Quote Sheet: RSL 2-1 Chivas USA

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 23, 2013
Real Salt Lake

Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jason Kreis

On Tony Beltran’s situation:

“I think that Tony had gone through a spell where he didn’t really look like himself. I thought he needed a break and you couple that with the fact that Lovel Palmer has been playing very, very well for quite a few weeks and it felt like the right move. But it doesn’t take anything away from Tony Beltran. It’s a credit to Lovel Palmer and the work that he does. It’s a credit to the team philosophy that when changes need to be made that we need to all be willing to make sacrifices and understand that sometimes it’s not always going to be ‘my moment.’ But now, obviously Tony comes in and I thought he was solid. Unfortunately, he got caught out on the goal but if you put that one play to the side he was very solid for us. That’s not easy to do, to come off the bench and be cold and be in that mindset where you’ve kind of been looked over for two matches. So we will welcome Tony back with open arms and we will hope that Lovel isn’t injured for a long spell. But we believe this is one of the reasons we have the team we have the way we have.”

On not starting Javier Morales and how he changed the game:

“Yeah, Javier was on limited minutes. Yesterday in speaking to him, he really felt there was no way he could go 90 minutes. If a player tells you he can’t go 90 minutes that means he shouldn’t be in the starting lineup. I think we really wanted to limit his minutes. You’re exactly right, if we’re up 2, 3 nil, perhaps we don’t use him. But we weren’t. The energy wasn’t good enough, the movement in the midfield wasn’t good enough and it warranted a change in the second half. So I’m glad that Javier could come on and give us a spark but I don’t credit the whole thing to Javier. I think that the whole team decided to pick themselves up in the second half.”

On Alvaro Saborio’s PK taking a mental weight off of their shoulders:

“Sure, sure. We know that we’ve been struggling to score goals lately and I think it’s one of those situations where if one comes they’re going to be coming in bunches. If you look at that game we probably should have scored three at least, maybe four goals. On a different night maybe we put those away and make the game easier for us. Then we gave away the cheap goal which I think – in the end – may be a good thing. It may be a good thing that we have to spend the last 15 minutes struggling and grinding out a result because that’s exactly what it’s going to take in the playoffs.”

How the game feels going into the playoffs:

“It leaves a feeling that I’m glad we have a week and a half between now and our next game. I’m glad that we’re going to have an entire week to know who our opponent is, where we’re going to play that match because we’re going to work pretty hard. We’re going to – again – focus on ourselves, fine tuning some things because tonight I just didn’t think we handled that game the right way. So I have to look at it and say I’m really thankful with the result, I am very thankful for the guys that they came in for 20 or 30 minutes in the second half and gave the right energy. When we do that we’re a very good team and when we don’t we’re not so good. So that needs to be something remembered by all the players—that for 45 minutes in first half we weren’t so good, and that last 15 minutes of the second half, we weren’t so good. So we need to improve.”

On Chris Schuler since he’s returned to the team:

“I think that he has been playing really well, even better than before he got injured. My feeling is that maybe he was playing through some injury and that was causing him to put himself in some bad spots and make some bad decisions. But now he’s had a long break and he’s had to work extremely hard to get all fit and ready to play again. I think it’s always the case when players come back from injury to have a new appreciation for what it means to be able to play soccer and not be injured. Just as old coaches have a new appreciation for what it would mean to be able to play soccer.”

On players taking risks and shooting the ball:

“Yeah, I think so. I think so. There was one play at the beginning of the first half where we got right around the box and I think we had Grabavoy pass to Gil and Gil looks to pass to somebody else and I’m going: that’s the moment where any one of you two needs to take a touch inside and strike it. So yeah, I think it’s still an area that we can continue to improve. I still think we can have some more aggressive decisions by individual players because these guys are talented, unbelievably talented. If they decide that they’re going to be the guy that’s going to take that opportunity, take the responsibility then they’ll find themselves on the end of some good plays I guarantee it.”

On if they saw themselves in the first-place at the end of the season:

“Absolutely not. I don’t think we should belabor the point, I don’t think we should skirt around it. If at the beginning of the season you told me we would barely slip into the playoffs I would have said I’ll take it. Absolutely I’ll take it. Give it to me and I’ll take it, we’ll have a chance in the playoffs. But to be where we are I think a huge amount of respect needs to go to the players and the efforts that they put forth and the team as a whole, coaching staff included, the assistant coaches, everybody that’s worked so hard to get this group in the right place, to have us all on the same page. To pick up the points necessary to put ourselves in a position with a chance for all this stuff is nothing short of remarkable.”

On what he’s seen that is attributed to the team’s success:

“I’ve seen two things. I think they both kind of revolve around the same thing. For me, it’s team chemistry, it’s a real togetherness. It’s these guys; I think they love each other. I think they’d be willing to do anything for each other. I think it’s the coaching staff that loves the players and would be willing to do anything, anything for them at any time. I think it’s that type of togetherness that makes great teams, that gives you a chance to win. Because the individual pieces on this team aren’t Landon Donovans and Robbie Keanes and Clint Dempseys. The individual pieces on this team are very good. When you add ‘em all up and put them together and they believe in themselves and are willing to work for each other I think we can beat anybody. That’s what gives us a chance to win the Supporters’ Shield.”

On how closely he will be paying attention to the games this weekend:

“Every minute of every game. I had big plans for a team party but I don’t think that’s going to be possible. So we’ll see. Maybe the guys will get together themselves, maybe the coaching staff will get together to watch the games.”

If they’ll practice this week:

“No, we’re going to take the whole week off…For sure we’ll be practicing, but we’ll make sure we don’t schedule our training during the times of games. How about that? Is that a concession?”

Real Salt Lake MF Kyle Beckerman

On the two goals scored:

“Anytime we play – especially at home – we want to score some goals, especially if the forwards can get some goals and get confident.”

On the team’s performance:

“I think all of us – all the coaching staff, all the players – we knew the value of the game.  We had a team coming to play.  Definitely not a team to come after us and play the soccer that’s easy to play against, so I think that was a factor.  You got to give them credit, playing for not much else but their jobs.  They made it difficult for us – I think it was more just keeping at it and keep grinding.”

On the team’s chances at finishing top in the league after a tumultuous offseason:

“I knew we’d definitely be fighting for a playoff spot.  To be here, I guess you don’t really see that.  All the hard work that everybody has been putting in, guys are buying into what we’ve got going on.  We’ll keep a close eye on things for a couple of days, then get some momentum going for the playoffs.”

On what was said at halftime after a scoreless 45 minutes:

“I think it was pretty calm; [Head Coach Jason Kreis] was about playing a little faster, and try to break them down.  Most of the players – we all knew that eventually they were going to break down.  If you’re playing on defense for that long, eventually the game is going to open up, and that’s what we saw.  We got goals after the half, which helped a lot.  We just kept grinding, and we were able to do better in the second half.”

Real Salt Lake FW Robbie Findley

On the camaraderie within the team:

“I think you have different groups on other teams – you hang out with certain groups of people.  Here, it doesn’t matter who it is; we get together and do different things.  I think it helps on the field, too.”

On the “RSL family” culture throughout the whole organization:

“It is something special.  It goes from the fans all the way up to the front office.  This doesn’t come around very often and you don’t get it a lot on other teams.  There’s definitely something special that we have, and I’m grateful to be part of it.”

Real Salt Lake DF Nat Borchers

On how the team changed in the second half:

“I think that overall, this wasn’t our best game. We gave up probably too many chances compared to what we would normally want to give up against the other team. I think that we needed to raise the level in the second half. We came out early and pushed the ball forward. We then got into their end of the field and were able to really create some chances and be dangerous.”

On how Javier Morales changed the team and game:

“I think that we are most comfortable with Kyle [Beckerman] at holding [midfielder] and having Javier [Morales] create up there. I think that Javier did a great job tonight. He’s coming off an injury, and he needed some rest, and he got that. He came back and was sharp and created a lot of chances for us tonight, and that was really the difference in the game.”

On the year as a whole:

“I think that we knew coming into the season that we had some new pieces to add and we lost some key guys. I think that a lot of the talk around town was that we were in a rebuilding year, but for us to be in this position now is very positive. The guys who have come in have done a great job of adjusting to our system and playing to meet our needs. It’s been really encouraging to see. I think that that’s a credit to the coaching staff and to us to get those guys engaged and switched on the same page.”

On if he’ll be watching the other matches this weekend:

“I love watching the league matches. It’s like homework learning from the tendencies of the strikers and the other teams and what not. I’m going to be watching all of the games and I’m excited to see what happens this weekend. If it happens for us [winning the supporters shield], great, but if not, we have put ourselves in a good position to make a run here.”

On how he feels going into the playoffs:

“I feel good. I feel like we are definitely in a good spot to come off a win in the regular season. Let’s also give credit to Chivas [USA]. They are a much-improved team from when we played them earlier this year to now. I think Carlos Bocanegra has done a great job of really making that backline more consistent, and they gave us some problems. I think that we are going to have work on a few things going into the playoffs, but we are in a good spot.”

Real Salt Lake MF Ned Grabavoy

On the year as a whole:

“I think that there are a lot of teams that got better in the west. There are a lot of good teams. I think that a lot of these teams got better: Colorado, Vancouver even though they missed the playoffs, and San Jose, who were supporter’s shield winners last year and now they aren’t even in the top five. I think that the competition this year stepped up and these teams got a lot better, and the depth on all of these teams got a lot better. I think that our foundation was there [at the beginning of the season], so, if we added some pieces and some good players and some of the young players could come along more, I thought we’d be fine. Obviously, you need to keep guys healthy and we did a good job of, but I always thought that the foundation was there. If you have that while starting a season, I think that you feel pretty confident about your chances of making the playoffs. I can’t sit here and say that I thought we’d be second or possibly first, but I thought that we’d be in the playoffs—that was our realistic goal, not just for me but for the team, and I really felt that before the season.”

On how the two early second half goals changed the game:

“At halftime we talked about trying to push things—to push the point of attack, really go for things a bit more, and step up in their half and press. Obviously, the first goal helps, the PK helps, and the game opened up from there. We had a lot of chances to make it 3-0, or 4-0. Myself in particular, and a few other guys, we had clear chances to put the game away, so maybe the game at the end is pretty much said and done. That’s probably the one thing that we can take away from it, to try and put the game away. But saying that, I thought that the second half was great; we created a ton of chances. They really tired from their game plan as well and things really opened up.”

Chivas USA

Chivas USA Head Coach Jose Luis Real

On his overall impression of the match:

“It was a game that was very tight. Almost the only difference in the game was the penalty kick in my opinion. We all know that Salt Lake is a great team with great players and that they are in a great spot right now in the table. The game was exactly what we were expecting. Coming off the worst game of the season so far, we knew that we were facing a very strong team. The game was very tight but that was a penalty kick that shouldn’t have been a penalty kick. It was a mistake from us.”

On what positives to take from the match:

”I have to say that it was game where the players were respecting the opponent but they also didn’t stop fighting. We were in a very good position against a very difficult team. The fight that the guys put on the field was truly remarkable.”

About the substitution of Julio Morales:

“Today was a rough day for Bryan de la Fuente. He didn’t have his best game. Bryan gave a great physical effort but he couldn’t handle the last few minutes he was in. Morales, being one of the younger guys we have incorporated in this season, took advantage of the opportunity. The substitutes made a great change to the game. They put in a great performance and really brought some hype back for the last segment.”  

On the correcting the mistakes of this season:

“We have been having a preseason inside of this season. My job as coach is to install things, basic things, in the part of the season that I have been in charge, that will help us in the upcoming season.”

Chivas USA GK Tim Melia

On the 2-1 score line being “fair”:

“You know I think it was fair. They definitely had longer stretches of possession than we did. In the beginning we played our game plan and I think that if we had taken our chances a little better earlier in the game we might have gotten out of here with a tie.”

On his chance to perform well with Kennedy sidelined:

“I felt pretty good about my performance. You know I’m still getting back from surgery so I’m still trying to get back in the swing of things. There are still some things that I have to clean up. But I’m more worried with the result than with my performance.”

On having Bocanegra on his backline tonight:

“Having Boca play is huge. He played a great game tonight. He is experienced, he’s composed, he’s great with talking with everyone, keeping everyone in line so he will be a great addition to our team.”    

Chivas USA DF Carlos Bocanegra

On what the showing from tonight means for the team:

“It means it was a whole lot better than last week. We had a good first half I thought. We were moving around, we had a few good chances. If we had taken a better first touch or if we had worked on goal in some of the counter attacks, things might be different. If Torres can finish that cross in the first half then it’s a different game. In the second half that maybe caught a break. Whether it was a handball or not, I’m just saying that it changed t he game a little bit. I think we got caught on the second goal trying to open play a little bit so that was disappointing. Obviously the level of play was a lot higher than the last few weeks. I think that is really the biggest thing.”