By Ambrosia Tonkovich // @heyambrosia
Saturday, July 22: 1-1 Draw
What led to definitely the best post-game conference I’ve ever seen in my life was a pretty controversial, somewhat chaotic, but we could’ve all seen it coming game, that resulted in a 1v1 draw against Sporting Kansas City at home in Rio Tinto Stadium with Real Salt Lake.
— Real Salt Lake (@RealSaltLake) July 23, 2017
I don’t even know where to start with this one. The beginning seems like the logical place, but oh man, the beginning seems so boring when we all know where the end takes us. Let’s start with this – SKC and RSL have a pretty healthy rivalry. After SKC defeated us in the 2013 championship we’ve been pretty sore.
The time up to that championship was a little sore as well, with RSL supporters buying their tickets to the game and then the tickets being pulled out from under them by the stadium saying that an ‘invalid’ code was used to purchase them (the code was tweeted out by the SKC twitter itself). However, I don’t want to dig too far into the past. I mention it because every time these two teams meet, drama is probably going to ensue. And boy, howdy did it ever.
I’ll be honest, the first half is a little uneventful. RSL had two shots on goal, with one of them making it in at the 42nd minute (Luis Silva’s first RSL MLS goal, assist by Joao Plata). We did have most of the possession for the first half, keeping SKC pretty defensive. They had no shots on goal the entire first half. We did have a hydration break (it was weirdly humid in Utah, also crazy hot… this heat wave, amirite guys?), but really, that’s about it. We ended the first half 1-0 RSL.
Just when you think things are just a normal soccer game though… the second half begins.
I guess I should let you guys know, we had one of the most inexperienced referees this game. A lot of calls were missed (for both teams). A lot of diving happened. A lot of frustration. So much so that our Coach, Mike Petke was asked to leave the field after yelling at the fourth official when a call was missed after Joao Plata was put into a headlock and pushed down during play. In addition, a player did go cleats up against Luke Mulholland and that was called, but only as a yellow, which in my honest opinion, wasn’t the right call.
There are a lot of RSL fans upset that SKC was given a PK (ultimately tying up the game 1-1 in the 59’ with a kick from Benny Feilhaber) but I actually think it was the right call. I know that if we had the same circumstances against us we would have been yelling for a PK.
So, the second half continues. Yellow card after yellow card is given. Foul after foul. It seems like no play can last more than one minute without someone on the ground or some foul being called somewhere. A total of 25 total fouls were called this game. Both teams only used one sub, and to my surprise even though Dom Dwyer was on the bench he was never brought on (which is still really weird to me, especially with the ref we had for the night).
A total of 5 yellow cards were given during the second half (it should’ve been at least one red on each side as well). Also, holy cow, we had a goal that went in, hit the right post, bounced off, then hit the left post, then bounced out, to a player, then he kicked it right back over straight to another post. That ball DID NOT want to go in. Talk about holding my breath. Woooooo.
Obviously Mike Petke and his conference received way more press than really this entire game did, so I can’t just end this article without saying something. When he was brought in to coach the Monarchs we were excited because we *knew* he was going to eventually be coaching RSL. When Jeff Cassar was let go, we knew it was only a matter of time.
I’m so glad that his passion was such a big part of Saturday night. I know we didn’t see him first (I can hear NY fans gritting their teeth right now), but we have him now and don’t worry guys, we love him.
And let’s all hope he gets his printer working.
Featured image courtesy: Chris Nicoll/USA TODAY Sports
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