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Player of the Match: Anderson Julio and Rubio Rubin show strong in debuts for RSL vs Minnesota

Anderson Julio notches two goals in his debut, two assists from Rubio Rubin show promise with new additions.

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Minnesota United FC Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Match one of the 2021 Real Salt Lake season is officially over and it’s safe to say the newest additions to the starting 11, Anderson Julio and Rubio Rubin, have made their presence felt.

Technically, there’s only supposed to be one player of the game which indisputably has to be the lone goalscorer, Julio, but there’s also a worthy mention here with Rubio Rubin.

Rubin got assists on both goals and created eight scoring chances for RSL. Although the first goal was largely earned by Julio, Rubin earned possession back on a near turnover that allowed Julio to strike into the back of the net.

In case you forgot what the goal was and want to watch it in all of its glory:

This duo seems to be clicking well already, what’s to say could come of it after 34 games.

Rubin showed incredibly well in his 78 minutes. He was a spark RSL has not seen in a while and his work alongside Julio is going to be something to keep your eyes on this season.

Most importantly, though, Julio played hard and got RSL the first goal. The first goal, especially on the road, is crucial. In the case of RSL, it is essential to the mentality the team has and overall success. Giving up the first goal has proven to be bad news for RSL for years now and Julio’s dedication to keep pushing though for the first goal helped to put RSL in a game against a formerly unbeatable Minnesota United side.

The second goal was one straight out of the textbooks. Rubin drove up the nearside, crossed to a surprisingly unmarked Julio who blasted it into the back of the net for the goal. You can’t write a more textbook goal than that one was. The communication and awareness these two showed from one another are why they are the players of the match tonight.

A lot of people, going into this game against Minnesota, didn’t expect anything out of RSL. With the performance Julio and Rubin had, they’re sure to find their way onto the league’s players to watch lists if that form keeps up.

I don’t want to jump on the hype train too hard just yet and say these two will be the solutions to all of Real Salt Lake’s problems, but after a performance like that and a season opener that involved a win on the road, I’ll jump on the hype train just a little bit.

Kudos, too, to the team for closing out a victory. The shutout would’ve been nice, but RSL of season’s past may have found a way to give up two goals in the final 15 minutes and take a draw on the road. A clean 2-1 win against a Western Conference team to open up the season is all you can ask for, and gives some optimism to next week against Sporting Kansas City.