Following the Chicago Red Stars’ match against the Houston Dash, Vanessa DiBernardo, Zoe Morse and Coach Petrucelli met with reporters.
On keeping the same lineup from Wednesday’s match with Kansas City (from Dan Gaichas)
Chris PetrucellI: I had conversations with all of them and they all felt they were capable of playing and obviously they were but we’re just trying to get as many of the best players as we can. This time of year, we have to find points, it’s probably the most important thing.
On balancing the team performance (from Claire Watkins)
Petrucelli: This match was a little ugly, I thought. But I think it goes back to the first question, I think our legs got us a little bit. I’m not sure that tonight is a fair evaluation of who we are. It was difficult for players. I hope the league realizes at some point that playing on two days rest is really hard, but credit to Houston, they played well and scored a very good goal. They were able to pull it off.
On the decision to bring in Morgan Gautrat for Ella Stevens and moving Yuki up (from Claire Watkins)
Petrucelli: We wanted to get Morgan in, she’s a quality player, she’s building her minutes and she helps our team when she’s on. I think that Vanessa is probably a more natural 10 than she is a six anyway, so that seemed pretty obvious to me. Ella played a number of minutes the last game and Yuki has quality for sure and I wanted to keep Yuki on as long as I could and so that’s why she pushed up. She’s very capable in that role. Obviously, I took her off there at the end, but I just wanted to try some fresh legs.
On Houston pressing high and adjusting to that (from Claire Watkins)
Vanessa DiBernardo: We had to continue to play the way we want to play and know that the pressure is coming quickly and if we can support the ball quicker, I think we’re a little slow with our decision making and our support and that’s got us in trouble. Sometimes if we feel the pressure is coming and continuously coming and we’re giving away bad balls it’s going to take a little bit. So, I think we just have to find the balance. They came out and they pressed hard and you can tell we knew what they were going to do and what they were trying to do, so I think that we just needed to adjust a little bit better.
On Vanessa adjusting the switch in her position when Gautrat came in (from Claire Watkins)
DiBernardo: Yea I’ve played with Morgan for a long time, so I know how she plays, same with Danny and I’d say that’s a little bit more home to me, higher up the field. It’s not too much of an adjustment. I think this game was tough, the ball was in the air what felt like 90 percent of the game, so it’s hard to be higher on goal and get the ball on the ground and attack. It’s a pretty normal, comfortable transition.
On Houston playing Nichelle Prince (from Claire Watkins)
Petrucelli: We weren’t expecting that. I was surprised and a little bit happy that she wasn’t in the front line because her pace is such an issue. She’s really developed into a good player. For a long time she was just an athlete, but she’s developed into a pretty good player. When we saw the lineup, we thought [Maria] Sanchez might be the one playing as a 10, but her pace is an issue for sure.
On preparing for the physicality of the game (from Claire Watkins)
Petrucelli: I’m not sure that there’s a way to prepare for it. She’s such a dangerous, dynamic player and everyone knows it. I think today was a match where she got hit more than any other match. I do think that anybody in our sport wants to see players like Mal protected and certainly there were some times tonight where she took some pretty big blows.
On the difference of Houston’s strategy that affected the result (from Hernan Espinoza Jr.)
DiBernardo: I think we touched on it a little bit earlier, they high pressed us and didn’t want us playing out of the back. The field definitely didn’t help the situation. They definitely played to that tactic and they stuck with it and I think we were a little slow on the ball and we weren’t supporting quick enough so we got ourselves in trouble when we could have been able to play out of some of their pressure a little bit better and stuck to what we were doing all season long.
Petrucelli: I don’t think what they did was a surprise to us. They played a high back line, they played pretty much a 4-3-3 there were some personnel shifts that were a little bit different, but I don’t believe the way they played surprised us, but they definitely made it hard for us.