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Coach’s Quotes: Shore praises VanOekel, addresses direct play

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Real Salt Lake’s interim coach emphasized his pride in the team’s hard work.

MLS: Real Salt Lake at New York Red Bulls Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

On team preparations

It was a difficult week early in the week. But what we told the players is how unfortunate it is. This is the business that we're in. We told our players you guys are professional soccer players and you're paid to play soccer. We're coaches and we're paid to coach.

This is a pretty reasonable perspective, right? The next line is what interests me most.

So once the news came out, everybody had their issues with it, but we got on the field Tuesday and had a really good, competitive day of training, and then Wednesday we got into our tactical issues with the Red Bulls and came here. We knew it wasn't going to be pretty, but we persevered. Really proud of our group tonight.

For all the talk among fans about the state of RSL’s coaching under Jeff Cassar, it’s good to have a reminder that he was well-liked by the players, and that they hold themselves to a high standard.

On New York’s direct play

This is not an easy place to come play, and they're not an easy team to play against. They like to disrupt the play. They were a little bit more direct than we thought they were going to be early on. So we just had to deal with that, and deal with a lot of second balls and stuff like that.

New York’s directness is probably the thing that most played into RSL’s early (if limited) successes, given it opened up space for us to, well, do exactly the same thing.

But we also came in here with the mind frame that we wanted to try to play a little more direct than we usually do as well. So I thought it was a little bit back and forth. They obviously had some great chances that we made saves on, both our goalkeeper and our defenders.

Fair enough. That’s certainly how it worked out, so credit to him. Our directness is probably what allowed us some great early chances, and we should continue.

On Matt VanOekel

Matt's been chomping at the bit to get into this league. He put his time in in the lower leagues and he earned his chance tonight, and I think he proved it to us.

...

He's a solid goalkeeper, very good shot stopper, works hard, commands his box. Although we'll talk to him a little bit. I thought he could have come for a couple balls, but when you've got Chris Schuler and Aaron Maund in front of you, you don't really have to come for a lot of balls. He's a really solid goalkeeper.

Yeah, that VanOekel guy was pretty great, wasn’t he?

Quotes are from an RSL Communications release.