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Real Salt Lake reveal secret to 2017 resurrection: A win-or-else mindset -


LISTEN: No better way to start your week than real talk from Mike Petke. The Real Salt Lake head coach talks midseason turnarounds, MLS Cup playoffs, Justen Glad's future, Jefferson Savarino's purchase option, how he squashed the beef with Joao Plata and much more (25:35)! Plus, everything you need to know from Week 29. Subscribe now and "Like" our Facebook page so you never miss a show! Download this episode!


SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake have now won four of their last five games, and haven’t lost at home in seven games, both streaks that seemed a big ask earlier this season.


The recent stretch of good form has pushed Salt Lake above the playoff line in the Western Conference postseason hunt with three games left on the schedule. And if there’s anything this season has already taught RSL, it’s how to finish strong.


The last month has been marked by urgency, and an accompanying transformation in the squad’s mentality. After the 2-0 win over Seattle on Saturday, RSL head coach Mike Petke noted that his team had turned in better performances this season, but not with a mindset to match.


“I could think off the top of my head five other games this year, some that we haven’t won, that I thought we played better,” Petke said. “But the one thing I can’t take away from this team is the mentality shift over the last couple months. The mentality has shifted dramatically and that’s all on the players.”


Midfielder Luke Mulholland agreed.


“The unity in the team right now is really strong and everyone is fighting for each other,” he said after scoring his third goal of the year.


At some point earlier this summer, earning three points became the most important aspect of each game for RSL, rather than merely playing well – and it’s reflected in their results.


“I want to talk about our three points,” Mulholland said. “Right now, I think [in] the last dozen games we have turned a corner on the season. We’re slowly turning Rio Tinto [Stadium] back into a fortress. Really, we just have to concentrate on ourselves. We’ll leave ourselves with a good opportunity to get into the playoffs, which we’ll take, considering the first five games of the season [an 0-3-2 start].”


The standings math started to catch up with Salt Lake in June, sparking a dramatic upturn keyed by their consistent pressure and goal-oriented attack.


“We went for a win from minute one. We were trying to press them and quickly attack – not so much possession as we used to in different games, but we tried to go directly to goal,” playmaker Albert Rusnak said.


The offense broke out in back-to-back games in July, as RSL scored a combined 10 goals in dominant road wins over the LA Galaxy and Portland Timbers.


“The good play got us into form, not just winning at the start, but especially the LA Galaxy win and Portland away,” said Rusnak. ‘They were great performances from every aspect of the game and the results came as well. But I would forget about the play at the moment and just get three points.”


Now, a few more positive results will confirm Real’s return to the postseason, a development few foresaw just a few months ago.


“We messed up the start of the season and now we’re making up for it,” Rusnak said.