Winner: Pablo Ruiz
My word, young man.
Should I say more? I should say more. He saved a point for Real Salt Lake, and he cost Seattle Sounders two. The improvement he has shown since joining the club is striking, and he is making a strong argument for being a full-time starting player. That is not something I expected coming into 2020 — in fact, I didn’t even think he’d be back. (But I also don’t know that he did, either — I believe it was a visa issue that brought him back stateside.)
Winner: Real Salt Lake
No, they didn’t literally win. But with chaos all around them, the team has put in excellent work in matches, and they have come back from deficits in subsequent matches with an absurd amount of resilience.
The club has been in legitimate crisis over the past week, and for them to keep their heads up speaks volumes to the character of this team. The future, we hope, is bright — but the uncertainty is there, and the team has played in a way that brings me no small amount of hope and joy.
Loser: Corey Baird
After a superb match on Saturday, Baird came down to earth a bit with a performance that was too often frustrated, and while he played with some resulting intensity, it often led to silly fouls. He also bears a great deal of responsibility in conceding RSL’s second goal, with a reckless sliding tackle removing him from defense. Had he committed to defense in that moment, he would have had a much better opportunity to stop what was a very good cross.
Winner: Justen Glad
It is always exciting when a center back scores a goal on a set piece. For some reason, it is one of the most exciting things that can happen in a match. I don’t know if I entirely understand why, because it is sort of like a different game. At any rate, let’s talk about Glad.
Glad scored RSL’s opener with a nice snap-down header. It was really a nice goal, and while it will be overshadowed by Ruiz’s screamer of a goal, it deserves celebration. It’s his first MLS goal since 2016. But that’s not the most amazing part — for me, it’s that he nearly had three. One shot went just wide, and another took a brilliant save from Stefan Frei.