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August 3, 2019

Chris Armas

Harrison, New Jersey

NY Red Bulls - 2, Toronto FC - 0

CHRIS ARMAS: Yeah, look, we have seen him with the USL team. We watched him closely. We had him in preseason, he has -- what I could say about him is that he lives on the edge on the soccer field. It's not scared, but man, he doesn't want to make that mistake. So it's a terrible place to live, but it's a great praise to live and I know it. I know it well. And he -- you can see that he was a little nervous to start but he grew into the game. He had such a solid game. I'm really happy for him and I think it says a lot about our club and John Wolyniec with the second time with the second team and his staff, they invested a lot of time in Rece, and he showed up in a big way. I'm not surprised to be honest because we've seen it but it's still a big moment for him.

Q. Second half, Cásseres came in, changing the game to slow the field --
CHRIS ARMAS: We know that field, he took a knock a few games ago, so we've had to bring him back. But we can see he is aggressive. He's aggressive to step to plays. He doesn't worry what's behind him. He's fearless. He starts running, the discipline, the standard-o (ph) is important for him, but you could see that we needed life and we needed a ball winner in there, and I thought he brought that to the game, instant energy, instant life. That fearlessness that he brings, so he gave us a lift in the second half.

Q. Going back to the Rece question, you had a lot of players on that rightful back spot this year, Duncan, Connor, Mario, now Rece. Is that a position you feel is a little weak or unstable? You've had a lot of guys back there. Second question, the insertion of Cásseres, what was the reason behind that and how much do you attribute that to the change in fortune, shall we say?
CHRIS ARMAS: A lot there. But look, the right back position, we have players, and game by game, we think, what gives us the best chance to win.

Again we've been bringing Rece along and we've taken a look at a lot of guys and we thought tonight it made sense for that matchup. He had a great game and it's good to seen because it's still an unknown when the lights come on, but he was excellent.

You can see how much the players react to him. You can see what the guys think of him and they know it's a big moment for him, but after the game, you could see the connection's there.

With Cristian, I said it before a bit, but we thought we needed to tactically move March could have ski, and he's very smart, intelligent, tactically, getting up our left side -- or our right side, their left side. Maybe they were targeting Buckmaster, not sure.

But we had to tidy things up there, and also be a little more compact, where this team -- we're not always comfortable doing that, but we stuck with it and we tightened the lines and became more compact in every way. Of course, it was good to survive that first half Luis Robles made some big saves and we hung in there, but second half was a different story.

Q. I would like you to comment on Royer and Wright-Phillips, they were the go-to guys and they are dropping back. We're seeing a great numbers of scorers this season. Are you concerned? Is there something to build on in terms of injuries --
CHRIS ARMAS: I'm not concerned because we might be the second-highest-goal-scoring team in the League and in years past we've had one or two guys carrying the weight. I'm actually pleased with the way we can score goals. It's the other side of the ball that we're addressing, and we know that we're tightening things up. We are going to control more games against the ball and by controlling space, which is usually our goal.

We're pleased with the attack. Brian White's been great and Brad had some issues but Brad's right there. You could see he comes in, creates the red card, gave us a lift there, too.

And Danny is a scorer. There's another penalty tomorrow, he wants to take it, and he's been important for us. He's producing more than he has maybe in years past. Probably get plus ten this year. And Danny, he's usually that one-, two-punch, but we have a lot of contributors, 16, 17, maybe 18 now different goal scorers this year and that says a lot about that locker room and that team.

Q. How much important was it for the defense to putt in a clean sheet?
CHRIS ARMAS: Yeah, I mean, the clean sheet is important, right. I mean, I think what we would have been -- what we were most happy about is that we saw players look like us back there. Rece has a great game. Kemar Lawrence looked like himself, aggressive, recovery, the whole bit. He was in on it, you know. And then such an important position for us. I mean, Luis Robles, he's an All-Star. Again, doesn't get the accolades, but he shows up in a big way. I mean, probably -- you could almost say it now.

And the centerbacks, okay. So if you give up a goal in the first half like the shutouts gone, but for me, those guys, aggressive stepping out, protecting channel, releasing, the connections, moving the line, helping us have a back line that's four guys thinking like one, for me, that's the most important thing that I saw in the back line.

Q. How do you prepare for the challenge this week?
CHRIS ARMAS: We know LAFC. It's a top team in the league right now, and our guys will be up for that. They are a team built on possession. They are good on their building, and we will have a plan to tries to unbalance them and make that game difficult. I think, you know, us as a staff, and in that locker room, where we love to challenge, we want to beat the best team right now, and we'll enjoy -- the guys will enjoy a rest, and then we have work to do. We have work to do, and that's what we do, we work. And then we'll prepare for that opponent. When the game comes, we'll go after them.

Q. After L.A., you have New England, how much do you relish going against your old coach?
CHRIS ARMAS: I mean, I'm not there yet. I'm thinking of enjoying the victory and the points for the guys and the staff that putts a lot of work in. Again, I'm excited to get back to work at the things that are going to make us better and better each game. I mean Bruce Arena, he's a mentor of mine and I played for him on the national team, and I said when he got hired, it was great to see Bruce back in the League and he'll test all of us. I'm not surprised. Bruce is a winner, and yeah, when that game gets closer, we'll put more focus on that and we'll go after it again.

Q. Was something said during halftime that changed the way you played?
CHRIS ARMAS: We talked about being, you know, a little bit tighter, a little bit more compact, and then we have to stick to it, and believe in it and really go all the way with some of the principles of running at the ball. We looked a little timid in the first half and the spaces were just too big.

So that was one part of it, just tactically how we wanted to be more and more compact. And then we talked earlier, Cristian, the Cristian move I think just naturally helps us in the middle of the field, and all of a sudden -- so that's one player. Then Rzatkowski helps us tactically more on the right be more connected.

The changes I think and the compactness, and I think you just need to see the belief grow, and when the belief grows, the play from the players, you could see that they were hungry all of a sudden and this was good to see. It's always good to see guys scoring and having fun with the game. This is maybe the coach's dream, to see the guys love to play, and reward the supporters and reward themselves. This is what it's about for me. So that's about it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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