Steffen vs. TOR
USA Today

POST-MATCH QUOTES | #CLBvVAN - March 31, 2018

SPORTING DIRECTOR AND HEAD COACH GREGG BERHALTER

On the match against Vancouver Whitecaps FC

I don’t know. I think this is a good wakeup call for us. Give Vancouver a lot of credit. They had a clear game plan, they stuck with it, and they executed it. For us, I don’t think that we can play at 60% of our highest level and win games at this league. I really don’t. So for me the wake-up call is, ‘Okay guys, this is about every game. Us playing with a high tempo, us really trying to push our game on the opponent.’ Today I think we were way too slow on our ball movement.

On the ball movement being slow

I think that we weren’t getting our fullbacks high enough. I think we were a little too cautious with that. I think our wide-attacking midfielders were coming too deep. So then we had no threat to get behind their line. We weren’t opening up any spaces. So, again, to me this is a wake-up call game. It’s one of those games where we have to be like, ‘Okay. We’ve got to get better. We’ve got to do better, and we’ll be fine.’

On starting Hector Jimenez

Hector [Jimenez] is going to be a guy that’s important to this group. We wanted to give him game time. We know it’s going to be valuable to keep him fit during the season. We know he’s going to play a number of games. Although Milton [Valenzuela] was doing fantastic, it was important for us to get Hector [Jimenez] on the field, that he stays fit, and that he remains an important part of this group.

On Kei Kamara’s goal

I have to look at it again, but to me it looked like we were perhaps a little too deep. We didn’t get enough pressure on the ball. Give Kei [Kamara] credit; he made a great header, but I think we were a step slow on that play for sure.

On attacking chances

I think we don’t have a problem with them drifting inside, or drifting lower, but we need to have someone high. We can’t just play soccer with 10 guys behind the ball. In attacking positions, we need to be threating the opponent’s back line. That’s what our game is about, putting players in position to get behind the opponent, and today we did a very poor job of that. I don’t know if it was a willingness to run. I don’t know if it was positioning. We’re going to look at it, but today was not good.

On defending set pieces

We actually did a great job on defending set pieces. They were huge. That was a big team we played against today. For me, it was about using our quickness, using our speed, using our ball circulation. Anytime you play against players that are that big, you have to make them move quickly, and we didn’t do that. Again, very poor job of putting any kind of tempo into the ball circulation.

On preventing counterattacks

I think we did a decent job of that. In the second half, we did lose our shape a little too much; we did give them a little too much space. When you look at the first goal, it just was an example of where we could’ve been better. I think the goal that got disallowed- very similar situation. We had a chance to stop the counter-attack very early, and we let the player run. So, again, to me this is a good wake-up call for us. We can’t go through the motions in this league. You need to perform every single game.

On evaluating the centerbacks and the team’s performance

I don’t want to get in the habit of evaluating performances in the media. I’ll talk to the group, and we’ll talk to the centerbacks and give them an evaluation of their performance.

On the loss being a wake-up call and potentially positive for the team.

I think it could. To us it’s about preparing as much as you can for the performance on the weekend. I’ll take a look at what we could’ve done wrong with the coaching staff to see if there’s anything we missed with this matchup, with this game. To me it just wasn’t good enough.

On whether he looks back on Crew SC’s 14-match undefeated streak

I mean I guess. To me, again, our focus is preparing for the game on the weekend. Not worrying about streaks, not worrying about any of that stuff – just performing. That’s why I’m bothered today because I don’t think we performed.

On controlling the ball

The first half, in my opinion, wasn’t great but it showed glimpses of controlling the match, being dangerous, threatening their goal, and then the second half showed none of that. It showed very cautious and very slow ball movement. To me, the second half was there to start opening up your lead and start really performing, and we didn’t do that. That’s what’s disappointing.

On Pedro Santos and Cristian Martinez switching positions

I think we look for the space is, and where we can exploit it. When Pedro [Santos] is on the right, he can come in and shoot with his left, and vice versa with Cristian [Martinez] on the left side. So there’s times where we want that. We want them driving inside to open up space for our full back, and then there’s times where we’re happy to say ‘We’re going to stretch, we’re going to open the opponent a little more, and have them positioned a little bit further apart.’ In terms of them switching, that’s based on how they’re feeling in the game. A lot of it comes down to what they’re looking to do in the game.

GOALKEEPER ZACK STEFFEN

On what Crew SC can improve ahead of the next match against the Chicago Fire

Speed of the ball.  We will just have to make them move and make them run and then finishes our chances.

On the positive takeaways from today’s match

I thought the first half went well, I thought we moved the ball well and we broke them down a bunch of times and we had our chances. I thought we also built out well in the first half.

On the first half vs. the second half of the match

We played well in the first half and with speed. We just slowed it down in the second half and they sat back, and we couldn’t break them down.
 

DEFENDER LALAS ABUBAKAR

On the today’s match against Vancouver

In the second half we could have done much better, in terms of moving the ball and having a lot of options going forward, but I thought that we lacked that, we didn't really get that in the second half.

On what Crew SC can improve

We need to be better as a team, so we will go back next week and work on something.

On the end of Crew SC's 14-match undefeated streak 

I mean any time you lose you feel concern about it. A loss is a loss so I think everyone is disappointed with the result. We were up 1 to nothing and we had control in the game.


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