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Three things to do better after San Jose

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MLS: Real Salt Lake at San Jose Earthquakes Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

I've got a bone to pick with Mike Petke. I know he's come in and done some good work on the press conferences and worked to improve the teams play but there's an unforgivable sin that he's committed and I'm firmly of the opinion he needs to be replaced as soon as possible.

WHERE'S THE SWEATERS, MIKE!?

I mean, I made you the number one guy in my top five sweater wearing coaches and how do you repay me! With a very distinct lack of knitwear!!! This is a slight I can't forgive and I think we need to instantly hire Matthew Perry as head coach to make this whole situation better.

I don't know how many sweaters it would take to get this team playing like everybody agrees they can but I'll wear as many as I have to if it will find us two wins in a row! It wasn't a dreadful performance this weekend in some respects but some poor individual play let us down. Here's my three things to do better after this game.


Dealing with Pressure

One thing that was really obvious within the first 10 minutes was that San Jose came to put massive pressure on the whole team. They passed better, controlled the possession of the ball and basically enforced their playstyle on Real Salt Lake with little reply from the visitors.

SJ vs RSL Heatmap
Whoscored.com

There's no massive difference there apart from the 100+ extra touches from San Jose but the key thing is the difference between the green from Salt Lake and the yellow from San Jose. It's small but it yellow is middle of the line whereas green is below so according to this map the Earthquakes were everywhere while we were backed up into our own half. It could be the youth of the squad at play here but we don't cope well with pressure at all either at home or on the road which is dangerous right now because MLS has never been more of a shark tank than now and we're losing blood fast.

Calm heads have to prevail when we are pressured by teams and you're looking at guys like Wingert and Rimando to calm them. Wingert is a club icon but he isn't able to start anymore and I don't say that with a vendetta against him but he was beaten on the first goal and couldn't recover. Maund once again turned in a shift that's not enough to warrant him holding down the starting CB spot and with nobody incoming to stabilise the back line we need somebody to work out how to keep the back line defending as a unit and keep them calm when we're under pressure.

Wind beneath the Wings

Who would like to see a buddy cop movie made where Chris Wingert and Danilo Acosta team up after games to fight crime in Utah with Acosta being the young kid who follows the letter of the law and Chris as grizzled veteran cop who doesn't play by the rules but gets results as the two grow to help each other with their weaknesses and accent their strengths.

Just me?

Ok, well I'm sure we can all agree what we don't want to see is another performance like this weeks! Chris didn't have a great game and the young Honduran didn't have a game to remember either after being caught high up the field on the second SJ goal that ended up as the decisive one. Sure, he's 19 and a backup player, but with Tony struggling to get back on the field for consistent minutes this was a chance to show he could make the left back spot his while Wingert covers.

Shifting to a 4-4-2 with a emphasis on overlapping wing backs this week may have been a cause in this and it could be that Acosta is getting used to that but I'm sure he'd like to have that moment back for a do over. It's an often under appreciated position on the field but having a strong coordination on your wide play between the attacking wingers and the defensive wingers it can turn an average team to a good team and if we are playing as a wider team we need to have a group of players who will link up well.

Passing the Buck

Is this too harsh? I mean, Matt has a point here, I think. Luke is very good at breaking up the play and his dynamism from box to box is off the charts at times but he isn't the guy we want passing the ball, he needs somebody with him who will play the ball far and wide. Having said that, he passed the ball pretty well last night and apart from a few stray balls he was as good as you can expect him to be. I think Rusnak is the missing piece here and his passing play will be key, but if Rusnak is going to be away with the international squad for a while we need a reliable back up, and I'm not ready to say that's Luke or Sunny yet. I wish Holness was able to hit his potential like we've seen glimpses of for the last couple of seasons and down at the Monarchs because he could be that guy. It's the Ned Grabavoy position that needs filling and hopefully we have somebody step up and make it their own soon!


It think what's most frustrating is that line I used earlier, that everybody agrees we're a team with potential. There's nobody who would argue against that. When talking about what's to come for RSL pundits run out of adjectives to use for and while that's great it doesn't help us now and truth be told we need help. We need somebody who can come in and provide now and on a regular level. We've built up back ups and future talent to the point where we're doubled up in some places but I'm hopeful this window will give us a chance to bring somebody in that can contribute right away. I'm pretty sure there's a kid from NY with an Italian background with a great goal celebration who Mr Perry would pick up...