Herriman • After a game at San Jose in which Real Salt Lake had a point in its grasp, only to concede a goal in the 93rd minute and come away with nothing, the sense would be that the team would just flush it. Real played well enough to tie — maybe even win — and moments like that are few and far between.
But that isn’t precisely the message coach Mike Petke is conveying to the club. Sure, the team is still upset after losing to the Earthquakes and all the while doing no favors to its position in the jam-packed Western Conference standings. But in the larger context of winning two out of three games in the span of eight days, he’s not all that disappointed.
“We let that one slip away,” Petke said Tuesday after training. “But six points out of nine in a week, we’ll take it.”
RSL took three points against Sporting Kansas City and Columbus Crew at home before last Saturday’s difficult result against the Earthquakes. The two victories left the team feeling confident about itself, particularly because so many games throughout the first half of the season were on the road.
PHILADELPHIA UNION AT REAL SALT LAKE
When • Saturday, 8 p.m.
TV • KMYU
And after Real drew a road game against the Chicago Fire, the first 92 minutes against San Jose appeared to point toward a positive trend. In a split second, those encouraging signs went south, but the players look at it more as a blip than a step back.
“There was times when we could’ve been scored on in the games that we won,” Kyle Beckerman said. “It just so happened that it happened at the end of the [San Jose] game. But there was a lot of good things over the course of the week and even in that game. Biggest thing is just wear it and feel that pain that you get, but then it’s all about moving on to the next one.”
Brooks Lennon said a defeat as difficult as the one against the Earthquakes certainly hurt, but the way RSL played before conceding the late goal makes it a less bitter pill to swallow.
“It’s easier to get out of kind of a funk after a game when you know you guys gave it everything you got and you played well,” Lennon said. “It’s a lot easier to get over a defeat when you know everyone put in their full effort. San Jose’s in the past and we’re not thinking about it anymore.”
Petke is still thinking about it, though, and acknowledged that the loss was still irking at least some of the players.
“We’ve put it behind us, but guys are still a bit upset about that last-second winner,” Petke said. “But we have no one to blame but ourselves falling asleep in a split second.”
Beckerman, who returned to the lineup against San Jose after serving a one-game suspension due to yellow card accumulation, thinks there is plenty to take away from the last-second loss.
“I think we’re going to really try and learn from this,” Beckerman said. “There’s a couple things that maybe we could have done to not only maybe tie, but to win the game.”
But Beckerman is also trying to ensure that the team doesn’t dwell too much on dropping a winnable game on the road.
“When we win we can’t get too high and when we lose we can’t get too low,” Beckerman said. “We have to stay steady and keep trying to improve every day.”