Petke takes blame for sluggish RSL performance: "I pushed them too hard"

SANDY, Utah -- Real Salt Lake and Minnesota United put their respective winning streaks -- RSL's five games in a row at home, Minnesota four in league play -- on the line Saturday night, but the 1-1 draw wasn’t what the home side was looking for, especially against another team jockeying for Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoff position in the Western Conference.

“It was lackluster. It was a bit uninspiring,” RSL head coach Mike Petke said after the game. “I feel we could have won it, but looking back on it, a 1-1 draw is a correct outcome.”

Petke shouldered the blame for a heavy week of practice in 100-degree temperatures, but the contrast between a 4-0 win over Philadelphia the week before and the draw against Minnesota felt like a missed opportunity.

“I feel I pushed them a little too hard this week, and looking at this game tonight it was clear that we did. I was trying to capitalize on last week’s performance and that contributes to certain things -- lack of off ball movement, lack of running behind,” Petke said.

Tired legs or not, the difference from Philadelphia to Minnesota was readily apparent, especially as Salt Lake chased an equalizer and then a game-winner in the second half.

“Last week against Philly all the passes were sharp and crisp and tonight it just wasn’t good enough, the passing and movement,” RSL winger Brooks Lennon said. “We kind of ran out of energy. We didn’t have that killer instinct to put the ball in the back of the net.”

The bright spot for the home team was Marcelo Silva, who scored the equalizer and has seen his form improve since returning to the lineup in recent weeks.

“Over the last couple of games he’s definitely been patient with getting back in the lineup,” Petke said. “He has done very well. It’s given me a lot to think about. There’s no guaranteed two center backs right now because of the way Marcelo has performed.”

Even with an added feeling of depth at center back, are RSL still missed two points on the night, which may come up big in the playoff race. Minnesota are now four points clear of RSL, sitting in fourth in the Western Conference. RSL are currently seventh, tied on points with Houston.

The opportunity was there for a different outcome, but they are moving ahead, focused on their Leagues Cup debut match Wednesday against Tigres (10:30 pm ET | ESPN+) and then a regular season game against FC Dallas on Saturday. 

“Tough result for us, we needed that three points at home,” Lennon said. “We all know that we let points slip tonight, but it’s behind us now.”