SANDY, Utah — Here are three things we learned from Real Salt Lake’s 1-1 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt.
1. Petke is continuing to prioritize the MLS season
RSL head coach Mike Petke approached this game with somewhat of the same mindset that he approached the U.S. Open Cup game earlier this summer — that the Major League Soccer season is what he wants his players to focus on.
While taking down the reigning German Cup champs in Eintracht Frankfurt would surely look great paper and could even help Real gain some more recognition and respect overseas, Petke used Tuesday night’s match as an opportunity to get some of those bench players more time on the time pitch. In doing so, he was able to rest most of his starting 11, Corey Baird entered the game in the 84th minute, as this friendly against Eintracht Frankfurt was Real’s fifth game in under two weeks.
2. Players have to meet Petke’s expectations
As Joao Plata was named the team’s captain for this match, he showed not only leadership, but his ability to dominate on the pitch.
Plata recorded an assist after finding Andrew Brody in the box early on in the game, and though he never scored himself, he had plenty of solid looks and was able to create other opportunities for his teammates along the way. This MLS season, Plata has played in 11 games and started eight, but the last time he was named a starter was on June 2.
Petke said the team has been demanding a lot of of Plata, but overall he though Plata and Luis Silva had solid performances.
“Plata’s quality on the ball is always good, it’s never a question,” Petke said. “I thought he had a great attitude tonight, along with guys like Luis [Silva], who at one point were in. Now through a combination of a lot of things, didn’t come off the bench recently, but they’re still a huge part of this team, and I thought that they lead this team not only by their attitude, but by their example.”
3. Friendlies help get players into rhythm
Petke thought the Real Monarchs players brought a lot of quality to the pitch and that getting guys like Taylor Peay minutes was valuable. Peay has been working on coming back from knee surgery, and though he doesn’t feel like he’s at 100 percent quite yet, Tuesday gave him a good taste of how far he has come.
“I was out for a little bit so it’s going to take time for me to get back into rhythm, and games like this help,” Peay said.