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Quote Sheet: RSL 3-1 Rapids

Quote Sheet

Real Salt Lake 3-1 Colorado Rapids

Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Interim Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni

On securing three points:

“Extremely excited about the response for the group. Playing for Colorado for many years, coaching them, there’s obviously something deep down inside. But the moment it becomes about me then my behavior towards our group here is compromised. I was super conscious to make sure that this wasn’t about playing my old club and any of that stuff. It was all about creating an environment with the coaching staff that we have that we felt was conducive to getting a result. And that meant in the last eight to ten days, really training with a mentality to get after the ball the right way and pressuring and playing forward as much as we can and winning second balls. Over the course of the 90 minutes, we did a great job of all of those things. I couldn’t be happier for this group as we continue to chase and make the playoffs.”

On Real Salt Lake and the soccer community in Utah:

“I was shocked when I first came to Utah to see how much support there was for Real within the community and how much support I was given when I first joined the coaching staff. I feel like it's a soccer community that also cares deeply about the individuals at this Club. There’s a young kid by the name of Tyler who is battling cancer. I’ve had moments in my life as a young player where someone from a professional team has reached out and given me a jersey or given me shoes and it allowed me to dream. It allowed me to believe that I could overcome difficult situations as a young player. Tonight the ball was signed by all of the players. It’s this type of support for the club that is dear to me and it was dear to me before I was in this post as an assistant coach and just a member of Real Salt Lake and the community and what it stands for and what the fans bring to it. They bring the life, they bring the passion and for me, this is what football is all about. It’s about community, it’s about giving and it’s about sharing in wonderful moments like the game tonight.”

On the game plan and the adjustments made throughout the match:

“I think in the modern game anymore, everyone always wants to press high. Having played Colorado a few times already this year, they are willing to risk pressing high and isolating their center backs one on one versus our attackers. It’s a lot like in boxing, you’ve got to soften them up with jabs. A jab in football in the way that I think about it is threatening their backline and making them run towards their goal. Once you do that, they will no longer be on the front foot, they are going to be leaning towards the back because they are hesitant. I showed them clips from when we played them last time, you do this a couple of times and now Rubio [Rubin] can find the ball underneath and combine. I think a big part of this game plan was also winning second balls and securing the ball higher up the field and I believe our second goal came from such a play. As the game wore on they were pushing for it, but the great thing for me was that I felt like we were solid defensively. We did a really good job of managing those moments, whereas in games past I felt like we were a lot more loose in that regard. I think there were some really big performances tonight, including the three in the back line. Aaron [Herrera] on both sides of the ball was fantastic. Ochoa was great. The guys in the midfield put in a good shift, same as the guys upfront. It doesn’t always look like what it is on paper because you aren’t moving chess pieces. These are human beings with emotions and score lines dictate a lot of those emotions, but overall I am overwhelmed with joy for this group. With each performance such as tonight, there grows belief that we are a lot better than everyone outside of this Club gives us credit for.”

On Anderson Julio:

“The obvious is that he isn’t playing in the wide areas anymore, he’s playing more as a nine. The first game that we did that was against LAFC. When he comes into games, it's not just the speed, it’s what he’s already built from a perception perspective. He is coming into games and he’s scored some goals late and if he hasn’t scored he’s threatened goals. So I think this persona that he is building precedes him in that regard, so they see him coming into games and they saw what he did against LA Galaxy and the goal he scored against LAFC. If he has a little bit of space he is going to threaten, so now it completely throws the backline off. Once he starts doing that, then guys underneath like Albert [Rusnák] and Dami [Kreilach] start getting balls to feet, and then you can dictate it. Most importantly is that Anderson [Julio] is willing to take on that role. It’s a lot like a closer in baseball. He doesn’t get a lot of pitches, but he knows that when he steps on the mound he’s going to deliver. And to this point, Anderson has done just that.”

Midfielder Damir Kreilach

On the result:

“I appreciate talking to you guys. I am very happy about the three points and very proud of the team. At the end of the day, it was doubled in this game. The trophy was on the line and there were also three points on the line. We took everything and we’re very happy to bring the Rocky Mountain Cup back home where it belongs. It was overall a great performance. In the first half, we did exactly what we wanted. We scored an early goal then had control of the game. In the second half, we did even better.”

On pressing:

“As I said before, our game plan was exactly what we did tonight. We knew that they would have possession in certain parts of the game, but we had great control. At the end of the day, we could have scored another one or two goals. What I should say is that it’s all about the three points tonight. We had the right mentality, a winning mentality from the first to the last second. We brought energy and fight, and at the end of the day the quality came out. This is how you earn three points.”

On the team chemistry:

“It’s unbelievable. The mentality that we’ve brought for the second part of the season is unbelievable. You can have so much quality in the team, but if you don’t have the right mentality, if you don’t have fight and energy from the first to the last second, then you can’t reach anything. At the end of the day, with those three things and the quality too, that’s how we scored. All the guys on the backline had great performances. There were several moments where they saved us, and that shows chemistry within the team. We play for each other."

Defender Aaron Herrera

On playing in a different position:

“Coming into the game we knew that Andrew [Brody] would be able to get on the end of balls. I told him before the game that if he got in line I would always be ready to support him to set up a deeper cross. It went really well, I knew I had to be smart and pick my moments when to go forward, but it felt really good. It was a little more defensive responsibility, but I told Pablo [Mastroeni] that I wanted to have more of that. We did our best to get a shutout, but overall it was good.”

On the versatility of this team:

“We have very good depth and everyone is getting healthy at the right time. It’s great to have Andrew [Brody] back, he does a very good job in that right side position. Maikel [Chang] was solid in that left wingback spot as well. They are both tough positions to play because Chang is a natural winger and Brody is a natural outside back. Because now Brody is getting the ball lots of times with a guy right on his back where usually he gets all the pressure from the front. It’s not an easy thing to do, but both of these guys have put in the work. The versatility is great and it’s going to benefit us during this tail end of the season.”

On what works for them defensively:

“Everything starts with defense. Whenever we’ve been solid defensively we have given our guys more freedom to go forward. There was a little momentum shift in the game. We got a little too comfortable with the two-goal lead but that happens in soccer. I think we were too focused on trying to put the ball in behind and this made our guys up front gassed. Bringing in Anderson [Julio] gave us that option in behind the defense again. Playing those balls in behind the defense really benefited us and kept us locked in.”