The changes were subtle, but spoke volumes.
Real Salt Lake was simply put a different team in its 3-0 win over Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday. And not just because of the end result. At halftime, the match was even at 0-0, but there was so much more buzz and purpose around the team that hadn’t been there before.
In reviewing the match and speaking with The Bill Riley Show on ESPN 700 on Tuesday, RSL Head Coach Mike Petke was gratified by the response from his team after he had just one week at the helm.
“It was a joy to see that the players are in a short period of time understanding what we want to do,” Petke said during his weekly interview.
For the match, RSL outshot Vancouver 19-14, including a 10-4 advantage in the first half alone. Much of the tactics laid out by Petke – and Vancouver’s Carl Robinson, for that matter – went out the door when the snow fell and altered the playing surface. However, the desire and adaptability of RSL shone through in figuring out a way to earn three points.
Beyond the result, Petke saw progress in how the team played and hopes to continue to make incremental alterations as the team moves forward.
“It was simply this – it couldn’t have been a situation where I came in and made drastic changes. That wouldn’t have worked,” he said, noting the pressure applied higher up the field created several chances in the match. “It was about subtle changes and focusing on the most important change that we wanted. The biggest thing to take away from that week was that the players implemented it.”
To hear the full interview, click here.