Apr 7, 2018; Sandy, UT, USA; Vancouver Whitecaps defender Efrain Juarez (6) and Real Salt Lake forward Corey Baird (27) play a ball from a throw in during the first half at Rio Tinto Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
Here are three things we learned from Real Salt Lake’s 2-1 home win over the Vancouver Whitecaps.
1. Petke’s not a fan of how his team’s playing
Real Salt Lake got what it needed Saturday night — a win at home. And while a win is a win, head coach Mike Petke still doesn’t like how his squad is playing.
Petke has been having a hard time exactly pinpointing what’s going wrong: It might be a confidence thing or it might come down to a more individual thing. He talked about how Justen Glad has been struggling but not all the blame should fall on him. Since the LAFC game, the team has been working on its defensive structure, getting behind the ball and playing from there.
All in all, Petke thinks his squad is fun to watch when they’re clicking. And though they’re not clicking at the moment, he thinks his guys will get there soon.
2. RSL’s offensive success can be attributed to Rusnák
Albert Rusnák may not have recorded any assists or goals against the Whitecaps, but he had a steady handle on Vancouver’s defense.
He knew just when to settle things down so Real Salt Lake could get more players in front. He also knew when to speed things up and start attacking. After the game, Petke applauded Rusnák’s leadership, and while the team has been paying more attention to its ball movement and overall speed, he wants other players to be on the same level.
“Albert is a smart player and he took that upon himself,” Petke said. “We have to continue to do better or we have to do better in recognizing when to possess the ball, especially at home, get teams tired, get them moving a little bit as well as going full force at goal.”
3. Substitutes rose to the occasion
As RSL heads on the road for a mid-week game against New York City FC on Wednesday, Petke knows his squad needs to be all hands on deck — especially considering Marcelo Silva and Demar Phillips exited Saturday’s game in the first half with injuries.
But with Adam Henley and David Horst to fill in the gaps, Petke doesn’t think the team will miss a beat because of how much preparation goes into a week’s training, regardless if someone is starting or not.
“I thought Adam and David settled in pretty well, I honestly do,” Petke said. “I thought David brought a presence with [Kei] Kamara especially with how big he is, and Henley, once he got into the rhythm, five 10 minutes, I though he did really will.