Real Salt Lake needed a big performance from their leaders, and they got it in a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps a year after Mike Petke took the reigns as manager. One change occurred in the lineup with local star Corey Baird replacing Joao Plata in the starting XI, this change seemed to be based on performance rather than an injury to Plata as he spent the 90 minutes on the bench. Both goals came late in the first and second half respectively with Vancouver getting an even later goal (92+ min) to cut the margin to one. Luis Silva and Jefferson Savarino were your goal scorers while Brooks Lennon and Corey Baird had their first assists for RSL this season.
Here are my takeaways from RSL’s week 5 matchup:
This team has heart
Criticize this team as much as you would like, but do not slam their desire and willingness to give it there all. If there is one takeaway from Saturday night it would be the mindset this team played with. Marcelo Silva and Adam Henley, in particular, were sensational with there ability to win 50/50 challenges while not batting an eye on whether they should enter the challenge or not. This was a big talking point for Mike Petke throughout the week and whatever words were spoken clearly worked. Now, with 29 games left in the regular season, this mindset needs to stay.
Injuries are apart of the game
Unfortunately for RSL, they were forced to make two first-half defensive substitutes as a result of injuries to Demar Phillips (13′) and Marcelo Silva (41′). Phillips seemed to have a lower leg issue while Marcelo Silva was troubled by groin pain after he stretched to clear a dangerous cross. Both I would imagine are doubtful to play against NYCFC on Wednesday, but you never know. Adam Henley played incredibly well in replace of Demar Phillips and David Horst is a solid CB (especially when he wears pink boots) so rub your earlobes and take a deep breath.
It is no secret. 3 points at home and point(s) on the road is how you succeed in any professional soccer league. Real Salt Lake will be tested on Wednesday night against an in-form NYCFC unit that includes the likes of David Villa…As an RSL fan, all I can hope for is a better performance than the last time we went on the road to Toronto. I am not expecting to come away from New York with any points, but I need to see improvement from the lads on the road. If they are able to come away with a point then that would be remarkable and I believe Real Salt Lake should hold a party with free food and beverages, free of charge.
Here are the match highlights for you to enjoy thanks to @RealSaltLake on twitter:
A "W" at the RioT pic.twitter.com/YLmFozUUij
— Real Salt Lake (@RealSaltLake) April 9, 2018
Follow me on Twitter @TomCantHackett for all the latest Real Salt Lake updates.