Post-match quotes: D.C. United 3 - Toronto FC 1
Head coach Ben Olsen
On the win:
“It was shaky. We had a lot of shaky moments there. [Toronto] had some shaky moments too, and we capitalized on them.
“It was always going to be a tough game for us because of the legs we put out there, and the age of the guys that were going back to back. [Josh Wolf’s] only played 30 minutes up to this point and he went 90; [Branko] Boskovic doubled up. We’ve been grinding Dwayne De Rosario. Daniel Woolard’s an animal — the guy is just one of the toughest guys I’ve ever been around. I think that’s one way to look at it, but I prefer to look at this game as a pretty gutsy win.
“They had very good energy, which I was really surprised about. They went to Vancouver, played the same team and came here. I was impressed with the way they came out, and their energy.
“The one thing we struggled with was our inability to keep the ball for long stretches and make them work, but that’s fatigue. That’s guys not moving for each other, and the brain’s getting tired so the touch is not as quality. I think that was a big case today.”
On the team’s fatigue:
“We were in trouble [after the Toronto goal]. They get that goal and I thought we were in some trouble. It was going to take a goal to make us respond, I think, on a day like that. Again, 2-0, everyone’s tired, we’re just defending, we’re kind of grinding it out. We’re dodging bullets here and there, and the goal woke us up.
“I thought Dwayne, in particular, in the second half, put a lot of effort in and really took the game over. I think everybody kind of followed at that point. The subs did a good job, and we got the rest. Chris [Pontius], Lewis Neal had a hamstring [injury]. Dejan [Jakovic], I was hoping not to have to play him either, and he went almost 70 minutes. All in all, it was a group effort the entire week.”
On adjusting the lineup:
“I thought early in the game, the 4-4-2 wasn’t flying with Branko out wide and Dwayne in there. It was more because of the way [Toronto] was shaped. We switched [Josh] Wolff from forward to left and brought Branko in next to Perry [Kitchen] to sure up that middle a little bit. We were outnumbered and I thought it might help us with some possession. I think that actually helped at times. In that first half, we started to take the game over at that point. Again, I think legs hit in, in the second half, and then it was just trying to grind through it.
“To answer your question I suppose, good players. We’ve got some good players sitting on the bench and good players on the field. Good players let me make adjustments.”
On midfielder Andy Najar:
“He’s playing like himself. He’s playing hungry, like he’s got something to prove. We’re, just in fact, really seeing Andy consistently playing with the hunger, I see that in him. Competition will do that sometimes. I’m very happy that he had another good game. He played right back, I’m asking him to do that, and the plays he was making on their defenders was pretty fun to watch.”
On midfielder Branko Boskovic:
“He’s done very well in the last two games. His set pieces are very good, and it’s so nice to have a guy like that on the field for corner kicks and balls whipped in. He’s been good; he’s been active. He’s a rhythm player, and he needs these games. He needs more games, and he’s only going to improve. We’ve done him a little bit of an injustice in that he hasn’t played a lot of minutes. He’s been 20 minutes here, 30 minutes there, filling rolls for us, and that’s no way to get a rhythm. It’s not an easy way to play. He’s been a pro about it and he’s gotten his chance the last two games. He’s done a great job.”
On the team’s scoring:
“We’ve got Maicon [Santos] and Chris [Pontius] on the bench and we scored three goals. Hamdi, you’re starting to see what he’s about. He knows where the ball’s going to go when it’s on his foot in the box, and he normally does pretty well with it. He’s pretty upset with himself for not [scoring a second goal]. In fact, for the corner kick, when we were stalling in the corner, he was trying to get it into the box. He just wants to score goals. He doesn’t want to waste time, he just wants to score goals. He’s been good.”
D.C. United Forward Dwayne De Rosario
On the win:
“It’s always a good feeling to see the smiles on the faces. It’s good to play with confidence and I think it’s a good mentality to have. But we can’t get complacent and comfortable. We’re still fighting to get to first place and we're going to keep working hard, stay disciplined and most importantly, stay humble.”
On the team’s response to Toronto FC’s goal:
“It’s huge for us to come back. I think we were a little bit too complacent 2-0 up and we knew Toronto was going to take the game to us. They had to and we let them get back in the game. It was really a nothing chance, and they ended up scoring from it. The goal was a mentality lapse that we can’t have because it makes the game that much closer. The response was huge. The reaction was to keep our heads up and get back the goal and keep it a two-goal game.”
On the in-game lineup adjustments:
“We got them off balance a little bit and you know, we have players that can adjust and adapt – that’s the most important thing. We have players that can play numerous positions on the fly. Guys stepped in again and stepped up.”
D.C. United Forward Josh Wolff
On adjusting positions:
“To be honest, [Ben Olsen] and I talked about, depending on how the first 15 minutes went, as far as how we were able to deal with their wide guys, if [Richard] Eckersley or [Jeremy] Hall was in. I think we were having trouble dealing with them out the right side.
“I think we started making the adjustment even before Danny [Cruz] went down. Branko [Boskovic] went inside, I went out wide, and I think we were able to push [Dwayne De Rosario] further up and flatten out the midfield a little bit. We wanted to get more possession, but also take away their right side. I think that worked out; it was obviously difficult when Danny goes down early and we had to make another adjustment.
“I think the goals were taken very well. I think we could have been a little cleaner, putting our feet on the ball and stringing some things together. It’s OK to go side to side and backwards, and it could’ve been cleaner. Overall, still happy we got a great result.”
On the team’s response to Toronto’s goal:
“[We’ve] probably not [had that drive]. You could certainly look at the last 18 months since I’ve been here, as far as getting a real quick response like that. We said it, the next goal is either going to kill the game or turn the game upside down. When they got the one to make it 2-1, obviously you know you’re in for it over the next 15 to 20 minutes. Andy [Najar], individually, can do some amazing things, and on this play, he turned his guy inside out along the endline, and Hamdi [Salihi] was in a good spot to tuck it in. It was a great response for us at that moment. You get guys to contribute around the field in different spots and it’s more and more a team. We’ve talked about it a little, but we’re able to see those things come out a little more.”
D.C. United Midfielder Danny Cruz
On his injury:
“This is not something I want right now because of how well the team is playing. Our staff has stressed how deep we are, and I think you’ve seen that the past few weeks and you’re going to continue seeing it all season.
“You don’t want to have an injury like this, but we play next weekend and after that we have a good little break. I have time to hopefully get back and work hard to try and get back on this squad. It’s not going to be easy with this group, which is something every single one of us enjoys.”
On midfielder Andy Najar:
“I’m not surprised [by Andy Najar]. Me and Andy are pretty close, as I’m sure you guys know. I’ve played in front of him a couple games now, where we get in and I enjoy that. I enjoy playing in front of him. I think we have a good little partnership that we kind of know each other well already. That being said, I’m not surprised one bit, and I’m really happy for him.”
Toronto FC Head Coach Aron Winter
Overall thoughts on the match:
“We gave away the goals very easily; the first, second and third. I think that in the first half there was a moment, after the first goal when we were losing, there was a great opportunity from [Joao] Plata in the middle. He was not offside. If they don’t call the offside maybe he scores and then the whole game is different. We worked hard and created a lot of opportunities, but in the end it was not enough.”
On Dwayne De Rosario:
“I think Dwayne is a good soccer player, but I think we shouldn’t have let him play the game. But that’s impossible, he does that every time.”
On the team’s next challenge:
“The challenge for us is to get our first points in the League. That is the biggest challenge.”
Toronto FC Forward Danny Koevermans
On the losing streak:
“I don’t know it anymore. It’s so frustrating. You are back in the game, only one minute later it’s gone. It’s painful. What more can I say, it’s the worst ever. Every week we play well, we do fine. I want to play really bad and get a result. No, every week is the same: ‘you played well, decent’. What do we have? We have nothing, it’s all nice words. Chelsea won the Champions League with just defense, but they won the prize. I want that.”
Toronto FC Defender Adrian Cann
On conceding the early goal:
“It was lack of concentration. I don’t know who was marking [Dwayne De Rosario], but he slipped up. Ultimately that shouldn’t be the reason why we lose a game. I think it’s a mental battle. It’s also a physical battle. You have to go out there and have a physical presence with every tackle and every chance. We didn’t do that today.”
On if there was a difference in attitude between tonight’s match and Wednesday’s match:
“For sure, I think there was more integrity there [against Vancouver], more pride. It was a battle. Every game is a battle, regardless if it’s Canada Cup or League play. You can tell the differences [between tonight and Wednesday]. Against Vancouver, it was away and we were hungry to win, we were in the Cup, it was huge. Here it’s the same thing, but ultimately it didn’t come across that way today. There’s no other choice. It’s either you are hungry to win the championship, or we play like we did today and come away with nothing.”
On conceding the last goal:
“It’s a let down. Close up in the corner, the guy manages to slip one through, gets the ball across and there’s two guys at the back post that are hungry, ready to pop it in. It’s disappointing.”