When asked about the upcoming RSL opponent, Ochoa clearly respects Sporting KC’s attacking winger Johnny Russell and Daniel Salloi, as well as preparing to bring back striker Alan Pulido. But he also feels that RSL has already beaten a better opponent in Seattle, comparing the No.2 and No.3 Western seeders.
“Sporting KC is a big opponent,” Ochoa said. “They have really good players, but at the same time I would say in my opinion Seattle is a better team. And for us to beat Seattle, one of the best dogs in the league for me, I think it gives us confidence to go against any other team in the playoffs and get a result. Also I said, I think Seattle was a stronger opponent, so I think we’re all confident going to Sporting KC and I think we’ll have a good fight.”
RSL will likely need another strong defensive effort, especially with captain Albert Rusnak due to lose again after testing positive for COVID-19. This contributed to the ceding of the majority of the acquisition in Seattle and RSL earned a 21-0.
But when he hears criticism of RSL’s defensive tactics, Ochoa raises several counterpoints. First, Ochoa feels that these accounts do not take into account that Seattle’s best chance was a low-percentage-distance shot that Raul Ruediaz sent off the post.
“They didn’t test me,” Ochoa said. “I’d even have the Ruediaz shot everyone’s talking about: It’s a good shot, but I covered it up. It doesn’t hit me that far,” Ochoa said. “She shoots over the bar. So I don’t think they have any chances to make me play and I should tackle the dive at all.
“People talk about our zero shots on goal or something, but they had 20 and the only three shots on goal were handy, so I don’t really care. The same people who are talking about a good slap now are the same people who questioned us this season. Entirely. So we are very confident and have a good mentality to go to Sporting KC and I think we will be ahead.”