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NEW YORK RED BULLS MEDIA CONFERENCE

March 10, 2018

Jesse Marsch

Harrison, New Jersey

New York Red Bulls - 4, Portland Timbers - 0

Q. I would imagine when you pieced it together, knowing you had to have a roster rotation that obviously there would be a lot of changes, was this result, considering all of that, just about as good as you could have hoped on the night?
JESSE MARSCH: Yeah, I think obviously a very good performance, and I think the part that I'm happiest with is the fact that we played like us, we looked like us. There were different names on the back of the jerseys, but that looked like our team. That's always our goal. So even if you don't get the result on the day, you know, it's so important that our team plays the way that we want to play.

And then obviously, when you have so many young talented players that you can supplement into the team, it's exciting to see. I think it should be exciting for the fans. It's certainly exciting internally, and we know that these guys all have bright futures.

So you know, when I'm watching the game, I'm almost thinking to myself, man, it's going to be a tough job for me this year to keep everybody moving forward in a way that honors where they are at.

So yeah, I mean, you know, great performances from a lot of guys, and really proud of the team tonight.

Q. Just talk about Ben Mines, how happy you were he got that goal. He played very strong with the ball, without the ball, in positions for the attack. How happy were you for him?
JESSE MARSCH: You know, I've been -- we have been very lucky here to inherit so many good players, and players that can fit the way we play the game.

You could obviously go down the list of all the different guys, but I remember seeing Ben Mines play in 2016 was the first time that I watched him and I think that he was on the U15 team then. You know, he would play out on the right wing and he was so aggressive and when he got the ball, he was so aggressive to go at guys and make plays, and you know, you could see that he was still trying to figure out the defensive responsibility part but you could see how gifted he was just with the ball on the move.

And then I think, you know, the academy coaches have done a good job of grooming him to play the way we play, and now when we get him, he's really ready to transition. And that, you know, I mean, it's partly because of the academy, it's partly because of his time in USL last year and obviously integrating him into MLS this year in preseason. If you watched the games down at Arizona when we were in Costa Rica and then when we were back here, he was one of the best players in every one of those games.

So it was easy addition to put him on the field tonight. It was an easy decision. I knew it -- I knew it going into last week that Ben Mines was playing tonight; and, I was pretty confident that he was going to play well.

So you know, he's got -- and for a 17-year-old in a man's world, he's fit right in. He's not intimidated. He's ready for this challenge. He's excited. I met with his mom and him in the off-season, and just wanted to make sure that, you know, he had an opportunity to go to Stanford.

I just wanted to make sure that as a group, we were all making the right decision to bring him in as a home grown player and even in that meeting, I could just see how driven he was to now make this move.

And so, you know, we're, again, very lucky that we have him in our academy and that, you know, now we can continue to push him here with the first team.

Q. Can we talk about Kaku's vision of the field a little bit? He really had an impact.
JESSE MARSCH: Yeah, and for me, the best part -- listen, everyone here knows that Kaku is a great player. The best part for me is that every day he's trying to figure out how to fit into our system, how to now understand what we do a little bit clearer, and then like for me, this game versus the second Olympia game, he looks like more of a Red Bull player. He looks more -- fits into the tactics more.

We're only three weeks into our time with him and we know that it's only going to get bigger and bigger and better and better. So the excitement of his ease of slowing plays down, of seeing final plays, of setting the next attacker up, is very, very good, and we feel like that will fit really well with what we do. Happy -- you know, the whole play on the first goal was fantastic but his pass was spot on.

Q. You had mentioned on the Red Bulls radio broadcast that you thought Ben Mines was going to score in this game, which is pretty gutsy for a player to make his debut. What gave you that confidence this week in training that he was going to make an impact?
JESSE MARSCH: It wasn't even training as much as every preseason game, every moment he's played with our team in preseason, he's either scored a goal or set a play up.

In our first two-week camp down in Tampa, Luis at the end of the camp said Ben Mines in the best player in camp in the first stretch, and that wasn't like a gesture. It was true. He was the best player. He scored the most goals and he was the most dangerous, every day.

So that led me to believe that if Ben got a couple looks, that he was probably going to be able to bury one, and obviously he got a little bit of an easy look but he put himself in a really good spot. It may seem like a stretch to predict that but if you've watched him for the last month, month and a half, you'd see that he's dangerous and he's clever and he's always good around the goal.

Q. Moving forward, how difficult is it going to be for you after this performance to pick a starting 11?
JESSE MARSCH: Yeah, I mean, like I said, that's what I was thinking about. But, what a great problem to have, right. We know, I told the team at the beginning of preseason, our first meeting, that I felt like this was going to be our best group yet, from top to bottom, and this team was going to be able to play our way better than any team we've had.

Now, it's early, okay, and we've had some good momentum and we've played well in certain matches. But we've got a long way to go, and we're going to improve a lot with this group because there's a lot of young players, a lot of eager players and a lot of guys who are going to continue to adapt, which is exciting, okay.

But we have to now, especially with Tuesday around the corner, we have to stay very grounded and make sure that, you know, we stay true to the fact that we want to continue to work very hard every day to get better, and I feel confidently that we will, but I will make sure that that is the emphasis.

Q. Last year at times the defense was maybe a little bit problematic and now you've got three straight clean sheets. What's going right there?
JESSE MARSCH: Well, I think we are getting good performance. You know, one is Luis, okay. He obviously has a very good game down in México but another one is that we have competition on the back line now and adding Tim Parker only increases that.

I made a comment in the very first preseason game that so much of our success this year was going to depend on our defenders' ability to defend, to understand our tactics, to meet the standards of what we need. And if we could get good performances from our defenders, then we can get wins because we can score goals. And if we don't, and if we give away goals and we give away penalties and bad fouls and we make bad plays, then we're always going to be in jeopardy with results.

So I've been on the defenders. They have responded and we have great competition now in the back. So it means that when guys step on the field, they have to be ready to go.

Q. You gave myself a lot of guys opportunities tonight. One guy that didn't get one was Tommy Redding. What does he have to do moving forward to get some minutes?
JESSE MARSCH: Yeah, I mean, you know, Tommy is doing fine. We're just trying to continue to integrate him the right way. We had him on the roster and we were evaluating. We almost played with three in the back from the start tonight just because we felt with certain things that Portland does that that might be good. But we decided to go with this formation.

But Tommy is going to be a good player here, too. He's just got to -- when you come into our system, especially as a center back, it takes a little time to integrate to understand the speed and aggressiveness at which we play. He's adapting and he's committing to it every day and I think he'll continue to get better and better.

Q. You sat Kyle Duncan yesterday. Can you talk about how he played tonight?
JESSE MARSCH: Yeah, so we've known that Kyle was going to be on the roster for a while. Logically it look awhile to get that solidified. But Kyle, I remember him back in 2015, he trained with the USL quite a bit. You could see that he had qualities back then. I think went away to France. He learned some lessons about how hard this business can be.

And then when he's come back, I think, know, he's been excited to be part of this, and he just told the team at the end that he was happy to be home; that he felt like he was part of this and that everybody's treated him so well and it's allowed him to grow.

You know, I mean, you have to give so much credit to our group. We've had turnover. We've made tough decisions with certain guys. Nobody's ever questioned; they have only tried to find ways to commit in bigger and bigger ways and when new guys come in, our leaders do a really good job of integrating young players. They know that's part of what we do.

So you know, Kyle I think has shown such quality and can meet the standards of out we play. It almost fits perfectly. Now we just have to continue to help him understand how to be, you know, very solid in all moments but he's a very gifted right back who can run all day and is incredibly fast. That's going to fit the way we do things, that's for sure.

Q. Obviously you've always been proud of your development setup here between the academy, Red Bull II, but as a game, as a 90-mine kind of showcase, is today as good as it's been since you've been here when you look at Duncan, Mines, Bezecourt?
JESSE MARSCH: It probably is. You're probably right. And the biggest thing to I think understand about what we are doing here is it is "we." It is "we."

It is a group of people that are all committed to each other and that's from Marc de Grandpre and the organization to then, you know, Denis Hamlett and the way that we run the sporting department and then when we talk about how our first team, our USL team, our PDL team and our academy teams work together, there's a system here. It's a factory. It's a player and a football factory, and we believe wholeheartedly, there's no one in this club who doesn't believe in the way we do things, and our identity, and it actually makes life easy for everyone.

There's not much gray area. There's understanding of roles. It's the same as how we play on the field. Everyone understands what role they have, how they fit and how they are valued, and then they just -- everyone is trying to figure out ways to do the job as good as they possibly can.

You know, I think it's taken leadership to create that, but it's also created a mind-set, and you know, again, I don't want to go too far into feeling good about ourselves because we're at the first game of the year.

But this is not -- this is not just happening now. This has been happening for three-plus years and it's just a progression. You know, this club will be set up for years to come, no question. This club will be -- whoever gets my job next is going to continue all the work that's been done and continue to push this thing further and further.

So that's our goal. That's who we are. Thank you.

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