Quote Sheet: RSL 3-0 Toronto; 5/18/19


Real Salt Lake 3-0 Toronto FC

Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, UT

May 18, 2019

Real Salt Lake

Coach Mike Petke

Thoughts on the game:

“I don’t think it was a complete game. We knew what to expect from Toronto. They are a very good team with the ball. We knew they were going to come in trying to win early and we also knew the dangers of their passing and tight spaces, overloads on one side to unlock on the other side. The first 15 minutes that’s what played out. Pozuelo and Osorio got into positions that not only were good for them but we just didn’t adapt to them very well. But as those 15 minutes elapsed we were getting a bit more on the ball and we started to try to make in-game adjustments to get to halftime to make better adjustments. But overall they had a lot of the possession the first 15-20 minutes but we never felt completely threatened at goal. Weathered the storm a little bit and then we started playing a little and three really good goals.”

On how he feels about his back four:

“It feels good. Over the last 2.5 years that I’ve been here through injuries and through performances it hasn’t always been the case. The one consistency that a coach would love to have day-in and day-out is the back four. I think they’re improving on a weekly basis. We also have someone like Marcelo waiting in the wings who is eager to get on and we have a young kid like Erik Holt and Brooks Lennon. But the more that they can play together and read off of each other - and I still think they can improve so much based off of their positioning, the spacing, the anticipation, the shifting but overall right now I’m very happy. Credit to them.”

On how the team played without Sam:

I’ll point out Bofo and Savarino. Some of the adjustments we looked to make in the game and at halftime were based on their positioning. We know what they could do going forward with the ball but defensively we made some adjustments and they both did it almost to a t in the second half and again as a coach that’s what you want. You want to either make an adjustment or you want to work on something and see that it gets applied in the game so credit to them.”

On celebrating with Saucedo:

“He is somebody I’ve had since I had gotten here. He’s a young player and he realizes that I’m willing to give opportunities for many different reasons. Bofo earned this opportunity coming back to preseason this year with an unbelievable attitude. He has quality playing ahead of him right now; international quality at times with specifically Savarino and Plata. When his opportunity comes he needs to take it, and we made a switch for him to come in and two games now I’m very happy with how he’s played. I think that’s an interesting moment because of the conversations that we had and him getting it. Now does that mean Bofo is going to start next game? No, we have five days of practice in between that will determine that. I’m happy for Bofo, the last two games he’s had success, he’s done well. The most important is the next game, the next action, the next practice, the next minute. That’s what Bofo needs to keep realizing.”

On characterizing where the team is:

“It’s always good and bad. Bad probably isn’t the right word, there’s always good and things we need to work on. We worked on specific things this week and when I look at the game, again like I say many weeks in a row, there were moments where I saw, and moments where I didn’t. It’s making progress. Two wins in a row now, one on the road, one at home now and the most important is Atlanta which is a whole new complication that we’re going to have to deal with from them. We’re what, a third of the way through the season? I’m hoping that we keep going on a trajectory that, forget about wins and losses, that we’re improving play. If you improve play and apply tactics, you’re out there for ninety minutes doing the things that we’ve worked on and you know were right, then I don’t want to say winning becomes inevitable but you have a better chance at winning than night and that’s what I want to see as a coach.”

On Nick Rimando and Everton Luiz return from injury:

“Nick, shutout, what can you say? He had two really big saves and a couple of others. Nothing much to say about Nick. 20 years, you expect that. What do they call him? The Wall of the Wasatch? You expect that. Happy with him coming back in after being out for a bit and now he’s got even more confidence for next game. I’m very happy we got Everton on because he’s been out for a while. At 3-0 to get him on to get some movement that he’s probably not used to over the last month, to get prepared for next week and the week after, is important to us. The timing was perfect — winning, being at home, a man up — to get him on and get those movements, those touches on the ball.”

On six goals in the past two games:

“It’s two completely different games from last week to this week. I think seizing your opportunities, taking your opportunities. At times, it starts from me, from either transition or getting back into proper shape to unlock them at times, and I thought that’s what happened over the two games on a couple of goals — as far as getting back into good shape, them maybe overcommitting at times, and us exploiting areas and taking our opportunities. Most important thing for me is that the goals keep coming and the confidence builds in our front guys to get those goals.”

On the defense getting forward:

“One of my achilles heels as a coach, and I’m working on this, is that I don’t remember certain things from games. I remember specific things tonight — one, two, three times that they (defenders) did get forward. I know when we went up a man, that they were much more aggressive. The evolution of Donny (Toia) and Aaron (Herrera) over the last month — you saw it in Colorado last week, you saw it at home to Portland, even though we lost, at times — is recognizing when it is, and it’s not just in the attack. To go back to the Portland game, we’ve still been talking about it, so many times we’ve had 4v1 in the back. You don’t need 4v1 in the back, so those are the times where if they can get forward, to not only defend but then even in transition, that they’re in good spots higher up the field. I think Donny and Aaron are making a lot of progress in that.”

Forward Sebastian Saucedo

On the goal celebration with Petke:

“He believes in me. I think last offseason, we had a huge discussion with him and there was a discussion of what I needed to do off the field and on the field. Off the field I've been more determined to realize that soccer is not forever and we had a long discussion about that now. Soccer wise, obviously, the most important thing was sticking to a game plan and being able to help the team defend and that's where off the field stuff helps when you take care of yourself whether whatever it is. I think we came into an agreement and it has finally paid off. I'm not going to say that I'm going to sit here and I'm going to start the next game..it's not true but I can guarantee that if I keep doing the work that I've done I don't think there's a doubt with me starting every game.”

On his goal and assist:

“That's my bread and butter. Trying to receive the ball wide and cutting in and and shooting from 30/40 yards out. I'm not scared to shoot. It’s definitely something I practice in training shooting back post, near post, whatever it is. And thank God I scored the goal. I think it was due obviously. I had a few opportunities against Colorado against LAFC and I just have to be thankful for the opportunity once again and obviously enjoy this moment. Now it carries to the next game. It’s a huge game at home and we still need points. The assist with Savarino it was crucial tucking in. Mike asked for us to tuck in and defend. I saw the ball quickly, trying to find Savarino on the run and I've said it before we have the talent out there literally anyone can be on the bench and anyone can start. Truly you’ve seen it out there you know Savarino came in as a starter, scored and I'm happy for him and and happy for the group that was able to give three points to our fans.”

On if this win was the most complete win of the season for their team:

“As of now, yes. You can see that we still get caught in transition, letting the other teams get to our defense really quick, even though they had a man down and that's something we need to approach for the following games. If we’re up a man or we're 11 v 11 I think we we need to stay strong and keep the ball. I think you guys have seen it there was a sequence where me, Albert, and Dami and the guys - everyone was tuned in everyone's knocking from one side to another side and and we're capable of doing that. I don't think those top teams in the league think we're capable of doing that. But you know what, we knocked out LAFC last year and these are not defending champs but two years ago they were champions and we got a result today. Why can't we do it? Why can't we be the Western Conference champions? Why can't we be the MLS Cup champions? We have it in us. At the end of the day it's 11 v 11 out there. It doesn't matter who it is.”

On Corey starting at No. 9:

“Corey gives a lot of dynamic as a center forward. He drags out defenders, he makes runs. Corey is absolutely amazing at the center forward position. I don't find him, he opens space for me. And that doesn't just help me but it helps the rest of the team. Sam has done a phenomenal job but sometimes when we have a forward that just stays up top and doesn't have the pivot runs or whatever it's kind of hard for us to come in because then we go and crash into him and the center backs. But Corey has been great. I love playing with Corey. And obviously I’m gonna look forward to the next games.”

Midfielder Damir Kreilach

On scoring with family in town:

“It was the like last time when my family was here and I scored too. But I mean, first of all, I'm very happy because of three points, huge three points, everything we did last week on the practice report, today on the field. That's the most important thing.”

On scoring the goal:

“Albert did a cross and then I was in the right spot to get the goal.”

On why he brought the ball down with his chest rather than a clear header:

“I was thinking and this situation was maybe easy to take the ball on the chest. After two seconds the ball was going to go out and the guy in front of me, he jumped so high, And then I was thinking maybe he has this ball, but he didn't and then the ball goes in the right spot.”

On getting wins on the road:

“We’re finally on the right path. We talked last week, three points, today three points. We have just to keep going to be positive, to keep this winning mentality and to prepare us for next game against Atlanta. At home, we dominate every game; we are supposed to score many goals like today and we just have to improve in every second and to put everything we have on the field and it means as well against Atlanta next week.”

Defender Nedum Onuoha

On what changed to allow zero goals this week:

“Every game is different. We were at home, so we had a slightly different gameplan. They’ve had a tough week, so I think as soon as we were on the front foot, I think it became quite difficult for them. Overall, it’s just a good team effort to keep the clean sheet. It’s always great, it’s never guaranteed. We’ll take it.”

On this being one of the most complete performances so far:

“I would say yes. I don’t think we were like 10 out of 10 for the whole game. I think for longer period — compared to other games — we probably were. Overall, the duration when we were playing well. We had good 30-minute spells, 40-minute spells, but it felt like for 60 to 75 minutes in this game, I thought we were in control.”

On the mentality:

“Although defense is important in keeping a clean sleet, it’s important, I think a lot of that comes from the attackers. I always feel like in any game, if our attackers are at full speed and they’re controlling, doing well within the game, I think it inspires the rest of us, puts the other team under more pressure. Overall, I thought our attackers really did that today. At times, Toronto were under a lot of pressure throughout long periods of the game — that’s the last thing you need when you’ve played two games already this week, and now you’re playing at altitude. I think for me, going into every game, I think our attack wins it for us.”

On what has unlocked six goals in the last two games:

“I couldn’t even tell you, because I think there’s been other games where we’ve had more chances, and probably should have scored more. People get confident, people get towards the goal. They believe they can score. There’s no doubt, there’s not even hesitation. People are going into games now wanting to have shots, wanting to create opportunities for others. That’s probably the biggest thing, just the confidence in front of the goal.”

Defender Aaron Herrera

On the match being a complete performance:

“As far as this year goes, I think it's definitely our most complete performance so far. All 11 guys were working both sides of the ball, and we have got to give a lot of credit to our front guys, they all put in the work defensively and it paid off in the end.”

On Bofo’s goal and his assist to Savarino:

“It's all about him just staying focused throughout the year; whenever he is focused, he's always one of one of the best players on the field.Today showed that.”

On the defense:

“It takes full focus for 90 minutes and trusting in one another. I think tonight was the first night we've been able to; we've had a couple shutouts throughout the year but they've been not perfect games. So today, it wasn't perfect but we all trust in each other and we put in the work from the first whistle.”

On the team’s confidence:

“It gives us a lot of confidence for sure. But this is a team that never gets too high on wins and we don't get too low on losses. We're always just going to keep moving forward, week to week. So next week, another big game against Atlanta, they are another good attacking team and they play fast, and so we definitely have to be dialed in for them. “

On moving forward:

“We'll watch the video and see the things that we need to work on and then we'll also look at the things that we did really well today. Atlanta's a different team than Toronto so we will adjust accordingly. I'm sure the coaches have put together a good game plan and we just have to go in and with the same mentality that we did today.”Open with

Toronto FC

Head Coach Greg Vanney

On the tough schedule and tired legs:

“When you play 5 games in 15 days, to come on the road to Salt Lake is always going to be a challenge. We tried to push through it, the guys gave an effort even when they went down a man. We had a couple chances even down a man. Through the course of the game, the first goal was an amateur goal. We can’t give up that goal. And when you're on the road, in a tough place, in a game that you're probably controlling pretty good, to give up a goal like that is just doesn't help. The second goal is a good finish, we need to be able to step out and prevent the shot but it's a great shot. Then we're chasing a little bit. Halftime, we wanted to see what it looks like with two forwards and Pozuelo on the field. And the problem is we lost control of things defensively, because we’ve got to have guys who can defend them and in defending, work together.  I felt like we were losing our ability to recover the ball in good areas, we were losing some of our attack in the wide areas from Justin Morrow and some of them because they weren't able to get as high. So we shifted it back to a similar look to what we started with, with two forwards and we don't make a play on a ball that’s played behind us and it ends up being a third one. Now we’re really, really kind of stretching. It's one of those days, we keep battling but I'm proud of the guys’ effort till the end because I felt like it was there again on a day that they were fatigued and it's a tough place to play they gave a fight until the end.”

On the schedule being upsetting:

“When the schedule gets set up and you look at it, you circle anytime you have five games in 15 days because it is a real difficult time. Especially to start it with two games on the road, and to finish it with a game in Salt Lake, it’s tough. We had the opportunities, we got the win in the first game. We started off slow in the Philadelphia game, made a couple errors. I thought we played really well the other night and weren’t able to capitalize. And then today in the toughest of all the games physically, we got on the wrong side of the game early. I thought we had some good chances at the beginning of the game, we really were pulling them apart. We didn’t capitalize and they did capitalize again, on what was kind of a ridiculous play.”

Midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo

On his red card:

“I want to say that I spoke with some players and I want to say sorry because it is a difficult situation. I know we lost 3-0 and the red card, so the team needed to play with 10, so it’s not good for me and not good for the team. I need to learn from this red card and we need to continue.”

On if the red card was fair:

“Yes, because in the game we lost 3-0, they played short and it was frustrating. I want to kill somebody, but I shouldn’t do something like this. I want to say sorry to the team because it was difficult, we lost 3-0 and we had to play with 10. I need to learn fast and I hope Sunday we can win at home. We can train and we can change the mentality and we can win.”

On resting before the next match:

“No, I feel good. The game was 3-0 but in the first 10 minutes, we had 2-3 really big chances to score. If we score 1, it’s a totally different game, but I feel good before the game. My leg for the moment feels ok, and I am ok.”

Defender Drew Moor

On why the game resulted in the way that it did:

“It starts with giving up goals. We can't give up a goal on a set piece, and conceding when you're on the road is very difficult. We are really disappointed, but––even though it’s hard to say it––there are some positives to take away from this game.”

On not capitalizing on early chances:

“We have to score those early goals. If we give up goals early, we have to score. You know, it’s hard to always defend, but we are getting into the right positions. Even when teams are going to play a little bit deeper, we have to have that killer instinct and put the ball in the back of the net.”

On what the team will do this week to regain momentum:

“I think we’ll get some extra rest this week––because we need it after a long schedule––but we are sure looking forward to San Jose on Sunday night.”