PGQ_VANvMIN

Head Coach Adrian Heath

On getting a comeback win…

“I think, first and foremost, thought it was a really good performance all evening. The sort of game plan that we planned worked really, really well. I thought some of our play in the first half was lovely to watch and had a real purpose in it. And then obviously to go a goal down on the back of the fact that [Vancouver], I think they’ve won six of the last eight, shows an enormous amount of character. But more importantly, I think it was the manner in which we went about it. We didn’t lose our shape, we kept doing what we know we are good at, kept moving the ball, and obviously some really good goals. Kemar [Lawrence] and then super smart from [Franco] Fragapane to realize he wasn’t offside and a really good finish from Luis [Amarilla] and that will do his confidence no harm as well. All in all, really, really good performance on the road and as I said to the players just, if we don’t beat ourselves and give the opposition a goal start, which we’ve done on the road at times, and stay in the game I think our extra quality, because we have got quality, we’ve seen it again this evening, will show through.”

On what it’s been like to see the team producing at a high level over the last three matches…

“I think the most important thing, Jacob, of all of this is that we never lost belief in the group. I said to you a few weeks ago, I might have been a lone voice when I said this, but I said this team is very, very close to being very, very good and we’re starting to see little glimpses of that. I think Fraga [Franco Fragapane] is now starting to get his best form this season and Luis [Amarilla] is obviously getting in games under his belt. I thought Kemar [Lawrence] again showed up…Kemar has been really ill for the last two or three days, so for him to perform is absolutely remarkable. Really pleased for him. He’s starting to show the form that he had when he was MVP, playing in both halves of the field. He’s always been a really good defender and now we’re seeing bits of quality on the attacking end.”

On how close Kemar Lawrence was to not playing…

“I woke up this morning thinking he wouldn’t play and then I got a text from Donnie Fuller, the [Head Athletic Trainer], that said ‘Kemar [Lawrence] says he plays and he hasn’t come all this way to sit in his bed.’ Shows a lot of character from the kid because he literally hasn’t eaten for a couple of days because any time he was eating, he was bringing it back up. He’s had a little bit of a bug. Delighted that he’s played the way he has and then he gets a reward by getting the goal that gets us back in the game.”

On Kemar Lawrence having the same illness as Joseph Rosales…

“Similar, yeah.”

On coming from behind after scoring first the past couple of games…

“After the game, Jerry, when we’ve got three points I don’t care whether it’s come from the front and we scored early or we scored late. At the end of the day, when you look at the full body of work that you’ve done for 90 minutes. I thought we were better than them [Vancouver] tonight. I thought we had more quality than them.”

On what he said to the team at halftime…

“At halftime I just said to them, ‘Listen, if we can show a little bit more patience and a little bit more quality on the counter-attack we will create opportunities’. On the road, Jacob, the onus is not on us to take the game to the opposition. We knew it’s a difficult place. You look at their [Vancouver’s] results in the last few weeks, it’s been exceptional. We knew it was going to be tough. The field doesn’t help because it’s so dead considering it’s a new field. I’m just pleased for the players because they’ve put in another really good, disciplined performance. Then we’ve had goals and they’ve all been quality to show for the endeavor that we’ve done.”

On the fullbacks, DJ Taylor and Kemar Lawrence, combining for a goal and an assist…

“You’ve probably watched us play over the last few years, it’s an important part of our game and it’s been something that probably has been missing a little bit this year. We’ve had Chase [Gasper] and we’ve had Romain [Metanire] who were fully integrated in the way that we want to play and know when to break forward. As I said, Kemar [Lawrence] is now starting to show both ends because he’s getting games under his belt and he’s feeling fit and healthy. DJ’s [Taylor] doing terrific at the moment. He’s come in and he’s never let us down and now he’s starting to get forward at the right moments, starting to deliver decent quality in the box.”

On how inspiring Kemar Lawrence’s performance is to his teammates…

“It shows an awful lot of desire from the kid. At the end of the day, we can’t tell him how he feels, but we’ve seen how he’s been the last couple of days. We’ve tried to keep him away from the rest of the group and he’s been sort of eating on his own at times, if he has been eating because he has virtually not kept anything down since we’ve been here. For him to perform like that speaks wonders about his own character.”

On if Luis Amarilla’s strike was the best he has seen him hit…

“With his left foot, maybe, yeah. It’s been a frustrating start for him, but he’s starting to look a little bit sharper as he starts getting an understanding of playing with the other people around him. There’s nothing that I can say other than I can keep showing the faith in him, keep saying the right things to him, but ultimately he’s got to go out and play and get himself in the right spots. I told him ‘don’t overthink, keeping doing what you’ve always done, get in the areas where you know you can score goals.’ Today is one of them from outside the box with his left foot as well. As I say, it will do him no end of good that.”

On goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair getting an assist…

“[Jokingly] We’ve been working on that all week in training. No doubt Dayne [St. Clair] will claim the assist, knowing Dayne.”

On being linked to a South Korean striker for the transfer window…

“He’s not the only player that we’ve inquired about. At this moment in time we’ve got a couple of spots open. We’re going to try and do something in the window, but nothing is signed, nothing is sealed yet. We’ve got a couple of other options because we think that will be difficult to do. We are trying and we’ll look to have some announcement this week.”

On how to keep the momentum going over the next month…

“We have to keep reiterating what we’re good at and keep the lads… show them the positives of what they’ve done to get the three wins. It’s been a disciplined shape. Working from the front from Rey [Emanuel Reynoso] and from Luis [Amarilla], the midfield doing their job, and everybody contributing. It’s just keep accentuating the positives, the good things that we’ve done. The things that we’ve done to get these wins has been discipline as much as anything else and we have to keep maintaining that. We have to keep convincing the players that what we’re doing is right and there’s nothing better for doing that than winning games. More of the same, keep believing in what we do, and let’s see where we are. I did say a few weeks ago that we’ll see where we are at the end of a ten game stretch that will be important. We’ve got a couple of games at home. It gives us a great opportunity to sort of solidify a place in the playoffs.”

On Kemar Lawrence leaving the match…

“He just said he was spent. He just said that he’s got nothing else left, that he was feeling sort of crampy, so we decided that Fish’s [Oniel Fisher] experienced defender and he’s got the athleticism to go in and do what we’re wanting Kemar [Lawrence] to do. It was more of a precaution. Robin [Lod] was the same. Robin just felt tight in his hamstrings so we decided to bring him off as well.”

Defender Kemar Lawrence

On how he’s feeling after playing ill, but scoring the tie-ing goal and securing three points…

“Definitely after the win. The goal was just a plus. The win is more important.”

On how close he was to not playing tonight…

“Since yesterday, I started to feel a bit better so I already had kind of put it in my mind that I need to just hydrate and hopefully when today hits, I’d feel much better. We got to this morning, had a little bit of breakfast and was keeping it in so I already knew I was going to play.”

On the assist he got from DJ Taylor…

“To be honest, first thing that was going through my mind was I hope DJ [Taylor] chips it far post. And I actually saw it coming far post, all I want to do is hit it on target and force the goalkeeper to make a save. Obviously if he doesn’t, it was always going to go in the back of the net. I was able to do that so I’m happy.”

On when he started to feel like his usual self as a player…

“With me personally, it’s always something that comes with a lot of games. I’m used to always playing, always starting and the more games I play, obviously, the fitter you’ll get. So for the first five games of the season, I wasn’t really worried about my fitness because eventually that will come with time. It’s been a while since I started to feel like me but the team, we were kind of up and down in getting performances and once we started to put those together, I felt better.”

On what the group has found offensively after a nine-goal week…

“We’re doing the things that we have been doing in training, but now we’re doing them right on the field. If you listen to our coaching staff, they speak a lot about full performances and I feel like we’ve been able to deliver those kinds of performances noth on the offensive side and being able to, on the defensive side, get the three points and not let leads really slip away from us.”

On the challenge he made right before being subbed out…

“Over the years if you watch me play, that’s one of my favorite things to do. I feel like I loved that even more than scoring the goal. For me, even after my career, when I look back at a lot of things, I will always look back at [those challenges]. It’s something that I just love to do. And the timing, you really have to get the timing right. Everything has to be perfect or you know, it’s going to be a red card. And in those moments, when a lot of people kind of come, I get really calm because I know it’s something that I’ve been doing since I was really young.”

On the chemistry he’s building with Franco Fragapane on the left side…

“It’s fun. We might be from different backgrounds but you always hear across the world that football speaks one language. I try to get him to understand that I know he loves the tiki-taka, which is their way of playing, and I love to work hard and I just try to let him understand that I’ll be that player to knock it around with you and give you the ball when you need to have it but I need you to do some work off the ball. We’re both in agreement with that because we both want to win. That's one thing I love about him, he’s passionate about winning and he always wants to win. We’re definitely developing a good relationship.”

On goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair getting the assist on Franco Fragapane’s goal…

“I gave him a big hug! When I actually saw it, I thought they were going to call it back offside but I’m happy for him. He deserves a lot of clean sheets, sometimes it’s our fault that he doesn’t get some of those but he’s been great. He’s really been great for us and any success that’s going his way, I really want him to have it because he’s also humble about it. And from a young guy, you should really appreciate that.”

On living up to the ‘Taxi’ nickname tonight…

“I feel like I definitely did. I wasn’t sure how much minutes I had in me, to be honest. When it hit the 50-something minute I was like ‘I need to get off this field, I might collapse a little bit.’ It was just digging in. We were under early. It’s hard to play away. Any away game you go to, it’s hard to play there. To come here and to dig in the way I did to help the team, there’s no better feeling.”