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RSL vs Vancouver: What we learned

Did RSL field two different teams?

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Vancouver Whitecaps Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

A couple of weeks ago I pinned our issues squarely on the shoulders of the coach. After the first half, I was really excited to give Petke the nod for RSL playing so well, for his ability to motivate the young crew of players to put in such a great half.

And then he was outcoached by Carl Robinson.

It looked like four completely different teams out there tonight: two played the first half, two others played the second.


We looked really good in the first half. I can’t say that enough. While everyone controls possession against Vancouver, the possession we had in the first half was meaningful, much of it coming in the final third.

Players were fighting on both sides of the ball, linking up beautifully, and controlling the match in a way that was both exciting and pleasant to witness. I was pumped.


While we played well in the first half, we didn’t finish. We’re eight games into the season and we have only nine goals. That’s better than only six other teams and tied with five others. So at best we’re twelfth of twenty-three, at worst we’re seventeenth of twenty-three; either way, we’re in the bottom half of the league. Of the top five teams in the league, all five are in the top five in goals (Orlando is tied with two other teams with fourteen).

If we can’t finish, we can’t win.

And what happened in the second half? Vancouver took it away. We gave up a penalty and the game got away. It happens. We still have a long season ahead.

Now what?

I still completely trust that Petke has what it takes to put this team on the right path. It’s still early in the season. There’s time. If he can get this team playing every minute like the first forty-five of this match, we’ll be just fine.

RSL came out and played well. It’s something to continue, to build on, to push with. It’s going to be a wild season, but it’s going to be a fun season. This team is just waiting to break out.

But we need to start finishing. Do we need a DP striker? I don’t know. With the overall improvement of MLS, we just might.


If only every Vancouver player took of his shirt after each of those goals. We would have won, then.

Plata vs Techera was fun, but Techera won that sweet red certificate in the shirtless contest. Maybe next time, Plata. Maybe next time.

We need to play better in the final third, so we should play a 1-1-8 formation! Then we can score more. It’ll be a battle to see who scores the most. I think that’s how things work, right? Right?