Quote Sheet: Real Salt Lake 4-4 Portland Timbers

Real Salt Lake 4-4 Portland Timbers
Providence Park; Portland, Oregon 
Saturday, August 29, 2020

Real Salt Lake
Head Coach Freddy Juarez

On the game:
“I just talked to the guys right now, we were pleased with the energy.  I was very pleased with the first half.  I thought we maybe could have been a little more dangerous.  We still created a lot of shots, but I think we could have been more dangerous.  In the second half they stepped it up a little bit more and started pressing us a little bit higher up the field.  We got a little bit tired which is going to happen on the road.  They obviously had a little bit of their rhythm.  You saw the fight, the desire, and that’s what stood out to me.  The guys that came in – Rossi came in, Sam came in, Everton came in – and to be honest we gave away some goals today, but we never gave up.  There was always a belief that we could come from behind.  When Rossi and Sam came in and made a difference and both got a goal which was great for us.  It showed the team unity to fight for a result.  It was a hard game, but we deserved even more.  We’ll take the draw and we’ll take what the team did as far as togetherness to fight for that point.”

On the emotion after the equalizer:
“I felt people grabbing me and I didn’t know where it was coming from.  It was good.  It was needed from the team.  It was nice to feel that team spirit.  I’m happy for the guys.  We came to a very good team – a team who knows how to win, knows how to stay in games.  We had a chance to tie it 3-3 with Nedum’s and then they go right down and score to go up 4-2.  The players never stopped and that was the mentality.  We kept getting opportunities.  That was the talk at halftime – there were opportunities, we just needed to be more ruthless in the box.  Guys stepped up and it’s nice to have a few games in a row where we get a few goals, but we gave away a couple goals today that made it harder for ourselves.”

On finishing:
“I think there were moments when we could have put more service in.  In the first half, we were almost looking for too much of a nice pass or nice combination and we had good numbers when we could put the ball into the box.  I understand when we’re outnumbered in there, but in the first half I thought there were 5-6 times that I felt we could just whip the ball in, but we cut it back and let them out on it.  29 shots, four goals … four goals in a game is a lot in the game of soccer.  We could have potentially had more.  I’m almost more worried about how we are going to not give away those silly goals that we gave away today.  It forced us to get desperate in the game and especially on the road you don’t want to do that.  We’re going to get better as a team and grow as a team, we’ve got to keep ourselves in games and not let games slip away so early in the game.”

On balancing offense and defense:
“We’ve been very good the last year and a half on keeping the ball out of the net and making the team earn it.  You think about the Colorado game, we score on ourselves.  Today we make a mistake in the back building out, that was very simple for them.  They didn’t have to work for it.  Then a set-piece which we’re not very happy with.  Then on the fourth goal, Everton slips on the turf and they get a 1v1 to create that shot.  It doesn’t happen very often.  This team takes pride in keeping the ball out of the net.  We’ll get better on that and it’s tough in these times right now.  We have two days of training.  We’ll show some quick film and try to get better from it.  The good thing is we’re scoring some goals and better than any of that the team spirit is good right now.  That’s what we need in these tough times.”

On playing the ball higher up the field:
“We had a nice balance.  We were very dynamic.  Damir and Pablo had a good rhythm with Albert all moving the ball.  Justin Meram looked sharp today.  Corey looked sharp.  Chang looked sharp.  It was tough to lock in and see who they could get the ball away from.  We did a good job of building out of the back and keeping possession.  We were more dangerous in playing possession higher up the field, but we weren’t ruthless there in the final third, crossing the ball and crashing the box.  We still got enough opportunities to potentially be ahead at halftime.  In the second half, they pressed us harder and I think we got a little bit winded in the middle of the park and lost a little bit of possession.  When Rossi and Sam came in, you saw a difference in the quality.  Sam was fighting for every ball and made it difficult for their center backs.  I think the fresh legs came in at the right time and they made a difference.”

On getting ready for Seattle:
“It’s going to be a tough game with Seattle.  We always have a good game against Seattle.  We like playing Seattle.  They play good football and we match up well against them.  We’ve got to clean up some of this and keep the ball out of the net and see if we can recover.  I think a lot of teams would say they would go on the road and get a tie.  We’ve had two road games and got four points out of it.  Now we go home and try to get a result.  Seattle plays (Sunday) night against a very good team in LAFC that pushes you to exert a lot of energy.  We are hoping with that extra day of recovery and they’ve got to travel to us, we’ve got to take advantage of this.  We’re confident at home.  We feel good at home.  Right now we’re scoring goals and the team spirit is good.  Portland is a very good team and Seattle is very similar.  A lot of good attacking players.  We have to treat it similar and not shoot ourselves in the foot to make it too tough on ourselves.”

Forward Corey Baird

On coming from being down two goals:
“I just think it shows a lot of character. To be two goals down when I think for the majority of, if not the entire game, we were the better team, can be really tough mentally. For us to keep going and not give up it shows the character everyone has. Credit to everyone out there on the field, we had to really put it in there to get that result.”

On the success of the attack:
“I feel like we got our spacing down. When your spacing is good, people are finding the right pockets, making the right decisions, clean with their touches and possession, it looks easy, but it’s really all those little things going right. I think we are doing all those little things, on and off the ball, with our movements that just all add up to a collective performance that you saw tonight.” 

On the goal and assist: 
“For my goal I think we just had a lot of the ball up top, I wasn’t really involved in too much of the possession, it was more being in and around the box, trying to be opportunistic. When you’re in and around the goal that much and you have the ball in good goal scoring opportunities  that much stuff ends up just falling and I think it just ended up falling to me. I was in the right place at the right time. With Sam [Johnson] I was trying to cut inside and hit a shot, got a little off balance where I had to take a couple extra touches and then what a finish from Sam.”

On conceding four goals: 
“I think it’s tough, a team like Portland, they’ve done it to us before, when you are in possession they can be comfortable sitting in that block and countering, they’re incredible at it. We got a little unlucky on some, where maybe something should have been called back and then it doesn’t lead to a goal. When we are on the ball it’s just making sure we are organized defensively still. Despite having that much possession we’ve got to be aware of some of their players, some of them maybe don’t fully recover or fully get back and it makes them incredibly dangerous on the counter attacks. I think while we’re in possession we need to still be organized defensively.”

Midfielder Albert Rusnàk

Overall thoughts on the game:
“It wasn’t long ago that you guys were asking why we were not creating chances and how we were gonna improve that, and now we have eight goals in the last two games and 30 shots today. So, there is a lot of positives to take out from tonight's game, but on the other side there is a lot of stuff we have to learn from, especially the first goal, well kind of all of them, they were cheap goals to concede, and in order for us to come away with in win in a tough place like Portland we have to limit those mistakes and we didn’t do that. But, on the other side, the fight we showed in the end to score two late goals like that just shows that there is a lot of quality in this group. We played together today and I think we played a very good game.” 

On the recent uptick in offensive production:
“Same as Colorado, we found the spaces between the lines, we played forwards at the right time, we kept the ball at the right time and we created more chances. With a little bit of more luck in the final third, maybe a deflection went our way, we could have scored more goals. On the other side, I’m still not sure about that handball in the first half, I don’t know if that is accidental. Just a couple of small things went against us today, but we still came out with a point. As I said before, there is a lot of stuff we can take away from today’s game, but we do have to limit those mistakes and we can’t give cheap goals to the opposition.” 

On the substitution pattern:
“It’s not the easiest thing to do you know, to come in a game, especially in a fast pace game like today was. It’s not an easy thing to come on as a substitution and whenever the subs can make an impact immediately in a short amount of time it’s great for us as a team. They made a real difference today and we scored the last two goals from the substitutions that we had made and that shows that we have a lot of quality on the bench as well. Whenever something is not working, or people give their everything and have to come off, the next guy coming in is going to do the job as well, and that’s what happened in today’s game. It’s a big positive for the group and for the team.”