HEAD COACH CALEB PORTER
On Gyasi Zardes’ Performance
Yeah, obviously that is what you want out of your striker. He’s had a couple rough games, and missed some chances. We had some great talks after those games, and I kept telling him that I believe in him. And I gave him a couple-day break. He bought into it and understood. I think he just needed a little bit of a couple days rest, and it sure looked like it helped today. It was great for him. I mean, he looked every bit as good as the type of striker that we want and need.
On tonight’s match and win
I think what was good about it is that we showed the type of football we can play, and a bit of the vision moving forward of what we want it to look like. That first half was the best half of the year, and I thought it was as close to the vision of how we want to play moving forward as we’ve had all season long. We were aggressive, we pressed from the opening whistle. We got on the ball when it was on to break and be ruthless in transition, we were. When it was time to keep the ball, we did. I thought second half we dropped off too much and didn’t keep the ball enough. We have to play the way we did first half for longer periods. But, I think to show what we’re about, show what we’re capable of and obviously send our supporters home feeling good was really important tonight. We talked about not thinking about any games prior. It’s been a rough year, it’s been a challenge. We had adversity, we had more adversity today. We lost more guys with injuries today. I mean, I can’t believe it, every game it seems like we lose another guy. But, we wanted in spite of all those things, to send our supporters home, make them feel good, to remind everybody the type of club that we are, the type of team that we are, and the type of players we have.
On having success on the right side of the pitch
Of course, we look at the opponent and we set up a plan where we want to get behind their team, especially on the right side. If you look at most of their games, if you watch through the goals they’ve given up, far more of their goals come down their left side. So, we want to be direct and aggressive on that side. We wanted to play the pocket on our left side with Youness (Mokhtar).and create width on our right through Harry [Harrison Afful] and [Luis] Diaz. I thought we did really well in terms of executing the way we wanted to play and I thought our transition play was good. I thought our pressing was really good. There have been some games where we felt we couldn’t do that or maybe we felt that it was not going to be the right thing to do, and I thought today we showed we can play that way aggressively, press high from the front, and get the goal or keep the ball. We showed front-half dominant football today, and we have to continue with that and certainly in the second half we didn’t show that but we get the result, we get the three-one win and I’m pleased. We are going to enjoy it, obviously our fans should enjoy it as well. I just want to thank them for showing up, being loud and supporting us through this tough year. We still have five games to go and we are not done yet, we are going to keep swinging, we are going to keep fighting, who knows what happens.
FORWARD GYASI ZARDES
On getting rest midweek
Yeah, so like you said, coach (Caleb Porter) gave me a couple days off mid-week. I think that was great for myself. Just allow myself a little bit more rest, and prepare for this game.
On if his goal show the rest of the team has confidence in him
Oh yeah, I mean throughout the last, previous games, my team, they have confidence in me every time I step onto the field. And it’s vice versa. I have confidence in them. Just to be able to put the ball in the back of the net, and help us go up a goal, and then help us go up two goals just means a lot.
On if this game is a breakthrough
Yeah, I mean like you said, we’ve been trying to score first, and today we capitalized on that. Now I think we need to carry this momentum into the next game.
On the traveling crowd
It feels great, we have some of the best fans in the league, and I’ve been saying that since the moment I got here. When I see thousands of fans, in like close to zero-degree weather out here, and they’re still out there supporting us. Just for them driving and traveling down here, it means a lot to us players.
On if there was extra motivation due to the rivalry
Every player in this room treated this game like a cup game.