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D.C. United vs. Real Salt Lake Community/Site Player Ratings

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We count up your votes and reveal your (and our) Man of the Match.

D.C. United went into Utah to play Real Salt Lake with a metaphoric trampoline of circumstance riding against them. They have gotten points in six of eight prior road contests over all competitions this year (that's good), though only won one (that's bad). They hadn't given up a goal on the road in 319 minutes (that's good) and took seven points in that period of four-ish road games (that's...eh?). In Rio Tinto, the only goal during MLS play they've scored in five years was on a Charlie Davies penalty kick (that's bad). Basically D.C. on the road is like trying to buy a Krusty the Klown doll.

But hey, a 1-1 draw against the Claret and Cobalt feels like some sort of positive, doesn't it, particularly ahead of a big Eastern Conference clash? Maybe. Either way, let's see how you voted and I'll put my words to my own.

***

Bill Hamid - 10 (MOTM) | Community: 9.6 (MOTM)

7 saves on the night, his most in a game since last year's 'one shot, one kill' performance against the Montreal Impact (where we later learned he was less than healthy). Gave up a goal you'd be hard pressed to say was savable, and is one of the few guys that would see a goals against average go up with one goal conceded. One goal conceded in his last three games, three goals in five games since his return. Marvelous.

Sean Franklin - 6 | Community: 5.9

He and Neagle combined for the most active pass combination on the night for DC (27), dealt with copious amounts of Joao Plata and Juan Manuel Martinez to mixed results (his turnover did result in Hamid's double save effort on Yura Movsisyan), had three tackles, three clearances and three recoveries defensively. Offensively, his 77.5% pass accuracy number was a touch better than the norm for him.

Bobby Boswell (Captain) - 5 | Community4

Had three tackles, three clearances and three blocked shots, including a key one late. Offensively, won an aerial, had a 74.2% accuracy number and connected on three of five long balls. More concerning is that he got caught flat footed on multiple occasions (again) and almost gave up an early PK to Movsisyan in the early moments. We've gotten to the point where Boswell has showed his age on numerous occasions this year and become deleterious to the squad. Warm up Steve Birnbaum's music, please and thank you.

Kofi Opare - 6.5 | Community: 6.1

Two tackles, two interceptions and a team-high five clearances. His 83.3% accuracy and key pass outperformed Boswell on the same number of touches, and was also three of five on his long balls. Whether it is subjectively or statistically, Opare was definitely the better center back.

Taylor Kemp - 5.5 | Community5.5

Connected on 80% of his passes and had a shot, and was 7 of 10 on long balls on the night. Had two tackles, two clearances and two recoveries. Didn't have as much to do on the night, but should have done better with where his pass origination was.

Marcelo Sarvas - 6 | Community5.8

With a midfield on the other side including Javier Morales and Kyle Beckerman, there was every reason to expect that the DC midfield wouldn't have much time with the ball, and short of Franklin and Neagle, everyone else for DC had anywhere from 30-49 touches (by comparison, Luke Mulholland had 56). Without the ball, Sarvas certainly didn't look as good as last week, and let Plata go by on a first half run that was almost deadly. His 31 of 35 accuracy (88.6%) was second best on the night for DC, and had a key pass. Defensively had two tackles and two interceptions. Back on the grind this week.

Lamar Neagle - 6 | Community5.9

Two shots, neither on target. Was 34 of 40 (85%) on the night, including two key passes, but had only one pass (which missed) in the attacking third. Had two interceptions and four clearances defensively. Covered a lot of ground in the back to support Franklin and handled it fairly well.

Luciano Acosta - 5.5 | Community6.6

Had the fewest touches (30) of any starter and at 72% was the second lowest accurate passer among starters (Saborio), including 5 of 10 in the attacking third. Now, let's look at where Lucho received his passes:

Luciano Acosta passes received RSL

Compared to last week, came into the middle more, and against Morales, Beckerman and Mulholland, he wasn't going to get the convenience of keeping the ball for a lot. Hopefully this is recognized and adjusted going forward.

Nick DeLeon - 6 | Community: 5.6

22 of 24 (91.7%) on the night, tops of the team, though did have a moment of hesitation on a first half attack that fizzled out quickly. Non descript.

Fabian Espindola - 6.5 | Community5.9

Assisted on the goal and a 86.4% accuracy, and of his 22 passes, three were chance creators. Four of seven on crosses and played well in his RioT return.

Alvaro Saborio - 6 | Community: 5.5

Led the team in shots (4), though only one connected on target, the 30 yard curiosity check on Nick Rimando. Won three of five duels, 10 of 17 passing (one key pass) was lowest on the night for accuracy. Won three of five aerials and save for that shot, quiet on the night.

Jared Jeffrey - 7 (on 65') | Community: 7.2

Came on for Acosta to shore up the back so Sarvas could move forward and, with a tackle, interception, clearance and two recoveries defensively, did just that. Put another way, of the 20(!) shots RSL took during the game, four were taking while Jeffrey was on, and two were long-distance Hail Marys from Movsisyan in the last moments of the game.

Offensively, 15 of 17 passing (88.2%), including four of five in the attacking third, two shots, and that goal. That'll do, JJ.

Julian Buescher - 5 (on 75') | Community5.4

On for Sarvas, 5 of 7 passing and a key pass. Had an interception for his troubles defensively too.

Alhaji Kamara - 5 (on 76') | Community5.5

On for Saborio, 2 for 2 passing, one of which was a chance creator.

Real Salt Lake MOTM:

Of the 56 voters, Javier Martinez edged out Joao Plata as your Man of the Match for RSL:

RSL MotM vs. DCU

***

Honestly (and you can say this is seasoned with hindsight if you want to), but nobody should have been surprised that D.C. United was going to just come into Utah and boss RSL on their way to a convincing win. It doesn't happen, or at least it's rare. It's because altitude kills this team. In seven games at Dick's Sporting Goods Park (home of the Colorado Rapids, where the elevation is a mile high), D.C.'s record is 1-5-1. At Sandy Utah, it's just a touch shorter at 4,500 feet above sea level, and D.C., coming into Friday night's game, has lost four games there, drawing on the fifth, and since beating RSL in their inaugural year, has yet to win in MLS competition. Heck, D.C. had two days to acclimate and look what happened!

Still, for a team that was looking like they'd leave the land of head shops and liquor stores pointless, leaving with that draw was a pleasant surprise. Also, for whatever you associate with D.C.'s record, they certainly leave things to the last moment when it comes to the road. In their last six road games this year, four goals have been scored in the 85th minute or later (two for D.C., two for opponents in San Jose and Philadelphia).

Speaking of the Philadelphia Union, this week's opponent endured the heat in Texas with the Houston Dynamo almost completely, but a Cristian Maidana stoppage time free kick golazo won it for the folks in orange. Like Utah, DC needs to do better in Chester, and one goal scored in the last four games at PPL Park Talen Energy Stadium is a testament to that.

However, with a new formation yields their first unbeaten streak of the year (two!), and in RSL you'd be hard pressed to find a tougher challenge. Fortunately, the furthest West the Black-and-Red has to travel for the rest of the year is to Illinois, in September, to play the Chicago Fire. With the team growing accustomed to this new look and the secondary transfer window now open, things look pretty interesting over the rest of this road trip.