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RSL vs. LAFC: Two winners, four losers

The spine of the team fell out.

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Los Angeles FC Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Winner: David Ochoa

The man stood on his head for 90 minutes, facing nine shots on target and making seven saves. Those saves were almost all really, really great. Ochoa was abandoned by his defense, and he kept RSL in the game. Oh — and that save on Carlos Vela’s penalty? Yeah. I love it.

Winner: Aaron Herrera

What a first goal in MLS, really.

Loser: Albert Rusnak

Albert Rusnak is capable of playing at a tremendous pace of thought, but he repeatedly gave up possession from deep positions when we could have kept it and progressed the ball. Instead, Rusnak opted for risk, and it did not pay off.

Loser: Pablo Ruiz

Pablo Ruiz has been one of the highlights of 2021 for me, but this was absolutely not his night. He was slow on the ball, poor in the pass, indecisive — maybe it’s about the pressure, but you know what? That’s not really a great excuse for a player that has shown such tremendous capability.

Loser: Justen Glad

You know that scene from the episode of The Simpsons in which Lisa breaks Ralph Wiggum’s heart? That’s what I saw when Justen Glad froze in place while Diego Rossi zipped past him. Glad, Wiggum. Rossi, Lisa. Clear? Yeah.

But beyond that: Real Salt Lake’s defense was the absolute opposite of organized. Glad’s last-ditch defending was good, but all of his defending was last-ditch. An organized team doesn’t concede 29 shots, with nine shots on goal. That’s just wild.

Loser: Justin Meram

Over and over and over, I saw LAFC players attacking down our right side with reckless abandon throughout Meram’s time on the field, and while you might be able to justify that if Meram was bringing something in the attack, he surely wasn’t.