Category Archives: Real Salt Lake

Real Salt Lake

The Freaking Printer Didn’t Work

Ambrosia Tonkovich - Real Salt Lake/mlsfemale
Official Real Salt Lake Reporter

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.

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

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @heyambrosia

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Evening The Score

Ambrosia Tonkovich - Real Salt Lake/mlsfemale
Official Real Salt Lake Reporter

By Ambrosia Tonkovich // @heyambrosia

Wednesday, July 19: 1-4 Win

When you wish upon many red cards…

After four losses and four draws against the Portland Timbers the last 8 times we played against them, Real Salt Lake finally managed to defeat them, 4-1 in Providence Park.

Alright, I’m gonna set you a scene.

I am the third week into my new job. The pressure is REAL, guys. This is not a ReAL pun, I promise. REAL vs ReAl etc… I dunno. Although if I were more clever I would probably make one right now. But it’s been a pretty busy few weeks (sorry for my absence) and I have to start the game off with the announcers asking our previously beloved Nat Borchers how he thinks both teams will do. Have you ever had stabby pains in your heart? That was a thing. Dang, announcers. Why do you have to do this to me before the game even starts? That was cold announcers, that was cold.

Alright. Let’s move on. We’re coming off of a friendly against Manchester United. We didn’t win, but I mean… we gave up 5 goals to Houston and RIGHT AFTER THAT gave up 6 goals to FC Dallas so… I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting us to do as well as we did. The fact that we scored on Manchester United first in the beginning was a shining light in my evening. But this isn’t about *that* game (although let’s just call me out on not writing about that game, eh?). So hey. We’re two days out of a friendly against a pretty big team. We go against a team that we’ve been very evenly matched against. Heartstrings already torn, we open the game.

10 minutes innnnnnnnnn. I hope the multiple “n”s will express to you that this, in fact, was a sing-song moment. Oh captain, my captain. Kyle Beckerman kicks a goal in from 30 yards away, weirdly out of nowhere. I honestly didn’t see it, and it seemed like no one really did until it was happening. But there it was. The first time I’ve ever said ‘Wow’ out loud for a Beckerman goal in a long time. Definitely his goal of the year. And it put us in the lead for the entire first half,  1-0. This is his 421st game, and way to go, Beckerman.

Honestly, even with that early goal Portland did keep up the pressure. They were down quite a few players, and even with that they were still able to create some chances for themselves, ultimately not able to follow through with the first half ending 1-0 Salt Lake, along with both teams collecting a yellow card or two.

The card-packed, controversial (I’ll get to that in a moment) second half opened up with a yellow card with the first minute, against Danilo Acosta who had just barely been put in the game at half time. With this second half off to a slow start it seemed unlikely that we would be seeing scores so soon, but a PK was rewarded to Real Salt Lake, with Joao Plata hitting into the net at the 50’ mark.

From there, it seemed chaos took over. At the 53’ mark Arboleda gets a red card for (imho) what looks like a pretty clear elbow to Plata’s neck. Not only was it out, but it was out, and up, and followed through. I will say that was a pretty solid red in my opinion. So now Portland is down a man in the 53rd minute while they’re also down by two points. Not a good place to be.

But oh. Things get so much worse. For both teams. Simultaneously, and very fast.

Insert unpopular opinion here: Kyle Beckerman definitely should have gotten a card here. A red…. Eh? If what he did deserves a red then there have been a LOT of missed red opportunities over the years of MLS being a sport. Games would end short-handed literally every single game. I will say this – Kyle did this on purpose. He agitates, and every other team knows this (I told you this is an unpopular opinion).

BUT. Here’s where things get hairy for me: Fanendo Adi comes up to Kyle and straight up chest bumps him down to the ground. While Toledo (ref) marked down Beckerman’s elbow as ‘Violent conduct’ he also gave both Kyle and Adi the SAME disciplinary time away from game play. That seems a little uncouth to me. Adi straight up knocked a dude to the ground while Kyle threw an elbow that ultimately left Adi running, even after he was hit, until he decided to let his anger get the best of him and make him turn around. One of those things is definitely not like the other.

As an update on that, RSL did try to appeal the red card and the appeal was denied, so Kyle will be out for the July 22nd game against Sporting KC.

I digress. After a double red with that play, both teams missing men (Portland down to 9, RSL down to 10) we quickly scored two more goals. The 3rd goal was awarded to Albert Rusnak but was first marked as an own goal on Gleeson.  Either way it was a fast one, and Albert’s 5th for the season so far. This kid is impressing me so much. Wow.

Our last and final goal of the night (from RSL) was another one from Plata, right at the 80th. He’s coming back strong after that surgery. We’ve now scored an equal number of goals in these last two MLS games combined than we had in the past 12. So it’s safe to say we’ve been needing this.

Here are the game highlights:

10′  Goal Kyle Beckerman 0-1

28′  Yellow Card Lawrence Olum

41′  Yellow Card Zarek Valentin

42′  Yellow Card Albert Rusnak

45′ + 1′  Substitution: Out: Chance Myers In: V. Arboleda

45′ + 4′  Substitution: Out: Demar Phillips In: Danilo Acosta

45′ + 5′  Yellow Card Diego Valeri

46′  Yellow Card Danilo Acosta

50′  Penalty Goal Joao Plata 0-2

53′  Red Card V. Arboleda

55′  Red Card Fanendo Adi

56′  Red Card Kyle Beckerman

57′  Yellow Card David Horst

68′  Goal Albert Rusnak 0-3

72′  Substitution: Out: D. Asprilla In: Jack Barmby

75′  Substitution: Out: Luis Silva In: Chris Wingert

80′  Goal Joao Plata 0-4

81′  Yellow Card Jack Barmby

83′  Substitution: Out: Sunny In: Aaron Maund

90′ + 3′  Goal Jack Barmby 1-4

Featured image courtesy: @RealSaltLake

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At Least It Wasn’t A Total Disaster

Ambrosia Tonkovich - Real Salt Lake/mlsfemale
Official Real Salt Lake Reporter

By Ambrosia Tonkovich // @heyambrosia

Saturday, June 24: 2-1 Loss 

That last minute goal. Woooooo. 

Okay, let’s back up a bit, but I just had to get that sentence out of my system. 

Real Salt Lake took on the San Jose Earthquakes in California at the Avaya Stadium Saturday night ultimately losing, 2-1. 

After a shut out against Minnesota the week before, the team (and fans) had high hopes going into this match. An on the road game against San Jose though, is a tough one to win, and we proved it. With passes falling flat, even when San Jose went down a man in the 71st minute with a 2nd yellow card called against Nick Lima (SJ), we were still unable to bring home a win.

I decided to watch this game from a wing place with the rationale of “well we probably can’t lose too bad, I’ll go out in public”. Funny how you look at the score, are down 2-0 and think “well, that’s not terrible”. Probably a pretty clear testament to how the team has been this year. Luckily we were in public, so I couldn’t yell all of the obscenities I normally do. I just ate my wings and drank my beer, no ugly crying allowed. 

The ray of light was Jose Hernandez, who did get his first professional goal in not only the last minute of play, but the last ten seconds of play, scoring against San Jose in the 94th minute which is a nice reminder to all teams to play til the end. A huge shout out to him, and welcome to the MLS scoreboard, Hernandez!

So, the takeaways from this game?

July is going to be an interesting month. Alright, that’s not a takeaway from this game, we’ve just known this to be the case. Summer transfer window is just about here, and it seems like some big changes are coming.

Okay actual takeaway though, our young players are still looking really good. Six of the 11 players on the pitch were from the academy program, five of whom signed homegrown player contracts. That is awesome, and is needed with two games coming up quickly, on June 30th and July 4th against Orlando and LA Galaxy, respectively.

Game Events:

13′  Goal Danny Hoesen 1-0

50′  Yellow Card Andrés Roberto Imperiale

67′  Yellow Card Nick Lima

68′  Goal M. Ureña 2-0

71′  Yellow/Red Nick Lima

73′  Substitution: Out: M. Ureña In: K. Sarkodie

74′  Substitution: Out: Danny Hoesen In: Shea Salinas

74′  Substitution: Out: Chris Wingert In: S. Saucedo

81′  Substitution: Out: Jefferson Savarino In: Ricardo Velasco

85′  Substitution: Out: Luis Silva In: José María Hernández

87′  Substitution: Out: Jahmir Hyka In: Tommy Thompson

89′  Yellow Card S. Saucedo

90′ + 4′  Goal José María Hernández 2-1

Featured image courtesy: @MLS

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I’m Still Here

Ambrosia Tonkovich - Real Salt Lake/mlsfemale
Official Real Salt Lake Reporter

By Ambrosia Tonkovich // @heyambrosia

Wednesday, May 31: 5-1 Loss

Hey, it’s me again. It’s been a while, I’ve been on vacation. I’ll be honest, I’ve been glad I’ve been vacation. My team has… not been very good. We had a couple of wins, sure. But overall, it’s been pretty bad. This last game was a pretty good indicator of our performance.

I didn’t get a chance to watch this game live. I had made plans to go to a friend’s house ahead of time, and right before I was about to leave the house, I got a lovely notification three minutes into the game: Houston Dynamo 1, Real Salt Lake 0. But that’s not all. It was an own goal. Our very own Justin Schmidt scored an own goal to start what turned into what could be described as an embarrassment against RSL 3 minutes into the game.

I’ll be honest, I’m not the only one to label this game as such. Our very own coach, Mike Petke has said it, our player Tony Beltran has said it… we were a mess. I chose that moment to turn off most of the notifications for the game, head over to my friend’s house, and try to finish the evening in as blissful a bubble as I could. I kept checking my watch anyway, updating my friends (who don’t care since they don’t watch the sport), and slowly sinking more and more into the chair and a depression as time went on.

5-1 was the final score, with Houston dominating over RSL. Am I surprised? No. Is that frustrating? YUP. I’m pretty disappointed with the team’s performance this year. With the coach switch out, the younger players, and the slow but steady return of injured players I’ve been secretly hoping for a better, healthier team.

A couple of wins while I was on vacation kept me in light spirits. I didn’t completely want to get my hopes up, but eh, you win some, you lose some. But holy cow, I just finished watching the game just now and man… I heard ambulances going back and forth during the game and I can only imagine it was to help the obviously burned players off the field at the end of the match. 5-1 is just… painful.

Anyway, I do want to focus on a couple of things. Joao Plata did have a gorgeous free kick. Soared right between two Houston players, right over their shoulders, right into the goal. No one could do anything about it. It was his second goal of the season (I’m sad I wasn’t able to report on the first, he’s been obviously hungry for it), and I’m happy for him.

That was beautiful. The unfortunate part about his play this game though was his defense (or lack thereof) on the second goal that Houston scored. I’m not sure what happened, but there was a weird clearing, like the soccer ball was Moses and RSL players were the sea. Everyone just sort of… stopped. Cleared a path for that ball to go right on in the goal. I watched it a couple of times, and I still don’t get it.

The other thing I want to focus on, well, Matt Van Oekel did have a couple of good saves. Obviously that’s weird to type knowing that the scoreline is 5-1, but he did. It wasn’t just him back there, there is a defensive line for a reason, so he came up strong sometimes when they didn’t, and for that I need to give him props.

So… Anyway. All of this sounds like a big bash to my team. It’s not. Am I disappointed? Yep. For sure. Do I love them any less? Hell no. I’ve loved them for God knows how long. I’m not gonna stop now. Yeah, this is frustrating, but hey, way to help me build some thick skin, RSL. I’m still going to go to games, still going to chant, still going to lose my voice every home game, even when we lose.

Events this match:

3’ Goal (own) Schmidt 1-0

15′  Goal Alex 2-0

45′  Goal M. Manotas 3-0

52′  Goal E. Torres 4-0

54′  Yellow Card Sunny

57′  Yellow Card J. Cabezas

62′  Substitution: Out: M. Manotas In: B. García

63′  Goal Joao Plata 4-1

63′  Substitution: Out: Joao Plata In: Luis Silva

66′  Substitution: Out: Albert Rusnak In: José María Hernández

68′  Goal Leonardo 5-1

71′  Substitution: Out: A. Elis In: V. Sánchez

73′  Substitution: Out: Kyle Beckerman In: Omar Holness

79′  Yellow Card B. García

Featured image courtesy: @RealSaltLake

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Insert expletive here.

Ambrosia Tonkovich - Real Salt Lake/mlsfemale
Official Real Salt Lake Reporter

By Ambrosia Tonkovich // @heyambrosia

Saturday, April 29: 3-0 Loss

Well, I don’t know where to start. For the first time in eight matches against Sporting Kansas City, we finally lost to them. With 7 yellow cards between the two teams, the game ended in the 96th minute with a 3-0 lead from SKC.

With both Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando out on injury, I want to say it started off promising for Real Salt Lake fans, but I’ll be honest, it didn’t look that great from the beginning. SKC scored their first goal in the 17th minute (Benny Feilhaber) and boy was it pretty. I have to give credit where credit is due, I know I would’ve been proud if RSL had scored a goal that looked so good, so I couldn’t even be mad when that happened.

After this goal,  we started to gain a little bit more possession, with Joao Plata making sure to send in anything he could, and Yura Movsisyan almost making a shot that deflected off of Plata in the 29th minute. After a quick discussion, referees made the decision that Plata was in an offsides position and the goal didn’t count. The noise that came out of my mouth during that time was… something inhuman. I laughed at the whole thing, but it was understandable. But man it would’ve been nice to at least have one goal.

We still continued our theme of incomplete passes during the rest of the second half and finished the 45th with a 1.0 lead from SKC and a sad, but hopeful halftime gave me time to grieve.

Alas, our second half started off quick for SKC, they gained their second goal in the 52nd minute, courtesy of Dom Dwyer. Soon after that, Movsisyan signaled that he needed to be taken off at the 60th minute due to an injury, and Coach Mike Petke was forced to sub him out but brought in Luis Silva up front for the attack.

At the 90th minute they announced 5 minutes of stoppage time, and I groaned, but hoped that it would go quick. I was wrong. Right toward the end of stoppage, Gerso Fernandez was able to run past Matt Van Oekel who went out to get the ball but missed. There it was, 3-0 and just at the end of stoppage time. As soon as the whistle rang I turned off the TV.

Am I disappointed? Sure. There have been numerous players who have all agreed, everyone needs to step up. However, I continue to stick by our team during these growing pains with new players and 11 players of ours out on injury (the most in the league). Hopefully, we continue some conditional training to keep our current players around and out of injury trouble.

Match Events:

(SKC) 17′  Goal Benny Feilhaber 1-0

(RSL) 39′  Yellow Card Luke Mulholland

(SKC) 49′  Yellow Card Benny Feilhaber

(SKC) 51′  Goal Dominic Dwyer 2-0

(RSL) 51′  Yellow Card Demar Phillips

(SKC) 55′  Yellow Card R. Espinoza

(RSL) 55′  Yellow Card Yura Movsisyan

(RSL) 60′  Substitution: Out: Yura Movsisyan In: Luis Silva

(SKC) 69′  Yellow Card Graham Zusi

(SKC) 70′  Substitution: Out: R. Espinoza  In: Sony Mustivar

(RSL) 71′  Substitution: Out: Danilo Acosta  In S. Saucedo

(SKC) 79′  Substitution: Out J. Medranda In Daniel Salloi

(SKC) 84′  Yellow Card Gerso Fernandes

(RSL) 85′  Substitution: Out: Luke Mulholland In: José María Hernández

(SKC) 90′ + 1′  Substitution: Out: Dominic Dwyer In: Soony Saad

(SKC) 90′ + 5′  Goal Gerso Fernandes 3-0

Featured image courtesy: @RealSaltLake

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @heyambrosia

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RSL v COL – Rocky Mountain (winning) High

Ambrosia Tonkovich - Real Salt Lake/mlsfemale
Official Real Salt Lake Reporter

By Ambrosia Tonkovich @heyambrosia

Saturday, April 15: 1-2 Win

Holy cow.

I can’t believe it. We won. The last ten minutes of the game, and not only did we score a point, we scored two to win the game for the first time in 19 home games at Colorado Rapids.

Let’s discuss what happened, because although we won, this was not a pretty game.

First of all, a big shoutout to Jared Watts. Honestly, without you this probably wasn’t possible. In the 85th minute of play, when pretty much all hope was lost, you got a handball right on the line and a red card sent you off the field. This awarded Real Salt Lake with not only a PK, but the game equalizer right there in the 85th minute. Jared, I salute you. I saw your frustration, and I understand, but you have probably made some friends of RSL fans!

Also, if you happened to hear of the news, Tim Howard is suspended for three games due to foul language/actions against some Sporting KC supporters after his game against them. In addition to that, he apparently had some pretty strong words with Dom Dwyer, so I mean, we’ll take what we can get. You helped us with a big W, Tim.

Alright, so, our first half was… dismal. We were uncoordinated, we couldn’t move the ball fast enough, and our passes failed repeatedly. We weren’t expecting Colorado to play well, and that isn’t an excuse. We should be going into every game expecting to play against a good team, and make sure that we are always better. Our defensive positioning was lackluster, and when Kevin Doyle landed a goal in the 29th minute, I deflated completely. Mike Petke said before the game that we were going to need to focus on winning versus keeping the Rocky Mountain Cup in Utah, and that goal (albeit early) made that goal of his seem like a faraway wish.

We jumped up the standings from the very bottom of the Western Conference this week (and sorry to be negative but man, I really hope we’re on the upswing now), and we are now just above the line, and hopefully on the road to glory.

#ambrosiapic

Our two saving graces were Jared Watts for being sent off, handing us a PK that Yura Movsisyan was able to sink in the 85th minute, and then that glorious long shot from Brooks Lennon that had the bar that I was sitting in yelling and clapping loudly. I couldn’t believe it, I almost spit out my chicken wing (almost).

So what now? Well… we can’t rely on Brooks Lennon to be our game changer every time. Last game, he and Danny Acosta worked incredibly well together, but I want to be able to rely on our whole team. Any substitutions that we have shouldn’t make me afraid of what’s going to happen.

Mike Petke? Well, he’s 2 for 2 for RSL after making his way back to head coach. Although he’s as critical (probably more) as I am about the team right now, man he is gaining fans’ trust more and more. The original outrage over Jeff Cassar being let go hardly graces my facebook feed anymore as he keeps playing more academy players (we had 5 see the match tonight), and keeps playing to our strengths. He even mentioned almost pulling Brooks Lennon off the field and Brooks saying “I got this, guy.” Sure enough, Petke made it known how much he appreciated Lennon’s game-winning goal.

 

Good job to our boys for playing up until the end. I’ll admit, I gave up. A 1-0 is hard to come back from in the second half, but they did it, and they were so close to the final whistle.

Cards given:

  • Chris Wingert – Yellow card (52’ – RSL)
  • Mekeil Williams – Yellow card (84’ – COL)
  • Jared Watts – Red card (85’ – COL)

Substitutions:

  • Mohammed Saeid in for Bismark Boateng (32’ – COL)
  • Luis Silva in for Luke Mulholland (64’ – RSL)
  • Ricardo Velazco in for Sebastian Saucedo (71’ – RSL)
  • Joshua Gatt in for Marlon Hairston (80’ – COL)
  • Bobby Burling in for Dominique Badji (86’ – COL)
  • Omar Holness in for Albert Rusnak (90’ + 3’ – RSL)

Featured image courtesy: @MLS

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RSL vs VAN – Oh, to win again!

Ambrosia Tonkovich - Real Salt Lake/mlsfemale
Official Real Salt Lake Reporter

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.

A thing of beauty.

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.

Yura 2-0 vs Vancouver

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.

Like Mulholland goal vs Vancouver

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.

Cards given:

  • 29’ Yellow Card to Matias Laba (VAN)
  • 40’ Yellow Card to Chris Schuler (RSL)
  • 42’ Yellow Card to Kyle Beckerman (RSL)

Substitutions:

  • 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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New Head Coach A Welcome Addition

Official Real Salt Lake Reporter

By Ambrosia Tonkovich @heyambrosia

Real Salt Lake’s new coach Mike Petke was named today, and it was mostly no surprise. When he was hired on to coach the Real Monarchs, Salt Lake’s USL team, fans of RSL who were concerned with former coach Jeff Cassar’s performance started wondering if the plan was to eventually move Petke to be head coach over RSL.

Mike Petke, 41, previously coached New York Red Bulls, both as an assistant (2011-2012) and then head coach (2013-2014). He was fired in January 2015, which resulted in huge backlash from Red Bulls supporters. He was hired to coach the Real Monarchs in December of 2016.

As a player, Petke played  as a defender in the MLS for the MetroStars (later became what is now the New York Red Bulls) from 1998-2002, then was traded over to D.C. United to play for them from 2003 to 2005. After, he played for Colorado Rapids (2005-2008), then back to the Red Bulls from 2009-2010. He also made two appearances with the USMNT before retiring.

Petke has lead the New York Red Bulls to their first major trophy, the Supporters Shield in 2013 as well as leading them to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2014.

Since being coach of the Real Monarchs, he has lead the team to victory over the Timbers 2, with a 2-1 lead.

Many supporters of RSL are very excited to have Petke as a coach. He will be a welcome addition to the team.

Featured image courtesy: @RealSaltLake

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Tie Games Are Our Specialty

Official Real Salt Lake Reporter

By Ambrosia Tonkovich @heyambrosia

Saturday, March 25: 0-0 draw

With interim coach Daryl Shore taking over after Jeff Cassar was fired after three games this season (and no games won since August last season) Real Salt Lake takes it on the road to New York to take on the Red Bulls, finishing with a 0-0 draw and their first road shutout since April 2015 against SportingKC.

RSL had 9 players out on either injury (Horst/Glad/Barrett –knee, Plata – hip, Beltran – back, Allen – quad), international duty (Rimando for USA & Rusnak for Slovakia) or from suspension (Beckerman). For RSL fans this game was a nail biter before it even began.

While we came out strong in the first half, we could not complete passes (5 players on the team had less than 50% pass success rate), nor could we seem to hit the back of the net, although we did have a fantastic debut from Matt VanOekel who had 3 very big saves during this game and became Man of the Match.

Our defense stepped up as well, with Aaron Maund clearing the ball 13 times alone (returning for the first time since August of last year, being out due to injury), and with a couple of great tackles by Chris Schuler. All in all we had 5 shots on target though they fell short of the back of the net, and we continued our card collecting with 5 cards collected this game from referee Chris Penso. Yellow cards were given to the following: Luke Mulholland (57’), Luis Silva (66’), Sunny (68’), Aaron Maund (70’), and Ricardo Velazco (87’).

We did see another debut for MLS Homegrown players, with Jose Hernandez coming in at the 73rd minute of play. This makes him the 7th player to make a club debut in the first 4 games of the season for RSL. With our team looking more and more to homegrown academy players, we are starting to play younger players, but also ones who have proven themselves over the years as they’ve worked their way up to RSL status.

All in all, I think RSL fans were expecting worse with the number of players out and the odds stacked against us. We retained a tight defense, even when things seemed to get a little hot headed up in front while scrambling for the ball between our own players. We did, however, need to work on our possession with us only having a 36% possession for the entire game.

Takeaways:

Brooks Lennon is FAST. Freaky fast. He and Saucedo showed their talents tonight with fancy footwork and constantly keeping up with a very talented Bradley Wright-Phillips. When Plata comes back he is going to have some very talented and fast teammates to work with.

-Matt VanOekel came out strong for his first RSL debut. He did our team, and Nick Rimando proud.

-We still dominate when it comes to collecting cards. This is not a good thing.

-Fans are getting tired of saying “At least we didn’t lose?” to people after games. We need to pull together against Minnesota United who have let 18 goals past them in the first four games of this season alone.

Featured image courtesy: Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports

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Real Salt Lake v LA Galaxy – how many cards can we collect?

Official Real Salt Lake Reporter

By Ambrosia Tonkovich @heyambrosia

Saturday, March 18: 1-2 Loss

Real Salt Lake had quite the day against LA Galaxy, with five yellow cards (three of which were given to RSL), a red card and a loss with the finishing score of 2-1, LA. This brings them their second losing game in a row (previously gave two goals to Chicago Fire last week), and a lot of things to work on next week while we have Nick Rimando out for USMNT call ups, Kyle Beckerman out for a red card during this game, and several players still out on injuries.

RSL came out looking strong in the first 20 minutes of play. Yura Movisyan had a beautiful header in the 18th minute that brought the entire stadium to their feet for our first goal of the season. Kudos to Albert Rusnak for getting Yura set up with the ball so effortlessly. After a yellow card was handed out to both Luke Mulholland and Beckerman in the 34th minute, and Beckerman handed a red card in the 44th minute, RSL was down to 10 men heading into the ending of the first half.

The start of the second half proved to be a little rocky for RSL being a 10 man team. LA Galaxy caught up to us with an equalizer goal by Dave Romney in the 69th minute, and surpassed us with a goal by Emmanuel Boateng in the 74th, making that his 5th MLS goal. Fun fact: all of his goals in MLS have been against RSL.

LA Galaxy did receive two yellow cards from Stoica, one in the 1st minute of stoppage in the half to Romain Alessandrini and again in the 88th minute to Nathan Smith. However, that was small potatoes compared to the impressive number of yellow cards handed out to RSL (In addition to Luke and Kyle, Rusnak and Chris Schuler also received yellow cards in the 61st minute and 90th minute, respectively).

All in all, a frustrating result for any RSL fan, even with a man down. The odds seemed a little stacked against us with cards flying everywhere, but we should’ve tried to pull it together for a home win.

Takeaways:

  • Nick Rimando is ridiculously cat-like, in this video.
  • We need to keep trying hard to get more goals. We are tied for bottom of the Western Conference right now. Hopefully we get some injured players back soon, as our team will be super scarce next week, but in the meantime, we need to keep fighting for more goals.

Since we’re collecting all of these cards can we trade them in for a nice lunch or something for the team? Seems like we’ve amassed quite the collection very quickly.

Featured image courtesy: Ambrosia Tonkovich

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