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October 7, 2017

Jesse Marsch

Harrison, New Jersey

New York Red Bulls - 3, Vancouver Whitecaps FC - 0

Q. I'm sure the year didn't play out quite as easily as you thought it would, but just being able it get to this point now with two games in hand, being able to focus on things, how important was tonight, especially in light of the September you had?
JESSE MARSCH: Yes, September was difficult for us and disappointing. You know, we were all disappointed with the results. But we continued to feel that we were playing well, and it was just a matter of time before we were going to start to have it add up more.

In terms of getting the result now, it's good in terms of releasing some anxiety about making the playoffs, but the key for us will be to continue to have urgency and hunger to improve and play in meaningful matches because once playoffs come, you know, now it's do-or-die time. So that will be key for us in the next few weeks.

Q. What is the feeling inside the locker room now, because finally you not just beat Vancouver but you beat them hand I willy 3-0 after all the past matches. What's the feeling like?
JESSE MARSCH: In general, in general -- take Vancouver out. But I think we've been dominating many performance games, we've been controlling many games but we've been walking away what feels like empty handed. Some of them were ties but walking away feeling like, how did we not get three points on the day.

The key for me has been to continue to urge this group on and to have belief that even though the three points haven't been coming; that we're there and that we're close and it's just about a few little details. That's what was very important about tonight is that we not only had a great start, we dominated a game for 90 minutes and we controlled almost every aspect of the game, and then we get a big win.

So now it's key for us to continue in that rhythm so that when the most meaningful matches come, we are really prepared and really ready.

Q. Danny Royer, it's been three games since he's come back from injury. The past two consecutive games he scored and he had an assist last week. Were you expecting this kind of response from him coming back from injury or were you going to give him any leeway?
JESSE MARSCH: Well, we knew he was important, okay, so start there. When he went down, that's when some of our results started to shift, and you know, when he got injured, the shame of it was he was on such a high confidence-wise and the key for him was to pick up right where he left off.

I think even he saw how much the team needed him, and he saw how much the team -- I know it was hard for him to be out but he really wanted to get back so that he could help and he's picked up right where he left off and he's been fantastic again.

So it's part quality, it's part mentality, it's part belief and it's part commitment to the group. Credit goes to Danny but it's great to have him back, that's for sure.

Q. You mentioned about details. This was a game where you didn't have one mistake. It was 18-3 in shots, nobody getting on goal, nobody bad pass, back -- what was the focus this week, or last week and a half, or whatever?
JESSE MARSCH: Yeah, I mean, I'll be honest. I've been challenging our defenders, okay. I've been challenging them to perform at a higher level because we've made too many mistakes.

You know, it's key to have a supportive environment but it's key to also be realists and we have had too many guys make too many mistakes back there that have cost us too much.

And we felt like if we could shore that up; if we could find the right balance of personnel and performance in the back that the rest will take care of itself, because there's a lot of good things happening.

So you know, got three good performances from the guys at center back, and then I thought Tyler again was phenomenal, phenomenal, and Connor had another good performance, as well. So that's going to be key. It's going to be key for us to; shoring up the defense is going to be about how good our defenders are on the day and how many plays they can make.

Q. I was going to ask you about the play of Tyler, two assists on the night. If you could expand on his play a little bit, how he's come along over the last month and quickly, Sean came off after 57 minutes. Any concerns about him picking up a knock or anything?
JESSE MARSCH: No, I mean -- start with Sean. He got whacked a couple of times, and you could see it impacted his ability to move, and he was -- you know you could see, also, he was dragging a little bit at half and he talked to us. We figured that was going to be a sub, and then once he got whacked a couple times, it made sense.

Tyler. You know, it's fun to see such a brave, talented young man grow up before your eyes, you know, and it's been three years that we've seen him around here, and we've all I think -- we all take a lot of pride in Tyler, and certainly we all believe in him in such a big way.

To see how, right now, each performance gets bigger and bigger and bigger to the point where he's the best player on the field almost every game he plays, right.

Saying a lot about how far he's come, and I think we're only scratching the surface of what the ceiling will be.

Q. There may not be much to this, and you'll let me know if there isn't. Is there, I guess, psychological benefit in proverbially turning the page to September and playing this first game and every game post-October?
JESSE MARSCH: The timing of the schedule to September -- all of us were like, September's over, September's done. Time to move on; disappointment.

Yeah, I agree with you. We turned the page, and I think now, looking forward, we think there are real possibilities here, right. We can't get ahead of ourselves and we know that based on the way that September went that we dug ourselves a little bit of a hole for what the playoffs will be.

But you know, I think this group will relish being the underdog. We've been the favorite. We've had the target on our back, and I think this is the kind of group that will enjoy having everybody think that they can't achieve their goals.

Yeah, we're excited for the next few weeks.

Q. I think Kemar is done for next week, yellow card accumulation. You just talked about the back and how satisfied you were, and now you want to keep a semblance for the next two games, so does that dodge it a little?
JESSE MARSCH: Yeah, we knew right away when he picked up the yellow that it was going to be unfortunate for him to miss the next week. But I think, you know, we'll -- there's potential that we could still use him in the far-left spot. We could look at another set of three in the back and then always know that we could supplement Kemar either at center back or at the outside spot.

It's unfortunate that he picked up yellows, but obviously, given the fact that we're in now, it's less urgent. But yeah, I do think we need -- we need to figure out how to get our best group on the field as much as possible here down the stretch before playoffs.

Dan, you don't have anything else? Usually you have three-part questions. Two-part? All right. Now's the timing for a three-part question (laughing).

Q. You were just talking about wanting to have your best group on the field for most of the time. Would you say this lineup was your best group?
JESSE MARSCH: Well, the only -- I think the guy that it factors in is Mario. Obviously they had a tough game last night. It's good to see the U.S. play so well. But we've got to figure out how Amir might fit in.

And then, you know, the other one is that it's hard not to start Gonzalo because he has such a major impact but he's also so good off the bench. So yeah, we'll have to get the balance right, and listen, we're crossing our fingers that Aurelien can potentially get going here in the next couple weeks. We'll see. We'll see.

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