Justin Meram CLBvTBR 6-15-16
Brian Spurlock / USA Today Sports Images

Post-match quotes: Crew SC vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies

SPORTING DIRECTOR AND HEAD COACH GREGG BERHALTER

On the sluggish start to the game…
I think the conditions had a lot to do with it. Being extremely warm and hot, the field was slow. Once the rain came it cooled down, it must have cooled down 15 degrees or something, and then the ball started flying. It was good.

On four goals scored by four different players…
It was good. We were happy with that. It’s nice to see Marshall [Hollingsworth] get his first goal. It’s nice to see Cristian [Martinez] score again. And, Justin [Meram] and Ethan [Finlay], you know, they always do that stuff. So, that’s good. But, it shows that the attack is balanced, and we’re happy with that.

On two goals scored by the players up top…
It was [nice to see]. Particularly, Justin’s [Meram] goal from the run of play, I thought was good. A well-executed move. Ethan had some opportunities as well. So, we’re happy with that.

On the reasoning behind multiple goal scorers…
I think that we still need to work on playing with no number nine. I think it’s still something that we can get better at.

On why the team needs to improve on playing without a center forward…
Because I think it’s interesting. I think it’s nice. Murph [Massive Report writer Patrick Murphy] and I were talking about using different formations for different events. It just gives us something to work on, something to challenge the guys.

On what happened during the weather delay to get the team going…
We actually looked at video. And saw some things that we thought we could take advantage of. And so it was clear, you can diagram it and put it up on the board. Luckily, we took advantage of that.

On what there was to do during the weather delay…
I was talking to their coach for about 45 minutes, walking around, drinking water, chatting, listening to music, a whole bunch of stuff to do. But, guys get on their phones, start going on the internet. People can’t be without their phones anymore, right? But no, I didn’t touch my phone.

On the play of the younger guys…
We need to see the development from them. Not only in training but in the games. This is a good opportunity for them to show that. I think Rodrigo [Saravia] looked much better as the number eight than as the number six in my opinion. That’s where he started to be more aggressive. I think he’s a little too hesitant as the number six. But he’s a rookie and we’re working on it. He has a lot of potential.

On the play of Justin Meram…
I think Justin’s [Meram] doing a good job. He’s doing well. He’s an important part of our attack. For him it’s about knowing when to complicate the game and when to simplify the game. And when he does that at the right moments he’s excellent.

On Marshall Hollingsworth getting his first goal…
[It not only feels good] for me but look how the guys reacted. That’s the great thing about it. They love Marshall. He’s a great guy, great individual. And it’s nice to see him get that goal. It would have been nice to see him get the second as well, but it wasn’t to be.

On the experience level of the younger guys…
Confidence is a big part of the game, and when they have that mindset and when they’re working for each other they can do good things. And I liked the interchanging of positions. I like the flexibility of what they were doing. So I think it was good.

On the performance of Emil Larsen…
He did pretty well. He’s another one that got more comfortable as the game went on. We asked him to play number 10. You see, he gave that pass to Marshall [Hollingsworth] at the end. He had a pass on the first goal as well, and a couple of shots. He’s a dangerous player.

On if Emil Larson’s training is translating to the field…
Yeah, I think so. He’s definitely shown improvement. Right now it’s great to give him games like this to really see where he’s at and today he did well.

MIDFIELDER ETHAN FINLAY

On if the guys played together tonight…
Yeah, these games aren’t easy. Even without the delay, these are always tough games and we have already seen a couple of MLS teams upset by some lower level teams. You see these teams are good teams that play good soccer and have the ability to come into a home stadium and beat you. I was proud of the guys tonight that we stayed in it, especially after a little bit of a delay. We came out and got a goal before half, which was kind of the idea in the first 20 minutes, and from there we never took our foot off the gas.

On the assist to Cristian Martinez…
I was just trying to run to the near post, obviously I haven’t played much forward in this system. But I was just trying to get to the near post to try to get a touch on it or a nick on it to maybe throw the defenders off behind you. [Martinez] runs onto a great ball and has a great finish so that was a good start to the second half for us.

On how it was to play forward again…
Yeah, I thought it was good. I enjoyed it up there, I felt comfortable. If anything it shows a little of my versatility and that I can do it because we are a little low on the front line right now and hopefully it gives the coaching staff a little bit of comfort going forward. I felt like I looked good and I felt like my movement was good, but I still need to refine it since I haven’t played up there a ton recently.

On his confidence after putting the ball in the net…
I think my confidence is pretty high anyway, coming off a two assist game from the last game in [Philadelphia] but then to just keep it rolling. I’ve said it this season: I’m not going to let the stats dictate my play and how I’ve been doing. My numbers may be down compared to where we were last year but I still feel like I’m playing good soccer and our team’s creating many chances. That’s my big thing is that I make an impact on every game.

On his penalty kick…
Obviously, you should always score. Always put it on frame and I expect to score in those situations. I think it gives us confidence going forward that I can take those if need be.

MIDFIELDER JUSTIN MERAM

On tonight’s result…
It’s good. Its great to get on the score sheet with Ethan [Finlay], Cristian [Martinez] and Marshall [Hollingsworth] getting his first professional goal. Seeing the variety of goals, due to the weather circumstance, it was a professional performance and it was great.

On starting up top for the team…
Number nine playing number nine, right? It was good and I felt comfortable. I was making good runs and when you’ve been playing in the League for so many years, you understand certain rules and the transition was fine. It was good to get a goal and overall I think it was a decent performance.

On if he missed playing up top…
Yeah, you miss it. I miss being in front of goal most of the game but I love being on the ball a little more on the wing. Overall, it was alright.

On if Crew SC was more determined to play with more of a spark following the rain delay…
I think the rain sort of lowered the temperature. I think it was just one of those slow starts, but once we got back out there we obviously took it to them and they couldn’t recover.

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