Quote Sheet

Real Salt Lake 2-3 Los Angeles FC

Banc of California Stadium; Los Angeles, California

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Interim Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni

On Anderson Julio:

“He brings an element to the group that is more dynamic and exciting. Anytime you have a threat over the top, anytime you have speed on the front line, it really opens a lot of gaps for guys like Dami [Kreilach] and Albert [Rusnák] underneath. He has an ability to make plays happen. We’ve been playing him out wide and that’s where he’s probably been the most comfortable, but I think for our group given the lack of real pace up front to really threaten back lines and stretch them, that's something that Anderson [Julio] brings. He is a player that really brings something in that nine position. He is working really hard to get the timing of his runs right and the hold up play, but what he does bring is a lot of intangibles that stretch defenses and allow other players to have space and time with the ball facing the goal.”

On the new-look formation:

“We have quite a few games left so as we get closer to the end of the season I think it is important to have more than one suitable formation for your opponent that you’re going to play. It’s something that we haven’t worked on in the past and given that we didn’t have Noah Powder or Aaron Herrera available, it was important to have a formation that best suited the players that we did have. I think it was one of the brightest performances from a mentality perspective. I thought it was a good performance with the ball and it was something that allowed us to really dictate the flow of the game. There were a lot of positives and for really only working on it for a week both on the field and in the video room, the guys really took to it, they enjoyed it and tonight's performance validates that. Unfortunately the result left us hanging. I think that’s more on individual moments that regardless of the formation we have to make sure we aren't doing. You have to make sure you're not putting goals in your own net if you expect to win against a team like this.”

On the goals allowed:

“I think there were two lapses. There were individual moments that we can do better in but also as a collective, we have to do better as a group. When you give up a goal in the first 30 seconds of the game, I mean the game hadn’t even started yet. We can work on kickoff plays one hundred times in training, but it's really the moments in the game that dictate that. As a collective we’ve got to do better in those moments. On the second goal, we did well to get back into the game. Then again we were a bit passive in and around our box and that’s something that we’ve been talking about for some time. We’ve got to get our blocks, got to move our feet. We’ve got to really make it difficult for crosses to come into that area and then obviously need to defend the box as well. There’s a couple things that we need to continue to improve at, but those moments are definitely lapses in concentration.”

Midfielder Damir Kreilach

On the new-look formation:

“At the end of the day we all have to be proud, it's hard to say, but it’s the truth. When Pablo [Mastroeni] and the coaching staff came to us and said that we are playing with three at the back it surprised us a little bit, but it was almost perfect. We deserved more than what happened tonight, we at least deserved a point. It is not easy to come to LAFC and control the game like we did for 60 plus minutes. The open moments for us were great, but LAFC was defending with 11 guys behind the ball tonight, so the way we played, the way we created chances was good. Unfortunately, it was unlucky for us tonight.”

On the goal:

“I understand [Maikel] Chang very well actually, I know what he is going to do. Most of the time he cuts back and that’s exactly what he did. He played the ball perfectly and I just hit it and luckily found the back of the net. It’s not necessary to talk much about this goal though, because unfortunately we lost the game. But if we are going to lose the game this is the way we have to lose, with the mentality and energy that we had. We picked up a lot of second balls and this is how we have to think about the next game. This is how you have to play soccer and now we will take a break for three days and then move on to San Jose. Another tough game, but we are going to give our best to get three points. Of course it’s not an easy situation because we are going to be fighting until the last game of the season for a playoff spot, but I can promise that as a team we are going to give more than 100% to make it.”

On pairing with Anderson Julio:

“This is what we wanted, to play me as a false nine with Anderson [Julio] up top to use his speed and we saw it tonight. We saw his ability to go one on one and create chances and be included in chances. This is what he did in the 45th minute when he took his guy one on one and unfortunately he missed the chance, but then at the end of the day that’s how he scored the goal to make it 2-2. His game was great. We have a very deep roster where anyone can replace anyone. It’s all about the team.”

On the matchup with LAFC:

“Coming with energy is the only way to play against these guys. If you don’t bring energy, if you are not playing as one on the field, if you aren’t moving as a team from back to front, then you can’t compete against those guys. They are a very specific team, they want to play with the ball and move the ball. If you aren’t aggressive, you can’t play with them. Today we did exactly what we trained this week and exactly what we wanted, just unfortunately the result didn't go our way.”

Defender Erik Holt

On the second LAFC goal:

“When you look at these goals that we gave up, it's a team thing. We could’ve blocked the cross, we could’ve cleared the ball earlier, I could’ve stepped back. It happened so fast, but things happen. Looking back at it, as a team we could’ve done better. We’re going to look at it and move on.”

On the new-look formation:

“Obviously we started terribly. They dribbled through the middle. If you see the replay, it hits off Justen [Glad] right into the guys path and that’s on us to start the game better. It’s inexcusable and unacceptable. As the game got on though, not many teams come here and try to boss the game, people like to sit back here, so at the end of the day we can be proud of ourselves for coming here and knocking them around. Despite the mistakes we had, we believe we should’ve at least gotten a point here and even had an opportunity to win. We’re going to take some positives from it and move forward. We’re excited for San Jose, but It’s a good learning lesson for us.”

On playing with three at the back:

“We worked on this formation for about two days this week. Our goal coming in here was to play direct for the first 20, 30 minutes and see out the game. As the game moved on we found spaces that we aren’t accustomed to in our traditional formation. There were a lot of good moments where we were bossing the game, so there were a lot of positives and definitely something that we can move forward with in the future.”

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