Flash: 1, Reign: 0 – Aug. 7, 2013 – Sahlen’s Stadium, Rochester NY
Post game reaction from WNY Flash (9-4-7/34 points) and Seattle Reign (5-12-3/18 points):
Flash player Abby Wambach:
(Reaction to the result) I think Seattle’s a really good team. They’re organized. They like to possess the ball. That was part of our tactics today, to try to disrupt their possession as much as possible because they’re all confident on the ball. They like to play the ball out of the back, Hope is really good with the ball at her feet. Us having higher pressure in the first half disrupted their way of playing. And in the second half we had a couple chances, they had a couple chances, we had a few hit off the post, they had a few that were just missed, so in all it was the soccer fan’s kind of game. Not very high scoring and I thought that based on where we both are in points in the standings, Seattle’s a much better team than where they actually lie.
(On her assist) I do like to make things difficult for Carli. She plays me a fantastic ball, makes a great run and I play the ball through to her and unfortunately I don’t feed her a very good ball, which forces her to take a half-volley. The ball comes off the right side of her foot and she’s able to put the ball past Hope, which is not an easy feat. Hope’s a game player and she’s the best of the best, and to get a goal against Hope is not only for Carli’s confidence but for our team’s confidence in total.
(On the playoffs and standings) We weren’t thinking about what other teams were doing. We needed to focus on what we needed to do tonight. Because we do feel that our fate is still in our hands and if we take care of every game from here on out we’ll be in a good position to not only clinch but hopefully host a game for the playoffs, and that’s our goal. We started really slow in the beginning of the season and we’ve slowly but surely crept up the standings and it’s a credit to the kind of system that’s run here. And I’m impressed with the consistency we’ve showed over the last six or seven games. Maybe the results haven’t totally gone our way but I think we’re playing good soccer, I think we’re playing better soccer than we were in the beginning of the year and that’s all you can ask. We want to peak in two games – we want to be playing our best soccer by the time we hit the playoffs.
Flash player Carli Lloyd:
(On her goal) As I recall, there were a couple times in the first half where I just kind of knocked it back one touch and there were opportunities I had to dribble and take the space. Aaran (Lines) had told me that at half time and I kind of knew that after those plays happened. So in the second half, McCall (Zerboni) did a great job of flicking the ball over, the defender misread it, it bounced over and I had a ton of space. I took as much space as I could and played it into Abby. Abby played a perfect ball back to me. I knew I had to strike it clean, get it in between the bars and try to keep it low and luckily I got on the score sheet.
(On how strategy changed for the second half) Collectively, in order for us to win it, it’s going to take every single player. We all have to defend, we all have to attack. At halftime, we talked about pressing and the way they like to play was to draw one of our outside backs off the backline and then they’d look to play that ball over where the back left. So – just being diligent enough to see your marks and take the space. We, myself included, were kind of in this one- two-touch rhythm and sometimes in games you have to take space, you have to take a couple touches, and yes, it’s got to be quick but we made a few adjustments. Collectively from AD (Franch) on up, everyone had a great performance.
(On the importance of the game for postseason) We know what’s on the table. We know that we could potentially ‘clinch’ (a playoff berth), go to second (place), I don’t even know. (laughs) It’s too confusing, it messed with my brain. I’m taking it one game at a time – all of us. We knew tonight was a big game, after the Boston one (last week) with barley getting by. We knew we had to come out tonight and win. Now this game’s in the books and we’ve got to focus on next game.
(On trying to host a playoff game) Anyone plays well at home. It’s your 12th man out there. The crowd tonight was fabulous. We play well on our field. It’s nice and big. We like to put the ball down on the ground and play. One game at a time, one half at a time – that’s how we’re going to approach it. We’ve got to recover our bodies. We’ve got to be smart. This next game against Portland is going to be huge for us and we honestly can’t look past that.
Flash goalkeeper Adrianna Franch:
(On her saves) Those are the exciting that goalkeepers – that’s why we play the game and play the position. When you can have saves like that, you just have an adrenaline rush. You have your teams back and they have yours. They came up with a goal – that’s what we needed and we game out with the win.
(On Seattle’s last chances) It’s nerve-racking when the time’s running down and they are getting opportunities, but I feel that our team did well. And even with that shot, we relaxed we took a deep breath and continued to defend.
(On facing Megan Rapinoe) Each individual player has their tendencies and you try to learn and react to how they are. But at the end of the day, she is another player on the field and you have to protect the net.
Flash coach Aaran Lines:
(On the standings) It’s been one game at a time for so often and obviously this one today has helped us enormously. We’ve been 4th for so long, it’s like we’re embedded in that 4th position. When I look at the table when I go and see us tied for 2nd is going to be very rewarding. It sets us up for a nice a game on Saturday against a very good Portland team.
(On the game) I thought we started well with our collective pressure. They are a team that will look to play from their goalkeeper out of the back and then look to build the attack from there. So we tried to apply collective pressure early. I thought once we had the ball we rushed it the first half but we still created a few opportunities. I thought we had control of the game for 35 minutes in that first half. Lost it a little bit going into the half but re-evaluating in the second half. It was a very good performance both on and off the ball. We were disciplined, we were organized, we kept the ball a lot better through the midfield, created a lot of opportunities.
(On changing strategy in the second half) I thought our collective pressure was good, but when we were on the ball – if you play short-short in too tight of space they are very good at pressuring the ball. So we needed to be two passes and then out of pressure and I thought we did well with that. It was in and out, and switch the point of attack. We were a lot more comfortable and the goal gave us enormous confidence. That was our first 1-0 result of the season. That’s coming at a very important time, to know you can bring out a 1-0 result over the 90 minutes. It’s going to give us enormous confidence at the most important time of the year.
(On playing Portland Saturday knowing the playoffs are clinched) Now that we’re in that position, we’d like to play a home game to save ourselves the trouble and that’s the next step. It’s our fourth game in 11 days so it’s going to be all about recovery from the moment the game finished to the next one. We’re excited. It’s a very good Portland team coming in here. They’re going to probably want to show a response after that disappointing result for them tonight. There’s a lot at stake. A home playoff game is a huge advantage when you get to play in your own backyard for a championship. That’s what’s at stake and what we’re working toward.
(On A.D. Franch’s performance) Massive. Great save in the first half off Rapinoe. Incredibly confident. She’s becoming better with the decision-making. Her kicking was good tonight. She was big for us on a couple occasions. It’s great to see a young kid coming up big like that.
Reign FC coach Laura Harvey:
(On the result) I thought we played some good stuff at times. We didn’t take our chances and when you don’t take your chances your always at danger to concede. Disappointed with their goal – I think it was preventable prior to Carli running through, whether offside or not. Just disappointed because we’ve obviously played Western New York twice before – once here with 10 players and probably deserved more than a point, and then at home we got what I think we deserved, which was a win. And then tonight, I didn’t think we deserved to come away with nothing. But we’ve got to pick ourselves up and go again for the next road trip then. We don’t want our season to peter out into nothing. And that’s why you see a lot of disappointed faces because if we don’t change results in the next couple games, it’s going to end up like that.
(On Solo’s impact) She’s the best goalkeeper in the world and she’s that for a reason. Her presence alone makes us a difficult team to beat. But sometimes we rely too much on her. We give up too many opportunities to the opposition and that’s something we’ve got to change if we want to be successful in the next season. We can’t just rely on that Hope’s going to make fantastic saves. Having her in goal should be an added extra and not that we rely on her. I think at the moment, sometimes we do that and that has to change. But Hope Solo is Hope Solo. She’s the best goalkeeper in the world and shows it on a weekly basis.