end for the team.  I know there are the distractions of what will happen after this season, but for me there simply is no other option than trying at any cost (including DP money) to not do everything we can to keep Robbie on our roster. 

Luis Gil

I

I

0 - 0 - 0

A loan period to AC St. Louis may be the best thing to happen for Luis Gil this season.  A chance to play will help a young player develop, I do think as the season goes along and RSL has some chances to get young players some minutes that Luis will be given time to prove that he really may be "the next big thing" in US Soccer.  Time with various US national teams will also help continue his development. 

Nelson Gonzalez

B

B-

224-1-1

While most players saw a grade go down due to the team only winning 2 matches in this most recent quarter, I move Nelson up a bit.  With the extension of his loan, it seems like it will be up to Nelson how much more playing time he gets, each time he is in the lineup he does well on offense but seems a bit slow to get back on defense (something every RSL player must do).  It will be fun to watch how he does over the final quarter and post season.

Ned Grabavoy

B+

A-

1142-2-1

I don't think anyone imagined the impact that Ned would make on the team when RSL picked him up off of waivers, but he has been asked to fill in at a number of positions and done so with class and a level of skill that makes him a threat to take minutes away from normal starters.  He has simply been the guy you can put anywhere and experience little to no drop off in skill. 

Will Johnson

B+

A-

1703-1-1

I have to believe that if the Canadian National team wants to figure out how to make it to the 2014 World Cup, they need look no further than the work ethic of Will Johnson.  If they can find a coach who can get every player to play the way Will does for RSL, they should have no problem getting into the WC.  RSL is simply not the same team without Will's effort and energy but thankfully his work ethic has rubbed off on so many players that we have several who are willing to try to fill his boots.

Rauwshan McKenzie

I

I

134 - 0 - 0

It is nice to have a backup but it is clear that there is still a lot of work for McKenzie to do in order to pose a threat for more minutes.  He is learning and in recent CCL matches you can seem improvement but the fact that when filling in he often forces the other centerback to increase their workload by large amounts, speaks to the fact that he is still a work in progress.

Javier Morales

B+

A-

1623-6-6

When Javi is on, RSL is unbeatable.  There is little more to say than that, but I will try to explain it a bit more.  With his ball handling abilities, vision, and creative flair Javier is simply one of the best in MLS.  The key is keeping him rested and fit for matches, as an intense competitor he wants to play every minute of every match.  Jason will need to keep him understanding the bigger picture to ensure he is healthy all year long.

Jamison Olave

A

A

1873-3-0

Monster, Olave is simply a beast on the backline and I believe this year he has established himself as one of the best defenders in MLS.  He was 2nd in the SB Nation vote for best defender, just two votes behind LA's Omar Gonzalez.  The difference this year is self-control and discipline, when the plays in control there are few who can get by him and his speed makes him a force to be reckoned with.  His abilities on set pieces just adds more value to a player who already is one of the most valuable players on our roster.

Robbie Russell

B

B

1555-1-4

Robbie is a big part of the reason why RSL boasts one of the best defenses in MLS, he also has found his form on crossing the ball into dangerous positions for the RSL forwards.  This ability to be valuable on both defense and as part of the offensive attack is why players like Robbie have found homes with RSL and why the team has done so well since his arrival.

Alvaro Saborio

B

A

1452-8-4

I know dropping Alvaro from an "A" to a "B" will have some people upset with me but the reality is that he is a monster at Rio Tinto, but on the road he has yet to find the back of the net and often seems disinterested in the matches.  His skill level and abilities are simply incredible and I believe he could be the most dangerous striker in MLS if he could find a way to play on the road the way he does at Rio Tinto.

Chris Schuler

I

I

0 - 0 - 0

He has the physical tools to become a quality center back for RSL, and I could see in a couple years us having the depth to do at center back what has worked so well for the team at outside back with 3 players rotating based on what is needed in particular situations.  Only time will tell if this will come true or if Chris will become another rookie who fails to stick.

Collen Warner

B-

B

322-0-0

It is interesting to see RSL building the next generation of midfielders, Alexandre, Gonzalez, Gil, and Warner as each of them seem like they are ready to develop into players just waiting for their chance to step in and shine.  I think Warner's ability to hold the ball and still be creative with it have to remind people of Andy Williams and if he can develop into a player that is even 2/3rd of what Andy has offered RSL over the years that would be a great thing.

Andy Williams

B+

B+

1338-1-5

There isn't a day go by that Andy either via Twitter, or just in a memory or thought hasn't made my day better.  As the last playing RSL original, he clearly is the heart and soul of this team.  It hasn't always been easy for RSL or Andy, but their refusal to accept good enough and their desire to always do more is what has drawn fans to both the team and to Andy as a player.  He still can fire off shots that are impressive and dangerous; he can hold the ball and then find an open player to create the best possible chances for the team.  On and off the pitch Andy inspires me to remember that you are never down enough that you can't get back up and excel.

Chris Wingert

B

B

1445-1-0

My preseason prediction that Chris would score a goal in MLS play came true and since then he has come close to adding to his career total, including a great shot off the post last weekend.  Chris has really stepped his game up this year both on defense and in helping out the offense.  I love that we have a team with so many players who are capable of such great things.

Keepers

Min - GAA - SO

Reason for Grade

Kyle Reynish

I

I

90-1-0

Kyle showed in Philly that he has the right stuff to be a quality keeper in MLS, and why RSL could trade away Chris Seitz.  A few rough minutes of communication issues with a roster mixed with starters and reserves but after that he made some quality saves and it is nice to know that we have someone who can fill in should the need arise.

Nick Rimando

A

A

1890-0.71-10

Nick has established himself as the best keeper in MLS, while he may lack the size of others his knowledge of the game and catlike reflexes make him the envy of most keepers in MLS.  He was voted the top keeper by the SB Nation bloggers and he continues to make RSL a world class team with his saves and leadership.

It is kinda funny how doing this makes you think not just about a particular play in a match, or even the performance of a full match but how watching the progression of the team through the season can be a very enjoyable thing.

We the fans of RSL should count ourselves lucky that the staff have brought together such a quality group of players and while we have avoided the whole DP thing by having a team that plays for each other and play well together, we can still count ourselves among the class of MLS.

OFF MY SOAPBOX