Suddenly, things started to click for RSL, even as COVID-19 robbed them of Rusnak’s availability on the eve of the first round in Seattle. Kreilach renewed its history of clutch games. South American center strikers Pablo Ruiz and Everton Luiz did the passed pawns in the engine room. Young goalkeeper David Ochoa accepted the limelight – really demanded it – with his pantomime villain playmanship and bold media statements.
“We developed a different identity, that we will be that team that will be organized and we can still play, but we will manage moments better. And that was a big topic of conversation for us all season, ”said Mastroeni. “Within a structure, within your defensive and offensive line-up, we have to win the battle of the moments and we have to be aware of those moments. And the only way to do that is by managing the people in the field in real time. And I think as a collective we were really good in the critical moments. “
Mastroeni himself has become less “rigid” in his words, has moved in the direction of pragmatism and is content with solving problems in the twinkling of an eye. It wasn’t his plan to park the bus in Seattle, get 62% possession, and get 21 shots but none – that is what circumstances dictated the defending champion at the Conference, and he is proud of his own Players adapted and survived.
“We were pretty much under it, but we never crouched,” he said. “We stayed strong and processed the moment the game presented itself as well as possible.”