New York Red Bulls Head Coach Jesse Marsch
On the mood of the locker room at halftime:
Yeah, I mean the funny thing for me was watching our team play nervy and a bit scared in the first half. Like we had the last two games and guys don't want to lose balls and guys don't want to make mistakes. I just tried to say to them at halftime like we've never been a team that plays scared, right? The very first conversation I had with our team way back when was that there's no -- the only thing there is no tolerance for around here is not playing with everything you have.
I just told them I don't care if we lose this game. Go out and play, right? Go after the game. We needed some guys to step up. We needed some guys to make some plays. Obviously Felipe does and we almost needed a performance like that to kind of bring some life back into our team. So that part was good.
It's a little bit funny. This can be an interesting business, and it's not for the weak of heart. It rewards people and players that are brave and have courage and want to be in the toughest moments. It's one of the things I like about this business is that when things get tough, that's for me when it gets to be the most fun. So, I guess I had fun tonight.
On if they were playing with a chip on their shoulders and what was missing in their first two games:
Well, again, so much of the talk about our team winds up being about and some of it comes from me too, it's about the high-press system and the tactics and how we do things. I've always said that's only a piece of the puzzle. But what I think makes us us is a real strong mentality and commitment for each other and commitment to play for each other and then doing it at big moments.
So I think that hopefully, and I believe this, that tonight will be a reminder of that because above everything else, you can throw the second thing out the window. It wasn't even like a soccer game; it was like a brawl. It was who is going to survive? Who is going to emerge? In the end, I'm proud of our guys for in that moment stepping up.
On how much the team needed a win before the break and not being able to make subs due to injuries:
Well, okay, so, yes. The first answer, we needed a game like this. Second answer sort of feeds to that is now when I have no subs to make I have nothing to do with the game anymore. It's them. It's now their turn to do everything they can to find a way to win the game, and that was probably a good thing. The coach could just stay out of the way, and it was time for the players to show what they're made of and step up. So maybe that's a lesson for me moving forward.
On Kemar Lawrence filling in at center back and if Houston's third goal triggered the team:
Kemar at center back has been a discussion. We haven't worked on it much. Funny, the only other time we used him at center back was last year at Houston. Twice he's played center back and twice against Houston. There is potential for that to be a spot for him. It's just we think very highly of him at left back, but he has qualities that could fit us to play center back. Given the injuries, I'm not sure how long guys may be out, but that may be something we have to consider moving forward. Yeah, at halftime when I talked to them about showing some heart and some courage, I told Dax this is when you need a captain. And we needed him to in all ways use his bravery and his belief and confidence and swagger that that had to be a big part of helping our team rise to the challenge.
Then obviously Felipe makes some great plays. So, you know, I mean, those guys are the heart of our team and they have been since I've been here. So we're going to need those three guys again to now show what they're all about and help our team continue to drive forward.
On Gonzalo Veron and the resilience of the team:
Yeah, I mean obviously Gonzalo was pretty explosive at different moments in the first half, but I still didn't feel like we were playing with -- again, we were nervy. We didn't play with a lot of confidence. At halftime we talked, we gathered ourselves. We switched to three instead of two and then we kind of just tried to -- again, it wasn't at that point about tactics or anything. It was just about how bad did they want it? And again, it was good to see them step up.
On if the win helped the team in spite of the injuries:
Well, I mean, that's not how you would draw it up. I think, again, the fact that there were no subs left in the second half and that we clawed our way back in the game and gave a goal back right away, I felt strongly that if we could step -- at halftime I told them I felt strongly that if they could go on the field and believe and play and not be scared that we were going to win the game. It didn't matter what happened in the game.
We got ourselves back in and went down again, but the fact that we kept going after the game, they believed it as well. So that part was good. Again, without any subs, then they all know it's up to those 11 guys to make it happen.
On if he's ever experienced a game where all three subs were made due to injuries:
It was a weird game in many ways. I don't know that that was the case. I remember one year in Chivas we had a game where a bunch of guys got hurt and it was similar to this. We had some losses in a row. And Atiba Harris made a bunch of big plays and helped us and we won the game at home and came back. So maybe it was a little bit like that.
But, you know, one of you guys asked already, I think this is what we needed and I think this is the kind of game that can define a season in many ways.
On if he considered playing with three defenders:
No, I was pretty clear that Connor played center back in college, and Connor's asking me, "Do you want me to play center back?" And I'm going, No, you're playing left back. He goes, "You sure?" I go, "Yes, you're playing left back." Put Kemar at center back. The word is that when he played center back in college that he was quite good, but with the size, with Bruin and the different guys they have up high I felt that having Kemar back there to battle for some aerial balls was going to be important.
Connor came in, the thing I'll say about Karl and Connor coming in is two things that define them as players and as people are that they are two of the most brave guys on our team. They're never afraid of big moments. Every time they're called on I know they'll be ready to go. In that sense I thought that they stepped up and they brought some of that to our team tonight, so that was great.
On the Mike Grella and Connor Lade connection tonight:
Well, I thought that Mike got -- I thought Mike helped the game in the first half too. And he just, you know, that's one thing about Mike is Mike is a confident kid. So when he plays, and he starts getting touches on the ball and moving around in the game and wrong footing guys, he can, I think, really affect the game in big ways like we've seen.
Yeah, I thought that now when Mike starts to come inside and really find the game, that leaves room for Connor to be pushing up on the wing and there was little movements and Connor joining in late and creating some advantages there on that side, and I think that was a big part of us really tactically getting in the game. And Connor runs his butt off. He just never stops, so that part was great.
On if Felipe's yellow card got him going:
No, I think he at halftime he knew he needed to step up. They all did. And I think, again, the two guys on our team that have like grit and competitive edge are Dax and Felipe, and as much as there's been talk again about them tactically and what they do different ways, and we have other talented players that play that way. Like Sean Davis, and I think Tyler Adams is going to be a contributor this year and clearly Sacha.
But the fact those two guys are in the middle of the midfield for us, I think that makes our team in many ways because they're just so gritty and they don't ever want to lose. I see it every day in training. Some days I have to like calm them down but that's what makes them special, and that's, frankly, what we need.
New York Red Bulls Midfielder Sacha Kljestan
On the comeback:
The message was, "If we're going to go down, let's go down swinging. Let's actually not be scared to play, let's play out of the back at all costs, let's push the game, let's just go out there and do something." It's like we just laid over in the first half and kind of let them do whatever they wanted and we made stupid mistakes. I think we came out with a lot more confidence in the second half and it was great to see.
On rallying after the injuries:
Well a guy like Connor Lade really sticks out to me. He came on the field with a ton of energy - his first play was a hard tackle against [Andrew] Wenger, the guy he's going up against, which sends a message quickly. And then the way he played with the ball, the way he pushed the game, you know, joined in the attack, made plays on his side of the field - it was like, he was like a leader on the field. It was like, "let's go, let's go, we can do this." And so a guy like him made a difference. And then obviously, you know, Grella gets a goal, Karl Ouimette comes in and plays solid, so those three guys helped a lot and that was a big step for us.
On the goals:
Yeah, Felipe scored a couple of beautiful goals. You know, he scored the amazing third goal and then when the free kick came he said, "let me take it. I'm going to score." So, alright, alright - and he put it in the back of the net. It was amazing, yeah. Some big performances from some key guys tonight.
On the importance of the result:
Yeah, starting out, you know, had we lost tonight it would be very disappointing, you know, we'd be in a big hole very early in the season. Now we get a win, it's going to be a much better feeling here on the training ground the next couple of weeks as we have a weekend off and things like that, so it's big, it's important, and I hope that we remember how we played in the second half tonight and play with that urgency and that commitment for the rest of the season.
On Sal Zizzo's save at the end:
I didn't even see it until I heard about it, so I can't wait to actually watch it on video because some of the guys who saw the replay already said he just dove and kind of took one right square in the face and that's the commitment we need. That was a big play, it was probably one of the biggest plays of the game.
New York Red Bulls Midfielder Felipe
On whether he has ever been a part of a situation like this with three injuries and two goals to come back and win:
I think that's what we are all about, I think now the fans and everybody needs to know that we are a family and that every time we go to the field we give everything we have. Jesse spoke at halftime saying just play with your heart and that is everything that we did. I think the guys were fantastic and we couldn't be more proud.
On what Jesse's message and the team's mentality at halftime was:
I think that's the mentality, even when you go a goal down we still can recover from that and get points, that's what we did today.
On how important it was for the team to play this way with your back against the wall before going into the break:
I think especially now that we have a two week break it was important for our motivation and confidence, and we are a bit calmer. I think now, we just need to watch what we did wrong and do better next game, we have eight goals conceded now. We can do better on the midfield and attack and be together. As I said before we are all in this together and I am proud of every single guy who stepped on the field and gave everything.
On his mentality going into the free kick, because Sacha usually takes them:
Thank you to Sacha for letting me take the kick, I was really confident that I could score and thanks to him I was allowed to take it. Sacha is still our first guy to take those kicks because he is so amazing at that and I just was happy today that I could score.
On what this does to the team's confidence in their attack:
I think it's good for us and the confidence of the group. We are a good team, we just need to be more confident on the ball and be confident that we can score anytime.
Houston Dynamo Head Coach Owen Coyle
On his impressions of the match:
Well, I don't think it was any doubt it was certainly an entertaining game. I thought it was two very good sides. Two very attacking teams that were looking to win a game. My disappointment was when we lose a game that you seem comfortable in.
I've got to give credit to the Red Bulls. They got back into the game. But for us, I think we can deal with that later. It's a lot about game management and (Indiscernible). Two world class strikes from the lad for the fourth goal. They have some very good players.
My thing is I think we could have passed the ball and moved the ball better in the second half, and how we could have certainly lessened the pressure that was on us at different times by doing that. Again, the result was just for ourselves because even then, the spirit they have up 4-3, and they could win the game with plus strikes, and we had one chance to equalize and it smashed off the lad's face in the last seconds.
So the disappointment was losing three points, but I give them huge positives for how they went about it. It was exciting, but we certainly don't want to keep adding to the gray hairs I've got. Some fantastic games, but when all is said and done, the important thing is we have to have enough points to push ourselves into those playoffs. And we have new members of our squad that can do that. Obviously we kept Tyler there. We have Jones, [Cristian] Maidana, but we're building a decent squad and decent roster to come and support champions and a great atmosphere in the stadium. And get a lot of big, positive performances and within that performance, understand that there are moments I feel we could have defended better.
So the second goal was only a on errors and resulted in an equalizer, and again, we picked ourselves up and scored a wonderful goal. But we can't go from a shot last week to losing four goals tonight, albeit a couple of special goals within that. The first one I'm not sure if the boy who caught the mark (indiscernible). Regardless we had two fantastic finishes.
So, disappointing, of course, not to get any points from the game. And we'll take huge pointers from that going forward. That's 11 goals in three games, but equally we need to address it regardless of the quality of the opposition we played against.
On Cristian Maidana:
I think there is some merit in that. That's not the team we answered from. I never questioned at what rate we had that and how conscientious they are for the group and the club. Of course Maidana has wonderful qualities and particularly when a team doesn't fall and they have to risk everything. I think we could have picked them off, and that was a frustration because whenever I feel passed and you have those defensive areas, and there we attacked for a ten-minute period, and I think Maidana had the explosive piece there as well and it certainly helped.
But regardless of who we had, those players whoever has been asked to take a few they have to see how to get through. There are going to be periods where the quality isn't there and you have to stand up and be brave and show bravery in different ways. And bravery doesn't just come from making tackles. Bravery comes from making passes and possession and being the guy that makes a difference. If we went about that in the second half, I think we could have scored more goals and on probably won the game and been more comfortable. Because we never had a Red Bull team that kept a pressure, truth be told. And often when you do that and you get the fourth goal, it's frustrating. I've been fortunate to work with some very good players and terrific players and any of those players that I work with and play the game I think would have been proud of the two strikes from the fourth goal. Genuine class. So sometimes you have to hold your hand up to that.
My disappointment to that is we unload those areas. Because when that happens, players of that quality can punish you. So for me, we need to get pressure on that area, and we never put enough on it, and allowed them to take the PK and the first one there, just a touch of class.
On if he's ever experienced a game where all three subs were made due to substitutions like the Red Bulls:
Yeah, I've not had anymore than three because that's the max you can have. But, yeah, you're right. And then, again the disappointment for me from that end is that's when, with all due respect, we should have looked to take more care of the ball. Because all night (Indiscernible).
But, again, that can happen. I think it's not something that you plan for and Jesse wouldn't have planned for that. That's an uncontrollable. Sometimes it's like a genuine uncontrollable, and that's what happened. But, again, you don't win by accident.
I watched both games against Toronto and Montreal, and there are various times in the games and key moments where they could have scored goals and went on to achieve points in the game. So we knew it was going to be a tough game. We're respectful of that. And I think Jesse knew that we needed some. We're moving forward and continuing to get better.
Frustrating tonight, absolutely. And my disappointment is for the group, for the players because they never achieved the positive points and results that we wanted. But I do know moving forward we'll have a an exciting team, and a team we want to watch and a team we can put together and win games and that's what we're looking to do.
Houston Dynamo Forward Will Bruin
On becoming a stronger defensive unit:
Yeah definitely. We know we have the firepower to go out and score, but we have to tighten up defensively and that starts up front. We need to make sure we are tight and compacted and hard to play against because when we get stretched, teams in this league love that, and every team in this league has players that can go out and hurt you.
On what he saw tactically from both sides:
Coming into the game, we knew there was going to be space towards the middle with how they like to spread their center backs real wide so it's definitely something we were looking at and it worked today.
On the reaction after being down 1-0:
To go down 1-0 we showed fight, came back 2-1, then they tie it up 2-2 and then go back up 3-2, that's when we need to be professional and we need to see the game out. We can't be giving up late leads because in this league every point matters.
Houston Dynamo Goalkeeper Joe Willis
On the reaction to the defeat:
I'm really gutted for everyone on the field. The guys put so much effort into the game-kept fighting back every time we went down. And to see the guys put so much effort into the game and come away with nothing, is devastating.
On the fight of the team:
Something about this year we have a different bit of confidence to us, and you see it on the field. The first three games, the guys are fighting 90 minutes. That's something that we talked about a lot, having good road results, so that's something we wanted to come out and do tonight, but unfortunately, we weren't able to come away with anything.
On what the team needs to do moving forward:
You know, I'm not really sure. We need to go back, look at the video, see what happened, see what we need to do better, and get back to work on Monday and get ready for Vancouver.
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