For the first time this season, Real Salt Lake Coach Jeff Cassar sounded like someone other than his normal upbeat self.
After losing 2-1 to the Atlanta Silverbacks in US Open Cup play on Saturday night, he couldn't come up with much positive to say about his team or their performance.
“I don't think anybody played well tonight,” he told reporters. “I don't think anybody at all played well. I got outcoached. We got outplayed. No, there's no positives at all from this game.”
RSL opened strong for the first 10 minutes of the game in Atlanta and took a 1-0 lead, but were largely outplayed over the course of the game. Unfortunately for the Claret-and-Cobalt, it was par for the course in recent weeks: They have gone 0-2-3 in their last five MLS matches following a 12-game unbeaten start to the season.
Cassar was clearly irked that for the seventh time in 2014, his team went ahead but failed to get a win, including five ties and two losses
"Guys couldn't finish the game," he said after hte game. "We started great. And then we went away from what we were doing. They gained control of the game. And they played with more energy. More passion, like they were fighting for their jobs.”
RSL midfielder Luke Mulholland said, “All the guys [are] in the locker room, heads down. Disappointed in themselves, disappointed in the team. We feel like we let Jeff [Cassar] down.”
The squad Cassar took to Atlanta was missing a slew of familiar names, including Nick Rimando and Kyle Beckerman (both on duty with the USMNT at the World Cup in Brazil); Alvaro Saborio and Ned Grabavoy (both injured); and Nat Borchers, Javier Morales and Chris Schuler (rested and did not travel).
The team now has a two-week break before returning to MLS play on June 28 at Chivas USA. And, given the string of injuries the team has suffered, that could be a good thing.
But nobody in the Salt Lake locker room was looking at it that way.
“I think it's going to be extremely beneficial,” Cassar said harshly. “We can go let this [expletive] soak in with everybody and just sit and stew on our break and realize the opportunity that we just blew.
“Also, it gives a chance for some players to get back. And let's be fair. When we're missing eight starters from this game, it's not easy. This game was never going to be easy. And we made it really hard on ourselves.”
It will make for a less-than-restful break.
“If you ask all the players, I'm sure they feel right now they don't deserve that break,” Mulholland siad. “Especially with how the results of the last few games have turned out.
“Jeff's told us to just go get away from the game, enjoy the time with our family and friends, clear our heads. Because when we come back, we've got a lot of work to do as a team to prepare for the rest of the season.”