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  • Chicago Red Stars

Pre-Match Quotes | Arin Wright and Chris Petrucelli - August 11, 2022

Chicago Red Stars Defender, Arin Wright, and Head Coach, Chris Petrucelli, met with reporters prior to the team’s match against Angel City FC. The Red Stars take on Angel City for the first time in club history Sunday, August 14, at 7:00 p.m. CT. The match will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network and internationally on Twitch.

On how it’s been to be back with the team for Arin and transitioning to a three back (from Claire Watkins)

Arin Wright: Well obviously it’s always good to be back from injury. I don’t know a single player out there that’s like “I love rehab. I love just sitting in the training room and watching training every day.” so obviously it’s great to be back. There’s always trying to mold yourself back into the group when you’ve been gone as long as I have. Six matches I missed, maybe seven. As far as a three back goes, honestly you know me Claire, I’m happy to fill in anywhere the team needs me. My first two games I came back as a wing back, now I'm in the three back and honestly, I'm just here to go into whatever position the team needs me to be successful and I just take it in stride and go with it. I feel like that’s kind of the motto of the team this year. Everyone is taking things in stride this year, plugging in when they need to so we can make it to those final few games.

On particular principals Arin and Alyssa Naeher are trying to implement in the back line with the younger players (from Claire Watkins)

Wright: I think we’ve never really played a three back. This is our first year playing a three back, so honestly it’s a bit of a learning curve for me as well and Alyssa, we’ve always had four in the back. But I think it’s just a little bit of leadership and understanding the different kind of players we’re playing against and their movements as well as keeping spacing in the back line. All that stuff that comes with time and playing in the league and just using our voice to navigate the people in front and next to us and keeping everyone organized. I feel like me and Alyssa are really just trying to do that so we can move as a unit and be collective in our defensive organization.

On preparing the group for the travel and playing in front of a hostile crowd (from Claire Watkins)

Chris Petrucelli: I think there’s two pieces to it. Certainly the preparation during the week, you have to be aware of the fact that there’s some travel involved and that’s a little taxing. So, I think training has to dial down just a little but, not too much, just a little bit. I think preparing the team to play in an environment, I think that part is relatively, I don’t want to say easy, but it’s exciting I think, and it should be exciting for players. I think our players will embrace it, they’ll enjoy the experience. I don’t know that I have to do too much, except to continue to remind them to enjoy the experience because we don’t 20,000 people at every game we play.

On the importance of getting off to the right start before a series of road games (From Joe Chatz)

Wright: I think for players when we have these string of road games, we try not to think about it and say it out loud and verbalize it. I think more so, taking it game for game and kind of looking at each game as what can we get excited about, what can we amped up for this game and not think ahead because as soon as you start thinking ahead that’s when things start to crumble. So for us, like Chris touched on, we’re super excited to play in LA and thought maybe coming into a big environment it’s a lot of jitters but honestly these are the games that we want to play. We want to be in front of crowds, we want to show people what we can do on the field and going to an environment like that is really an environment to thrive. So, for us it’s just one game at a time and I think that’s how we view it as players and as leadership on the team that’s how we try to refocus the team as don’t think ahead, we need to go get three points and then move on to the next game.

On the team’s place in the standings (From Hernan Espinoza Jr.)

Petrucelli: First, we always want to be at the top. That’s what everyone wants, we want to be there. But I think. Arin put it very clear that we’re just focused on the next game and we’re not really focused on the table and where we stand on the table. We know that we have a hard game coming up and we want to try to get three points out of it. If we continue to look at every game in that way and take three points, our chances of being up near the top or at the top are pretty good. So, yes we’re not at the top, we’re not that far off and we focus more on playing the games than on where we sit on the table at the moment. If we get to the final game in the season and we just need a point or something like that, maybe that affects the way you play and the way you think, but not right now. Right now, we’re just going out and trying to play this game.

Wright: To touch on that, anyone who’s watched this league, knows this league is wild. In the eight years I've been here, you guys have probably seen where we sit on the table and somehow, we find a way to those final matches and it’s not because we’ve ever watched the table. I think watching the table is where teams get caught up and that’s not where you want to spend your focus. It’s spending your focus on your team and evolving throughout the season and constantly evolving because you never want to get stuck, because when you get stuck that’s when you plateau and that’s when you don’t find your stride.

On communication with the younger defenders on the team (from Sandra Herrera)

Wright: It’s been great. Honestly one of the biggest things I really base my career around is I really try to get to know every player on the team because I think it really goes a long way to get to know your teammates, not just on the field but off the field, because then it translates to having a relationship on the field and Zoe and Tatumn are two I really connect with and we have mutual respect for one another. I think we can really understand each other and where we’re coming from when we have questions on the field and at practice and really becoming a unit and moving together. I’ve kind of transitioned to it pretty easily. I also enjoy being on the back line. From playing all those different positions, I understand the rules of those positions, so regardless of being on the right or left, it’s pretty nice to be able to communicate with the people in front of me that might have questions in a role that I've already played that I can help navigate them on where to be positionally. Maybe things they can try to get out of pressure, so honestly I kind of feel like playing all those different positions has kind of helped me. Me personally grow, but help others grow as well.

On how the team will deal with other teams playing more aggressively because of their place on the table (from Sandra Herrera)

Wright: I feel like, take Angel City for example, they are a team that’s new to the league, they have an awesome crowd and they have all that to rally around and they’re right there on the bubble in the ladder right now. That’s not something that doesn’t go unthought of by us players when we go into this game, so I think it’s just knowing that when we go into this they’re going to come out guns blazing and they’re going to be ready to go, so it’s more that mentality shift of being prepared for that but also being prepared to calm the game down. Control that game because it is going to be chaos in the beginning and there’s been a lot of games where we actually faced that and we haven’t done well and we haven’t figured out how to change the game to our advantage, so I think that’s a part of the evolution that I'm talking about throughout the season. I think that’s something we’re working on growing into and I think you saw that a little bit last game. When we’re up 2-0 and we just needed to keep the ball and have an understanding of where the game was at and control it. I think we really did well in that and you could see the growth in our team, the maturity of the players over the season. So I think it’s just building on that.

Petrucelli: I think if you look at that stretch of games, all of these teams are not really solidified in the top part of the table, so we’re playing a bunch of teams that are desperate for points. That’s not lost on us, but we’re desperate for points as well and so it’s not just about how they feel or how they approach it, but certainly we want to win games as well. I do believe, what Arin has alluded too, the beginning of the match or these matches are going to be hectic. We have to calm the game down because we’re much better when the game is calmed down and we’re in our structure and possessing the ball. If it gets end to end and crazy NWSL style things are happening that’s probably not the best game for us to play. It really does come on us to try to set the game.

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