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Juarez unhappy with RSL’s slow start, praises response

RSL’s assistant coach took the reins. How’d he see the match?

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Real Salt Lake Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time, we got to see Freddy Juarez at the reins for Real Salt Lake. Having previously coached Real Monarchs, it’s not like Juarez is a stranger at the helm of one of our clubs — but this was still a new test for the man who’s coached from the academy up.

And how did he fare? Well, RSL drew, which wasn’t the best result, and they didn’t come out of the gates looking energetic, but they did respond extremely well at halftime, scoring two goals inside the first 15 minutes of the second half.

But enough with the assessment. We’re here for quotes, and quotes, we shall get.

Here’s Juarez on how he thought the team performed. He’s very frank, which is always a plus.

We are unhappy with the first half, we knew they were going to do that. They have been doing that for the last two games I think they have been 1-0 wins and actually a third with the high-track game. We knew the shape they were going to have, we are not happy with our energy level the first half, it wasn’t good enough.

You are going to play a team like that, we knew we were going to have to catch them on transition, because that is when they are spread out, maybe catch them on a press because again that is when they are spread out, or if we did allow them to get into their block we had to be very dynamic and to be dynamic you have to put a lot of energy into them and we lacked that in the first half.

Second half, early on, it was good maybe sometimes a little bit disorganized at times but at least the response of the energy was there and it led to two goals. And then we, again being a little disorganized, losing a ball in a bad area and it catches, but we were happy with the response. But we have to be able to, when we are heavy keep that, especially at home.

See? Great stuff.

Mike Petke was there, too, and largely, he deferred to Juarez — excellent leadership, I think, given he handed Juarez control of the team for the day.

Here’s what Petke had to say about Juarez.

I think Freddy did well, very well, and that is why he was the one that was put in charge. He is my right-hand man, he knows the game inside and out. I lean on him heavily for tactics, he gives me a different perspective on things, he calms me down when I need to be calmed down. Hey I have said it, once the whistle blows it’s out of your hands. You are fired and re-signed by the players on the field, with just a flip of a coin depending on how it happens. So it doesn’t matter about the result for me when we talk about Freddy tonight. I thought he handled himself very well out there.