A much more competitive game from Real Salt Lake ended 1-1 on Wednesday as Real Salt Lake and the San Jose Earthquakes looked another step closer to match fitness. We got to see a better look at the tactics and the concepts that we’ve heard about in the behind the scenes videos that Real Salt Lake has been producing.
Petkeball 2.0 looks to be about keeping the ball, inviting teams to press and then releasing our pacey wingers with diagonal balls out wide. Off the ball, we stayed compact and didn’t allow much space for the ball to move while keeping a very high line with Nick working as a sweeper more than a keeper. At times it looked very good, at other it looked like preseason.
However I think we can all agree, it’s looking better than it once was!
Ricky Lopez-Espin - The second round draft pick of the 2018 Superdraft played well during the 45 minutes he got both on the wing and at the point of the RSL attack. The Creighton product linked up well, played with passion and took his assist well to put Real Salt Lake a goal up. For a second round pick who seemed destined to play in the Monarchs, he didn’t look out of place within a number of first team players.
Sebastian “Bofo” Saucedo - Saucedo battled well through a very physical game, showed good ball control skills under pressure and closed down the defence, putting them under pressure and forcing many turnovers from the backline. Bofo spent a season pushing for minutes from the bench and it looks now that he may even get a start in the upcoming season as Petke seems to hold faith in him.
Nick Rimando - It seems like stating the obvious to say Rimando played well but but just like water is wet and the sky is blue, Rimando played very well! He was confident playing as a sweeper keeper, played like an outfield 11 at times and keeping the ball. That helped invite the pressure from San Jose and opened the space for our wingers to run into. He also saved like he’s not aged a day but what else did we expect!
Aaron Herrera - A fast start from Herrera in the first 5 minutes but that fell away after that. HE ran a lot but gave the ball away too often which didn’t help the team keep that pressure coming on. He seems to get the concepts but needs to work on some of the skills needed to hold up the ball and handle the pressure better.
Brooks Lennon - While Bofo was strong on the right, Lennon largely struggled to make plays on the left. His crossing wasn’t quite there yet and he didn’t cut inside as well as usual but will probably regain his sharpness soon. This is a harsh one as he was good otherwise.
Shawn Barry - Not an ideal start for the Florida native. He lost his man a few times, most crucially for the equalising goal by Amarikwa. His passes weren’t a crisp as others when trying to retain passion and they were a bit short, however this is another harsh point, as he wasn’t bad.