Real Salt Lake Dismantled In Pablo Mastroeni Interim Managerial Debut
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Real Salt Lake suffered their worst defeat of the season in the first game of Pablo Mastroeni’s interim tenure as they lost 4-1 on the road against Vancouver.
“There are way too many variables to be able to try and dissect this and try to find some pertinent information as to why,” Mastroeni said during his post-game press conference when asked how he plans on handling the defeat with the team. “I think this game has to be at the human level, and by that I mean you have to have the right mentality to approach any game, that’s first. Then you have to win the physical battle, especially on the road, then we can start to talk about the way we wanted to go about our tactical perspective.”
Mastroeni was without Damir Kreilach who was serving his one-game yellow card suspension following his showing at the MLS All-Star game last Wednesday. Aaron Herrera was unavailable as well after the club diagnosed Herrera with a tight hamstring and did not want to risk him on the artificial turf of BC Place.
Furthermore, David Ochoa is still recovering from injury and Zac MacMath recently underwent successful surgery to repair a torn MLC. Andrew Putna received his first start of the 2021 season.
Noah Powder received his first MLS start. The 22-year-old Trinidad & Tobago international started the fixture at right-back.
RSL Emotionally Rattled
Following the shock departure of former manager Freddy Juarez, concerns surrounding the mental capacity of RSL lingered prior to the contest against Vancouver.
Those concerns proved relevant as RSL looked rattled throughout the entire fixture.
Vancouver played their way with ease through the defensive structure of RSL. Simple mistakes were frequent for RSL, allowing Vancouver to control the contest from the opening whistle.
The first Vancouver goal came from a corner kick in the 33rd minute when the ball ricocheted off the thigh of Marcelo Silva at the back post and into the bottom right corner of the net. Strangely, Nick Besler opted to duck out of the way of the ball leaving Silva no time to adjust his body.
The best chance of the game for RSL came towards the end of the first half when Noah Powder hit a strike from 35 yards that were bound for the top-right corner of the net. The fingertips of Whitecap goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau pushed the ball off the right post and to the feet of Justin Meram who was unable to adjust his body in time and skied the ball over the post.
Justin Glad was furious as the teams entered the tunnel at halftime. Telling RSL sideline reporter Samantha Yarrock that the performance in the first half was “shocking.”
The second half was worse.
Vancouver scored their second goal of the game in the 53rd minute when Brian White jumped on a mishandling of the ball by Putna. Cristian Dájome played a cross that was bound for the gloves of Putna only for the RSL goalkeeper to bobble the ball onto the feet of White.
Then, as the game progressed RSL continued to worsen.
Vancouver scored their third goal in the 64th minute when Vancouver forward Ryan Gauld was left unmarked at the back post for the easiest of headers.
The final dagger came in the 69th minute when center-back Florian Jungwirth rose above everyone else and flicked the ball with his head into the far post from yet another corner kick.
RSL conceded two corner kick goals against Vancouver this evening and the fourth set-piece goal in the past three games.
As the final seconds ticked down, RSL scored a cancellation goal in the 90th minute when a deflected Jonathan Menéndez shot bounced off the woodwork and onto the foot of Anderson Julio who was credited with his fifth goal of the season.
“It was our worst performance of 2021,” Rusnák confessed following the conclusion of the game.
RSL returns home on September 4th for a date with FC Dallas. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. and can be streamed for free via the KSL Sports & KSL 5 TV apps or on KSL Sports dot com.
FC Dallas enters the contest following a 5-3 victory over Austin FC.
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