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Cassar says pubitis kept Burrito Martinez from full form

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Were injuries to blame for Martinez’s dip in form? RSL’s coach thinks that’s at least part of it.

MLS: Sporting KC at Real Salt Lake Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

In an interview with ESPN 700, Real Salt Lake coach Jeff Cassar attributed Juan Manuel Martinez’s lack of form in the second half of the season to two things: pubitis and problems finding him in good positions.

Listen: Jeff Cassar on ESPN 700

Pubitis? That’s what Jeff Cassar described as “arthritis in the pubis area,” but it’s medically known as osteitis pubis.

Juan was dealing with — in essence — pubitis, which is arthritis in the pubis area, which is extremely painful. It’s a pain that’s debilitating. Some days it felt fine, other days it felt bad — some days it felt great until it felt bad. It was very difficult for Juan to be operating at full capacity through an entire match. Again, we saw flashes of it, but it was tough for him to put a full 90 minutes together of feeling great.

This is the first we can recall hearing about injury concerns for Martinez at this point in the year. Interestingly, it also comes after a fairly public display of frustration from Martinez during Real Salt Lake’s final playoff match against LA Galaxy — and while that’s no reason to doubt this statement, it’s interesting that it was never made public before.

Cassar isn’t just blaming the injury — instead, he’s also hearkening back to things he said in throughout the season about RSL needing to find Martinez in good positions. It’s a thought he repeated with some frequency.

On top of that, we needed to find a better way to get him more dangerous in areas where we really wanted to see Juan do his special things, which was further up the field. It was really a catch-22 near the end of the year.

Cassar isn’t just blaming one player for RSL’s problems closing out matches, though. He made a broader statement about needing team defense and team attack, and on the team not “being rewarded with the final product” — goals.

Part of it was with our entire team just the frustration. Even when we were doing things that we really wanted to do during the games and executing our game plan, we weren’t being rewarded with the final product. I think that started to wear not just on our forwards, but on everyone. Then, we start to press it on the offensive end, but then leave ourselves exposed. At the end of the day, we need 11 players attacking and 11 players defending, and really having the energy on both sides of the ball. I believe, at times, it wasn’t there.