What They’re Saying After the 2-1 Win Over Louisville

Two first half goals lifted the Spirit to a 2-1 win over Racing Louisville FC on Friday night. Following the match, interim head coach Adrian Gonzalezmidfielder Croix Bethuneand goalkeeper Aubrey Kingsbury spoke with the media.

Adrian Gonzalez

On keeping the team focused throughout the game:

“It’s been a game with a lot of emotions, a lot of energy, and a lot physical situations, 50/50 and second balls. We had been trained for that. We knew that it could happen. To be honest, for this game, we had been training for it. As a team, we had to take a step forward in those situations. It’s not just about trying to keep the ball and trying to attack, you need to know how to fight sometimes, how to win those second balls and those 50/50’s and to be strong in your blocks, try to be physical. I think today we made a step forward in those situations in terms of how to compete. I’m happy with the performance and we’ll keep improving.”

On keeping the team’s frustration level down when playing against Savannah DeMelo:

“She’s pretty good and experienced, so it’s not easy. When you are defending with that energy, we are very hype in those moments, so it’s difficult to slow down a little bit, to fight and to avoid those falls, but I think we need to learn from that because we know that that’s what they ‘re trying to do. We wanted to avoid as many falls as possible. Sometimes when the game is going you cannot control those emotions. It’s not easy to ask that of the players because from the bench it’s easy to say don’t make any falls but when you are inside you are playing with that energy, with that emotion and with that high temper, it’s not easy. I think that we’ve done a great job. We keep improving as a team. I think we’ve shown different profiles, different styles and different ways to compete. That’s pretty much what we want. We are very dynamic. We know how to play the opponent, we know how to defend high in a low block, we know how to compete, we know how to keep the ball and with the more options that we have, the more chances we will have to win games .”

On the halftime message about the free kick:

“That free kick was a great goal. You cannot do anything but try to avoid that. It comes from our goal kick. I think we were kind of spread out and we didn’t win that second ball and because of that they had that chance to win it, and then we made that bad fall. In those situations, I think sometimes we need to be more compact, to be closer to each other because we were winning. At the end of the first half, I think the result should’ve been nil-two, and that’s it. “We need to learn from that, but again, it’s not easy with those emotions.”

On ending the three-game road trip with six out of nine possible points:

“A lot of good things came from this trip. It’s been hard. Twelve days away from home, traveling a lot with different time zones, competing two games in three days, training, recovering but I think it’s been kind of a mini pre-season. Being together as a team, we build a really good connection. The team building that we are creating is amazing. We are all competing. We all have different profiles, different players that can help us and we can compete in a different way so for me it’s a big learning experience. “It’s not just about six points, I think it’s much more than six points and we are ready to compete in any stadium against any opponent.”

Aubrey Kingsbury & Croix Bethune

On capping a road trip off with a gritty win:

Kingsbury: That wasn’t the prettiest game this team has played, but I’m proud of the way we competed. We knew it was really going to be physical tonight. That was part of our plan — to be physical with players like (Taylor) Flint and (Abby) Erceg, all their big aerial threats. We know that they play for set pieces, for corners. It was just one of those games where you just have to grind it out, especially our third game on the road in 12 days. It was a professional job, maybe not our best, not the most possession or soccer, but I’m really proud of the way we competed and really grinded out that win.

On finding pockets in today’s game versus other games this season:

Bethune: I feel like in the first half, the spaces and the pockets were very obvious and big, and we were finding them. In the second half, Aubrey hit it on the nail: A lot of back and forth aggression. Still trying to find the spaces and the momentum in the game, but even if it’s not open, just go with the flow of the game and just keep the rhythm going.

On what the mindset was going into the penalty kick save:

Kingsbury: I was due for one, just happy to come up big. I definitely do my research, look at the stats, her previous history with my goalkeeper coach (Mike Bristol). She scored on me last year to my right, and since then she has been going to my left. We were thinking she would continue to go to the keeper’s left because she hasn’t missed that way in a while. I gave her a little movement to my right, and she went left. Some days you get lucky, some days you don’t, but I’m glad I could make that save and keep the lead in that crucial moment.

On the follow up save after the penalty kick:

Kingsbury: I was just like, “Get up as fast as you can!” I saw it coming and luckily kind of hit my foot. Again, glad that I was able to come up with that save to keep us in the lead.

On being the fifth player in NWSL history to record at least four goals and four assists in the first 10 regular season appearances:

Bethune: Honestly, I’m just out there. As my parents always say, “Just do me, do me out there.” I kind of just go out there and do myself, and with the players around me, it makes it a lot easier. I’m just doing my job.

On getting the first big road trip under the belt and going home:

Kingsbury: We’ll get a little break here. We get a couple days off. It will be nice to rest, recharge. This was a good test for us. We hadn’t had a mid-week game this year or any games in quick succession. It’s great for us to have that challenge and kind of see what we’re capable of. Again, today wasn’t the prettiest, but to know we can grind out a win in not ideal circumstances or not playing our best, the ability to fight is really important. Hopefully, we’ll learn that and play a little bit better at our upcoming home games. It is always nice playing in front of our fans at Audi (Field).

On how two games in a week felt coming from college:

Bethune: I would say a little bit of both–it was a super long road trip, but not only just the road trip, the opponents that we were playing were three great teams that challenged us. College, we do play a lot more games closer. This is pro, so competition is increased.

Kingsbury: It has been fun, though, I will say that. This is a special group, and we really enjoy each other’s company. We aren’t just laying around in our hotel rooms. We’ve had a lot of fun together.

On going home with three points:

Bethune: Great. We kind of manifested this, to come in with the last game going off on a win and going home with a win. So, this was a big win for us and we really needed it. It also showed that we can overcome adversity and like Aubrey said, not ideal circumstances.

Kingsbury: Especially to score early, that was a big focus on this match for us. We conceded early a couple of times this season, so we were focused on playing more direct in the beginning, so you can’t ask for a quicker goal. To add a second in the first half is crucial. We’ll keep building and come together with some 90 minute performances now.

On whether or not this win can serve as a platform to level up:

Kingsbury: We focus a lot on the mental aspect of our game as well. As a team, how can we come out fast? What emotions we want to display, what kind of actions, behaviors to bring out in each other. I think that has been really important because in past seasons, like you said, we’ve lost. This would probably be a game that we’d probably concede one or two late and go home with nothing. We had a mindset shift — brought in a lot of new players, new coaching staff, and we’re talking a lot about the mindset of it. How do we start strong? How do we finish strong? That’s super important for us to work on and build. Not that this is a statement win or anything and not that being in first even matters, I think we are learning and growing on the things that the coaching staff are identifying. Today, we said it was starting strong and scoring early. So, really happy to do that, and we will keep learning and growing. That’s what really encourages me. This team is growing so much in these short couple of months together.

 
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