Post-Match Quotes: May 25, 2013

Reaction from both sides after D.C. falls at home

D.C. United Head Coach Ben Olsen
On what he thought about Portland’s handball in the box:
“That wasn’t the reason why we lost the game. It certainly didn’t help us out. That doesn’t excuse us for giving up goals the way we do. It’s embarrassing how soft we are, everywhere around the field. The lack of anger that a few of our guys play with, the lack of a chip on some of our guys’ shoulders is mind-boggling to me. Perry Kitchen, Nick DeLeon? Any day of the week. Carlos Ruiz? Any day of the week. But I’ll tell you what: we have a long way to go.”
 
On if the team’s performance boils down to complacency:
“No, it’s not complacency. I don’t know what it is. Complacent about what? What could we be complacent about? A tie against [Sporting] Kansas City? Were we a little bit lucky there?”
 
On giving the start to Carlos Ruiz tonight:
“Everybody else has gotten a shot on this team. He deserved it, and I thought he did well. For 45-50 minutes, I thought he brought some real soccer up there. I think he held up some balls. I thought he had a real positive match, and I’m happy he got out on the field. He’s knocked down my door numerous times saying, ‘Give me a chance.’ It certainly wasn’t on him tonight. Yeah, we didn’t score a goal, but I still believe that offensively at some point, we’ll get our guys on the field. We’re going to get new guys in here to help us because we’re not good enough. It seems like we’re always a player or two short everytime I fill out my starting lineup. You can put that on me, but that’s not going to continue.”
 
On if Brandon McDonald had a few defensive lapses:
“I’m not calling out individuals tonight, but I would say just a couple of individuals show up and really show that this matters. And I’ve had it. I’ve had it with that part. Those two forwards – they were men. We couldn’t counter. Our passing, for a while, wasn’t good. [In] the second half, I thought [Raphael] Augusto brought a little bit more possession, but in the end, we didn’t do well with the few opportunities we had. I will say we did have good opportunities. I count the handball as an opportunity. [Chris] Pontius had one that should be in the net. [Lionard] Pajoy has one. So, there’s chances there. That part has to get better, but we can’t give up goals that soft because it’s tough. Now, we’re done with the first third of the season and we have played some good teams. I give them a lot of credit – they’ve put us under a lot of pressure, but we couldn’t deal with it at times. There’s a reason [the Timbers] are undefeated in the last [11], so they’re not a bad team. And we’re not a good team right now. We now have a month of teams that are either middle or lower in the table, so now we’ll match up against some competition that I think is a little bit more realistic for us right now, [and] hopefully we can start getting points from those teams. We have had a tough schedule. New York twice, Kansas City twice, Houston twice, Salt Lake, Portland, Dallas. These are all teams that are doing very well in the League, and we are not. So hopefully, we can make adjustments, get some guys in here to help and get points against some of these teams that are middle, lower in the table.”
 
On how he views the Open Cup game on Tuesday:
“I look at it as an opportunity to win a Cup – that’s how I always look at the [U.S.] Open Cup and we’ll go after that as vigorously as we can. We’ll evaluate who’s healthy and ready to go. Yeah, we take that very seriously.”
 
D.C. United midfielder Dwayne De Rosario
On if not starting tonight was tough on him mentally:
“No, definitely not. I am a part of the team, so I am going to continue to work hard for these guys.”
 
On the team’s defensive lapses:
“We had a different defensive lapse, defensive mind, and it’s frustrating.”
 
On if the team will stick together:
“There’s always hope, that’s the beauty of this game. There is talent in this locker room, but I don’t know if they’re using that talent to the best of its ability.”
 
On the possibility of himself and Ruiz starting together:
“Well, if you look at our track- record, as goal scorers, as creators, I think it’s not a bad thing to try at least once.”
 
D.C. United midfielder Nick DeLeon
On if he’s feeling frustrated by the defensive lapses:
“Like you said, game in and game out, it is. It’s getting really, really frustrating, I honestly don’t know what to say. One word to sum it up is frustrating. That’s it.”
 
On if it’s getting tough to stay together as a team:
“Yeah, it is – I’ll be honest. I’m not going to make excuses. We’re just in a bad situation and kind of digging ourselves a deeper, deeper hole, and it’s getting harder and harder to get out of it. It’s wearing on everybody. Honestly, I don’t know what else to say, it’s  just tough.”
 
D.C. United defender Ethan White
On creating chances:
“I’m not happy. I think we gave up two pretty soft goals that easily could have been dealt with. We created chances we didn’t finish. I think we also got a little screwed over with the handball in the box, but we can’t make excuses for ourselves. We didn’t play the whole game like we should of. They kind of beat us up every now and then, throughout mainly the first half. I think we came out and put more chances on the goal in the second half and pushed them back, but I feel like we gave them the game.”
 
On the first goal:
It was a simple throw-in. I guess he turned BMac [Brandon McDonald] and I didn’t step out soon enough to play the ball across to Rodney [Wallace] and Rodney just put it near post.”
 
On if it’s getting harder to stay positive:
“Honestly, I don’t think so. We have a good group of guys. We’re not forming cliques and we’re not, pointing fingers at each other. It’s not quiet in the locker room when we come in. Of course we’re upset, we’re upset as a group, [but] we’re not turning on each other. So now we have to look forward to Chicago, and try to keep our head up as we can. Of course we’re going to be upset tonight, but [we] can’t keep dwelling on the past.”
 
On if partnering with Brandon McDonald for the first time in a while affected their chemistry:
“Yeah I haven’t played with [Brandon McDonald] since my rookie year. That’s not an excuse – it doesn’t matter. We’re both professional soccer players and we practice together every day. Do we have some rusty parts? Yeah, of course, but I’m not going to make excuses for it.”
 
D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid
On the team’s performance:
“It was just another poor team performance and it sucks, man. It feels like we’re doing all we can, but we have chances and we don’t put them away. Defensively, we’re not doing well. I should have made some saves. I made some saves, but not enough. All around, I don’t know. I feel like we’re doing everything we can, but we’re not coming off.”
 
On if he had a look on either goal:
“The first one deflected off of Korby [Chris Korb], that was shot by Rodney [Wallace]. The second one, he was 10 yards out. I tried to stay big, tried to stay up. I was put in the most difficult spot for a goalkeeper, so I don’t know. I want to make those two saves. I feel like I have a chance on every goal that comes in. That’s how a goalkeeper thinks.”
 
On if he is worried the team won’t stay together:
“No, I’m not worried about that. We’re still together. We approach every game with the right mindset. We’re always focused. It’s always a focused training. We’re always prepared for the matches. I don’t know. We come into the game with the right mentality, but it just doesn’t come off. Game time, things just look a little hurried, a little scattered and it just doesn’t come off right.”
 
D.C. United midfielder Chris Pontius
On the lineup:
“It’s just the coaching staff making chances and trying to find something that works. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t good enough tonight—just mistakes, missed chances. I look at myself first, and I didn’t think I was good enough tonight.”
 
On Carlos Ruiz:
“I felt Carlos [Ruiz] did pretty well holding up the ball for us and trying to get other people involved. I thought he did pretty well.”
 
On Dwayne De Rosario not starting:
“I think, DeRo he’s…Go ahead and look at his numbers. Go look at what he’s produced in his career. I just think it’s just the coaching staff trying to switch things up. I don’t have really much else to comment on that.”
 
On where the team goes from here:
“I don’t know. It’s the most frustrating position I have ever been in, in my career. All I can do, all the team can do is keep getting better. It eats away at every single person in this locker room; it’s not a fun position to be in. Somehow we have to get ourselves out of this. We just have to keep working. It’s the only thing that we can control. Obviously, with our play, especially when you’re not playing confidently, it’s tough, but we have to get ourselves in a groove somehow.”

D.C. United forward Carlos Ruiz
On Dwayne De Rosario not being in the lineup:
“Well, I think we have great players. I think that people in the media are always trying to see the same players every weekend, but it was a decision from the coaching staff. [Dwayne De Rosario] came on as a substitute, and he did a great job. Playing under pressure, losing 2-nil is hard. But, we’re going to try to find a way to be a better team.”
 
One whether he and De Rosario can play well together:
“It depends what Ben [Olsen] wants. Because we are not young like a couple years ago. So, if he wants us to be running up and down, up and down, it’s going to be a little bit difficult. It depends against who we play and where we play. He knows he can count on us anytime, so it depends on him and what he sees of the team.”
 
On his fitness level:
“I feel very good. I was not worried about anything. I feel I can play 90 minutes, but today, the situation was, like I said, difficult. We were losing the game 2-nil and the team needs changes, so I got 70 minutes.”
 
On if he thinks tonight’s performance will get him more minutes:
“Well, I try to do my best in every game. I play 100% every game; I’m trying to help my teammates. Maybe, I don’t score a goal, but I was trying to look all the time to score goals and to create opportunities to score. But like I said, the situation right now is a little bit complicated and I understand the question because I asked for more minutes and I played 70 minutes today and nothing happened, but I think my work on the field from my point of view was okay.”
 
On if he spoke to Ben Olsen after speaking with media about wanting more minutes:
“Every time I say something to the media, I talk first to the coach. That’s the way I am. I spoke with Ben. We have a friendship from many years ago, and he understands my point of view. I really want to help this team to be better, and the only way I can do that is to play more minutes. So, he decided to play me this game we’ll see if he decides to play me next game. It’s not going to be a problem if I’m not playing 70 minutes or 45 minutes. I am a player who wants the opportunity to play, but if I’m not going to play one minute, it’s not a problem.”

Portland Timbers Head Coach Caleb Porter
On if tonight’s win makes a statement:
“No we’re not in it to make statements. We’re in it to move along and be at the top of the table and hopefully be the last team standing at the end of the season. So we’re going to go about our business and put our shift in each and every week and every game. We’re going to remain business-like. In the locker room we’re going to remain humble. We don’t have guys doing cartwheels in there. We’re happy. So we’ll move on and move on the Wednesday game and the Open Cup.”
 
On losing Diego Valeri and how it affected Darlington Nagbe’s role:
“Well, we played [Nagbe] wide and then brought him inside. As the game wore on and he scored the goal when we brought him in and I think he did well. I thought he was one of the better players on the day and he really gave D.C. [United] a lot of trouble when he was on the ball and was able to drive and create things.”
 
On Pa Modou Kah’s play, pairing with Andrew Jean-Baptiste:
“He reads the game well. He’s a smart player and he knows how to read the line. He’s a good communicator. You saw his experience at times. You saw a few times as well where, again, the chemistry wasn’t there. But overall I think they played great for the first time out.”
 
On seeing that Dwayne De Rosario was not in the starting lineup for D.C. United:
“We planned all week to be aware of [Dwayne De Rosario]. So it’s a bit surprising. But you go into a lot of games and what you tell your team is here’s what we think they’re going to do, but often times the coach does something different. So once we get the start sheet we start to plug in the names and what we think they’re going to do and our focus quickly moved from ‘Okay, we got to be aware of De Rosario’ to ‘Now we’ve got to be aware of [Carlos] Ruiz,’ because we knew Ruiz is a very good player [with] experience. And I actually thought he was a handful today.”
 
On getting results on the road even as the scheme changes:
“It’s a great sign. We got a great locker room and these guys have taken ownership of this team and as much as I’m leading the ship, they’re also driving the team internally as well. And that’s always important in any winning team. And actually having a group of guys on the field that are internally motivated and driving the group. We’ve got that great leadership and a lot of maturity in our team as well. And we try to build it that way, and so far so good. But it’s a long season and we’ve not done anything yet and we got to keep going and this is just three points. It’s nothing more than that. So we’ll move on and get back to work.”
 
On Rodney Wallace’s role:
“[Rodney Wallace] is having a tremendous year. And we’ve got a lot of guys. And, you know, to win games you’ve got to have guys that are performing. And we’re getting guys that are performing well. You won’t get results consistently unless you get guys that are coming to life and Rodney is one of them. He’s having a tremendous year. He’s finding a rhythm. He’s feeling it a little bit, you can tell. And when you have a player like him that’s confident, you keep riding him. And we’re going to keep riding him as long as we can. Rodney’s a great kid. He’s a wonderful player. He’s really coming to life. He’s going to be off with the Costa Rica National Team, he got called up there as well – [I’m] just really happy for him. I always felt he had the talent to be a tremendous player in MLS and he’s really showing it this year.”
 
On the prospect of getting Diego Valeri back soon:
“We’ve got to be smart with him. I mean, he’s one of our better players. He’s kind of the ‘straw that stirs the drink’ for us. He’s a playmaker. And we knew with him out that we weren’t going to have maybe as much creativity and possession, so we decided to go a different route. And I think we showed all year that we’re not a ‘one trick pony’ team. We’re a very multidimensional team and we can adapt and we have the ability to adapt in MLS. And yet we have a very, very clear structure, formation and identity that we work from. But from there, depending on our opponent what we feel works best in the game, you know, we’ll adapt. And tonight we showed we [could] go direct if we need to go direct. And we put a couple ‘twin towers’ up there and they were a handful at times. And we brought Darlington [Nagbe] underneath to open the game up and pick up loose balls and drive the gaps from there. We have a very veritable team. We can plug guys into different roles and different spots. But ultimately our structure is pretty similar from game to game. We just didn’t play with a ’10,’ we pushed him up as a second striker. But other than that, the rest of the roles are exactly the same with a back four and two mids and the two wide guys. So there’s not a lot of variation, but there’s enough to throw a wrinkle in every game where coaches of other teams and players are on their toes a bit.”
 
Portland Timbers defender Pa Modou Kah
On how he felt his performance went:
“I think football is never individual. It’s a team sport. And the back line and the whole team we did our job. Sometimes it’s not pretty, but you dig in and you got to get a win. So that’s most important thing. And we kept a clean sheet. And that’s always important when you’re a defender and a goalkeeper to feel the confidence that we can keep a clean sheet. Okay, [D.C. United] had chances and we had chances as well, but the defenses we scored our chances. It was nice to get a game in. It’s been some time now. But we won the game as a team.  And that’s very important because I think the Portland Timbers have something very special and I feel very lucky to be in the organization, first of all. I’d like to thank everybody. I’d like to thank the president. I would like to thank the coach, for having the faith in me and bringing me in. So now I just got to do what I got to do.”
 
On if he felt comfortable getting in the game:
“Well, when you have your first game you don’t know anybody in the League. You come from abroad, so you got to like adjust your game and while the game goes on. Then you can read people and their play and things like this. The first game is always to get on with it. It’s over and I think we did a good job.”
 
On how familiar he is with Portland:
“Football is a universal language. So everywhere you play … Caleb [Porter] is a coach who wants to play international football. And he has a lot of experience and the coaching staff as well. And football is a team sport. So, you just got to take your time to learn the system and do what you got to do.”
 
Portland Timbers midfielder Rodney Wallace
On the game:
“It’s a good win. It’s yet another win that is going to take us up higher on the table. We’re not content with these results. We want to keep going forward and we want to be in first place. So we got to keep working, but we’re obviously happy with the result.”
 
On Portland’s ability to win on the road:
“We have a fighting spirit. We never want to give up. We wanted to come up in this game and be a goal up on these guys the first half and we were able to get that and we were able to get the second goal. I think that we took our foot off the pedal in the second half a little bit, but we made a good play with Ryan Johnson, and Darlington Nagbe was able to get the second goal.”
 
On how he’s got to four goals now:
“I’m playing left midfield. I’m playing on the wing. I’m playing free. I’m playing in the offense instead of defense. That gives me a little bit of space to perform and get more involved in the attack.”
 
On his goal:
“It was a great play from [Frederic] Piquionne. He found me open and I was able to finish near post.”
 
Portland Timbers midfielder/forward Darlington Nagbe
On getting a result on the road:
“It feels good, you know? It means the team’s doing well in the system and everything is working. Our guys are happy about that. We had guys come off the bench today and also did a good job.”
 
On the timing of his goal:
“It was good timing, you know? We talked about getting the second goal. If we got the second goal then we had a good chance to win this game. So once we got the second goal and kept the ball a little bit better, not as much as we wanted to, killed the game a little bit.”
 
On how Frederic Piquionne fared:
“I think he did a good job. He held the ball up great. He got the assist for [Rodney] Wallace. So I thought he did a good job with him and Ryan [Johnson] up there together.”
 
On Portland’s unbeaten streak:
“I don’t think it’s a big deal. I mean. We’re happy with where we are and we know we can still do better, but I feel like that’s the greatest thing. We didn’t play our best game, but we had a good sequence and still came away with the win.”