Prior to the Red Stars’ final match of the 2022 NWSL Regular Season against Angel City FC, Arin Wright and head coach Chris Petrucelli met with members of the media. The Red Stars play at home at SeatGeek Stadium for their second match of the Regular Season against Angel City Sunday, October 2 at 5:00 p.m. CT. For more on the matchup, check out the match preview.
On preparing for the final match of the regular season (from Sandra Herrera)
Arin Wright: I don’t really think it’s too unfamiliar, as I think back on all my years here there’s been quite a few years that we’ve been right there on the cusp. So, whereas it’s not really the place we want to be, it isn’t too unfamiliar and it’s a process we know how to work through mentally and how to kinda deal with that. There are things that are out of our control and there are things that are in our control and I think the biggest thing is we can’t control the uncontrollables. But we can control what we do on the field on Sunday, so I think that’s where our focus goes and we focus on getting those three points because at the end of the day those three points are all that matters for us.
Chris Petrucelli: It’s a bit of a sticky situation for sure. We do have to rely on some other people, but we’re going to approach the match the way we’ve approached every other match. Do our work and training, do some video review and things like that, and prepare to win regardless of what the circumstances are on Sunday we’re going to play the game to win. We’ve got a bunch of competitive athletes who want to succeed. I don’t think we’re going to change anything we’ve done throughout the year.
On the availability of players for the match (from Sandra Herrera)
Petrucelli: I think every game we’ve had this year we’ve had people unavailable. From week to week, beyond the season endings, from week to week we’ve had people in and out. Each week it becomes who can play and then how do we organize our team with the players that we have. Not having Bianca hurts us some going forward, but it looks like Rachel Hill will be back and Luebbert has made good progress and is ready for significant minutes. I feel like we have some pretty good options out there and then not having Zoe, we haven’t played without Zoe all year, so that will be a little bit different but Arin is someone who has played in the back before and I feel very comfortable with her. You know, she can plug in in any spot in the back and so we’re missing some people but we’re plugging in quality, veteran players.
On Arin Wright’s feelings going into the match (from Sandra Herrera)
Wright: I’m excited. It’s come down to push time, you know, no matter how I feel. If I was feeling 50%, I’d tell you I was feeling 100%. All of what I’ve battled this season all comes down to this game so I’m gonna go out and give my best in whatever position it needs to be and you know, we want to be in the next round. We don’t want our season to end on Sunday and so I think our attitude and mindset, I think our play is going to reflect that and you’re going to see that.
On facing Angel City for the second time (from Sandra Herrera)
Petrucelli: It was a hard-fought, close match for sure. We couldn’t find the goal in the match and again, our personal is different this match than it was that match, and their personal will be a little bit different as well. But we should take some confidence, I thought we played pretty well last time we played, and we were maybe a little bit unlucky to not at least equalize, so I think we should be pretty confident going into it.
Wright: I can tell you from a locker room standpoint, as far as that game goes, that was probably one of the toughest losses for us. Leaving that locker room, we all wanted that game back and we were already saying when we came in, we were like “it’s all going to come down to that last game”, you know. It’s going to be up against them and it’s probably going to be the revenge game. From that moment after that game, we were already looking forward to that game.
On the club’s mentality this week (from Larry Hawley)
Wright: I feel like the mentality is “we have to win”. Everyone knows that everything has come down to this game. Like you said, there are things that we cannot control so honestly, we can’t really focus too much on that because if we get caught up in that we’re not going to be focused on what we need to do on Sunday, and we need three points. End of the line, that’s it, we need to get three points. I think everyone is on that same wavelength and I think everyone wants to see ourselves to post-season.
Petrucelli: I think the mood and the team is like it’s been all year. Maybe there’s a little edge there that we haven’t quite had before, but I think that’s a positive for us. But I do think that the team is pretty confident.
Wright: And I think everyone looks at those two red cards as kind of a blow, but from an athlete standpoint when you think all bets are against you that’s kind of when you rise to the occasion. I think the mentality of everyone is fighting for those people who can’t be on the field but also to prove how deep our line is and to show what we can do with all the players that we have on our bench.
On having players with availability issues throughout the season helping to prepare the Red Stars for their current situation (from Larry Hawley)
Petrucelli: It does, like I said earlier, every week it’s been who’s in and who’s out, who can play, who can’t play, who’s away, who’s home, all of these things have come up every week. It’s been every week. So, this is no different than any other week as far as availability goes.
On Morgan Gautrat’s return to the roster (from Sandra Herrera)
Petrucelli: I think it’s huge. We all know she’s a quality player, you watch her play and it’s clear and she’s had a very good career. The quality of her play certainly helps, but she brings a bit of leadership and communication that we need with a lot of young players. She becomes a very, very important piece of our team, and our team is always better when she’s on the field.
Wright: Also from a player standpoint, Morgan brings a sense of calmness to our midfield and our ability to just pass and connect. She takes a game that we might over complicate and she simplifies it for us and I think that’s good for everyone on the field and it’s good for our style of play. Having her back in there makes things just super seamless.