MLS Game #15: DCU 4 - LA Galaxy 1

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Great things all around today. I don't really even know where to start. 

  • A comprehensive 4-1 win over the top team in the Western Conference. 
  • The unbeaten streak  extended to six games (5-0-1).
  • A third place spot in the Eastern Conference.
  • Jaime Moreno's MLS Best 118th all-time goal. 
  • Two goals and an assist for Lucino Emilio, who has now scored in six straight games.

Surely there are more than that, too.  What am I missing?

UPDATE: A few post-game quotes below and I've also added a couple pictures from the game on the Video & Pics page. The team will train tomorrow in advance of its first game in U.S. Open Cup play on Tuesday against the Rochester Rhinos (Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown, MD; 7:30 p.m. ET).  

D.C. United head coach Tom Soehn
On the game
I thought the first half we didn’t do a good enough job with the ball. We had stretches where we had good possession and it really opened them up. I thought we could have done a little bit better job keeping the ball instead of going right for it. That probably would have taxed them a little more.
 
On the hot weather
It’s difficult climate for those guys [LA] to come into; they are not used to the humidity and the heat and it really got to them more than it did us. We did a good job making sure we knocked it around a little more. When you are chasing the ball, you expend a lot of energy. It’s a lot easier when you have the ball. That really hurt them.
 
On moving forward
We just want to continue to make strides and get better. We are creating a lot of opportunities, and that’s important, but we have also made some progress defensively. … It’s important that the last stretch of the season is when you are at your sharpest and we still have some room to improve.
 
On the play of Zach Wells
He made some big saves when we needed them.  We pushed him and he has been getting better.
 
On how it feels now, when looking back to the team’s poor start
Two months ago, we were still sorting out a lot of issues. We have a talented group and whenever you under-perform it is frustrating on all ends – the coaching side, the players’ side. They’ve stuck together and it was a matter of time when the chemistry is going to start setting in, and it has. Guys are starting to understand each other a little bit more and we are starting to look more and more like a team.
 
D.C. United midfielder Ben Olsen
On the game and playing today
The game’s fast, it’s been eight months [since he’s played] and the game is really fast. It was a pretty slow point in the game so it’s going to take a long times –  it’s going to be a long road back.
 
On the decision to play
It kind of came out of nowhere. I was going into surgery Monday, and thought “before I go into surgery I really want to give it a full go and see if I can’t get through some of the pain.” And the pain’s there, obviously. You can see the limp and certain ways I’m not able to explode fully off of. It’s going to be a long road back, today’s a little soul break for me and saying all that… with the fans and getting choked up with the support the fans have given me over the years I can’t explain how much it meant to me, and it makes me want to get better and give this organization and the fans something for sticking by me for a long time.
 
On where to go from here
We wait until tomorrow, I think, and see how it goes – and that is more of a coaches’ decision – and they see what I’m about and they see me at practice they realize I’m not 100 percent. Would he put me in a game that wasn’t 4-1 or 5 –1?  I don’t’ know if that would be so smart. I told the guys to get a big lead so I could go in – they came and they did that for me. Tommy just said be ready or a couple minutes if things go according to plan and they did and I snuck on, it felt good to get out there but the game was fast. It’s been a long time. My brains there, it’s just physically it’s going to be a long road back. I was exhausted. It had nothing to do with my appreciation for my body. I’ve never had that. When I’m out there I feel like I’m stable and I’m not going to hurt myself it’s more I just couldn’t catch my breath.
 
On the team’s turnaround
Everybody in the beginning of the season said it’s going to take time because we have so many [new] guys. At D.C. United, time doesn’t always cut it. People get frustrated. But it did take time and it does take time to get a group of players to become a family and click and that’s what you’ve seen. It’s nice to see because it’s a lot nicer atmosphere in here. We’re playing some pretty good tuff at the right time and we need to continue getting points and do well in MLS and SuperLiga
 
On the fan support
I don’t understand, it I really don’t. These people here are just so supportive of me. All I do is play hard, I like to play soccer, I like this team and I guess they appreciate it. It’s nice to see. It’s emotional. A lot of this stuff you act like it’s not a big deal.  But I like to play soccer; this is my living and I want to come back, but again it’s going to be a long road back. But again I’d like to thank the fans for helping me through this and giving me the benefit of the doubt – I get choked up just thinking about it now.
 
D.C. United midfielder Marcelo Gallardo [translated from S
On the rhythm of the attack
There’s a better understanding with the attack right now especially with Luciano [Emilio]. Earlier in the year, we didn’t have that good chemistry but right now the player who’s up top for us, there’s a better understanding between him and I think that’s why we’re getting more goals. Jaime [Moreno] and I are coming back to the midfield to help build the attack and it’s important for Fred and Santino [Quaranta] to attack on the wings and right now we’re doing a good job all together finding Luciano up top because he’s the lone forward and we’re scoring on the chances that we create.
 
On the encounter with Landon Donovan
There was no bad intention on my part. There are things that happen in the game. Everything is fine between him and I; we even exchanged jerseys so there’s nothing more than something that just happens in the course of a game. As I said, it wasn’t intentional I just tried to cover myself. I felt the man marking me and he happened to be right there. I didn’t do it with any intention so that’s the way I saw the play.
 
LA Galaxy Head Coach Ruud Gullit
On the game
I think we played quite well and we had great opportunities to go one up, with Landon [Donovan]. The second half, you saw it in the team, they suffered from the heat, they were exhausted. I think if you saw the first half, it was a totally different team from the beginning. I think D.C. played very well in the second half and therefore deserved to win.
 
On how he wanted the game to go
You never want to play high speed, you don’t let the ball do the work. I think in portions of the first half we did that excellent and that could also result in a 2-1 lead. But I think in the second half the play really suffered for me. They were exhausted. And I said it also in the locker room.
 
On the heat
It’s extreme for a player.
 
Concern on whether the heat affected LA more than D.C.
Sometimes it does [affect you], sometimes it doesn’t. Today it was us. When we played in Dallas it didn’t affect us there. I think it depends on your physical condition at the moment.
 
Playing at noon
It’s nuts. It’s just tough to play in these conditions.
 
On the Gallardo-Donovan incident
Look, he [Gallardo] scored the third goal and he’s supposed to be off the field, off the pitch. There was blood coming out of [Donovan’s] nose. Gallardo excused himself to me because he knew he was lucky to stay on the pitch. I blame also a little bit there the fourth official because it’s ridiculous – it was right in front of him. If he has no authority what is the point of having him there.
 
LA Galaxy Midfielder David Beckham
On the game
Tough match. We knew it was going to be a tough match. Disappointed with the way it went in the second half.  We didn’t play well especially in the second half but we played some good soccer. But I’m overall disappointed.
 
On the eat and humidity
It was hot out there but that affects both teams, although after all they train in it week in and week out. Though, that it wasn’t just that today. Of course, like I said it was hot but we didn’t play a good game – we didn’t play well enough. We didn’t challenge hard enough and the best team won on the day. I can obviously blame the humidity, obviously it was hot out there, like I said, but it was more than that today.
 
On his impact on game from last year
I played more minutes this year compared to last year. It’s great that the people and the fans turn out because it’s great for the game. It’s great for the MLS. And it’s good to play in that kind of atmosphere. It’s nice to see the amount of fans that came out today but I wish the result would have been better for us.
 
On less friendly fans
I’ve had a lot worse. That’s part of the game, it’s part of the atmosphere, it’s part of soccer in the United States and all around the world. When you play away from home the fans are less friendly. All the parks, that’s the way it is. You accept that, you get on with it and if you win the game you enjoy it, if you don’t you just have to accept it.
 
On the Gallardo-Donovan incident
I don’t want to get myself into trouble with certain things I believe, but there’s some stakes and there’s also times when decisions don’t go too well for you, whether we believe it was right or wrong. It’s the law of the game if you lift your arm over someone... I don’t know. I didn’t agree with it but that’s down to the referee. He saw it, he decided that.
 
On seeing his jersey in the stands
It’s amazing. It’s an amazing honor for me to pull into most stadiums around the US and see the amount of shirts, the amount of kids and people that have got 23 and my name on the back of their shirts. I’m honored by that. But we need to win the game, that’s the most important thing. But it’s great for people to turn out and it’s great for people to support me and support the Galaxy.
 
On the challenge of continuing to push the offensive pace
It’s not a massive challenge because it’s what I do and it’s what obviously Landon [Donovan] and Edson [Buddle] do. I put the ball in the right places and they score. Most of the games this season we’ve done that and we did it today but it was cancelled out, Landon’s goal in the first half. But it’s not challenging to keep that pace up because like I said it’s what we practice and it’s what I personally do in games. Some games you’re not going to have that and some games you are. It’s a matter of me putting as many balls in the right places as possible and players on the end of it to score. But some games it happens and some games it doesn’t.
 
On United’s team
They’ve got some clever players. I think the game of soccer is about having clever players and we spoke about it before the game during the past week. But they’ve got players that can destroy a back four, doesn’t matter who you’re playing against. They sat in midfield and they pulled up the defense and created their own space and then their players ran through. That’s how they got through the defense. It’s nothing against, obviously, our defense – the defending starts from forwards and midfielders and if you don’t have that defense then it’s tough defending.