Three points. Two goals. Huge swing in momentum.
“It feels great. I mean it’s just been too long,” said Assistant Coach Chad Ashton. “I am really happy for the guys. I’m really happy that they get rewarded for their hard work. It’s well deserved.”
Everyone said it was going to take time. It clicked on the field last night, and it wasn’t by chance. We worked for it.
“I think we just came out with the attitude that we’re not going to lose. It’s as simple as that. It was hard work. Being hungrier and angrier than the other team goes a long way.”
The last few weeks, we have been focusing on improving our defending, and last night, we held off a talented attack of Diego Fagundez, Saer Sene, Lee Nguyen and Teal Bunbury.
“We were great defensively. We diffused a lot of problems from them early,” said Ashton. “I was really happy with our back line. It was great for Andrew Dykstra to pick up his first win as well. I’m really happy for him.”
With Arnaud central, Kitchen seemed to play a bit higher. It took a few minutes to figure out, but once it did, it worked well.
“One of the big focuses tonight was that we didn’t want Davy and Perry sagging,” Ashton explained. “I think Davy is good at pulling Perry out of there, and those two were great at being aggressive and getting [New England’s] midfielders off the ball. For ten minutes or so, they were a little too flat. But once they figured it out, those two were a big difference in the game.”
Ashton continued with his praise, commenting on Nick DeLeon’s standout performance.
“Nick was big time. He looked like the strongest player on the field. He was bodying people up, running by people.”
“I thought EJ was great,” Ashton recalled. “I feel badly that he didn’t get a goal; he deserved one. If he continues to make hard, dynamic runs, he is going to get rewarded with goals.”
We all had our eyes on Chris Rolfe, though. We knew he’d come in at some point, and when he did, he added an exclamation point to United’s win with a late goal for a final score of 2-0.
“We weren’t sure what [Rolfe] was going to look like out wide. He hasn’t played there for the most part since he was in Europe. He knew the position. He knew where to put himself. He is one of those players that when he starts scoring they come in bunches.”
Hopefully last night was one of a bunch. Ashton also believes once Johnson scores, the floodgates will open.
“He’s kind of streaky,” Ashton said of Johnson, “and when it’s not falling your way it’s not falling your way. I’m sure when he gets one they’re going to come in bunches. The more chances we can create for him, it’s going to be a real positive.”
On-field progress earned three points against the New England Revolution. Whatever all of you reading this did, ate and wore yesterday, do it again next weekend when we take on the New York Red Bulls.