What They’re Saying After the Spirit’s Third Win in a Row

Washington Spirit  |   May 28, 2024
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Another goal-filled first half resulted in the Spirit defeating Seattle Reign FC 3-2 on Friday night. Following the match, interim head coach Adrián González, midfielders Croix Bethune and Andi Sullivan spoke with the media.



Adrián González


On balancing the good and bad when it comes to control:

“Sometimes we can get confused. The other teams always have good players, and they can be hard to defend. We need to keep learning and focus on finishing in the final minutes. In the end of each half, we have conceded a goal. I still think we have improved and put up some good competition. I think the team did a good job defending and continuing to attack. We know what we need to do, and I am so proud of this team. I have nothing bad to say, I saw a lot of good things.”


On the Spirit’s approach of finding space on the pitch:

“Seattle likes to have four players in the middle, dropping Gia a lot. We took advantage of the width of the field, finding our defense on the wings. Seattle was very aggressive and closed the middle quick. We identified lots of space on the field. However, I think we could have attack some more behind, taking advantage of Trinity (Rodman) and Ouleye (Sarr). I think the team is getting better at recognizing our opponent and how we can progress throughout the game.”


On the team’s unity during their winning streak:

“When we first played Seattle, we were not a team yet, now we are a team. We started with lots of new, young players. When you mix that with a new coaching staff, we needed room to build and grow. After five weeks of precision, we didn’t have those connections. Now I think we are a TEAM. Every player helps each other, and we know what our identity is. We know what we need to do in and out of possession and will keep fighting till the end. That is why we are winning games. That is what’s so powerful.”


On Croix and Ouleye’s connection:

“It’s not just about specific players. It’s about a team. Now we are building those connections and getting to know everyone better. We don’t need to talk, it’s the non-verbal communication; that has pushed us forward. We believe we are communicating all the time, on and off ball. We know what our teammates want, and it is something that is becoming easier for us.”


On Spirit’s back four:

“The have done a very good job defending. It’s not easy with all the good players we come across. The second half Seattle was down field and sending ball into the box on set pieces. Our back line has done a great job at defending them, but Andi and Hal have done a great job at winning the second balls too. We might have conceded two goals, but we have saved a lot of attacks. Seattle is very good at attacking, we stayed on top of them and continued to improve.”


On today’s pressure and effort:

“Every game is different, we try to find the right moment to press. Sometimes if we press keepers or center-backs we can force them inside or outside. I think we did a very good job today, and this is part of our identity. We like to press high- the farther we are from the goal the better. We have improved greatly, especially when our opponents play long balls, giving us more opportunities to attack.”


On Kate (Wiesner) starting in the front line:

“Kate is pushing and getting better and better. I think she deserves to start. Last week she deserved to play, but its positive that we utilize these younger players and get them experience. We also know that Kate can play full-back, but we can pull her to the front to help us win. Kate knows when to go wide, run behind or up the side. We have a lot of options when it comes to players, we are giving our players different options, allowing us to create different lineups throughout the season.”


On Hal (Hershfelt) in midfield:

“Hal is amazing. Hal is unbelievable. As an offense we like to see goals and assists. That’s why some of our players are always mentioned, but the work that Hal is doing is unbelievable. The amount of space she can cover, the defensive runs she takes, and her physicality; she is one of the best midfielders right now in the league. She is so young and has such a big future ahead of her in this league. Hal remains very humble and learns fast, especially from Andi and her peers. I am very proud of her; she is doing amazing.”


On newfound pressure with new call ups:

“I don’t think there is any pressure. It is a gift they deserved, and I am so proud of them. They have been working hard individually, and as a club. We are working every day to help our new player and give them opportunities. I tell them to try and enjoy this unique experience. I don’t think there is any pressure with the young ones, they have many years to get plenty of chances. This is a great opportunity where they need to have fun and enjoy it.”


On the team’s plans during the break:

“We need to rest and relax, especially after these long trips and hard games. Next week we will de-load our trainings and take some time to focus on the players needs individually. We will work a lot on individual development, and rest while trying to get ready for Utah. Where we will fly, and compete against some girls on the national team, competition will be high. I think they deserve to disconnect a little bit, before we prep for our next competition.”


Croix Bethune & Andi Sullivan 


On breaking up the Reign FC’s diamond defense:

Andi: “I definitely think, like Adrián (Gonzalez) mentioned, in that press being able to play in to play out is very effective. We knew we were going to have a lot of space wide but you kind of have to make that space even bigger and we have to be confident enough to play those passes and play them with the right weights and with the right foot. I thought Tara (McKeown) and Annaïg (Butel) did a good job of doing that. Or me and Hal (Hershfelt) being able to play to each other, then play out. I thought we did a good job of recognizing what was on and being able to break them down.”

Croix: “Yeah in addition to that just patience and realizing what they were giving us when we moved the ball. The weak side was on, so being able to switch it and then switch it back quickly and then penetrate.”


On beating the Reign FC to the punch to get goals:

Croix: “Sometimes goals aren’t always beautiful and pretty. They’re nitty and gritty, so I feel like for us, when we realize the cues to press, we were going to press. A famous quote is, ‘Defense wins games,’ so when we can defend and it leads to offense that quick, it benefits us.”


On the progress they’ve made since the last time they played Seattle Reign FC:

Croix: “I feel like we don’t really think about that game simply because it was the first game. We were all new and that was just so long ago. It’s in the past now. Every game after that we’ve improved extremely well, so I feel like we just came into this game and obviously we wanted to win and get our little ‘get-back,’ but we’re a different team with a lot of improvement.”

Andi: “I would agree with Croix. That first game of the season was definitely not our best, and it’s something that we’ve kind of used as a funny reflection point to think about how much we’ve changed and grown since that game both offensively and defensively. Like Croix said, I think in the high press we’ve improved so, so much and have been able to capitalize on that as well.


On Trinity Rodman’s celebration in the stands:

Andi: “ I had no idea what was going on did you?”

Croix: “No! I didn’t even know it happened.”

Andi: “Well she jumped over and I started to panic because the ref told me that if she jumped further into the crowd she would get a yellow so I was in my full like Andi mom panic mode like ‘Trinity don’t do something crazy!’ and she was like, “Andi I know calm down,” so I didn’t fully get to enjoy the celebration as I was panicking about not getting a yellow.”

Croix: “Oh wait her jumping into the stands? I was here for it.”


On Croix’s relationship with the team:

Croix: “I feel like it’s naturally blending well together. We have a lot of talent and a lot of experience. Whether they are OGs or rookies. I feel like we’re just kind of going with the flow and reading off of each other very well. We’re very versatile. I feel like we’re just reading each other very well and just going with the game.”


On Croix’s U.S. team call-up:

Croix: “I’m just grateful and honored that I’m able to be in this position, and I’m doing what everyone is expecting me to do and what I need to do, but I’m looking at this national team call-up as another experience but mainly to learn and to get things from camp that I can bring back to the Spirit.”


On who has helped Croix prepare for camp:

Croix: “ Andi Sullivan. I mean she’s been to camp so I just can talk to her about her experience. We’ve kind of had a couple conversations as a group and they’ve mentioned how you go into camps and you feel like you should just sit there and observe but I feel like being yourself and whether you’re latching onto someone or going into it as a group I plan on just being myself and being comfortable.”


On Croix’s mindset playing this game compared to the first against Reign FC:

Croix: “The first game caused a little bit of frustration just because things weren’t going as well as we wanted but this game we were more prepared. We knew what we were going to do and what they had. Like I mentioned earlier, just the ‘get-back’. We wanted that win, especially going into the break.”


On preparing to play against Utah Royals FC:

Andi: “I think we haven’t finished this game yet. Our kind of rule is to play the game tonight, have 24 hours to digest, and then it’ll be onto Utah. Obviously, there is a big group going away for the international break but we’ll eagerly await their return and just focus on training and preparing the best we can for Utah. It’s a challenging place to play. Haven’t played there in a while – with the altitude and everything. They’re an organized team and they made it interesting when we played them here. I think no game is easy so we’ll be working really hard to prepare for them.”


On balancing frustration while still enjoying the win:

Andi: “I’m very grateful for [Adrián Gonzalez’s] attitude and ability to zoom out and take that perspective. I’ve been in other situations where you come in and you’re getting chewed out for that goal rather than getting praise for how amazing the half was. At halftime, he said okay take a breath and the same thing at the end of the game being like, it’s okay and we know it’s something to work on. He’s very good at— I can be very intense, obviously, so him bringing me back to the neutral reality of the situation, like yeah we’ll work on it but it is something that needs to be improved and it’s not the end of the world. Especially when we score a bunch of goals.”


On Croix’s skillset and how the team’s environment helping her improve quickly:

Croix: “Honestly, I just feel like I go out there every day and just do me as my parents would say, ‘go be yourself.’ I feel like throughout the years of playing soccer I’ve been kind of waiting for this day to come, so for it to be here and just manifesting and actually performing on the field it’s just great to see. I have players like Andi, Trin (Trinity Rodman), Hatchy (Ashley Hatch), honestly everyone on the team they’re amazing and they help make my job a lot easier.”


On where the team is at now compared to last season:

Andi: “I would say that the group is so, so different it’s really hard to compare. Years past are not super relevant. It’s just about what is this group doing now and what do we need to tweak so that we can strengthen our 90-minute performances, 90-minute plus.”


On how close they are to where they want to be:

Croix: “I feel like each practice we make a bigger step. Each game it just keeps getting better. The only way is up and to elevate.”

Andi: “I agree I think we’re proud of who we are as a group and our internal processes but we’re not at all complacent or content with our performances. We have a lot of great moments and we celebrate those, but like Croix said, every day we train and we get mad if there’s one thing that could be slightly better. It’s just a very, very hungry group and this is only the beginning.”


On Andi’s approach to the PK:
“I feel like I have my routine down for what I like to do for a penalty. It’s something that a few of us practice after training often. There’s several players on the team that are prepared to take it. Today, I just ran through my routine and I felt good going into it. It’s always a nice feeling when you hit it just how you want to hit it, so I liked it.

Croix: “We liked it too.”

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