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Quote Sheet: VAN 0-4 RSL

Quote Sheet

Real Salt Lake 4-0 Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Head Coach Freddy Juarez

On Bobby Wood’s performance: 

“He shows what qualities he has. He’s strong, holding the ball with his back to goal. When we broke the line and got wide, we had two or three occasions when we served the ball and he got to the end of it. That causes a lot of problems for the opponent because of his physique. He’s still getting more fitness. His game is running in behind and battling it out, so you saw him fatiguing a little bit there which is understandable. That’s exactly what we knew. We wanted to push him and he’ll continue to get more fit and sharper and start understanding his teammates as well. The longer you’re in there with them the more you start understanding who likes to serve from where. I thought overall it was a good shift for him.”

On the team’s performance: 

“I thought with LAFC we actually had more control of the game. I haven’t looked at the stats, but Vancouver put in a good shift today. Soccer is so weird. Today, we struggled for a little bit in gaining possession and getting pressure on them in the first half. The solution to it was to be more aggressive, being more direct. They were pressing us hard and we were triggering that with square and back passes. They were holding a high line and it was really just about getting in behind. If you want space to play, you have to create it. One way to do that is playing long and running onto it and separating the lines. Then you can earn the right to play. Against LAFC we had very good possession. Today we did for moments, but it wasn’t until the second half that we finally started playing balls in over the top and then we started seeing the game open up. It gave us the spaces that we needed and all of a sudden Albert [Rusnák], Damir [Kreilach], Bobby [Wood] and all of the attacking players could create. I thought it was a solid performance and the guys deserved it. There have been so many games where we have been in it and even dominated, yet we aren’t getting those goals. Today, it was nice to see different players get goals and be rewarded for all of the effort.”

On Damir Kreilach deserving MLS MVP: 

“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. First and foremost I think the team has more of an understanding of what we want to do in the attack. I think he’s benefitting from that. There have been great performances from the guys and good service. I think we are starting to serve the ball more than we have in the past and we are getting more numbers in there. In the past you’ve seen him drift toward the back line, even when we played him as a nine or 10. What we’ve told him is that it’s okay to do it, you can never say no in soccer, but what we want from him is to be 80% between the lines and 20% helping on the buildup because when we do get it wide it’s a shorter distance for him to get in the box. The closer to the goal that we can get him, Albert [Rusnák], Rubio [Rubin], Bobby [Wood], Anderson [Julio] and Justin [Meram], the more goals and opportunities we are going to have. But right now we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. He’s being Damir. I think he’s also benefiting more from the quality of play from the players around him.”

Midfielder Albert Rusnák

On what the win does for the team’s confidence:

“We were frustrated after the LAFC game. We probably played better against LAFC than we played tonight, but the result is the most important thing and the two results are completely different. We have a reason to be happy after tonight’s game. We spoke about getting the second goal, which is the killer goal and we came out after halftime on the front foot attacking and playing behind them. Once we scored the second goal, everybody felt more confident and comfortable. So we are really happy with the performance, but mainly the result today.”

On the importance of ball movement:

“I feel like we started the game really well. We were dangerous in the first 20 minutes. All of the attacking players including Justin [Meram], Damir [Kreilach], Bobby [Wood], and I were finding good spaces and moving the ball. After 20 minutes, we sat deeper and they had a little bit more possession and we spent a lot of energy defending. At half time we had to figure out how we were going to come out and press them and be in control of the ball. We made a couple of tactical adjustments that changed the game in our favor. In the second half, the goals came. The second goal was crucial and from then on they were desperate to attack and started to throw numbers forward, which gave us even more space to work with.”

On Bobby Wood’s first start: 

“He’s been getting some minutes since he came and his fitness level is now in a place where he can start. And he did really well today in his first start. He brings something different than what Rubio [Rubín] has. And for the team, it’s great to have two strikers that you can rely on. Both of them bring quality and something different. I thought Bobby Wood had a very decent performance for his first start, and it’s only going to get better.”

Midfielder Damir Kreilach

On the penalty kick: 

“I want to first say credit to the team for tonight's performance. The most important thing is that we found a way to get three points and that’s what it is all about. About the penalty kick, Albert and I talked about it and I wanted to take it, but Albert deserved to get a goal as well. It’s his birthday and I think it was proper for him to take it. At the end of the day, it’s so good to have certain players who can score goals.”

On earning goals: 

“I try to give the best of myself. At the end of the day, it’s not about one guy or even 11 guys, it's about all 30 guys in the locker room. We are all one here. It’s all about preparation. It was a little bit tough the last couple of weeks to not get the three points because in a couple of games we deserved it. For example, the game against Houston and the game against LAFC. Tonight was a great night. It’s very good we are on the right path and we just have to keep going.”

On scoring in the 1st minute: 

“You’re right, I was surprised as well. It was a perfect ball from Aaron [Herrera]. It was a run in behind the backline and luckily I found the back of the net. It was a good start to the game. We were kind of sleepy in the first half, because we were too deep. Vancouver had more ball possession and a couple of half-chances, but nothing crazy. Then it was an outstanding performance in the second half. At the end of the day we deserved three points tonight.”