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June 28, 2017

Jesse Marsch

Harrison, New Jersey

New York Red Bulls - 1, Philadelphia Union - 1 (5-3 P)

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Jesse.

Q. The last time you faced this team in the quarterfinals here two years ago, it was an early afternoon match. How do you feel you didn't have to worry about an early afternooner?
JESSE MARSCH: Yeah, I mean, obviously with what's happened the past two years in the Open Cup, it's easy to recall on those experiences. And to find a way to get a result I think was really big for us.

You know, it just feels like it's the kind of year where we have to earn every inch. What I said to the team afterwards is, We can't be afraid of that. Building character through grinding things out and finding ways to win, finding ways to get better and emerge.

At the end of the game, it looked like every guy on the field was cramping up. We had almost no defenders left. You know, wasn't a perfect night, but a huge night for us in terms of finding a way to get the result.

Q. Talk about Ryan. He played very well tonight. With the big save in the shootout, were you thinking those past playoff games?
JESSE MARSCH: I said to the group before the PKs that we should go in with concentration and focus and know that we've got a champion in net for penalties, an absolute champion. Listen, we see he's good on penalties in training, too. It's not random.

I think Ryan had a lot of confidence and knew that it was about making one save. Makes it by the hair of his chin.

But yeah, I mean, going into it, we knew we had a good goalkeeper in goal. Not just that, but you have to also tip your hat to the saves he made in overtime specifically.

I mean, it's not easy for Ryan because he plays behind a great goalkeeper, a guy that plays every night, that's prepared, and physically always ready, mentally ready. Luis is a stud. But Ryan is a stud, too.

He comes to work every day and has a great work ethic, is so committed to the team, never complains, does everything and more that could be asked of him. I'm really, really happy for him. Really happy.

Q. (No microphone.)
JESSE MARSCH: Listen, even Ryan's performance... Was it today that Luis' contract extension is announced, right? I mean, Ryan, he's known about it. But he could feel bad about being behind a guy that he knows is going to be around, has been a great player.

He's such a team guy. That's all you can say, is he's just such a team guy. He's so well-respected within the group.

Then you talk about his talent. He is talented. He's a top 22 goalkeeper in this league, no question. And you're right, it hasn't always been easy to convince him that this is the right place for him. USL I thought was a good experience for him last year. He used it to grow and get better. Every day in training we see how good he is.

Again, really happy for him. He's earned this in so many ways.

Q. Talk a little bit about the formation. I don't think you ever started a match with a three-man back line. Did you see enough from that today that moving forward you might want to try it again?
JESSE MARSCH: Yeah, I mean, there's a few things with it. We wanted to try and find a way to put more players on the field to be better on set pieces. You know, we think very highly of Sean Davis, and we don't feel like he's got enough opportunities to play. It was a way to get all four of our center midfielders on the field.

You know, when you play with Philly, one of the big things you have to take care of is the flanks. We felt this was something that would help us get out and press them and not let them find areas from the wide spots.

I thought first half it worked very well. I thought even beginning of the second half it worked very well. We didn't capitalize, which is a theme for this season, trying to figure out how to get more goals.

Then, you know, fatigue and subs, guys going down, started to add up, then we had to hang on. Let's be honest, in the overtime, we had to hang on.

Q. Was that a 3-6-1 or what did you call it?
JESSE MARSCH: I would call it -- they asked me beforehand. I'd call it either a 5-1-3-1 or a 3-6-1 (smiling). I don't know. We don't necessarily need to call it anything.

Q. A 3-3-3-1?
JESSE MARSCH: Could be. (Indiscernible) used to play a 3-1-1-3. We're surmising.

Q. Talk about Sean Davis. He looked more involved in this match.
JESSE MARSCH: Yeah, you know, I think it played to his strengths because he was able to get out and press, he was able to run, he was able to find some gaps, he was able to get himself around the goal. He came deep at times to help us in buildup. This is sort of a formation we made up. The reason why we did it is we feel it gets the best out of a lot of different guys.

We'll see. We'll see how it continues to play a role. But I think it's something that we can go to and something that even if it's at the start or in the middle of the game, whatever, I think there was a high level of confidence for understanding the roles, which was good.

Q. (Question regarding Veron.)
JESSE MARSCH: Yeah, I almost put him in right at the beginning of the overtime and took Bradley out. Bradley kind of asked me to leave him in. Then we could see that Sean Davis was fading. I was anxious to get Gonzalo on, because given the fatigue of their defenders, he could make a play.

In the end, yeah. I know Gonzalo has been a lightning rod publicly, but he's been a good player within this team. He comes every day. He works in so many ways to try to adapt to what we do. It doesn't always necessarily fit perfectly for him. But, you know, I still think he's a guy that can make plays, especially late in games with his speed and cleverness.

He almost got through on the one play. So, yeah, I mean, listen, I always know that Gonzalo provides certain things for our team, and we like having him here, no doubt.

Q. Considering the success or lack thereof against this team in the last two years, you did have the opening possession, chances, but then they had the breakaway. Did you think it was going to be one of those nights again?
JESSE MARSCH: I think I probably felt that a little bit more when it got to be 1-1, in the later stages they hit the post. The play that Ryan made a big save on in the first half was, like, a big error on our part.

I wasn't too focused on that. I was just trying to help the guys understand how to play in formation, how to now continue to gain an edge in the game.

You know, we just got to find ways to score goals. I mean, I don't know what else to say. We've got to find ways. Set pieces, attacking players, wide places, breakaways, from our press. We have to find ways to be more dangerous. That's the key to our season right now.

Q. Whenever you throw Connor in, he attacks it. He just goes for it. What does it mean to have a guy like that?
JESSE MARSCH: I mean, I always say about Connor, he's got the heart of a lion. I don't take him for granted because he's an easy guy to take for granted. He does whatever it takes whenever you need him to.

Started out on the right, went to the left. Kemar and him are talking to me about Connor playing center back so Kemar can more left, get forward. Made me think a little bit, but we didn't do it.

Connor, he wants to play center back bad. Listen, if he played there, he'd survive, no question, because that's the kind of guy he is.

You're right. Connor now has been around here the longest of any player. I think that's perfect because I think he really defines what this club is about, which is just selflessness and giving everything he has to the group, doing whatever it takes. He's a perfect moniker for who we are.


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