Quote Sheet: RSL 1-0 Houston Dynamo

Real Salt Lake

Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jason Kreis

On a possible letdown following Wednesday’s U.S. Open Cup Semifinal win over Portland:

“Yeah, I think honestly, somebody asked me about it yesterday and I kind of shirked it off. I didn’t even want to address it, sometimes that’s just the best way, to just ignore it with things like that. So I was concerned at how that would affect us today and I thought – to be completely self-critical and honest – I did feel like we were a little flat in the first half. The mood was a little flat. But the guys looked pretty confident. And when we went forward and chose to do it we were pretty dangerous. So all in all I’m really, really pleased that we got a result in a little different way tonight than we typically do. It’s important, I think it’s really important as you start to enter the stretch, as you start to enter the playoffs you have to feel like you can win in multiple ways.”

On starting the game in a 4-3-3:

“I woke up Thursday morning really with a quandary on my hands about how to get fresh players on the field and how to get some guys that I think have been really, really good a starting opportunity without changing the spine of the team so to speak. It just dawned on me let’s try that 4-3-3 thing again. In watching Houston a little bit, with what they were bringing to the table, I thought it was the exact right opportunity. I thought it was ok. I think Garcia and Plata worked very hard, I think both of them were in and around some dangerous things in the first half – towards the second half of the first half we were really quite dangerous. Just a little unlucky to not get closer to goal more times, we just took a few too many risks with the ball than I think we needed to. So my biggest complaint on those two players in the first half is I thought they were taking a little few too many risks unnecessarily. The other thing that I think if we’re going to continue forward looking at that we’ve got to get those players moving more, I don’t like them standing on their outside backs and getting themselves marked.”

On Ned Grabavoy’s play this year:

“I think part of it is with the departure of Will Johnson and that Ned knew he was going to have to take a bigger role. Ned knew – I didn’t hesitate to tell him – he’s a lockdown in the starting lineup for us.  I think some of that has just brought some more confidence out in him. He’s also had a change in his life with having children. The best year of my entire career was when I had my first child so I think it changes you a little bit. It makes you become a little more intently focused on how to get the best you can out of the little time that you have to play professional soccer. Ned has been nothing short of spectacular. It’s interesting because I would have said he should be within every bit of chance to be our MVP, but that’s forgetting Nick Rimando, forgetting Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales – so many guys – Nat Borchers, [Alvaro Saborio] when he’s been with us. They’ve been spectacular this year, giving everything they have, every bit they’ve had opportunities.”

On his comments on Friday that RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman was 50-50 to play coming into the game:

“I lied.”

On if Beckerman needs a rest:

“Yes, yes he does and we’re going to attempt to get him that rest through trainings this week. That’s going to be our answer to that because I feel he’s too important to us to be resting him in a match, especially a critical match like we’re facing next weekend in Los Angeles. But we do have three games again next week, maybe during that week is a chance – a forced opportunity – where we just make him our mind early and do it. It’s tough though, it’s just tough to do that because I’m a greedy guy. “

On dealing with Houston MF Brad Davis:

“You know, I don’t know that felt we were really committed or focused on Brad Davis. I think that we were just committed and focused to defend in all areas in the field. We know that’s an area that we’ve needed improvement on in the last three weeks, we haven’t had a shutout in a long time and I feel like guys put out a special effort forth to make sure that that happened. Maybe that had some of the reason that Brad was limited in his impact on the match tonight.”

On if the team’s getting better as the season progresses:

“I think so, I think so.  But again this kind of goes back to saying that sometimes it’s important to win other ways because tonight – for me – was not great Real Salt Lake soccer. This was grinding soccer and we defended with our hearts and our souls. We defended dead balls really, really well, which was critical. But we just weren’t very good with the ball. So for me, every game kind of brings different things and I think we just continue on with the focus we need to improve. So that the next match we’ll need to improve what we’re doing with the ball and still give the same effort all over the field on the other side of the ball. I think that’s just – you walk into the locker room and they’re already talking about being better next week. What can we do in training this week to be better next week, that’s pretty cool.”

On the backline’s performance, particularly that of DF Nat Borchers:

“Yeah, difficult matchup for him, Carlos [Salcedo] chipped in as well had some great efforts with Mr. Bruin. [Tony] Beltran and [Chris] Wingert made some really critical tackles with balls played behind them. Wingert with clearing a ball that crossed right across our six yard box and Beltran – a couple times – making tackles when players got to the end line. All of them I thought were really, really good tonight. Again, we weren’t great with the ball, but the good news is defensively we were very good.”

On Kreis being the last Real Salt Lake player to take a penalty v. Houston prior to tonight:

“I have no idea, that’s the oddest stat I’ve ever heard brought up James, well done.”

On if the penalty against Houston was a long time coming:

“I should hope so because they must have had ten against us, at least.”

Real Salt Lake Captain Kyle Beckerman

On the team’s performance in closing out the 1-0 win:

“We didn’t want to make [giving up late goals] a trend.  I felt like we hadn’t gotten a shutout in a while, so our mentality and focus of the group was to get a shutout – and we were able to do it.”

On the team’s ability to defend set pieces:

“I think it was just the same – a similar focus that we had to not concede a goal – one of the dangers obviously is set pieces.  We knew that it was going to be difficult.  Credit to everybody, from the guys coming in – everybody had a good focus tonight.”

On Real Salt Lake’s 3-1-1 record when playing a third game in an eight-day period:

“I think we just keep trying to improve – we’re trying to get better each game.  If there’s three in a row, we’re definitely trying to get that last game and finish off with three points.”

On the 4-3-3 formation used against Houston:

“I think it was fine.  I think it’s good that we’re able to adjust and play different formations – and get the three points.”

Real Salt Lake GK Nick Rimando

Thoughts on the match:

“It was a little weird sort of a game, but those are the types of games you need to win at home. It feels good to get a shutout, the guys played great in front of me. We’ve just got to continue to truck along because it’s not going to get any easier.”

On how the team dealt with Houston’s pressure at the end of the match:

“They started dumping in balls to their big guys up top. I think our center backs did well and midfielders did well staying with their players and clearing the ball. It would have been great to have some possession at the end of the game, but it’s just one of those games you’re just clearing balls and protecting a lead.”

Real Salt Lake MF Javier Morales

On the effect of the 4-3-3 formation on team play:

“I don’t think it was difficult.  If you check, we’ve played that way three times, and won three times.  I think that we’re pretty familiar with that formation; we can play other formations, but we’re pretty familiar with it now.”

On how the 4-3-3 formation affected Morales’ strategy:

“I love it.  I have to run less, because [MF Ned Grabavoy] and the guys are behind me.  I have the space by the midfielders.  I’m closer to [FW Alvaro Saborio], closer to the goal – I like it a lot.”

On the performance of RSL’s younger players:

“We have a lot of new players.  Those guys – the new guys – are playing good, and that is good for the team.”

Real Salt Lake MF Ned Grabavoy

On the new playing formation:

“Obviously going back to a more natural position where the workload is shared a little bit between Kyle and I, which is easier on your legs maybe; a little bit for both of us who’ve been playing a lot of games lately. But in saying that, obviously when Javier is healthy he’s going to be in that attacking role and that’s when we’re at our best, so I think transitioning to the new shape was pretty good for the most part. It didn’t seem like we were that sloppy. It seemed like we were pretty clean for the most part.”

On improving month to month:

“You’re going to have some bumps throughout the season. I think we’ve had that a few times, especially in the past few weeks a little bit towards the end of games. We haven’t been as clean. We’ve made some mistakes a little bit; set pieces and just running with guys towards the ends of games. But in saying that, there’s a game tonight where we can try to put that game away, but we don’t.  Hopefully we can build on the confidence of getting a shutout and getting back to keeping the zero which is always going to put us in a position to win, because we always think that we’re always going to be able to create some chances and get some good goal scoring opportunities.”

Real Salt Lake DF Tony Beltran

On RSL’s unbeaten record when he and fellow outside back Chris Wingert both start:

“There’s no one answer for that. Chris and I have just been fortunate enough to play together for a long time. We have a good understanding. It’s not just us two. It’s Nat and Carlos and all the other defenders and especially Nick behind us. It’s just cohesion. We play together and some games are tougher than others, but we were fortunate enough to get a shutout tonight.”

“Just right now given the fact that we’ve been giving up goals in recent games, I think it’s a right step forward for us. So now we take this and we carry it over to the next weekend, because we know that the way our forwards are playing, they’re going to score goals. So if we do our jobs defensively, we’re going to win games.”

On playing the different formation:

“I thought it was great. You know Ned and Becks in there do such a great job at keeping the ball, then you get Javier a little more feed from side to side then show up at dangerous spots. And having Plata and Garcia out wide, it’s just such a threat on both sides. With speed and precision with the ball we’re able to get them in our deepest areas. I like that formation. I like that we’re able to, based on our opponents, have options."

Houston Dynamo

Houston Dynamo Head Coach Dominic Kinnear

On the result:

“It was a tough game. It was one goal for the two teams. I thought we had some chances and we were good enough to get something out of the game, but it wasn’t meant to be.”

On the penalty:

“No thoughts. My thoughts aren’t going to change what happened.”

On how that call changed the game:

“They took the lead. You just have to chase the game. We had some moments where we were getting in, but our final pass was letting us down a little bit. We made a press towards the end of the game. I thought we put ourselves in some good positions, but we just couldn’t put the finishing touch on it.”

On the lack of chances:

“I think sometimes it re-negates itself. We went to a 4-3-3 after 20 minutes or so, and it’s just about who takes care of the ball in the final third the most. Like I said, it was the deciding goal in the game.”

On his team’s response in the second half:

“I think it was good. In the second half, I thought we knocked the ball around pretty good. We were a little bit more aggressive going forward. Like I said, they defended well, but [when there were] the openings, we just weren’t able to take advantage of them.”

Houston Dynamo MF Brad Davis

On the scarcity of chances:

“I think we created some good chances. We had some set pieces. We had some chances there at the end of the game. They had a few, the one that hit the crossbar and the penalty, but I don’t remember any clear cut chances that they had to be completely honest. It was a very choppy game. To be honest, we didn’t know what was a foul and what wasn’t a foul. Consistency by the ref in the middle of the field could have been better. To let the guys take care of the game, I think he let them take too much control of the game. It is what it is. We’re disappointed to not get out of here with any points, but we have to move on against Seattle.”

On next week’s game against Seattle:

“I think we battled well tonight. Salt Lake’s a good team, especially at home. To hold them to a couple of chances is good. They had some possession, but never really terribly dangerous opportunities. Seattle’s another good team. We have to stay tight defensively. Obviously we have to score goals to win games.

On the team’s response in the second half:

“I think the guys worked really hard. Under the circumstances, we fought until the end. We were unable to get that goal.”

Houston Dynamo DF Corey Ashe

On the result:

“Didn’t really go our way. That’s pretty self-explanatory that I’m not happy with it, but it is what it is.”

On the penalty:

“In my opinion, no [it wasn’t a penalty]. I saw him initially wave him off, hesitate and then call the PK. If you’re going to call the PK, I think you should call it right away. Not wave it off, wait and then call a PK. So for me, it is what it is. He’s the ref. We don’t always agree with the refs, but it’s their job to officiate the game. All in all, we can’t blame the ref. It’s our duty to put the ball in the net. We’re at fault for sure.”

On the team’s response in the second half:

“It was a tough one, but we all battled. We battled as hard as we could. Unfortunate not to pick up a goal. We didn’t necessarily see it the way the referee did, but he’s the one calling the game. It was unfortunate, but we battled hard.”