INTERIM LA GALAXY II HEAD COACH JUNIOR GONZALEZ
On the match and how he prepared the team on short notice:
“I only had one practice with the group, so my main focus was our defensive pressure and trying to clamp this team centrally because they are very good wide. In the first half we really didn’t do it as well, but in the second half we defended collectively and sprinted together to close spaces and I felt in the second half they did a better job with it.
I really didn’t get to touch the attack, but I knew with the personnel that this group has some really good attacking abilities so my focus was to just keep the team more compact with less space between the lines. Against a Reno team that usually scores multiple goals early in games, I was really happy that the only chances they really had were off a deflection goal and one bouncing ball in the box. I watched five of their games in 48 hours, once I found out I had the position, and one thing I did notice was that they are extremely good and transition and that we stopped a lot of the moments.”
On the performance of Kai Koreniuk:
“Kai is used to playing in a 4-3-3 in a wide area. He was developed and played in Holland in two very good academy teams and professional teams in that position so it was natural for him in that position to take guys 1-v-1. It felt like he was very comfortable in his movements and the focus for us was to change the point of attack to our wingers as quick as possible and once we started to do that he turned on. They had to move their fastest player to the attacking right back position to try and contain him and he still beat him for the goal and hit the post. He’s a player that we need to continue developing, but with those characteristics in the same system that we’re playing with the first team, he could possibly be someone that could transition with some more work and some more experience to the first team.”
On the state of LA Galaxy II:
“It was an emotional week for our guys when you have two separate staffs preparing them for a weekend game. My whole goal was to make sure that they knew they needed to continue working in a big project and that they understand where they are at. They have to understand that they are in a position here to develop for a first team contract that many people all over the country would die to have that opportunity. Regardless of what happened with the previous staff or in the first half of the season, I’m just trying to keep them positive and focused on what Juan Carlos [Ortega] is setting with their methodology and that they are learning the system and that we are teaching the functions of each position to help them get the best out of each player.
Really, in one day, we just gave them some starting points and a couple ideas and I was really happy in the way that the players reacted to the information that we were giving them. They are a very tight knit group that, even talking to them after the game, they felt that the second goal was going to come today. They felt that they could possibly get a third.
But it’s important that outside of the playoff run – it’s a professional environment we want to make the playoffs – that we’re using these games and this week as an evaluation period that us as a staff, with Juan Carlos, can see how we’re going to structure the next block of training because it’s really important that we evaluate where we are at as a group and we see what the necessities are from the individual and the collective so that we can start training for both. I think if we do that well, the results will come throughout the process.”