Editorial (April 20, 2017) – Two games against Western Conference opponents. Two wins. They both came under some unusual circumstances, but the Mike Petke Era is off to a great start. Real Salt Lake players are praising the change and new aggressive mentality.
Real Salt Lake Praises “Change In Mentality” Under Mike Petke
First, RSL got a 3-0 win at home in the snow against the Vancouver Whitecaps. Then they got a comeback win in the Rocky Mountain Cup at Colorado Rapids after a late red card to Jared Watts. These wins did come with some help (snow and a late red card and PK), but they’re wins none the less. They’re also something to build upon.
This has been a team with a different foundation and the players are recognizing it. “[We’re] playing more aggressive. Defending higher up. Staying up there and winning the ball higher up,” said Yura Movsisyan this week after the win in Colorado. “It’s new energy. New ideas. Everybody woke up, we knew that their job wasn’t safe unless they produced. Every player that’s played has done a great job,” he added.
It’s a good sign for the club that they players realized what was at stake. This season is still salvageable for RSL. If nothing else, some of the players could be playing for their jobs.
“It’s been the same personnel obviously, but a change in mentality. The practices have been more serious,” said young striker Brooks Lennon. He added that they’ve had a better push in the second half lately and carried a never say die attitude.
Petke has changed things on the field, changed things philosophically in some ways, and given his players a sense of urgency. It’s reflected on the field. Petke has clearly learned from his up and down experience with the New York Red Bulls. He’s applying that knowledge to RSL.
It’s paying off so far. They’ll need to keep going to make the playoffs this year.