Quote Sheet

Real Salt Lake 1-0 Seattle Sounders FC

Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Interim Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni

On how much fun he had tonight:

“It was amazing. We had two tough games on the road, but to come home and put forth the effort that we did against a team like Seattle was great. There were a lot of gutsy performances tonight. In the back we kept a clean sheet for the first time with those three guys in the back. The desire and drive from Albert [Rusnak] as well as Damir [Kreilach] was astounding when they haven’t had a break in three games. We had Everton [Luiz] and Pablo [Ruiz] in there, breaking everything up. The wing backs also broke forward and gave us some dangerous crosses, it was just a complete performance from all of the guys and I couldn’t be happier for the group after a very tough week.”

On the structure and creativity of the new setup:

“In this system, spacing is crucial when we are in our buildup and possession. It’s something that I’ve been drilling in the last week because if you have good spacing it’s very difficult to defend. The other part is we are able to release one of our three central defenders into our attack because it adds so many interior options when we do get forward. Tonight we had wingbacks like Aaron [Herrera] and Justin [Meram], who can come inside and create. There’s unlimited options, all I ask is they have good spacing so they aren’t all occupying the same channels so we have options when we go forward.”

On his team's defensive performance:

“One of the things that we talked about before the game is that we have to win the midfield and minimize their options in the wide channels. Early in the first half they had a few long switches that caused us some problems, but we decided to go man to man in the midfield and deny those long switches so we could switch the point attack that was causing us some grief. The overall theme was we cannot take a play off. Albert [Rusnak] echoed that same sentiment right before we went on. He said “No more kickoff goals and set-piece goals we are all in this”. When you have your captain, who’s an attacking player, makes that kind of statement to the group everyone listens. The backline Erik [Holt], Justen [Glad], and Toni [Datkovic] did a fantastic job of neutralizing Raul [Ruidiaz]. They gave up very little and defended the area late when we were taking a lot of free kicks. They made it look easy, but it took a lot of work and concentration. Those are some things I ask when we are defending, that we stay focused in those moments and tonight they did a great job of that.”

Midfielder Damir Kreilach 

On having his family being at the game:

“I would first say all credit to the team for an unbelievable performance. It wasn’t an easy week for all of us. We were facing LAFC in LA. We faced San Jose, one of the best home teams. Today we faced one of the best teams in the league. I think overall we did great. With LAFC we played well and the result just didn’t go our way. San Jose was unbelievable. Commitment, mentality, character and everything. At the end of the day we were rewarded with great results. Tonight it was something special. In front of our fans and my brother and his family, to get three points, it means a lot.”

On the shape of the team in the 3-5-2:

“I agree with you. Especially tonight, defensively we were unbelievable. I think they had one shot in the first half and one in the second. The boys on the back did a fantastic job. I think overall with the 3-5-2 we have more guys around the second ball. The second ball as we know in football is the most important ball. Offensively we have so many people in the box and around the box. Overall, when Pablo got this idea a few weeks ago, we took the idea very professionally. This is how we found ourselves right now. We have to keep going. Every game we have to minimize our mistakes and that is how we’re going to get results.”

On playing against former Head Coach Freddy Juarez:

“Of course it’s motivation. When we played those two games against LAFC and San Jose, we played those games with a lot of energy and commitment. Both games we were down and we came back. It shows our mentality. We were coming with great confidence into this game. Our idea from the first second was to bring the offense to our side. It was a special night for them, for all of us and we were rewarded with three points.”

Defender Aaron Herrera

On the new formation and attacking third:

“Definitely having those three guys back there. Having Justen [Glad] right behind me makes it easy. Talking to Pablo yesterday he told me to just play with that sort of freedom, obviously work back when you can. That’s what I tried to do. I tried to recover and be able to be a part of the backline as much as I could. Obviously I was going forward. I’m pretty much the only guy on the right side so it's sort of on me to make something happen on that side. The freedom allowed me to do that.”

On the change to the 3-5-2:

“For me it's a bit weird, honestly. I’ve only played in this formation probably four or five times in my whole soccer career, so it's definitely a little weird. The first half or so I was a little confused on where I needed to be, but nothing too crazy. I just need to get back whenever I can. Sometimes when I was playing in the back four, if I didn't make it back it was trouble. But now if I don't make it back sometimes it's fine because we still have numbers back there. I love getting in on the attack. It’s something I'm still working on. I think I can still be a lot better. I liked the position though.”

On on producing in the attacking third:

“I always hold myself accountable before anybody else. Even tonight, it's good that I had an assist but I feel I could have had two or maybe three assists and even a goal. I think I could be a lot cleaner in the final third. There are a lot of times where it’s just that last touch or that last pass that could end up creating a goal. If I can just be a little cleaner, I could start upping the stats a little more and produce more for the team.”