Post-game quotesheet: D.C. United-Real Madrid

D.C. United Head Coach Tom Soehn

On the game

We came out and accomplished what we did for 55 minutes, did what we wanted to do. We pressured high and forced a lot of turnovers in the higher parts of the field. But in the final third we just missed by a little bit all the time. Against good teams you’re only going to create a couple good opportunities. We were a little unfortunate to not get something out of it. The difference is they can bring in world-class subs, and on a day like today you can see how [the heat] affected some of the best players in the world, but to have that depth is a big difference maker for them.

On the friendly in the middle of the MLS season

I wouldn’t call it a distraction; I would call it a great opportunity to show everyone how this sport is catching up very rapidly and to showcase some of the best players in the world. It was also a great opportunity for us to showcase what we’re all about.

On whether or not the loss is embarrassing

Well if you watched the game, I don’t think anybody would say that. Hopefully there would be a little soccer knowledge to go along with determining how the game went.

On whether or not it bothers him when fans cheer for Madrid

It bothers us when Madrid scores.

On the play of Josh Wicks

He continues to grow, and he made a couple big saves for us. The whole team defended really well. We were able to pressure their backs and turn them back. We won some balls in great spots. We want to continue to build and understand what we’re about, how we play, but we want to make sure we continue to do it for 90 minutes. That’s difficult to do against a team like Real Madrid who has world-class subs. We have to do it for 90 minutes and that’s something we’re still growing into.

On Pontius and Wallace playing confidently

Yeah, they still made some immature mistakes where they gave the ball away when they could’ve kept it. But it’s pretty overwhelming for guys that just came out of college and are now playing in front of 75,000 and against Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka, it was a pretty special day and hopefully we all grow from it.

On Soehn and Pellegrini sharing words

We shared some words yesterday, and [today] he complimented us on how well we played and how organized we were. But yesterday he mentioned how much he’s enjoyed it here and he wishes he had more time to spend in D.C.

On what he wants players to take away from this experience

When we were down in El Salvador, it hadn’t dawned on me how many guys were never in that kind of atmosphere. And then you step into an environment like this one playing against world-class players. There’s always lessons to take away, but it showed us that we could accomplish what we wanted to accomplish, although we wish we could’ve done it for 90 minutes. It was a big step in accomplishing what we want to accomplish and trying to take that to the future and apply it.


On going into MLS stretch run

This game won’t affect us, if anything it will help us because where we lacked, now we have a week to work on that.

On team’s mentality at half

It was good. It’s always a little bit nervous for the younger guys. But I thought we responded well and we played well for 55 minutes, but the good teams play for 90. That’s what we’re trying to achieve on the year, but unfortunately we couldn’t today. It was a hard lesson for us, but it was chance to play against one of the best in the world.

On whether or not he exchanged jerseys with anyone

Yes, I switched with one of the models from Madrid.


On the game

Yeah, it was great. Thanks to the fans for coming out and it was a wonderful day for soccer in the D.C. area. Hopefully they were entertained. We tried our best, but sometimes you’re just outmatched.

On Josh Wicks

His concentration was high today. He made a hell of a save in the first half. I think in the first half our team defense was very good, and we were able to keep the ball. And it was hot, they were a little sluggish in the first half. They were a little sick of us having the ball and that’s when the goals happened.

On playing a team as big as Real Madrid

Once the ball rolls, it’s soccer. This can only help you, your concentration is higher and you’re a little bit more cautious. It’s great to see this type of scene in America, and we hope it continues to happen. Hopefully in the future we can start getting those type of crowds for D.C. United.


On D.C. United’s play

I think we did okay. I think we were a little bit reluctant at times, but they're a world class team and they have the best players in the world. I thought for a while we did pretty well. They got some chances just out of pure speed and athleticism.

On playing in front of a huge crowd

It was great. It's what you live for, it's what you play for.


On Real Madrid’s play

Whatever team is usually in control kind of controls the wings. A lot of times, they forced things in the middle so when we got the ball, we did not have any width, which is how we play the game - getting the ball out wide and getting crosses in. So that kind of forced us to be more central. We could of done a better job of closing in on their flanks, but at the same time, they're one of the best teams in the world.

On the experience

It's definitely an experience I'll never forget. I don't know, I really don't know what to say, but the atmosphere, the players on the field - it was pretty special. We still walked away with a loss, which is unfortunate. Obviously we're trying to get a result against them. But it was still a good day for soccer in the D.C. area.

On soccer in the U.S.

MLS is still growing, but there are a lot of people in the United States who know the game. And the trouble is trying to get them to become fans of D.C. United and MLS, and that's what we're trying to do. Obviously, it's growing and we're getting those fans, and that is kind of what this is about. It's a showcase with one of the best teams in the world.


On Real Madrid

They're good. They're where they are for a reason. You can't deny that. They're Real Madrid for a reason - let's just put it that way.

On the fans

We knew they were going to be out here cheering for Real. It was just fun for us. We knew there were going to be a lot of people here, and whether they were cheering for Real or cheering for D.C., we wanted to put on a show.

On the level of soccer in MLS

Hopefully MLS can reach this level at a time in the next few years. I think we're pushing for that and hopefully we can.


On getting so much support as the visiting team

It is good. The support here is amazing that we enjoyed the last game and today again. It was good to get a good stadium - I enjoyed it.

On the game

Well it was a preparation match. Besides it was tough to play today because of the heat but that's part of it. I think the team did well, gradually we've been getting better, and I think it was a good match and we enjoyed it.

On having Kaka on the team

Yeah, Kaka is a player who brings something new to the team, he's a great player and we're really happy to have him here with us.

On his expectations playing here

We were expecting to play well. We knew we were going up against a good team. We have a very good team and the objective is to prepare ourselves for the season.

On playing in the heat

Yeah, it was very hot, making it hard to play. Besides, we played two days ago so it was tough. But the most important thing is that we're getting ready [for the season] and the team is doing well.

On D.C. United

They played very well in the first half. It's a team that plays good soccer so it was great. We enjoyed playing here and it was a very nice experience.

Broadcasting and P.A. Request: When speaking of the organization, please refer to the team as either “D.C. United” or “United,” but not “the D.C. United” or “the United.” We appreciate your cooperation.

Doug Hicks,, (202) 587-5448,
Boris Flores,, (202) 587-5452,
Kyle Sheldon,, (202) 587-5450 or
Cristina Cruz,, (202) 587-5440