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Post-match quotes: D.C. United 3 - Columbus Crew 2

Saturday, October 20, 2012 - RFK Stadium

Ben Olsen, D.C. United Head Coach
On the win:

“We’ve had some great games in this place and I’ve been lucky enough to be apart of a few of them. That was great. It was in a packed house. It was like the old days. I don’t like to bring up the old days very often, but the feeling in that building felt like the good old days here. I’d like to keep that around. We’re excited to continue to move on and have more moments like this. We’re still in the hunt moving forward next week. There’s still work to be done. I am really proud of the guys, the staff. It has been a long year. We’ve been through some ups and downs. To be here today in the playoffs is a big deal.”

On the ending of the match:
“There wasn’t much balance going on in the last ten minutes of that game. We didn’t want to sit here and get a tie out of this game. It was a balance of trying to get that third goal, but making sure if we don’t, you get behind that ball and defend and everybody dig down deep cause we didn’t want to get a back and forth game, but we did want to catch them on the counter. I think they got word that they really needed to win so they started throwing numbers forward. Look, we put ourselves in the position to do that over the course of this season, and I felt that the subs did a great job tonight. Lewis [Neal] and Branko [Boskovic] probably have the highest soccer I.Q. on our team and it showed there towards the end. Branko had a wonderful pass. And Lewis has been around for a long time and that moment was too big for him.”

On Lionard Pajoy and Chris Pontius:
“It’s lacking. He’ll [Pajoy] tell you that. But the positives, the running he does for us. He causes fits. The final product hasn’t been there the last couple of weeks, but he still gives us another dimension up there with his work rate. For sure we would like him to be a little more clinical, but when you don’t have a good day, when your touch is off, it is important to do all of the other stuff. So, at the end, he didn’t finish, but he did a lot of good for our team. And I thought with Pontius, that was his case today. I think he’s had a couple games in the last month where he wasn’t great on the offensive end and he wasn’t great on the defensive end. Tonight he did his work. So when not doing it on the offensive end, make sure you put a good shift in and give a full effort for the team. And I thought Pontius did that tonight.”

On having to come back after the early goals:
“The second goal they came back with was a blow. The stadium went silent. It was a heck of a goal. Arrietta and Higuain are the real deal. They made that team a lot better and that’s a good offensive team. They can score goals. The fact that we come back and tie it and then get the win in the end is excellent. We said at halftime that there wasn’t much I didn’t like about the first half. We were a little sloppy in the final third and a little unlucky on the first goal. The second one was a heck of a play by him [Arrietta]. The chances were there we just weren’t clinical in the final third. First, our running wasn’t good enough. We weren’t picking guys out in the box. I told them it’s going to come. The second one will come and I told them the third one would come, as well, which, I probably shouldn’t have because a tie was good enough. It was just one of those days: we are at home, energy is good, it was a winnable game.”

On Andy Najar and Chris Korb:
“Andy and Korb both, I thought, had great games. The center backs were pretty solid, but I thought in particular, Andy’s movement, his ability to defend 1v1 and get out of situations was excellent. And Korb was great all night long, especially defensively. Korb was big. He got around the corners quite a few times. That’s a big deal. And he is growing into that position.”

On the team chemistry:
“I think we have grown closer since Dwayne went down and it isn’t a negative towards Dwayne, it was survival. Everybody understands we have to be a real team now. We have to commit to each other and bail each other out. And I think that’s slowly, over this six week period has got us to the point we are today. Guys like Lio [Pajoy], Branko [Boskovic], Hamdi [Salihi], all buying in, Maicon, everyone’s buying in their role right now and it helps to win, right? You have to have the results to have people buy in. That’s the reality. But I think that they’ve all come together as a group and I’m really happy for them. They’re really excited. They want more. I think this group thinks they can do some things.”

On a playing style going into the playoffs:
“In the playoffs, defensively you have to be sound especially when you are playing against good attacks. And we saw a good attack today and you saw we gave up two goals. We can’t consistently give up two goals in the playoffs because the defenses in the playoffs are much better, so that is not a good recipe tonight. Again, Marshall was out, Julius was out, so we caught a break there. We are still going to be who we are. We are going to be a bit more aggressive at home and on the road we’re going to make sure we give up zero goals.”

On the possibility of De Rosario returning for the playoffs:
“I would say there is probably a chance. I don’t know. And I don’t know if anybody knows right now where he’s at. He’s progressing quickly. I’ve told my trainers and doctors, you tell me the day he is ready to go cause I got a job to do and we can’t rely on that but it would sure be nice to see him back because that means we were very, very deep into the playoffs.”

D.C. United midfielder Lewis Neal
On the win:
“The reaction from everybody on the team to the fans in the stands has been an unbelievable feeling. It’s a great credit to the guys to come from behind and get us in that position to begin with. To come back and to get the winner in the final minutes was an unbelievable feeling and achievement for everybody involved.”

On getting the job done:
“I think the results have spoken for themselves. The performances haven’t always been great but we have managed to put results together and people have stepped up whether it’s a goal or an assist. It’s an unbelievable feeling. I don’t think we will realize how big of a win this was until we slept on it maybe a night and wonder whether we have dreamed or not.”

D.C. United midfielder Chris Pontius
On clinching a playoff spot for the first time in five years:
“It’s been a long time coming, especially for the guys who have been around the club for a long time like me, DeRo [Dwayne De Rosario] even Benny, some of the coaches. I think everyone’s excited for the opportunity. We’re sitting in a good position. We put ourselves in a good position.”

On how this game prepares the team for playoffs:
“It prepares us for fall. That’s the type of game you’re going to see in the fall. It’s very chippy in the first 20 minutes. We went down by a goal, but we didn’t stray away from the way we were playing. We just kept fighting.”

D.C. United midfielder Nick DeLeon
On making the playoffs:
“There was a lot of energy on both sides. It was very open in the second half. It was a great effort from our guys and we’re in the playoffs, so I couldn’t be any happier.”

On getting the win in stoppage time:
“You never know with these kinds of games. They’re crazy games, as you saw. There’s a lot of emotion. We kept battling, we kept fighting and we ended up getting the result.”

On United’s first playoff berth since 2007:
“I can only imagine. I haven’t been a fan here for five years, but I can only imagine it feels amazing. For me, being in my first year, it feels unbelievable, so I can only imagine for them. But it’s a start of a new journey now and playoffs are what we’re looking forward to now and hopefully we can go as far as we can in the playoffs.”

On the team’s second place position in the Eastern Conference:
“That’s huge. That four (seed) vs. five (seed) game is somewhere you don’t want to be. Being in that top three guarantees a home and away series and playing here is a fortress, so that only ups our chances. Being in the top three is huge for us.”

On the sell-out home crowd:
“It was unbelievable to play in front of. From when I walked out in the beginning with the butterflies all the way to the end, they were there with us to the end. I can only thank them enough – they were the true 12th man today.”

On breaking D.C. United’s rookie goal-scoring record:
“It feels good, but what feels better is moving on to the playoffs. It’s a side award, yeah, it’s good for me, but a run in the playoffs is all that matters to me.”

Columbus Crew Head Coach Robert Warzycha
On his message to the team after the game:
“You know, unfortunately for us we let D.C. United catch us. We scored two goals away from home against a very difficult team and that could have been enough to win the game but we didn’t finish all our chances and we let United score three.”

On United’s second half comeback:
“Before their second goal, they had crossed it a couple of times but nothing really dangerous was happening. They scored, and at that point we had to push hard for another goal, but unfortunately it didn’t happen.”

On his assessment of Columbus’ season:
“I think overall at the end of the season we were giving too many goals away. We basically conceded two goals per game in our last matches and if you do that you’re obviously not going to make it to the playoffs. It’s just too many goals. We probably to have to work harder defensively because we already have good individual talent.”

Columbus Crew Midfielder Eddie Gaven
On the coach’s message after the game:
“Not much has been said right now. We’ll probably talk more when we’re back at the hotel. We all know that Houston is winning 3-1 right now so it doesn’t look good for us.”

On how Columbus’ contention for reaching the playoffs came to an end:
“It’s tough. You always want to play for something and it’s tough when all of a sudden you’re out of the playoffs. There’s not much left to play for and it’s tough to make comments right now because the season is over. I am very proud of the way the guys fought today. I thought the team fought their heart out and played with so much effort, fight, and spirit but sometimes despite all that you still don’t win and that happened to us tonight. If we can take one positive from this game is how hard we fought.”

Columbus Crew Goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum
On the game’s battle-like intensity:
“We knew we needed to come out to get a win so we were really pushing for it at the end. You really can’t give out that many goals and expect to win. It was a tough battle. The guys fought hard and created chances but at the end we couldn’t hold on.”

On what’s left to play for next week against Toronto:
“There’s always guys playing for jobs, pride, everything, you know the drill. There’s still a lot to play for and we are going to give it our all in that last game to finish the season on a positive note.”

On his frustration with the result:
“Like I said, we were going for the win and anything else wouldn’t really have mattered but the third goal is what it is. We needed to get our third goal and that’s all that mattered and we were pushing forward, but that was the end result.”