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Game of Narratives -or- Salt in the Wounds

Lots of applicable cliches for last nights game, but the bottom line is a late goal once again undoes Sporting after a decent performance away to Real Salt Lake.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

There's all sorts of angles that could be played up like algorithm generate FIFA sound bites.


The teams don't like each other.

USMNT teammates facing each other.

MLS Cup rematch

Lui Gil (maybe this isn't one for anyone else, but the way his allocation to SKC and then prompt trade to RSL still bothers me more than it should).

Injury bugs.

Sporting  playing well on the road.

Unbeaten streak.

Late goals (Think Ike Opara, 2013).

Man, I don't even know. Did I forget anything? Probably. My point is there was a lot leading up to this match, and I actually, for the most part, thought it delivered. Maybe the one missing was the battle of the midfield maestro's. Javier Morales setting in motion the first RSL goal, with Benny Feilhaber answering back shortly after with a deft through ball to Dom Dwyer. Overall though Javier Morales had a hell of a game, it must be said, not just in setting up both goals but in creating plenty of headaches for the SKC defense the whole match.

It should be said that both Nick Rimando and Tim Melia had good games as well, making some fine saves and keeping the match tight. Unfortunate in some sense that neither got to register a clean sheet, but both played well.

So how did both teams fare ratings wise? Mostly comparably. Were it not for Javier Morales both teams scored roughly equal, but he was far and away the man of the match.

Real Salt Lake
Nick Rimando 5.5
Tony Beltran 5
Jordan Allen 4.5
Demar Phillips 5
Aaron Maund 5.5
Justen Glad 5
Javier Morales 9.5
Luke Mulholland 5
Kyle Bekerman 4
Luis Gil 4.5
Devon Sandoval 4.5
Olmes Garcia 6
Sebastian Jaime 6.5
Jaoa Plata 4.5
Team Average 5.4
Sporting Kansas City
Tim Melia 5
Matt Besler 5
Jalil Anibaba 4.5
Kevin Ellis 5
Amadou Dia 4.5
Saad Abdul-Salaam 4.5
Benny Feilhaber 7
Graham Zusi 5
Roger Espinzoa 5
Soni Mustivar 5
Jacob Peterson 4.5
Krisztian Nemeth 4.5
Dom Dwyer 7
Team Average 5.1

I found it somewhat interesting to note that in Sporting's post match summary they note that of their last two defeats (and I keep forgetting we've only lost three times this season), goals have come in the 93rd and 94th minute. Maybe also worth remembering Benny's late game winner against Houston, or the thrilling 3-2 comeback against Philadelphia.

In other words, don't turn off the last few minuets of a match, Sporting games seem like they get their fair share of late drama. For better or for worse.