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Quote Sheet: RSL 1-4 LAFC

Real Salt Lake 1 vs. 4 LAFC
August 6, 2022; Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, Utah
Real Salt Lake (9-8-7, 34 points); LAFC
(16-4-3, 51 pts)

Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni

On the team’s performance against LAFC:

“There’s a lot of times where the result reflects the performance. Tonight, I don’t think the results reflected the performance. [LAFC] were killers in front of goal and they made us pay for it. But in the overarching run of play, we did a really good job attacking and creating good opportunities, exposing the wide areas, things that we’ve really worked on this week. And then defensively, minimizing this team that is prolific and finds ways to easily get to the final third and create opportunities and tonight, for the most part, we did a really good job with that. It’s hard to say that when the result is so skewed, but again, at 2-1, we had a chance in front of the goal–we had a couple chances. Good start to the second half, didn’t capitalize, and goals change games, change momentum, and tonight we couldn’t find that second goal.”

On the energy and emotions during the game:

“The energy was fantastic. The fans were really a great twelfth man, really pulling the team forward, they wanted it more than everyone. At the beginning of the first half, at the beginning of the second half, the guys were bright and took that energy and really played with everything. It was one that I felt like we could play well and get a result, but the game of soccer doesn’t owe you anything–you have to go out and get it.”

On playing a star-studded team:

“To be honest, I’d put J-Glad [Justen Glad] and Marcelo [Silva] on our back line against anyone. I didn’t feel anything–again, Chicho’s [Christian Aranngo] a handful, not only does he score prolifically, but he battles and he throws his body around. [Gareth] Bale coming into the game was just another variable that we had to deal with and I thought, for the most part, we did well until he made that one play. And that’s the difference–the ability to really not create a ton of opportunities but know in the back of your mind that at any point, Chicho can strike, Bale can strike, [Kwadwo] Opoku can strike, [Carlos] Vela can strike. It does add a little bit of doubt to defense when you have players of that magnitude coming into the game.”

On preventing this result from affecting team morale:

“For me, it’s always about the process. Same thing we talk about in big games–when you feel like the moment is big, get back to asking yourself, ‘What is my job?’ That’s it. Because if you play the game in your head, it can snowball. The moment might be too big for you. But you can always go back to ‘Where’s the ball? What’s my job?’ And now you’re playing the game. That’s what we talked about and it’s no different now with this result. Stick to the process: ‘What is my job? What are we trying to get better at this week? What are we aiming for?’ It’s really important to not throw the baby out with the bathwater. There’s a lot of great stuff that we did tonight, on both sides of the ball, and unfortunately, the score didn’t reveal any of that. We have another week, we have another game next weekend to really continue to improve on the process.”

Midfielder Jasper Loffelsend

On what’s needed to get more goals:

“We had similar situations two weeks ago against Dallas. We’re not playing bad. We’re actually playing really well. We locked them into their half, moved the ball around to try and find their open spots, we put a lot of people in the box. We had the biggest chance with [Justin] Meram. You get a header and try to get it over the line but you have 15 guys trying to block it on the line. Sometimes it falls in and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s just the law of soccer. Sometimes, the soccer gods decide and you can’t really do much about it. Just trying to force it and keep going and force it in some way. We did a good job coming back from the 1-0, like two minutes later we scored our goal exactly how we planned it. It was great to see the things you’re actually working on work out in the game. Knowing that we can break down opponents like this that are ranked higher than we are. Sometimes it’s just not the day. I feel like that happens a little too often right now, so maybe pray a little more to the soccer gods for the next game.”

On the team morale:

“Obviously right now we’re frustrated. Can’t really say much about it. It was a highlight game. I feel like the coaching staff did a phenomenal job with that. We have one day to be sad about it and then do whatever we want to do to get our heads back in the game again. It’s just about putting it in the past–as soon as we come back into the locker room, that’s the result we have and even if you’re frustrated then, it’s just too late. You just have to focus on the next week, the next games coming up. We go on to Seattle, and it’s not an easy game either. We have to break down the game that we have right now and look at the chances we created, look at the goals we conceded to see how we can get better. Especially with Seattle, a huge team as well, then prepare for them the big big game on Sunday.”

On what he learned about himself and the team from this game:

“It’s all pretty fresh for me right now. We just have to do a better job at not letting that 3-1 happen. If we had kept it 2-1 and focused on staying compact we could have created a lot of chances to make it a draw. If we achieved that it would have opened the game again but I think that goal was eventually what broke us apart because we had to open up more space and find other options up front. The compactness just needs to be a little bit better as well as the efficiency in the drive. You guys saw the game, you know that we are pretty frustrated after this result because we had some good chances, but it didn’t really work out in the end. Now we just have to watch the video and see what we can do better. I didn’t think we played badly, LAFC was just so efficient up front and that allowed them to score goals on us.”