REAL SALT LAKE

Real Salt Lake Experiencing ‘The Team Is The Star’ Vol. 2 Under Pablo Mastroeni

Mar 21, 2022, 3:07 PM
Photo courtesy: Real Salt Lake...
Photo courtesy: Real Salt Lake

SALT LAKE CITY – Real Salt Lake manager Pablo Mastroeni is building a culture that is quickly becoming very difficult to fault following a start to the 2022 season that currently positions RSL tied atop the Western Conference with LAFC.

Following the most recent 2-1 victory over Nashville SC at home, Mastroeni shared insights into how he is attempting to develop his roster, build on confidence, and create a competitive, yet healthy, working environment for his players.

“Confidence in professional sports is the holy grail, how you get there is going to be different with each individual,” Mastroeni emphasized following the most recent win when asked about Zac MacMath and the form he has been in.

Confidence comes in many forms. Players gain confidence in various ways. But to help improve the confidence level of a player, one must understand that player before any attempt of growth occurs. Fortunately, Mastroeni is a people person, he loves to engage with everyone to try and gain a better understanding of how those people operate.

“My actions every day are about listening, are about understanding, are about empathizing with what these players are going through. Then digesting that and giving them a platform for which they can be their best self, their authentic self. Not asking players to be something that they are not, embracing every aspect of who they are,” Mastroeni said.

The recent success should not come as a surprise given last season’s run to the Western Conference Final. But it is as the club lost its 2021 captain and began the season with half a roster to choose from due to injury.

Furthermore, Real Salt Lake has endured a rough stretch of games against the league’s most challenging opposition with no end in sight. Through the first four weeks, RSL has “played three of the top four teams in the league,” according to Mastroeni. Yet, somehow, someway, through the grit of their manager and belief of their locker room, they find themselves tied atop the West with LAFC and are one of only six teams in MLS that are yet to be beaten.

Interestingly, Mastroeni also told reporters after the Nashville win that he is having to tell his players to taper back the training intensity, something he never thought he would ever have to do 4 weeks into a 34 game season.

“At times during the week, I feel more like a referee than I do a coach because I am trying to break things up. A lot of times you want to fix things tactically when really it is about intensity, it is really about intensity and the energy that you are admitting to your opponent. That for me is the difference. Because any system will work, everyone plays different systems but what is the intensity like in between those lines. What’s it [the intensity] like when there is a 50/50 ball? Are you winning that? Or are you not winning that? Then it doesn’t matter what you’re playing,” said Mastroeni.

Next Match

Real Salt Lake’s start to the season does not get any easier next week as they travel to Children’s Mercy Park for a date with Sporting Kansas City. The fixture is scheduled for Saturday, March 26, with kickoff at 5 p.m.

It will be available to stream for free via the KSL Sports and KSL 5 TV apps or on KSL Sports dot com.

 

 

 

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Real Salt Lake Experiencing ‘The Team Is The Star’ Vol. 2 Under Pablo Mastroeni