Winner: Andrew Putna
There was a sequence in the second half in which Putna was tasked with stopping three very good shots from Minnesota, and he was equal to the task each time. “I just tried to do my job tonight,” he said in a post-match interview. Well, he did, and I think he did some other jobs, too. That was great.
Anyway, that’s the shot-stopping we need if we’re going to have a goalkeeper who lacks the same organizational qualities as a top-tier player. Putna was quick to react, smart with his positioning, and generally the best RSL player on the night.
Loser: Video assistant refereeing
Good grief. Real Salt Lake had arguably three or four calls that could have been reviewed — not even all necessarily in their favor — but there was nothing happening.
One was a slap to the face. (Reynoso v. Rusnak, 2020)
One was a stomp. (Rusnak v. Reynoso, 2020)
One was a handball. (Rusnak v. some defender, I don’t remember who, 2020)
One was a studs-up challenge. (Ruiz v. somebody, 2020)
None of them were reviewed by the referee. It’s a bit inane, really. Why have video referees when the head referee doesn’t even get a chance to review potentially controversial circumstances? Is Minnesota using Hooli’s Nucleus to transmit the match to video referees? I just don’t get it.
Winner: Justen Glad?
Justen Glad was not bad tonight. He was also playing at left back. That’s nice, I guess. Do I think he was great? I mean, not really. I wouldn’t expect him to be in a less-preferred position.
Problematically, we’ll be missing him next match. I think his foul that earned him a yellow card was the right decision — he stopped a sure breakaway — but it does sting. (But also, he managed five fouls without a yellow for persistent infringement. That’s talent.)
Loser: Douglas Martinez
This was a very poor showing from Douglas Martinez. He did find himself in a very good position a few times, but his finishing was bad, his creativity was bad, and he was disconnected from attacking play too regularly for my liking.
Loser: Albert Rusnak
I actually was hesitant on this one. I know I’m harsh on Rusnak, and I don’t want to constantly harp on this.
But then I went to the passing charts.
I know folks will talk about how Rusnak has a good number of key passes. But you see those two yellow lines? Those are key passes. They’re incredibly deep for a key pass. There’s nothing special denoted by those key passes. (Instead, it probably says something about how recklessly RSL shoots sometimes.)
When I talk about Rusnak being slow, this is also something I think you can see in this chart. There’s a whole lot of backward-facing passes here. Too often, Rusnak delayed passing tonight, and it cost the team opportunities, and that’s what you see in those backward passes. (Are they sometimes valuable? Very obviously.)
I would love to see Rusnak with successful passes into the final third. Not all of them will be. I know that. But none? It’s poor.
Winner: Maikel Chang
When the match ended, I couldn’t remember much of what Chang brought to the match, so I went — again — to the charts.
Look at that. Two key passes into the box.
That’s all. I just thought it was worth pointing out.