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Five quick stats: RSL’s last comeback win ended 2-1 over Colorado Rapids

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Mike Petke’s tactical shifts are starting to take effect.

Real Salt Lake   v Colorado Rapids Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

RSL’s last comeback win? 2-1 over Colorado Rapids, Aug. 26

This isn’t so much about match analytics or any of that, but if you were having trouble remembering the last time Real Salt Lake found a comeback win, wonder no longer. You’ll never guess who it was against, too. (Except you probably do know now that you’ve read the section heading. I’m really struggling here.)

That was also our last win of 2016, and until Mike Petke took over, it was our last win. (Now we’re at two-for-two, which, at that rate... well... let’s not even think about it.)

Interestingly, that was also the last time we had back-to-back wins.

Brooks Lennon had more touches than any other attacking RSL player

Well, would you just look at that? These are Brooks Lennon’s touches in both halves. All of his touches on the left side — we’re attacking from right to left in this, for reference — came in the second half, which shows us a strategic change from RSL coach Mike Petke.

Because Lennon’s goal came when he cut in from the left side on his preferred left foot, we’re putting this one entirely on Mike Petke. And also Brooks Lennon. Oh man, Brooks Lennon.

Defending outside our own third

These are touches from Chris Wingert and Chris Schuler combined — obviously, being down a goal affected this, but you can see that they’re only rarely defending deep in their own third of the pitch. Instead, we got to see them start right around the baseline of the middle third. It was nice, and clearly, it made a difference.

By keeping the line of confrontation high, RSL was able to keep Colorado Rapids from creating too many dangerous chances. Obviously, their predilection for keeping only a few players forward made this a little easier, but it’s something.

Demar Phillips led the team in passing

It used to be that Real Salt Lake’s style flowed through the full backs — those were the halcyon days, weren’t they? We’ve been away from that since we went to the 4-3-3, which seemed almost inexplicable. In a system designed for width, we had a strange desire to bypass our wide players when they were defensive — and that injured us more than it helped us.

The days of Tony Beltran and Demar Phillps having half the passes of their center back compatriots could be coming to an abrupt end. Tonight, Danilo Acosta and Demar Phillips actually led the team in passing numbers.

Now, they probably shouldn’t lead that every game — we want and need Albert Rusnak and Kyle Beckerman to really make their influence present — but tonight, it’s hard to complain. We played wide, and we played in a way that our wide attackers had natural support. It all goes back to what we kept hearing from Mike Petke: He wanted to get our wingers in front of our defenders. When that happens, they have someone to pass to. Well, here you go.

  1. 75 - Phillips
  2. 66 - Acosta
  3. 57 - Wingert
  4. 56 - Beckerman
  5. 46 - Lennon
  6. 45 - Rusnák
  7. 42 - Schuler

RSL was forced wide by a deep, narrow Rapids defense

There’s not too much to say about this one, but you can see how wide we were forced by Colorado. (We’re on the right side of this graphic.) But also, look at Colorado — they have very, very little in the middle of the attacking half. We’re not even talking attacking third here. There’s just a gaping hole where you’d expect a player.

Oh, and do you see that red spot? That’s where Brooks Lennon and Danilo Acosta merge. On that note, how about the academy influence on Real Salt Lake? With Brooks Lennon, Danilo Acosta and Sebastian Saucedo starting, we looked like we had an identity at our core. It’s great to see us supporting that on the field.