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dcunited.com: Hello everybody, this is Tony Limarzi coming to you for dcunited.com . We have a special guest with us now, it’s our first international phone conversation of the year as Santino Quaranta joins us direct from Mexico. Santino, thanks for taking the time to be with us, how has preparation been going in Mexico so far this week?
Santino Quaranta: Thanks for having me Tony. Preparations have been good. It's been an enjoyable trip so far down here in Santos- the facilities are great, the people have been very welcoming. We've enjoyed it so far.
dcunited.com: It has been an interesting preseason for D.C. United, the snow covered fields in RFK, the travel problems getting into Brandenton, and now the week in Mexico, what can you tell us about the facilities where the team has been training?
Quaranta: It's been beautiful to be down here. The facilities are brand new and really it's world class. The guys are really enjoying it. We got to go to the game a couple days ago it's been very fun so far.
dcunited.com: Over the past few seasons you have been used in a variety of positions with United, as an outside midfielder, forward, at times as a central midfielder; now it seems like you will be used as a creative midfielder, are you excited about that role, and will it be a big adjustment for you?
Quaranta: I'm very excited about it. You know, wherever I wind up playing I feel that Curt [Onalfo] has instilled a confidence in me that has been good for me. And I think that he's done the same for the guys. And that's the sign of a good coach. I think for me personally, wherever it is on the field just to go out and work hard. If it is in the middle I'm very excited for the new challenge. I feel I can do well in there.
dcunited.com: There is a big exhibition match against Santos of the Mexican first division; will this game be a good chance to see the status of the team at this point?
Quaranta: It is, you want to get better as a team every day and I think that's what we've done so far in this preseason. I think, like you said, from the start when we were in the snow in D.C. to now; it's worlds different. We've come a long way and we still have a lot of work to do in still finding our identity and I feel like the guys- we have a great group of guys again and we're really looking forward to this game and see where we are.
dcunited.com: Next week the team returns north of the border to compete in the Carolina Cup in South Carolina, which always seems like a fun event for the players and fans also, but it’s also the final real tests before the season. What do you look forward to about that event?
Quaranta: You always look forward to the start of the season. You start to build your minutes there and I think at that point, guys are getting 90 minutes. You're playing MLS teams and again, it's a trophy at the end of that. We take pride in winning games here as well. You want to do well in certain games and Toronto obviously is down there and they're an Eastern Conference team and you want to do well. So, we're looking forward to that trip.
dcunited.com: The off season at times seems to last forever, but then it seems like the last few weeks really come at you in a rush. It’s almost March 27th, what do you feel about the way the last few weeks have gone?
Quaranta: It's crazy, how fast from the start of preseason to now. The off-season was very long, and I put a lot of work in personally, but from the start of preseason to now seems like it's just the blink of an eye. It's almost gone too fast but I'm sure the fans are getting excited as well as are the players.
dcunited.com: Santino, March 27th is almost here, I know the fans can’t wait, we’ll see you back at RFK in a few weeks.
Quaranta: Thanks Tony