Quote Sheet

Real Salt Lake 1-2 Austin FC

Q2 Stadium; Austin, Texas

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Interim Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni

On changes to the lineup:

A lot of these guys have had a lot of minutes, and coming into Texas in 90 degree weather and humidity, there’s got to be a freshness within the group. Not switching it up and putting fresh legs in there after the Portland game and after the midweek game, we would’ve been in a worse way than switching it up. We’ve got to be a team. We have to have guys that are ready to step in and make a difference when their number is called. At this point after another emotional, tough week, guys have to step up when their number is called. That was the thought process behind that.”

On lack of adjustments at halftime:

There were definitely considerations at halftime, but to be fair I thought we ended the half pretty bright. We got Meram isolated in the wide channels and I thought Aaron [Herrera] got forward a little bit more at the end of the half, so that was the decision behind not making any changes at halftime. The guys that came in, Rubio [Rubin} was bright and Jonathan [Menendez] brings a different dynamic in that wingback position. Obviously it’s not his preferred position, but with Glad behind him I thought we had a little bit more cover. I thought he came in and did a really good job, in particular setting up that goal and starting that whole play. That was really good. Then with Chang, the thought behind that was that we were having a little bit more of the ball so how do we get a left-footed player in there to whip some balls in. So again, a lot of these decisions are made in real time from seeing what you are seeing.”

On Jonathan Menendez’ best position in the formation:

In this system and with the way we want to defend, I think it's critical to have two ball winners in there. We are so expansive and the idea is that when we lose the ball in the attacking third to have a really aggressive re-press. Not that I don't think Joni [Menendez] would be capable of playing that position, but I think it would be asking a lot of Dami [Kreilach] to really get after it, close down at speed and do all of those things when he’s been so great for us close to the goal and getting in the box.”

On the focal point over the break:

“All of the basic principles. In this formation, because we are so expansive, the cover positions and the shape behind the ball has to be better when things turn over so that we can get pressure on the ball, but we’re not also getting beaten with one pass through three players. The attention to that part of it needs to be better. I thought we improved with the ball from our last game, but in saying that, I thought we were really cheap in possession. Our positions when we were in the attack were better, however our execution was really poor today. I think we just have to work on all of those little things. It’s not the big thing, I think the guys are comfortable doing that. But those two things, our shape behind the ball in possession will be critical and the mentality from our midfielders whenever we press. The other part of that is making better decisions on the ball. We’ll go back and look at the tape and make those decisions, but being sharper on both sides of the ball is what our focus will be.”

Forward Rubio Rubin

On the match:

“I think obviously we had heavy legs after playing three games in six days, but we all had to do it, they had to do it as well. We knew it was going to be difficult coming here and playing in the humidity and the heat, but we had plenty of opportunities to score and tie it up. Now we have to live with it and move on.”

On what Austin did to make life difficult:

We were a little bit sloppy with some of our passes today, especially with the formation we play. We ask our outside backs to get up the field a lot more. So, if we make silly passes or if we lose the ball easily, teams can counter us pretty quickly. To me, they got two easy goals. We just have to move on and get ready in 10 days to play our next game”

Midfielder Damir Kreilach

On the result:

“They have so much quality to play you out and they had control. Unfortunately as a team we had two mistakes that became goals. Then we found the goal for 2-1 and in the second half we played better offense. We played very well, but unfortunately we didn’t score a second goal.”

On the difference between halves:

They are tough to play against. When you bite they play you out and then they are creating a chance up front. In the first half we were kind of standing around and in the second half we told ourselves that we had to put more pressure on and we did, so we’re disappointed that we didn’t score a second goal.”

On scoring 13 goals this season and playing with this group:

The last six or seven games we have shown an unbelievable mentality. Even today, we all know that the first half wasn’t the half we wanted, but in the second half we showed mentality and we played very well, but unfortunately we didn’t score a second goal. We have to keep our heads up. Now we get 14 days rest before the Rocky Mountain Cup against Colorado on October 16.”