• Chicago Red Stars

Pre-Match Quotes | Sarah Griffith and Chris Petrucelli - July 28, 2022

Ahead of the Chicago Red Stars’ match against San Diego Wave FC, Coach Chris Petrucelli and forward Sarah Griffith took questions from reporters. The Red Stars take on the Wave Saturday, July 30, at 7:00 p.m. CT at Soldier Field.

On reintegrating players who were on international duty (from Claire Watkins)

Chris Petrucelli: It’s been different for all of them. We’ll start with Bianca. Bianca obviously didn’t get a lot of playing time, so we have to build her back up. They did do some top offs with her and stuff like that, but she hasn’t had significant minutes in five weeks or so. She’s got to be built back up a little bit. She’s more than willing to go as long as we ask her too, but I want to be smart about how we build her back up. So, we’re going to work her and try to increase her minutes over the next couple of weeks. Alyssa trains 100% everyday, so Alyssa is right back into it. Right back into training and playing. That’s just who she is and how she goes about things. Mal is somewhere in between. She did play a good number of minutes. She’s a little bit banged up, not too bad. She’s been training but maybe we’ve been smart about how many minutes and how hard we’ve been pushing her at training so she’s ready to play the match.

On playing San Diego a second time (from Claire Watkins)

Petrucelli: I think a lot of times in the league when you’re playing teams twice, you can look back to the first game to get a good idea of what the game might be like. I don’t know that’s one you can do that way because we were a different team on that day. There was no Mal, Danny was coming off of some illness so her minutes were limited. We had games in a short period of time and I think we limited Vanessa at the time. Sharples played and we had Zoe Morse in midfield so just a very different team back then. I think we even played Hill as a ten that game. So I think we’ll be a very different team on Saturday.

On how the team is embracing the chance to play at Soldier Field (From Larry Hawley)

Petrucelli: I think they’re really excited. It’s a historic venue in many sports including our own. I remember going to opening of the ‘94 World Cup in Soldier Field, so even in our sport they’ve hosted some pretty important games a long the way. I think our group is excited about playing there and really looking forward to getting in there. Having our fans there in conjunction with the Fire I think the whole event is exciting for them.

On facing the first place team in the league (From Larry Hawley)

Petrucelli: You’re right on it in that it’s been pretty clear that both teams have been near the top of the league all year. So the game does have some impact on the standings, but we go at it one game at a time. We really don’t spend a lot of time looking at the standings of talking about where we are and all that kind of stuff. We’re more focused on how we play and how we perform on the day.

On the team’s ability to rotate throughout the year and determining a solid starting eleven (from Claire Watkins)

Petrucelli: I think that’s going to be a piece of what we need to get to here at some point before getting to post-season play. We’re going to have to figure out what our best eleven is to start, who are best players are to come off the bench. I think we have some ideas on that based on what’s happened, but we haven’t really had our whole group together all year. I think we need four or five games of consistent line ups and substitutions and things like that and we havne’t gotten to that yet. I’m hoping we can get to that in the next few weeks and get an idea, a real clear idea, of what we really need when it really counts.

On Sarah’s experience so far in the NWSL (From Larry Hawley)

Sarah Griffith: I think the thing that’s stood out is the IQ of all these girls. The soccer IQ, knowing the game and being able to read it so fast I think that’s something I know I won’t to grow with and work on. That starts right away with our film sessions and how we start to perfecting the game, but the pace is up there just as you hear about when you’re getting into the league. It’s definitely fast but I think just the IQ of everyone is insane.

On Sarah’s growth (From Larry Hawley)

Griffith: I think off the ball movement is a huge thing that you might not have in college. I think that’s part of the game that I think I've grown so much in and still have so much work to do. I think just reading the game, knowing how to set yourself up to get in the best position and make the smartest decision on the field.

On playing at Soldier Field (From Larry Hawley)

Griffith: We’re excited. It’s fun to play at a different venue, especially playing San Diego, which is a top team. Being able to come back and compete with them, we’re just super excited and to be able to play at Soldier Field is cool too.

On taking on San Diego for top of the table (From Larry Hawley)

Griffith: I think we prepare the same, we study the same, we do everything like we’ve been doing. I think we know they’re at the top of the table and we’re going to bring what we always bring and just preparing like we have and doing what the coaches are asking of us. So that’s how we prepare and we all know it’s going to be a big game at a big venue and I think that just goes along with it. But yea, we’re just preparing like we always do.

On the week off after the Houston game (from Claire Watkins)

Griffith: I think it’s nice to get your legs under you and, not reset, but get your mind and your mental behind you and get your body feeling the way it should. I think it did sting to sit with it especially after a game knowing that we have a week off and you want to take time to reset, but you also want to take time to figure out what went wrong and get back to it. I think coming back this week we were all very ready and ready to just get back to it and have another opportunity to show what we can do.

On players rotating in and out of playing throughout the season (from Claire Watkins)

Griffith: I think with it being my first year I just try to learn every single week and I think that what’s really helped, especially all the rookies because we are seeing time, is every single week we’re being pushed and we’re learning and we take every opportunity to learn as something to grow with and I think that’s what’s helped us every single week filling in these roles that are asked of us; to keep growing and keep focusing on what you can control that week and we have some vets that are amazing and just teach the game so well that we can look up to and get through this long season that we aren’t used to.

On being a part of the legacy of players from Naperville (from Claire Watkins)

Griffith: It’s awesome. I think growing up in Naperville it’s a hot spot for women’s soccer. To be able to grow up and have players to look up to is huge because the women’s game is growing so much and to be able to say “she’s from my hometown and she’s playing pro” is huge for me and a lot of girls’ goals and what they want to do. It’s cool to play with them now and share the field and learn from the because there’s V, and Kayla Sharples and so many players from Illinois, but to be able to share the field with them and share that personal connection is pretty cool.