Post-game quotes: D.C. United 1, Houston Dynamo 0
D.C. UNITED HEAD COACH TOM SOEHN
On the second half
We talked a lot about the way we’d been starting 2nd halves, you always look at crucial times of the games and the good starts – ending a half, starting a half. The first half wasn’t good enough soccer-wise, so we talked about how we’re going to have the energy, we addressed some of the concerns as far as our shape. I think it worked, I thought we came out with a little more life, and obviously scoring early in the second half was a direct effect of it.
On the game
[The rookies] did a lot of work, we put Chris [Pontius] inside just to get more legs in there and he covered a lot of ground, and Luci [Emilio] did a lot of work up there by himself, and overall all these little cuts make you a better team along the way. You never want to go down a man and the foul that happened that caused the red, I probably wouldn’t have played many games in my career if that was the case, so it’s unfortunate, but you have to deal with the circumstances and the guys gutted it out.
He did a good job. He controlled the game. Obviously an experienced keeper, he managed the momentum of the game and recognized when to slow it down, when to speed it up. I think he did a really good job of that tonight.
On Ange N’Silu
Ange has qualities that are going to help us throughout the year. He’s very good at flicking on balls. He can hold balls. Tonight, I think he started out a little slow, but he found the game. And he can serve a good ball, he found his way to the corners. It’s a real luxury to have several forwards that can change games, and I think this year we have the depth to do that.
On the level of the team
I think you obviously know at the beginning of the year you’re not going to be where you want to be at the end. I think what we’re trying to accomplish is limiting the opportunities we get. Some of the game opportunities in last game were directly from our mistakes. I thought we limited a lot of opportunities, obviously at the end you’re against the opponent when you lose a guy, and you want to create quality chances but make sure you finish. So right now we’re growing together, we’re learning, but we’re accomplishing a lot, and I’m pleased by that at this point.
On Crayton’s leadership
I think you’d expect that from all of your veteran guys. Sharing the experiences they have and especially when they have young guys around and that’s an important aspect of the learning process, so all those guys are looked on to do that.
On subbing off Gomez for Fred
We were in a defending mode, a little bit, and we want to work over there so we can actually pressure them and force them to make some mistakes. It’s about the team, everybody has to understand that we’re here to win games and we’re going to do whatever we can to win them, and at that point we thought it was good to get some legs in there, some young legs and make sure we’re pressuring them and winning balls.
He’s right where he needs to be. He’s still very dangerous, and as we get sharper, that’s going to help him out as well because there’s times right now that we’re not finding him quick enough, he’s in spots where he can hurt teams and we’re not giving him the ball. We’re growing together, we still have to learn how to use him, and he’s going to learn how to find spots better, and it’s all going to take time.
He had two surgeries in the off-season and some guys have one, and it’s hard to come back from. He’s worked very hard, but it’s competitive, you know. I told him a little while ago, when he reaches his point where he’s full-fit and ready, it’s ok if it’s in May, we’re going to use him as a role player where he feels that he can manage and do what he needs to do. But you can see, even when he came in for a little while, before he got the red card, he holds the ball, and he opens the game up. His experience is so valuable for this team.
He did well, Ching’s hard to play against, but he did a really good job of bogging him up and getting a lot of second balls by himself and he challenged for first, so he had a pretty strong game.
D.C. UNITED GOALKEEPER LOUIS CRAYTON
On the victory
Everybody did a very good job, we followed instructions well and even when Jaime [Moreno] got the red card we knew we had to regroup. If we continue to play and work hard the way we did today I believe we are going to have a very good season.
On his save late in the second half
I think it took a deflection on the way coming in, I did get a hand to hit because I knew it was a very hard shot – what I wanted to do was play it over the bar, but it took a deflection on the way in and played back onto the field. It was moving at a real hard pace.
On the defense
We knew that it was going to be tough, and it was a good position to bring in [Greg] Janicki because we knew they were going to start dumping in the long balls. The technical staff did a good job by bringing in Janicki and the entire team worked pretty well today.
D.C. UNITED MIDFIELDER BEN OLSEN
On the win
It’s good to be tested early and to come away with three points. It shows that we got some men out there and we stepped up in a difficult situation against a good team. They’re still Houston, they still have a lot of weapons. To fight like that as a team and get out with three points is a great first win for us. There are still things we can work on, I think the soccer at times, is not the greatest, but defensively some of the stuff we’ve emphasized was pretty good.
They weren’t too dangerous – they had a lot of the ball but didn’t have too many quality chances. They’re still a good team. They throw a lot of numbers at you – I thought they did a good job at clogging us up in the middle.
On the change in the second half
We went after them – we turned the page and put pressure on them. Luci [Emilio] was great, Ange [N’Silu] was great, the way Luciano held the ball up for us tonight is a big part of why we were ok.
D.C. UNITED DEFENDER GREG JANICKI
On the confidence of the defense
That LA game was just a fluke. I don’t think that hurt our confidence too much. More just fluky things that happened that game. Then there was that period of 10 minutes in the Chicago game that hurt us. Pretty much had to do anything in our power to get it done this time.
On having four in the back
At the beginning of the year we were going back and forth so we know how to play with four in the back. When you’re down a guy though, just trying to keep a lead, just throwing out another defender.
D.C. UNITED DEFENDER BRYAN NAMOFF
On the goal
It was a play we had been working on in training. It was set up perfectly – the ball came across to my side, I had a little bit of time to look up the field. Ange [N’Silu] did a great job coming across, which opened up the space for Luci [Emilio] to come in behind. I just tried to play it in that space which created the one on one for Emilio, and he had a great finish.
On his save off the line
I was in the right place at the right time. Once Louis [Crayton] goes out I always try to provide cover and that time I’m glad I was on the right side.
On the defense
I think we were sick of tying. We kind of huddled together before the game and said ‘alright this is our opportunity to get a shut out, let’s get it done.’ We were all on the same page – all three backs did very well tonight and did what was expected of them, especially down a man. We had a lot of pressure coming at us towards the last ten minutes.
HOUSTON DYNAMO ASSISTANT COACH JOHN SPENCER
On the match
In the first half there wasn’t much between the two teams and I didn’t think there was much quality coming from anybody, both sides, attacking-wise. And in the second half I felt that if anyone was going to score it was going to be us. We got in good positions but didn’t have the quality on the ball.
On the team
I feel confident in this group of guys. I feel confident we can win games. We also feel confident that we can be MLS champions. So we’re not happy losing games but we feel we’ve got a group of guys that can have the quality to win matches, that’s for sure.
HOUSTON DYNAMO MIDFIELDER BRAD DAVIS
On the game
With the talent we have on the squad we expect a lot out of ourselves. Right now we’re not coming away with proper results. In the first two games we should have come out of there with some more points and this game we thought so too. But collectively, I don’t think it was our strongest game and we’ve dug ourselves a big hole. We just need to pick ourselves up and, like I said, turn this thing around as soon as possible.
On earning just one point in three games
[We’re] not happy. It’s tough; it’s a tough pill to swallow. It’s a reality check. Now we have to dig deep. We haven’t had a great start in the past three years, which is true, but it’s not an excuse. We’re not happy to be in this situation. We’re a better group that this and we need to get back home and next week take advantage of being at home and get ourselves three points.
HOUSTON DYNAMO GOALKEEPER PAT ONSTAD
On the game
Things aren’t going well for us. We’re getting punished for mistakes we’re making and unfortunately tonight we didn’t play great soccer to get back into the match and probably got what we deserved overall.
On their record
We’re disappointed. I thought the first two games we competed pretty well and were unlucky to lose four, and arguably six points in the first two games. Defensively right now, for myself and the back four and all around the park, we’ve really got to get it together because we’re leaking goals.
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