After Real Salt Lake’s 2-0 win over the Seattle Sounders, head coach Mike Petke addressed the press. Petke seemed almost somber during the interview, which was unexpected after the win over a very good Sounders team.
His demeanor might have had more to do with spending an hour and a half in cold rain rather than the result, but he wasn’t shy about criticizing the team’s performance in first half hour, citing poor passing and being behind with off-the-ball movement. The head coach did have a lot of positives to say about players like Justen Glad and Nick Rimando, as well as the team’s mentality to fight for a playoff spot.
When asked about the decision to start Brooks Lennon as the center forward, Petke said:
Luis is out right now. Yura has done a good job for us coming off of the bench for us. And I just looked at it as Torres and Swenson as center backs, Brooks with his pace, Brooks with his youthfulness and energy, I thought that could occupy them. And we just made a decision and we decided to go with Brooks.
Justen Glad put in a solid defensive shift for the match, including a fantastic clearance in 5th minute.
I have said it before Justen plays beyond his years and that is the one big credit. There is so many tangibles I could go on about Justen, about his touch on the ball, his pace, his athleticism but he reads the game far, far better then any player his age, I think, in this league and that is just one example even when there is a miscue in the back like there was there and they send someone through. His positioning, and being able to track back, and get back there and get that ball away. I have said all along the sky is the limit for him if he keeps continuing to work hard and improve.
The head coach had some very high praise for Real’s goalie after an impressive performance and keeping clean sheet:
Nick is incredible, I don't know what the right word is. Nick is ageless, does that make sense? If anyone would walk in not knowing anything about Nick Rimando or Real Salt Lake and say he is 38 years old, he just comes up big when it is needed. Just the one that sticks out is that last save where he just, the two saves at the end the one time when he got his hand up against Dempsey the other one was the shot low to his left that he saved off the post. You need key players in every position but someone like a goalie is an isolated position who is the last man out there just one incredible save a game can win you the game for you and can spark something in the team and he had 2,3,4 tonight as usual. Nick could possibly play until he is 45 perhaps if he keeps going like this. Age is just a number, he is incredible.
When asked about the change in team mentality and the needed results for the final three games of the season:
This is 3 points tonight that we needed and wanted and thought that we could get. Before the first goal went in, if we had gotten into the 75th-80th minute we were going three in the back that early. We were really pushing this and our mentality right now is that we need to get 3 points every game. Our mentality going into the LA game might change a little bit tactically because we are on the road, but our mindset stays the same. We are not going to sit back, we have to go. There will be times where we have to sit back but we have to go, go, go. And we have the players that can do that with the pace, explosiveness, the technique. And we have to get 3 points out of LA, we have to get 3 points out of Colorado and we have to get 3 points out of Kansas City. That is the way we look at it. I don't think tonight was the perfect game or close to the perfect game. I can think of 5 off the top of my head, some that we honestly haven't won, that I thought we played better. But the one thing I can't take away from this team is the mindset shift that they have had over the last couple of months. Perhaps before I took over this is a game we would have lost but the mentality has shifted dramatically and that is all the players. You sprinkle the phenomenal soccer that you played at times tonight, I am very pleased with the performance, I am very pleased with the 3 points but I don't think this was our perfect game.
You can watch Petke’s full press conference below.
Head coach Mike Petke discusses tonight's win over the Seattle SoundersPosted by RSL Soapbox on Saturday, September 23, 2017
Shortly before Petke addressed the press, Luke Mulholland was available for questions as well. On his goal he said:
I blacked out. I just saw it on the replay now. No, to be honest it’s been awhile since I’ve hit the back of the net so I forgot how to celebrate and then just face planted. I didn’t see anybody get into the mixer so I knew I just had to make that run--whether it was to take defenders away or if Savarino was going to play me and, you know, fortunately I was able to keep it under the crossbar.
When asked about winning over a Sounders team that hadn’t lost since June:
Yeah, yeah we were aware of that. But I can say right now the last dozen games we’ve turned the corner on the season and we’re slowly but surely turning Rio Tinto into a fortress so obviously now we’ve got three games left and with the games today played before us, so obviously we were aware of the results going into the game but really we just got to concentrate on ourselves. I think if we can take care of business, especially at home and then see what we can do on the road we’ll leave ourselves with a good opportunity to get into the playoffs, which will take, considering the first five games of the season--we had a four game losing streak as well--so I think we keep grinding slowly but surely and turn Rio Tinto back into a fortress.
You can watch Mulholland’s full press conference below
Luke Mulholland discusses his goal and what this win means for the team.Posted by RSL Soapbox on Saturday, September 23, 2017