Head Coach Caleb Porter
On Crew SC’s overall performance
I thought overall, our second half was much better. First half, we knew they were going to be direct, we knew they were going to fight for second balls. No surprises there. I thought that they won far too many second balls and that led to them obviously being able to create the goal. We didn’t get into a rhythm in that first half and they were able to play the game on their terms, disrupt us and make it the type of game they play, very combative and direct, like I said. I thought they executed well in that regard and we never, like I said, got into a rhythm. There are a few moments, three-four, where we broke their pressure and found space on the switch, couples crosses that were a touch off into Gyasii [Zardes] but I think overall, in reflection, that half could’ve been better. Second half was much better. We were able to get in a rhythm, we were able to keep the ball, switch play and we found some chances. I thought we had a good push at the end. The difference is in the second half, now they can buckle down and play for the point and that makes it difficult, you have to break down 10 guys. We had a few looks, but we weren’t able to find the goal. In the end, I think we feel like it is two points dropped, for sure. Anytime at home when you don’t get three points, you’re gonna feel that way. Good news is, we had a better second half but we’re going to need to start the game and play the first half like we did the second.
On playing against the New York Red Bulls
Set pieces are always important, thought we had a couple others that were close as well. It’s good to get the first set piece goal, good for the center backs to chip in. Again, I thought, they didn’t have a ton of chances and if you have chances, again, mostly off of our giveaways or them winning second balls, they didn’t really break us down but that’s the type of game it’s going to be when you play New York [Red Bulls] it’s not easy. Regardless of who is in there that style is difficult to deal with, especially for a team like us that wants the ball on the ground, and we want rhythm. We want to be able to pass and this is the type of game that we need to figure out, how to make the game on our terms and I thought second half we did but it wasn’t enough.
On the importance of winning second balls
They’re [New York Red Bulls} a team that is going to play the same style no matter who they have in and the personal didn’t surprise us or changes us, change what we did but to be honest with you, that first goal they scored I think gave them life, gave them confidence, kind of stunned us, came out of now where, cross in the box, good finish. Credit to them, in that first half they disrupted us and took us off our game. It wasn’t anything they did that surprised us, it was just winning duals. In a game like this, it is such a simple thing, but it is not always an easy thing, it is just to win second balls and anticipate those duals in the center of the part and if we win them, then we get the ball down and we play and if they win it, now they come at us. I thought the first half it was a game of them coming at us by winning those duals. Second half, I thought it was a different story.
On Robinho’s performance
I thought Robinho came in and kind of opened the game up a little bit for us. He had a couple moments where he got around the edges and caused some problems and was able to create some width, penetrate. Like I said, a couple moments that were really good chances where you think, this is going to be 2-1 and we’re gonna come out of here with a win.
On the positive takeaways from today’s match
The positive too, that is lost in the shuffle is us coming from behind. You never want to give up the first goal but it’s good that we had a good response and we came back. Anytime you give up the first goal, you make life a lot more difficult. When a team, in the second half and just sit back. They were happy with a point today and obviously, any team on the road would be.
On taking chances tonight
There were a couple first half when Waylon [Francis] and there were a couple second half where Harry [Harrison Afful] got in. I think, we need to look to do that more. To spring in the wingback, you have to have possession and you have to create the opportunities to spring them in and I thought in the second half we were able to do that more. I think if we play 90 minutes like we played the second half and we’re getting more chances and we’re probably finding another goal.
On the New York Red Bulls’ defense
They’re a good defensive team, they’re athletic. They match up really well, they deny you time and space. They’re not an easy team to play against and they style that they play is very combative, very physical. You don’t have a ton of time and space and you have to enter and around where you win the ball, you have to break the pressure quickly, if you don’t and they’re organized they keep the game tight and they battle. They did a good job today in that regard.
On not getting JJ [Williams] on the field
J.J [Williams] was the other attacking sub but I wanted to stick with Gyasi [Zardes] in the game, he’s our top striker and I didn’t want to take off Pipa [Higuain], I didn’t want to take off Gyasi [Zardes] or Pedro [Santos]. That would have been the only way to get J.J on the field.
On his overall evaluation of Crew SC’s performance against the New York Red Bulls
It was an emotional first game, for everyone. My first game, the players long last year – last couple years, not knowing what’s going to happen. A weight lifted of course with the Crew being saved but this was a tough game against a team that makes it choppy, that makes it physical, makes it combative and they did a good job today in that regard. They took us off our game at times. We’re disappointed with the one point, 100 percent but in some ways, this is a good way to start because this league isn’t easy. Three points are never easy, we’re never going to be able to just walk out on the field and pass the ball around. This league is tough, if you let your guard down you’ll get punched in the face, if you’re not ready to fight and battle, do the little things that you need to, you can give up goals and I think it is just a good reminder of that. There were other ups and downs this year, that’s for sure but I think this game gets us ready for the grind, this league is a grind.
On the supporters’ presence and looking towards the future
It was a great crowd. The supporters were tremendous. I wish we would have been able to give them three points, but we will, next time we’re at home, I’m confident that we will bring them the three points and, on the road, too starting next week. There are some similarities, New England [Revolution] is also a team that is pretty physical, they battle, and they do what they need to, to win and we have to go on the road now. Have a good week at training, look to pick ourselves back up, correct and sharpen some things that we need to do better at and go into the game and look to get three points.
Defender Gaston Sauro
On how he thought Crew SC played against the New York Red Bulls
I think we have to improve defensively and offensively. It was the first game, but we have to keep going.
On the atmosphere at MAPFRE Stadium created by the fans
The atmosphere was amazing. First game at home after all that happened with the club. We know now that the Crew [will] stay here and everyone is so happy fir that. I hope we have a great season.
On how he plans to celebrate scoring his first goal with the Crew
I think I received all the congrats from my teammates and that was enough for me. I can say that I was thinking about the doctor and my family, but I just want to celebrate with them. I was so happy.
On drawing against the 2018 Supporters’ Shield Winners
I think tonight it was not the best result for us. We didn’t have our best performance, but we still have time to work and to do better next week. I think it was amazing to feel the fans here and I think next week we will do better.
On what it was like to play at MAPFRE Stadium again
The feeling is something we cannot explain. Seeing everybody here, all the supporters – your heart beats faster and it is great. We just need to do our best to give back to them
On making his regular-season debut at home in front of the Crew supporters
I feel very happy that I was able to play in front of the fans. I’m not happy that we only got one point because I think we could have had all three, but I am happy with the performance – I am happy for my teammates’ [efforts], happy for the fans and happy that I was able to play.