Post-match quotes: Crew at Colorado Rapids

Ethan Finlay

Photo Credit: 
USA Today Sports Images

Gregg Berhalter, Columbus Crew Sporting Director and Head Coach

On the draw:

I thought it was a good game. I thought it was an exciting soccer game for the fans and I think that we put a lot of effort into that game and a lot of commitment; I think both teams did.  I think a draw in this case is a fair result

On coming back to tie the game:

It came against the run of play. We came out good in the second half and had a bunch of chances with a goal called back for offside. I felt really confident in what we were doing in the second half. To respond after they scored was good and especially to dig deep in the altitude and come back in the game was very good.

On the increase in pressure towards the end of the game:

It was a little bit of urgency. And then it was also we were moving the ball quicker. It was really deciding and then going after it. At times in the first half we were protecting it a little bit and not really going for it. In the second half, the ball movement and the ball tempo was really good.

On the first 20 minutes of the game being a little slow:

We wanted to pace ourselves in the game, we knew that was important. But we wanted to control the game. I think controlling it is moving the ball quickly and at times in the first half it was a little too slow. I thought [Colorado] did a phenomenal job on their right side of the field, combining with Marvell Wynne and [Dillon] Powers and really taking advantage of those combinations to get behind us in the first half. And even their goal was a result of that. So we had a little bit of a difficult time with that right side, but overall it was a good game and we were able to move the ball like we wanted to.

On the message at halftime:

We talked about what we needed to do when we get in situations like that [with the Colorado defenders advancing forward], but more importantly how we’re going to press them and get more pressure on them as they’re building out of the back. I think in the second half we did that. But overall these guys have been playing good soccer, you can see that. Every game we’ve been fighting and playing good, so I’m proud of them.

On the defensive mindset:

We wanted to be aggressive. We’re the type of team that at home or away we want to be aggressive. We really want to take it to them, it doesn’t matter where we’re playing, so we wanted to do that and we feel like the best form of defense is offense. So to put them on their heels, to press the ball when we lose it right away, those are things we focus on.

Michael Parkhurst, Columbus Crew defender

On what their game plan was:

We know Deshorn Brown is a good talent in the League. He’s strong, he’s fast, physical, and we really wanted to keep an eye on him and always keep a body on [Vicente] Sánchez as well. Those two guys are really good together, Sánchez is a very good playmaker. He finds good pockets, stuff to pick up. But overall I thought we did a decent job of staying compact.

On adjustments made in the second half:

We did talk about the right side and better communication between our outside back and our outside mids, and who’s tucking in, who’s picking up Marvell [Wynne]. We wanted to make sure we got pressure on their goal kicks so that they couldn’t play out of the back, and I thought we did a little better on that. And then just for ourselves: keeping the ball, going from side to side, making them chase a little bit before we attack and find some seams.

On their defensive mindset:

Eric and I were playing two-on-two a lot and we talked about having a guy sit in the middle. Wil [Trapp] and Tony [Tchani] did a better job in the second half of sitting in the middle and not letting [Vicente] Sánchez get that ball at his feet and turn like he did in the first half a couple times, so I think that was big.

Ethan Finlay, Columbus Crew midfielder

On the game overall:

It’s a tough place to come and play. If you can get a point on the road it’s great. But I think if you ask the group as a whole it’s a little bit frustrating. Quite a few ties in a row now that we’ve had. I think we had a lot of chances tonight and they didn’t quite go our way. If we put some of those early ones away maybe we can win that game, but I think it’s a tough place to play and we’ll be happy with the point.

On the game plan for dealing with Colorado’s defense:

I think the center backs, they’re good players. They’re smart guys. Not quite the quickest but obviously [Chris] Klute and [Marvell] Wynne on the side are real pacey guys. Trying to check away, check in, mix it up with them a little bit and give them different looks was probably the main emphasis for our wings.

On the increased offensive pressure towards the end of the game:

I don’t know what the possession numbers were but I thought we were possessing the ball a lot. Once we were able to get it down in their final third, keep the ball and move it side to side, swing their defense and get some balls in the box, we were dangerous. They kept it pretty compact at times down the middle and that’s where we turned the ball over a couple of times and they had some counters on us. But you know, that’s soccer. I think we have to be patient in the final third. I think when we were in the last 20 minutes we saw ourselves with some better opportunities. 

Pablo Mastroeni, Colorado Rapids Head Coach

On the game:

I think [Columbus] came out wanting to win the game and that was evident in the way they played. They took a lot of risk at times, they were even numbers in the back against one of the fastest guys in the league and we weren’t able to execute. I think tonight, from a coaching perspective, it wasn’t good enough. From a playing perspective, individually they [Colorado] put their partners in bad spots with bad passes, bad touches. Collectively as a group, it’s a great opportunity to come out of this game with a point and really reflect on what we need to do to now go on the road to a couple tough venues and just get better as a team.

On the play this week versus last week with the same lineup:

Every day is different, every game poses more challenges. Teams have different formations and different mindsets, attitudes and schemes. And then on the day, it’s how do your players feel versus how do their players feel. Were they prepared the right way? And then it just comes to chance. I think earlier in the game we had a lot of good opportunities to really get ahead and didn’t capitalize on that. The game of soccer just punishes you, throws you on your heels. And credit to [Columbus] they came out and really chased the game. These are all great learning experiences and I told the guys, “Life will give you the same lessons to learn until you learn them.” And that goes for all of us. We have a lot of work to do. I never believe that we’re a great team. I never believe that we’ll get to being a great team. I think that every day that we come and every game that we play we have to prove to ourselves and to those around us that we’re capable of playing at this level.

On the lessons he wants the team to learn:

I think we were a bit naive in how we let them come out playing, for starters. That’s my responsibility, so we’ll work on that a little bit. I think they just came out playing – they dictated when they were going to come out playing and how they were going to come out playing and we want to definitely get better at that. The other part is – and I say to the guys, “You’re either running and you have the ball, or running when you don’t have the ball.” I don’t think we were as sharp with the ball and movement off the ball when we had it. Which causes stagnation, lack of movement; causes turnovers because there are not as many options. And then when the other team gets it, now you start running because you have to and it’s damage control. So in the game of soccer, you either run with the ball or you’re trying to find it, and today we did a lot of running to try to get it back which negates everything we’re trying to do moving forward.

On having some close chances early in the game:

It’s a game of moments, and the moments are only critical when the game ends and you think about what could have been if this. That’s obviously one of the 10 moments in the game on both sides of the ball that a moment could have spun the game on its head. Having said that, The guys fought well. We found opportunities to get back into the game to try to go ahead after it was 1-1. For me, Clint Irwin was a monster back there keeping this team in the game, and those guys should be buying him a lot of beers tonight.

Marvell Wynne, Colorado Rapids defender

On finding space on the wings:

More so things just opened up that way. When you’re first on the field, the first 10-15 minutes, you try to feel each other out, try to feel where you can penetrate and it actually looked like we had a lot of space on the outside, so we have to do what we can. If we have space in front, take it, dribble it; if not, pass it in, pass it across, so you poke and prod to see where you can find space and it just happened to be there where Chris [Klute] and I were on the outsides.

On having less space in the second half:

I felt like their outside mids, they stood out a little bit more. They were marking me more so – in the first half, they were very tucked inside. I definitely didn’t have as much freedom in the second half.

On finding moments to attack:

I don’t think I had a choice whether I wanted to go forward or defend. It seemed like they were pressing pretty hard the entire game, actually. I wish I could’ve had more success going forward in the second half, but when in doubt, if I don’t have the energy to go forward, I have to stay back.

On Columbus’ attack late in the game:

We have to weather it. We saw them coming at us, and we tried to stick to our game plan, not necessarily go into a shell or anything like that. If we don’t have clear opportunities to go forward, try to possess it and again, poke and prod to see where we can get some freedom.

Jared Watts, Colorado Rapids midfielder

On the play that led to Columbus’ goal:

A quick transition in the game, they were having numbers pushing forward, I kind of saw that ball coming across the guy. I thought I was there, I thought I could time it – just a miscue, a misstep. I got caught in between ‘do I need to take a touch’ and ‘should I just clear it one-touch.’ I put it right on his foot and he was able to score. It was unfortunate, and that’s just how it happens sometimes.

On Columbus making it difficult for the Rapids:

It’s just like a cycle – we couldn’t keep possession, we were having trouble finding the ball, getting in good spots, and then that led to us defending more, us running more, us working harder. So it was just a cycle, it was a hard game to come out of, especially that type of team, a fit team. They can play the ball, they’re a good team, they can keep possession. That’s the type of team, if you don’t keep possession, if you don’t [get in] good spots with the ball, you’re going to be working hard, you’re going to be defending a lot of the game.

On the Crew running at the Rapids defense:

I think they did. They did a good job moving the ball side to side. We tried to make some adjustments, but they’re a good soccer team. We knew that coming in, we tried to do a couple things, adjustments at half time, but it was just one of those games. It was a grind, it was a tie, it was a point, and we’ve just got to go from there, improve, and get ready for the game next weekend.