Did you miss out on Monday's conference call with Real Salt Lake GM Garth Lagerwey, Javier Morales and Nat Borchers? Never fear because I am here to bring you all the details (thanks to the good folks at RSL &MLS Communications):
Since there is simply so much information I am going to break this down into three parts, one for each participant, so to start us off here are the questions that were asked of RSL defender Nat Borchers:
Real Salt Lake head coach Jason Kreis is known for his single-mindedness about soccer, the famous story being that he didn't know who Jimmer Ferdette was, do you have any other examples that you guys tease him about along those lines?
Borchers: "I actually do, I have a perfect one. Super Bowl Sunday comes along and you have Green Bay and Pittsburgh and I believe this question was posed to him a couple of days before the game was played, "Do you have any idea who is playing in the superbowl?" and he had not a clue. So there's your example, Super Bowl, biggest game of the year and of course we had training during it, so sometime that's how it goes."
From a player standpoint what is the benefit of having a guy who is so locked in his job like that?.
Borchers: "I think that one of Jason's best characteristics is that he is detail- oriented he considers every angle over every situation for every game, every training situation, everything outside of soccer that we would have to worry about, Jason has those things covered. So it is just really taking the time for us, especially when it comes to getting ready for teams, he's got every angle covered, and it really gives peace of mind to us as players.
more from Nat after the jump:
Has the side felt disrespected at all by Monterrey in their preparations for this match?
Borchers: "No, I don't think so I think my initial thoughts when the substitutions were made was that they were tactical in nature because I feel like they felt they could find some space behind us and behind the back line. They pulled de Nigris out because they wanted to get him behind us and Pereza had no explanation for that one during the game. After the game I saw the comments and there was quite a bit of criticism leveled at their coach. I believe those substitutions had to be made because obviously they had some issus, I believe they were both hamstring issues with some guys and obviously when it comes to addressing what Vucetich said about our team, I don't even think it is worth mentioning. We as a team have to just play our style, play our game on Wednesday and play our game the way we play and we don't need to respond."
What have you noticed from this ground-swell of support from fellow MLS teams. You battle them week in and week out and they are rivals, but it seems like certainly the league and the teams have joined together and are really supportive of your success.
Borchers: "I think it is fantastic when you go on twitter and you read some of the things that players around the league are saying about your team and about our guys. I think we feel like we are really getting a lot of support from the rest of the league. It gives us confidence to know that they've got our backs in this competition; everyone wants to see us do well-it's a great feeling. We understand who we are playing for, we understand that we are not only representing Real Salt Lake and the city of Salt Lake and the state of Utah, but we are representing the league and on some level American Soccer.
What was your take on how you defended Suazo in the first leg and are there things you think you can do better come Wednesday?
Borchers: "There are definitely things we can do better. I think Suazo is a very dangerous striker he likes to tip toe that line, not unlike a Jeff Cunningham, and he's pretty lethal in front of goal. After we played the game I went on YouTube and looked up the highlights and I just saw how calm and collected he is once he gets in that penalty box. I think we are going to have to do a better job on getting pressure on the ball in this leg. I think too often we were passive in our pressure and it made it easy for their midfielders to chip those balls in over the top that beat our pressure and allowed Suazo to get the ball turned on goal in there. There were a few instances where it was really close and I think he was on-side in one of those situations where he was called off. It's really important to get that pressure and the communication has got to be big on us in the back, the back four need to communicate a little bit better in terms of making sure Suazo isn't getting between us and beating that offside line.
How much does that complicate it by the fact that sometimes he drops into the midfield to get the ball?
Borchers: "We prefer him to get the ball at midfield but we just do not want him to get the ball at midfield and turn. It's important to be able communicate with the rest of the guys, and make sure whoever is in the midfield is aware of where he is and preventing those passes from coming in to Suazo. But there are going to be times when he gets the ball and if he gets the ball we want it as far away from our goal as possible. If he can get the ball at midfield, then that's probably not the worst place for him to get the ball."
How has Jason [Kreis] set priorities for you guys? Are you even paying that much attention to league action?
Borchers: "We haven't played a league game in quite some time, so our focus hasn't been there. I think we said from the outset before this competition even started that this is a priority. Our owner came out to the press and us saying that it is a priority and it has be re-iterated numerous times in subsequent meetings we have had as a group so I think everyone knows what we have on the line. This is it, we have to get a result in this game if we want to appear in the big dance, and everyone is aware of that. I don't think it gets much bigger than this and we are ready and we understand what is on the line.
Can you talk about the atmosphere at Rio Tinto, is this as excited as you have seen your home team fans?
Borchers: "This is definitely not as excited as I have seen them. When we won the MLS Cup, that was the most excited I have ever seen the city, when it came to a sports event and that was quite special. The fans have been really up for this series, you can't look in a newspaper or on TV without seeing Real Salt Lake and seeing us on TV or in the papers. It has been fantastic. Our fans are special, they are not like fans in most sports markets. I think they are more loyal, I think because we live in a smaller city and there are only two major sports. I think that they really developed a relationship with Real Salt Lake and we developed one with them and it's just been fantastic to see that grow. We are in a situation now where if we get a result Wednesday and represent Salt Lake City and represent Utah and represent the United States on the biggest stage. I think the fans are aware of that and I think they will be out in numbers on Wednesday night."
Can you tell us a bit of what Jason [Kreis] has told you as far as still finishing this off and there is still 90 minutes to go?
Borchers: "We haven't sat down for our team meeting yet to actually talk about this game. We have been preparing for this game like the way we prepare for any other game, in terms of what we have done with training and in terms of our build up. I know when we play at home we like to come out and be aggressive, I don't think there is any other way to come out and play against a good team like Monterrey. If you sit back they are going to pick you apart and be able to possess you, you won't even be able to see the ball. We are going to have to put our stamp on the game and create chances against these guys if we want to get this result. I think everyone is aware that 0-0, 1-1 or win is going to do it for us, those are three scenarios. Everyone on the field is aware of that and I expect it to be a great task for us."
Do you all talk internally about how you are going to stick together for 90 minutes?
Borchers: "I think it's going to be a different game, when you are on the road in an environment like Monterrey, you are going to have let downs, we were definitively fatigued in that game. Being fatigued and the fact that we didn't possess the ball well on the evening were reasons why we sat on our own half and had to deal with wave after wave of Monterrey attack going through, so I expect it to be a different game here. We don't sit back they are going to have to deal with our altitude, our energy, our fans and those are all positives for us and we are going to have to make sure we get the game started on the right foot.
Well there you have the thoughts of Nat Borchers from yesterdays conference call.
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