By Ambrosia Tonkovich @heyambrosia
Saturday, April 8: 3-0 Win
Well, wow. After a very dry spell, Real Salt Lake came back and came back STRONG, with a 3-0 win over Vancouver Whitecaps. This was the first game under new coach Mike Petke, the first time we have won since August 12th, 2016, and the first time we brought out the orange ball since 2007 because of the very strong snowstorm that appeared right after the start of the match. But we did it! We came back!
This was a much needed sigh of relief for fans and a huge weight I’m sure off of Mike Petke’s shoulders as all eyes were on him. Fans of RSL were excited to see a young Danny Acosta in his MLS debut as well as have him team up alongside Brooks Lennon and Albert Rusnak as some of the newest signings of the team this year. Based on speed and tactics, I don’t see Acosta going away any time soon.
We started off the match slow, but strong. In a performance reminiscent of 2013 RSL, there we were, on the field and fighting for a win. We were tight, communicative, and most importantly, hungry for the first win of the season. After a couple of ties and a couple of losses we needed this, and boy do we deserve it.
Albert Rusnak played the best game for us that I’ve ever seen him play (he’s always played well, however). He was fast, and even in a couple of inches of snow he had so much control of the ball. He scored our first goal in the second half, at the 54th minute of play and boy was that a nice feeling.
The stands were pretty empty due to the snow (local weather reports it snowed 6.3 inches, it was the last few inches that stuck during the second half of the game), but man were the supporters that chose to stick around happy. I could hear our chants clearly, and there was a new pep to them. It wasn’t chants of hope, everyone could tell that this was a new team. We were a soccer team playing soccer again. What a feeling.
We scored again in the 74th minute, with an assist from Albert Rusnak who got it over to Yura Movsisyan to make the final touch that sent the goal soaring in. It almost made its way out of the net with a touch from David Ousted but it hit the pole and went right back in where it belongs.
Fans went wild, snow went wild, I (having to stay home for the evening due to injury) screamed so loud I probably made the neighbors a little nervous. Not only are we scoring, but we’ve gained a 2 goal lead?! This is the team I’ve grown to love over the years! This is what I am used to!
In the 78th minutes, my heart soared. Luke Mullholland, while turning to make sure important parts weren’t hit by the ball, was able to nudge the ball in with his side. I remember watching it in slow motion, thinking there is no way that just happened. But sure enough, it did.
We were now up, 3-0. Snow was still falling and sticking to the field, people on the side with snow shovels every few minutes making the lines visible again. This game was crazy, and yet it was really happening! We were up by 3!
Come the end of the game, I think everyone had just about had it. At 90 minutes, a stoppage time of “+0” displayed on the screen and the whistle blew. We had done it! Finally won a game after so long! I had almost forgotten the feeling. Players were throwing snowballs! Life was good!
So what now? Well, this being the first game under Mike Petke officially, all eyes are still on him and the changes he makes. Having Chris Wingert and Acosta in the back seemed to really help, and watching fast little Joao Plata on the field for most of the game (subbing out at the 61’) was a welcome site to see as well. With all of the small changes that Petke has been putting into place are we going to see RSL get their flow back?
All I know is, it’s certainly nice to win one again.
- 29’ Yellow Card to Matias Laba (VAN)
- 40’ Yellow Card to Chris Schuler (RSL)
- 42’ Yellow Card to Kyle Beckerman (RSL)
- 59’ Mauro Damian Rosales in for Tony Tchani & C. Techera in for Christian Dean
- 61’ Sunny Saucedo for Joao Plata
- 78’ Andrew Jacobsen in for Matias Laba
- 81’ Luis Silva in for Yura Movsisyan
- 89’ Omar Holness in for Kyle Beckerman
Featured image courtesy: Jeff Swinger/USA TODAY Sports
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