Quote Sheet: Western Conference Semifinals

Quote Sheet
Real Salt Lake 0-2 Seattle Sounders FC
CenturyLink Field; Seattle, Washington
Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Interim Head Coach Freddy Juarez 
On his thoughts of tonight’s performance:
“We came we showed up, we fought, we didn’t bunker it we didn’t try to board the game. We controlled the moments. Through the first half we were at 60-40 possession. We were missing that aggressiveness in the final third and the opponent was good as well. Second-half it was a corner kick, just like last game. We were pretty good at corner kicks all year and then the last two games of the year we got caught on a couple. We are happy with the guys to come into this environment. Seattle lost two games this year here, tied four? I don’t know how they have been in playoffs but very strong. Nine wins or something like that in playoffs. We came we fought and that’s what we asked of the guys and I’m so proud of them. I’m so proud with what the group had to deal with this year and the respect they gave me to try and lead them. We can’t forget that the team has grown from last year. We improved in points and got the home playoff game so we need to continue to grow and learn off of this and get better for next year.”

On Seattle’s performance:
“It’s a playoff game. Just like our defenders were hard to get by – I mean their goal came from a corner kick and then there towards the end because we are desperate, we make some subs and we leave less people in the midfield it’s going to come. We have to go to the game, what can we do? We have to make those subs. You put in more attackers less defenders it unbalances a little bit. They played as hard as we did. We limited their guys, they’re a handful. They did a good job against our guys. Seattle is a good team. They came in here in front of 40,000 fans. Every time they do a big play the crowd gets into it so it gives them even more energy. From what I saw, our guys never backed down and kept going. I’m proud we didn’t put our heads down and fought until the end.” 

On the growth from last year to this year:
“We became a tougher team to beat first and foremost. There was early in the year, due to some red cards we opened up but we just became a team that we were going like we were today. Attacking and defending. In defending we weren’t pinned into our own 18 – our own half – and trying to defend and trying to survive. We battled every team. We became a harder team to beat. If teams were going to score on us, they had to really earn the goal.”

On the heated moments:
“That’s when you know a team is getting better and they are believing. You hate to see all that shoving, but when it happens, you want to see a team together and we saw the team together today. I would have loved to get the win for the team and for Nick. We gave it our best and we can just be proud for the team and look forward towards next year so that we are here.”

On the overall performance:
“Our build out phase was really good and our unbalancing in the middle was decent. We weren’t creating too many isolations on the other side; it wasn’t quick enough to the other side so we only had one or two players to beat as opposed to you have to beat the midfield line and the backline. Sometimes with the turf we get into a space and the players that wouldn’t normally have a bad touch were having some of those that would get away from them. Their attacks in the first half came off our dispossession where it was just a bad touch or a bad pass and they were running. They are very good in transition and we wanted to control those moments and we did to a certain extent. They weren’t breaking us down with ball mobility it was breaking us down by us breaking us, giving a bad pass and space opening up. They did a good job and with us getting to the final third there wasn’t enough numbers going forward to really put them in some situation where they are facing their own goal. That is definitely something we have to improve on as a team. We do all the other phases well, it’s really just the final pass and arriving with numbers.”

On Nick Rimando’s performance:
“The last three games. In Vancouver he made an incredible game to his right side that could have changed the game and then tied the match. Then last game, he made an incredible save to his left against Portland. Today Nick said he put off a deflection and then tips over the bar. He is an amazing player. As soon as the league was announced in ’95, I’ve been a fan ever since. Watching him as a goalie, he set the standards for American goalies. When people talking about playing it out of the back, that guy was doing way back then. His distribution and getting us out of trouble and teams want to press – it’s hard for them to press because he can find the third one, he could find the second one. He is an unbelievable player. It would have been nice to give a storybook ending but we didn’t. We got as far as we could.”

On Everton Luiz’s red card:
“Everton is a competitor. He added a lot to our team this year. He isn’t a dirty player. I know he is not a dirty player; I watch every single day at training. He is a competitive guy, even that one he got all ball. To give him a red because studs are showing? Possibly. You could argue it’s not; you could argue it is. By no means was it dirty, so there is no need for me to talk to him. He is a competitor. Now if he would have gone in and gone after someone’s knees or something, then we would have had to have a chat because I don’t like that kind of player. But he wasn’t put in that situation and he didn’t put anyone into an injury situation. He just wants to win as bad as all of us do.”

Goalkeeper Nick Rimando
On the contest:
“We were excited to play; we came out and battled. A set-piece goal got us and then the magic goal from Nicolas Lodeiro. The guys didn’t give up. It’s a tough one to swallow but we enjoyed it. I enjoyed everything. I enjoyed my 20 years; being here with my family. It’s the way we wanted to go. Credit to Seattle and good luck to them.”

On the end of his 20-Year Career:
“It’s hard to put in words. I gave so much to this sport and to see it go – I’m just grateful; everything it has given me. It’s tough to lose like this and we will see what happens. I’m so grateful for everyone that was involved in my career – everyone that supported me. Real Salt Lake, the fans – I’m sorry we couldn’t get this one for you but there are some good years to come from this club. It will all sink in tomorrow or the next week or so. The coaches and my teammates know I gave it everything I have, even to this last game and that’s all I can ask for. Out there on the field, I’m so grateful for everything soccer has given me and I appreciate everyone supporting me. Obviously, this is the end to my career but maybe stay in the game somehow. Right now, it sucks because we wanted to go a bit further even though people didn’t have us in mind. The guys gave it their all and all we could have done is give it our all and that’s what we did. We didn’t come out on the right side of the result. I enjoyed it all; even today I enjoyed it. Even stepping off that field it was surreal to see even all these Sounders fans appreciate me and clap for me. It’s full circle for me. Started in LA, ended here and I appreciate what soccer has given me.”

On being cheered from the entire MLS Community:
“It’s been special. Who would have thought that a 5’10” kid from the 909 would get 20 years in the league and be appreciated the way I’ve been appreciated through this year. That’s why I wanted to announce it early. Win lose or draw; I’ve got to get things right with my body, I’ve got to get my mind right, I have a lifetime for soccer and my kids deserve my time. It’s been awesome to take this ride with my group and with my coaching staff and all the staff. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end my career.”

On his children:
“They mean the world to me. They gave me my passion back for soccer. I do this for them and the way they look at me when I’m on the field and when I’m off the field, I know I make them proud. Now it’s my time to give back to them a little bit more and have some time with them. Anybody who has kids know that feeling when their kids look up to you and they look at you with those eyes and for me I feel so proud to be their father. There are more adventures to go on. This isn’t the end. I hope I gave them some good memories.”

On Seattle’s performance:
“They had some dangerous shots. They created a lot up top. I was ready for this game; I wanted to move on and my whole team wanted to move on. I was lucky enough to come up with some saves to come up with some saves when I needed to. Unlucky, that we couldn’t create more and put a couple by Stefan Frei. Seattle is a good team and they are a good team at home. When you have Jordan Morris and Nicolas Lodeiro and all those guys, these guys are a dangerous team. We respect them and the things they put out there today.”

On the next step:
“I’m going to take my kid to school in the morning. We land at 2:00 in the morning. Wake up, give them breakfast, check them into school and kick my feet up. Have a couple whiskeys maybe and just relax. I’ve been playing all year with a torn rotator cuff. It acted up today – it’s acted up a couple times today – but with the turf I dug it in somehow and it woke it up. I’ve got a couple of surgeries to do after my career – my knee, my shoulder – I’m a banged up old man now. I’m going to get my body right, but I’m going to relax, have time with my family and reflect on what this sport has given me and take it all in. It’s my duty to give back so we will see where that goes.”

Midfielder Albert Rusnak
Overall thoughts:
“I mean it’s hard to speak after a game when you get knocked out, but overall we stuck with our plan, we didn’t sit back, we had the ball more than we usually would on the road. It’s a shame that we didn’t really create a 100 percent chance to score a goal. To concede the first goal on a set piece, it kind of hurts, if it would have been a nice combination play then you kind of look at if differently. From a set piece, we always talk about how big the set pieces are and many times this year they’ve helped us, but at this moment and in this game, it went against us. All I can say is we have to learn from this. It’s a new experience for many players in our group and just improve for next year, there’s not much more.”

On not creating chances:
“Whenever we attacked, or they would have lost the ball, they were in a pretty decent shape with at least six players and it was just difficult to find the spaces between the lines. As I said, we did have the ball, but majority of it was at the back, which is okay, but eventually you’re gonna have to somehow create a chance. I thin throughout the whole year we have been very good at it, there hasn’t been many games like tonight where we don’t create, so it’s just a shame that probably the most important game of the season we didn’t manage to score a goal.” 

On what Seattle did to make it tough offensively: 
“Well obviously they would have watched our last game and the game before that where we’re dangerous at, and they also had a plan to go with in the game and it worked well. But under no circumstances, whatever the other team does, 90 minutes, that’s plenty of time to create chances and it’s one of the few games that we managed not to score a goal this year.” 

On improvement of roster over the year:
“We finished third, which is the best in I don’t know how long since RSL finished third, so the regular season was great, you can say, and that’s how earned a playoff home game against Portland and we managed to go past that. This is the next step that we have to get past, it’s been last year also that the second round of playoffs we get knocked out, last year by Kansas City and this year it’s Seattle. In order for us to be a better club and to actually win something these are the games you have to go past, these are the games you have to find a way to win, so that’s probably the biggest learning point for all of us.” 

On the first half performance: 
“I think we had around 60 percent ball possession, which I don’t think many teams will do that here at Seattle. We weren’t surprised by it, because that was our plan, keep the ball, we didn’t want to sit back. And 0-0 at halftime on the road at Seattle, I think it’s pretty good. As I said, the corner kick and the goal from that it kind of, wouldn’t say killed our momentum, but I feel like it hurts you the most when you concede directly from the corner , it wasn’t anything special that they did, it’s almost a goal that takes you a few minutes to come back from and it was at a time we were on the front foot again. I don’t really have much to say other than that, we did our best and we fought hard, even with a man down, even being 2-0 down, till the last minute and that’s something that we can take, even towards the next year.”