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Quote Sheet: RSL 2-2 LA

Quote Sheet

Real Salt Lake 2-2 Los Angeles Galaxy

Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Head Coach Freddy Juarez

On the reason RSL has given up leads this season: 

“I don’t have the answer. It’s a combination of a lot of things. I don’t know that you could pinpoint one thing, but the guys have done fantastic jobs to get ahead of the game and to come out with energy. We talked about at halftime that the opponent is going to respond and those moments are where you have to be mentally stronger. You have to figure out moments of being more tidy with the ball and connecting the passes that matter. Because today it was too much of an open game. We were exciting in going forward and there was a lot of open game, which is awesome for the fans. But then we started creating so many gaps and if you don’t connect a pass, you always leave yourself exposed to counters down the other way. It’s too open. There’s not enough control without the ball and with the ball, so you’re giving the opponent a chance. And in the West, every team is very good. LA was missing some big-name players and even then they kept themselves in the game so they could get a goal if they had the opportunity. Which they did in the first half, kind of out of nothing. Spectacular goal by the way, but I think we could’ve been a little more aggressive. And then now there’s a little bit of second guessing and ‘oh shoot’. One more and they’re in the game. And that’s where we need to get over the hump. The mentality just has to be stronger when we get in those situations.”

On why midfielders are dropping deep on attacks: 

“I don’t think it’s necessarily about the dropping deep. We’ll say this scenario: the centerback or goalkeeper have the ball and clip it all the way to the first line. But lines underneath have to spin out and travel vertically for that reason. Part of that is probably fatigue, some of it may be positioning. I can take a look at the video and see if I can put them in better positions so when there’s an option in the first line, there’s a third line. Maybe if we take a look at that we can challenge second balls more. But we talked about that at half. I didn’t think we were great at it in the first half. And that’s something we have to improve. These games are won and lost on second balls and midfield battles. And it’s something I thought we were okay at, but we weren’t great at it. And if you don’t win those battles, you’re just giving life to the opponent. You hear all over the place, ‘second balls, second balls, second balls.’ We have to get that mentality. You have to roll up your sleeves and grind at the moments in the game that asks you to grind. Then when it asks for a little bit of silk, you have to add the silk.”

On what needs to change moving forward: 

“Maybe we have to use a line of five or kick the ball more direct over the top. There’s not an answer for it. If I had an answer for that, we’d have more wins. We have to get better. It might be psychological, it might be effort or a lot of things. And as a group we have to double down on things we’re doing and also things that didn’t go right today and the goals. We have to get better at those phases so it doesn’t continue to repeat itself. I thought we had been doing well in dealing with service since the Nashville game and then today, the second goal was too easy, too innocent. We can be more aggressive closing down and better at organizing our back line and getting in the box. We can track back harder. Those are the moments. You can’t relax in this game, the opponents are too good.”

Forward Rubio Rubin

On the result: 

“I think it's a lack of concentration from the whole team. Just being more savvy, closing out games is important. Sometimes a 2-0 lead or even 2-1 is what we need to win. As much as we want to go forward and attack, when we attack with numbers that can result in a counter attack. Obviously we were fatigued, it was a midweek game, but there’s no excuse. We have to be savvy, we have to win these games and close them out. It’s just the reality, it cost us again today and cost us points. Obviously we are a much better team and at the end of the day we came out with a draw and it hurt us.”

On lack of help from the midfield:

“I just have to continue doing my job and the rest is something I can't control. Obviously I want to be able to have underneath help and be able to get runs in behind and look to attack to get in front of the goal. We’re just disappointed that we gave up points today. We had it. We were up 2-0. We were attacking. We were the better team. Like I said before, we have to be much more savvy. We have to be killers. We have to finish out these games. We can’t keep giving up these games, especially when we’re winning the game with 15 minutes to go. It’s disappointing. It sucks.”

On passing disconnect: 

“I think obviously in the first half we had moments. I think we lacked a little bit of going side by side wearing them down. Being a little more brave on the ball and trusting each other with the ball. Just trusting our abilities, I think ultimately that’s a big thing in soccer. We need to not be scared to receive the ball under pressure and trust our abilities. We’re soccer players. We can make plays and stuff like that. We have to be able to not be afraid to get the ball, create gap spaces and movement off the ball. I think some of our passes killed us today and ultimately cost us three points.”

Midfielder Albert Rusnak

On the result: 

“I mean it is as frustrating as anything I’ve experienced before. Trust me we are just as frustrated as the fans and everybody else around the club are. If it wasn’t for first half results this year, we might be top of the league. We are giving up leads, especially here at home. We go up one goal or two goals and then in the second half we somehow give it up. It's not going to be an easy couple of days now before the next game. We have to get it sorted out amongst ourselves and find out the reason that we’ve given up these leads. It can happen once or twice, but I can’t even count how many times it’s happened this year. It’s not an easy one. I don’t have an answer right now as to why we go a couple goals up and give it up or why we’re winning 1-0 and then all of a sudden we lose or tie. It seems like when the game is tied we are a much better team then when we take a lead. It should be the other way around. You should relax and you should feel a lot more comfortable and confident when you take the lead. I am just as frustrated as anyone else.”

On the first half: 

“We were on our front foot, we got into dangerous positions in their half and we created chances. We scored a couple of goals and we were good when we lost ball possession. We lost ball possession in the first half as well, but we reacted well as a team. We were pressed, we were strong in duels. We were the much better team in the first half and then just like it has happened before, in the second half it went against us and we’re on the backfoot and all of a sudden we’re losing the ball too easily. There isn’t the same movement that there was in the first half. There isn’t the same confidence to play these risky balls between the lines. Everything just goes away. At the moment we’re a team that is completely different in two halves. We have to sort that out. It isn’t the start of the season anymore. We are coming to the midpoint of the season. We gave up so many points that we don’t want to be sitting here at the end of the season and remembering that game when we were winning 2-0. Those are the points we’re missing to reach our goal. We can’t let that happen. As I said, we've got two days to solve this stuff before the next game.”

On the team’s morale: 

“Before this game it was good. Everybody was looking forward to the home game playing in front of our fans. The mood even at halftime we said to each other we gave up a goal, but you have to give him credit it was a great goal. We have to keep doing what we were doing well in the first half and that didn’t happen. We were on the back foot and later on conceded that second goal. Right now as I said before we’re frustrated. Everybody is mad and rightly so, because this has happened over and over again. We thought we fixed it last time and then it happened again. If something bad keeps happening over and over again, the morale and the mood in a team can’t be any good and it isn’t any good right now. As I said again we have two days to get things sorted out.”