Real Salt Lake entered Saturday's matchup with Colorado at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in a three-way tie with Colorado and Dallas for the top spot in the Western Conference.

Colorado came out with more energy than an RSL side that was content to absorb the pressure. But once the edge wore off, the match turned into the kind of tête–à–tête one would expect from conference leaders and rivals. Shots, passing, duels, yellow cards handed out and even possession were essentially even throughout the first half.

And if not for a defensive breakdown 90 seconds in on RSL's part, and the best goalkeeping of the game from Colorado's Zac McMath, Real Salt Lake would have left Colorado with at least a draw if not a win. But alas, the first game of RSL's monster road trip gives the Claret and Cobalt its second loss of the season.

Here are the player grades:

Nick Rimando (GK), 7, struggled some with his distribution throughout the first half, but improved in the second. But in the end, a 'keeper is graded for his ability to keep the ball out of the back of the net, and Rimando did well at that Saturday night, even given Jermaine Jones' terrific goal in the 47th minute.

Demar Phillips (DEF), 6, of all things, struggled with his throw-ins Saturday night with two foul throws. He seemed a bit shackled by the strength and skill of Jermaine Jones when he would move out into Phillip's wide space, but did well to forget the flubs and move forward through the rest of the game to do enough to keep Colorado from overrunning RSL on its home field.

Jamison Olave (DEF), 5, continues to struggle with his positioning and his timing. They've never been his strong suit, but what he used to make up for with blazing speed and brute physicality is now his Achilles heel. If not for some excellent defending from Justen Glad and Nick Rimando in goal, Olave might have cost RSL a goal, if not two, Saturday night.

Justen Glad (DEF), 7, stood out early for his effort and skill throughout the first half while RSL got off to a slow start and Colorado pressed the RSL defense hard. Glad's defense was stellar all night, except for the single misstep in the 47th minute that left Jermaine Jones open to pound one in from 12 yards out.

Tony Beltran (DEF), 7, was solid Saturday night. He played his typical game of terrific one-on-one defending and was excellent in the midfield, helping to break through Colorado's standard midfield logjam. Beltran did receive a yellow card caution in the 79th minute on an intentional foul.

Sunday Stephen (MID), 6, struggled the first half with both positioning and passing. His positioning ended up getting the better of him in the 29th minute when after numerous infractions he earned a yellow card. Stephen was replaced with Luke Mulholland in the 58th minute after an equally slow start to the second half.

Javier Morales (MID), 8, did everything he could to penetrate Colorado's five-man midfield, and while his efforts accounted for a large part of RSL's five shots on goal, Colorado's keeper, Zac McMath, had one of his finest games of the season to deny RSL a single goal.

Kyle Beckerman (MID), 7, was matched up with Colorado's hot new signing, Jermaine Jones, much of the night Saturday where he did well to keep the big midfielder somewhat contained in the central field. He also did well to provide some pressure up high despite Colorado's penchant to do the same. But his lack of pressure in his own half against Colorado's Luis Solignac in the 47th minute ended up being the moment that catalyzed Colorado's lone goal.

Yura Movsysian (FWD), 8, was a bit of a matchup mess for Colorado, doing well to play strong hold-up soccer in Colorado's half and creating enough defensive angst for Colorado that the home team had to fight hard to keep the big striker from bowling them over. His efforts almost worked if not for some excellent defending by Colorado's central defense and a bonkers game from Colorado ’keeper Zac McMath.

Jordan Allen (FWD), 6, continues to play well for Real Salt Lake in place of the injured Joao Plata. Allen's style is very different than the fiery Plata, but he brought enough Saturday night in Colorado to keep the RSL attack balanced, including some excellent wide crosses into the box. He was replaced by Plata for his first minutes in three games in the 58th minute.

Juan Manuel Martinez (FWD), 8, was a thorn in the Colorado defense's side from the first whistle. He picked on Colorado's Meckell Williams for the first half of the game, drawing him into an early yellow card and then forcing him to play much deeper than switching sides to match up against a better-prepared Axel Sjoberg and an immediate double-team every time he touched the ball.

Joao Plata (SUB 58', FWD), 7, came on for Jordan Allen and had an immediate impact. He did struggle to come up to game-speed, but once Colorado bunkered in for the final 20 minutes, Plata's quickness and skill came in handy to put pressure on the home team that Colorado did well to withstand.

Luke Mulholland (SUB 58', MID), 8, came on for Sunday Stephen and did much better to help RSL break through Colorado's midfield. His engine and his passing were much needed during RSL's frantic final 20 minutes that produced three excellent scoring opportunities.

Devon Sandoval (SUB 85'), 7, came on for Jamison Olave to try to give RSL more options out of the air up top. While his work didn't turn into any shots from the young striker, he did well to contribute to some of the pressure moments RSL was able to create before the whistle.

Chris Higbee is a former general manager of and continues to write about soccer and the arts.