clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Salt: RSL losses keep coming with excuses

I just want to see how the team’s actually performing.

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Los Angeles FC Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a little bit since we went and had The Salt pop up on your reading radar. Some things have happened since then, like ...

  • RSL lost 5-0 to D.C. United
  • RSL lost 2-1 to LAFC
  • RSL played a bunch of homegrown players in one game
  • RSL Twitter imploded a bit

And probably some more things, but you know, that’s soccer, right?

I don’t want to focus on the 5-0 loss too much, but let’s start there. Sort of.

RSL keeps giving themselves an excuse

Real Salt Lake lost 5-0 to D.C. after two red cards sent their changes plummeting. Those red cards? Certainly avoidable, and I’d have argued at the time they were perfectly just from the referee. But while those were big-impact items, I think it’s pretty clear we weren’t going to stand much of a chance prior to that.

After all, before the first red card was given, we had given up a penalty — again, I think that was justly given, but it’s not the point — and then conceded another before another ten minutes had passed.

I don’t want to point blame here, but really, that was a bad match before the first red card was given.

Fast forward a week, and we kind of have the same situation. Even though we went ahead first, we were certainly on the back foot. We can blame a wonder-goal (or an unfortunate deflection) for the result in part, or we might blame refereeing and weird offsides rules, but the truth of the matter is that we were very much under the gun for 90 minutes.

We took three shots — three! — over the course of 90 minutes. I know we were playing with a necessarily weakened lineup, so I don’t want this to be me complaining about the result. Honestly, I think it’s about as good as we could expect — it mostly hurts to have been in some modicum of control for some time.

My problem here is that we ended up with some pretty convenient excuses, and that’s a painful thing. I don’t think this is a Petke thing or necessarily even a team thing — it’s more about external perception than it is anything else.

Anyway, that’s why you’re here, reading The Salt, right? To hear my poorly thought out arguments and all that? OK.

So, uh, how about Saturday?

For the first time in years, I don’t feel like I really know what this team is capable of after preseason. I’ll be honest: I was super worried. Our preseason was, in a word, not good. (Wait. That’s ... oh well.)

Since, I’ve realized that I have no clue where we’ll end up. We have the makings of a good team. The big unknown — Everton Luiz — is looking like a very solid addition to the lineup. But we’ve also had a couple injury scares that have me on edge, too.

I think our lineup will look pretty solid on Saturday — we’ll have basically everyone back, save Justen Glad, Joao Plata, and Tony Beltran, and I think there’s even a chance those last two will be available.

So, the lesson? I have no clue what’s going on.

Lineup graphics

Just kidding. You all know how I feel about this.

(Seriously, though. If any coach is worried about lineup graphics giving something away, then I think they’re overthinking things a bit too much.)

So ... how about Saturday, Matt?

I think we win 2-1 and feel good about ourselves. Seattle a week later, though? Yeah, I’m not looking forward to that.

Bright spots

We’re ahead of Colorado Rapids. :tada:

Did you have a big topic today?

I mean, not really. Aside from that point above us having too many excuses in our last two games. That’s mostly it. I really am concerned about that, because frankly, I want to evaluate this team for where they are now, not where they’ve ended up. The signs on the road haven’t been wholly positive, but they also haven’t been wholly negative (see: opening game).

OK. That’s all. Bye.