Real Salt Lake head coach Mike Petke put a challenge onto his team, his coaching staff and himself after losing 1-0 to the Seattle Sounders on Saturday night at CenturyLink Field.
“We all have to grow up a little bit,” Petke told KMYU after the game. “The days of saying we’re a young team — which we are — it has to be pushed a little bit in the past. We have get a bit more savvy in situations. We have to get a bit more clinical.”
Petke’s remarks came after a game in which RSL, despite conceding a goal in the 18th minute, had plenty of prime opportunities to pick up a point on the road. Sam Johnson, Jefferson Savarino or Albert Rusnák each had shots that narrowly missed finding the back of the net.
Instead, even though RSL finished with 11 men on the field for the first time in four games, Real have lost four consecutive games, and extended their road winless streak to four games.
“We just didn’t get it over the finish line,” midfielder Kyle Beckerman told KMYU after the game.
That’s exactly the kind of sentiment that Petke said he has grown weary expressing after close losses. The losses where RSL creates good changes, plays solid defense, does plenty of things right, but still comes up empty.
“I’m getting sick and tired after these games, to come back and say we deserved more out of it, we did enough,” Petke said.
Real outshot the Sounders 13-11, and with four of their attempts coming on goal. Seattle had three shots on target.
RSL keeper Nick Rimando picked up two saves, both of which came in the first half. Stefan Frei tallied four saves for the Sounders.
Sounders midfielder Nicolás Lodeiro scored the game’s opening goal on a left-footed volley while falling away from the goal. Cristian Roldan delivered the high, floating cross that found Lodeiro and gave the Sounders a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute.
Savarino’s opportunity to tie the game came in the 73rd minute. He took a shot from inside the 6-yard box that pinged off the left post. It was the closest opportunity RSL had for a goal the entire evening.
RSL struggled in the first 45 minutes, but found its rhythm as the second half wore on. Beckerman said there was a lot of good RSL can take from Saturday’s game and he thinks the team can build off it.
Petke said he wants the team to collectively take the next step to get some of these results that tend to slip away from RSL over the last couple of years.
“We have to take a look inside ourselves now,” Petke said.
Joao Plata and Justen Glad started for the Real Monarchs earlier Saturday in a 3-1 win over Reno 1868 FC.
Both Plata and Glad played 59 minutes, and Plata scored a goal in the 15th minute.
The pair have been unavailable to RSL for several weeks due to injuries. Their time with the Monarchs suggests they are close to returning to the MLS side.