Peter Vermes’s Sporting Kansas City, based in the heartland of the United States of America, are champions of Major League Soccer after defeating Jason Kreis’s Real Salt Lake 7-6 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in MLS Cup 2013 at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.
The title is Sporting’s first since 2000, when they lifted the Alan I. Rothenberg Trophy as the Kansas City Wizards. Also with the victory, they are joining the New York Red Bulls, Real Salt Lake, and D.C. United in the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League.
Here are the player ratings for Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City following MLS Cup 2013 on Saturday in Kansas City.
Sporting Kansas City
Jimmy Nielsen 7.5
Could this be the last season for Jimmy Nielsen playing as a goalkeeper? If it is, he made a massive impression, making three saves and two punches while earning a 74 percent pass success rate on 34 touches, according to the Opta Chalkboard.
Seth Sinovic 7
Four interceptions, four recoveries and a 67 percent pass success rate. Gets a bonus for converting his penalty.
Aurelien Collin 10
Normally he would be earning a 9.5 for the yellow card, but since he ended up earning Volkswagen Game MVP, Collin earns the 10. 12 interceptions, nine recoveries, five clearances, the equalizing header and the game-winning penalties. Raise a toast to one of France’s own. Hon, hon, hon!
Lawrence Olum 6.5
Earns a deduction for missing his penalty, but Olum did well to fill in for Oriol Rosell. Olum had 13 recoveries and earned a 76 percent pass success rate.
Chance Myers 7.5
Nine recoveries, three tackles won, three interceptions, a successful flick-on and a 73 percent pass success rate. Bossed the right side with authority.
Matt Besler 7
Six clearances, seven recoveries and a 68 percent pass success rate. Besler should be in good stead to make the U.S. Men’s National Team.
Benny Feilhaber 6.5
12 recoveries, four tackles won, a 73 percent pass success rate and three key passes, but Feilhaber earns a deduction for two unsuccessful flick-ons, a yellow card and an unsuccessful cross.
Paulo Nagamura 5.5
One of the players for Sporting that didn’t shine bright on the day was Paulo Nagamura. While he does earn a bonus for converting his penalty, his poor finishing affected his grade. To his credit, Nagamura made nine recoveries.
Oriol Rossell NR
Not on the pitch long enough and was subbed out early due to injury.
C.J. Sapong 6
Earns a bonus for converting his spot kick, but he had two shots off target in regulation and extra time and ony managed four recoveries.
Dom Dwyer 5
Worst player on the pitch for Sporting but not the worst overall. However, Dwyer’s finishing that was critical for Orlando City was missing on Saturday for Sporting Kansas City. As he is a bit on the younger side, he’ll have all offseason to step his game up. At least he has rings from two different clubs in the same year.
Claudio Bieler 6.5
Bieler earns a bonus for an 85 percent pass success rate and converting his spot kick. Perhaps winning MLS Cup will give him second thoughts about leaving Kansas City.
Graham Zusi 8
Zusi earns a bonus for the equalizing assist, but he earns a penalty for missing his penalty. Zusi also had eight recoveries, a 39 percent cross success rate and a 56 percent pass success rate, the latter of which he earns a penalty for.
Real Salt Lake
Nick Rimando 6.5
Rimando could only do so much to help Real Salt Lake. He made five saves, had two catches and two punches, but was hindered by a 44 percent pass success rate.
Tony Beltran 6.5
Five clearances, four recoveries, a converted penalty and seven tackles won for Beltran, but he had two unsuccessful crosses and a 58 percent pass success rate.
Nat Borchers 6
13 clearances, five recoveries, a converted penalty and a 62 percent pass success rate on 26 touches for Borchers.
Lovel Palmer 1
Well, someone had to earn the 1 grade, and unfortunately, the Goat of the Match is Lovel Palmer. Despite seven clearances, five recoveries and a 65 percent pass success rate, it was Palmer’s missed penalty that gave Sporting Kansas City the MLS Cup, and in the process, gave him the 1 grade. One can only wonder if Palmer will be back next season after a miss like that.
Chris Schuler 5.5
Schuler earns a bonus for converting his penalty, and he made seven clerances and six recoveries, but he has a 63 percent pass success rate on 19 touches.
Chris Wingert 4.5
Wingert earns this grade for a lack of production defensively. He only had four recoveries and a 71 percent pass success rate on 34 touches. Wingert also earns a penalty for a yellow card
Ned Grabavoy 5
Six recoveries, four interceptions, and a 79 percent pass success rate. Grabavoy earns a deduction for having his penalty saved.
Javier Morales 5
Seven recoveries and a 69 percent pass success rate, but Morales had three unsuccessful flick-ons and five unsuccessful crosses.
Kyle Beckerman 7.5
18 recoveries, an assist to Alvaro Saborio, a converted penalty, four lay offs and a 69 percent pass success rate. A decent performace despite a losing effort. Beckerman also earns a deduction for his yellow card.
Luis Gil 5
Eight recoveries, three clearances, and a 57 percent pass success rate, of which he earns a deduction for.
Joao Plata 4
Earns a score for converting a penalty, but didn’t register much in the big picture.
Sebastian Velasquez 3
Despite five recoveries, he missed his penalty, and that results in a deduction. Even if he made his penalty, his score would have been low anyway due to coming off the bench late.
Alvaro Saborio 7
Saborio earns a deduction for missing his penalty and also earning a yellow card. Otherwise, he scored the goal that would have held weight…if Real Salt Lake didn’t hit the post often.
Robbie Findley 6
Five clearances, three key passes and a 79 percent pass success rate on 33 touches.