(on the game overall) “I think we wanted to be sharper, but today we couldn't find those combinations, those passes. We couldn't create those clear options that we normally do and it's just part of the situation, part of the game. We can blame different things, because at the end it's just that we're still pushing. The players put a lot of heart, a lot of energy, a lot of effort, but I notice that we have even more possession than the other team, and we normally don't do that. So it wasn't the game that we are normally used to seeing the Houston Dynamo play. We passed the ball; we passed the ball. We passed the ball too much, but we couldn't penetrate constantly. They waited for us, they gave us the possibility to have the ball, but we weren't sharp with the ball on our field and we didn't have a great idea and we couldn't connect and we couldn't create enough. Anyway, it's still 0-0 and we have now to think that it has to be finished in the second half or the second game in Portland and we need to prepare ourselves for that game.”
(on the Video Review ruling in the first half when Houston had a penalty kick overturned) “That's the VAR. I was really far away and I don't have a TV, but they reviewed it and we have to accept that we have the VAR. For good or for bad, we have to accept that and then we move on. So, in other circumstances or in other leagues, it's a PK, and we have to play it. But over here we have the VAR, and it was used. If it's in our favor, we're happy. If it's not in our favor, we're sad. At this point I think we move on and I don't pay attention to that. We move on, we are using the VAR, and I haven't watched it; I don't even know if it was or not, but that's it; it's done. So we don't use that momentum to say that because of that, we didn't win. No, we have to create better chances, we have to be better with the ball, and we have to create, and we have to try to score. We did it, but it wasn't sharp.”
(on his thoughts behind his substitutions in the game) “No. We wanted to move (FW) Vicente (Sánchez) a little bit up high and give (MF) Alex the possibility to be the number 10. So we still continue with the three up front, we moved a bit when Vicente went in for (MF) Tomás (Martínez) as the number 10, but then we wanted to put Alex on the field and we moved Vicente a little bit higher and we continued moving. And then the last substitution was Cubo – (FW) Erick (Torres) – for (FW) Mauro (Manotas) as a number nine. So we rotated the three guys up front, we tried to do our best over there, and tried to bring fresh legs and good ideas, and that was the idea, to try to find possibilities to win the game.”
(on the condition of the playing field) “Yeah, the field is bad for everyone, no? What are we going to do? It's been a little bit bumpy, but it's bumpy for all the 22 players. It's sad, we would love to have the field in the best condition, but right now it's a little bit bumpy. Maybe we have been playing too much or I don't know, but we cannot blame the field, that's not right, because the field is the same thing for them and the same thing for us.”
(on how the short turnaround from Houston’s Knockout Round match on Thursday night) “We can blame that, we can blame the 120 minutes for us and they haven't been playing in 10 days, or nine days, but I think in the playoffs, the adrenaline, the concentration, the spaces, the risks, they're all totally different. So they were cautious about our forwards because they needed to be cautious and they did a good job. They draw, but they didn't want us to run behind them, which is a good job and so they organized that. Normally, we don't have possession – even at home, we don't win in possession – and now it looks like we have more possession than Portland. They have (MF Diego) Valeri, they have (MF Darlington) Nagbe, they have good players, but it's just part of the playoff situation, playoff environment, and right now what we need to do is we have to take the positive. We didn't concede against a team that scored a lot of goals, and we're still in a position that we can go to Portland and qualify in 90 minutes or whatever situation happens, we can qualify, because the game is still 0-0.”
(on the play of MF Eric Alexander) “Yeah, that's why we, when Eric came as a starter, the idea was to have the ball, to keep the ball and to control the ball in the middle when we had the ball. We needed to move the ball well clear with him and he has a very good idea and control of the ball with passing accuracy for us. So that was the idea and at the end he was good, solid, moving the ball. We kept the ball, we weren't penetrating too much, yes, that that affected us, but in terms of Eric doing a good job right there in the middle, winning the ball and administering the ball, it's positive.”
(on what changes he will need to make before Leg 2 of the Conference Semifinals at Portland) “Well, we normally make changes, correct? It's been our standard the whole season that we are going to think how we're going to play against Portland in Portland. We’ll see how it goes, we’ll see what we think that we're going to need to try to win the game over there to try to qualify to the next round, to the Conference Finals. So, we're going to have a few days where we need to recover, we need to review the health of the players and the recovery and the mental aspects, and then we're going to try to present a very good team over there, motivated to try to qualify in Portland.”
(sobre las dificultades de anotar en la postemporada) “Sí y no. Todavía estamos en los playoffs, todavía quedan 90 minutos. De todas maneras en los playoffs todo cambia. Todo es diferente en los playoffs, nadie te va a regular nada. El riesgo que se toma es mínimo y nadie comete errores, entonces tenemos que entender que los playoffs un gol es suficiente y no estamos hablando de la temporada regular en donde la gente da un poco más ventaja o toma un poco más de riesgos. Son los playoffs y un gol hace la diferencia, con un gol se clasifica o se va a vacaciones. Entonces, tenemos que tener una buena mentalidad y tenemos que estar con los pies en la tierra sabiendo que es una serie con dos partidos y que en este momento no hemos perdido, vamos 0-0 y nos toca jugar el segundo partido en Portland donde estaremos de igual e igual”.
(sobre el penal que fue anulado por VAR) “No se pudo cobrar, se utiliza el VAR, fue una situación que es algo que hace parte de la MLS y la tenemos que aceptar. Entonces, no se puede entrar en detalles de que sí fue, de que no fue. Es la decisión y bueno, si no se toma el penal, tenemos que crear opciones y tenemos que buscar ganar. Y lo tratamos de hacer pero no lo pudimos hacer ahora. Tenemos que tratar de hacerlo en Portland”.
(sobre el reto de jugar en una cancha artificial y si el equipo entrenara en una cancha artificial toda la semana) “No, por ahora vamos a jugar en la cancha artificial en Portland, pero no necesitamos estar entrenando constantemente – porque así como afecta una mala cancha o puede afectarnos la mala cancha; entrenar en cancha artificial afecta porque cansa, golpea muy fuerte y afecta a los músculos de los jugadores, especialmente nosotros que no estamos acostumbrados. No, ya tenemos planeado lo que tenemos que hacer y por ahora vamos a seguir con el plan, con calma”.