Major League Soccer

Real Salt Lake will use Whitecaps defeat to 'bounce back', says Mastroeni

Chris Smith
Mastroeni isn't worried following RSL's defeat.
Mastroeni isn't worried following RSL's defeat. / Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

After seeing his side's three-game winning streak halted in Vancouver, Pablo Mastroeni insisted the defeat against the Whitecaps is the perfect chance for Real Salt Lake to reflect and reset.

RSL went 1-0 down in the 31st minute as 'Caps defender Ranko Veselinovic made the most of some static defending, but the visitors hit back just after half-time through Justin Meram.

Salt Lake appeared to be doing enough to earn a valuable point on the road in Canada until right-back Aaron Herrera lunged in on Luis Martins, taking none of the ball, earning a second yellow card, and conceding a penalty which Ryan Gauld gladly converted.

Losing away from home to a spot-kick in the 92nd minute was always going to be painful, but Mastroeni was still pleased with the performance from RSL - who controlled 59% possession and outshot their hosts 10-6.

"I think we played a really good game, forcing the game to come down to moments," the Salt Lake boss told reporters. "We lost on our own set-piece, but overall, we managed the game really well. We created enough to win the game, so it’s unfortunate not to come away with anything on this one, but every loss is an opportunity to learn and move forward."

Mastroeni doubled down on the latter part of his statement, insisting Saturday's loss can be taken as a positive given how it'll force RSL to 'reflect' and 'bounce back' stronger with plenty of play left in the 2022 MLS regular season.

"Losses force you to reflect, both individually and as a collective," he added. "Now there’s a real sense of coming back and starting off on a good foot at home. I couldn’t be more proud of the effort, commitment and the football the guys have played in the last month.

"These losses force you to reset, force the concentration to be at the utmost as we get back to work. It’s a tough way to end the first part of the season, but we’ll bounce back."

Goalscorer Meram backed his head coach's sentiment, praising RSL's performance and insisting he and his teammates will 'pick each other up' ahead of their home tie against the San Jose Earthquakes after the international break.

"We were there. We had chances to take the lead. I thought it was a great performance. We just had some unlucky plays happen," Meram said, adding: "We have to pick each other up. We got away from the game a bit, but we’re fired up and ready to go again. Whenever you don’t win on the road, we have to hold our heads high. We put in a performance, we just got the short end of it tonight."