Petke, Beckerman Excited About RSL’s Future
KANSAS CITY, Kansas – The sun set on a magical postseason by Real Salt Lake with a 4-2 loss to Sporting Kansas City in the Western Conference Semi-Finals.
RSL battled all year in what head coach Mike Petke referred to as “a roller coaster” season. But as he worked to win in the 2018 season, he also made player development a major priority.
— Andy Edwards (@AndyEdMLS) November 11, 2018
“You always want to win this year, I want to win every game, I want to win in everything I do,” said Petke. “But, it’s something in the back of your mind about playing young kids like this, okay, this is going to pay dividends next week, next month, next season.”
Beckerman Feeling Good About Young Team
Team captain and 13-year veteran midfielder Kyle Beckerman agreed with his coach in that team made big time growth this season.
“I’m just so proud of this group,” said Beckerman. “The fight tonight and all season, the growth we had. Take the playoffs out and I’m proud of this group. We improved, guys got tons of experience and we just built a lot of foundation for years to come.”
We gave it everything we had. pic.twitter.com/KE0QgOJhX1
— Real Salt Lake (@realsaltlake) November 11, 2018
A Major Youth Movement Rising
No one exemplified the promising youth of RSL more than rookie sensation Corey Baird. The 22-year homegrown player was named Major League Soccer’s Rookie of the Year after leading all rookies with eight goals to go along with five assists on the season. Unfortunately for RSL, he suffered a concussion on the final day of training before the match against Sporting KC and was unable to go in the contest.
Baird, along with young talent in Albert Rusnak, who was also unable to play Sunday due to a yellow card suspension from the previous two games, Jefferson Savarino and Sabastian Saucedo give RSL a lot to be excited about. But to elevate their game and contribute to RSL’s veteran core, Petke is expecting them to continue to work on their craft.
“It comes down to them realizing some of the mistakes that have been made this year and correcting them,” said Petke after the loss to Sporting KC. “That’s part of being a professional, of elevating your game. If not, you’re going to stay the same player.”
Now the season has wrapped, Petke was grateful for the playing time that the youngsters got in an up-and-down year.
“I’m glad we got this experience for these young guys. I think they came through big for us at certain times and at certain times it was a learning experience.”
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