#VANvSKC Quotes: "We had the desire and intensity"


On the match:

“I thought in the first half we were fine, I just don’t think that we were aggressive enough to go to the goal. I think we were just happy to be on the field and keep the ball and possession, but possession is nothing if you don’t go to the goal, and we lacked intensity, especially up front. We gave a silly goal away, and it was a silly goal on our part. I just told the guys at halftime, there was no tactics, it was more of ‘look, you have to have the desire in this game, you have to have the intensity’, and it was different in the second half. We had the desire and intensity. I think it overwhelmed them and put them under pressure. When we scored the first one the momentum came with us and it changed the game.”

On exploiting the Whitecaps desperation at 1-1:

“We knew that they’re obviously trying to get into the playoffs. They have to do whatever they can to attack and try to get numbers forward if they can. I think that we were smart, we were disciplined, but at the same time we started to win the balls and play between the lines, and then their back line was left on their own. I thought we created some great chances, and we got hungry in the second half. We were really, really hungry. The changes we made I think did a great job and they gave a big impact to the game.”

On overcoming early pressure from Vancouver to start the second half:

“On the one play where the ball went in front of the goal, that was the one I was concerned about because we couldn’t get out of our end. We were sort of lazy a little bit, nonchalant, relaxed. After that all of a sudden we started to play, we got the goal, totally different. We believed again. The mentality changed.”


On his first MLS goal:

“I am just happy, it’s my first goal, a big step for me. It’s a great feeling helping the team and getting on the score sheet is one of the best feelings. It’s what you do, you work 90 minutes to score goals. I’m just so happy, and I almost missed it.”

On his performance against the Whitecaps:

“I thought I did well. Obviously, I could have been a little bit cleaner, but I think always I can be a little bit cleaner. But the goal does not even grade my whole performance; I was just out there working and that is the main thing, once you work, everything else will fall into place. So I just tried to help the team win and I did.”

On his first season with the professional team:

“It has been a great learning experience for me, just learning from the older guys and playing against guys who have been in the league, playing in World Cups and stuff like that. It’s a great feeling. I feel like I can learn so much with all these older guys that are double my age. It’s just a great learning experience for me.”

On having Alphonso Davies’ as an example:

“He’s definitely one [example]. I mean he’s my age, so I can’t really look up to him, but I like him, he’s doing big things, moving to big clubs and stuff, so why can’t I do it? He is definitely paving the way for us young guys in the MLS.”


On the match:

“I thought for 60, 65 minutes, we were in control of the game. We frustrated them, they didn’t really know how to break us down. We thought they would high press, but they were indifferent in their pressing, tried to kind of midblock us. Again I think we were right where we needed to be for 60 minutes. We concede a couple of goals from our possession. But hopefully players will reflect on that and look, they could have made better decisions. In the last 15 minutes they altered the game plan and went after it and shape changed, and some tired legs crept into the game. It was a disappointing end, but the fight was there for 60 minutes, 65 minutes. Four or five of those boys on the field haven’t played 90 minutes for a while, so I think they emptied their tank. On another day Kei maybe finishes that chance he had. Another couple close opportunities where if we tap one in for 2-0 I think we ride the game out on a high.”

On the first half:

“I think it was a little bit of a boxing match early on. We tried to impose ourselves, they did the same. Then as the half grew we were very comfortable, we started to believe at halftime. The lads came in and there was a ton of belief in the changing room. Obviously the goal helps, and we knew they would alter things in the second half. I felt at the start of the second half we were in control, they weren’t really dangerous creating any chances. And then 65 minutes came and the tides turned.”

On why the team has conceded so many goals:

“For the three games [since taking over] we’ve had better shape. We’ve collectively been better, we’ve looked better. I would assume that you guys have seen that too. Again our shape was right, we were forcing them into areas of the field that weren’t dangerous. At the end of the day the goals that we gave up, the first two goals, they’re preventable. It’s got nothing to do with our defensive shape and our understanding of what we’re trying to do, where we’re trying to force the ball, where we’re trying to win it. That was all good, that’s an improvement. And it’s got better over the three games. The score line doesn’t reflect that necessarily, but I was very happy with them for 65 minutes.”

On being mathematically alive for the playoffs and maintaining belief:

“Well they have to believe, we’ve just spoken about it. I want players on that plane to LA that still believe. And they’ll show me tomorrow at training. I’ve asked them to reflect and come into training tomorrow and let me know how they feel. Eighteen players that believe will be on the plane to LA, simple as that.”

On the psychological effect of the final score:

“All we’ve done for two and a half weeks, myself and my staff, is talk about the positives. We’ve plucked out everything positive from the game and reflected it back to them. We haven’t ignored the things that weren’t good enough, but we focused on that element, which is what we had to. Again, there’s still belief in that changing room. There’s still a lot of quality there. Obviously there’s players coming back into the squad that are coming off some pleasing performances for their countries, and that will add another element to us going into LA.”

On the play of Felipe and Russell Teibert:

“Both of those players, they bleed for the shirt, and you saw it tonight. Russell was anxious to get in the squad, he wanted to contribute in any way he could. Felipe, his first start for a few weeks now, he was outstanding. Great finish, his energy was great. Even when he came off he wanted to give more. He ran himself into the ground, so I’m really pleased for both those boys.”


On tonight’s disappointment:

“I’ve been a part of this team for quite some time now. This is the first time I want to apologize to the fans and to the people at this club because they don’t deserve what they just saw. That was a team that gave in, and that’s not what we’re about here. I want to apologize on behalf of the team, to the people who came to watch, to the people who supported us. That’s not what this team is about. We’re fortunate that we have two games left and we still have a shot. All of us, the entire locker room, we all need to take a long hard look at ourselves in the mirror and figure what it is, who it is, and what we’re playing for. The end of that game, that’s disappointing. Disappointing for us, disappointing for you guys, for the people who support us. It’s unacceptable. That being said, we have two games to go. Mathematically, we still have a chance, but they’re two tough games. We know we need to turn that around because the way we ended this game, that can’t happen again. I want to promise you guys that won’t happen again. You won’t see a team that gives up. We’re going to finish the season strong. It’s not part of our makeup to give up, and that team gave up. We gave up, and it’s unacceptable. So if you want me to give you an answer for why things happened the way they did, I can’t. Sometimes, things cannot be explained. But I’m telling you, now is a promise, that’s not going to happen again here at this club.”

On positive takeaways from the match:

“We played a good 60-plus minutes. We were 1-0 up against potentially the conference winners. There are positives you can take away from this game. It was a good team performance up to the last period of the game. Again, it’s unacceptable.”

On missed chances:

“We did capitalize on a chance we needed to. We might not have capitalized on all the chances we needed to go 2-0 up, and they get a goal. And then we face a little bit of adversity. It pains me to say that we crumbled. I don’t take that lightly. The guys in the locker room, we don’t take that lightly. I can tell you that locker room is disappointed in ourselves. You guys should be disappointed in us. That’s why I’m apologizing on behalf of the team. I reiterate, it’s unacceptable.”

On giving up goals:

“If you take a look at the season as a whole, we said we were going to score more goals than we concede. We know we left ourselves vulnerable when we’re going forward. Maybe that wasn’t the right approach, maybe we need to establish a solid foundation and seal up the back end. But we’re a dangerous counter-attacking team, and that was our identity. You’re right in saying that in conceding two goals a game, it’s a hard recipe to go and win games when you concede that many goals, but our identity throughout the entire season was we were going to score more goals than we concede, and if you do that, you tend to win games. There needs to be a focus in these last two games. We need to keep clean sheets. We’ve said that all season long. But if we want to have a real shot, we have to keep the ball out of the back of the net.”