Real Salt Lake put in another solid performance, but controversial calls led to a 1-1 draw. However, Mike Petke stole the show in the post game.
Real Salt Lake continued their strong run of form as of late, earning a point against rivals Sporting Kansas City at home. The draw dropped Sporting from first place in the Western Conference to second. Just a few weeks ago, this result would have been massive for RSL, but the details of the game made the result bittersweet for the Claret & Cobalt.
Kyle Beckerman’s controversial red card against Portland was upheld. A surprise to many. Because of his suspension, Luke Mulholland and Sunny got the start in front of the back line. The additional changes from the match against Portland included Marcelo Silva, who made his debut instead of David Horst, while Danny Acosta started for the injured Demar Phillips. The four attacking pieces remained the same from Wednesday. Sunny and Mulholland put in a solid shift together, and the three-headed-monster of Albert Rusnák, Jefferson Savarino, and Joao Plata continued their terrorizing run as they relentless went after a reserve heavy SKC defense.
In the first half, Luis Silva finally broke his scoring drought following a beautifully slotted pass from Acosta to Plata, who found Silva on a through ball. Silva then chipped SKC goalkeeper Tim Melia to put the home side up one. Real continued to apply pressure but were unable to finish their chances, as evident by their out shooting of SKC by 20 to 10 total shots. Just before the hour mark, Benny Feilhaber got behind Marcelo Silva, leading to an awkward collision and tackle in the box. A penalty was awarded, which Feilhaber would finish.
While the penalty was rightfully awarded, Feilhaber would have likely lost the ball out of play had there not been an attempted tackle by Silva. Other than the flub, Silva looked very promising and confident in his debut. SKC would then apply the pressure and RSL would hold on for the draw, but around that same time, RSL head coach Mike Petke would be ejected from the match.
While the penalty was the result of an awkward challenge, the decision by the ref to award the penalty was amplified by the fact that other decisions that had already gone against RSL’s favor. Coupled with Beckerman’s suspension, a headlock on Plata to prevent a goalscoring opportunity, and a red-card worthy challenge on Mulholland, Petke vented his frustration after the match. You’ll just have to see for yourself.
Petke’s passion is undeniable. His case understandable. Regardless of the result, or the imminent fine coming his way, it’s a refreshing change for RSL nation from previous seasons. Real has consistently had talent and been a competitive side in MLS play, which has only added to the frustration of the results going back the last 12 months. Now that the team seems to have turned a corner, it’s nice to have someone in our corner willing to speak out on issues that tend to be overlooked, thanks to the market’s lack of size.
It’s an exciting time to be a Real Salt Lake fan. For the first time in a long time. As evident by their recent play and Mike Petke’s post game passion, this season is far from over. Stay tuned.