After each game, a Colorado Rapids PR person (aka Lu Aguilar) transcribes the questions and answers from post-game interviews and send them to the media. (They don’t transcribe the entire press conference or all of the questions and answers.) At home, we have a press conference and then talk to a couple players and away, it’s typically questions asked by Connor or Jordan for the videos the club puts out later.
As tensions rise this season and the losses add up, it’s always interesting to hear what Head Coach Anthony Hudson has to say. After the last game, he started blatantly blaming the players, but after a good week of training, everyone seemed hopeful going into the match today against Chicago. But after this loss, instead of tweeting out clips/soundbites, I thought it made more sense to share all of the quotes.
In this first one about the match as a whole, I don’t think he’s wrong. Hudson clearly sees that other teams are taking advantage of defensive mistakes. He is disappointed and frustrated (as he should be) and you can tell morale is fragile right now.
”Well, look I mean, what can I say. We are incredibly, incredibly disappointed. We come into the game in what I really believe was a good frame of mind. Good attitude, prepared, I think we worked thoroughly this week on all the things we need to do to address the problems we know we have. Just incredibly disappointed in the goals we conceded. It becomes tough for players to respond in a confident and a positive way every time when you concede some of the goals we have conceded. I think when you look at it, which I would say is probably has happened quite a lot, we are almost creating chances for the opposing team. I don’t see many teams really having amazing goals or creating great chances. I think today we almost created their chances. So that’s what I am incredibly disappointed about.
I felt first half we went in and it was such a scrappy game with the conditions. I thought we did well to come back and I thought we were in a good place now that we had the wind with us in the second half. I felt confident and I think the players did too. I think the second goal really took the wind out of our sails and sort of deflated the team.
Again, this league is filled with some very, very good players up front and if you make a mistake and if you do some of the things we have done in and around the edge of our box, you’re going to get punished. I think that’s what we are finding. We have to keep working to rectify it every day on the training pitch, and make sure we keep improving.”
Hudson was then asked about Kei Kamara’s goal and if it shifted the momentum and he decided to talk again about how terrible the game was.
“I don’t think there was too much in it between the two teams. There really wasn’t. I don’t think it was a great game to watch for supporters. It’s just those moments at either end and at the other end of the pitch, in our box, it just wasn’t good enough. Hasn’t been good enough. With all the positivity and confidence that comes with Kei’s [Kamara] goal, we have to stay in games longer.
We know we are good, we know we can score goals, but to score goals and to create chances, you need confidence and you need positivity, and you need the team to be pulling in the same direction. But when you concede goals, the second goal, it’s just completely deflated us. It was just the toughest thing. I think at halftime everyone was confident that we could get a result.”
The last question was about CJ Sapong’s goal. We see a lot of back-and-forth here. Hudson says they (Chicago) “didn’t have to work too hard for their goals” and the defense made “poor decisions,” but says the players care, they work hard, etc. Right after that, he takes a little bit of the blame and says he’s hasn’t picked the “right back four” but then puts it back on players and says no one has “convinced him” or has shown him that they should be starting.
“I probably don’t need to talk through the goals. I don’t think they’ve had really to work too hard for their goals. Everything sort of in and around the edge of the box we either made the wrong decisions and these are not complicated things to figure out. We just made poor decisions. We’ve either not got tight enough on shots, or we’ve not gone with a runner. The players are not purposely trying to make mistakes, the players care. They really do. I know that because of the way they work every day and the way they...we haven’t got a bad set. They care, they don’t want to be making mistakes. But the reality is, it hasn’t been good enough. I can’t point to one goal that we’ve conceded where I think, you know what, fair play to them, that’s just a great goal. I don’t think they’ve done that, that’s not happened.
We have to now as a staff continue to address the problem, work on it every day. I clearly have to make sure I pick the right back four, and as of yet, I haven’t. No one’s convinced me. No one is showing me they should be starting. I am waiting for it. In the meantime, we as a staff we will keep encouraging and pushing and working on it every day on the training pitch, and making sure the players who play have got to step up. They have to do better in these situations.”
We also received quotes from Benny Feilhaber, who is known for his brutal honesty, and he delivered:
“It wasn’t good obviously. It was a tough game first of all in terms of conditions for both teams. The field is dry, the grass is tall, it’s windy, it’s not great conditions for a good game. I think it was a pretty ugly game throughout. I don’t think either team played well in the first half. Obviously we go down a goal, we have a decent response to get a goal back going into halftime locker room. I think at one-one, we feel okay with where we are at. If we can use a little bit of the wind to our advantage in the second half we could potentially come out with a result. Obviously that’s not the case. I actually think we started the second half pretty well. The first five minutes, I don’t know when the goal came, but felt like it was at least 5 or some odd minutes that we had the majority of possession and building from back to front. And then the goal comes at a terrible time for us. I am involved in losing the ball in the midfield. A couple back and forth, I think I lost it and tackled it off someone, came to Dax [McCarty], and Dax plays the ball over the right, Tommy [Smith] steps but doesn’t get to the ball and the guy gets in behind. Obviously it’s a defensive mistake there and we are not able to collectively get behind the ball to make it difficult. It was an easy goal at the end.
When you go down two-one, then you have to go after the game and we expose ourselves again. They start to grow into the game a little bit which they hadn’t been playing better than us at the beginning of the second half. It feels like right now we have to have a perfect game in order to win a game for our team. Way too many defensive mistakes all over the field. It’s frustrating and in MLS, this is one league that if you make those kind of mistakes where you give teams, instead of 50 percent goal chances, 90 percent goal chances, you’re going to get crushed. And so we have to find a way to solve those problems right now. We aren’t solving any of them.”
Feilhaber was also asked about the equalizing goal right before half-time:
“The first question after we come in at halftime at 1-1, we feel like we have done a pretty decent job. With how the weather was, and the wind, it was definitely blowing one side and you feel like, okay, typically against the wind it might be a little difficult in the first half when we come out with a 1-1 result coming from behind. We feel like we can use the wind a little to our advantage in the second half. You have a little bit of momentum in that sense but a goal kills that.
That’s been plaguing us all year. It’s not a secret, everybody in MLS knows we have been gouged. What is it now, 14 goals in four games, is that right? Four, three, four, four? Or four, three, four, three? Something like that? Whatever it is, I think it’s 14 goals in four games.
If you’re giving up 3.5 goals a game, you’re going to win literally no games. Until we figure that out, there is not much to talk about.”