His overall thoughts on the game
It’s so difficult in sport to get a balance when you’re winning or losing, what you say to the players, what you don’t say. The one thing this evening that’s cost us is individual error, which can happen.
The penalty which, I think it was if I’m honest, I think [Jeremy Hall] caught him and he sort of went down late. And then I don’t know what we were doing at the back when Chris [Christian] let the ball go. And you can’t afford to do that, ok? Chris Christian probably won’t be doing that again all season.
As I just said to the staff there, I would rather have these things happen now, believe it or not, than near the end. We went on a three game unbeaten run last season and we ended up winning the Western Conference, so it can be done. What we’ve got to do is not brush certain things under the carpet but at the same time keep the belief. I felt that the players kept going tonight. Whenever we tried to get a hold in the game, we gave them a goal. If you look in both halves we gifted them a goal. It was difficult from then. We’ve got a lot of work to do, that’s for sure.
I was happy tactically with how we went about the game, we pressed high. I don’t think they caused any problems. I think we looked more energetic than we have at the start of games. But we couldn’t find the back of the net. That was a disappointing part. I think that the fans were excellent. The fans pushed us to the end and we kept attacking until the end.
But again, I’ve seen this pattern before. Do I know what to do? Yeah, I know what to do. I’ve got a good group of players, good staff, great supporters. What we’ve got to do is go on a run and that starts the next game.
On Ochoa seemingly being neutralized by opponents the last few games.
I agree with you totally. I think it’s something we’ve got to look at. We’ve said to the strikers with the amount of crosses we get in the box, you’ve got to make runs. I think it was a bit better but not where we need it. No where we need it yet.
Again, I look at the stats. I know stats don’t always give a true reflection of the game. We’re looking towards their goal for the majority of the game and the amount of balls we have into their 18 yard box the last three games it must be well over 70 balls delivered. (Buckle is correct. Republic have sent in 87 crosses over the last three games. 16% were successful.) We need people to make runs. We need the strikers, that’s what they’re paid to do. Sometimes they fall away from that and it’s my job to get them back doing the right things... We’ve been our own worst enemy. Especially tonight we’ve been our own worst enemy.
On the effectiveness of T2’s defense and what he thinks of the team’s Republic will play soon.
Well the first thing when you play against two big central defenders, the slide ball through for Trevin [Caesar] is good, we know that. We worked a beautiful free kick around the wall and Sammy’s in. Wilson has a free header on the far post to make it 1-1. We had chances. It doesn’t matter what you do tactically — the key is to get a clear sight of the opposition’s goal and we did that.
In the game here against Orange County we found the back of the net and everything’s happy. I wasn’t happy with the start of the game against them.
So there’s things, believe it or not, that I’m happy about tonight. That I can see is going to serve us well in the future. It’s always difficult when you lose a game, especially in the way that we lost it. We gave them the game. The players will know that. It’s hard and we had a mountain to climb once we did that.
On the injury to Adam Moffat
He had a groin which kept him out of the Energy game and we brought him back in the next game against Swope [Park Rangers]. We just can’t risk it, you know. He’s got a stiff groin. He won’t mind me saying this, but with Adam’s age and how many miles he’s done we’ve got to be careful. If he rips it completely it’ll be a long time out.
I don’t think we missed anybody tonight. I don’t think we were lacking anywhere other than in the 18 yard box. And two errors. Which can happen in any team. When an individual makes a poor error they don’t mean to do it. Chris obviously thought that the ball would run through. if it stays at 1-nil, there’s more doubt in their mind and we have more confidence. 2-nil gives them a cushion, something to really hold on to.
You’ve got to be careful when — I have to be careful, when you analyze things not to go to overboard and get too worried. What we’ve got to do is keep the performance levels where we’re at, start becoming no-nonsense around our 18 because we’re getting punished. I think we had a spell last season where that happened. So we need to address it and we will. I’ve got every faith that the players can go on a really good run.
On any second half adjustments that he made.
Well the one thing in the second half was to not concede again. I felt that we had enough of the ball and we got into good areas without too many people going forward. Because they were quick on the counter attack. They’ve got a lot of pace and they’ve got some good players.
It was key not to concede another goal because I felt they would tire. I trust out fitness levels. We stuck to the plan. We delivered balls in and we should have scored. There’s no two ways about it. We expect to score those chances. We expect to do that. If you score, it’s different. We all know that. There’s no truer saying in football that goals change games. Either in a positive manner or negative, which was the case tonight.
We have to keep creating chances and we have to keep attacking. I’m sure it will come, I really am... I wasn’t very happy last game because I think we didn’t really lay a glove on Swope. But we laid a glove down tonight. We attacked and we were there. We just didn’t finish.
On the difficulty of going up against two big defenders like Timbers 2 had.
We had chances, you know. They were good back there. I think it was their first win of the season and we were trying not to let them get the first one here, but two mistakes cost us the game. We did have chances. They were solid back there, but I still believe we had chances. I don’t know how many crosses we had, but I’m sure we had a lot. We’ve just got to keep working, you know. We’re on the road next week.
On opponents seemingly game planning for him and trying to limit his effectiveness.
I don’t know. I don’t really focus on what their game plan is. We try to go out and focus on what we want to do and let them worry about us. I still try to play my game as best as I can and if they do mark me out, I probably don’t notice it. But like I said, we did have chances. We’ve just got to be more effective and keep working. Hopefully we’ll get three points next week.
On his recent streak of goalless games.
I guess that’s the deal with the forward, you know. Sometimes we’re hot, sometimes we’re not scoring. That’s just soccer. You never know, next weekend we might get five. We’ve just got to be patient. We can’t put all the alarms on, you know. We’ve got to be patient and get ready so when we do get those chances we finish them off.
On if frustration was a factor in the chippiness of the game.
Yes, but it’s like that every game. It is kind of frustrating when we can’t break them down or cant score. But we’re doing the best we can and the goals will come. We know it. We just have to be patient. It’s just the beginning of the season, so we’ll get it going.
On the team heading back out on the road for the next three weeks.
We’ve just got to take it the way we took it in the last road games. It was hard, we got two losses. But it’s a different team, it’s Vancouver and they’re a good team. We’ve got to go up there and perform and get three points because we need them. We can’t go four in a row. We’ve got to go out there and perform.
We have another road game after that. We know that along the season we’re going to play at home a couple weekends. So get these road games out of the way and get as many points as we can so when we play at home we can take advantage of that.
On what he’d like to have changed about the game.
Well I think personally for myself, I had one chance in the first half and the header in the second half that came to me quickly. I should’ve really hit the target and obviously we’d have scored if I had hit the target.
As a team I think we just need to get back to what we were doing against OC. We need to just buy into what the coach is saying, work harder on the training field and the results will come. We’ve had three results not that are difficult for us, but it’s a long season. We knew these times were going to come. It’s just the resilience in the squad that we have now. We need to show it and come back better.
On what he saw from Timbers 2.
We knew that even though they were 0-5 coming in, we knew that they had good players and they were comfortable on the ball. No match is a given. You have to go out and beat the other team.
I think we dominated the first half and had the better of chances. They didn’t really trouble us that much. They were quick on the counter attack but that was about it. Second half, the penalty came and we were so close to grabbing something and getting a results but that’s football. Sometimes it doesn’t happen, sometimes it does. We just have to keep working hard and things will turn around.