<strong>They’re very fast in transition. I mean, the games I’ve watched, the last couple, are so back and forth and it’s strange because it’s with quality too.</strong> – RSL head coach Mike Petke, on the Revolution

Bare bones.


Those are just a few words that Real Salt Lake head coach Mike Petke used in describing his team this week. They’ve been injury-stricken basically all season, but with this week’s game against the New England Revolution coinciding with the departure of Brooks Lennon, Danilo Acosta, Justin Glad and Sebastian Saucedo for U-20 World Cup duty in South Korea, RSL is especially depleted. In all likelihood, they won’t have enough players to field a full 18-man roster.

It’s not just going to be difficult due to the low numbers, but playing on the turf at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. presents an additional challenge for RSL.

“Everything is difficult,” said striker Yura Movsisyan. “I mean simply everything. It’s unnatural. You never know where the ball is going to bounce.”

In the typical no-nonsense approach that has become his trademark, Petke says there are no excuses.

“To me, it’s all mental and I don’t accept that players can’t play on turf or are not willing to play on turf,” said Petke.

The RSL roster is getting a bit of alleviation in the form of a player who probably has never seen the artificial surface before in his life. The team announced earlier this week, the signing of Venezuelan national, Jefferson Savarino, a 20-year old forward who was signed on loan from Zulia in the Venezuelan Premier League.

Savarino participated in training this week and has received praise from his new teammates and management alike.

“We’ve been tracking him for a long time and we just felt it was the right time where his body is and his production justified bringing him in now,” said general manager Craig Waibel earlier this week.

Petke expects Savarino to be available for action on Saturday but plans to use restraint in choosing how to implement him in the game plan.

“First game, flying across country, on turf, two time zones on turf, we have to be intelligent, especially with a Wednesday and Saturday game coming up after that. So what we’re going to do is what’s good for the team and what’s good for Jefferson as well,” said Petke.

In New England, RSL faces an opponent who has played decently, but has struggled to put a complete game together, going winless in its last five games.

Still, Petke calls the Revolution “a dangerous opponent”.

“They’re very fast in transition. I mean, the games I’ve watched, the last couple, are so back and forth and it’s strange because it’s with quality too,” said Petke.

In its last seven games against the Revs, RSL has punched in 18 goals. It would be ideal to continue that kind of success, especially now when RSL finds itself in a bit of a scoring rut. RSL last scored in its 3-1 loss to FC Atlanta on April 22.

According to Movsisyan, the team’s leading scorer with four goals, it’s going to take a complete team effort to find the back of the net again.

“We all need to score,” said Movsisyan. “We just can’t get behind early and start chasing the game. It’s more difficult. Everybody needs to score, it’s not just myself.”

Saturday against the Revs, RSL will look to avoid the team’s first four-game losing streak since 2011.

Kickoff is at 5:30 p.m. MT