Coach Mike Petke said he holds himself, and the rest of the team, accountable, after RSL's 5-1 loss at Houston Wednesday.
Following one of the season's toughest losses, coach Petke said the team has to try and forget the last game and move on to preparing his team for Saturday's contest against FC Dallas.
"You've got to just crumple it up like paper and throw it away," he said in the post-game press conference.
However, in training for the next match, Petke admitted he might hold on to the loss a little longer than he hopes his players will.
“When you lose 5-1, you have to ask yourself certain questions. I’m no different than the players. I want them to move on quickly, but obviously, as the coach, it’s going to stick with me a little bit longer.”
Often, athletes and coaches relish an opportunity to change focus to their next games, and the team faces a quick turnaround against Dallas on Saturday.
Rather than spending too much time dwelling on the embarrassing loss, defender Tony Beltran said he was looking forward to getting ready for Dallas with less time for the players to feel sorry for themselves.
"I guess if there is a silver lining it's that we get another opportunity in three days," he said.
Five goals are the most the team has allowed all season, and in order to succeed against a tough Dallas team, Petke said Beltran and the rest of the defense have to shore up significantly.
“There has to be a mindset of being a whole lot more aggressive. Numbers have to be better, and our individual defending has to be better," he said.
Petke said he believes in the players' ability to play defense, but something needs to click for them to play solid as a unit consistently.
“They've made it this far to the professionals. They should know how to play," he said.
One of the few positives coming from the loss Wednesday was the second consecutive game with a goal from Joao Plata. The forward from Ecuador, until a point this season, had underperformed but is capable of being one of the more consistent offensive threats for the team.
Petke said they will need to utilize him as a force on offense to score goals in Dallas, whether it's by scoring, passing or making plays in any capacity.
“It’s just about keeping him rolling. He is the type of player that can be featured in an offense when he’s playing well.”
RSL's playoff hopes are already slim, at 10th place in the Western Conference, with a 4-9-2 record in 15 games, and the team will have to begin some sort of points streak to get back in contention. To many, this game is a must-win.
"We have to get three points," Plata said.
This season, the team is 1-2 in games following losses by three goals or more.
RSL conceded the most goals it has this season in its 5-1 loss to Houston Wednesday. The loss was the fourth by three or more goals in 2017.
Since their first full MLS season, in 2005, the team is 7-10-6 in these games.
Here's how RSL has responded to bad losses
- RSL lost 0-3 to Dallas and followed that with a 0-3 loss to Sporting Kansas City (0-1-0)
RSL followed the loss to KC with a 0-4 away loss to New England (0-2-0)
The team followed the New England loss with a 2-1 home win against NYCFC (1-2-0)
- RSL loses 2-5 to the LA Galaxy and follows with a 2-1 home win against Houston (2-2-0)
- RSL loses 0-4 at New England and follows with a 1-1 home draw against San Jose (2-2-1)
RSL loses 1-4 at Montreal and follows with a 2-0 home win against NYCFC (3-2-1)
RSL loses 0-4 at Vancouver and follows with a 1-0 home loss to Portland (3-3-1)
- RSL loses 0-4 at Seattle and follows with a 1-1 draw at Columbus (3-3-2)
No losses by three or more
- RSL loses 0-5 at San Jose and follows with a 2-0 home win against Colorado (4-3-2)
- RSL loses 1-4 at DC United and follows with a 0-3 home loss against Chicago (4-4-2)
RSL follows the 0-3 Chicago loss with a 1-2 away loss against the LA Galaxy (4-5-2)
RSL loses 0-3 at Vancouver and follows with a 0-0 draw at Colorado (4-5-3)
No losses by three or more
2009 (RSL are MLS champions)
- RSL loses 0-3 at Dallas and follows with a 2-0 home win against the NY Red Bulls (5-5-3)
- RSL loses 0-3 at Columbus and follows with a 2-0 home win against Colorado (6-5-3)
RSL loses 1-4 at DC United and follows with a 2-2 home draw against the LA Galaxy (6-5-4)
- RSL loses 0-4 at Chivas USA and follows with a 0-2 home loss to Colorado (6-6-4)
- RSL loses 0-6 at NY Red Bulls and follows with a 1-0 home win against the LA Galaxy (7-6-4)
RSL loses 0-3 at Chivas USA and follows with a 1-2 away loss at FC Dallas (7-7-4)
- RSL loses 1-5 at DC United and follows with a 0-1 home loss against New England (7-8-4)
RSL loses 1-4 at New England and follows with a 2-4 home loss against Kansas City (7-9-4)
RSL loses 0-3 at San Jose and follows with a 1-1 home draw against LA Galaxy (7-9-5)
RSL loses 0-3 at home to Chicago and follows with a 0-2 home loss against Dallas (7-10-5)
RSL loses 0-3 at Dallas and follows with a 2-2 home draw against San Jose (7-10-6)
Sacramento Republic FC to face RSL in US Open Cup
Sacramento Republic FC, of the USL, will host RSL in the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup on June 14.
Sacramento beat Reno 1868 2-0 at home Wednesday, to face RSL, who automatically qualify for the tournament as an MLS team.
The match will mark the first competitive game against an MLS side in the short history of the team, which made its USL debut in 2014.
In the 2016 tournament, RSL lost to Seattle 1-1 in the round of 16 in penalty kicks.
RSL Players shine as USA Dominates New Zealand in U-20 World Cup
While RSL was disappointed in their own performance Wednesday, some of the team's young talents helped USA beat New Zealand 6-0 in the round of 16 at the U-20 World Cup Thursday, tying the team's record for largest margin of victory in the tournament.
Brooks Lennon and Justen Glad, both RSL players, scored in the team's victory. Also on the roster are RSL's Danny Acosta and Sebastian Saucedo.
The win pits the US Men's National Team against Venezuela in the quarterfinals Sunday.