Real Salt Lake off to slow start in 2019

Sports

HERRIMAN, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – It has not been an ideal start to the 2019 season for Real Salt Lake.

Through ten games, RSL is 3-6-1 and is currently below the playoff line in the Western Conference. But it is way too early to hit the panic button.

“We need to improve on many things, just like a lot of other teams do,” said head coach Mike Petke. “Around the league there are a lot of teams struggling. I don’t think we’re struggling, but I think that we’re inconsistent.”

“There is plenty of season left,” said forward Corey Baird. “We’re not at the bottom of the table, we’re not out of it. A team can get hot at any time and get on a streak.”

Perhaps the most shocking part of RSL’s start has been their losses at home. Real dropped just two games all of last year at Rio Tinto Stadium, and so far this year, they’ve already matched that.

“For us to lose the games at home that we have lost now, two out of four, that’s not something that we’re used to,” said midfielder Albert Rusnak. “So, we’re definitely going to improve on that.”

In Saturday’s 2-1 home loss to Portland, Sam Johnson, who did score his third goal of the season, expressed frustration that the team wasn’t playing fast enough, resulting in several offsides calls. \

“Tonight’s game I think we tried to play too slow,” Johnson said on Saturday. “We were too slow when we passed the ball and not go and go. I think we were too slow and have to be fast.”

Those comments that did not go over well with Petke.

“Sam knows now that that’s not acceptable to say that in public whether you feel it or not,” Petke said. “That’s something to be dealt with behind closed doors, and we’ve been talking about it and dealing with it.”

“We’ve got to get together and not get frustrated, not put our heads down,” added Baird. “We’ve got to make sure that when things don’t go well, we don’t fall apart.”

RSL has a great chance to get three points this Saturday against a Colorado team that has yet to win a game this season. The Rapids are 0-8-2, but that also means they are due.

“It’s a tricky game because they haven’t won yet,” Rusnak said. “What better game comes to you if you haven’t won at home and you play against your biggest rival.”

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