Rafa Marquez: Teammates Not “On My Level”

Maybe it was the embarrassing nature of New York’s 3-1 loss to Real Salt Lake or perhaps it was the supporters vitriol that rained down upon him each and every time he had a touch on the ball. Whatever it was, Rafa Marquez was in rare form last night, taking his vocal on-field character into the locker room in a pull no punches post game exchange with the media.

In a game where his gaffes were minimal, Marquez bore the brunt of the fans displeasure. Coach Hans Backe blamed the “media” for the fans reaction. Marquez, however, seemed unaffected. “I didn’t even notice,” claimed the Mexican captain, who taunted the crowd during the worst of the cat calling. “I focus on my job. I didn’t even notice what was going on with the public.”

What Marquez did notice, however, was the way his team underperformed. “If you watched the game, there were individual errors that you can’t do anything about,” he stated, echoing a similar assertion by Coach Backe in his post game comments. “If we look at statistics, I stole a lot of balls. I think I made two or three bad passes out of 30 plus attempts. I almost didn’t commit any errors, so I am not worried. I think I am playing at my maximum level, and doing everything I can. I don’t have, unfortunately, four defenders on my level that can help me out.”

Asked about the lack of communication on the defensive line, particularly with his partner Tim Ream, Marquez let his feelings be known. “Tim is still a young player with a lot to learn,” he said. “He still has quite a lot to learn, and well, he has committed errors that are very infantile and cost us goals.”

When confronted about the teams lack of urgency after Ream’s gaffe, Marquez was equally blunt. “Well, its difficult when things don’t go well, when you have these types of errors,” he said. “It is difficult for the team to go up after mistakes happened not once, but several times. If we do not learn to stop making these type of errors, we will have these types of results.”

As far as a solution to the problems haunting his side, Marquez was clearly at a loss. “I don’t know, I don’t know,” he said with a desperate chuckle. “We are in the final stages here, and we still haven’t had any reaction. The other day against Dallas, we were very lucky. Today, we weren’t so lucky.”

Clearly, the team looks to be lost in a tactical sense, but the center back didn’t believe a change in strategy would help the side. “Well, it is difficult. It is difficult at this point in the season to change the tactics, but the only thing we can do is push forward with what we have.” He continued. “We have to react when we are losing, and not go down early like we did. We haven’t learned our lesson. We have to leave this game behind us, and try to learn from it the fastest way possible so that we have a chance to qualify. We have to think that we have five finals, and try to play them like so in order to reach something important, because it has been a tough year.”

Though he kept a straight face throughout his blunt assertions, Marquez was most animate when asked if he is happy playing in New York. “Me? I live very well,” Marquez said. “It’s something I wanted, something I looked for. Personally, things are turning out well, but I was looking for that, for a calmer environment, and I am very well. I believe in my performance, I am giving the most I have. Like I said, you can see the statistics and you can see the completed passes I have made, and the balls I have taken away, along with another assist.”

“I think that this is a team game, and unfortunately, there isn’t an equal level between perhaps (Thierry Henry) and myself, and our teammates.”


Archived content originally from EmpireOfSoccer.com by Dave Martinez

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