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RSL vs. Minnesota United: Four winners, two losers

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RSL and winning in MLS: Reunited and it feels so good.

Real Salt Lake v Minnesota United FC Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Well! We’ve won a match, and that’s a quite exciting thing to be saying in 2021.

Let’s jump straight to winners and losers from our first match of the season.

Winner: Anderson Julio

What is there to say about Anderson Julio that isn’t just “OK this guy is fast, and he scored two goals?” Well — let’s see. He’s not only fast, but he’s actively fast. He uses that speed to real effect. But he’s more than fast, and that’s the real kicker here.

See, that first goal? That wasn’t just speed. The second goal? That wasn’t just speed, either. Speed helped get him in the right positions, but it wasn’t the only factor to his success. His finishing was just immaculate — and he hasn’t scored a professional goal since 2019. That’s some real calm work there.

Winner: Rubio Rubin

Two assists.

That’s all I need to say, really. Rubio Rubin was magnificent, and he’s given me hope in RSL’s attack for the first time in forever.

Winner: David Ochoa

So, Ochoa didn’t really do anything great tonight. He was solid, didn’t really put a foot wrong, and didn’t have much chance on the goal we gave up (which was extremely poorly defended, if we’re being honest.)

I should note that I’m not naming Ochoa a winner because of his trolling behavior, but I’m also not not doing that. It’s more that he did more than enough to keep his spot, and that brings me great joy. (Unless he gets suspended, which doesn’t really seem proportional. Oh, should I give you a video? Here you go.)

Anyway, I thought Ochoa was pretty good in the air.

Loser: Everton Luiz

I thought Everton Luiz was OK — not great. He was not involved in build-up play in any significant way, and while he did some good work, his early yellow card put him in very dangerous territory for me. He had some good moments, but it wasn’t enough to lift him out of this column.

Loser: The new MLS site

Take a look at this graphic.

Why are there no passes between Anderson Julio and Rubio Rubin? I’m very confused. (There was, in reality, at least one pass. Maybe more. I dunno.)

Winner: Pablo Ruiz

OK, I know I docked Everton Luiz for getting an early yellow card, and to be fair, I should dock Pablo Ruiz, too. But once again, Ruiz made the game tick, and that’s a pattern we’ve seen over and over. He attempted 21 more passes (72 total) than the next-closest player, Justen Glad, who attempted 51 passes.