RSL at HOU: Petke Postgame Interview 8/18/18

Real Salt Lake 2-1 Houston Dynamo
BBVA Compass Stadium; Houston, Texas
August 18, 2018

Real Salt Lake
Head Coach Mike Petke

On the team’s performance:
“I’m over the moon right now. It wasn’t an easy game. From the beginning, we took control. The game plan tonight was very specific like it always is. Tonight, it clicked as far as specifics that we wanted from our players, how we wanted to defend, where we wanted them to play the ball and capitalized in transition. I’m ecstatic for them to be honest with you.”

On how he handled the frustration in half time:
“It’s one of the things that I’m most proud of. It’s a little thing, but coming in 1-0 down, in a game that we dominated the first half, I tell them that the game plan does not change. We had 12 or 13 shots. We had five clear-cut chances on goal that perhaps should have gone in, so there was no need to panic, and they didn’t panic. Towards the 80th minute, we started releasing with the subs, and we started releasing Brooks a little bit more, going man to man in the back. Until then, the guys were calm. The guys realized that it was coming. I’ll say one more thing that towards the end of last year, we started getting these bounces. This year, we lost the bounces a little bit in games, specifically, on the road. Tonight, we earned the bounce, and I’m proud of the guys.”

On the importance of the victory:
“It was massive for the next week. We have a huge game next week, but right now it’s massive. I assume we jumped up to fifth or fourth place. It’s so tight right now that a loss gets you back outside the playoffs. For the moment, we’re pleased. For the moment, we’ll take it, and we’ll enjoy it and then it’s back to work.”

On Albert Rusnák:
“Everybody knows what he does. Everybody watches him. It wasn’t an easy thing go to him and the captain and say, ‘get a rescue tonight.’ They knew it was the right thing. They felt a little heavy, three games in a week, but I told them both, this is most likely a scenario where you’ll play a big part of this game. Albert got thrown in a little earlier than we wanted but look at the response he has. It’s ironic that the last time we played Houston, Kyle comes off the bench and scores the game-winner. Maybe that’s the recipe; I don’t know.”

On Andrew Putna’s first MLS start:
“It’s not easy for a player like that to be thrown in last game in a hostile environment, where he made some nice saves and to come into this game. I’m sure he felt the weight of the world on him. Everything from his inexperience to his age to taking over this game to coming in for the best goalkeeper of the history in this league, hands down. In the end, he did very well. We’re pleased for him. We have a young team and a lot of times I feel that we’re a little too quick to give praise which puts pressure on our players. I’m certainly not going to do that now. We’re happy for him right now, and if Nick is not ready next week, he’s got to do it again.”

Midfielder Damir Kreilach

On getting a win on the road:
“First of all, I want to congratulate the whole staff, coaches, and players, because today we deserved the win. In the end, this was one of our best games this season. We put the coaches match plan in action. As I said, in the end, we dominated the game, created a lot of chances, took a lot of shots, so we deserved to take the three points.”

On the halftime message:
“At halftime (head coach Mike Petke) said to us that we needed to keep going, and we did. In the end, we scored two goals in seven minutes, and it is a great feeling to have now.”

Defender Brooks Lennon

On how they prepared for Houston:
“I think our trainers did well preparing us, hydrating us, making sure that we get the right treatments before and after training and I think we came in tonight looking for a win and we are all so happy that we got it.”

Houston Dynamo
Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera

On the outcome of the game:
“Yes, today we didn’t have a good game. We didn’t play well. We tried to prepare the whole week to be sure that we not only we play well, we needed to play well but we needed to get the three points, and we didn’t do any of the two. We didn’t play well, and we didn’t get the three points so it’s my responsibility and I’ll take full responsibility because it’s not normal that today we played that bad and it wasn’t—we couldn’t combine. We couldn’t pass the ball, and we gave them the ball, the possession, and we tried to defend. The 1-0, that was a deflection, and we couldn’t find the rhythm the whole game, and despite all that we have two or three unbelievable chances to pull the game away and the end, the 93rd minute, 90 plus three and 100th minute, we lost the game and it’s embarrassing because we couldn’t defend. We couldn’t even defend well throughout the game, the whole game and it’s something that is affecting us throughout the whole season. In the last five, ten minutes of the games we are winning, and we finish losing so that’s my responsibility no matter what so I have to continue working better because we are now in a very difficult situation if we would like to qualify for the playoffs we are in a difficult situation losing points at home.”

On what he felt went wrong tonight:
“We needed to close the game. We were 1-0, and it was obvious that throughout the game we didn’t feel comfortable with the ball. I tried to bring guys to run a little bit more and to give us somehow some possibilities to fight for the ball and to keep them busy and maybe we can steal the ball, maybe we can score the second goal, but it didn’t happen because they were controlling the ball. They were controlling the ball. They were moving, moving, moving, moving and they tied in the 93rd minute outside the box, a shot, and then it was a penalty kick. I don’t know if it was a penalty kick, or not, but that was at the end. We haven’t been able to defend well the last 10 minutes, and it’s on me. It’s my responsibility. I haven’t been able to keep a line-up, especially on defense where we said these are the ones no matter what it’s been really difficult, but we are not going to make excuses. We have to be able to play better at least if we’re going to defend with 11 guys where we try to defend the last 10 minutes we have to do better.”

On if this loss hurts his confidence as they fight for a playoff spot:
“It hurts a lot because we needed these three points. We needed to win today, and we haven’t been able to win in five games. This is my first time as a coach, even as a player, I never lost five games in a row in my life. So, it’s tough, but we need to get out of here. We need to somehow, we need to try to push this momentum because it’s affecting us a lot, of course.”

On if there is enough depth in this team to be playoff contenders:
“We’ll see. If the time comes where we cannot get the points that we need, we are going to be of course out of the playoffs, but we still have points in front of us, and meanwhile, we still have points in front of us. We need to fight for them (points). We’re going to try to fight for them, and I am going to try to work with the team, and I am going to try to recover the guys, physically and mentally especially to fight for those games. We have our game on Thursday against FC Dallas so that’s right their opportunity to change our mentality, to change our lives, and change our rating and we need to do it.”

Midfielder Boniek García (translated from Spanish)

On the goal he scored:
“It came after a free kick from (forward Romell) Quioto that hit the wall. The rebound came to me, and after controlling the ball, I took the shot. The ball took a deflection from their defense and went in.”

On scoring his first goal since 2015:
“Honestly, I am very happy. It has been three years since the last time I scored and thankfully I was able to do it today. Granted, someone touched on the way in, but still, I am happy for it.”

On what’s the team’s mindset moving forward:
“We still have 10 games, and we need to impose ourselves if we want to make it to the playoffs. We cannot keep losing points, especially against Dallas at home so that we will do our best.”