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Five reasons to be excited about the Petke Era

The Mike Petke Era at Real Salt Lake started with snow-covered celebrations. There are lots of reasons to be excited about that.

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Real Salt Lake Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

You’ve heard it been said by anyone who knows you like soccer—“What are your thoughts on…?” This week it’ll be anything from our new coach to the most recent game.

I have a sneaking suspicion that soccer fans (possibly more than fans of any other sport) are always the butt of jokes at work when our teams lose, and the life of the party at work when they win. I assume this mostly because I can’t throw a rock where I work without hitting at least two people who like the same football, basketball, or baseball team. It’s not so easy to hit someone else who like RSL as much as I do, and I like that sometimes. I am the go-to for RSL and all other things soccer related, and any work environment that gets us talking about soccer can’t be bad, right?

But with great power comes great responsibility. We’re expected to know how to get tickets to “that one big game coming up in the summer, what team is it again?” and answer questions like, “Who is that one guy with the dreads? He’s pretty good, isn’t he?”

If your work or school environment is anything like that, I have no doubt that someone has either ask or is planning to ask your thoughts on our new coach. So, here are five possible answers you can give to show your excitement about Petke Era.

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Real Salt Lake Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

1. Petke’s reactions on each half

When asked about the first half, Mike Petke said treated it as a learning lesson for him and the team. In saying “I saw some very positives based off the things we had initially talked about in one week. And I saw that it didn’t work at times, but the most important thing we saw tonight was that in one week the certain little tweaks that we want to make, they took it and they implemented it and they tried to implement it” we see that Petke has made some tweaks to get us in dangerous positions, and that he has plans for more. In addition to that, he saw things that didn’t work and plans to either leave those out or fix those.

When asked about the second half, he replied “Second half was all about grit and heart and just desire. Soccer goes out the window, I mean I am yelling like a lunatic from the sideline telling them to possess the ball and my coaches are looking at me like I have three heads” which shows his competitive attitude as well as his verbal presence.

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Real Salt Lake Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

2. Rusnak’s reaction to Petke’s style

Whether you like him or think he has shown up or not, Albert Rusnak is a designated player that RSL needs see perform well soon. When asked about Petke, his response was as follows: “It was an advantage for us to play offensively from the beginning. We played differently today than in the games before. Coach wanted us to play a lot higher with our wide men and with our backs.” A response like that can mean a number of things, but at the surface we know that something changed and he scored his first goal of the season and bagged two assists to boot.

3. Petke’s record

Including the one RSL Monarch’s match he coached, Petke sits at a perfect 2-0-0 record, outscoring opponents 5-1. I understand that it is only two games in, but it is a clear sign that something he is doing seems to be working, which gives us a lot more to talk about than all of March.

4. Petke’s willingness to be bold

In the comments section on an article posted this weekend, bigsurRSL stated “Call me crazy, but I don’t think we can afford to leave Acosta, Saucedo, and Holness on the bench any longer,” and I tend to agree with him on this subject. On Danilo Acosta, Petke is quoted, “Aside from the first 10 minutes maybe, five to 10 minutes, I thought he was big time for us… He needed to get that young energy, nervous energy out of his system because he was a bit overbearing on the fouls and then on the flip side he was a little late to step out,” and there are a lot more fans calling for his place in the Starting XI. We’ve seen what Sebastian Saucedo, Jordan Allen, and Brooks Lennon can do, and I don’t remember the last time Kyle Beckerman was subbed off. As much as I love Kyle, Petke’s understanding on when to sub him and his boldness in doing so shows that he sees things others don’t and is not afraid to shake things up a bit.

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Real Salt Lake Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

5. Petke’s thirst to prove himself

As mentioned in various other platforms, Petke was let go shortly after winning the Supporter’s Shield with the New York Red Bulls. RSL is not the New York Red Bulls, and we never will be (thank goodness) but we have players that can do wonderful things and we have even more who have shown they deserve more responsibility. That’s a damn good place to be in, and now that we have someone who was unjustly let go after winning a major trophy that RSL has yet to raise, this is a good a time as any to think that good things are coming. I’m not saying that we are a shoe-in for any major trophy, but we have something now that we just didn’t have before—hungry players and a hungrier coach.