Real Salt Lake 3 vs. 1 Portland Timbers
October 9, 2022; America First Field, Sandy, Utah
Real Salt Lake (12-11-11, 47 points); Portland Timbers (11-10-13, 47 points)
Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni
On the atmosphere of the home crowd:
“It’s huge and I think the energy that the fans brought was fantastic, and the guys really vibed off of that. There's been too many games this year where we've had big crowds and have underdelivered, and to put forth that performance and get a result like that in front of a big crowd is fantastic—not only for the players and not only for the fans but for the club, and really the synergy between the club and the fans. It was a very important moment moving forward. I couldn't be happier for the fans given the performance that the guys put forth today.”
On Bode Hidalgo coming into the game:
“[Maikel] Chang was having a hard time breathing and at that point, the game was at 2-0 and we were just thinking about making sure that we are secure in the way we want to defend. Bode [Hidalgo] has done a fantastic job with going from a winger to an outside back to a wing back and understanding that role. He’s been super reliable in the games that he's played this year. He's been training fantastically and I couldn’t be happier for the young man. There was a time in the beginning of the season, right after preseason, he came and said to me, ‘I will play for this team, Pablo. I just want you to know that that’s where my head’s at. I will play for this team.’ And at the time, looking at the depth chart, you don’t really see it, but you’re really proud of the desire and proud of the accountability he’s willing to take on in a moment when his feet aren’t really touching the ground in preseason. So for a young man to be so headstrong and to do the work and to have the desire to want to play with the Monarchs, to get the reps, and get that confidence and then come up and score one of the most important goals in a really important game—that says it all. Bode literally manifested this moment for himself.”
On the decisions he made during the game:
“The one thing about coaching is that we have the opportunity to see these players week in and week out. We have the ability to interact with these players, the character of the players, the reliability of the players. Oftentimes, people might be shocked, but I'm with these guys every single day. We’re working with these guys, we spend more time with these guys than we do our own families. You get to understand moments that they’re really good in, other moments that they struggle in. And for me, given that we had the two goals, I thought it was a great opportunity for Bode to come in because he’s done it before. He came in against Colorado earlier in the season, he had a cameo in Atlanta, he’s always done what’s been asked and really brought his own flavor to it, so I think this is a great step in the direction of a very good career.”
Goalkeeper Zac MacMath
On the team atmosphere:
“We’re all very excited. I think we all had a pretty good feeling going into this game. We controlled the game very well. I would say it was a comfortable win which was nice considering how we did it last year. We deserve to be in the playoffs. We were above the playoff line most of the year. We struggled at times but we thought we were a playoff team all year. We battled against some of the strongest teams in the league all year long. It's a huge credit to Pablo [Mastroeni] and everyone in the back room and the players who work very hard to get to where we are today.
On the defensive team performance:
“We knew going into the game that Portland relies on their counter attacking ability quite a bit. We knew they were going to get opportunities on the counter attack but the amount of times that we stopped them. [Jefferson Savarino’s] goal comes from a little bit of a repress where he gets back on the ball after he gives it up and the reactions from the guys in front were incredible. They did a great job eliminating their chances.
On the play after the international break:
“That Atlas game during that break was kind of a weird week with younger players coming in and training being just a little bit different. But it just gave us that reset of okay this is our playoff run time now. We approached last week like a playoff game and obviously this as a playoff game. Credit again to everyone who dug deep. Multiple times this year there were times when it didn’t go our way and we found a way tonight and that’s all that mattered.
Midfielder Bode Hidalgo
On his first professional goal:
“Obviously it’s a surreal feeling. It’s something you always dream of. I was fortunate enough to get it today, but I’m more grateful that the team got the three points and that we’re in the playoffs.”
On the confidence from being the first player off the bench:
“I wouldn’t say it really matters what order [off the bench]. I just knew that all year, being on the bench, when you have your start you have to take it. Fortunately today was my day.
On the effect the Atlas had on him breaking into the first team:
“It definitely helped. Getting a full game under your belt is always good. It helped give me more confidence coming into today and I just have to keep it going.