As the Black-and-Red progress under the Arizona sun, so too does new signing Marcelo Saragosa. The experienced midfielder has already made an impact,working his way into the team on and off the field. Days after signing withUnited, the former Galaxy, Chivas USA and Dallas player talked about what it meansto be coached by Ben Olsen, the importance of being a good teammate, and what it will take to get D.C. United back to the top.
What are your thoughts on signing with United?
First and foremost, I was very happy. This is a great team;whenever I played against D.C. United I would always think what it would belike to be part of the club.
Even though you just signed with the team, you have beentraining with United since the Florida camp. What is your overall impression ofthe team so far?
To begin with, it is great working with someone who is aformer player. Ben [Olsen] knows a lot about it, especially how to work with aplayer. He knows how a player thinks and reacts, and he also knows that playersget tired. In terms of the team, I think there are really good players here,but we have to keep working day by day to reach our goals.Having played against Ben several times as a player, is itstrange having him as a coach?
Yes, the other day we played against each other [duringtraining] and we were laughing together remembering old times. Ben knows morethan all of us about the midfield, and he can pass along all that knowledge –how to work, how to position ourselves, what it takes to make the team playbetter and grow as a player. It’s great having him as a coach, especiallybecause he was a great player and an idol for D.C. United.
There is an important South American presence in the teamright now with the acquisitions of Maicon Santos, Emiliano Dudar and yourself.How do you think this benefits the team?
It’s great, even Andy [Najar] is happy now because he canspeak Spanish [laughs]. As for Maicon and Emiliano, they will transmit a lot ofexperience to the team. Combining the force of America, Brazil and Argentina withgreat players like De Rosario and others, we can build a very competitive teamand fight for what we all want, which is winning a title.
What can United fans expect from you on the field?
What the fans can expect from me is that every time I steponto the field, either for training or a match, I will always play to the max –with a lot of passion. I always try to do the best I can in every team. It isnot obligatory for players to play well every match, but it is a must forplayers to give everything they have, play at a hundred percent, and even alittle more. I hope the fans come out to the stadium and support us because wewill always do the best we can.
As we get closer to the start of the season, what are the keysto getting D.C. United back to the top of MLS?
I think the most important thing when you work with a teamis to become a family. We have to help one and other, not only think aboutone’s individual performance. When a player gets frustrated after missing apass, we have to cheer him up and support him, just like with a family member.We also have to think about one game at a time. We can’t start thinking aboutplayoffs right now, we have to focus on the first match against Sporting KansasCity at home [March 10], conquer the three points and then thinkabout the next game.
Interview translated from Spanish.