For us every game is a must win for us, that’s the attitude we’re using to approach the games. – Luke Mulholland

SANDY — It took Albert Rusnak all of four minutes to try and set the tone for Real Salt Lake Saturday night against Seattle.

With a bit of open space in the midfield in front of him, he took a couple of quick dribbles and then uncorked a long-range shot. It was a mirror image of the shot he let loose for a goal against Portland the previous weekend.

This time his shot skimmed off the top of the crossbar and out for a goal kick.

“As soon as I hit it I had a good feeling it was going on the frame. But in the end it bounced off the crossbar for a goal kick. Unlucky. Even my shot proves we went for a win from minute one. We were trying to press them and quickly attack. Not so much possession as we usually have, we just tried to go directly to goal,” said Rusnak.

The direct approach led to some sloppy giveaways amid the wet conditions in the first half. But RSL figured it would take all 90 minutes to figure out how to break down Seattle’s stout defense, so it figured there was no use wasting time early with a casual approach.

“It’s a playoff push. For us every game is a must win for us, that’s the attitude we’re using to approach the games. Like I said, the first half didn’t necessarily go our way, but we were aware of the fact that it was going to take 90 minutes to beat a team like Seattle,” said Luke Mulholland.

Real Salt Lake sharpened the attack to bang in two goals in the second half en route to the 2-0 victory.

The goals guaranteed that coach Mike Petke didn’t have to go with Plan B, C or D, but he was fully prepared to do so if necessary.

“This is three points tonight that we needed and wanted and thought that we could get. Before the first goal went in, if we had gotten into the 75th, 80th minute we were going three in the back that early. We were really pushing this, and our mentality right now is that we need to get three points every game,” said Petke.

Saturday’s win vaulted Real Salt Lake into fifth place in the Western Conference ahead of San Jose, Houston and FC Dallas. All three of those teams have played fewer games than RSL, and all three play a midweek game at home on Wednesday.

If all three win, Petke’s team could find itself back in seventh place in the West when it takes the field again next Saturday at Los Angeles. That reality is why there was such a sense of urgency going forward against Seattle.

Real Salt Lake almost had to go to Plan B very early on Saturday. In the sixth minute, Seattle’s Will Bruins split two defenders and then successfully dribbled around Nick Rimando. Before Bruin could get a shot off on the open net, Justen Glad tracked back to clear the ball out for a corner kick.

“I have said it before, Justen plays beyond his years, and that is the one big credit. There is so many intangibles I could go on about Justen, about his touch on the ball, his pace, his athleticism, but he reads the game far, far better than any player his age, I think, in this league, and that is just one example even when there is a miscue in the back like there was there and they send someone through. His positioning, and being able to track back, and get back there and get that ball away. I have said all along the sky is the limit for him if he keeps continuing to work hard and improve,” said Petke.