Pablo Mastroeni Passes Character Test Following Playoff Clinching Victory

Nov 8, 2021, 10:24 AM
Photo courtesy: Real Salt Lake...
Photo courtesy: Real Salt Lake

SALT LAKE CITY – Real Salt Lake interim manager Pablo Mastroeni proved his worth yet again following a crucial 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City on decision day to catapult the Claret & Cobalt into the 2021 MLS Playoffs.

Mastroeni was brilliant in guiding Real Salt Lake to a heroic victory, but his leadership against Sporting Kansas City will not be remembered for his ability to pull off an upset. Rather, Mastroeni showcased his willingness to change.

Ego No Issue

Mastroeni proved that he is not an egotistical maniac, unlike the majority of his colleagues (did you catch the expressions of Peter Vermes during the same game).

When Mastroeni took over the reins on an interim basis he did not waste any time in transitioning the shape of the team from a 4-2-3-1 to a 3-5-2. The somewhat immediate success of the 3-5-2 suggested that Mastroeni’s vision was vindicated. However, as time persisted, Real Salt Lake could not stop conceding multiple goals a game, despite scoring plenty of goals themselves, under the 3-5-2 shape.

So in the biggest game of the season on decision day when Mastroeni was fighting for his immediate coaching future, he opted to go away from the formation that he had become synonymous with.

“It was reasonably simple, I had a lot of conversations with the guys throughout the week,” Mastroeni said when asked if it was at all difficult to change the formation for the biggest game of the year. “When you take seven goals in two games, obviously we created a ton of opportunities going forward, it was fun, the guys were enjoying their football going forward but obviously we were not scoring enough goals and we were conceding a lot. So after a lot of conversations with the guys it is the best thing for the group,” he added.

If Real Salt Lake had lost the game against Sporting Kansas City and Mastroeni was not appointed as the future full-time manager he would live the rest of his life wondering what could have been if he had stuck to his plan and opted to play the 3-5-2.

Mastroeni’s willingness to adjust and adapt is what makes him the best candidate for the managerial opening at Real Salt Lake.

Real Salt Lake, following the most torturous two-year stretch in club history, is now in the market of hiring good people and they do not come any better than Mastroeni.

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