Post-match quotes: New York Red Bulls 3 - D.C. United 2

Sunday, June 24, 2012 - Red Bull Arena, Harrison, NJ

D.C. UNITED HEAD COACH BEN OLSEN

On general thoughts of the match:
Yeah it was good, good game. We didn’t figure out how to deal with some of the numbers they were throwing forward after we scored an early goal. And, you know, much like Philly we adjusted at halftime and I thought things went well from there and I think it was much better second half. It was almost the opposite of the first half, and it was a little unlucky that we didn’t finish a couple of pretty good chances there down the stretch. But, looking at the overall game, they missed a couple too in the first half. So it was pretty even game, a pretty exciting game, and a good game I think for the league and for the rivalry. I’m happy for Brandon Barklage, I really am, I mean he tore two ACLs in D.C. United and always came to work everyday and worked his tail off. It stings that they came against us, but nonetheless happy for him.

On if he took solace in the team bouncing back after going down by two goals:
Yeah. I thought overall I saw some really good attacking stuff, and Branko (Boskovic) was a part of a lot of them. He came in and slowed the game down for us and gave us some real possession. Dwayne (De Rosario) going up a little bit I thought helped give us a little something...a little savvy up top and Maicon (Santos) did a good job too, you know I feel bad for him because it wasn’t his fault. It was a group that was under a lot of distress in the first half and we just had to make a change.

On the comeback of Danny Cruz:
Okay, it was a good return for him. He has a little of a ways to go but it was good to see his energy out there. In the first half I thought we just needed to be a little bit sharper on the ball and when we did get it, rather than give it right to them and now its coming down our throat again. So, we’ll work on that but you know it’s not an easy place to play.

On his conversation with Thierry Henry following the match:
You know, just about his team and our team and where were at. You know he was a pretty interesting guy and he’s been through a lot so it was nice to have a chat with him.

On looking forward:
We have to lick our wounds and get back to work and make sure we’re ready to go against the Montreal team who is very hot. Teams right now are, you know, figuring teams out and knowing what they’re about and we have to get back and win our home game.

D.C. UNITED GOALKEEPER BILL HAMID

On the ongoing rivalry for the remainder of the season:
The rivalry has been going on for, you know, years, and as you can see the crowd came out, our fans came up from D.C. It’s a big game to both clubs and, you know, it was a good game for the fans and unfortunately we didn’t get a result.

On the play of former teammate Brandon Barklage:
Hats off the Brandon. He’s a great guy off the field and, you know, a good footballer and two good goals today so congrats to him.

On the defensive play following a good showing in their last match:
They were finding seams and we weren’t too happy. You could say that we gave this game away in the first half. At the end, the last 20 minutes we have four or five chances that we could have tied it up or gotten some goals, but once we score early like that we got to keep the pressure, we have to keep going and not let off because teams are going to punish us, especially on the road.

D.C. UNITED FORWARD CHRIS PONTIUS

On if the mentality of team changed after going up early:
No, I don’t think our mentality switched, they overloaded the midfield just as Philly did and it took us a while to figure it out. They were dropping backs, you know Medhi (Ballouchy), (Joel) Lindpere, they have numbers around Perry (Kitchen) and (Dwayne De Rosario). So, it just took us a while to figure out, made the adjustment in the second half and as you can see we controlled the better of the game the last 35 minutes.

On his offensive chances:
You know, the first goal is a good ball by (Danny) Cruz, the second goal is a good ball by Maicon (Santos) and I’m just looking to make those runs.

On his relationship with Brandon Barklage:
I know he can hit a ball...he can hit it. He’s one of those guys when in practice he’d line up and you question whether you should get in the way or get out of the way. I’ve seen him hit the ball like that a million times and he struck it well. On that second goal, you know were in a five man wall, bounces off the wall bounces right to him...there’s not a whole lot you can do you know you’re trying to get out there quick and he just puts it far post that’s a great hit.

NEW YORK RED BULLS HEAD COACH HANS BACKE

On the match:
I would say the first 55 minutes is probably the most complete we have ever played. Absolutely phenomenal the first half and (after) the first 15-20 of the second, we half should have probably been three or four up. One way traffic. Quite understandably after 65-70 minutes, because of the travel to the West Coast, playing three games in a week, time difference, travel. Remember last year when we played D.C., they had no midweek game and we played of course at the west coast against Vancouver. And last year we were totally outplayed. I must say I’m impressed by the players’ performance today, and it’s very well deserved, even if it gets quite tough in the final 15 minutes where they pick up two or three good chances. One of our best performances, the first 45-65 minutes.

On the first half performance:
We said at halftime, let’s try to get a full 90 minutes now and keep going like this. The build up was phenomenal, with (Rafa) Marquez, Dax McCarty and Heath Pearce, we turned the game. We moved the ball very, very quickly and they couldn’t really handle that, the way we turned the game. The first 65 is the best we’ve played.

On his decision to start Rafa Marquez at central defense:
I would probably say that this is Rafa’s best performance since he arrived. I would say because (Wilman) Conde and (Markus) Holgersson are out with injuries, so it was quite an easy decision to play Rafa at center back with Heath Pearce. You get two very good football players. You become more composed in the build up, also with Dax dropping, the fullbacks rushing forward. It was a very easy decision.

On Joel Lindpere playing as a second striker:
Joel is very tired. Totally fatigued after the two games in Chicago and Vancouver. And it’s less running playing as a second striker with Kenny Cooper, so that was the decision.

On Brandon Barklage’s performance:
When Barklage and (Jan Gunnar) Solli score, you have to win, probably. Brandon has been phenomenal in the beginning. It looked like a couple weeks ago that he was going to have a dip or something. He had a rough game against Chicago, bounced back quite well against Vancouver, and played also in defense very well today.

On Mehdi Ballouchy:
I think Mehdi, we all know, the middle of the park is his best position. He can move the ball quick, move the ball forward, so it’s not back passes or side passes, then he’s very versatile and almost a number 10. But it’s been too many safe passes. He needs to be the guy who goes for the final passes, killer passes, he was very mobile today too. He looked best when he’s coming off the bench, then he has made a difference. But overall he played well tonight.

On Brandon Barklage and Connor Lade’s seasons so far:
They have very few games in MLS. Connor Lade, coming from the Academy, just improving all the time. And just from the beginning of the season and looking how comfortable he is in possession, much more right decision making than just going for crosses when we can have possession. And if he can adapt and keep going like this, he has a future in the league. Brandon the same, I think he had three games in MLS earlier. He came here as a wide player, but we said the only chance is to se if he’s an option or a sub for Solli, and he took his chances.

On the intensity of the match:
The first 45, going down after one minute like this, we said on the bench, let’s see how we can bounce back or respond after this early goal, and the next 15 minutes we totally controlled it. So the players were very, very keen to win this game and tie for first place in the Eastern Conference. And the first 45 minutes is definitely the best we’ve played, probably since I arrived, I would say. I said at halftime, the passing game is phenomenal, very few unforced errors, the movements. Top class.

NEW YORK RED BULLS DEFENDER BRANDON BARKLAGE

On his first of two goals during the match:
It was a great goal in, near post, I was actually supposed to be setting the pick for Dax (McCarty) to get around. But the ball came into my space and luckily I got a foot on it. I didn’t really see it go in or anything, but I started celebrating right away.

How it feels to get his first goal of the season:
It took four years. But it feels unbelievable. Against the team that told me at the end of the year last year that I couldn’t cut it there. So it feels unbelievable.

On the range of emotions against D.C.:
There is a lot of history in D.C. for me. I have a lot of ties there. Kudos to them, they’re having a great year, luckily they didn’t come here and get one point or three points. We’re just happy as a team that we came away with three [point].

NEW YORK RED BULLS FORWARD THIERRY HENRY

On sitting out in Vancouver match:
I didn’t want to take any risk, I didn’t want any setback, but overall I felt great when I came on especially in the end.

What a great pleasure to see the guys play the way they played in the first half. And see the goals Barklage scored, especially against D.C. They gave us a good game at their place before, we lost 4-1, but overall I think it was a good game. The last 15 minutes, without looking for any excuses, the guys came from Vancouver really late on (Thursday) and actually came back and still played they way they played.

On Brandon Barklage:
What an example. The guy in the beginning wasn’t a starter. And at the end, like I always said, when you work hard you always get what you deserve. I was really happy for him, especially cause he used to play for them (D.C. United) before. I don’t say it quite often, I’m more critical usually, but this is a guy that works very hard. Hopefully he is going to have a great career.

On the Red Bulls fans:
The fans are outstanding. Sometimes we are so sad when they don’t come, but tonight we needed that. We did need that. Especially at the end, to give us that extra push to make sure we could keep the win.

NEW YORK RED BULLS MIDFIELDER JAN GUNNAR SOLLI

On scoring his first goal:
I just felt good and the way we did it bouncing back from a rough start. And I think the first half we showed everyone that this is a great team. And when we possessed it and keeping the ball with the team I think we could have had two more goals in the first half I think that would be fair, but that’s how it is.

On Brandon Barklage:
Great effort on both goals for sure. He’s actually the one that is going to take out the block for the other guys and then he just decided to do it himself and nothing is better than that. The way he distracts the ball on the corner and taking the corner from Joel and how he attacks there is no doubt about it. And the second one was a deadly killer.

On how playing midfield has opened up his attack:
I like it when the game opens up a little bit. I’m not typical on getting into pockets and staying or facing the wrong direction, I like when it opens up a little more, but its finding the right balance between when to play the safe balls and don’t lose it. And when it opens up in the first half, when we go in and out we basically kill them. And the way they play the diamond in their midfield, its one of our strategies to attack on one side and switch play and finish on the other side. It worked well for us.