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RSL vs Vancouver: What we learned

Yay, we can finish!

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps at Real Salt Lake Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t always sexy, but we got two great run-of-play goals against one of the hottest teams in the Western Conference. Yet we lost out on the clean sheet in the dying minutes of the match. RSL put in a formidable ninety minutes, though. It’s something to be proud of. It’s something to build on. It’s three points!


Let’s start here. Everyone in every league of every sport has a problem with their refs. It’s part of sport. So a few thoughts.

If we want our officiating to improve, refs need to have the opportunity to make their mistakes and grow from them. It’s the only way it’s going to get better. If you’ve watched this league for any real length of time, you must admit that the officiating has improved. No question.

But you know what? USL exists for players to develop and prove themselves. This should apply to refs, too. Prove you can cut it in the lower division. Top divisions shouldn’t suffer these reffing inconsistencies.


While there were struggles through the midfield, this team pulled together and ground this thing out. Petke called for changes in mindset. We got that.

I loved Savarino’s goal, but I’m also a huge critic of his selfishness. He squandered two strong chances taking shots that could have been played to the team. It’s not anything new. I rate him, but I want to see better decision making from him. He put in the effort, though. That’s a huge plus.

Silva was a beast tonight. What he left on the field was more than just that goal. The back line clicked, despite two early substitutions.

Henley was outstanding. It’s nice to see him healthy (more on this in a moment) and getting his chance with the team. Lennon also had a very strong night. Outside backs probably play the least glamorous position on the field, but they can make or break a game—a team, even.

However. I’m going to come back to another key talking point from the past few years: identity. What is it? Who are we? It felt like we were getting there at the end of last season, but I think we’ve lost that spark. It’s something we need. If I can’t define it by July, I’m going to be worried.


If you look at the MLS injury report, you’ll see we’re in the top three in terms of injured players. Add two more? I hope not. Acosta was subbed out of the Monarchs match in the eleventh minute. Was this because Phillips went down? Is he injured?

Injuries are a problem. Even Petke hit on it in his post-game interview. It needs to be figured out.


Did you see the Rio Tinto commercials? They’re different! They finally listened to me. Now, about those ambulance chasers.

Be careful driving around out there, folks. I suspect Marcos De Oliveira isn’t done handing out yellow cards; if he sees you walking around in RSL gear, you might just get one.

Does anyone outside of Atlanta like Atlanta United Steal-Other-Team’s-Things (I think that’s the full name)? They’re a bunch of homers. Not just that, but they use a golden spike. You know, like was historically placed in Utah to commemorate the transcontinental railroad. Search golden spike. Do it. Top results aren’t about Atlanta. They’re about Utah. Atlanta is fast becoming my least favorite Eastern Conference team. Even worse than New York or New Jersey. Stupid Atlanta with their sharply-dressed track suit coach. Oh, man. That was a big rant.