Mike Petke’s Real Salt Lake debut couldn’t have gone much better.
In the team’s first match under the former New York Red Bulls head coach, Real Salt Lake cruised to a 3-0 thrashing of the Vancouver Whitecaps at Rio Tinto Stadium. The win, played through tremendously snowy conditions, was RSL’s first of the season and first since Aug. 26, 2016.
After a scoreless first half, RSL jumped into the lead in the 54th minute via Albert Rusnak’s first goal from the club. The Slovakian international wa son the end of a magnificent through-ball from Joao Plata, and, after evading several defenders with his touch and patience, Rusnak slid a shot to the near post to give his side a lead.
Yura Movsisysan doubled that lead in the 74th minute with his third goal of the camapign. The sequence was similar to Rusnak’s, as Movsisyan touched down a long ball from the Slovakian, waited for his defender to overrun the play and fired far post for 2-0.
The third came four minutes later as Rusnak provided the assist once again via a corner kick. The midfeielder floated a ball into the box, one missed by David Ousted as the snow came down. Luke Mulholland lied waiting to fire the third and final goal of the match.
With their first win secured, RSL will look to make it two in a row with a visit to the Colorado Rapids next time out while the Whitecaps look to get themselves together ahead of a Cascadia clash with the Seattle Sounders.
MAN OF THE MATCH
There’s little doubt that Albert Rusnak was the best player on the field on Saturday as the Slovakian star finally had his first real star match. Rusnak provided a goal and two assists, helping create everything for an RSL attack that had been sputtering through the start of the season.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Rusnak’s opener set the tone, but Yura Movsisyan’s finish all but locked up the result. In what was a carbon copy of the Slovakian star’s finish, the RSL forward showed patience, touch and, ultimately, a bit of goalscoring ability to fire RSL into the lead.
MATCH TO FORGET
Christian Dean has had a rough time with injuries in recent years, and his rust showed in a big way on Saturday. In a three-man backline, there’s little room for error, and Dean just wasn’t up to the task of keeping up with a firing RSL attack in the snow.