QUOTE SHEET
Real Salt Lake v. Minnesota United
Allianz Field; St. Paul, Minnesota

April 24, 2021


Head Coach Freddy Juarez
On first game of the season: 
“I am excited for the group. It’s been a long, tough preseason and we came into a very good team and the guys grinded it out. Minnesota is very good. They were coming at us, we had to take a lot of attacks, but we didn’t break. We bent but didn’t break.”
On the debut from Anderson Julio:
“It’s always great to see. He puts in a lot of work, he does the dirty work. He runs in behind, helps on defense and you want him to be rewarded with goals. You want your attackers to get goals because they need that goal for confidence to keep them going. For them to get rewarded, for him to get rewarded on his debut, it’s a great individual thing for him. But also the quality of the pass that Rubio gave to him, it was an unselfish, wide open pass to him and that’s what creates the goal.”
On halftime adjustments to keep more possession:
“The possession was a result of us winning the ball a little bit more. We asked Albert to step a little higher. We asked our pivots to do a little bit more dirty work in the middle so that Aaron and our outside backs could step out a little wider so when it went to the sideline we could lock them in a little more consistently. We thought if we did that we would win the ball and now we can possess it. Any game in MLS, any game in the world is going to open up when you possess, we just needed to do a better job of winning the ball.”
On Ochoa’s play:
“It was a very good start. He looked great out there. He took care of some moments, dealt with crosses well. This team crosses the ball very well and I thought he was confident. He came out with authority. He was put under a lot of pressure with the ball at his feet, but he showed what his quality is when he has it. He made some good decisions and overall it was a very good first game of the year for him. He was very mature.”
On what transpired after the final whistle:
“I didn’t see what happened. I did see players start going towards him. I didn’t see exactly what he did so my reaction was just to go over there and try to back up our players and get them back together and keep them away from the melee.”
On being dangerous on the counter attack:
“It worked out. We talked about it. The way Minnesota plays they are very expansive in their build out and they open up a lot of spaces that we felt we could take advantage of in certain moments. But we also knew they are a hardworking team. They really recover with a lot of numbers and with urgency so if we had those moments, we had to do it with a lot of pace. When those opportunities came to us where we stole the ball and had the space to run at them, we did it dynamically and with good speed.”
On Adrian Heath’s post-game comments:
“No comment. Everyone is fired up right now, it’s the end of the game and we’re all competitive. Everyone has a right to their own opinion. I thought Ochoa had a pretty good game. He is still developing in many ways. He is a young adult and we will continue to groom him and help him in his young career.”
On fast starts for Julio and Rubin:
“I think it is always important for confidence, it’s great. We know their qualities. We brought them for a reason. We thought they would mesh well with the group’s strengths and they’ve fit in well. They had very good preseasons and they’ve already shown us in multiple games why they are starting and it wasn’t any different today. It is always great to start on the front foot for confidence reasons. It was nice for them to get the goals and to get some momentum, but was also nice for you guys and the fans to see why the front office brought them in. They were players that we thought would help us and they did. It doesn’t always fall that way in your debut, in the season opener, but we’re glad it did. They were extremely unselfish and worked extremely hard for the team against the ball and then they were rewarded when we had opportunities on the counter attacks. They made great decisions in those opportunities.”
On Ruiz and Luiz getting yellow cards in the first half:
“I was contemplating subbing both of them, but it was also such a frantic and the pace of it was at a high level. It’s the beginning of the year and there are a lot of chaotic moments so it was tough making those subs. We ended up making them though and Besler did a great job coming in and being able to quickly adapt to the pace of the game. That’s the reasoning why Everton came out, he was giving us a good game. He had the bite in there, he was breaking up plays and starting his Everton-like counter attacks where he goes on the dribble, but there were moments that we knew we might have to foul so we made the decision there. We wanted to pull out Pablo a little earlier, but then they got the goal so we second guessed that there. We eventually made the sub, but it was nerve wracking through the rest of the time because it was a game that you had to really get stuck in and break up plays. Overall I think they did a good job of staying within the rhythm of the game and not giving up too many silly fouls that they didn’t need to.”
On the team’s ability to put pressure on the ball in the final third
“I thought in the first half Minnesota was all over us. Minnesota is a good team guys, don’t let the results fool you. They are a good team, they went to Seattle and played well. They were on fire today with their ball movement, crispness, attack and energy. I thought in the first half we caught them in a couple of moments with the goals but in the first half they were pinning us in. At halftime we talked about how we could apply a little bit more pressure on them higher up the field. If we did that we felt we could win the ball a little bit more and allow us to retain possession for longer periods. We did that in the second half a little bit better. We pressured higher up the field because of what we talked about and it started opening up some spaces where we could play the ball. We had an opportunity to get a third one there. There was a little bit of a deflection that didn’t let Rubio get it clean and that maybe would’ve made the game easier for us a little bit earlier. Overall what we talked about halftime, we applied it and it gave us a better shot there in the second half.”
On the defensive effort:
“Hard work. United. The team was united the whole time. They came at us, we were bending but didn't break. We fought, showed a lot of character, showed a lot of perseverance. It was a group that wanted three points tonight. When they get that first goal and then they get the second and you see them in the locker room, you know the opponent is going to come at you. It’s going to be a battle in the second half and we’re going to have to show some character and I thought they were up for the challenge tonight. It wasn’t an easy team to keep off the scoreboard. They are good. They cross the ball, they get into the box with numbers. It really challenges your character as a group. It was a good challenge for the first game. There are no easy games in MLS, especially on the road. All of the credit goes to our guys for putting in the hard work today and showing unity as a group.”
On having a true nine; Rubio
“Very important. What Rubio offers is hold up play and that’s our DNA. We want the ball when we can, get it on the ground and let players like Albert, Pablo and Damir get into the game. But also when we can’t, like today when we were under so much pressure and their team putting us under so much stress, we can play a ball in the air. He was having to deal with good center backs and he was still able to do that and then get in behind them and stretch them a little bit. It was important to us. Then we make the sub and put in Douglas and he gives us some of that more dynamic, in behind play and really stretches out their center backs. It was a good combination of having both. Rubio gave us those good 75 minutes and he was super valuable in all of those minutes.”
Midfielder Albert Rusnak
On being named captain:
“As I said pregame, it’s a massive honor for me to lead the team, the club and the whole organization on the field.  It’s a big responsibility and I’m prepared to take that.  Today was a great start to the season for us.  As I said before the game, maybe today wasn’t so much about the quality, but the hard work, the dedication and sticking to the game plan that we had.  At times on the road it’s not going to be a pretty game, but if we can get the three points, we’ll take it.  We’re going to enjoy this win and then from tomorrow on, we move on to Kansas City.”
On Anderson Julio and Rubio Rubin:
“It’s important for the new attacking pieces that we’ve added to the team to get goals as soon as they can and the little pressure will drop from their shoulders and they will be more free.  Julio, what a great start for him getting those two goals today.  Rubio played a massive role in the second goal and throughout the game.  It was a very good performance.  He was holding the balls up top and at times it wasn’t easy for him because he was alone there.  But as I said, the grind got us the three points today.”
On Rubin’s unselfish play:
“We’ve been talking about putting the team above individuals for the past couple of years, but really this preseason we spent some time talking about what it means and believing it, doing it on the field and doing it in training.  That second goal was a class act.  If there is someone in a better position and you can pass it in front of goal clearly like that and it’s a 100% goal, then why not?  He made the great decision and gave us the second goal which was really crucial at that point, so hats off to Rubio for that.”
On Rubin playing as a classic number nine:
“Last year, most of the time we played Dami (Kreilach) as a false nine.  Rubio is not a false nine.  He’s a classic nine that’s comfortable running behind the line or holding the ball up with his back to goal.  That’s one of his strengths and that’s what he’s going to do for us all season.  It makes the job more comfortable for the players underneath him who can run off the balls and his movement and his layoffs.  It’s a great addition to the team and I’m happy for his performance and I hope he gets a goal very soon.”
Midfielder Damir Kreilach
On first win in Minnesota:
“It was fight, fight and fight. We fully deserved the three points. We came here and believed that we were going to take three points back to Salt Lake. We know that Minnesota is a really good team, but we had a plan and we followed the plan for ninety plus minutes.”
On the new additions to the team:
“We believe in them. They are going to be a great addition for us. They proved it today. Of course, everyone of us has to stay humble to keep going forward and this is just one step. We are looking forward to our next game and our home opener against KC on the first.”
Forward Rubio Rubin
On Real Salt Lake debut: 
“For me the most important thing is to come out with the win. To do it away from home, in this kind of stadium and in our first game, to get our legs under us and come out with the win was very important to us. The rest is just what comes with the game. I was able to get two assists and help the team get those goals, but ultimately the whole team put in the shift to get the “W.” We’re just ecstatic to get to go back home and play our next three games at home and come out with a result of a ‘dub.’”
On confidence this gives the newbies: 
“I’m just happy to be able to play my part in the win and it gives us a load of confidence going into next weekend. Obviously, this is my first MLS game ever and my first in the U.S. as a professional, so even just to be able to go out there and get my legs under me, to see what it’s really like in an official season game it feels good. To be able to do that today and get the win only gives me confidence.” 
On partnership with Anderson Julio and how it could change with Bobby Wood: 
“We know Bobby Wood is going to come and we know what he brings. He’s had a great career in Europe and spent time with the National Team. But we are just going to continue to work hard, me, Anderson, Albert [Rusnak] and Damir [Kreilach], the top four, and also [Maikel] Chang, Douglas [Martinez] and Justin Meram, just to be able to build a chemistry. A lot of people don’t realize it takes time, it takes continuous games and especially season games, and to be able to do it today gives us confidence that we have the chemistry to rely on each other. Ultimately, for me, I don’t care who scores as long as we get the win, it goes a long way. You can tell in the locker room that it is a different atmosphere. If we would have tied or lost it would not have mattered if I had scored. The team won and that is the most important thing. We are looking forward to adding more pieces in the future, but also they are not here yet, so we have to continue to work and build that chemistry when it matters, which is right now. 
On the productive counterattack: 
“We knew that Minnesota love to have the ball and we had a game plan to that, we understood where the spaces were and how we could counter attack. We knew their leftback and rightback love to get forward and that the space was gonna be behind them and on both the goals we were able to get in behind and go at them with full speed. We have speed up top and we are able to take those chances. It wasn’t the prettiest game, there is a lot of work to do and to improve on, but at the same time it’s just the first game of the season, it’s been six months since I last played a game, so we are happy to get the win away from home. We are looking forward to being able to improve and today is just a way for us to start with the right foot forward.”

Advertising

Advertising