What They’re Saying After the 4-2 Victory Over Angel City

Washington Spirit  |   May 20, 2024
What They’re Saying After the 4-2 Victory Over Angel City Featured Image

A flurry of first-half goals lifted the Spirit to a 4-2 win over Angel City FC on Saturday night. Following the match, interim head coach Adrián González, forward Trinity Rodman, and defender Casey Krueger spoke with the media.



Adrián González


On the quick pace of today’s game:

“It’s been a crazy day, especially the first half of the game. We need to learn from these situations because when the game starts being crazy with ups and down, we lose control. We can’t play how we want when the game is 50-50. There are a lot of emotions, so a lot of times we have to be more patient. It was a hard first half, but I’m happy with the way we reacted, and in the second half, we saw more of what we wanted. We had a chance to score another one and maybe end the game, but I’m happy with the performance because it’s always important to compete and keep winning. Today, we’ve seen different versions from the team, so competing in a different way in tough games, but I’m happy with the performance.”


On repositioning Trinity Rodman to increase defensive efforts:

“She is helping us defending, and she knows that we need that from her, from every player. It’s not just about attacking, especially on that side, (Alyssa) Thompson was creating chances, and we know that she’s dangerous. She was helping the fullback, so we’re happy with that because we were demanding her to work also at that point, so I think she is doing good.”


On how the Spirit bounced back in the first half: 

“It’s not the first time. We have that mentality and that mindset to believe until the end. When we received the goal, we conceded a chance, so we react and have a good response. I’m happy with that because it’s not easy, especially emotionally when you concede a goal. So, the next five minutes are hard because you are a little bit confused, but I think the team is doing good after we conceded the goal. I’m happy also how we’re reacting. I’d like to avoid that, but it’s also positive because we have that mindset that it doesn’t matter what the result is, we keep fighting and we keep competing. So, I think that’s positive.”


On how the Spirit took advantage of opportunities while not dominating possession:

“Maybe other games we created more chances and maybe we scored less goals and today it was maybe less chances and more goals. I think that is also positive. For me, the key here is that very game we are creating chances. I think that is really positive. Scoring four goals is not easy — in Chicago and today again with our fans. It’s good to see that we can have different ways to create chances and score goals — not just one player, different players are scoring and creating chances. I also think that is positive that as a team we can combine and create danger in different ways.”


On injuries during the game:

“It’s a part of the game. We are coming from a hard trip, three games in a row in 12 days. We knew that would be difficult. Actually, last week we’ve been recovering until the last day because it’s hard, especially when you have to travel east coast, west coast, playing those games. Especially, Louisville was so hard. That game had lots of ups and downs, lots of transitions. That field, the grass was a little difficult to play, and it was also high intensity. We’re trying to recover, and we have 22 players that are available, so if one player gets an injury, we have to try to find another one. So, that’s why we are training, and we are preparing the team. It doesn’t matter who plays, we know what we have to do, and we can have different options with players.”


On taking a 4-2 victory in front of the home fans:

“It was amazing, so I want to say thank you again to the fans, especially today. It was difficult with the weather, with the raining. They came. They are supporting us every game here. We feel that, and we need them. I think here in our stadium, we are competing very good. The message this week was that after three games with good results, so today it was very important to have a good performance and also to win. Because otherwise, what we did with those three games away, if you come here, if you don’t perform good, and you lose the game, it could be tough. So, today was very important to make another step forward and try to compete again good in front of our people. I’m so happy because I think today for fans, it’s been a great game. A little bit crazy sometimes with a lot of goals and good soccer.”


On holding Angel City FC’s defense:

“We knew that sometimes we need to drop a little, we need to defend in a low block and try to be more compact to reduce the space in the middle. Sometimes we have to do that because the opponents are also doing good and they know how to attack, so we need to know how to be there and how to defend those situations, especially in our box, set pieces also. The team is now starting to feel like that’s another way to compete, and we can do that. It’s very difficult to have the ball 90 minutes and play in the half for 90 minutes, sometimes we need to know how to defend in our half. We’re making steps forward in those directions. I’m happy because we’re seeing that we know already what we have to do with the ball and without the ball, so that’s positive.”


On the most dangerous aspect of Croix Bethune:

“Do I choose just one? That’s a tough question. I think she understands what is happening in every game situation, in every moment. She has that intelligence to try to identify where the space is, where the advantage is, which player is in a good position to receive. She is so clever. She also has that talent, that patience to make that pass at the right time. She doesn’t get anxious to pass very quickly and also, I think she makes her teammates better. She is a player that if you are around her, you know that something is going to happen. She is really talented, but she is also helping the team to improve and also the players who are around her.”


On his injury and having to sit while coaching:

“Yeah, but I don’t know how to sit down, so it’s been the same. No problem, the same. I have two arms and two legs, no problem. I was a little bit nervous because sometimes I wanted to move a little bit more, but I’m fine. I just got injured the other day during the training session. I hurt my leg.”


On the message at halftime after an intense first half:

“I think the key today was to recognize that even though we have seen six goals in the first half, it was a little bit crazy or we didn’t have the control, we were winning. So, that’s positive. We tried to transmit calm. We needed to have more control with the ball. Sometimes my feeling was that we weren’t pressed, and we wanted to progress very fast. We lost the ball because of that. We tried to transmit that we are doing good, but when we are more patient, when we move them a little bit more from one side to the other side, have longer attacks, I think the team slowed down the rhythm a little bit, and it helps us. Trying to play in the half a little bit more, trying to have a good rest defense, controlling (Alyssa) Thompson, (Sydney) Leroux, and those forwards, try to win second balls because we were trying to press high today. We know that sometimes that we have those long balls and trying to be strong with those second balls because we wanted to play in the half as much as possible.”


On the fullbacks swapping sides:

“From that side we were seeing that (Alyssa) Thompson was creating chances, they were creating numbers there on the right side. Trin was helping us, but she was so deep. When we recovered the ball she was so deep so we couldn’t have those situations with her.  That’s why thinking about Casey (Krueger’s) profile, she’s pretty athletic. We were thinking about putting her there because we thought that she could stop Thompson much better. It could also allow us to have Trin a little bit higher if we recovered the ball. I think the team after that was more compact. Gabby (Carle) was doing very good, but sometimes you need to move a little bit because of details, because of the profiles, but also because Gabby can play on the left side as she’s doing with Canada National team. We also have that opportunity, so sometimes we can use that.”


Casey Krueger & Trinity Rodman


On navigating a tough start and coming out on top:

Trinity: First half, I wouldn’t even say it was managing it. At the end of the day, I think it was a scrappy game, especially in the first half. For us, it was being the stronger and grittier team in those moments — ending play, tackling, being dangerous in the attack, and I think we did a really good job in the first half.

Casey: Not every game is going to be the prettiest, unfortunately. I would love for it to be. I think it was great that we showed that side despite getting scored on a couple times. We fought back, and we showed a lot of character, as well.


On what allowed the team to have success: 

Trinity: I think LA is a good team. They have really good players. I think our plan — or what we wanted to expose — was the staggered backline. I think their backline had a tendency to get attracted to players who were coming in the pocket and making runs in. I think we all — from Casey (Krueger) coming up to Croix (Bethune) making runs from seams two to seams three, Ouleye (Sarr) stretching them — did a really good job at manipulating that and forcing them to kind of be confused. They didn’t know who to step to, when to drop, and I think that was the biggest thing for us — trying to manipulate them in those opportunities, and we did a really good job at that. We had open chances on goal in the 18, so that’s picture perfect for us.


 On what the conversation was like when the team went down 1-2: 

Trinity: That was tough. We did exactly what we wanted to do: We scored early. After that, we were feeling good. The Thompson sisters are extremely fast, and they were all over the place. We got overloaded in the wide areas, and it took us too long to figure out what the rotation was. In this game specifically, I think it was more the downfall of us being passive in our defensive half. I think when we get scored on, and we’re down, there’s not even conversation. We all give each other that look of “We know this feeling, let’s do it again.” We don’t want this. We don’t want to get scored on. We want shutouts. We are going to keep building and score as many goals as possible.


On if the team has a different feel than previous seasons and if the team is comfortable being down: 

Trinity: Not comfortable, but I think we know we can do it. I wouldn’t say that I’m more confident with this team this year. I think we have a great roster, and in the past, we’ve had really great rosters, but I think collectively as a team we are relying on each other a lot more. I think leaning into working together and not trying to make individual magic happen and making magic happen together. I think our goals prove that: It starts from the back to the front, and almost everyone touches the ball in possession leading up to goals like that. I would say there is a common understanding that we play hard for each other, and we’re going to work hard for it.


On what changed defensively in the match:

Casey: I think at halftime we regrouped. We talked about a few overloads, how to solve it. We took a breath. I think all of those things worked. We came out, and we were solid defensively after that.


On getting the win in front of the home crowd:

Trinity: Amazing. On the road, we wanted nine points, but to get six is great. Being on the road is difficult. I think we came together as a team and got closer, and that showed on the field today. It is always amazing to be at this stadium. Even from 2021 to now, since I’ve been here, the crowd has grown so much, significantly. Having that support and having the Rowdy Audi is great.


On the key to winning:

Casey: Realizing their tendencies with their backline and trying to capitalize on that. Long attacks, being smart, but also going when we can, and structurally, defensively, staying strong.

Trinity: I think mentality, too. I think there’s been some games we’ve lost because of mentality and not being the aggressor. I think today it was, “We’re not losing a tackle,” even if we have to foul and reset. I think we wanted to win every single ball — first ball, second ball. We’re in the box, we had numbers up. We were pushing it to them. The mental piece was really there for us today, which was great.


On swapping sides of the field with Gabby Carle:

Casey: They were keeping us busy, I’ll say, on the flanks. That decision was made to put us both on the right side to try to slow them down a little bit, hopefully, and be able to attack from the other side. I think we kind of figured out the rotation a little bit as the second half went on.


On playing with Croix Bethune:

Trinity: She’s great. You can’t ask for a better rookie in this situation. She does so well, and I think the biggest thing — I don’t like to use the word comfortable, but I think that’s her game. She plays so comfortable. I think when you’re playing with somebody who radiates confidence and comfortability on the ball. When you see that, it makes you more comfortable and more confident to move off of that. I think her inner confidence makes her such a great player. She knows what decisions she’s going to make before she even turns up. Defenders have a hard time with her. Midfielders have a hard time with her. We don’t even know what she’s going to do half the time, but it works out. She’s a playmaker. Blessed to have her on our team, for sure.


On scoring and what they saw on the play:

Casey: I think a lot of players were involved in that goal, so that made it really special. I think T (Tara McKeown) kept that ball alive. I saw that happening and was like, “Let’s go. We’re going. We’re going to score this. This is not getting out of their box.” It was such a great collective effort, and I think you could see that energy after. We were like, “We got this. We’re not letting anymore goals in. We’re good.” So, that was a big moment before halftime.


On if she had any thoughts on Casey’s goal celebration:

Trinity: I was in the back, and I thought it went in like 20 seconds before, so I was kind of standing there (with outstretched arms) the whole time, and the ball is still being played, so I was like, “Oh, that’s awkward.” I am so happy for you, girl. She works her butt off. I’m so honored to play with her. As a team, it’s so awesome to have people from the front to the back scoring. I think that shows the versatility and the talent that we have on this team to know it is not just the forward line creating. A great moment in the game, and a great moment for her.

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