Winner: Maikel Chang
I don’t know why I am surprised about Maikel Chang at this point, but he has been a game-changer for Real Salt Lake. He was at the center of everything that went well in the first half. If you came in from the cold and had no context for his rise to RSL, you might think he’s a top player and has been excelling in the league for a while.
No, he’s actually a player that came up through Real Monarchs and signed with RSL in 2019, and I didn’t expect this sort of year for him. The season isn’t over, and it’s sure been weird, but Maikel Chang has been one of the best parts.
Winner: Albert Rusnak
We saw a renewed fire from Rusnak in this match, and while he had a couple opportunities to score from the run of play that were left wanting, his overall performance was a strong one. He was active in getting involved in defensive phases of the game, and he was always ready to receive a pass and move forward. There was no hiding in this one.
Winner: Pablo Ruiz
Pablo Ruiz is not undroppable, but at this point in the season, it would be extremely difficult to see him being displaced in the lineup. The interesting part of this, of course, is that it’s apparently come at the expense of Everton Luiz’s spot in the lineup, That speaks volumes to what Ruiz is doing, and I am immensely pleased to see it. I will be honest: I never expected it.
Loser: Donny Toia (mostly in the first half; he was a winner in the second half)
The first half for RSL was both very encouraging, but the number of times LAFC had opportunities down our left side was troubling. Of course, most of those came from Diego Rossi, who it must be said is very good. I should also note that Toia had a massively improved second half, and he cleaned up considerably.
Winner: Andrew Putna
Alright. I did not expect this. I have been very skeptical of Andrew Putna this year. Instead of proving me right, he proved me wrong. His shot-stopping was strong, his distribution was improved, and his lobs over LAFC’s back line were vital.
In a post-match interview, Putna gave immediate credit to the defenders instead of himself, and he criticized himself for a misplayed pass in the first half. None of that was necessary, because he had a very good game, but that was really great stuff from the goalkeeper who is admittedly under immense pressure from David Ochoa.
Winner: Kyle Beckerman
So this is actually not really about great clearances (he had a couple good ones), nifty passes (he had one or two of those, too) or great tackling (again, you’ll find that in his sort appearance). This is about how he came on and immediately went to work rattling opposition players. LAFC is extremely dangerous when they’re on, and RSL’s lead at 3-0 was not actually particularly safe, given that.
Beckerman came in and mopped up. If he can continue having appearances like that (especially with RSL leading late, that would be extra nice), we will gain real value from his remaining in his playing career in 2020.
Winner: Justen Glad
After a really poor match on Sunday, Justen Glad could have dropped his head and given up a bit. He did the opposite. He was very much on, he was visibly organizing the defense, and he made vital clearances, tackles and passes. I really like Justen Glad, and I was very happy to see this performance.