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MLS game #30: DCU 0 - Columbus Crew 1

Season over.  

Two hit posts and a crossbar?  19 shots?  It was there for the taking, but the ball would just not find the back of the net.  United finishes the regular season with a 11-15-4 record and out of the playoffs for the first time since 2002.  

The team was understandably gutted after the game.  Though the team was officially eliminated from the post-season tonight, no one believe it was tonight's game that left us out.  A poor start to the season, injuries, a cluttered schedule and a bad final stretch put the team in the position it found itself tonight - needing a win in the last game of the year to extend the season.  It was a tall order.  Coach Soehn addressed the players after the game noting that nothing he could say would ease the pain of losing.  

Hard to believe that the goal post that turned away two of United's shots in the first half was the same one Brad Evans' shot careened off on his goal.  It's a merciless game sometimes, isn't it?

Post-game quotes are below and a few photos can be found here.  

D.C. HEAD COACH TOM SOEHN
On his team’s chances in the match:
“You come into a day like today where everything’s on the line, and I can’t fault the guys, they did everything possible. We hit the post three times; I don’t know what else they could have done. We just came up short, as far as chances.”
 
His overall thoughts on the game:
“I think both teams played with urgency, but if we finish one of our chances, then the game’s going to open up a little bit. On all the chances – there were tons of them – just an inch or two here and there and it’s a different game. Obviously, you’re on the road and you’re playing against a team that’s had great success defensively and it takes a goal to open them up. And like I said, our guys did everything I’ve asked them to create those opportunities.”
 
On United’s difficulties this season:
“It’s been a really tough year in so many areas, whether it’s injuries or personnel changes; it’s been non-stop with that. We’ve been on the wrong end of so many calls this year, so we’re all going to take time and reflect. We still have to use it as a spring board to make us stronger. It’s a frustrating night and everybody’s going to do a lot of reflecting over the course of what the season brought.”
 
D.C. GOALKEEPER LOUIS CRAYTON
On the end of D.C. United’s season:
“It’s just hard to explain. This is just part of life. It would have been a good birthday present for me and my assistant coach, and for the entire team if we had won this game today. I’m still grateful to be a part of this unique organization and I’m very, very happy and I believe that, next season, things are going to be better.”
 
D.C. DEFENDER MARC BURCH
On D.C.’s missed chances this season:
“It definitely comes down to the entire season, it wasn’t this game. We should never be in this position. We let a lot of games slip that we could have won where we ended up tying or ended up missing just one play that could have set us out of the playoffs. Everybody fought hard tonight, it was a team effort and sometimes you get unlucky.”
 
COLUMBUS HEAD COACH SIGI SCHMID
On the fans’ support of his team this season:
“It’s just great to see the Nordecke and the support that’s been there all season. I don’t think it’s ever been like that; just the emotion and the passion that is there in the corner. We don’t want to ignore the other fans. The rest of the fans as, as well, the season ticket holders, we don’t want to ignore them.”
 
On his team’s victory tonight:
“It’s just the culmination of a great season. Today, we dodge a few bullets. We ended up scoring an outstanding goal. If goal of the year hadn’t already been given out, that would be a very close candidate. Our team all year has found a way to win. We found a way to win games.”
 
On the squad’s mentality coming into the game:
“When the other team has to win, when you’re going into your last game and you know you’re playing next week, you want to make sure you don’t get hurt or go into a completely reckless tackle. You work and do all of that stuff, you just don’t have that bite. It was a good win for us. I’m confident next week. Everything is on an even-level playing field, and we’ll come in with that bite. We knocked out one team tonight. We want to knock out another team in two weeks, then one after that, then one after that.”
 
COLUMBUS GOALKEEPER WILLIAM HESMER
On the squad’s mentality coming into the game:
“It’s hard to find that little extra inch that you’re going to go in with a tackle and that little extra bite, so guys were smart, guys were making sure they didn’t go in – we saw last night where there were some questionable red cards – we wanted to make sure that we didn’t even put it into the referee’s mind that we get any red cards. So in that sense, you can’t really play all out, but at the same time, I think we did exactly what you have to do in a playoff game. You’ve got defend, you’ve got work hard and you’ve got to just trust that the goals will come.”
 
COLUMBUS FORWARD PAT NOONAN
On the importance of tonight’s victory over D.C.:
“We lost in New York; and say you lose against D.C. and now they’re in the playoffs, and all of a sudden, you lose you’re last two and you’re thinking ‘What’s going wrong?’ and you question things. But to get the win tonight in kind of a playoff atmosphere already; it’s big, because now we get that confidence again going into the playoffs. We’re going on the road, but I think we’re in the right frame of mind mentally to go out and get a result in Kansas City.”