QUOTE SHEET: Rafael Diaz and John Wolyniec discuss NYRB II's 0-0 draw vs. Rochester Rhinos

On playing last year’s USL champions:

I mean, you know, we’d obviously like to come away with three points. You know, we’re playing the champions from last year and I think we had the better of the game, so definitely some good things to get out of it, I just think we could’ve been a little better and had some opportunities to take three points at home against a team that’s, you know – they’re tough to play against. Let’s be honest, they’re very well coached and very good tactically and very tight, they don’t give away a lot, and I think we created a number of chances but, you know, it’s still 0-0 so it’s a little bit of both.

On Ryan Meara’s injury:

Yeah, he’s got a groin pull. When he came out, on his first step he felt it a little bit and then it started to really tighten up on him, so. No way to know how bad or whatever but it didn’t make sense for him to stay in the game, especially that early.

On subbing in goalkeeper Rafael Diaz:

Yeah, Rafi’s here for a reason. He’s been in the first team camp the last two years and, you know, he was with us last year obviously – didn’t get many games, but he’s a guy that I have a lot of faith in, so no problem.

On what the team needs to do to beat Rochester:

I think a lot of teams are asking that question; you know, they only lost one game last year. They lost one this year, right away, but – yeah, it’s tough. It’s a good test for our guys for sure. Again, it’s a credit to us that we had the better of the game and had the better of the chances, but you know there’s still that little bit left for us to learn and figure out how to win tight games like that, where only one or two actions in a game make a difference. You know, we were close to giving away one there a couple of times but definitely proud to keep another shutout – credit to our guys – but who’s going to make a play, that’s the question. A couple of guys were close, but it didn’t quite happen.

On new signings Cheikh M’Baye and Zoumana Simpara:

Cheikh came on well. It’s always difficult coming on as a center back in a game but I think he handled himself pretty well and, you know, he’s a good soccer player. He’s able to play forward well and he got on the run a couple of times which is not always what we expect from our center backs, but clearly he had some energy and wanted to play. It’s been a long process for him, so I’m sure he’s excited to get on the field and show what he can do. I thought he stepped in well. And Simpara, some of the same. I don’t think he impacted the game as much as I’d hoped but at the same time he was good and connected and I’d just like to see him be a little bit more dangerous but, you know, it’s not an easy team to be dangerous against.

On Tim Schmoll:

Yeah, Tim’s first 90 minutes. I thought he was solid and he did well and obviously wins a lot of aerial battles. Again, Rochester – that’s one of their strengths, they have some of the tallest forwards in the league, and it’s nice to be able to have Tim to counteract that. And he was pretty good on the ball. We have a lot of good options at center back, so it’s a tough competition for guys and I think it’s driving those guys to get better and to take advantage of the opportunities and I think so far they’ve all done pretty well – you know, three shutouts in a row.

On the incident leading to Steevan Dos Santos’ ejection:

Rochester is a tough, physical team and they battle and sometimes, you know, when you battle that much things boil over a little bit and, you know – nothing too malicious out there, but at the same time I think the red card was deserved. I’m just trying to protect my guys. I don’t know exactly what happened, sometimes you can’t tell how much force was thrown into the things and whether real contact was made but I saw two moments where arms and hands were raised and there’s just no place for that. The referee did a good job.

On Derrick Etienne Jr. learning to play more defensively:

It’s not defensive-minded, it’s just, you know – when we don’t have the ball we all defend and Derrick has to learn that and for the most part, he’s improving. He’s definitely improving in that area. Today wasn’t his best, I think last week he was better, but it’s not an easy development path to just go in one direction – up – so you have spits and spurts and sometimes you’re better one week and then the next week you’re not so good. Derrick kind of came to life in the second half a little bit but I think he forced things a little bit much, which is fine – in some respects, I think that’s good because he’s trying to take the game into his own hands – but sometimes when Derrick does that forgets about the constant work that needs to go into games. So it certainly wasn’t a step backwards or anything but last week was one of his better games that he’s played with us. We think the world of Derrick, and it’s just constantly being hard on him so he can continue to get better.

New York Red Bulls II goalkeeper Rafael Diaz

On his performance and stepping in for Ryan Meara:

I think it was a good performance, the team did well in front of me so I just needed a couple touches to get myself into the game and the rest was a lot of organization and making sure the guys in front of me were in a good position.

On the toughness of Rochester:

They’re a good team. They know what they’re doing and they’re organized, they defend pretty well and they’re hard to break down as we saw today. That’s something we knew and unfortunately we were unable to put one in the net.

On if it’s difficult to stay prepared as a backup keeper:

That’s kind of the business so you always have to stay ready and train like you’re going to play the game and whenever you have the opportunity to play you have to step up. You get your chance and you have to make the best of it.

On staying so sharp:

It’s very similar as last year, training with Vadim [Kirillov] and just making sure I re-train like I would to play and just getting a lot of reps and just trying to be better in training and see if I have opportunities to produce when I get the chance.

On stepping in as the starter going forward:

I’m just excited for the challenge and I am going to go work and look for things that I can do better and take it from there and prepare for next game.

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