Jun 2, 2018; Sandy, UT, USA; Real Salt Lake forward Brooks Lennon (12) and midfielder Danilo Acosta (25) congratulates Real Salt Lake midfielder Luis Silva (20) for his second half goal against the Seattle Sounders at Rio Tinto Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
SANDY, Utah — Here are three things we learned from Real Salt Lake’s 2-0 win against the Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday June 2.
Lack of prep time didn’t hamper RSL
While the Sounders had all week to learn and correct what went wrong when they lost to Real Salt Lake a week ago, RSL only had a couple of days to regroup after a Wednesday-night beating of the Houston Dynamo. The home team proved it didn’t need much time to recover, however.
Real Salt Lake scored two second-half goals against a struggling Seattle side that hasn’t found much success on the pitch this season. The opponent’s lack of form shouldn’t do anything to discredit the three straight wins RSL has garnered over the past eight days. The team is raising its standards, and head coach Mike Petke is beginning to expect more from his guys.
“I’m not saying we’re going to be able to win every game or play for 90 minutes unbelievable, but the workrate, the positioning, the tactical understanding, the attempts on goal — that’s the standard,” Petke said.
Baird isn’t losing ground
Corey Baird once again showed how instrumental he is to Real Salt Lake’s success. Baird scored the team’s opening goal in the 57th minute by keeping his eyes on the ball. Earlier this season, rebound opportunities seemed to take RSL by surprise as the team sometimes was hesitant to strike quickly. However, Baird didn’t shy away from the moment against Seattle.
As Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei blocked an attempt from Danilo Acosta, Baird was there for the second chance. His header gave Real its first goal of the game, and it also gave Baird his fourth goal of the season to make him the team’s scoring leader.
Acosta starting to meet expectations
Though Petke didn’t want to single anyone out, he did give some praise to Acosta.
“I saw one thing I haven’t seen with him for a long time — he was actually a man tonight,” Petke said.
Petke doesn’t lower his expectations for anyone on the team, and after the game he mentioned he didn’t think Acosta was doing enough to earn a significant role early on in the season. But that didn’t mean he was going to give up on him. Saturday night, Petke saw Acosta battle for the entirety of the game. He had confidence with the ball, and he didn’t give up the fight.
“He’s taking his third or fourth chance … and he’s running with it because he’s doing not one thing right, he’s doing a handful of things right,” Petke said. “Not doing everything right, still room to improve, but to me, the biggest change in Danny is his attitude, his bite. He’s becoming a man.”