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July 14, 2019

Chris Armas

Harrison, New Jersey

NY Red Bulls - 2, NYC FC - 1

Q. Chris, obviously you made good adjustments in the second half, but the first half was frustrating out there for you, watching the guys having issues in the first half before the penalty.
CHRIS ARMAS: Well, look, we had a good start to the game. No real surprises because we thought coming in, had a general principle, they valued possession, but we had a plan of direct play.

So yeah, look, it's still so much easier when you're on the side to understand the solutions, but when they part, especially on the goal kicks when they are putting on these five and ten yards of off-sides, ten and 15 yards into your half, it makes the back line uncomfortable so forces you into a little bit of a passive mode.

So maybe they are setting the line on the back and maybe not us setting the line and we are at our best when we can compress space and be aggressive. Yeah, we probably weren't as aggressive stepping out of the back line. They were parking three guys centrally, one of those -- with Moralez up makes it difficult. Overall, though, we didn't figure that we had too much trouble in the first half, just some adjustments that needed to be made.

Q. How much vulnerability with their front three hurt you guys and being able to keep track of guys in position to give them a lot of movement to cover Castellanos and Moralez?
CHRIS ARMAS: It wasn't so much like lots of moving. It was popping off our back line was one of the issues. And of course if we can have pressure on the ball -- there's a lot of space. I would say what gave us the most trouble in the first half was bad giveaways. We had some unforced errors, and you know, we're not a team built on possession and how many passes can we connect, but when we have the ball, and we give it away, we're committing numbers and then they have really good players up the field. Of course, popping underneath, you're a bit vulnerable. That was the most trouble.

Q. What was your vantage point of a game-winning goal and what transpired there with the referees and if they said anything to you about what happened, obviously a lot of commotion and talking and discussion?
CHRIS ARMAS: Yeah, probably too much talking than should be allowed. I've never seen such dialogue after a decision is made. Why are you going to walk to midfield -- again, I don't know who manages that situation with the referee, but how is there that much discussion and we're allowing that, as a league? For me, the decision's made and there was a few more minutes of that. No one came to watch that. As referees, I think we should take more control of that situation.

Again, oftentimes referees like this, they don't let you, but how is there so much discussion? It breaks the rhythm of the game, the momentum that we have. I'm sure there could be a reason for it, and it was a bit strange, nine minutes of stoppage, that's how much, but a little bit of an odd situation.

And again, like there's VAR these days and they make a decision and we move on with it. But attempting to have them look longer at it, I'm not sure. It's just seems we shouldn't tolerate that dialogue.

Q. Did you see him signal for the corner? Did you get the sense he kind of lost concentration and like you guys took control after that?
CHRIS ARMAS: Listen, I've watched him play all year and we made him uncomfortable tonight, all night. First half, again, they are good in transition. Our guys were aggressive. Our guys went after it from the opening whistle, so I don't think that was a turning point in the game like in terms of a shift in who has the game. So again, decisions are made, and you get on with it. I don't see anything over again. I was close but I didn't see what happened. Turned around, a quick play and that's it. It's part of the game, I guess. If it's an err or, it's unfortunate, we don't want it to be that way.

But I'm more proud of the way the guys showed up to play today, stuck with it, go down a goal and come back, and we pushed again. We felt like it was coming the whole second half. We started the second half much more aggressive, compressing spaces with the ball, had courage to play, moved the ball quickly, moved gaps in the team. All night, turnover after turnover. So we think we made them uncomfortable.

Q. Your team just got three points against one of the best defenses in the Eastern Conference against a back line with players who might be contenders for Defender of the Year. Just what do you think the team's morale is going to be like after this? How good is this?
CHRIS ARMAS: How good is this for our team? Yeah, look, they have a good team. They are well-coached. They have good players. They always have a plan. They are organized and hard to break down. All the way around, they are a good team. Not many teams have been able to beat them this year. Not many teams can put it on their own terms in the game against them. They are usually the ones -- the aggressors. They lead the league in many categories. A lot of what they do is with the ball, switching the field with Ring, we tried to make it hard on him tonight.

And what I would say is that, look, every single day, I get to see the work that the staff does, the assistant coaches, the extended staff and how much we ask of these players. The demands are high here in every way. It's why most teams don't play the way we do. It's hard to find those players. As we have said with Dennis, the job he does getting us the players. The philosophy, oftentimes -- a playmaker. I get to see it every day and be part of that, and we coach them and work hard at that.

And to see them go out there and deliver that performance; it was a good performance, and it's going to be -- because of the way we played, there's a stacking force (ph) at times, but it's big for our team, and so is Atlanta, right. This has been building and it's a starting point for us. It's a great result.

Q. Seems like you're consistently finding your rhythm around the 50th or 60th minute, tonight entering the league you were tied for lowest in the League in terms of first half goals. You say you started the game well; is there anything you can do from a coaching standpoint to maybe jump start the team from the start? You were scoring a lot of goals at this time last year and seems like you're doing it in a different way this year. Not that it's maybe worse, but from your perspective is there anything that you can do to get more goals early?
CHRIS ARMAS: That's a good question. We ask ourselves that all the time. I think, you know, when you play the New York Red Bulls, I think that you have to have a plan. We see it here. We saw it against Atlanta. You can go around, we see that you have to have plan -- you don't have to, but the teams are modifying what they typically do, which makes a lot of sense.

But in that, yeah, sometimes throws our rhythm off and it's not easy when the teams come in with a lot of optimism and both teams are fresh, to try to disorganize opponents and to try to create chances.

Yeah, look, it's always a challenge every day to see how do we get better, you know, as we piece a team back together, are guys coming -- internationally, injuries, just can we get a rhythm and have it look more like the second half than the first half.

But I'll tell you, tonight, I thought the start was good. It almost seemed like from the first moment they came down the field, they scored. It seemed that way. We turned to the bench and said, yeah, that's a good start. We can figure this out. We just have to get the back line and a couple little things and all of the sudden, we're down one nothing and chasing against a team that's got five in the back and taking away spaces with two sixes.

So we don't design it that way. Our team sticks with it. Second half is oftentimes there's a few adjustments, and tonight there's a few that I thought were helpful.

Q. Can you talk about some adjustments you discussed at half time, what you saw out there especially with Christian and Sean, seemed like they had a little bit more control?
CHRIS ARMAS: Yeah, Christian and Sean, in the first half, a little bit trying to turn their back line around a few times, and when is it time to try that, when is it time to play. So we missed a few of those. But we're okay with erring on the other side of being aggressive.

We thought if we could just move the ball quicker at times, still thinking about being vertical, but you know, so that was the message with those guys to keep moving, keep playing, move the ball quickly and play in the spaces that we want to play. And we saw that right away change in the second half with Christian and Sean, and then all of a sudden, the whole thing was a little bit different even with the outside backs, oftentimes not going so high, it's a little bit more shallow. Got them on the ball early, and then I think it was clear to see we were much more aggressive with our back line and at times in the first half with our pressing, when you want to go, you do get stretched at times. So when is it time to maybe go all out and I think we see that if we are a little more compact at times, we can still be aggressive.

The only other thing we can see clearly with the three guys parked up high, rotating our outside back on the weak side was a really important piece to changing things in the second half, so it wasn't 3 to twos and 3 to 3 all the time. And Sean did a nice job dealing with Moralez and figuring it out, so there's a few things in there.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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