Steve Clark
Nathaniel Smallwood

Post-match quotes: Crew vs. Whitecaps FC


On overall performance:

First of all, the guys are running on fumes. You can see the difference, it was clear. [Vancouver] had a bunch of players running around fresh, running around and we didn’t have it physically. In one way, I’m disappointed but the other way, the guys gave it everything they had and unfortunately that wasn’t enough today. If I’m critical of anything, it’s my team selection, not rotating more guys and getting some fresh legs in there because to me that was clearly the difference. They were just more physical and able to run more than we were.

On frustration from the locker room:

You’re always frustrated. If you win four games in a row and lose the next one, you’re always frustrated that next game. You’re not happy with losing. I think we’re not at a stage where we’re examining ‘are these the right players?’ ‘Is this the right system?’ We’re not at that stage. We believe in this group, and it’s a good group. We’re going to improve and we’re going to get better. Like I said, I think today was just a by-product of extreme fatigue and having to play a third match in seven days, travelling and weather conditions. That’s the way I see it.

On lack of rotation:

Again, I’ll take responsibility for that. I should’ve some fresh guys in and there are some guys who are clearly ready, and I gave the starters the benefit of the doubt. In this case, I think we should’ve gone with some fresh legs looking back on it.

On shutouts:

I think you need a certain explosiveness, dynamic and certain poise in front of the goal to capitalize on your opportunities. I think there are times in the first half when we were in crossing position and it ends up a counter attack for the other team. We’re going to look at that and analyze that, but certainly we’ve got to get better at that aspect of the game around the goal, and we’ve got to get better.

On rotating with players potentially leaving for FIFA World Cup:

This is a good opportunity for a few guys to step up, and I think they’re going to have to. We’ll give them a chance and we’ll see. I’m confident that we have guys who are ready to play.

On players on being ready to play following two games earlier in the week:

You rarely get players that are going to tell you, ‘no coach, I’m not ready.’ I think we tried to have serious conversations, guys wanted to play. They wanted to make up for the game in Houston. Unfortunately, they didn’t have it physically to be able to do that.

On rest in the coming week:

It’s recovery right now. A lot of guys played a lot of minutes in the past seven days, and it’s about getting away from the game for a couple days and resting and healing their bodies. You see some of the guys are banged up. That’s the priority right now and have a good, full week of training and go up to Portland and try to play a good game.

On offense and ball movement:

I thought there were some better movements, especially on the sides of the field. On the left side of the field in the first half, we had some decent movements. The final part of the execution wasn’t so much there though. But some of the movements got us into some good positions and executed some of the stuff we were focused on.

On Bernardo Anor coming off at halftime:

I think he was fatigued as well and he’ll tell you he was fine or he could’ve kept on, and he probably could’ve kept on, but he worked extremely hard last game and it took a big toll on him. The plan was to let him work hard and get a fresh guy in.

On the importance of Wil Trapp’s return:

It’s important. Wil is a good player. He’s Vice Captain for a reason. He means a lot to the team and the organizational side of it and it’s important to have him back, and Agustin [Viana] did a good job when he came in.

On Ethan Finlay:

He gives us a spark when he comes in and he’s done this not just in this game. Remember the Toronto game when he hit the post? He has that ability, and for him it’s maybe about the consistency getting that more often, but he’s certainly an offensive spark for us. He has a very good quickness, he’s very good 1v1 and I think he had a positive impact on the game today.


On the takeaway from tonight’s game:

The margins for winning and losing are very small. And right now, we are on the wrong side of those. We need to fix that. Small things make a big difference. Obviously today we were very tired, and they [Vancouver Whitecaps FC] had a very good game plan. They came in with a lot of energy, and it showed. I do not think that we were very sharp in the beginning. We gave up them a lot of changes, and they scored a good goal. But I think it’s a gut-check time, and that we will continue to get back to what makes us a good team.

On the fatigue that comes with playing three games in a week:

We pushed the game to the end. I respect the guys for coming back like that, but we are always giving up the early goal which puts us in an early hole and that is hard to get out of. I am going to focus on myself like anyone should do, and keep trying to make saves.

On his opinion of the Vancouver goal:

He [Erik Hurtado] had a very good strike so give him credit. If I am going to get beat, hopefully it is going to be something like that. I am not going to criticize my defenders as I thought it was a great strike. I do not think that is often that I get beat from thirty-five yards out like that. I thought that they [teammates] played well.


On the plays the team is making:

I think it has been a long week especially for the guys who played all three games. I think at this moment our character is being tested. Not scoring goals is always tough, but I think that we cannot get down on ourselves. The moment that you start over-thinking things and trying too hard to correct things we are going to plunge in deeper and deeper. I think we need to take a step back, take a deep breath and get back to the things that were working for us that were lacking for us tonight. The goals will be a by-product as a result of doing the little things.

On the offensive struggles:

I think once you have seen us give up a goal, you can see a change in urgency and push numbers forward. Sometimes we funnel it in to tight areas, lose it and get counterattacked. I think that we need to be a little bit more patient and not get so excited after we concede a goal. It is going to happen in games our character has to be a little bit stronger.

On how it feels to be back after his one game suspension:

Yeah. It is never fun to sit and watch, but it was nice to get back out there. Unfortunate on the loss tonight, but we can take a lot from this game, learn and grow. I think we need to get back to the basics of what make our team good.

On Erik Hurtado’s first start in almost a year: 
The goal was fantastic, it was a super strike. It’s a reward for his overall performance was fantastic. He held the ball and gave the two center backs – who are both very good players – a problem all night. That’s credit to him; it has been tough for him since coming out of the draft. He has knuckled down, especially this year, and he got his reward tonight.

On the partnership up front: 
I thought they were electric. I was disappointed that we only scored the one goal. We are a team that gets the first goal then we are very dangerous as we showed today. We have to work on a bit of finishing this week. I think we should have taken more than one chance. But, tonight was our night. Obviously Columbus is a very good team; they like to play the right way. I said that to Gregg before the game. I always knew it was going to be an entertaining match.

On Omar Salgado’s first match in MLS in over a year: 
It’s great for him. He has fought his way back. He has been down to Charleston, and I recalled back into the squad and I want him to be a part of this squad, because he has a lot to offer. He could have put the icing on the cake with a super finish. That would have made it 2-0 but more importantly for me was Omar’s header in the last minute. Higuain can deliver one of the best balls in the league. I’ve got Omar heading away the ball in the six yard box, and that’s as good as a goal for me.

On Columbus being a possession team: 
Defend as a team. I tried to set up my team. I wanted to put a little bit of doubt in their mind because they are a good possession team. The only reason you have possession is to achieve the end product and obviously today they didn’t have the end product. I’m sure if they keep working they will get the results they want.

On speeding up the tempo: 
They are a good possession team. Dealing with possession is a difficult thing.  As long as you get your shape compact, you have to think a step ahead while you’re dealing with it. In relation to how you can counter them. They push their fullbacks very high, probably as high as any team in the League. If they get a goal and reward for it, then it’s fantastic but if they don’t they leave their selves wide open. I thought today maybe the pace could catch them on the break and that’s certainly what happened. 


On first appearance in 18 months:

It was great. Obviously, like you said, it’s been two years so I’m just excited to be on the field.

On late chance:

Yeah I saw the ‘keeper come out and I thought I had him with the chip. I thought it went in but it kind of curved out so it was unfortunate but I’m glad we won.

On persistence to play:

Obviously it’s been a long road back. Two years is a long time in the world of football. It’s just a happy moment for me to be on the field again.


On shutout:

It was a great cleansheet. I think the guys in front of me did really well, especially second half by blocking a lot of shots and clearing a lot of things. It was a really good team effort.

On assist:

Yeah, I think you have to credit that to Erik [Hurtado] mostly, I just tried to put it on his chest and luckily he made some magic out of it

On second-half pressure:

It got hectic, like it always does when you only have a one goal lead. They put a lot of balls in the box and there were some moments there where it got a little tight but I thought we dealt with it really well and I thought we had a lot of chances the other way with counters and we could have probably made it two- or three-nil in the second half.