Quote Sheet: RSL 0-2 SKC

Head Coach Freddy Juarez

On relief that 2020 is over:

“I wanted to win this game so bad for many reasons, one of them being for Nedum. For the fans number one. I’m disappointed that we couldn’t give the fans more happy days in such a crazy year. I didn’t think about the relief, I just woke up this morning so excited for the game. There were so many reasons why we wanted to get a win and then all of a sudden crazy weather hits. It was a crazy game, a sloppy game. It was tough for both teams and I thought they probably played a little bit smarter.”

 

On playing in the snow:

“It changed the whole game. I’m here saying that if it was nice weather that we would’ve played better because they are a very good team. That’s why they are top of the West. It would’ve been a better game for the fans to watch. They like to play soccer, we like to play soccer. It’s usually a pretty competitive game but the snow just changed it all. Both teams didn’t want to risk anything so we just hit it long. Thank you fans, the ones that came out. It wasn’t easy to stay out there and watch the game, I wish we would’ve won it for you guys. It changed the whole game. Tactics go out the window, it just becomes a grind and you have to take advantage of opportunities.”

 

On what was learned in 2020:

“I learned a lot. This was my first year running a whole pre-season and leading the group. A lot of ups and downs. You can’t buy this experience. How to keep the group motivated, what needs to happen with the talent, how important situations are when it comes to managing players. Every year is an opportunity to learn, but I’ve learned so much this year. There’s been experience with coaching a lot of games, but obviously not at this level and you can’t buy this experience. Managing the group, managing the COVID situation, managing the staff. It was tough and challenging at times, but we got through it. At the end of the day it was a beautiful thing in the locker room that lets you feel at ease because we had such a special person like Nedum in there and some players said some very kind words. Nedum had very good words that touched the heart. We’re lucky that we got to play this year.”

 

On the decision to start Ochoa:

“I had already started contemplating it after San Jose. Tactically, I thought he was somebody that we could put in there to help us, but it just didn’t turn out that way. Putna was still playing, and he had a good season for us this year. Ochoa started making the roster on the bench, and he showed a lot of growth. The injury he took before Orlando really derailed what we had thought it would go for him. Then he comes back and from there, we send him with the Monarchs, so that he can get some games. We wanted to make sure he got a few games, and then there was the protocol of coming back in the 10 days. There was a lot of having to balance it out. At the end of the day, he got his opportunity in an important game. People may say that you had nothing to win. Well, we wanted to win and we played against a team that wanted to win if they were going to be the best in the west. I thought he handled it well and he deserved the opportunity.”

 

Defender Nedum Onuoha:

On his final game:

“It was crazy. You're going for the game, trying to win and then before you know it, conditions are crazy. I love playing the game, so being out there and being able to play with my teammates one more time felt great. I was really happy on the field. Obviously the result didn’t go our way, but it was a tough game. We fought for each other like we have done throughout the year and obviously things haven't gone our way, but it's definitely going to be a memorable game for me.”

 

On his immediate future:

“My kids will get me up at 6:30 in the morning, I’ll get them ready for school and then just see what happens from there. I’m more than ready for it, because I’ve been doing it for a long time. I’m happy.”

 

On heading back to England:

“I should be heading back at the beginning of December. It will be great to see the family again. It's been a long year away from my sister, my dad, cousins, uncles, all that stuff. Being able to see those people again would be great and then as we reach 2021, we’ll see what opportunities are available. Not necessarily to do something full-time, but getting the chance to do something that I will enjoy doing long-term.”

 

On his 17-year career:

“When I first came here I knew what the contract was and I wanted to stop at the end of this year and that was always going to be the plan. To be able to play enough games in the first full season I was here to guarantee this year, that was a goal of mine. This year's just been a real blessing to be able to play. Obviously in 2020 most things are being cancelled, so to be able to actually end my career in front of fans, in a wild game with my teammates, it's not how I would’ve anticipated it to be two years ago, but still the sentiment remains the same and I think it means just as much to me.”

 

On explaining MLS in England:

“I think it depends on the nature of the questions in which they ask, but one thing which I'm going to look forward to explaining is just explaining how it was trying to be a professional in 2020. Being here in an election year, it's been quite an experience. There’s going to be a lot to talk about, but I'm looking forward to sharing some of those stories. I feel very privileged to have been able to play in the league. I've enjoyed my time here and I think I've done well here. The stuff that I say is going to be from the heart and this is a place where I’ve made some great memories.”

 

On favorite moment during time here: 

“I would say when we beat LAFC in 2018, it was my first playoff game. It was probably my second or third game for the team and we were heavy underdogs, so I think winning that game was great. Aside from that, just over the last couple years where we get on a roll here at the stadium in the summer and just beat anybody and everybody. Those spells were also great, but overall to pick one game I’d probably say that one because that's when it really felt like I got to know the energy of what it was to be in the playoffs in the MLS.”

 

Goalkeeper David Ochoa

On the difference between USL and MLS:

“It was definitely way more quick, and the shots were faster too. You just have to be a little more sharp, but other than that nothing.”

 

On mentally preparing for your debut:

“They let me know on Tuesday and I just started mentally preparing from there. I’ve obviously worked so hard to get to this point so I wasn’t nervous or anything like that. I just went into it like any other game. It’s an honor to wear this shirt and go out there and play, so I’m just going to put my head down and keep working and hopefully more will come.”

 

On playing in the snow:

“I’m from California so I never saw snow until I came to Utah, to the Academy. This is actually my first game playing in the snow, so it was very strange, obviously. It made my job a little more difficult. I had to be a little bit more tuned in, for the flight of the ball, how it bounced in the snow. It made the ball more slippery so I had to make sure to parry and to parry to a good spot. In distribution, I had to hope for the best in that. Hopefully, I don’t have to play in another game with conditions like this, but if I do, now I’m prepared for it.”

 

On your debut being the same game as Nedum’s last:

“It was an honor to play alongside him. Obviously, he’s a veteran in the locker room, so me coming in, especially last year as a rookie, he’s one of those players that you look up to. I wish I could have played more games with him just to make my job easier because he’s so experienced. It was a blessing to play alongside him and I wish him all the best in his next chapter. I think of everything he’s helped me with, all the little tips, so it was good.”

 

On not being nervous in your debut:

“I wouldn’t say that I’m a nervous type of player. I just go into it like any other game. This is the sport I want to play and I want to play for a lot of years. I love this sport, so I just go into it and try to have fun. We didn’t have anything much to play for, but that didn’t really matter because it was my debut and I really wanted to perform and prove to the coaches that I can play. That’s how I went into the game and hopefully I get more chances later.”

 

On playing time in 2021:

“I’m not really hoping for anything. I’m going to take this offseason to keep working, so that I can come in sharp and then go from there. I am a very competitive person and I am always trying to be the best. I’ll always be competing for the number one spot and then going from there.”

 
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