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Beaming in the minutes after his first professional goal finalized a dramatic road victory, Brooks Lennon saw his postgame interview suddenly interrupted Saturday night in suburban Denver.

The 19-year-old, headset and all, had to break when his coach walked by, stepped in front of the camera, grabbed the Real Salt Lake winger and planted a kiss directly on his right cheek.


Not only for Mike Petke, but for his team, which seems to be adapting to his personality.

"It was just a never-say-die-attitude," Lennon said after his 88th-minute goal propelled RSL to a stunning 2-1 win over Colorado Rapids Saturday at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.

Surely, Petke will continue to try to ground his guys. He'll expose their missteps in film study this week as RSL returns home to prepare for high-flying expansion franchise Atlanta United on April 22. But it's clear that his implemented tweaks —¬†however subtle they may be — are paying immediate dividends.

RSL is now 2-0-0 with Petke on the sidelines. The 2-1 win over the Rapids snapped Colorado's 19-game regular-season home unbeaten streak. By snatching three points, RSL also snapped an eight-game road losing streak dating back to last July. RSL (2-3-2, eight points) has now won back-to-back matches for the first time since last August.

When Lennon's 25-yard strike zipped through traffic and into the back of the net, Petke turned to the RSL bench and let out a serious roar. The goal capped off what was mostly a forgettable evening until five minutes before stoppage time rang. RSL had issues breaking down a normally airtight Rapids defense.

Then a volley inside the box from a 34-year-old outside back turned center back resulted in a straight red card and a penalty kick for RSL. Instead of career goal No. 2 for defender Chris Wingert, the Rapids were thinned to 10 players and saw their 1-0 lead evaporate when Yura Movsisyan buried the penalty. Movsisyan has now scored in three consecutive matches, and four of RSL's last five.

"These are the games you wait until the 90th minute," Movsisyan said. "You wait for your opportunity. It's tough, because we didn't have our best game, but we still got the win."

"With a league like this," Petke said, "it comes down to not giving up and pushing until last minute."

All RSL needed against its rivals was a bit of luck, something that had eluded the franchise in its early struggles in 2017. Fortunes were swiftly reversed in a four-minute span on the road, an occurrence that hadn't broken RSL's way in several months. Yes, RSL remains in the process of righting the ship, and as Petke or any player will admit, two matches is a very small sample size.

"Compared to last week, today was kind of a bit of a step backwards," Petke said, "but we found the way to win. Time to get back on track and play the style we like to play."

But with eight players sidelined to injury — including as many as six who were odds-on starters entering the season —¬†RSL is maneuvering around the ongoing injury bug for the time being. Petke said he was "ecstatic" with the road victory, but kept a level head, deciding to look at the entire 90-plus minutes, not just the four-minute span that spurred RSL to three points.

"They knew coming into halftime that it wasn't good enough," Petke said. "They were already laying into each other. It still wasn't great coming into the second half but we had a bit more urgency. They didn't stop until they got it." Twitter: @chriskamrani —

Atlanta United FC at Real Salt Lake

P Saturday, 7:30 p.m.