Utah Royals FC 2-0 Washington Spirit
Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah
May 5, 2018
Utah Royals FC
Head Coach Laura Harvey
On the first win:
On Emotions Surrounding the Win:
“I think honestly with their performance, I was really pleased. I thought we deserved it, and you could see from the players afterwards that it means a lot to get the first win. I think that from you know getting an early goal always helps. I think we had a little period in the start of the second half where we couldn’t get hold of the game again, but we showed our resilience and at that point and both goals coming off good defending is what I love the most. No one will ever tell me that there is no better goal than doing off defending, so with both of those goals coming off that, I think that it’s super pleasing for me.
On Diana Matheson’s play:
“Well what we ask the wingers to do is to play a little bit of cat and mouse with the defenders, and sometimes you can get exposed from it, sometimes you get the reward, and I think you saw tonight we got rewarded. But there’s time where we expose people behind us if we don’t get it right, so I think Brooke and Becky occasionally got put in difficult positions with it. But that’s why we do it, we can get such a reward if you get it right, and Diana’s really, really clever as a footballer. [She] reads what the player on the ball is going to try to do and stall it by the time [she gets there].
On deciding to play Gorry the full 90:
I think the midfield balance was really good tonight. I think we’ve all seen in this league different oppositions pose very different threats. We would want it to be a small midfield, because Washington plays [aggressively]. I’ve said this a lot, but I think that as relationships continue to grow, partnerships continue to grow, you’ll start to see a more fluid offense. I think what Mini gives you is her ability on the ball and her ability to be able to see a pass, both short and long. She can open up the opposition, and I thought she did really well tonight. We didn’t plan on playing her for ninety, but with Diana cramping and Kelley’s hamstring getting tight, we obviously have a game on Wednesday, so we wanted to protect them a little bit
On URFC’s defense:
I think that sometimes when you play against pace, which sometimes they have up in abundance up front, sometimes the mentality is to drop off -- where I’ve always said that prevention is better than cure, don’t let them get pace, don’t let them be quick, and we did a really good job against that tonight. I think we stopped Mallory from being able to pick it up and run with it. I think she was maybe able to do it two or three times in the game that I can remember, same with Ashley Hatch, and I that’s their biggest threat is when they get going, it’s hard to catch up. Obviously, Becky had to bring Ashley down at one point when she nearly got away, but that’s what you have to do sometimes to win games, and I thought that it was very professional performance by the back line. We controlled it when we needed to, we had that brief period in the second half where the game was getting away from us, but the back line never folded, and that’s what I love about this back line, and the midfield. I thought Desiree was excellent tonight, I thought her ability to break things up in the middle of midfield really influential on the game as well.
On game positives and improvements for Wednesday:
The biggest positive for me today was the clean sheet and scoring two goals off defending, I think that’s a huge positive. I think the bit we have to look at is that fifteen minutes in the second half, [and] why the momentum shifted, and why we couldn’t get a hold of it, and what changed for us to get a hold of it, I think it was the goal, but. Again, I think we can look at that, I think sometimes when the momentum isn’t going your way, there is a tendency to go long, and we kept doing that when we had the ball. The moment when we started to play a little bit we got hold of the game, so I think that’s something we’ll look back on in film. But obviously with a quick turnaround it will be about taking the positives from this game and preparing for all under.
On Gunny playing a defensive role:
I think that when you come to this league, from Europe especially, it’s so transitional here that you need to get your head around it. And I feel that Gunny playing higher -- she gets to see that it can be really transitional. But once she got used to the pace of the game, once she got used to how quickly she has to go back and defend, she athletically can do it, it’s just about understanding that that just needs to happen. I felt that her and Desi could be a really good match, and I think that we have a lot of depth in the position. I want Gunny to understand it, because I think she has a huge future in this league, and those guys know what it takes at this level, and obviously tonight that 100% worked.
FW Kelley O’Hara
On scoring the goal:
“I think it was off a throw in. A-Rod was able to turn in the pocket and slipped a perfect ball through. I just made the run in and was able to sneak it in near post.”
On playing as a forward:
“I’m just trying to help the team anyway I can and if that’s on the frontline then so be it. If that ends up being on the backline, I think it’s just going to depend on the day. I’m just trying to win and trying to play whatever position Laura puts me in to the best of my ability. Right now, that’s as a forward. Just trying to get wins here.”
On the first win:
“I felt like it was kind of building and tonight felt good. We’ve got to build on top of this and continue to kind of sort out our weaknesses and just figure out how we are going to continue to be successful week in and week out.”
On team chemistry:
“Chemistry takes a while to build sometimes. Even though this is a team that came from another franchise, this is a new team. A new coach, a lot of new players, it has taken a bit of time to get comfortable with each other and build that chemistry. We have had time together, we have had time to be like ‘why aren’t we being successful’, sort that out, talk about that, and work on it with practice. Time helps, for sure, when it comes to chemistry.”
FW Diana Matheson
On the post-game Viking clap:
“We wanted it to just be a reward for the fans. They’ve given so much already and we’ve had too many games at home now without a win. It was just a way to thank them, mostly. Hopefully they had fun with it.”
On her goal:
“I think I looked up enough to see that it was most likely going in the goal. Then I pretty much had my head down and I just heard the crowd that it had gone in at that point. I was just trying to be in the right shape, just how [Laura] wants us. We had to get press going and there was bit of an air ball and just went for it.”
On getting the first win:
“You could tell that we were pretty pumped out there to get the win and celebrate with the fans and probably a little bit of relief too. We thought we were going to get the win day one here and it didn’t come. It’s obviously stretched on longer than we wanted so I’m sure there is relief in there. Right now, it’s just excitement, positive, and then we’ve got a game Wednesday so hopefully build on that. Hopefully the wins will start rolling now.”
GK Abby Smith
On getting the first URFC win and getting a clean sheet:
"It’s incredible. A great team effort. I feel like everybody put everything they had into this win and also to get the clean sheet. So, it’s a great feeling."
On how good the defense had to be against the Spirit:
"I feel like our defense is always good. It’s not just one team we focus on. We’re in it for the long haul and this season’s a long season so we have to make sure that our defensive mindset is right the whole time. And I felt like we kept it going this entire game.
On how the team disrupted Washington’s offense:
"I felt like we played our game. We were clicking, we connected passes, and we were hard to beat. It’s one of those things where everybody was in it. We had A-Rod and Kelly in the top making runs, Becky and Rachel being solid, Desi and Gunny holding it down. Everybody on the field did unbelievably well. We really want to be hard to beat and I think we did that tonight."
On the team being better on the ball:
"Everything just fell into place today. There is always room for improvement but something about today just felt really right. It just felt good. Coming into today everyone was on the same page that we needed the win. We wanted to win in front of our home crowd and on our home turf. And it shows in that we were able to do what we came to do. We took advantage of our game plan and I think that’s the reason we came out on top”
On doing the Viking clap and celebrating with the fans after the win:
"On my Instagram post I mention channeling my inner Gunny when doing the Viking clap. It was awesome to have all the fans in on the celebration. Whether you were here or you saw it on TV, it was incredible. Everybody was cheering and stayed after the game to do it. It’s a great feeling."
On the quick turnaround to the next game and how this win helps:
"It is a quick turnaround, but I think it’s nice that we’re at home. It will be good that we got the win tonight. So, for us it’s all about our recovery and we have to take it day by day to prepare properly for Wednesday.”