Real Salt Lake 3-1 Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah
June 18, 2021

Real Salt Lake

Head Coach Freddy Juarez

On Holt’s game-winning goal:

“The group responded well as a whole. They kept going. For 25 minutes, Vancouver was very good there at the start of the second half with everything and caught us a little off guard - which shouldn’t happen. But it does, the opponent at times gets the momentum and they have nothing to lose - they’re chasing the game. And then we put ourselves in those positions.  Credit to Meram. Credit to Erik who came in, and Everton. I thought they added energy to the group. And then I felt like we were giving trouble with the long throw-in on Aaron’s side since the beginning of the game. When you get towards the end of the game, you throw more numbers up. Erik put himself in a good spot and I’m so excited for him and happy for him. He’s put himself there and got a game-winner at an important time and got us the three points which right now is very important to us.”

On why he subbed Erik Holt into the game:
“The yellow card (to Marcelo Silva). They were bringing in Cavalini. Watching a lot of tape on him, he’s a physical player. I think any coach would have leaned him towards that side and they did. I think they were going to try and pick on Marcelo and try to draw something. And they had momentum. We didn’t want to put ourselves in a situation where we go down a man. We went with Erik. We are confident with Erik and he responded well. It’s not easy going into these games. The worry that you always have is the momentum and how they are going to help. Today our three guys - Justin Meram, Erik Holt and Everton - they added a buzz. When Everton came in I think there was a little more energy in the stadium. The fans applauded him and got more into the game and we needed that. We needed that extra belief so we could push through the hard moments of the game.”

On scoring late:
“The subs came and added some energy. The fans were amazing. They were loud today. Thank you, fans. I felt that Vancouver was very good in the second half and they put us under. We were very good in the first half. In the last 15 minutes we were the better team - we were pushing, we were creating. We got the go-ahead goal and then a fantastic third goal from Meram deciding to cross the perfect ball. We talked about the second post being on in this game and he put it in there. We had Rubio and Damir attack it and when you have numbers attack any cross, it’s always trouble for the opponent and we got a goal out of it.”

On getting three points:
“I’m happy for the group. I’m happy for Albert - I thought he had a very good game and gave a great assist to Damir. I’m happy for Damir - that guy is a goal-scoring machine. We talked about getting him in the finishing phase where he is most dangerous. He puts a lot of responsibility on himself and he was in great attacking positions today. I’m happy for the guys. This is one of those culture-building, team-building type of games where you do well and the opponent responds and then you get into a little sparring match and it’s back and forth and it’s not pretty. The response of the guys, that’s where you build and develop as a team. Now we know and there’s belief that if you get caught in moments and still win a game. It’s fantastic to see that. I’m excited for the guys. They deserved it. They’ve been training hard. They keep grinding.”

Defender Erik Holt

On the feeling of earning his first MLS goal:

“I can’t even put it into words, I can’t believe it. I had an opportunity against Nashville to help win the game there and I’m so happy I could tonight. I’m just so happy, so humbled and proud of the team. I can’t explain it.”

On the creation of the goal itself:

“Originally I wasn’t even planning on getting in the box and Freddy [Juarez] was calling me ‘Hey! Get in the box! Get in the Box!’ and I saw some space and I thought, I’m just going to try and flick this back post and into that direction and hopefully make something happen. Super happy it went in.”

On the team’s ability to comeback:

“We are a pretty resilient team. We’ve had a bunch of ties, consecutively here, and we’re really close to putting it all together. It’s a long season and we continue to build off each game and get better. At times in this game we were not as good as we thought we could be playing, but we are just resilient. One play at a time. Proud of the team.”

Midfielder Damir Kreilach

On getting the win:

“Anytime we can get three points, especially at home, we’re going to be happy about it. Now it’s all about concentrating on the game in Seattle next week and after that a game against Houston. Overall the most important this is that we found a way to win and that’s what it’s all about. We’re moving forward and we’ll look to see where we made mistakes, especially in the second half because we didn’t want to make those mistakes. That’s part of the game and like I said that the most important thing we did tonight is find a way to get the three points.”

On Justin Meram’s assist to him:

“It was a perfect ball so I didn’t have a difficult job to do. It was a great assist and that’s what Meram does well all day long. Full credit to him and the whole team because it’s all about the team and it’s all about and we showed it today. Overall it was a good game and this is how we want to react going into our second game this week against Seattle and then again against Houston.”

On the relentless attack at the end:

“That’s all about mentality. Before what has happened to us like the San Jose game is that you don’t want to do the same mistake which we unfortunately did early in the second half. But then we found a way. It was a great response and sometimes you lose the game in the last minute and sometimes you don’t. Today it was a bit of luck on our side and I think we deserved to win tonight. In the first half we had three or four clear chances that unfortunately didn’t find the back of the net. In the second half we deserved to get the three points and we’re happy to score the goals that we did.”

For the full postgame interviews from RSL v VAN, visit RSL.com.