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Head Coach Adrian Heath

On whether the ‘workman’-like performance being a sign of progress …

“Well, no, it should have been enough. Incredible effort. Desire to win. Sometimes you grind it out more than you play it out, and I thought we ground it out really well today. I thought the first 25 minutes, we were excellent, and then we dropped it a little notch and started to play to the pace of the game, rather than at our pace. And that allowed them back in the game a little bit. Then it became end to end, and they’ve got really quick guys going forward, and, you know, the game became a little bit too end to end for my liking. I thought the first 25 minutes were excellent. We moved the ball really, really well. Played what was on. Didn’t try to manufacture stuff. Ran forward. With the ball and without the ball. We were very good.” 

On if the Wil Trapp shot on goal was an element of just putting the ball on frame more in the attacking third …

“I don’t know. It’s one of them. Wil [Trapp] doesn’t normally do it, but it just goes to show, with these balls, they do so much, if you put things on target and make people make saves, the ball moves so much these days, it’s sometimes difficult for keepers. But in fairness to Robin [Lod], it’s going straight down the middle and he hasn’t let it up, and he’s followed it up, as all good strikers should do. And, he’s finished it well. What is it, six? For Robin now? So, he’s in a rich vein of form in front of the goal.”

On if he’s found a goal scorer in Brent Kallman …

“I think that might be stretching it, but, hey, he’s a big boy. And if we put really good quality in the box, I always say, that Rey [Emanuel Reynoso] overhits some, but he puts so much pace on it, if you can actually get in front of your marker, chances are it’s going to end up in the back of the net. If you remember the game last week, he had a free header in the first 20 minutes, Brent [Kallman]. It’s a great ball in from Rey [Reynoso], there’s that much pace on it, it takes a lot of people out of the game. So, be on the move. Be aggressive. Attack the ball. Chances are you’ll put things out.”

On the challenge of trying to put it near post on a corner, and Emanuel Reynoso trying to do just that early on …

“Well, I think the amount of pace that he puts on the ball, the room for error is… he had a couple that went out the back, because he puts so much pace on the ball. But, the goals will come because he puts so much pace on the ball. It’s virtually impossible for defenders and keepers to react at that split second. You know, I would rather have that than the floating one in where everyone can see where it’s going, and it’s a challenge and everybody goes up for it. But, at least for him, he’s worked hard. I thought the two central midfield players were outstanding. I thought Ethan Finlay… the reason I took him off, I wanted him to get the reception that he got. I think he deserved that. The one thing I will say about Ethan Finlay, is – I’ve said it since he’s been here – he might not play in the team, but he is everything a great professional should be. Yeah, he’ll have his moan, he comes to see the coach and says, ‘I should be playing’, but he never lets it affect his work. Day to day work. And he comes in absolutely magnificent professional. Gives us everything he’s got. So, he’s getting the reward for Monday to Friday of four or five weeks ago when he wasn’t playing. And I’m a big believer, you know that, I think you get out of life what you get in. And he’s getting his rewards at this moment in time. Hats off to him.”

On if Ethan Finlay came into his office earlier this year saying he should be playing …

“Trust me. He comes to see me more than once… ‘I should be playing.’ Because he wants to play. And I don’t mind that. We have a very honest and frank conversation. But the one thing I know about him, it doesn’t matter what we say, the next morning in training he’s full on doing everything he can to make the training session better. To make himself better. And I always say to some of our younger people, people like Patrick Weah, there’s no better role model than to look at than him. They’re the people you can actually, football clubs have built up.”

On if Brent Kallman’s play gives him the comfort to not have to rush a player like Michael Boxall back into the lineup …

“It does. It does, yeah. And, Boxy [Michael Boxall] is not 100 percent at this moment. He’ll probably be a lot closer and maybe available next week. But the way that Brent [Kallman] is playing, you’re not ever going to gamble because we’ve got so much ahead of us and so many games in so many few days, that we’re going to need all these guys in. Not risking anybody is really important.”

On Tyler Miller having six clean sheets …

“Well, he had the big save. Didn’t he? Which, you know, big saves from goalkeepers, turn games. When we needed him, he came up again. I think his record is actually incredible since he’s been here with us. Is it one defeat? Isn’t one of them a cup game or something? Yeah. Yeah, so, he’s been outstanding. And, obviously we’ve been working on that off the crossbar to let it out. That’s something… that’s a joke, by the way… because I’ll get a letter, you’ve really been working on it? That’s obviously a bit of fortune, because it could have gone anywhere. If you look back at games where we’ve needed a big save, he’s come up with one. Which is what good goalkeepers do.”

On if he’s bored with Robin Lod’s bow and arrow celebration …

“No. I’ll never get bored of people celebrating goals.”

On the thought behind bringing Joseph Rosales into the team …

“We’re excited we got him. We’ve followed him since the Olympics when he played against Hassani [Dotson] and Djordje Mihailovic and Jackson Yueill. He’s a 20-year old kid. If you look at that game, go back and watch that game, he gave as good as he got, and he came on our radar then. And, this was an opportunity for us, so we’re delighted we got him. We think the kid has a lot of potential.”

On Franco Fragapane’ status …

“Franco [Fragapane] is getting better. Once again, same thing. We’re not going to rush him. He’ll play when he’s 100 percent fit.”

Goalkeeper Tyler Miller

On the bounce back after the Vancouver game…

“We want to pride ourselves on our ability to play strong and make Allianz field a difficult place to come and play. So, obviously everybody was disappointed with how the game in Vancouver finished. But you know, that’s behind us. We knew going into this game that was going to be a difficult opponent with Houston, they never really quit. They never really go away. I mean, an example, they’re still pushing down two to zero in the last minute of the game. And so, we knew it was going to be a difficult game but I think the guys really prepared ourselves. We focused, and getting a goal in the start of the game, I think, was huge for us. And how we start the games is something that we need to focus on. And I think the group did a really good job. ”

On getting hit in the face with the ball …

“Yeah, I took it off the crossbar but you know, I got fortunate that it hit off my face and went wide. It would have been even worse to be hit off my face and went in.”

On the importance of the save he made with his foot …

“That's why I'm there. I mean I might not be called to make six or seven saves but making one, two important saves that keeps the team, either leading or keeps us in the game. And in that moment, I mean the game could be one to one and then who knows where the game goes from there. So, I was happy I was able to contribute and come up with an important save for the team. And I think then we get the second goal with a tremendous ball by [Emanuel Reynoso] and a great header by Brett [Kallman]. And so, that save is just all the more important when it comes down to the momentum and the shift of the game.”

On the challenges from a goalkeeper's perspective on trying to defend a set piece kicked to near post …

“Well you have a lot of bodies in front of you. And on our field the ball is slippery. It’s slick. And so, there are challenges and if your lapse of concentration, then you can potentially get caught. And also if the ball is whipped in tight, there's little margin for error. Whether you try to catch it and drop it and it goes in or you try to punch it, you really have to be precise with what you do in that moment. It is difficult and [Emanuel Reynoso] can whip in a really strong ball. I mean he almost scored a couple of games ago here so he's got that lethal potential in him but then he also has an amazing service that puts the ball right on guys’ heads, that we can score goals when we need it.”

On comfort having someone like Brent Kallman step in while Michael Boxall is absent …

“[Brent Kallman] has done a tremendous job. He's really stepped up. [Michael Boxall] obviously is a very valuable player on our team. But [Brent Kallman] has done a tremendous job. Likewise, everybody else around the field that has had to step up for injury or moments where we need to close out games. For instance Juan Agudelo and Jacori Hayes, they come on the field, and we need them to do the dirty work. To really work hard and keep the ball and disrupt the opponent. And Juan, I mean, he's amazing. You kick the ball to him and he uses his body, and he's able to hold that ball up which gives our defense a little bit of relief at a much needed moment.”

On what it means to have a two goal win …

“It's always important when you can win games two, three, zero, and have a margin so that way you're not grinding it out as much because that expends a lot of energy. And so for these moments where we have a Sunday, Wednesday or two difficult games with Houston at home and [LA] Galaxy coming next weekend, we need to try and conserve as much energy as we can so that way we have a shorter recovery time going into the next game. So, to get that second goal took a little bit of pressure off the defense and overall to end with a good win I think was a huge win for us.”

On his one loss this season and a positive record with him in goal…

“I don't focus on that. You know, it's great and all but for me it's all about the present moment. And so I was solely focused on this game. And now I'll be solely focused on my recovery and getting myself right so that way [LA] Galaxy come here and they're a good team. They're not the Galaxy of the last couple of years that have struggled. So, they're a really strong team and who knows if they're gonna have all the top guys back but we expect a really good game with them.”

Defender Brent Kallman

On being called a goal scorer...

“No, not yet. But I would be lying if I said it didn’t feel good. It feels real good.”

On having family and friends in the stands...

“Yeah, my mom and dad made it. And they were at a funeral down in Omaha actually yesterday and the day before, so they were able to come back and make it in time. It was good, pretty little joy for them.”

On Michael Boxall being out and him stepping in so well and scoaring…

“That's been a theme of mine my entire career. Even when you're not in the team, try to hold yourself to a high standard of training, make sure you're sharp, so when you get a chance, you can take it and you can help the team win. So, I'm just really glad I can keep the level high. And we've been getting good results and as long as I'm in the team I just keep trying to keep it going to help us keep getting points.”

On the challenge off a set piece set to the near post...

“You know, actually, that wasn't supposed to be my run, but it was something Ian [Fuller] saw at halftime and came over to me and told me he wants me to start cutting in front because he noticed something. Maybe it was what you just said there, that [Emanuel Reynoso] was going for the near post. You know, the challenge is, it's like a glancing header right, you just have to redirect it, but it's not always easy because you can't really see the goal, it is kind of behind you. But I feel for them, I was thinking about all day yesterday and on my drive to the stadium today, they play man-to-man on corner kicks, it's very very difficult to defend that way. If someone's man-to-man you, you just make one break and you can get the half yard of space you need. On that goal, we didn't even have to run picks or anything like that I just make a break away from my guy, get like maybe a couple feet, it's all I need, and I was just able to redirect it.”

On Emanuel Reynoso’s service on corner kicks...

“He [Emanuel Reynoso] just serves it top quality and he generates the pace on that ball. All I have to do is be there and just redirect it so he serves in really good quality stuff.”

On Ethan Finlay’s professionalism …

“Super impressive, it's the same thing what I was talking about earlier about what I try to do. This guy [Ethan Finlay] looked like he was out of the team, not even in the plans, rewind the clock a few weeks ago or a month ago. Keeps training super hard, stays really fit, and then he just gets after it. When he gets a chance, he plays hard every single time, there's no other choice for him. I'm really happy for him. I've known him a long time, super high character guy. And I think we have a locker room full of those kinds of people. Guys when they're not in the team they don't give up, they keep pushing, they keep themselves sharp and they're ready.”

On moving on from the tough result at Vancouver…

“It's nothing we really talked about but it did linger a little bit for me individually and I'm sure it was like that for the guys for a few days. I don't remember a game like that stinging so much for days afterward, except for maybe, obviously, the way the season ended last year. But by the time it was Wednesday, Thursday, able to put it out. And when we started planning for this game, and you look at where the table is at and everything like that, this was a really, really important game for us to get three points. Kind of felt like a little bit of a trap game and I think that got our focus up and we were able to get it done.”

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