Quote Sheet: RSL 2-0 COL

QUOTE SHEET
REAL SALT LAKE 2-0 COLORADO RAPIDS
ESPN WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS COMPLEX; ORLANDO, FLORIDA
JULY 12, 2020

Head Coach Freddy Juarez

On what he was most pleased with:
“After four months without playing, you don’t know quite what you’re going to get.  WE were anticipating a good start because we had some very combative and close-matched games within our intrasquads.  Any success that we got today was from the sparring team that we had.  Guys were pushing the envelope and pushing the pace.  I think that’s what prepared us the best.  Overall, what we take from it is a good start.  Especially when you are starting a tournament off you want to get a positive result so you can get some momentum.  It wasn’t pretty.  There were good times and there were some bad times but the best part of it is that we dealt with it as a team and that was the most important part today.”

On an effective performance:
“I would think in the first half we were very much in control of the game – in possession and controlled some loss-of-possession moments as well.  We created some chances – Corey hits the crossbar – so I was happy with the chances we were creating and how we were dealing with the game.  Second half, the opponent matters as well and the opponents stepped it up.  They start controlling a little bit.  Maybe it was fatigue, but I love that there are times when you’re going to be under it and we dealt with it like a team.  We had to make some crucial blocks when we had to.  We had to sacrifice at moments.  Our goalie had to come up big once or twice.  But we also had the chance to be up 3-0 and maybe not have it be so frantic towards the end.  For a first game, we are very pleased as a team.  You can continue to grow and that’s really what you get out of this game.  We had some positives.  We’ll show those to the guys.  And we will show where we can get better and we can continue to grow as the tournament goes on.”

On getting a clean sheet and defensive continuity:
“I loved that.  We are a team that when there are tough moments, we can embrace it.  We can come together as a team and we don’t mind having to defend hard.  Would we rather have the ball the whole game?  Yeah.  Which team wouldn’t?  But when those moments come we show our true character.  That’s been our thing.  There are going to be times when we have to grind it out and work as a team and protect our goal and endure some hard times.  And we did.  That’s us.  That’s our identity.  When we have to be tough, we’re going to be tough.  And when we can control the game in possession and create chances we’ll take it as well.  The defense did a great job – the goalkeeper, the whole team.  We used all five subs.  They came in and gave us some fresh legs.  Every player is important.  It’s important to get the shutout.  When you can do that it shows the hard work and sacrifice that you had during that match.”

On Douglas Martinez:
“We had some important intrasquad games.  Early on, he was on the team that was potentially not going to start and he was a handful.  He was forcing us to run and chase and he was in the box and he was making runs in behind and he was big and strong to hold it.  We liked what we saw.  We thought with the balance that we had with Damir and Albert in the game we also needed a couple of players who could stretch the game, but also be physical with Aboubakar.  We have to match that up and he was great.  We were all happy and proud of him.  He’s a young player.  We ask a lot of him.  He’s going to continue to grow.  We just have to guide him little by little, but he was huge for us tonight.”

On Damir’s goal after Irwin’s PK save:
“It was big.  This team has figure out how to grind out results and be mentally really strong.  Depending on how you handle it mentally, I think our guys have mental strength and that just showed there.  It didn’t frazzle us.  It was a great goal from outside the box.  After the first half, it gave us that confidence.  It was just a matter of putting that second one away.”

Midfielder Albert Rusnák

Overall thoughts:
“In the first half I think we dominated the game. Not just in the midfield but everywhere. For 90 minutes we were very solid defensively and we’ve put a lot of work in training in the past couple of months on that. So, it felt great to finally be back on the field and get the win in a tournament. It’s huge.”

On the feeling of opening the tournament:
“We were very excited to finally be back on the field. We have a specific style that we want to play and we have an identity and today we showed what that was. In the second half even though they held more ball possession than us, we controlled the game defensively. We were very solid and hard to break down, that’s who we are. I’m very happy that we ended up with the win and the clean sheet is a bonus as well.”

On Douglas Martinez:
“He was great tonight throughout the time he played. He did a lot of work and he did a lot of dirty work for us. When you have a #9 who is fast, strong and who puts in the work defensively for the team you can’t ask for much more than that. Against Red Bulls in our last match, he did great when he came in. He has proven his qualities in training throughout the past two months and rightly so. He got the start and showed that he’s got a lot of potential for the future. I hope he’ll continue to work hard, and the future will show what’s there for him. As I said before, today was an outstanding performance from him.”

On the fatigue level:
“From what I’ve seen from the other games that took place before ours, the first half is very fast paced and everyone wants to start the game well. In the second half the games start to open up a little bit with a bit more space and the tempo slows down. I think that’s normal not just now after the break, but for many of the games. The second half is usually the time when players get tired. I don’t know if it was the fatigue or the weather or the break, but we have five substitutions so I don’t think any player should be holding back and thinking: ‘I have to play the whole 90 minutes so I’m going to save myself?”. Five subs is a lot so as a player you work hard as long as you’re on the pitch. You do your work for the team on both sides of the ball and that’s how you get the result like we did tonight.”

Midfielder Damir Kreilach

On the buildup to the match being an underdog:
“Honestly I know exactly what our quality is and at the end of the day it was a great feeling to be back. Today we showed what we can do and it was a big win. In any tournament it’s great to start with three points so we’re happy with that. Of course, you want to stay humble and go step-by-step and in the second game we want to get another win.”

On grinding out a win after the break:
“Last year we showed how close we are as a team and how difficult we are to break down. We showed today that we are a very good team and starts with defending. At the end of the day – at any time – we are able to create chances and keep a clean sheet. This is just one game and we’re going to build up and continue on our path.”

On the playing conditions:
“To not play a league game for four months was tough. Today all the credit is to the team from the first second of the game. Our body language was great, and we dominated the game. In the second half we were a little bit deep but still controlled the situation and didn’t give Colorado anything so it’s well done to everyone.”

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