Real Salt Lake 0-2 San Jose
Earthquakes Stadium; San Jose, California
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Head Coach Freddy Juarez

On what needed to be better:
“It took us until the closing 10 minutes of the first half to really start playing. We started playing with a little bit of confidence and being more aggressive in moments and trying to get forward. In the second half, we started well, but the goals were too easy. You don’t give yourself a chance when you give up goals like that. The transition goal where a guy gets through four guys and crosses is too easy. With this team you have to be able to handle the transition moments well, and you have to be able to take care of those. Energy was good, but just not intelligent enough.”

On what made San Jose difficult to play against:
“You have to be ready for duels. There’s always going to be a guy on your back and on your hip. There’s always a guy challenging for every ball that comes into your feet. If it’s not crisp and there’s not quick enough movement and if the pass isn’t good enough, then there’s not the possibility of combining. There were also moments when we could have shot, and we were trying to look for the perfect shot. You have to take the shots when they’re there, when you’re at the top of the 18. You have to finish plays, you’re passing, you’re putting in service, you’re forcing goal kicks, corner kicks, and throw ins, but you’ve got to be more aggressive in that area.”

On the message with two games to go:
“We have to play to win. What else can I tell the guys? It’s LA Galaxy. You want to go there to win, just like we wanted to win tonight. It just has to be better in all aspects. Individually and as a collective, we have to be a little bit sharper and have a little bit more pride.”

On lack of practice time:
“Preparing for a team with a week would be nice for anybody, but for me it was the little things. We weren’t releasing our back line through our outside backs high enough. They’re a good possession team. If you go through a lot of their games, they usually win the possession battle. We had Damir and Albert trying to control too many guys that would come and get the ball, so we weren’t releasing our outsides backs quick enough. Maybe it’s because they fear the threat in behind. Maybe it’s because it’s a big game, and we know how much it means, so some nervousness doesn’t allow that, so you’d rather play it safe. It took a little bit to get into the game, and we started going up the right and the left. The second half we started like that. All of a sudden, you see a higher line. It wasn’t part of the plan to sit back, we just weren’t releasing. Offensively, we knew what was going to happen. The center backs are going to have it, and then we find the free man. When he started going forward, we needed to have movement. First 30 minutes, the movement wasn’t good enough, and if it was, it was 1 player. We needed multiple players giving multiple actions as soon as we started engaging in the midfield. When we did that in the final 10 minutes, we got in. Aaron got in with Chang, and there was another combination we got in as well. The second half, we got in more because we started having that movement. I don’t know what it was. Obviously, they make it tough on you, so maybe it takes a little longer to get used to, but that’s not an excuse from any of us. We just weren’t good enough on the night.”

On San Jose’s defense:
“We were in and around the final third a lot of the game, especially in the second half. We weren’t brave enough. Their 1v1 duels, they do those to the death. When you think you’re going to pull the trigger, they’re tackling. They do not mind that, and they’re great at that. I admire that about them. They pride themselves in not losing those duels, and they’re going to block everything. We just have to be brave and shoot a little quicker. Don’t wait for the perfect shot. That little time when you shake your player, you have to shoot. Multiple times, we were facing forward, 18-20 yards and we didn’t shoot, and you have to shoot. You don’t shoot, you don’t score. Simple as that. That’s what you tell youth soccer, not this level. We were trying to wait for the right shot, and they’ll block when you do shoot, so you have to do it as quickly as possible. I thought we were in the area a lot, especially in the second half. We just weren’t aggressive enough to shoot or cross the ball in.”

On playing Luiz and Besler over Ruiz:
“We knew earlier in the game that we would have to defend properly and that’s probably my mistake. I thought in the second half, all of a sudden, all of our guys were on top of them and chasing and tackling. What Pablo brought when he came in, he kept the rhythm up and he has a little bit better passing range.”

On Glad not starting:
“Last game we had a shutout. He wasn’t in the lineup in the win against Portland also. Marcelo and Nedum have been playing well. I’ve had a conversation with Glad, and he knows that we have 3 very good center backs. There’s been some games where I thought that Glad could be a little bit sharper, like the game in Vancouver. He wasn’t as sharp as I thought he could be. It’s just a matter of that. Some games you start, and tonight he didn’t. He went in well today. He came in brave and ready to go. He’s continuing to grow as a player, and he’s not going to play every single game every time. There’s just so much congestion right now. The other two had gotten two results.”

On moving forward:
“We’re professionals. We get paid for this. No matter whatever feelings that we have because we lost, or where we are in the standings to get into the playoffs, you still get paid to play. You get paid to play well and put all your effort in. I hope that my team follows, and we’ll give it everything we have. Whoever the starting lineup is. On Saturday, our job is to win. We defend this badge and play for our fans. That’s enough motivation for me. What other motivation do we need? Nedum said, ‘It’s a privilege to play in 2020.’ That’s the message. It’s a privilege for me to have a job and I’m grateful for it. It’s a privilege for me to coach at the professional level, and it’s a privilege for the players to play at the professional level to do something they love doing. That’s enough motivation right there. If you don’t have that motivation, you’re in the wrong business.”

Midfielder Albert Rusnak

On why San Jose was so hard to play against:
“We knew what kind of style they would play. It took us a while to figure out how to beat it. I think we did well in the last 5-10 minutes of the first half, and overall, the second half too, the performance wasn’t bad. It was like against Dallas, where we created some good looks but we failed to score. The second goal killed us, and it took a deflection, so the luck went their way. Overall, it wasn’t enough.”

On what needs to be better:
“Everything. With the ball and without the ball. We all, as players, have to look at ourselves in the mirror and say, “This was far from good and this was far from a performance that you have to do to get into the playoffs.” Maybe there’s some mathematical chance that we can still get in. We just lost it tonight, and we made it difficult.”

On what everything means:
“It means everything we are doing at the moment. If you try to be really optimistic and positive you’ll find a couple of good things throughout the 90 minutes, but to win a game it’s far from good enough. We have to tighten up -- all the players -- defensively and going forward, creating chances, in the last couple of games we’ve created some but not a clear goal opportunity today, maybe half a chance to score a goal. But on another day and in another form, when we’re winning a few games in a row, those chances get put away. At the moment the situation for us is difficult and it’s harder to find the back of the net and score a goal. We’ll have a couple of training sessions before LA Galaxy and us as players we’ve got to go forward collectively. It’s not going to be on one player, it's going to be a collective effort and it has to be completely different on Sunday then it was today.” 

On limited amount of chances:
“We were already a goal down before we really started playing and in the second half I thought we started going forward and created some half looks. Sometimes with those half looks it’s just that extra pass, a better touch, better decision and all of the sudden it’s a clear-cut opportunity. If I knew why we were not creating chances I would tell all the players that this is how to do it, but we have to come together as a group, there is nothing else to do. There’s two games left in the season and everybody has to be on board, everybody has to step up and play better than we did today.”

On the large amount of blocked shots:
“They blocked some of our shots, but so did Dallas three days ago, I don’t know how to look at it, whether that’s good we’re having shots on goal, but they’re blocking them, is that good defending, or is it shooting from areas that you’re not supposed to shoot and maybe you should find a better play. I don’t know, we’ll have to look at the film. We need to look at the game and see the looks we created, whether there could be a better decision made on the ball, and what caused the shot to not need the keeper to save them. Film is another thing we’ll have to watch and try and learn from, as I said, there is not a lot of time to be learning, but if we can point out a couple of small things we can improve on for Sunday it will benefit us especially.”

Defender Aaron Herrera

On lack of counter-attacking opportunities:
“It starts with the first goal they scored, obviously they were attacking us a lot more than we were attacking them, at the time, and eventually they were able to get what was a pretty fortunate goal. It was a good save from [Andrew] Putna and then I don’t know, I think Wondo [Chris Wondolowski] was running to celebrate and it just came off the post right to him. San Jose’s system is one that we as a team haven’t really figured out, it’s a team that’s tough to play against all the time for us and it’s something we’ve got to figure out.”

On getting six points in the next two games:
“At this point we’ve got nothing to lose. Our only chance of getting into the playoffs is winning. This one hurts right now, it’s been a tough year all around and we’ve just got to do everything to get six points in these next two games. It doesn’t matter what system we play, or what our tactics are, we’ve just got to give everything we have these next two games. You never know what can happen.”

On mood after conceding first goal:
“Definitely a gut punch for sure. I think this whole year it’s been that if we score first we are a lot more likely to win the game and if we don’t it’s likely been a draw or a loss for us. So, obviously, scoring a goal first has been massive for us this year, we have been able to crawl back in a couple times, but giving up that first one has not been good for us. If we want to give ourselves a chance we have to be on the front foot and put the other team on their heels and then if we can go up it makes it a lot easier on our part. Like I said earlier, the system San Jose plays makes it very tough to get back in the game if you let them go up.”

On what was lacking defensively:
“I don’t know to be honest. I think if we’re a little better on the ball and if we’re able to put them on their heels more and be more on the front foot then we don’t have to defend as much. If we’re just gonna sit back, not put them in any real danger, and just absorb their pressure, they’re more likely to get a lucky bounce like they did with the first one, and the second one as well. Your best defense is offense, if we can be on the front foot more it gives us a better chance and we’re not chasing the game. When you’re always absorbing pressure it’s tough not to concede.”