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Post-game quotesheet: United vs. Kansas City

MLS 2009 QUOTESHEET
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2009 – D.C. UNITED 1, KANSAS CITY WIZARDS 0

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

Sometimes you have to grind out results and it was grinding today, especially the first half. We didn’t do a very good job at all at taking the game to them and they actually took it to us and shape-wise we broke down, possession-wise. We adjusted quite a bit at halftime and I thought second half was worlds better. Josh [Wicks] had a great game today, he kept us in it. It’s his third shutout in four games. He’s been getting a lot of grief and in reality he’s been playing well. Avery [John] did a good job coming in, Benny [Olsen] settled the game down. I think it was very important getting Benny in the game and Jaime [Moreno] did a good job of holding the ball and Luci [Emilio] scores a goal that we expect Luci to score. So it’s not always going to be pretty, and getting results when it’s not pretty…there’s times when you need it. Those are crucial points, we know how crucial these points were for us today.

On the playoff push
Right now we just worry about ourselves. We’ve said that all along, that this stretch of home games is crucial for us. We built everything up to this point and said that if we stay close we control our own destiny. We don’t watch anyone else but ourselves and make sure we’re ready for Seattle next.

On the game plan
The intention was to come out and win the game early. It doesn’t always work out like that. We came out and you look at all the reasons why it could happen. We’ve had a lot of games and some days it catches up with you, which might have happened today but we were able to fight through it and sometimes you have to grind out ugly wins. Good teams can grind out ugly wins and today that’s what it was. There’s been too many times when we’ve been playing well and have come up short so I give the guys credit for grinding one out today and actually at the end we got back to what we do well: possess the ball.

On subbing off Julius James
We just wanted to solidify things. Julius [James] has had a lot of minutes and he wasn’t that sharp today. We wanted to settle it down and bring in some experience and I thought Avery [John] did a great job coming in at left back. He’s a veteran guy, he understands what it takes to shore up a game.

On subbing off Christian Gomez
It wasn’t necessarily Christian [Gomez] why we took him out. The game dictated that we needed to get Benny [Olsen] in there and sometimes that’s the reality of things. I told him at halftime ‘it’s not you, it’s the way our formation is right now, we need to solidify things’ and Benny added a lot the minute he came in. He shored the middle up and we started to possess the ball a little bit better. Some subs you have to do not because of performance but because of what’s required and that was the situation today.

On Devon McTavish
We’re obviously short in the back and Devon [McTavish] is a guy we’ve moved around a lot and I think he had a pretty solid performance back there, stepping into something he hasn’t done a whole lot this year. Credit to him, it’s not always easy to do but he did a solid job back there.

D.C. UNITED FORWARD LUCIANO EMILIO
On his goal

Very difficult but I think it was important for us because it’s three points and I think we have more confidence now. We have more confidence now. We’re looking forward to the game against Seattle.

On his confidence
I think it was important for my confidence, but it was more important for the team, because those three points were very important for us. I’ll have more confidence in the next game.

On offensive consistency
We try to do better, but I think we work very hard, but we can have it much better.

D.C. UNITED DEFENDER DEVON MCTAVISH
On the game

A good result obviously. It took us a long time to get settled in to the game, and we got very lucky in the first half. Could have been down a few goals, but we scored and held the result. We created some opportunities in the second half that we could have finished. Regardless, we got three points and that’s what we came here to do.

On feeling comfortable playing defense
I’m fairly comfortable. I spent a couple years back there the last few seasons. There is a little rust, but I feel like I stepped in and did ok. We kept the shutout.

On the counterattack of Kansas City
They are very good on the counter and we were aware of that. We need to find a balance of going forward and keeping our defensive shape. It’s something we need to work on. At times we’ve done well, at times we’ve got strung out. But getting a shutout this late in the year is a positive. If we win every game 1-0 then we’ll take that.

D.C. UNITED DEFENDER/MIDFIELDER RODNEY WALLACE
On Seattle returning to Washington

They’re a good team. They came here and beat us so now we have to take it to them at home and show them they can’t come in here and just expect to win.

On Seattle’s lineup
They’re a good team, they have good players that can make plays, but so do we. We have great players who can make plays and I think that we’re confident going into the game.

D.C. UNITED GOALKEEPER JOSH WICKS
On his three shutouts in four MLS games

I feel great actually. Defense is playing real great over that stretch as well. In the previous three shutouts I’ve been limited to anywhere between two to six saves a game which I’ll take any day on the field over 90 minutes. That tells you our defense is putting their bodies in front of the ball.

On the lineup
We got three points. Regardless of whom we put on the field, the person got the job done tonight.

On the road to the playoffs
We have a nice little home stretch right here. We need to keep going on the wins we have and hopefully this weekend we’ll get another win and add some more points to our status and move up.

On proving something to Seattle
There’s nothing to prove. It’s just another game and I’m going to have to get out there and do what I do and stay on the field.

KANSAS CITY HEAD COACH PETER VERMES
On the game

Definitely in the first half we drove the game being away from home, which is a really good thing. That was a real positive for us. And then the amount of chances we created, not just the amount but the quality of chances we created were excellent so from that perspective, very positive. The negative is the fact that we should have put one of those away and that would have taken some pressure of us and maybe that would have opened them up a little more. But they did a good job sort of locking down and in the second half especially, bringing Ben [Olsen] on – I think Ben is a guy who manages the game extremely well. So it kind of put the game, I don’t want to say out of reach for us, but it changed a little bit sort of the momentum went their way a little bit the first couple of minutes in the second half.

On the second half
I think the guys got a little impatient. I think they got a little impatient at the fact that we didn’t score early enough with all those chances in the first half so it wound up being that you start getting a little antsy and you want to go get that goal and I think we still created a couple of chances in the second half but not of the quality that we did in the first half.

KANSAS CITY MIDFIELDER DAVY ARNAUD
On the game

Overall, I thought we played well. We came in and played with a lot of heart. We created a ton of chances. On another night, I think the way we played, I think we walk out of here, not just with a tie, but a win. But I think the way we played and the chances we created, I don’t think we deserved to lose. It’s frustrating.

On whether there’s frustration
I don’t think we were frustrated with each other. It gets frustrating when you create some of those chances and you don’t score but I don’t think at any point we stopped pushing and putting ourselves in spots to get goals. We continued to push until the end of the game and I don’t think we fully got what we deserved out of it.

KANSAS CITY MIDFIELDER GRAHAM ZUSI
On his substitution

We’ll at that point of the game you’re just trying to score one for your team so I was trying to push the game and get the tempo up a little bit. And just provide a pop off the bench.

On playing in front of friends and family
It felt good having gone to Maryland. A couple of the Maryland guys came by after the game so it was nice to have their support.

Broadcasting and P.A. Request: When speaking of the organization, please refer to the team as either “D.C. United” or “United,” but not “the D.C. United” or “the United.” We appreciate your cooperation.

Doug Hicks, dhicks@dcunited.com, (202) 587-5448,
Boris Flores, bflores@dcunited.com, (202) 587-5452,
Kyle Sheldon, ksheldon@dcunited.com, (202) 587-5450 or
Cristina Cruz, ccruz@dcunited.com, (202) 587-5440