Utah Royals

Quote Sheet : UTA v WAS

Paige Monaghan

Q: How close do you feel to getting that second win?

A: I feel like we have this conversation a lot but I do think that when you're focusing on the performances, which is what we’re focusing on, we are progressing which is positive. It is frustrating to be so close, even selfishly for me, hitting the inside of the post is a goal but hitting the outside of the post is not a goal. So it’s frustrating but we are close. We just have to keep focusing on our development during the league and then the performances will lead to results.

Q: How crucial is Mandy Haught to this team?

A: When she made that huge save in the second half to keep us 1-0, I looked at her and I was like “That's unreal from you”. She does that in training. I've known her for a long time so to see her grow and to see her develop and just bloom into the goalkeeper that she is, it's amazing. I'm so happy for her and I'm so proud of her. She's not walking away from the game proud of herself and that's what makes her a competitor and makes her one of the best in the league.

Q: What have you seen from the back line, especially this game?

A: I think tonight we led in clearances. They're just such a gritty back line and they're young and they know it and they want to learn and grow. So I'm really proud of them. They're their biggest critics and they're really hard on themselves but they are growing and they are getting better every game which is led by Kate Del Fava and she's new at playing center-back but she's learning and we’re just really proud of her to lead our back line. It starts with Mandy and it's a really great group. Ana is a huge addition as well as Lauren Flynn and she's unbelievable and I don't think she realizes how good she is, so we're really lucky to have her and Zoe Burns of course.

Q: What’s the message from Coach during times like these?

A: In respect to her and our team I'll keep it in the huddle, but honestly it boils down to her just knowing that we have so much potential and she knows that we have so much in us and she just wants us to keep going. Who's going to get it done? How are we going to get it done collectively?

Q: What impact did the heat have on you today?

A: I was cooking on the left side so that was a lot of fun. Zoe was telling me “Oh, the weather’s not bad” and I was like “Yeah Zoe, you're in the shade, come over here girl.” Honestly, the heat is no joke and we knew that. People will say that it’s mental but honestly even in warmups we were asking ourselves how can we not let the heat get to us? How can we not be fatigued? How can we not be lethargic? In my opinion, it’s about recognizing that it's going to be a hot game so what does that mean for us? How can we prepare? How can we have ball security? How can we move the ball to manipulate the other team to benefit us? Overall, it was a cooker and I’m probably sunburnt.

Mandy Haught

Q: You gave up one goal today but you also had six saves. In a lot of situations that ratio would be pretty solid. So what were your emotions after that? How do you kind of approach looking back at this game?

A: I think there’s good things to take away from my performance in this game and just building on that going forward. That’s all I can really do is do my best for the team and keep my team in it. That’s where my focus is.

Q: What did you see on that one goal that was let in. Just take us through that.

A: Yeah, it’s just a second phase off corner kicks. In that scenario we’ve been working on and trying to grow and improve. We are gonna look back at that and focus hard on trying to get that ball cleared the first go around. Had a little bit of a late reaction and wished I had another step on it.

Q: You mentioned you guys are growing and improving. You’ve only allowed three goals over your last three games, all 1-0 losses. Do you feel like the defense is improving and how close do you think you guys are to be where you want to be as a defense?

A: I think we are definitely growing in a lot of areas. Box defending was one of our biggest areas of growth. I think that’s where a lot of the goals come from in this league and you can see where we are in our zones. I think we are improving big time and that’s all the defense can do. Defense of myself is keeping the games close. We are just gonna keep building on that and hopefully get a shutout here soon.

Q: You stood on your head tonight the 67’ and 78’ you had some incredible saves. In addition to that, Lo Flo came up big again tonight. Can you speak to Lo Flo on what she’s doing on that back line?

A: I love how you’re addressing her as Lo Flo. That’s awesome. She’s the trick of all trays. That's what I say she can do it all she’s very versatile. She a utility player for us you can put her outside, inside, it doesn’t matter. She is going to give it her all. She shows that in training and on game days. I think that’s why she is doing as well as she is and yeah, it’s always good to have Lo Flo on your backline.

Q: We’ve noticed some changes. You are trying out different tactics. It looks like the way that you build there was a previous game where it was the same goal kick repeatedly. Now it seems to be more of what we saw previously. Can you talk about is it just what you see against Washington with their fast players like Rodman and others. Are you just experimenting with tactics on building out from that defensive third?

A: I just see whatever the team is presenting and I am just gonna try different things. If you can see last game when it gets repetitive it gets really easily picked off and that’s an area I didn’t want to have this game so I was trying to be as versatile as I could without tricking out my own players. We have a plan, we have a build out set, but Amy gives us creative freedom to kind of build off of that and I think it worked really well in this game.

Q: What sort of message in the locker room with how close this team is and has been for a little awhile to get over that hump?

A: We are ready to go and I think it’s just everyday performances in the locker room and how you are taking care of yourself everyday on the field in training. The message is just to win the day as you can. The focus is just being your best and taking ownership of your role and what you want to provide to this team. Hopefully it all comes together on game day.

Q: Can you see the younger players' individual role?

A: 100%, they are getting ten or seven games under their belt. That's huge. We are asking so much of them and they are just getting more comfortable in the positions that we keep putting them in and super proud of all of our rookies that are stepping up. Even the rookies that aren’t on the field like they are stepping up big time for this team.

Amy Rodriguez

Q: It feels like this team is so close to getting a win. What is your opinion?

A: We’ve been knocking on the door this whole season. Throughout the first half of this year, we’ve been so close so many times but unfortunately, you don’t get points for being close. Each and every week I stress to the group that it's time to go back, we hone in on the details, we go back to the drawing board, and we need to up the level. We needed that tonight and it's the reason that we didn’t walk out of here with any goals or points.

Q: How crucial is Mandy Haught to this team?

A: We saw some excellent saves from Mandy tonight, as you saw at the end there to keep us in the game. We talked about having championship level goalkeepers in order to win a championship and our eyes are set on that. If she continues to do her job, that's half the battle and the other half is handling our end of things in the final third and creating those opportunities for other goalkeepers to make big-time saves because what she did tonight is not easy and she definitely kept us in there.

Q: How much do you see the young players using their intuitiveness on the squad?

A: Each and every week we’ve added new layers to this team whether it's new personnel, new tactical decisions, or different combinations out on the pitch. You’ve seen players play different positions for us. We've had injuries come and go, so we’ve asked a lot of changes out of the group and specifically a big change in all of our rookies. They're joining us from the NCAA and they're coming into the NWSL where the difficulty and competition is even higher so we're putting a lot of stress on this group but that's what we expect in an expansion year. There are a lot of changes. There's trial and error, there's figuring out the right processes and how we organize things, different tactical changes, and you're going to continue seeing that throughout the year until we get it right. I’m a coach that's going to go down with the ship where I will never give up because we're going to keep pushing and pushing because at the end of the day the goal for this team is to win a championship. If it’s this year or five or 20 years we will keep pushing and I’m going to encourage my group to do the same. Keep their heads up, chins up, chest out and we push on.

Q: How do you manage to adapt the rookies in the league and this team?

A; I’m still trying to figure out Ally Sentnor’s best position for us. You’ve seen that she can be great on the ball, a lethal shot, great in the pocket, dribbling around defenders and drawing a lot of players to her. And it's now figuring out that next layer. How can we upgrade her shot so that it's closer to the goal, so that she's getting it closer to the frame? It's a trial and error thing with a lot of our rookies, and it's about getting their feet wet in this league. We're going to work as hard as we can to figure out what their best position is.

Q: What do you hope to have with the addition of the new assistant coaches?

A: You never want to have a ton of turnover within a season and we’ve obviously done that through our coaching staff where we have assistants coming and going but I'm really excited for this next change. We’ve got two excellent people coming in and joining our staff to hopefully give us that little uplift and change of scenery, fresh ideas. We’ve been talking to the group about this almost being a little bit of a reset for us. We go back to the principles, we restart, we get a fresh look at that second half of the season and I think adding Jimmy and Sam will be great additions to the squad.

Q: What is it about Lauren Flynn’s game that makes her so effective in so many areas?

A: Every bit of credit that Flynn gets is well-deserved and shes a hard worker, she's a professional. From the moment she joined our team she was a versatile player that will take on any job in any way and give it 100% effort and that's all you can ask. We’ve required a lot out of her this year. She's jumped in as a rookie and played several different positions for us and she's handled all of those in stride. Tonight she had to go up against Trinity Rodman, full team, national team player, and she held her own. The one thing about Flynn is that she continues to show her aggressiveness both in the press but even out of possession and that's what we're really trying to hone in with her and to just keep drawing that out of her.

Q: What would you say the progress is with your expectations out of this team?

A: I think we're seeing glimpses of what we want out of this Royals team. Have we put together a full 90-minute game? No. On both ends of the pitch? No. Some games we do all the right things in our defensive third but it’s just that final piece, that final third that just doesn't quite connect or click. Its just about putting all of the pieces together, full 90-minute game, all thirds of the pitch, and we know this is a process. We’re a brand new team with 26 different players from different environments who are trying to figure it out and gain chemistry and that doesn't happen overnight. So, we will stick to the process and continue to develop those good habits and we’ll keep pushing on with this team because that's all we know how to do.

Q: Is everybody on the same page about the progress and is everybody still cohesive with the goals of the team?

A: There is no denying that this group is in a rough patch. We are getting knocked down over and over and over again, but it's in times like this where I, as a coach, evaluate my team and say “Well, who is going to step up the next day? Who’s bringing the positive attitude to Monday morning training? Who’s showing up when it's dark and bringing in the light?” It's becoming clear that we have a team that wants to be cohesive. We have a team that wants to put in the full effort. You see each and every game, we are inches away from getting that win, and the team continues to put in that effort and I'm proud of that. I still think that there's a next level to us. Absolutely. We go back to the drawing board this week, we figure out what those little adjustments might be and we go for another three points next weekend.