Quote Sheet: URFC 1-0 PTFC

QUOTE SHEET

Utah Royals FC 1-0 Portland Thorns FC

Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah

Friday, September 6, 2019
 

Head Coach Laura Harvey

On beating Portland Thorns for the first time:

“It feels great. We knew that it wasn’t going to be the prettiest game. Just with how both teams have had to prepare, coming into the game without all of our players the whole time, one of the things that we said we needed to do and worked on was to be really brave playing out of the back. I thought Barnhart was exceptional tonight. It wasn't always going to be easy for her, they put us under a lot of pressure, and they also have such strength physically in the air that we knew we couldn't compete with. We came up with a game plan where we wanted to try and entice them to press us and play around them. The biggest key to that is that Barnhart is brave enough to do that. I felt that she did really well and made some fantastic saves. She made two saves, I think off set pieces, that kept us in the game. When you play against Portland, you know that they're going to put a lot of balls in the box. If you can not give away set pieces, that's great, but if you do, they've got a lot of strength, in Tobin's delivery and the amount of physical presence that they've got. I’m just really proud of the players because I thought they were really resilient tonight and we showed quality at times. We arguably could have scored more goals, but I think the biggest thing is that we were resilient. We bent but we didn’t break.”
 

On keeping composure under pressure:

“I think a lot of those chances were set pieces, I could be wrong but I think they were. That's something we have to address. We can't give those up, but I felt that there weren’t 18 clear chances at goal. That would be more of a problem. There were times where we could have gone and created more. We got Christen and Amy up against them, and the sending off comes from that. We didn't get enough quality up there. I think Stengel got a few where she could have shot, but she took an extra touch. Little things like that, that don’t show up on the stat sheet, but I don’t think it was an 18-5  game. It didn’t feel like that but I did feel like they had momentum in the second half. I felt like there were 3000 corners, one after the other, but we knew that. We know we know that about Portland, and you have to sometimes accept that about them and be prepared to defend that and I think that's what we did.”
 

On the intensity of the game:

“I don’t think so. I just think it's the nature of the game right? I think if Rodriguez gets away from Sonnet, she probably scores. I’m not saying she wanted to be sent off but I think she knew she had to do something. The passion of Amy shone through, but when you constantly get that, it can sometimes rile you up a bit. I don’t think I would say that this is a huge rivalry. I just think we’re at the business end of the season. 3 points tonight for either team were huge. For us now, the table looks nice. We have the mentality that every game is as important as the next. This was a team that we knew that we hadn’t beaten, and we spoke about that this week, and we wanted to put that right. Thankfully, we did.”
 

On Sauerbrunn scoring:

“We actually worked a lot on short corners this week. That was one that we hadn't actually, so we laughed about that at the end. I thought her, Barnhart, Desiree were excellent. I think for Sauerbrunn to score a header from where she did, not many people can do that. I blackout around goals, but I remember jumping on Batty. Batty is in charge of set pieces, so I want to give him a quick shoutout, because I’ve been giving him stick all year long, that we haven’t score one.”
 

On only scoring through a rare Sauerbrunn header:

“I think that our quality in the final third tonight could have been a bit better. Christen got a couple of half chances, one off a short corner where she got a shot off. Normally when she’s been in training with us, she’s a little bit more lethal. I felt that Stengel took a couple extra touches when she could have gotten a shot off. I don’t think tonight was problematic with how many chances we created, I think just the quality in the final third was not what we wanted it to be. I’ll be brutal, we haven’t talked about it a lot this week, because we knew that when we played them here before, we had a ton of chances late in the game. In the first half, they caused us some real problems with how we wanted to build from the back, but we couldn’t solve it. We spent some time working on that, and I think we did a really good job of that. If there was an issue in the final third, it’s on me, but I think this, and the Washington game, probably had the least amount of chances in this 5 game stretch. Some games go like that, and you just have to make sure that when you score one, you don’t concede and we did that.”
 

On confidence:

“I think the Washington game kicked us down a peg or two from where we've been, but I think the break came at a good time for us. August was brutal. I couldn’t even remember the last time we had a home game, and I’m really superstitious. I couldn’t even remember what I had done that day, so that’s how long it had been since we had a home game. We knew tonight was a huge chance to get 3 points. Yes, we wanted the performance to be good, but the biggest thing was the result. I think we can kick on again from here. We’ve got a huge 4 game stretch now leading to the end of September, where every game is as important as the next. Huge result tonight, and now we switch our attention to Houston and the Reign, with the midweek game that we have in a week’s time.”
 

Defender Becky Sauerbrunn

On your goal:

“Most of the time when I score, we end up losing the game, so this was a nice change. Coming at the time it did, at the end of the season, against Portland, trying to steal points from the teams above us; I’m just really happy. I got pretty fortunate. Christen sent in a great cross, and it barely missed Sinclair’s head, and I just got my head to it. I thought it was going wide, but it skidded in, so I’ll take it.”
 

On the clean sheet:

“Scoring is icing. My job is to not let the other team score, and so I take more pride in the fact that we kept a clean sheet than I did scoring the game winning goal. It’s not my job, but if it happens I’m not going to be too upset about it.”
 

On the goal:

“It was from far out, and I didn’t really have to jump for it. I thought Sinclair was going to get it, so I was just blindly going towards the ball, just in case. I honestly thought either Adriana got it or it was going wide because it was so far out. I think the grass was just the right amount of slickness to get it in.”
 

On keeping composure under pressure:

“We knew going into this game, that when Portland get chances, they are extremely dangerous, especially on set pieces. I think we’ve had a more comprehensive training around set pieces and defending set pieces. We changed it up since the season before. Last year, we gave up a lot of set piece goals, and so going into this season, that was one of the things that we were going to pride ourselves on. Portland is pretty well known, either in the first or second phase, for generating a lot of chances on set pieces. Barnhart came up huge, Corsie, Bowen cleared a bunch out. Everyone was really on the game tonight, because any drop ball is very dangerous for Portland.”
 

On the win:

“I think all wins feel really good, especially in this league. On any given night, any team can beat any other team. The fact that Portland is number 1 right now and is the only team in Utah’s history that hasn’t been beaten, so I think that tonight’s gave us a needed confidence booster. We know that we can beat the teams ahead of us, we can beat Portland, we’ve beaten everyone else. Now it’s let’s see out the rest of the season, see if we can make a playoff push. I think if we make the playoffs, we have every chance to win a championship.”
 

On confidence:

“This team has a fair amount of confidence. We know that this league is insanely talented. Every single night is a battle. The confidence and the momentum is something that we’re growing from. The way that Laura wants us to play takes a little bit of time to gel, and so we might not start the season as strong as we want, but we’re hoping that we end it very strong, because we’re starting to get the chemistry on the field, the relationships. We’re at a good point right now, where everything is gelling a little bit more. We know where everyone is at. Even tonight, you can tell we’re a little off on some of the final third passes. We will get more dangerous, but I think we’re in a good run of form right now.”
 

Forward Amy Rodriguez

On the game:

“Hard fought game tonight. I thought both sides really brought it, and for us, we went in thinking we wanted to beat them. Laura mentioned to us that we had never beaten them in franchise history, so that was a goal for us tonight, and I’m glad we walked away with it.”
 

On Becky’s goal:

“It was an excellent cross towards the back post, and Becky is so dynamic and excellent in the air. When she hit that header across the goal into the back post, I couldn’t be happier.”
 

On Sonnet confrontation:

“Obviously a game this important comes with a lot of passion. Heat of the game moments, things are said, but at the end of the day I still respect the Thorns, and we’re fine off the pitch as far as I know.”
 

On keeping composure under pressure:

“That’s a sign of a great team. We had our keeper, Barnhart, in the back, saving everything. Defenders sliding for the ball, doing the hard, gritty work. That’s what it takes to win a game. No matter how many chances they get, we still fought. At the end of the day, it’s a clean sheet.”
 

On personal improvement:

“I always want to do better, always want to score for this team. First and foremost, the team win is what comes first, so I’m very happy about that tonight. As far as tactics and improvement, we’ll hit the whiteboard this week with Laura. I’m sure she’ll have some pointers for us, going into our next game, we’ll have to come out with a win.”

Topics: