SANDY — Though RSL lost 2-1 at San Jose, the night constituted a milestone for midfielder Jose Hernandez, who scored his first MLS goal in extra time.
The 21-year-old was subbed in late in the game, and he would have normally had reason to celebrate, but his goal came in stoppage time, and the final whistle blew right after he scored, concluding the loss.
“I couldn’t enjoy it to the max because of the result, but it’s definitely a good point for me," he said.
However, he said many of the people closest to him congratulated him
“Everyone hitting me up, all my friends calling, a bunch of friends, family and relatives, everyone who’s always been there, so that was very much appreciated,” he said.
He said the coaching staff and his teammates were quick to applaud him as well.
Getting the first strike out of the way was a bit of a relief he said, but now both he and the team expect even more from his play.
"I just knew whenever I got an opportunity, I was going to take advantage of it and do the best I could," he said, "Hopefully, after the first, one more will follow."
RSL excited to face Jason Kreis
In facing Orlando City, RSL will have a chance to go against a man with a strong connection to Salt Lake. Jason Kreis was both a player and coach for a number of years at RSL. His tenure with the team ended in 2013 after seven years as head coach.
Midfielder Kyle Beckerman said he has fond memories of Kreis, as somebody who taught him how to play the right way. He said he has not kept up with exactly how Kreis runs his team now, but that the manager would have Orlando City ready to battle come Friday.
"I’m sure they’re going to be well-prepared and they’re going to be hard-working. And those type of characteristics of Jason go right onto the team," he said.
Hernandez, who came up through the RSL Academy and had a few chances to interact with Kreis, also lauded the job Kreis did for both RSL and Orlando.
“I know as a coach he has done a lot for this club, and Orlando is doing very well so it’s going to be an interesting game," Hernandez said.
Coach Mike Petke said his interactions with Kreis go as far back as playing against one-another in the MLS, including a particular game in 2002 where Petke was ejected for headbutting Kreis during play.
He said the two have no hard feelings about that day, and Petke mentioned he was thankful for Kreis, in that he was responsible for allowing ex-players like Petke to join the coaching ranks.
"I’ve always told him without guys like him," Petke said about Kreis making the move straight from playing to coaching, "Perhaps I don’t get a shot.”
However, he said come Friday the two would go at each other.
RSL puts home win streak on the line Friday
Though disappointed with recent results in road games, including seven straight losses away from hone, the team has quietly built a three-game winning streak at Rio Tinto Stadium.
“It’s a huge positive on the season so far, three in a row at home, so it’s something to build off of," Kyle Beckerman said, "It gives us another opportunity to get four straight at home which is probably a while since we did that."
Petke said that if the team plays according to the game-plan, it could see another positive result.
"If they come out with the mentality and the work rate, and the way they connected and combined going forward the last couple of games then yeah you could talk about the confidence being there.”
Beckerman said a win on the road would be important for the squad, both in playoff contention and building a run of success for the future.
"That’s what we can control right now, is we have some confidence at home so we can continue that and try to drag that over to the road," he said.
RSL parts ways with Daryl Shore
News broke Monday that RSL would move on from director of goalkeeping Daryl Shore, who had been with the team since 2014.
Asked about the decision after practice Tuesday, Petke said he had inherited a team and coaching staff, and that he believed it would be both in his and Shore's best interests to move on, due to different coaching philosophies.
“Daryl’s very good at what he does, we just decided to move on,” he said.