D.C. UNITED ASSISTANT COACH CHAD ASHTON
Overall thoughts on the game:
Big [relief], it feels like it’s been a long time coming. Idon’t remember the last time we had a game like that. It was good; I think wehave been knocking on the door for a performance like that for a while, and toput it all together is a good feeling. Hopefully we can realize the things wedid well and use them going forward.
On the decision of starting goalkeeper Joe Willis:
At the start of the week we, as a group, decided we weregoing to let them [ Joe Willis and Steve Cronin] battle it out over the courseof the week. It was a good battle – they both did a good job. Joe [Willis] wasjust a little bit better during the course of the week. We told them both atthe start of the week ‘this is how it’s going to go’ and [Joe Willis] obviouslyhad a really good game. He made a couple of timely saves for us; the set pieceone is obvious to see and the save at 2-0 on [Eric] Hassli on the right sidewas a big save, because if they score there they feel like they are back in thegame, and we would have really had to scratch and claw to get through the restof the game. So, for him to make that save at that point in time and us gettingthe third goal is what broke their back.
On Dwayne De Rosario’s influence on the game:
DeRo is a game-changer; that is exactly why you call him. Inthe second half they started to really converge on him with bodies, and ourguys did a really good job of running off him and that created a lot of holes.Not only does he make great plays, but also other teams are so aware of himthat he creates space just with his presence.
On Chris Pontius’ steady play:
He had a great game. He was a little tight during the courseof the week with that hamstring that was cramping up last weekend, so we were alittle worried going in. He put a quality performance and in the second halfyou started to see that the attacking pieces really worked together. The secondgoal is a little fortunate for us, and their heads go down at that point – butwe continued to play. I think earlier in the year at that point in time wewould have just dropped off and say ‘ok we have to defend the last 20 minutes’.But we continued to play. We had to manage games better, and I think we finallydid that.
On Charlie Davies’ performance:I thought he was very good. When he is on the field, if heis being effective what you will see is the other team getting stretched out,and he did that just by being a threat on getting in behind. He continuallystretched the field for us and he created room for other attacking pieces. Hedidn’t get a goal, but I thought he had a really good game. He did a lot ofgood defensive work as well, which is something we have been working on a lotlately. He also stayed very tuned in and helped out with the extra guy in themidfield, and that was a lot of help to guys behind him.
On Dejan Jakovic’s defensive performance:
He was out for a long time, and he took that time out toreally concentrate in the weight room – I think that has paid off for him. Butnot only Dejan, I think the back four did a really good job of maintainingshape. When a guy was in there wrestling with [Eric] Hassli, the other threewere pinching in; and our shape was very good. Dejan had a great game, but Ithought that our back five – the goalkeeper and the back four – all did areally good job tonight.
D.C. UNITED GOALKEEPER JOE WILLIS
On his emotions going into his first MLS start:
Yeah, at the beginning of the day I had some [nerves]. Myteammates helped me through the nervousness, they reassured me about everythingby letting me know this was a normal game. After warm-ups I was fine, thenerves were gone and I was ready to go.
On his game-changing save during Vancouver’s first half freekick:
On the free kick the wall was setup nicely. [Vancouver] hadone guy on the inside of the wall, and I had Clyde [Simms] set things up forme. They hit a nice free kick, but I was able to get a hand to it.
On earning a shutout win in his first MLS game:
It’s great to win, and this being my first game the wholeexperience was awesome. It was a great team effort, and we wouldn’t have gottenthe win without the four goals from our guys.
D.C. UNITED MIDFIELDER CHRIS PONTIUS
On the importance of winning:
This win is big for us – it’s good for our team morale. Weneeded this as a group.
On his first goal:
It was a good ball from Dwayne [De Rosario], and it actuallyhit my trailing foot. I was able to get the ball into the net by crashing backpost.
On Joe Willis:
I can’t speak enough about Joe Willis. He made a huge savein the first half and another one in the second half. We don’t win that gamewithout those games.
Overall thoughts on the win:
That’s a good attacking team with a good front four. Topitch a shutout against a team like that is huge for us, and we didn’t skip abeat tonight with Joe in net. That’s what you want when you have a player downwith injury or suspension, and it was just like everyday in training.
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC HEAD COACH TOM SOEHN
On the game:
[I am] very disappointed. I think we spent a lot of timethis week talking about the job we did against Chicago at home and how we didthe little things; we worked, we competed, and [did] all the things that areeven required more on the road and I thought today we let ourselves down inthat category. And then still, getting to 0-0 at halftime, that’s a good resulton the road, and we let up a bad goal in a spot where DeRo [Dwayne De Rosario]gets through two defenders and we get beat on the weak side. We talked about itand addressed it halftime and I think we came out with some energy, and then welet a poor goal up to start the half and then the rest was history.
On Vancouver’s first half opportunities:
[Joe Willis] made a good save, but ultimately good teamshave got to finish those chances off and if you do it puts them on their heels.You create your own luck.
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC DEFENDER JAY DEMERIT
On the game:
[I am] frustrated again away from home. I thought we didwell to negate space in the first half and to keep it at 0-0 and again, that’sthe part of this game that we’ve been lacking this year - those definingmoments to see out halves or to see out games. It happened again tonight with[D.C. United] scoring in the final 30 seconds of the first half and those aregame-changers. If you can’t defend that or do the little things right, we’llcontinue to get punished and that’s not good enough, and we have to continue totake that onboard and work on it. This is season is closing in, so we need tolearn quick.
On giving up a late first half goal:
I think [in] the first half especially, we had more chancesthan they did and I thought we did well. Again, especially away from home at aplace like this that’s not easy to come and play, I thought we did very well.And again, it’s those little things that change the games and momentum. [D.C.United] came out in the second half 1-0 riding that wave and we had to try toweather that storm, and giving up an early goal doesn’t help do that. And thenfrom there the floodgates opened and it was backs against the wall time andwith 35 minutes left in the game, that’s not a good place to be.
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC MIDFIELDER PETE VAGENAS
On the game:
It’s tough. We’ve said it before: we take one step forwardand we take one step back. We had a great week of training. We came inprepared. In the second half it just got away from us and it’s tough. It’s justtough right now. We’ve got to pick ourselves up and move on. Like I said, onestep forward and one step back. We just can’t seem to build momentum right now.
On how the game got away:
The first goal – I’ve said this before – it just seems thatwe’re making untimely mistakes and sometimes you get away with them, and theyjust seem to be biting us in the [expletive] every time. [In] the 45thminute, going in 0-0 on the road against a good team in which I thought weexecuted our game plan in the first half. They were on top of us, but then westarted to gain possession and they were getting frustrated and I thought wewere doing well. To give up a goal at the stroke of halftime is just miserable.And then to come out and give up a second goal basically that just came fromnothing – I think it was a hopeful long ball that a guy took a touch on andcrossed it, and unfortunately it ended up in the back of our net. From there itwas obviously downhill and it’s tough.