Real Salt Lake 1-2 Los Angeles FC

Banc of California Stadium; Los Angeles, California

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Head Coach Freddy Juarez

On the match:

“The fighting spirit was very good from the guys. We were not the sharpest with the ball today. We understand with LAFC at home that they are going to press and come at you. We fell into the trap of playing underneath them instead of exploiting spaces. When a team comes at you vertically with aggression and numbers, you have to exploit the spaces behind them. We fell into the trap of trying to play into feet, which means you always have someone on your back and that triggers presses. We also didn’t do a good job of consistently getting it from one side to the other. The formation that they were playing in had spaces, and there were moments that we did it and you saw some attacks, but we didn’t do it consistently enough. It was a learning moment, sometimes you are a victim of your own decisions and we weren’t great in those moments today. Credit to LAFC, it’s a very good team, they force you to play at a pace that you don’t get a whole lot of in the league. They come at you with numbers and force you to make quick decisions. The decisions actually have to be made beforehand, before you get the ball. You have to have an idea of where you want to go with it so that you can speed up your game. But the fight was there, the collective effort gave us the opportunity to stay in the game. We also had big nights from Ochoa and the defenders making some blocks.”

On adjusting to pressure:

“You’ve got to work on some movements to get in behind. But the reality is there are not a lot of LAFCs in the league. This is a good team and there are not a lot of teams that come in here and have success. They now have a fit Vela and a fit Rossi, and they are special players. It took their special players to score some good goals. Especially that second goal, that was a wonder strike from a tough angle and he put it away. I don’t think there are a whole lot of teams who can play like LAFC did in this match.”

On David Ochoa’s performance:

“You hate to be talking about the goalkeeper, that he had to make that many saves, but what a game from him. He put in his work. From the PK save to the focus that he had in the game, he was big for us tonight. That FC Dallas game was very similar. That is what you ask of the goalie. Sometimes a team comes with everything, you can’t deal with it collectively and you need some people to come up with special plays and Ochoa was on it today.”

On preparation for the match:

“It was all talked about. We had some success in moments of getting the ball out wide back at home and we knew they were going to respond at home. In front of their fans they are full of energy. It’s a team that isn't just going to give you 15 minutes, they are going to keep coming. They came at us with so many numbers that we fell into the trap of trying to play underneath. They stayed man on man in the back and if you are not quick enough with your decisions, or playing short, then you are playing into their hands and we repeatedly did that today. We didn’t exploit the spaces that they gave us often enough. When we did, we had some attacks. We found spaces where we could create and get in behind their outside backs, but we just didn’t do it enough. We trained for it. If you play in the central channel it needs to be a maximum of two touches and it is only to link back out to the wide channel and vice versa. When we were on one side, we had to find a connection to the other side and that would allow us to advance the ball, but we just weren’t sharp on that today. Credit to them for forcing us not to be sharp. They were full of energy, their crowd backed them up and they showed their quality.”

Defender Aaron Herrera

On his goal:

“What went through my mind, honestly, was thinking back to my first cap with the national team. I had the exact same chance and in that game I tried to go around the keeper instead of just going through the legs. That’s honestly what was going through my mind on this one and I’m happy that I was able to put it away.”

On the team’s effort:

“The effort was great but at this level, at a stadium like this, against LAFC, effort isn't going to get it done. We’ve got to figure out what was going wrong. We’ve got to watch the video and take a deep dive into what was going on, because 29 shots is not a good number to have against you. It felt like we just couldn't figure it out. Whether it was figuring out the press, or if we weren't good enough on the ball, it was a combination of things. We’ve got to have more quality in decision making. We’ve got to be more locked in coming here. It was like a playoff atmosphere tonight. If we want to go to the playoffs and do well we’ve got to be able to handle games like this.”

On LAFC’s pressure:

“The first thing we said when we got back in the locker room was that we have definitely not been under that much pressure before. I don’t think we had control of the game for a single minute in that second half. We’ve got to go back and watch the video and see exactly what went wrong. It was mostly tactical, the effort was there. That might've been our second time this season playing against a 3-5-2, maybe we couldn’t figure the press out exactly, but from back to front it wasn’t working right. We’ve definitely never been under it like that, so we’ve got to figure that out for sure.”

On David Ochoa’s performance:

“Everyone knows that Ochoa is a good keeper. He is a great keeper. Those are the type of saves that we need in a game like this from him. The penalty save was massive, especially because I was the one that gave up the penalty, so I appreciated him saving me like that. For him wanting to be at the level that he wants to be at, those are the types of saves that he needs to make. He was massive and he’s a great keeper, everyone knows that.”

Goalkeeper David Ochoa

On communicating under pressure:

“We knew coming into the game that they were going to press us, we had that already in mind, but we didn’t want to give into it and play a long ball every time. We tried to play through the pressure. The communication was knowing that you are going to have pressure on you and knowing the pass you are going to give before you receive it. Defensively, I don’t feel like we had that many problems. We are really solid defensively, so we were coming in confident.”

On the quality of passes:

“It wasn’t our best performance tonight. We had a lot of easy turnovers, that’s also what cost us the game. The final product wasn’t there, but it's too early into the season. We’ll go on to Wednesday and hopefully get a win back at home.”

On facing penalty kicks:

“I try to get into their heads a little bit before they kick. I try to move around the goal, make it look smaller for them. At the end when they are about to shoot it I try to wait until the last second to see where their eyes are looking.”

On the match:

“We’ve just got to learn from this one. We were all let down. We don’t like losing these types of games, especially when we feel like we are just as good as them. It's just a learning moment. We’ve got to get it out of our mind and head into the next one with confidence.”

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