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United-Fire post-game quotes

D.C. UNITED HEAD COACH TOM SOEHN
On the game

We started the game very well, I thought we put a heck of a lot into it and then denied them all over the place whether it was distribution…we did a great job and I wish we would have come out a little bit more in the first half because we put so much into it and it showed because our legs were a little heavy coming out in the second half. The tide changed and then we were on the defensive end. And you know any time we play each other that it’s going to be a battle and they’re going to compete right down to the wire. They had some guys coming off the bench that are potent. In the end, we were protecting the tie.

On Chicago’s performance in the second half
I think it was a lot tougher. The first half we were first to every second ball and 60-30 balls we were winning. The second half it went more to their side. I think we put a lot into it. Overall, I don’t think the structure of things changed as much as what we had at the start.

On the rookies’ performance
I said it before we even played that we wanted to build a team that had depth. And obviously we’ve had to use that, and the guys we’ve used, everybody’s been spot-on for what we’d expected. They’re a deep team and at any point, anybody can play and make a difference. I thought Rodney [Wallace] and Chris [Pontius] did a great job. Chris, having changed positions, he did a good job on the flank, I don’t think we used him as much as we could’ve. He was open quite a bit, and even Brandon [Barklage] came in and gave us energy. Our young kids are going to be assets this year.

On United’s season so far
Obviously we’re disappointed with two ties, but it’s early in the year and I think as a young team these are positives too. You learn how to hang on at times, and obviously, the LA result was a little bit different, but you’ve got to learn how to gut things out and it’s part of the growing process.

On Dejan Jakovic
He did very well. We knew they were going to get a lot of balls in to Brian [McBride], and Brian was going to look to flick them on. I think we did a good job of congesting the space - front and back, and they did a good job of covering any flick-on. You know, for someone who’s joined us this late in the year and hasn’t had a lot of time, and moving him around, he’s adjusted very well. I thought we gambled a little bit, I thought we were a little bit too confident in the 2nd half and we took some chances instead of playing safe and we got caught with the ball at our feet a couple of times. But that shows signs of a young back line and we’ve got to learn how to be disciplined and make sure we don’t take any chances.

On Josh Wicks
The goal that they [Chicago] scored, you know, he should’ve stayed in his goal. But he did a lot of positives for us too, especially that save at the end on Chris [Rolfe]. Chris has a quick trigger and put it where he wanted to and Josh got across the goal very well. Unfortunately, the one time that he comes out, he gets punished for.

On United’s offense
Luciano [Emilio] put a lot of work into today and that goal he scored was a sign of the Luci that we’ve all come to know. So it was a real positive for him, I think. He feeds off confidence and obviously the thing about him is that when he scores he scores a bunch, so hopefully we’ll have a lot to follow. Between Christian and Jaime, we’re still getting their legs where they need to be. There’s positives and negatives. The heart’s in it, and the attitude’s great.

On Ben Olsen
Every time you watch Benny [Olsen] play, you shake your head and wonder how he battles. You know, he’s a fierce competitor. He makes us a better team. Even the goal that Luci [Emilio] scored came from a tackle that Benny made. And at a part of the field and a probability of play that he was on, there was probably a 40% chance of winning that ball, and he found a way to make it happen. He’s a great competitor, he’s a great leader, and he makes us a better team.

On Ben Olsen’s recovery
We constantly look at each other, obviously during the week we manage him, but he lets me know when it’s enough. And tonight he thought he could finish.

D.C. UNITED DEFENDER MARC BURCH
On defense in the second half

I think we should have lumped the ball down the field a little right at the beginning. That’s what we did in the first half, got it into their half and pressured them. I think we laid off the pressure up in the front - so that makes us back up a little bit. As a team we needed to come out a little bit stronger a little bit fast at the beginning of the second half.

On the defense gelling
It’s alright, we had to switch for this game. We work during the week together, as a unit, and it looks good. Everyone is covering for each other out there tonight - I think it looked alright.

On confidence waning after the Chicago goal
As soon as they started knocking the ball around us on our home field, I felt like we dropped a little bit when we should have got stuck in a couple tackles early in the second and to get the crowd back into it. Instead they got a couple shots, a couple breaks, we had some turnovers, and all of a sudden it’s swinging their way.

D.C. UNITED MIDFIELDER RODNEY WALLACE
On Chicago’s performance in the second half

They came out with some intensity - I don’t know if we were ready to match it. I think we should have been prepared, we knew they were going to come out hard. They had three chances and they capitalized on one of them. We just got to move on and get the next three points we need.

On the loss of confidence after the Chicago goal
It happens. The other teams scores, some people’s heads go down. You got to bounce back, come right at them, and I think we had our opportunities too. We had a couple good chances in the box in the second half - they didn’t go our way, but things are positive right now.

On playing at home
It was a great atmosphere at RFK. It’s something that I couldn’t even put to words, but it was fun. The crowd’s great, I love having my friends and family come and watch.

D.C. UNITED GOALKEEPER JOSH WICKS
On Nyarko’s goal

I saw him coming in so I just made the decision to go - which was probably the wrong decision. It cost us a goal. Probably could have done a little better, let my defender take care of that. Didn’t even get down at all, so I probably could have gotten down a bit. It was a composed finish.

On the save from Rolfe’s shot
I played against him last year, and know he likes to hit those balls around the 18. As he cut back, his head looked up, he put it right down ready to strike the ball. I made sure I was set, he hit a great ball, and I did what I could do to keep it out.

D.C. UNITED MIDFIELDER BEN OLSEN
On the result

It’s another game that’s a good performance, but lacking some moments, with a little bit of a 10-15 minute span where we didn’t focus. A team like Chicago they’re going to get it back - they’ve got good individual players that can hurt you if you don’t concentrate.

On his ankle
It’s okay. I won’t be playing tennis tomorrow morning.

On the team’s performance
Our energy was great. Your first home game, it’s to be expected. We come out and they had trouble with our midfield in particular. Second half, they come out and they fix that. They come and put some guys, clog up our middle a little bit more, so now we have to deal with being a little bit better on the ball - we didn’t do that. On top of that, we lost a little bit of our concentration. It’s a good lesson, a tough one to swallow right now, in this league, especially a team like Chicago - one play can put you in the locker room disappointed.

On his role this season
I think I kind of knew that position is one of communication and clogging up holes - pretty much being a defensive guy, a possession guy. I’m trying to do as much as I can out there, I’m still coming along, but personally I’m happy to get through 90 minutes. I was fading towards the end a bit physically, and it’s important for me when I do fade physically can keep my mind in it - that’s always a challenge.

D.C. UNITED FORWARD LUCIANO EMILIO
On the beginning of the game

I think it was good, we had possession and after the goal we played with more confidence. I think it was a good first half but in second half we panicked, and I think we lost the confidence. It became 1-1 and that was a problem for us.

On the draw
Well it’s bad that we tied, we lost 4 points in a week, and that’s bad for a team that wants to make the playoffs, so we’re going to work on things this week. We were good in the beginning, but then we panicked and then things weren’t going the way we wanted them to go and we started giving away balls.

D.C. UNITED MIDFIELDER CHRISTIAN GOMEZ
On playing at RFK Stadium again

I’m happy, I’m used to playing in this stadium, with the D.C. fans supporting the team, and unfortunately we couldn’t give them the win, but it’s still early and it was important not to lose and add points, because at the end of the season it feels good.

On the game
In the first half we played well, we pressured from the 1st to the 45th minute, we scored, and we played much better compared to them, but in the second half we came in sleeping and we paid the price, because Chicago had a chance and they took it, and then we tried to recover but they did well, and the game ended in a draw.

On looking ahead
It’s a team with a lot of young players, we still need to understand each other better, but I see us doing well. It’s important not to lose, to add points, and on Saturday we have to win, get the 3 points, because we need to catch up to other teams.

CHICAGO FIRE HEAD COACH DENIS HAMLETT
On the match

We’ll take this point tonight. The first half wasn’t a particularly good half for us. We talked about a few things at halftime and I think each guy as a whole, as a group, needs to step up our intensity, our competing, the will to want to win the game. I give D.C. credit in the first half - they came out and were competing. In second half we addressed [some problems] and our guys went out there competing.

On Patrick Nyarko’s goal
Fantastic goal by Patrick [Nyarko], good ball in by Marco [Pappa]. Marco took the ball behind the defense and Patrick did well so I’m happy for him. We’ll take the point tonight but we know we could have probably gotten three with a few good chances, [Chris] Rolfe, Brian had a good look, Justin had a good one. [I’m] more proud for the effort in the second half, in terms of not hanging our heads and coming out and competing. We took a point on the road so we’re happy with that and look forward to going home. We’ve been out here for the whole week so it will be nice to go home and get back to work and look forward to the [game against] the Red Bulls.

CHICAGO FIRE FORWARD PATRICK NYARKO
On his goal

I thought it was very important. At the half we were doing 1-0 and we were kind of struggling but we responded going into the second half and we started pushing each other. We took it to them and one chance was all that we needed. I converted it and we could have won it in the end but they had a little bit of luck and we got a tie, which isn’t bad, but we could have gotten three points.

On how Chicago’s offense matched up with D.C. United’s defense
They found their game pretty early. We were just struggling in the first half. We couldn’t move the ball, we were still trying to find our game. But when we came back in after halftime we decided to change it up a little bit and be more responsible for ourselves and taking care of the ball, moving the ball and creating chances for ourselves. I think we did a great job in the second half creating more chances.

CHICAGO FIRE MIDFIELDER MARCO PAPPA
On his assist

Well I’m happy that it worked out. We were losing at first so we were able to get a very important point. We would have preferred the three points but I think we’re satisfied with one point because the other team played well. Now we have to turn our focus on the next game. I’m happy with my assist today.

On the tie
It’s always better to take the three points but the other team played well too. I think we’re happy with one point because we worked hard all game. We would have liked to get the three points but couldn’t do it. We need to work harder next time since we’ll be at home, and get the three points.

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