Real Salt Lake looked nothing short of bedraggled when it took the field Wednesday night against the New York Red Bulls. New York packed the midfield and gave RSL fits with its high press. It paid off in the seventh minute when New York's Gideon Baah skied high over a flat-footed Yura Movsisyan to head home a Bonzalo Veron corner kick to put New York ahead.
The Red Bulls' press looked as though it would win the day, but about the 60th minute, their energy started to wane and RSL was able to capitalize on it despite the addition of New York's Bradley Wright-Phillips, Sacha Kljestan and Chris Duvall.
In the 64th minute, John Stertzer, who'd struggled much of the game, sent a fine cross into the box from 40 yards out, where Movsisyan shrugged off two defenders to avenge his first-half defensive mistake and bring the game level.
From that point on, it was clear RSL had all the momentum. The additions of Jordan Allen and Olmes Garcia in the final 30 minutes paid off as Allen gave RSL its second goal off a Tony Beltran cross in the 87th minute to give RSL the come-from-behind victory.
Here are the player report cards:
Nick Rimando (GK), 8
Despite New York controlling the tempo of the game much of the night, Rimando only had two goals to stop all night. The first was handled without incident. The second, Baah's goal, was unsavable. Aside from the single blemish on his sheet, Rimando was a calming influence and did well to coach his frustrated defenders through the dry spell of the first 64 minutes.
Demar Phillips (DEF), 6
Passing was some of the weakest seen from the veteran fullback this season. Phillips seemed especially bothered by New York's high and hard press through the middle of the field. His occasional foray ahead turned to naught off poorly placed or timed crosses.
Justen Glad (DEF), 7
Glad showed Wednesday night that he has speed in addition to the uncommon poise he's shown in his first starting season with Real. Glad played a smarter game than his last couple of appearances, with improved positioning, especially off the New York forwards. Glad's only knock along with much of the defensive squad was his inability to link up with the attacking players out of the back.
Aaron Maund (DEF), 7
Maund was effective through the middle, especially in the air, using his height and strength to hold off New York's Anatole Abang and Bradly Wright Phillips in the air and on the ground.
Tony Beltran (DEF), 7
In addition to being caught out of position a few too many times Wednesday night, Beltran struggled with his passing. He did better on the defensive end as New York tried his right side often once its attack slowed down after its initial goal. Beltran earned back some credit in the 87th minute when he sent an excellent low cross through the box with pace for Jordan Allen to run onto and send a richocheting shot off Red Bull's defender Chris Duvall and into the goal for the win.
Sunday Stephen (MID), no grade
Stephen went out with a possible facial fracture and concussion in the 13th minute, putting a kink in RSL's hopes of his strong return in the heart of the season after a couple weeks of injury rehab.
Luke Mulholland (MID), 8
Mulholland seemed eager to make up for a less than stellar night in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Portland. Mulholland worked tirelessly box to box, putting pressure on the Red Bulls and making strong recovery runs on several occasions to keep New York honest.
Javier Morales (MID), 8
Morales was frustrated by the lack of linking passes out of the RSL backfield as well as New York's physical challenging play all across the midfield. He received a yellow card in the final minutes of the first half. That said, on the occasions RSL found its way around the crowded Red Bulls midfield, Morales did quite well to put the ball into dangerous spots for his attackers to get to.
Juan Manuel Martinez (FWD), 7
Martinez seemed slightly slower than usual Wednesday night. His touch and attacking ability were there, but the lack of rhythm for RSL through the game, perhaps along with this being the third game in heat (including 120 minutes with Wilmington a week ago) might have played a part in Wednesday being slightly off from the Argentine playmaker.
Yura Movsisyan (FWD), 7
Movsisyan was caught flat-footed while defending New York's Gideon Baah on New York's first corner kick. Unfortunately, Gonzalo Veron's kick was perfectly placed at the far post, allowing Baah to put the unchallenged header into the net. Movsisyan powered through a lackluster 60 minutes while RSL figured out New York's high press, and the final 30 minutes Movsisyan and Morales together found new mojo. John Stertzer gave Movsisyan the perfect opportunity to bring RSL level in the 64th minute, and Movsisyan headed the game-tying goal into the back of the net.
Joao Plata (FWD), 6
Plata seemed uncharacteristically lost or absent much of Wednesday's game. He did receive a nasty knock about halfway through the first half, which could have played a part in his off game. The Red Bulls' pressure in the midfield and lack of linking balls through the back third of the field also certainly played a role for Plata, who thrives on rhythm.
John Stertzer (SUB, 13', MID), 7
Stertzer came on for Sunday Stephen, who suffered a head injury in a collision with New York keeper Luis Robles during RSL's ninth-minute set piece. Stertzer's defense was solid but his passing, especially in linking opportunities, was quite weak and played a role in RSL's struggles to get into a flow throughout the first 60 minutes. However, everything changed in the 64th minute when Stertzer sent in a gorgeous 40-yard cross into the box where Yura Movsisyan went up high to give RSL the equalizer.
Jordan Allen (SUB, 60', MID), 8
Allen came on for an exhausted Luke Mulholland. The timing of this sub was important. New York had worn down a bit, its pressure in the midfield had let up some and Mulholland's defensive focus was less of a need. Allen's attacking focus more so. Allen was ready for the call. He added a much needed spark to the RSL attack, helping the linking play along and pressing the attack to New York's weary defense. His hard work was rewarded in the 87th minute when Tony Beltran sent a terrific cross with pace into a crowded New York box where Allen connected to send a hard low shot to the far post to put RSL on top.
Olmes Garcia (SUB, 82', FWD), 7
Garcia came on for Burrito Martinez to add fresh legs to the attack. Garcia ended up playing more of a defensive role most of the eight minutes he was in and did well to stay at game speed and keep the game in front of him.
Chris Higbee is a regular contributor to DeseretNews.com.