Tag Archives: Ambrosia Tonkovich

RSL, I love you but you’re bringing me down.

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

By Ambrosia Tonkovich // @heyambrosia

Well hello there, it’s been a while. Life and all that fun stuff.

Let’s just jump right into this fire we’re fighting, shall we?

Mike Petke in his latest post-game interview has summed up the anger pretty well: 

…yep.

Petke is now in his first full year as coach. After taking over the team last year when Cassar was let go, we all knew that come around July, we would start seeing more improvements in the team, whether it was communication, play style, or formation changes. So this year I’m pretty hopeful. Our team has now had offseason and preseason, all under Petke’s direction. In addition to that, we have signed A LOT of new players, and let a few go as well. So how have we been doing this year?

Well… not very good. Since I’m a little late in the writing season, I’m going to do a bit of overall coverage for the past few games with some stats.

We have had a total of four goals this year (five if you count our own goal), two of them scored by Joao Plata in the first two games. Kudos to Plata for stepping it up after Petke and he seemed to have some disagreements last year in regard to Plata’s commitment level. He has made me proud this year. One goal has been scored by Albert Rusnak (and what a pretty PK it was, that slow sneak into the goal was satisfying to watch) and Corey Baird scored his first MLS goal in the game against Toronto FC on Friday!

Nick Rimando. Can we just take a second? I am still so glad he’s here with us. His stats are impressive.

The number of goals we would have had scored on us even just this year if we didn’t have him… it’s scary to think about. We allowed 8 shots on goal just this last Friday against Toronto, let alone all of the other games that could have turned out MUCH worse had he not been in the box.

The good news – we’re doing better than last year. We had five straight winless games in a row last year, and I’m sending thoughts and prayers that we don’t repeat that again. I hope that Petke’s push to change the team’s mentality after the last loss (3-1, Toronto) is going to be beneficial.

Losing to a new MLS team at home 5-1 (LAFC) is devastating enough, so we need to pull back, and pull back hard. We’ve had one win and one tie. And two devastating losses that I really hate to think about.

My takeaways from the team right now – we have poor communication and shaky teamwork. We are unsure of ourselves. Justen Glad is a damn fine defender, and I can’t wait to continue to see him grow and succeed. I will be there in the rain for the game this coming Saturday, cheering as loud as always, because I do love and believe in my team, no matter what the hardships are. I recognize we haven’t done well, but I do look forward to the rest of the season, and still bleed Claret and Cobalt.

Featured image courtesy: @RealSaltLake

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @heyambrosia

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

Real Salt Lake scores all the goals

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

By Ambrosia Tonkovich // @heyambrosia

Saturday, March 3, 2018: 1-1 Draw

Real Salt Lake finished their first season game with an opener against FC Dallas, ending in a 1 v 1 draw, where RSL effectively scored every goal on the roster, including the one counting against us. Too excited, I guess. But I’ll take the point. Let’s dig in.

First of all, let me say, WHOOOOO the season is back and wow, I didn’t realize how much I needed it this year. While it’s been a very interesting offseason for the team, signing a bunch of young new players, it has been an interesting one for me. I feel like a different person, cheering on a different team, and I, for one, welcome our change overlords.

Within 11 minutes of the game, I realized why it is I loved Mike Petke so much last year. It’s not that that love died, it’s just that I hadn’t seen him coaching a regular season game for so long, I hadn’t seen that fire and passion in his eyes while he sticks up for his players, and yet tells them exactly what’s what all at the same time.

Newly restored faith and love had my heart soaring this game, and I couldn’t have been more elated with the early goal by Joao Plata in the 25th minute. This little dude is FAST and I didn’t see it a lot last year. Seeing him sprint toward that ball and completely confuse Reggie Cannon while he fires it in was just the RSL I have been waiting for.

The weird thing I want to mention was this referee. I am very comfortable saying that there were some fouls on BOTH sides that should’ve gotten more than a slap on the wrist. I appreciate that for the most part, the flow of the game was hardly stopped due to potentially unnecessary stops that would usually happen in another game, but we fouled them, they fouled us, and I feel like at least a yellow or two should’ve been called on each side.

We were grabbing and pulling a player’s arm back at one point – they were grabbing and pulling our player’s jersey to try and keep from scoring (which he didn’t ever go down, so I do get why nothing was called). BUT. I can’t complain too much, honestly. Nothing that wasn’t called would’ve cost the game one way or another.

And now, the sad part. While we had gone most of the game with the 1-0 lead, on the road, against a team that has been playing in the CCL for the past little while so is a little more solid as a team, and against a team that destroyed us the last time we were there – they scored on us. Well, more specifically, WE scored on us.

Apparently, we were so anxious to score some goals, we got one for ourselves, against ourselves. Honestly, there was nothing that could’ve been done against this. Maximiliano Urruti lobbed one in and Marcelo Silva, trying to defend us, slid right in and hit the ball into the net himself. Obvious upset and frustration were seen on his face, and my poor neighbors heard some words they haven’t heard in about 7 months.

Highlights worth mentioning – Damir Kreilach and Shawn Barry played their first season games with the RSL jersey on. Kreilach got pulled off in the 78’ while Barry stayed on for the entire 90+ minutes. I think they both did pretty damn well, and I am going to continue keeping an eye on them.

In addition, Justen Glad. We don’t deserve him, but my god he helped our defense so much this game. This is a kid that I hope continues to grow with our team. I am ridiculously proud of him so far, and he’s so young. He still has a lot to offer.

Also, let’s praise whatever soccer gods are still listening to us out there – Nick Rimando put in a full year’s work just this game. FC Dallas wasn’t ready for him, and our defense wasn’t ready for FC Dallas. Luckily, as usual, Rimando came in strong from the beginning.

Next week we have our home opener against LAFC (who won against the Seattle Sounders, 1-0), I’m looking forward to seeing what Petke can continue to roll out on the Claret and Cobalt carpet for our young players, and our team as a whole.

Featured image courtesy: @RealSaltLake

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @heyambrosia

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

RSL – The little engine that might?

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

By Ambrosia Tonkovich // @heyambrosia

Alright, so 2017 was a bad year for Real Salt Lake. For longtime fans, we saw Mike Petke come on and knew that Jeff Cassar was just about to be replaced. I mean… we didn’t KNOW, know… but we knew. I recall a text between a long time Real Monarchs fan and me when Petke got hired, and it went something along the lines of:

Me: PETKE FOR RSL

Him: YEAH BUT MONARCHS.

ME: …

HIM: Yeah, I know…, I’m pretty stoked.

Prior to this, we had lots of injuries, lots of losses, and lots of speculating about the changes that Petke would bring. We didn’t realize a printer would become so infamous, but it’s 2018, so who knows what’s what anymore.

So, why recap this when trying to talk about the future? Well, with big power comes big responsibility, and as soon as Petke took the plate (hello, awkward other sports reference that doesn’t quite belong here but I’m going with it) we knew that changes were coming. He had been a longtime believer in our RSL Academy players and he made it a point to show our big players that they couldn’t get away with things just because of their ego.

Enter offseason, 2017-2018.

First of all, let’s just take a big exhale out knowing that we still have Nick Rimando. Say what you want about who is ‘the best GK in the league’ but, on paper, this man is the best goalkeeper in MLS, definitely. At 5’9”, this dude can stretch himself farther than some other 6’3” goalkeeper I know (ahem), and can ridiculously bounce back from being hit in the face with a fast traveling ball. Twice. In one game.

I could go on about his stats, but there’s a good chance if you’re reading this, you already know (even if you don’t want to admit it).  Although the eventual renew on his contract was in the bag for most fans, I did wonder if Petke was going to start making his team changing moves after signing Connor Sparrow in September, just as our offseason was starting.

I do hope to see more of Sparrow moving forward because the very sad part of my heart knows that Rimando can’t play for us forever. Even as much as I want to clone him. We have also brought on Alex Horwath, a 30-year-old from Norway, who I am very excited to see what he’s made of.

Other offseason signings include Damir Kreilach (in place of Movsisyan maybe??), Alfredo Ortuño, Pablo Ruiz, Shawn Barry, Corey Baird, Ricky Lopez-Espin, Adam Henley, Aaron Herrera and Taylor Peay.

This is the change we all knew was coming with Petke coming on board. While I, for one, am welcoming our Petke overlord, some others have seen things differently. Whatever the case may be, we … basically, have a whole new team. This is going to be an interesting year.

Featured image courtesy: @RealSaltLake

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @heyambrosia

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale