Pablo Mastroeni Confirms Interest In Taking Over As Real Salt Lake’s Full-Time Manager

Sep 16, 2021, 3:23 PM | Updated: 3:25 pm
Photo courtesy: Real Salt Lake...
Photo courtesy: Real Salt Lake

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Current Real Salt Lake interim manager Pablo Mastroeni has confirmed interest in taking over the position of manager on a full-time basis.

“I had a meeting with the executives and what I said what that in this moment it is not about me, it is about taking the group and moving in the direction the club wants to move in,” he stated. “From either a playing perspective or a results perspective and if all of those things manifest in making it something that’s long-term then I am grateful for that but the most important thing for me is to not focus on myself. It’s not about keeping the job, it’s really about giving these guys something that they enjoy, something that I think we can flourish in, and more importantly, give the guys the leadership to take this team and run it. I think in the last couple of games the guys have been fantastic, they’re owning every aspect of the game, and as a coach that is the most powerful thing.”

Mastroeni has been in charge for four games thus far. During that stretch, Real Salt Lake has won on two occasions and lost on two occasions.

Mastroeni Instills Mentality Shift

The departure of Freddy Juarez just days prior to the 4-1 road loss to Vancouver rattled the organization. It was yet another obstacle in which the club had to overcome. Very rarely does a manager of a team depart mid-season for an opportunity as an assistant coach at another club.

Juarez’s decision was unexpected and caught the North American soccer community off guard. Mastroeni controlled the situation internally and galvanized the playing group as only he can.

Since then, his leadership qualities on and off the pitch have flourished. The Real Salt Lake fanbase is seemingly starting to believe again. The team is playing an exciting brand of football, led by captain Albert Rusnák who was recently named to the MLS Team of the Week following his two assists and one goal performance against San Jose midweek.

MLS All-Star Damir Kreilach is also playing a pivotal role in leading the playing group, along with other key contributors.

When you ask Mastroeni how he has been able to have such a profound effect on the playing group in such a short amount of time, he always deflects the question, and instead of making it about himself, he chooses to talk about the players.

A Career Forged Through Leadership

Mastroeni is a leader. He understands people and what it takes to forge a winning culture. He was a key contributor as a player when he lead the Colorado Rapids to their only MLS Cup title in 2010.

His leadership qualities have also transitioned into the coaching realm where, after two poor seasons in charge of Colorado, he led the Rapids to their best regular-season record of all time in 2016. He finished second in voting for the annual MLS Coach of the Year Award that year.

An ownership change in 2017 saw the end of Mastroeni’s tenure at the Rapids. His latest opportunity as interim at Real Salt Lake is the second head-coaching opportunity of his career.

Mastroeni insists that a winning culture is instilled via the playing group.

“A lot of the time people want to talk about tactics, and again, you have got to have structure, but what really defines the great teams is the mentality,” Mastroeni told Real Salt Lake sideline reporter Samantha Yarock immediately following the 4-3 victory against San Jose. “All across the world, the best teams all have the mentality, regardless of the situation that they may be currently in, that they can overcome.”

Mastroeni’s Seat At The Table

The remaining 10 regular season fixtures will play a pivotal role in determining Mastroeni’s future within the organization.

One thing is a certainty, however, whether Mastroeni is announced as the new manager of Real Salt Lake or not, his presence at the club must continue.

He is deserving of a seat at the table, he offers too much to simply let go.

Real Salt Lake is searching for stability and Mastroeni has proven over the course of his long and illustrious career as a player and now as a coach that he is more than capable of navigating rough waters in search of greener pastures.

Whether his future lies as the manager, assistant coach, or member of the front office, Pablo Mastroeni is deserving.

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