Head Coach Caleb Porter
On his overall thoughts on Crew SC’s performance
It’s a tough one because I’m standing there 85 minutes in and my feeling was, as I see the game unwind, that we were going to score the goal to tie and as I’m watching the game I’m thinking ‘If we don’t’ - I’m very, very proud of my players, my team and the club for how we played against the best team in the League [Los Angeles FC]. In my opinion, in watching all the games and all the teams - they’re the Man[chester] City of MLS – the budget, the talent, the way they play, that’s the best team in the League and as I’m standing there at 1-0, I’m looking at my team and my feeling was that I was proud of them – for how they played, everything they gave. And that’s also considering that we were doing that - playing a team that didn’t have a midweek game – and we have eight or nine guys that played all three games and on top of that we lost two guys yesterday, Zack [Steffen] and Waylon [Francis], which compounded our injuries in the outside back position. Josh Williams had to slide in there, he hasn’t played outside back in two, three years, and was one of the best players on the field today and that’s the tough part – is my feeling was so positive and as I watched my team go toe to toe with the Man[chester] City of MLS, I couldn’t help but think ‘this is incredible.’ With us grinding through a three and eight [day stretch] and they didn’t have a midweek [game] and they [LAFC] had five days to prepare and we had one 30-minute Friday walkthrough – because you can’t train when you have two days in between – even in a 5v2 we have a guy go down with a soft tissue injury and our guys still matched this team [LAFC] and were right there and if Pedro [Santos] scores that goal, it’s 1-1 – it’s a different game. Tough part is, it ends 3-0 and with another seven minutes of the game we give up two goals and everybody leaves the stadium thinking we were crap and we weren’t. So, I’m proud of my group – I don’t care what anybody says, I know how they played, I know what they gave and yet, I did tell them it’s time for us to stop giving up cheap goals because that second goal – that’s the fourth or fifth time that has happened and that’s unacceptable at this level. We have to finish those chances that we get, and those are the things that I can’t solve, they have to solve. They’re the ones in those moments to make those plays and we need to stop giving up cheap goals and we need to start finishing.
On David Guzman and David Accam seeing the field
It will be nice to have a full week to prepare again and not just survive and, again, play a team – we’re playing the best team in the League [LAFC] and they have five days to prep – they’re completely fresh. It didn’t look like it to me - when I look at my team versus their team. That’s what I’m proud of and there are better days ahead, and I thought David [Guzman] was excellent today. He’s a quality player and you know, David [Accam] didn’t get a lot of minutes but he had a couple moments that were very good, and he showed what he is capable of.
On playing a 4-3-3 against LAFC
Well, we knew Pipa [Federico Higuain] couldn’t start. He’s 34 years-old, and again, we have this schedule and he can’t play three games in row. We had always planned to keep the game tight in the first half go 4-3-3. They play very narrow and I thought it worked. The one goal they scored was - hats off to them – one of the best goals I’ve seen this year – [a] little combination three=man. This is a quality team [LAFC] guys, they have talent everywhere. They’re dynamic and they’re a handful. I thought, honestly the first half went exactly the way we wanted except for they break us down on a quality goal – you say hats off to them. As I told the group at half time, we’re still in the game and we knew we would insert Pipa [Higuain] at half and I thought now all of a sudden we’re on the front foot and we’re the one creating chances and you just smell the goal and you think it is coming. It reminded me a lot of the D.C. [United] game, you know where we’re dominating the game and for us to do that – again, in the third game against a team that is fresh – the Man[chester] City of MLS, makes me proud but I’m tired of giving up those silly goals because that shouldn’t happen and I’m just wondering when those goals – when we’re in positions where you just feel like we’re going to score – that we start scoring.
On chances that didn’t result in shots
Yeah, yeah. Because you’re in great positions and you see the goal they scored. That’s an unbelievable goal, they broke down our block with three or four one-touch passes, I got to look at it again. That’s quality, that’s quality and I think we're in just as many good positions. I’m pleased again with just the way that we’re playing. This is a bottom-line business too, no one wants to hear the broken record of me saying were playing well and losing but not scoring.
On the idea of playing a 3-5-2
We need to look at everything right now because of how many injuries we have at outside back. That’s been difficult. Looking at how we’ve been playing without our two starting outside backs, which are a big part of how we play. There are better days ahead, when I watch this team and how we play, it doesn’t seem like it with the score line but, if you know football and you watched us tonight and watched us for periods, there are a lot of positive signs, this group is evolving. When I look at the way we play, and I look at the quality that second half against the best team in the League, we’re closer than people think.
On Zack Steffen and Waylon Francis
Yeah, strange. Zack [Steffen], we had a recovery session Thursday, he did the recovery session. We trained a group that didn’t play on Wednesday and he said his foot got more and more sore as the day went on, then he showed up Friday morning and he had a swollen foot that was bruised. He thinks he maybe kicked something during in the game Wednesday or took a knock in the game Wednesday and it gradually got worse and worse. He’s in a walking boot, he couldn’t put weight on it. We had him come in this morning to see if he was any better and it wasn’t any better. So, he wasn’t available for the match. Waylon [Francis] literally had a muscle strain in the, we basically did a 20-minute session because again, everybody’s - I knew I was going with basically the same group because I felt that was going to give us the best chance in the match. I’m pleased with that decision. But Waylon [Francis] in 5-V-2 just warming up, just felt a strain in his muscle, so he was out. He’s probably out – we’ll see, two to three weeks, maybe more.
On looking at Crew SC’s offense
Do you know our expected goals - statistics? Right, well I know our expected goals statistics. We’re in good spots, we’re in good spots to score. I had the GM in D.C. tell me that based on expected goals - we should be third in the League, after that game. So, these are the things that are realities, that I have to look at and analyze and figure out what’s happening, and it is not for lack of chances or being in good positions.
On whether the team needs to make better decisions when in good positions
Yeah, absolutely. One hundred percent.
Midfielder Wil Trapp
On his overall thoughts on the game and David Guzman making his first start
Yeah, a little bit more industry I would say. We knew that they’re a team that likes to pass and move. I thought David [Guzman] did a good job of cutting off out [Eduard] Atuesta in particular in the first half. Then when Pipa [Higuain] came on he, David [Guzman] was able to move back and then we could still build play through him which I thought was good.
On what it is going to take for Crew SC to avoid giving up soft goals
I mean I think it’s just communication – the second goal in particular. We just have to be better. We have to talk more. We have to realize the severity of – it’s a nothing play if we handle it the right way.
On what Crew SC needs to do better on
I mean I think it’s a little bit of execution. I mean truly, we’re getting in good spots, guys are doing the hard part almost to generate the chances and it’s just decision-making at this moment. We had a couple [of] good chances. I mean, I thought set pieces were fairly dangerous as well so it’s just, like Caleb has probably said, thrown in your face and you’re a little bit more – being a little bit more committed in every sense of it, both on the defensive end and the attacking side.
Midfielder Pedro Santos
On his thoughts on Crew SC’s missed chances during the match
We worked on this moment when the winger had the ball there, you know to play the cut pass, so I was there and he saw me. He passed me the ball and I shot, and I think the keeper made a great save. Maybe if I score a goal, maybe this changes a little bit the game, because we are playing well and we created some moments [where] we could have scored, but unfortunately we didn’t score and we concedes a second goal and for me it killed the game.
On what is needed to not give up soft goals
I think we need to be focused and ready – all the time. We did everything to score a goal, to tie the game, but unfortunately we didn’t score. The second goal killed the game because we are playing well, creating some moments, creating opportunities, but I think if we score a goal, we could have won the game. We need to be prepared all the time, 90 minutes. Sometimes you lose the focus and we concede silly goals. We need to change this