Jul 21, 2018; Sandy, UT, USA; Real Salt Lake midfielder Nick Besler (13) kicks the ball over Colorado Rapids midfielder Jack McBean (32) and up the field during the first half at Rio Tinto Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports
SANDY, Utah — Here are three things we learned from Real Salt Lake’s 2-2 draw with the Colorado Rapids.
1. Petke: A man of the people
The people's champ. pic.twitter.com/YgpyjW82fC
— Real Salt Lake (@RealSaltLake) July 22, 2018
Real Salt Lake coach Mike Petke was suspended two games and fined $10,000 as a result of his post-game rant in Minnesota last weekend, when he criticized the officials and VAR. That didn’t stop Petke from partaking in pre-game activities with fans.
Though this really isn’t something learned from the outcome of the game itself, it goes to show how dedicated Petke is to this club. If he couldn’t be on the sidelines, he was definitely going to visit a few tailgates to put that loyalty on full display.
As the starting lineup announcements started before the game, the camera panned to Petke in the stadium to announce him as head coach. Even though Petke seemed a little annoyed by the attention, the crowd gave him an ecstatic round of applause.
2. Real needs to monitor momentum
After squandering a two-goal lead at home, Albert Rusnák voiced his disappointment with the result after the game. He felt as though the team lost two points, as did head coach Mike Petke. While he was mostly frustrated following the game, he did point out that Damir Kreilach’s goal gave the team a glimmer of hope.
“I don’t think it’s the first goal he’s scored off a header this year, and it’s one of his strengths and it makes us stronger as a team — having him in the middle to win the headers because we’re not the biggest team, let’s be honest, so at least we have a couple of players who can win those balls,” Rusnák said.
What Real needs to do now is preserve that magic it started the game with, because while Kreilach’s goal certainly gave the team an early boost, that boost didn’t last long. Assistant coach Freddy Juarez, who was filling in for a suspended Petke, mentioned that RSL couldn’t sustain its energy from the start of the match.
“We started well, got two goals, and then they added a little more pressure,” Juarez said. “If you look at the duels, and I think that’s what ends up being the difference — a little more burst to the ball, a little more effort, a little strong[er] on tackles and we didn’t quite adjust and match that intensity.”
3. Plata continues to bring it
Though Joao Plata hadn’t started for Real in an MLS game since June 2, he showed why he earned his starting spot against the Rapids by way of his stellar performance.
Plata recorded an assist and a goal against Colorado as he put his skills on display. Earlier this month, Plata performed well in a friendly with Eintracht Frankfurt, and he is proving to his coaches that he can play a vital role when necessary.