This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Minneapolis, Minn. • So much of this night was so odd for Real Salt Lake.
New coach Mike Petke watched Saturday from a luxury box at TCF Bank Stadium while interim coach Daryl Shore ran the team from the sideline. Goalkeeper Nick Rimando misplayed an easy ball off his chest in the second half, leading to a backbreaking goal. And RSL lost again on the road to a first-year expansion team, this time 4-2 to Minnesota United, which had allowed 18 goals in an 0-3-1 start.
"It wasn't a good night for us across the board," Shore said. "Our soccer wasn't complete, and we got punished for it."
It's not the first time. When Petke formally takes over from the fired Jeff Cassar this week, he inherits a team on a 13-match winless streak since last Aug. 26 (0-8-5), one with more players injured (seven) than it has goals (three) in an 0-3-2 start.
Center back Aaron Maund became the seventh injured player and fourth defender, limping off in the 13th minute with a left hamstring strain. Shore said Maund was sore before the game but told him he could play. Shore lacked a center back on the bench to replace Maund, so midfielder Luke Mulholland, who had given RSL a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute, moved to the back line while Sunday Stephen entered at midfield.
"We're trying to play with midfielders in the back and outside backs in the middle," Rimando said. "We're just trying to do our best."
This night, it wasn't close to enough.
Minnesota's Kevin Molino tied it with a header in the 16th minute, when RSL blocked a cross by Johan Venegas but failed to clear. United goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth stopped Sebastian Saucedo on a great chance in front to keep it 1-1 into halftime.
Christian Ramirez, one of three starters United retained from its North American Soccer League roster, chipped the go-ahead goal over an aggressive Rimando in the 52nd minute. United had led only once in four previous matches, for less than two minutes. Ramirez added another goal in the 62nd minute when Rimando tried to play a long shot off his chest, then lost the ball behind him.
"It checked up funny on the turf," Rimando said. "It's something I probably shouldn't do on the turf. I can do that nine out of 10 times on the grass and be fine with it. I should have just whacked that out."
Venegas added the final United goal six minutes later. Yura Movsisyan scored in the 87th minute for RSL, which fell to 1-7-1 on the road against first-year expansion teams and 0-13-4 on artificial turf since November 2013.
"The last two weeks have been difficult," Movsisyan said. "Anytime you release a coach, you've got to expect some difficulties. It's never going to be a smooth transition."
And now? "It's about starting from zero, going back to basics, and everybody has a fresh start," he said. "It won't matter who you are, what your name is, how many caps you've got, or whether you're a designated player or not. If you show up, train well, show the coach you want to play, you play. If not, you shouldn't play."
R Real Salt Lake's winless stretch dates to August 2016.
• RSL has led for 64 minutes through four games this season.
• New head coach Mike Petke watched from a luxury box. His first game as head coach will be on Saturday at home against Vancouver.