John Hackworth May 14 press conference extra
On the extra motivation for Los Angeles:
We’re trying to just manage this three-game stretch in eight days, so our focus has been trying to prepare and recover from Chicago in a short amount of time, but the reality is that they’ll be a little more juiced. I don’t know if it’ll be in the legs, but it’ll certainly be emotional because there’s definitely a little more of a spotlight on you for sure. You’re playing at home, all of those kinds of things. Probably for our team, there’s probably a little bit of a feeling that people don’t give us respect right now, and even when we go and we win games, it doesn’t seem like we’re getting enough credit for it. I think having an opportunity to play LA at home is a really good game to try and make a statement, so I think there will be a little more motivation there for sure.
On the depth of his team:
It’s something we’ve talked about all year is that there were going to be times in the season where we had stretches where whether it was injuries, suspensions, just the number of games coming in a short amount of time where guys were going to get a chance. That proved to be very true Saturday in Chicago, it’ll be that way tomorrow night and I’m sure it’ll be that way against Chicago again.
On the game played by Bakary Soumare Saturday:
First I would say Baky had a really good game. He made a couple very key plays, key blocks, tackles. But you could tell that the one thing that we did very well is our backline moved in synch together, and I think he was a catalyst for that. His communication was excellent, his leadership was very good. I’ve said it all along that Baky has been a good pro. He’s been preparing well, he’s been staying fit. The fact that he can jump into his first game in a long time and not only manage 90 minutes but thrive in 90 minutes says a lot about him and a lot about our own preparation. We have a lot of different metrics that we check players and whether they’ve recovered, and we think he’s in great shape right now. We’ll evaluate that with Jeff possibly coming back, and we’ll see how that goes.
On Jeff Parke's status:
We have to be mindful of a guy like Jeff having a hamstring injury pushing him too soon. It was definitely the right decision not to play him on Saturday, but we hope to have him available for these games. He trained full today, so that was a good sign.
On rising to the occasion of playing L.A.:
It means you get to test yourself at a little higher level for sure. And it means a lot to play the champions and the kind of players that they have. Anytime that you’re facing Landon Donovan and company, it’s a huge honor. These kind of games, players look forward to and get a little more juiced for it.
On what a result against L.A. would mean:
I don’t look at it as a huge measuring stick. I think it’s an opportunity for us to again make a bit of a statement because (the Galaxy) do have, if not the best team in the league, certainly one of them. You know they’ll be there at the end of the year. Their goals are to always win the Cup, and they have done so for the last two years, so this kind of game is really important for us. But big picture, we try to keep it all in perspective and take it a game at a time and know that coming off a Chicago game where we had a good result. Felt like we could’ve played a lot better on the field, and it’s an opportunity for us to go out there and again kind of reinforce some of the things that we feel we need to do well at game-in and game-out, and certainly we have a lot of areas to improve from Saturday.
On the thought process behind possible lineup changes this weeks:
In a very simple form, it comes down to individuals: What individual match ups do we think make the most sense for tomorrow, what individuals have recovered from our previous game, which individuals come back from injury. Guys that are playing really good in training and just deserve their chance now, trying to figure out the total load of where players are out, and that’s the thing we’re trying to balance. At the end of the day, you’re probably going to have to try to make some changes here and there, and that gives players some opportunities that maybe they would’ve have had.
On the difference from last year's win over L.A.:
L.A. was really good in that game, and we fought tremendously hard and were very fortunate to pull off a great goal at the end from Michael Farfan. McInerney had a fantastic goal at the end of the first half totally against the run of play. But we’re a different team this year. We’re in a different situation in all facets, and we want to I think make sure that we show everyone that we’re as competitive as any team in this league.
On Jack McInerney measuring himself against L.A.'s talent:
I think for Jack, he’ll want to use this game as yet another opportunity to prove that he is playing at such a high level. But I would hope and I think this is very true, that Jack wants our team to be successful, so he’s going to do all the little things. We review a lot of video, and one of the most important clips we showed this week was McInerney making a 70-yard run back to defend in the Chicago game. For him, it’s an opportunity to prove that he’s still a good player, and doing it against players like Landon Donovan is very important, but I think it’s more collective on our end to make sure our players play the best they can to get a result.
On the prospect of facing Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan:
McGee’s on fire, he’s got six goals this year so far. Keane and Donovan are probably the two most difficult guys to play against when they’re combining and doing it very well. Their speed of play, the way they read each other, the relationship, it gives team fits, and certainly that’s a big challenge for us because not only do you have to worry about those two guys and the quality that they bring, but they have other guys that can hurt you as well. So it’s a really good test for us tomorrow.
On the depth of forward options for the Galaxy:
That’s a Bruce Arena trait right there. The guy seems to roll out anybody and they score goals. So yes it is very difficult to plan for. Keane is coming off injury and we don’t know exactly whether he’ll play or not, but they have some young guys who have done a great job. I wouldn’t put it past them to put out Chandler Hoffman tomorrow, a player very motivated, a young player back at his previous club. We’re expecting all of those things. We’re just trying to focus on us and being ready for the mobility and the quality of players we know we’re going to see one way or the other.
On returning Sheanon Williams and Ray Gaddis to the fullback roles:
We’re a different team with Sheanon and Ray on the outside, and that’s certainly something we want to continue to take advantage of. I think they did a great job getting us back into the game against Seattle. We were down a goal early, something we want to truly build on. We didn’t have Sheanon available for the Fire, now we do, and that’s something we’ll look to capitalize on.
On quantifying the success of midfielders:
I’m looking at performance more than I’m looking ever at numbers, especially for midfielders. I know there are people out there that have said certain things about our midfielders that might not be the endearing terms, but I look at their overall performance and I see what they do and midfielders as a whole is a very tough position to statistically read in this game and but any kind of true value on because depending on where you are in the midfield, you can do so many things well and you don’t really get on any stat sheet. You can close down space, you can block the opponent, you can make them go back and around, you can win so many balls. And yet they don’t get any credit for that. So as long as our team is doing what they need to do and our midfield and guys like Michael are doing their job and performing that the level that we think they’re capable of performing at, that’s all we care about.
On whether or not there's any concern of the lack of goals provided by Michael Farfan:
Sure, but very bluntly I would be much more concerned about it if we weren’t as a team successful. I think right now the fact this perception that our midfield is not firing on all cylinders and yet as a coach, I’m sitting here like, ‘hmm.’ I’ll take a road win against Chicago when the perception is that the midfield is not playing great and yet we know what they’re capable of and we know the qualities that we have within those midfielders and guys we haven’t seen yet. We think there are other guys who we think can contribute over the course of the season.