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Post-game quotesheet: United vs. San Juan Jabloteh

CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE 2009 QUOTESHEET
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2009 – D.C. UNITED 5, SAN JUAN JABLOTEH 1

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

It was pretty good, I think. We discussed the tactics having played them before. We knew what we were getting into and how we thought we could break them down. And we did a good job of exposing the weak side and getting after them. Our mentality going off a dramatic loss [to San Jose] was pretty good. I think everyone is looking to rectify things. It’s important that we take a step in the right direction. But you also have to have a short memory because our opponent won’t be the same on Saturday. They’ll be a lot more difficult.

On Christian Gomez
We obviously gauge all performances and training and we’ll put together our best line. It’s too early to discuss the next one. Right now we’ll talk about this one and then get ready for the next. The system we played is set up for him to find the ball a lot and get touches. We’re a better team when he’s on the ball.

On the difference between last year
I still say we’ve been able to rest guys along the way. And at this point of the year last year we were decimated with injuries. I think evaluating last year was difficult. This year, we’ve treated the games very importantly no matter who is on the field and we’ve taken the time to make sure we understand what the games are about. It’s never easy with all the travel but still understanding that we’re looking to qualify. And now we’ve put ourselves in a good way to do that.

On watching other MLS matches
The reality of it is that it is tough right now. We let one slip and now we’ve put ourselves under a lot of pressure. I’m sure they’re going to be watching and I’m going to be watching, but we’ve also got to take care of business ourselves. If we don’t do that there’s no need to watch. Getting back to someone asking about our performances, you got to put together 90 minutes and we only put together 45 the other day and that’s not enough. This one, as nice as it is, you got to put it to bed because our opponent on Saturday is going to be a lot more difficult and if you have stretches when you’re not tuned in you’ll get punished. So we say you have to have a short memory in professional sports, both when you lose and when you win, knowing that you go back to work and it’s a different day and you have to do the same things.

On Tiyi Shipalane
He’s a handful going forward. We knew that, that’s why we want to invest some time in him. I think it’s going to be encouraging spending more time teaching him everything, the defensive part. But when he runs at guys he’s a handful. The final pass still needs to get there, but when you see that quality of being able to take guys on. There’s not too many that blow by guys like he does, so it’s a real positive sign and something we look forward to seeing more of.

On Chris Pontius
He gets himself in good spots. He’s dangerous with his head and unfortunately he’s just been unable to get them on target. There’s a fine line and a confidence factor that once you start doing it you grow from it. So he’s got to continue to get himself in spots and eventually it’ll go his way.

D.C. UNITED MIDFIELDER CHRISTIAN GOMEZ
On his play

Overall I think it was a good team performance. We controlled the ball well in the midfield. We were able to counterattack on them and we found a team tonight that wasn’t the best opponent, so it was a good win for us.

On Saturday’s game
Without a doubt, Saturday’s game is going to be tougher and more difficult for us going against Chivas USA. But it all depends on us. If we convert our opportunities when we create them, we should be ok.

On not starting regularly
When you play more minutes obviously as a player you feel more confident. I think the last time I played a whole game was against this same team in Trinidad. I felt good tonight. Any time you play minutes, you feel confident.

On his position
Wherever I play, the coach makes the decision. Tonight, I played more as a withdrawn forward. I felt comfortable with the midfielder who was giving me the ball quickly and we were able to play open play on the flanks. As far as Saturday night, its all a decision from the man next to me.

D.C. UNITED GOALKEEPER MILOS KOCIC
On starting

It was exciting, you know? The last couple of games – I started over there [in Trinidad] – but two games I play from the bench. It’s really hard to start from there, it’s so much better when you warm up. This is a great win for us. If Marathon loses one game we’re in so this is a great opportunity for the team. Now we got to step up and fight for MLS playoffs.

On managing the back line
In the first half we had Rodney [Wallace] and David [Habarugira] both trying to go forward so I tried to call them and keep one in, one going forward and keep switching so it’s just communication. It comes with the game, when we play together.

On getting playing time
This is what I wanted, it’s what everyone wants – to play games. And it’s hard – I usually don’t read comments but see that some people are saying that some of my decisions aren’t good but it’s really hard when you don’t play in a while and you don’t play once and then you play one game and you don’t play the next one. So now this is a good stretch for me to get game fit and in the game mindset.

On what he has learned since his last League start
A lot of things. It’s watching MLS, traveling all over the country and watching Josh [Wicks] and other goalkeepers playing, so just being with the team and learning about the League. And of course the communication is much better between me and my defenders. I’ve progressed a lot. I still have things [I need to work on]. I try to be self-critical – say what I don’t do well to try to next time do well and keep practicing, practicing and make sure everything’s perfect.

D.C. UNITED FORWARD CHRIS PONTIUS
On playing alone up front

It felt good. Having Christian [Gomez] behind you is great and it makes my job so much easier, because I’m able to run with him and he is just so smart with his passes.

On his fitness
Yeah I feel good. Obviously, I’m running a lot these last couple games so it gets me a little tired, but I think that’s normal for anyone. But no, I feel good.

On his assist to Fred
Yeah I picked up the ball in the middle of the field and I heard Fred yelling behind me. I didn’t have an option. If I had tried to take that guy on it would have been two on one so I waited for Fred to make that overlapping run and I just slid it on through.

On watching Toluca vs. Marathon
I’ll be watching it, so it would be nice for Toluca to get that win.

On Chivas on Saturday
All of our attention turns to Chivas. It’s a must win game for us.

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