quotes - 091920

POST-MATCH QUOTES | Columbus Crew SC vs. Nashville SC - Sept. 19, 2020

Head Coach Caleb Porter

Opening statement

Another great result. It wasn't easy. It never is in MLS. We talk about that as a team all the time. We knew they'd [Nashville SC] have some confidence because the last game they scored four goals and they've been a stingy team in the way that they play: they get numbers behind the ball, they get crosses in, they're pretty direct, they’re good on set pieces – so you can see why they kind of hang in around every game, and they've not been an easy thing for opponents to figure out.

I'm really pleased that we were able to unlock them for two goals in the second half. You saw a big part of the plan was to let them have a bit of the ball. We saw on film most of the games where the opponent had the ball they [Nashville SC] they would hit teams in transition and that's where they were most dangerous. The guys really stuck to the plan and that first goal came by just being patient getting behind the ball and we saw that if they really don't have time and space to play balls forward or transition, they end up kind of getting stuck on the ball and complicating it, and sure enough that first goal came from them getting caught on the ball. [It was a] great counterattack with Gyasi [Zardes] to Pedro [Santos], a great strike and then I thought the second goal was excellent. Like good teams do, you get the first goal, you know there's going to be a push from the opponent, we managed that, and good teams kind of stick the knife in the heart and turn it and I thought it was great to get that second goal and write off the game.

Another clean sheet I thought Eloy [Room] was excellent. He made a couple saves look really easy that weren't easy. The entire back four I felt was really tight, especially with the way they played crosses in the box and direct on set pieces like I said, not easy. It was great to see Bouba [Aboubacar Keita] come back into the team in his first game back after New York FC. I thought we got a great performance out of him and Jona [Jonathan Mensah] and Harry [Harrison Afful] and Milton [Valenzuela]. So, across the board, you need your attackers to score. Pedro got a goal, Gyasi got a goal and an assist; we needed that especially with Lucas [Zelarayan], only playing 30 minutes, 35 minutes. We have a quick turnaround. Our goal is to be on 30 points after this next game and we're going to fight really hard for that. I'm really pleased that we're, I think in the last 10 games, unbeaten at home. Great to have our supporters as well and great to get another three points.

On Crew SC being a top team and performing like a top team

You know, I said to the locker room that there are two things that good teams do, top teams. The first one is they're hard to beat and we've shown that. Over the last 25 games, we've lost three games. In the last 10 home games we're unbeaten. We’ve lost one game in 12 this year so we're showing to be a top team that is very, very difficult to beat and we showed that last week, being down 2-0. That's great for our belief, [for] our confidence and also great for the opponent to know that we're a very difficult team to beat. And a second thing good teams do, is good teams beat the teams that they should beat. We knew going into this that this [Nashville SC] was a good team, especially their midfield Dax McCarty, [Anibal] Godoy and [Hany] Mukhtar we knew would be really good players, and obviously [their] back four with [Dave] Romney and [Walker] Zimmerman. Those guys are experienced guys. We knew it wouldn't be easy, but we also felt like we should win this game. And I'm really pleased that we were able to show that, because you see it all the time: teams that should beat other teams, they don't do it and they take the night off or they get complacent and top, top teams, they don't let that happen. They don't give teams any chance or any hope that they can beat them and I thought we did that. We had to be patient to do it and I thought the guys showed a lot of composure. They could have got rattled with a few situations in the match, some hard fouls, maybe fouls that didn't go our way. But we're not going to make excuses in any game this year. We're going to get the job done.

On Crew SC getting five consecutive shutouts at MAPFRE Stadium and whether the team is doing what he expects it to do at home

Good teams win at home. You take care of business in your home games for a lot of reasons.  You need those points, but I do believe there is an entertainment factor in MLS. You need people to come to the games. You want them to, when they come, want to come back. We are re-energizing the club. We have a new stadium that is being built right now that will be finished next summer. We want people to understand that we play attractive soccer and we win, we score goals. That we’re fun to watch. So, I think we are showing that and I hope people continue to get on board and that we have more and more people come to our games. Obviously, we are limited right now with how many people we can have, but we want everybody in this community to get really excited about our club and they should be. You look at where we are at on the table and you look at what we are doing this year and how hungry the guys are – [you look at] I would say the quality of the players. We have some of the best players in the League here. Everybody should want to follow the team and come out to watch these guys play because it’s a great group of guys. They’re great players but they’re also really good people.

On Gyasi Zardes’ finishing ability

He’s in really great form right now. I tell him every day, because in training he’s playing as well as I’ve ever seen him play and he has a lot of confidence. I think he is doing different things than he has ever done. He’s showing to be more complete in his hold-up play and in his movement in different ways. He’s always going to be good in the box, that’s his greatest strength. Right now, if you’re a good team then you need your strikers to score goals and you need your 10 [to perform]. Today Pedro was the 10 and Gyasi was the striker, and those guys chipped in goals. That’s what we need out of them, so it’s great to see. I told Pedro before the game that this is when he starts to hit his stride. If you remember last year, he really took off and started bagging goals and it seems like it’s that time of year again. So, it was great for him to get another goal today and it’s great that G [Gyasi Zardes] is chipping in every single game. We need that out of him.

Goalkeeper Eloy Room

On whether giving up two early goals against Chicago Fire FC last match made the squad want to get a shutout even more

Yeah, of course. Last week was not the kind of game that we wanted because of the two early goals but we moved on and we learned from it. I think this game we wanted o show that we have a strong team and a strong defense, and we wanted to keep a clean sheet again. I think today was a difficult test because we had to play a little differently than we are used to, but I think we did it well. The game plan was good, and we trained for it the whole week. I think at the end, we did our jobs and we kept a clean sheet with the whole team and scored two goals, so for me that’s perfect.”

Midfielder Pedro Santos

On dealing with Nashville SC’s style of play, which is different from Crew SC’s

It’s a little bit different, because in the other games we pressed a little bit more, but I think we executed the plan - what our plan was. I think we were patient, because we knew in the right moment, we could hurt the opponent, and we did in the second half. Like I said, we executed the game plan perfectly, and they didn’t create [anything]. We had a couple of chances, we scored two goals, and we won the game.

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