HEAD COACH CALEB PORTER
On what he attributes Crew SC’s fast start in the second half in the last two matches to
Hunger and a different mentality. Three games ago we, we all had a good talk and we talked about the last 14 games, how our mentality was going to be different. We were, prior to that, feeling sorry for ourselves a little bit. we had a victim mindset where we were waiting to lose, waiting to make mistakes. Maybe it's a self-fulfilling prophecy - I’m not sure. But we had to change our mindset and yes, some of it was really bad luck, but we decided that we're not going to think about that anymore, worry about it. We’re just going to take control of our season and we’re going to focus on improvement, we’re going to focus on, obviously, better performances as well. Because we had to be honest, even though we were maybe deserving it more, our performances still weren’t complete enough individually and collectively. And to the guys credit the last three games, even though we lost the Orlando [City SC] game, I thought we played really well, and I thought it was different, the mentality from start to finish and then obviously, last game was different the way we battled back twice and today again. Scored the first goal again and we battled back. You know, I got after a few guys at halftime and they took it the right way. I never get after guys in a negative way but it’s more to bring the most out of guys and as I gain more and more trust with them, I’ll continue to raise the bar and the standard of what I expect. It just takes time, you know? It takes time. I’m liking what I’m seeing right now. It wasn’t perfect. We made it a lot harder, in my opinion, then we needed to, but I think that’s also a byproduct of not winning. Sometimes you get a little bit maybe nervy at times, and that’s to be expected. We’ll use this win to build confidence and we need to get back to work and keep improving because we are nowhere near the team that we need to be.
On Eloy Room and Luis Diaz making immediate contributions to the team
Again, a big part of the last three games and [why] our performances have improved, [is] we’ve got key guys back. Let’s be honest about that. I mean, the level goes up when you get guys back from the National Team, [get] guys back healthy, a little bit more stability. But also, here's what I'll say: I thought Luis Argudo – over the last three games – was one of the best players on the field, it terms of what he brought: the energy, the fight. So, here's a guy that's not been known as a top player on our team and he’s emerged as a guy that is really capable of helping us win games and get the job done. So, it’s coming. I know when you see those games that are tight and we lose, people forget about the performance and the evolution along the way. I haven’t. Each game is another brick in the wall, and this is another couple bricks in the wall, we’re slowly building it. I’m just glad they finally got rewarded with a result because that’s important and our confidence will build. Like I said, we got to keep our highs low a little bit here because we're digging ourselves out of a massive hole and we got to fight every game like we did the last three.
On Crew SC finding its killer instinct
It takes time. It took a lot longer than I thought, but it's coming, and I’m real pleased with that. Most seasons that I've had in the 19 years I've been with teams, it was always kind of a turning point where you know they turn into the alpha dogs you want, and I thought it happened at halftime [in] Chicago. There were other signs, in other games where we were there but then we lost a little bit, I think, that edge, that of what I would say is panache, confidence, that swagger, you know what I mean? Good teams have swagger. You watch LA Galaxy last night, they’ve got swagger. And so we lost that a little bit. We’re starting to get it back but it’s only a start. We can’t get ahead of ourselves, again, we’ve dug a massive hole and we’ll enjoy this one, we’ll sleep a little better. The feeling will be a little bit better in training, but we can’t relax. We’ve got four days to improve and prepare for the next one. It’s not getting easier, we’re one the road [at] New York [Red Bulls].
On defensive areas that still need to be cleaned up
Yeah, we've been very good on defensive set pieces recently and the biggest reason is we changed our structure in the man-to-man. On the corners we’re zoning two and man-marking the rest and for some reason on the goal we gave up, we were in a zone. We’ve addressed it, it won’t happen again.
On Waylon Francis’ injury
Yeah, he took knock. So, again it's another game where bullets are flying, we got guys dropping, we’ve got two guys in the backline that have to come out, Josh [Williams] and Waylon [Francis] both. That burns two of our subs that we want to use because you’re not subbing your backs, and this is our third game in eight days. Montreal didn’t play a midweek game. So, there are so many positive things today, but I also look at the game and say, it should’ve been a lot easier, should’ve been 3-1. But I think a lot it has to do with that final touch of confidence that you gain from winning games and that belief and we’ll build on this and it will grow, no doubt and we’ll be – I think – a little bit more in control in future games, hopefully when we’re in winning positions.
On Waylon Francis’ 100th regular-season appearance and his performance in the first half
He was going against a pretty good player, [Orji] Okwonkwo, so I thought it was a good battle, a good match up. Waylon [Francis] is a guy that brings it, every game and he’s missed a lot of games with injuries, so we’ve missed him and Harry [Harrison Afful] as well. But we’re starting to get the spokes in the wheel back and there were a lot of game where we were missing a lot of spokes and the wheel wasn’t rolling quite as good.
On his message to Crew SC supporters
Yeah, it's tough. I don't get to talk to the supporters much. I clap at them to start the game and clap at them after. There’s nothing I hate more than clapping at them after a loss and just feeling bad. There’s no one that cares more than me, there’s no one that lives this like I do and like the players do, and when we don’t deliver results, it’s very disappointing to us. This Club is my passion, it’s in my blood and it’s been disappointing to not deliver results and I know when results aren’t delivered that there are questions and there’s people that are going to doubt, so I get that. I’m just glad that hopefully they’ll start to see signs that this Club is on the right track. But I’m glad to give them a win, really glad and I hope they sleep better tonight as well.
On Head Coach Caleb Porter showing confidence in him
He gives a lot of the guys confidence and we talk a lot, and he just tells me to keep going and keep pushing. And for me, I just want to help the team out so that’s all I’m doing.
On if he feels more comfortable in his second year in MLS
Like you said, it’s the second year. I think last year I was a bit nervous but now every game I’m getting settled in and just doing my job.
On strong relationship inside Crew SC’s locker room
I think it showed a lot in the second half of [the] Chicago [Fire match] where we were down 2-1, and we all came together, we tied it, and we thought we could have got the win in Chicago with five minutes left. I think this game shows that we’re still a team that can make it and we’re just going to keep working hard to make the playoffs.
On what’s changed for the team between earlier games and now
I think the team is very resilient and we have players who come in and the ones who start who do a tremendous job in doing their job and getting it done, and I think we executed well. Towards the middle or end we kind of were chasing a bit, but that’s what happens when you haven’t won a game in a while and you’re anxious and nervous, so I think it was fine.
On if tonight’s victory was a breakthrough for Crew SC
I think today’s game was huge for us and what we spoke about was to get a win – no matter what, we should get a win today. I think we have played really well in some games, but we didn’t get a result, and today we just wanted to get a win for the club, for the fans, because they deserve it. We’ve given them really bad results in the previous games at home, so today we just wanted to win for the club and also for the fans.
On harnessing momentum from the draw against the Chicago Fire
I think mentally we just need to be positive and try to be mentally strong, because after Chicago we had a delayed flight, everyone was tired, but we just wanted to win today. We just wanted to win today so everyone gave 100% or even more, everyone wanted to win. So today is just about winning.
On if he knew his goal was onside
Yeah, I knew I was on because I think I timed the run really well. So, when I scored, when even the referee whistled for offside, I was still confident it would be overturned because I knew I had a good run.