Post-match quotes: D.C. United 1 - New York Red Bulls 0
D.C. UNITED HEAD COACH BEN OLSEN
On his team:
This has been a long week and a half, this series seems like it was such a grueling time period. There was just so much going on and we are excited to just get the game going. I thought they played really well actually, they dominated big portions of the game, but we hung in there… we bailed another guy out, we bailed Bill (Hamid) out and that has been the M.O. of this team. They continue to do that, when the chips are down there is a certain spirit about them, it has nothing to do with me, these guys have just come together by themselves - in particular in the absence of Dwayne (De Rosario). They gelled and they believed and sometimes belief is enough.
On Joe Willis coming into the game:
I was OK with him going in that position for sure. It’s a known situation for a goalkeeper, you are coming off the bench, you are not expecting to save it and he gets a look at it, which is always tough. We saw that before in Philadelphia, ironically and I thought (Referee Mark) Geiger… it was a big call, but it was the right call. I thought he was good all night long, controlled the game, didn’t call a lot of silly stuff, he let the game go, he knew it was going to be physical. I’m real happy for the guys, I really am. We get to smile for an hour and then new journey; we have to get ready for a quick turnaround in a tough place.
On Bill Hamid’s performance:
He kept us in that game, I have to see the saves again but it seems the third one was unbelievable – a point blank save. When he stands up and plays big and doesn’t guess he is a very, very strong goalkeeper, he has done that all year. Not much he can do in that one-v-one, but maybe stay in the game. In the end it comes down in our favor that he pulls (Kenny Cooper) down.
On playing on Sunday instead of Saturday:
Well it was always going to be a short turnaround either way. It’s not a lot of time, (Houston has) an extra day but they had a short end earlier, they had two days rest on their first leg. It’s evened out - it would be a day game there, it may be a little hot, but… I’m not too concerned.
D.C. UNITED FORWARD CHRIS PONTIUS
On the emotion in the locker room:
Obviously emotions are running high here, everyone’s really excited. We’ll enjoy tonight and then everything’s got to be focused on Houston tomorrow. It’s a short turnaround, a little shorter than they had which is unfortunate, but Houston’s a tough place to go get a result and we need a result there.
On looking forward to Houston’s weather:
Yeah it should be good. I don’t think any game should be cancelled down there, right?
On what’s made this team special this season:
Character of the team. Even when we go down a goal, no one’s head goes down. Everyone looks at each other and we just battle for each other.
On Robbie Russell’s assist:
I said I didn’t know he had an assist in him. It was a beautiful ball and what a finish by Nick [DeLeon], especially in the 88th minute.
D.C. UNITED MIDFIELDER NICK DELEON
It’s unbelievable. I’m speechless. Just to be a part of this group, it’s been a great journey. It’s not over yet, but it’s been a great ride.
On the fans in the stands:
The fans, man, that’s huge. I can’t thank them enough for coming out. This is for them. This is for our franchise. This is for everybody. We can’t thank them enough honestly.
On being ready to play yesterday:
Everybody was. We were all ready to play. We came out today trying to prove something. We feel like we haven’t been getting the credit we deserve and we’re going to keep proving people wrong. That’s what we’re here to do.
D.C. UNITED GOALKEEPER JOE WILLIS
On what went through his head when the red card was given to Bill Hamid:
Not a lot. ‘Go get my stuff on and get out there.’ The thing about that is you don’t have a lot of time to think. You kind of just have to get ready and get out there.
On the thrill of seeing Bill Hamid make big saves in the game:
Yeah, it jacks me up. He played unbelievable tonight. He made some unbelievable saves tonight and kept us in it for so long. Thought he was unfortunate to get the red card to be honest. But yeah, I love seeing him make saves. As a goalie, I like seeing goalies do well, it just makes you feel good.
On reading the second penalty kick by Red Bulls forward Kenny Cooper:
Not really. I was saying earlier we had a similar situation last year when we played Portland and they took the PK. He went one side, got called back, and he went the other side. I was lucky that Pat reminded me of that before the game and I was lucky that I made the save.
NEW YORK RED BULLS HEAD COACH HANS BACKE
On tonight’s game:
It’s a tough thing to lose; we knocked on the door for 90 minutes, played a good game, (created) a number of chances against a team who was sitting the whole time, but we were still able to create enough chances to win this game – but still, you could say that’s football, they did get one or two chances and were effective on the last one. I can’t be negative on our team’s effort; it was a good game from us.
On the explanation he received on the penalty kick:
I’m not quite sure, I think it was that one of our guys ran in a little too early into the 18 yard line.
On if this would be his last game with New York:
We have to wait and see with that.
On why Roy Miller took the last free kick:
I think probably, I would guess – I haven’t checked. That typically would be the answer to surprise the goalie, expecting Thierry (Henry) or Tim Cahill for the free kick. I would guess.
On how the Rafael Marquez’s red card affected the game:
I mean it’s, you are one up and of course playing 11 with 10 - if it goes to extra time and it’s a huge advantage playing at home… Definitely an unlucky one.
NEW YORK RED BULLS FORWARD THIERRY HENRY
On his feelings on the season:
Well as I said to you, only one team is going to be happy at the end of the season. We will be a team obviously that didn’t win. Only one team is going to be happy so the rest will be talking about us. It’s not good enough, we want to win, but as I said to you only one team is going to win.
On the decision for Roy Miller to take the late free kick:
Well, it’s a left-footed play. The angle is different for me on that side. We talked about it or so with Roy and we wanted to surprise the goalkeeper; make him think that I was going to take it and then Roy take it. Also on that side, it’s better for a left footed player to take it. It didn’t work but the game did not come down to the free kick at the end of the game. If you analyze the game well, we should have scored several times before that.
On if the team playing well made the defeat harder to take:
Whenever you play well and you go out in a competition like this you’re always upset at the end of the day. Against D.C. playing the way we played, passing the ball round well, creating chances and not putting the ball in the back of the net, when you play a game like that sometime you’re going to say I suppose… and it goes on for the rest of the game and they scored right before the end of the game. As I said to you, they planned us well. Well, they didn’t plan us well when they conceded so many chances, I guess. But they played well.
NEW YORK RED BULLS MIDFIELDER TIM CAHILL
On the match:
I just feel sorry for the fans. They’re amazing last night, they come out last night, they’re standing out in the cold. The D.C. fans come out last night and then they come back today and it’s a pity we couldn’t finish the job for them. I feel for the players, I don’t have much more to say. It’s an emotional dressing room and that’s how it should be. You should hold your head up high. If you put everything on that pitch and you poured your heart and soul into the game then you should be able to walk away with a bit of pride.
On Kenny Cooper’s missed penalty:
What can you say? It’s life. I’ve missed penalties in the past. I don’t even for one instant blame him. He has 18 goals. The keeper gets two bites at the cherry, it’s a 50-50 chance and the young kid that comes in saved it. I’ve missed penalties in the past and he shows great courage to step up and take it and to step up again. Eighteen goals, the way he’s played this season he’s probably one of the best strikers in the league, so that’s what I look at. I look at what he’s done for our team. I don’t want him to talk, who wants to talk after that. We’re a team, we look after each other and this is why I’m here. I want to make sure that my players can walk away with a bit of pride.
On his commitment to the club:
I support this football club. That’s why I signed here. I’ve only been here four months and I’ve tried everything. The last three weeks I’ve played with a tear in my calf and there’s not much more I can do. If we scored the penalty I was coming off.
NEW YORK RED BULLS GOALKEEPER LUIS ROBLES
On his performance this year:
Looking back on the last six games, there’s definitely a lot of things that went my way that I’m pleased with. But this was a tough one. I look back at some of the things I did well and some of the things I did not so well. During the offseason, do my best to improve and then we’ll just see what happens.
On going down a man:
Of course, we lost our advantage. Rafa was in a tough situation. But of course you want to hold onto that advantage and it was just unfortunate we weren’t able to today. I felt that the defense played very well. I think that was a trend in the last few games, that we did very well as a unit, staying organized. D.C., I think had two chances and they did better with their chances.
On Cooper’s missed penalty:
It’s one of the hardest parts of the game. To see a counterpart, to see a friend in a tough situation like that and just not have it work out. He’s a fantastic player and I know as a person his character is very strong so he’s going to bounce back from this. But, with Kenny at the spot, we had full confidence in him. He made the first one, he did very well. And I think once that happens when you have to re-do it, it’s just a tough spot.