QUOTE SHEET: Real Salt Lake 2-0 LA Galaxy


Real Salt Lake 2-0 LA Galaxy

Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah

September. 23, 2020

Coach Freddy Juarez

On getting above the playoff line:

“I would be lying to you if I didn’t think it was important. The team played a well-rounded game, both offensively and defensively. It was a great group performance. Some individuals really looked good as well. It matters, and that’s what we play for. We got a response against Vancouver. We weren’t rewarded for our football, but I thought we even upped it a level today against a very good team. They have some individuals who can hurt you in this team. What was their record after MLS is Back in Orlando? I think it was two wins and two losses, so they’re not an easy team to deal with.”


On connecting passes offensively:

“What tended to happen in the first half was that we lost a bit of discipline. Too many guys wanted to come back for the ball. The biggest adjustment at halftime was to adjust our back three. The back three guys who were building out, and we needed Everton and Pablo between the lines. That would leave Albert and our other guys behind their midfield line. We trusted that our distribution was very good, and we got some very good distribution from Nedum and Justen. Finding lanes, like you said. Finding Albert and finding higher passes, as opposed to 5-10 yard passes, they were hitting 20-30 yard passes that would eliminate 6-7 of Galaxy’s first players. I was really happy with that today. It was good in that aspect. That’s what we want. We’ve told the guys that you have to play with courage with the ball and when we don’t have it we have to be harder to deal with.”


On the type of leader Onuoha is:

“You can never tell players, “No.” If you think about it, he created that first goal and then Everton, our 6, created the second goal, where he takes it down their spine and distributes to Meram, 2 defensive players sparking an attack that leads to a goal. I wasn’t upset when he took that first opportunity. I didn’t fault Nedum. He took the responsibility when we watched the video. My thing was the response of the players behind. Today, I thought we were very good in transition moments. A player takes a risk, and we need that sometimes. If he’s got time and space in front of him, he has got to be aggressive, but we have to look behind. Today, we dealt with those moments very well. That’s what I thought we could get better, and so I showed them film. He did this, and he took the blame for it, but what’s going on behind? That’s not the time to tune out. You have to be pessimistic and be ready to deal with the next moment. We didn’t do it against Vancouver and we did today.”


On the first half:

“Most teams, early in the game, are just playing football. It’s early, they’re disciplined and full of energy, and gaps get closed quicker by the opponent. We didn’t help ourselves because we didn’t play balls in behind their back line, so that encouraged them to press us more. They did. When we started, they respected us and let us have possession. Then when they said, “These guys aren’t running in behind us. We can crunch the space a little bit.” Second half at half time, we said that we need to have movement. You could say Damir is not the fastest guy, but he’s fast enough. Once you start seeing it and timing it, all of a sudden he was getting in behind them, and Corey and Meram were getting in behind them. That backed them up. We just found that right balance in the second half. I think in the first half we were playing a little too safe.”


On the game feeling more comfortable:

“We had good video on Monday. We showed some good video to the guys and were very honest. They were all very receptive and responded with such a good training session right after the video. When you get that, you know that you could still lose the game, it doesn’t guarantee anything, but when you have the heart, you’re going to be a hard team to beat. That’s what we talked about, and that’s what we saw today. I don’t go in and say we want to win. Our mentality is to win. We need to do the right things. We need to play the right and proper football. We need to defend together, and I think you saw the collective today committed to defending higher up the park. When they got in behind, we ran in behind together. We were committed to playing soccer, not just our attacking players but our defensive players had more confidence to break lines. It was just nice. When you start seeing that attitude and presence on the guys in the locker room, you do feel more confident. They give us confidence as a staff, and it worked out tonight.”


Midfielder Albert Rusnak

On winning a game after dropping previous two:

“It was a must-win game. We spoke about it the past couple of days leading up the game, that was the main talking point of the pregame meeting as well -- It’s all about the three points. It doesn’t matter if it's a nice style of football, if it's a hard working one or an ugly one, it doesn’t really matter, the most important thing was three points and we got that.”


On the play tonight:

“In my opinion it wasn’t as ugly, I thought there was some pretty good football at times. Obviously, once we went two-nil up we needed to keep playing the ball forward so that wouldn’t give them a chance to press us and we lost a couple of sloppy balls toward the end. I think the first goal from the penalty spot was a great build up play, it included the defenders, midfielders, Nedum brought the ball all the way forward with a great run behind. That goal was very pretty, and so was the second one, it was a good build up play; a ball behind, a cut back and a nice finish.”


On assisting Damir Kreilach’s goal:

“I felt that Dami [Kreilach] was getting close and he would have an option to play someone, whoever was on the line. But, that would be a risky pass and they would be able to press us there, so we put the ball behind and then I got onto it and it was a one against one and I saw Dami open in the box. I just tried to play a firm pass to him and let him have a good shot on goal and he put that one away very well. It was one of the nicest goals.”


On space this match versus previous matches:

“Not every game is the same, every team comes with a different tactic and some teams are tighter through the middle, which gives our wingers more of the ball. Today, I felt we played quite well through the middle and it gave myself, Dami [Kreilach] and Everton [Luiz] and Pablo [Ruiz} more touches on the ball. But, it all depends how the game goes, not every game is gonna be perfect, not every game will have a hundred touches on the ball, but we need to adapt and we need to realize as a team where the spaces are and I thought we did that well today. I found some good spots, I got some great balls played into me and I enjoyed the game honestly.”


On Pablo playing further up with Everton in the lineup:

“Every one of our midfielders, not just the two that started today, but all of the other guys [are able to play], everybody brings something. We know Pablo [Ruiz} is the one on the ball, he’s a great passer, he’s got a great shot, he’s got a left foot, he’s very calm on the ball and whenever he gets the ball I’m trying to find a space and link up with him. On the other side, Everton [Luiz] also gets on the ball, but he’s got a bit more fight to him, he’ll cover a lot more distance, he’ll win the ball back, he does a lot of the dirty work. Everybody plays a different role and as long as everybody plays their role the team will be successful.”


On the passing in tonight’s match:

“Nedum recognized the space to take forward, he had space in front of him, he took that space very well and he played a forward ball. Whenever we play the forward ball and somebody makes a run it’s hard to defend against. Everton [Luiz] did a nice flick to Justin [Meram] who was one-on-one with the goalkeeper and he was brought down in the penalty spot. That goal started in our own half and within ten seconds we had the penalty. It’s nice to see that we don’t always have to connect a hundred passes in order to create a chance. Sometimes it’s just one, or two, good decisions on the ball and the right passes forward and you can create goal scoring opportunities.”


Defender Donny Toia

On the win:

“It feels great. Obviously the last two games we struggled a bit to find the back of the net and defensively we’ve given up too many goals lately so it feels good to get a shutout and score two and get a nice home win.”


On the win putting the team above the playoff line:

“It’s a tight race. Literally one game can bump you up above the playoff line and losing one game can knock you back out so it’s definitely crucial. We just gotta keep going one game at a time and get a result every time. I think it's a big time.”


On the pass to Albert:

“I actually saw that there was no option short. I actually saw the space in behind and Albert happened to be in that packet. I just kind of clipped it over the top and he ran onto it and luckily he was able to get to it and put a great cross into Damir and another great finish from him.”


On passing from the back:

“It just depends on the scenario. Sometimes we work on that but it’s just the guys up front moving for you off the ball, giving you extra options. If you don’t have a ball short and you don’t want to force it, somebody runs in behind and then you can clip it down the line and they can run onto it. We definitely practice stuff like that in training and tonight it worked out.”


On defending Pavon:

“The last couple of games I felt that I struggled a bit against their outside guys, whether it was their speed or not getting to them quick enough when they sent in crosses. Watching some clips of him and Alvarez, I smacked down on them and made sure to keep them in front of me. When the ball was going to them, I tried to get out to them as soon as possible, so that they couldn’t turn and run at me.”


On getting the shutout:

“It’s huge. I feel like we’ve given up quite a bit of goals in the last few games. It’s a bit frustrating when that happens.It was big time to get a shutout. Everybody worked their butts off. We want to do this every game, but there’s unfortunate mistakes that happen, but tonight we worked our tails off to make sure we got the shutout and the 3 points.”