For 60 minutes, RSL played like a team who knew what they were doing. Everybody was on the same page, everybody was communicating and there was a sense of excitement as we pressured Orlando time and time again. Then on the 60 minute mark, the wheels came off the bus and the same old Real Salt Lake showed up and I think I speak for so many of us when I say that it was crushing.
I made two predictions on Twitter as the game went on: that Baird was right to be the starting striker, and that Orlando would punish us if we couldn’t get a second goal and it’s bitter-sweet to me that I was right. If Baird can keep this up he could find himself at the top of the depth chart by the end of the season; however, there are plenty of guys who might find themselves at the bottom if they can’t work out their issues.
Baird capped a tremendous move on 12 minutes with a deft finish off a Kreilach pass leaving some of us stunned at what we had just seen. A little later on he was harshly denied by the post before Plata flubbed his best chance right at Joe Bendik. One of those needed to go in because you could see Orlando moving up the gears as the game went on and they piled on pressure until we broke. Two goals in 5 minutes sealed our fate and we lost our cool quickly, gifting another goal to Orlando before the full time whistle. A second goal would have killed the game off and all but assured Real Salt Lake three points, but as we have seen all too often, we struggled to score in open play. We’re getting better but we need to get better faster if we are going to start picking up points.
I understand the idea that two wingers can be converted into fullbacks because it means our attacking play should be deadly from the wings as it basically means you’re playing 4 wingers. What it’s actually given us is a very weak defensive look against opposition wingers, especially on the left where Ruiz struggled to make an impact. Lennon was only a fraction better but it’s still not worked the way anybody must have hoped. Again, we’re getting better slowly but it needs to be faster than this. The left back position has been something we’ve struggled to fill since Wingert left the club the first time around with Phillips and Acosta both struggling to hold down a solid stint as the first choice. Is it time we went back to the market? I’d stay it’s a priority at least to have a look who is available.
I will expand on what I said over on Twitter last night. When I look at Savarino and Baird I see guys who are drained by the end of a game. Kyle Beckerman looked like he had died on the pitch and kept running by the end of things. Then I see some of the work by Plata, by Rusnak, by Glad, and by Kreilach in the defensive transition and I just want to scream. There’s no urgency in tracking back, there’s no urgency in moving forward. I get a feeling from some of the guys who make the 18 that they don’t get we’re a team in the decent right now and that they would rather be anywhere but here. Mike Petke said he knew what the issue was and later, on the excellent Mike Petke Coaches Show, explained how he had a call from Sir Alex Ferguson to discuss issues he had with players thinking they we’re bigger than the club and how to handle it. I don’t see some of that apathy or that lack of buy in to the Petke mentality being punished in the same way and I don’t see a way of this team getting better until some players are shown they aren’t too well paid to stay home some weekends.
kyle beckerman looks like he could use a good night's sleep pic.twitter.com/h2CHKePNjX— Matthew Doyle (@MattDoyle76) May 6, 2018
One thing I love is how silly and wacky we can all be while we watch the highs and lows of each Real Salt Lake game. The fans really have bonded together in this, the darkest timeline. Touches me right in my cold, black heart. Those same fans are going be welcoming DC United to Utah next weekend and no matter what the atmosphere will be one of the best in soccer for sure. However, I will use my powers of prediction for good and say now that I believe Real Salt Lake will be walking out with a well-deserved win!