Sounders Insider

RSL "really up for" game with Sounders

Here's some of what RSL had to say today after taking a 2-1 win from the Sounders and passing them in the MLS standings:

Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jeff CassarOn where the club would be without FW Joao Plata:“I think the team would be in a similar position. Obviously, it’s not about one individual, for sure, but Joao [Plata] is playing at an extremely high level every game. He’s being consistent. Obviously, I love balls going in the back of the net, but I appreciate his work on the defensive side as well. Whether it’s helping out a defensive midfielder or chasing an outside back, he’s playing at an extremely high level right now.” On whether MF Luke Mulholland has exceeded expectations (as the coach who scouted him):“It’s never an exact science, that’s for sure. You just put in the man-hours watching someone play, you know the system that you play, and you factor in character. Luke [Mulholland] has it all. He’s got that fight in him, spirit, he’s a perfect two-way midfielder. Even though he played pretty much attacking midfielder for [the Tampa Bay Rowdies], he had all the characteristics to be a two-way midfielder. You never know, but it’s a credit to him – it’s a credit to his teammates for welcoming him to the team – and he’s really adapted amazingly.” On Real Salt Lake’s offensive outburst in the beginning of the second half, including FW Joao Plata’s goal: “That’s what we talked about at halftime: the quality of the final ball. That’s what’s going to lead to a better finish by our forwards. It was an excellent ball from Luke [Mulholland], and an excellent finish from Joao [Plata]. We were knocking on the door, and we felt that we were going to get stronger as the game went on, and we did.” On MF Luis Gil’s performance in place of the injured MF Javier Morales: “It was a really solid performance. He played 90 minutes on Tuesday, turned around and played 90 again, and it shows that he’s being able to contribute for the entire game. I thought [Seattle] did a good job of closing him off with [Osvaldo] Alonso and Gonzalo [Pineda], but he kept moving and kept plugging. It was a beautiful ball from him on the goal, and he’s really starting to turn up his game.” On FW Joao Plata with a header goal for the second consecutive week:“We’re doing a really good job of getting excellent service. We’re getting excellent, committed runs. Sometimes there’s a little element of surprise, with people showing up in different spots. It was a great finish.” On whether the 4-0 loss to Seattle in May played into today’s performance:“We really weren’t concentrated on that, we were just concentrated on getting the three points at home. Obviously, throughout the year, you want to win each series that you play with teams. You want to come out ahead. We’re playing Seattle twice [in Seattle], once [in Salt Lake], and right now it’s tied up. We want to make sure we go in there and get a result, or possibly win – hopefully win – but if you win every series, you’re going to be doing pretty good at the end of the year. It was a great way for us to get three points, get in the hunt of the Supporters’ Shield and be in first place for a little while.” On how the forwards are learning to play off each other:“I think they are getting accustomed to each other. They’re starting to recognize that, when one does one thing, the other is going to be doing something else. All four of them, right now, are creating nice partnerships with each other. I hope that continues. The spirit of the team – the forwards and midfielders – is fantastic. We want to continue that.” On how past late-game collapses prepared them to withstand Seattle’s late charge:“Without a doubt. We always are learning from our mistakes – even from doing things positive. What are we doing well, what are we doing wrong, how we start games.’ I thought the first half was very workman-like on both sides. We were kind of feeling each other out. We knew we were going to get stronger. We wanted to keep pressing them, keep staying on top of them, and try to punish them when we had those chances. As far as finishing out the game, people like Cole Grossman can slide next to Kyle [Beckerman] and kind of change shape and lessen the load on him a bit towards the end of the game. Then Robbie Findley comes on and puts in a tremendous amount of work. It’s all coming together right now. We are learning from our mistakes and are getting stronger.” On what has contributed to the team’s current six-game unbeaten streak:“I think it’s just commitment to both sides of the ball. We obviously want to get back to getting shutouts, after we had a stretch when we didn’t have a few. That game against Colorado really helped out, because we could just buckle down and just play defense. From that, we’re building offensively. Right now, it’s clicking.” On whether Javier Morales was truly a ‘game time decision:’“I had a feeling [Friday] that he wasn’t going to play. He made several efforts to try, but something just wasn’t right. He was improving, but he just wasn’t improving greatly. This week, he’s going to take off and we’ll re-evaluate him on Monday or Tuesday. I know he’s gutted not to be out there. It’s great that we got the three points without him. I’d anticipate he’s going to be more involved next week, and I sure hope so, but I’m not sure.” On how his team will approach the final couple of months of the regular season:“These game really are six-pointers the rest of the way. You can really start putting some distance from other teams. Right now, we are six points ahead of Dallas – that’s an important game. It’s a massive game. There are less and less available games to play. I think guys are starting to smell it, and feel it. Right now, it’s about getting our bodies right and making sure we’ve recovered as best as we can – it’s going to be a hot game in Dallas – and making sure we refreshed and focused on a very dangerous team.” On the team’s response after conceding the goal to bring the game to a 2-1 score:“I’m definitely pleased with them not getting a second goal. There are coaching points on that goal they scored. At that point, they weren’t really penetrating on us, they weren’t bringing too much danger to our goal. We can’t give them that goal – I felt that goal was gifted a little bit – so there were a few errors on that. After that, the guys regrouped, which I’m really pleased with, and they gutted it out.” Real Salt Lake MF Kyle BeckermanOn taking three points from Seattle today:“We earned the right to have a home game. We were nine points away from Seattle not too long ago, and now we’re here and we have a home game where we can overtake them. We were really up for it. We felt that this was an opportunity that we earned.” On seeing another header from Joao Plata: “I couldn’t believe it was him again. He can score goals from any way and he has shown that this year. Left foot, right foot, and now with his head. He’s a special player. We’ve been leaning on him for goals this year and we’re going to continue to lean on him. I think he’s got a couple more in him, with his head or with his feet, it doesn’t matter. He’ll find a way to get it in. They’re going to have to put Chad Marshall on Joao next time we play.” On the Supporters’ Shield race: “This win puts us in a good position. We had to climb back into it because we had fallen behind. Seattle went on a nice run to put themselves up there. We had to put in some work to get into a position to at least get in the talk. It’s not finished by any means, but today we took a good step forward to be in the talk when there are four or five games left.” Real Salt Lake GK Nick Rimando On winning a quality team: “It’s a good win for sure. It’s a six-point game first off in the west coast and it’s very tight right now up top, so we wanted to come out and get three points and the guys commitment was great, although in my opinion we let in a very weak goal. We hung out there in the end was able to get the three points.” On trying to win the Supporters’ Shield: “It’s a game that we wanted to win, but not a must win. There’s lots of games left. I think we’re striving at the right time and we focused on this game and kind of just improving from the last.” On not having any goals scored in the first half: “We knew it was going to come. The way we were playing we were pressing and defending, and how organized we were. Everything was clicking for us in the first half. It was only a matter of time for us to get one to the back of the net. The guys were consistent on pressing, and [the goals] came.” On the back line containing Clint Dempsey: “Whenever he got on the ball we get somebody in his face. Someone is stepping on his toes, and making sure if he’s playing, he’s playing backwards. But everybody did well in the back. Obviously they got one goal, but with the firepower they have, usually they’re knocking a couple in the game, so it was good to get the victory especially in front of our fans.” Real Salt Lake DF Chris Wingert On the race for the Supporters’ Shield: “I’m going to be surprised if Kansas City doesn’t win it, because I think they’re a very good team, and I think that the West is better, so every game here on out I’m pretty sure is against the West. And I’m assuming that is going to be the case with a lot of teams a lot of their schedule. So I think it’s going to be tough for somebody in the West to win. Who knows? We can’t worry about what’s going on in the East. So with a few games to go for up there, of course it’s going to be a huge accomplishment. I won the Supporters’ Shield my rookie year, and I haven’t won it since. We’ve been close with this team a few times. A lot of ways I think that team deserves to win a trophy. In our league it’s a little different, because we’re not playing everybody the same amount of times, but in some ways I think it shows who the best team is for the year. So I think it’s a huge accomplishment, and we will certainly be gunning for it if we’re in that position, but as cheesy as it sounds, or as cliché as it sounds, we just keep taking it week by week. There’s a lot of games to worry about.” On FW Joao Plata and where RSL would be without him: “It’s not just the goal scoring, which of course is the name of the game, but he is an animal of a competitor. I mean, I just love the way he competes. Like everything, his attitude. He’s on fire just as soon as we get into the huddle – he’s even like that with ping pong. But he’s an absolute monster. I mean he’s scoring on headers now. He’s holding the ball up against Chad Marshall. I mean, that is incredible at times. He’s running these guys into the corner against guys who are playing it fast. Guys like [DeAndre] Yedlin and whatever. Even if he doesn’t actually win the ball, just that effort makes such a big difference. I know as a defender sometimes you just have to kick it out of bounds, or we win the second ball or whatever. I don’t know where we would be. That’s a great position. We certainly wouldn’t be in the same position. As good as it is to score multiple goals in a game, which can be awesome, I think you have to say that it’s more important to be consistently scoring in numerous games because of that fact. And again today he gets one in a game and we win by a goal. I would have to check, but I bet he’s done that in over half the games he’s scored for us.” On watching Plata score his first header last week: “I was actually up in Garth [Lagerwey]’s box when that happened. Obviously I missed the last game, and he said, that was a pretty great ball by Luke [Mulholland]. I said, let’s be honest. It’s got to be a great ball if it finds [Joao] Plata’s head in the box, but I mean some of that is goal scoring. [Chris] Wondolowski is unbelievable with his head. He’s not a real physically imposing guy, but he’s got great timing, but he gets in your blind spot, and he knows how to move the ball, and [Joao] Plata is the same way. I told my dad this last year; he only had a few goals, and I said, I’m telling you – this guy is a finisher. We see him at practice every day. And of course there is a difference between finishing in games and finishing in practice, but you can see how he strikes the ball, so to be honest it was a huge surprise for me.” On the miscommunication on Seattle’s goal: “It was my fault. What happened was the ball was played in behind [Chris] Schuler a little bit, so I was afraid. I should have just told him to get it, obviously they scored, but what happened was I was afraid he was going to have to clear it out for a corner, and I had a better angle on it. I didn’t realize that [Andy] Rose was right on me, so I tried to swing it up the field thinking that I had the better angle, so I called him off and then [Andy] Rose, I’d have to watch it again, but I think he just reached in and blocked it and it kind of went in. That’s what it was. A miscommunication.”