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End of year player ratings

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Looking back on 2014, there were some great improvements from some players while a couple others took a step back.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Rimando - 8.5 Nick Rimando had a stellar year. He broke the all-time MLS shutout record, which in and of itself deserves huge accolades. He single-handedly earned points for RSL throughout the season whether it was through PK saves or timely if not impossible saves. Arguably, Nick Rimando had the best year of his career and deserves the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award.

Chris Wingert - 5 Wingert did not look as sharp this year as he has in years past. He gave the ball away cheaply more often than in previous seasons. Overall, this was a step back for Wingert. However, he did come up big for RSL on a few occasions making recovery saves and positioning himself well to stop some very good players from breaking down the RSL defense.

Chris Schuler - 7.5 Schuler was one of the top performers for Real Salt Lake throughout the year. When he was on the field, the opponents scored at a much lower rate. In my opinion, he is the defensive linchpin for Real Salt Lake. If Schuler does not get a call from Klinsmann soon, I will be surprised and shocked.

Nat Borchers - 7 - Nat Borchers' experience and defensive smarts really benefit Real Salt Lake. He had a nice year slowing down some of MLS' biggest stars. In years past, Borchers got sent off a couple of times putting the club in a tough spot, but this year he was able to stay on the field and consistently contribute to the team.

Tony Beltran - 6.5 Beltran had a good year, no doubt about it. Where I think Beltran faltered a bit was that he did not seem to improve this year from the past couple of seasons. You know what you are going to get from Beltran. All in all, he is a very good player but could position himself better at times to prevent players from exposing him at critical times.

Kyle Beckerman - 7.5 Beckerman had probably the busiest year of his career. He anchored RSL's defense and distributed so well going forward that it makes you wonder how he does it so well and so often. Outside of MLS play, he had a fantastic World Cup playing a critical role for the U.S. Men's National Team. There were a couple games throughout the season that Beckerman and the entire team looked puzzlingly bad, but all in all, this was a fantastic year for the captain.

Ned Grabavoy - 6 Grabavoy took a step back in the way of goal-scoring. His 2013 season was probably the best of his career as far as production goes with five goals so he came into 2014 with higher expectations and came up a bit short ending the season with two goals. He was always good as a box to box diamond midfielder and plays that role as well as anyone.

Luke Mulholland - 7 I think it is fair to say that Mulholland surpised a lot of people from the get go. He ended the season with six goals and seven assists which is more than most if not all of us would have expected. He seemed to trail off a bit towards the end of the season, but for the majority of the year he played really well. Well enough to earn a consistent starting spot.

Javier Morales - 8 Javier Morales only slowed down in his physical speed. Otherwise, he seemed to do as well as ever in nearly every aspect of his game. Nine goals and twelve assists is a very good stat line for anyone, but for the Argentine, this is as well or better than he has ever done. The question going forward is how much longer he will be at the top of the diamond game in and game out as a 35-year-old.

Joao Plata - 8.5 Plata made the biggest jump forward on the club this year. He went from a super sub to the number one option at forward. He started the season with a bang and never really let his foot off the peddle. With the injury of Alvaro Saborio, Joao Plata really stepped up and excelled as a goal-scorer and as a creator for his teammates. For me, Joao Plata is the Real Salt Lake MVP for 2014 leading the team in goals and coming in in third in assists.

Alvaro Saborio - 6.5 Alvaro Saborio had a great start to the season until he got an injury that kept him off the field for four months. When he returned, he made an incredible goal on his first touch to secure a win for RSL after only having subbed on. He never quite regained his form, however, and did not look like the scoring threat that he has been in his years in Salt Lake City.

SUBSTITUTIONS

Luis Gil - 5.5 Gil did not have the year that any of us were expecting. He saw a significant decrease in his minutes going from about 2,000 minutes played in 2013 to just over 1,300 in 2014. He had some nagging injuries and lost his starting position to Luke Mulholland. Gil had some really bright moments when he started at the top of the diamond in place of Javier Morales and showed himself to be a player that we are expecting to to great things in the coming years. The question around Gil that the front office will have to decide is whether he takes the reigns soon or if there is another destination for the emerging star. I don't know how much longer he will be willing to wait.

Olmes Garcia - 5 Garcia came into 2014 with higher expectations that what were probably fair to expect from the MLS sophomore. He had a couple of nice games, but could never really figure out a scoring niche. He relied on his athleticism very heavily and it did not pay the dividends that he would have hoped. If he can figure out how to channel his abilities and refine a few of his other skills, he could turn into a player similar to Fabian Castillo of FC Dallas. If not, he may turn into a failed signing.

Jeff Attinella - 6 Attinella saw a good amount of minutes with Nick Rimando having been called up to the USMNT often. He stepped in admirably most games but had a couple of shaky outings as well. In fairness, it is a lot to ask of a player to step in now and again and be in their best form.