This was quite the match. Real Salt Lake really dominated this match statistically, and since Anderson Julio scored in stoppage time to give RSL the win (which is the role that seems to suit him best, that of being the super sub), it might seem like an easy call to give him player of the match honors. Let’s break it down further.
Statistically, Emeka Eneli wins that honor and he did have three key passes and locked down his side. Justen Glad had a better pass percentage, and locked down the middle to keep the clean sheet. For that matter, Zac MacMath did well also. Jefferson Savarino had 6 keys passes, but also 4 give aways.
It was an odd match to watch, as in it felt like even though RSL was the better team, it also felt like they were going to find a way to lose. Which is an odd thing to say after watching them show a lot of grit over the last few matches. And yet, they found a way to win and get a full three points on the road.
This actually puts RSL into 4th in the Western Conference with 30 points only 5 points behind division leader St. Louis, who just lost to RSL. What is still a struggle for RSL is goals, since even being in 4th, we have a -5 goal differential on the season. Hopefully new acquisitions can help with that.
So, who really gets player of the match? While no one got an assist on the play that saw Julio put RSL up 1-0, since it was a poor clearance, and because Julio did exactly what was asked for him, coming into the second half and bringing speed and energy, and since he was in the right place at the right time and finished, Julio wins player of the match honors for the week! Congrats and good to see him on the bench for the MLS team of the week as well!