IMAGE: 10-02 Quotes

D.C. United Head Coach Ben Olsen

On being excited after the win…
 “I was. It’s been a long month, month and a half, however long it’s been. We’ve been through a lot. When you go through these stretches, they can take their toll on players and the staff. Again, I can’t explain the starts. We will continue to work on them. We’ve tried about everything, short of an exorcism. We’ve tried a few things and sometimes it gets into your head. The good thing is this team has shown this year that they have the ability to overcome those types of deficits. While it would be nice not to have to do that, I thought over the course of the game they played very well. They obviously have special players that can make real plays. But we defended well, we attacked well, and had a lot of chances. 


On what went well in the match… 
“I thought Rolfe was great underneath. I thought Chris Pontius on the day was very bright. It was good to see him have that type of juice again. We haven’t seen that in a while, and he was fantastic. But again it was a group effort tonight. Everybody did the work on both sides of the ball. Our passing was pretty clean. There were options, plenty of triangles out there. I thought in the first half we earned the right to play. We picked up a lot of second balls. We tested them in behind, and then the game came a little easier for us.”


On qualifying for the playoffs… 
“That was our goal at the beginning of the season, and it’s nice to reach goals. Now we’ll have new goals. One of them is, in the short term, continuing to rev things up because we learned a lesson last year where we weren’t winning games and playing well down the stretch, and now it’s important for the next two games to improve the quality. Again, tonight was a quality night if you take away the goal.”


On leaving Saborío out of the starting lineup…
“Sabo took a knock in training, and he didn’t train all week. He felt OK this morning, so we put him on the bench. He’s a nice option to have off the bench, and I’m happy for him that he gets the goal. Goal scorers, when they go through droughts, it’s all they want to do. They want to score goals. It’s what they’re paid to do. It’s good to get that monkey off his back.”


How the equalizer affected the rest of the game… 
“It was two teams that wanted to win a ball game. It was going to look like that the last 15 minutes. We’ve watched them the last several weeks, and that’s what it looks like with them. They’re a team with a high line. If you do a good job with second line running and pick up second balls, you have a good chance to get opportunities against them. A lot of that is out of necessity. They need to win so they need to push the game, and we talked about as the game goes if the score was level or they were losing there was going to be tons of space. They were going to bring on good reserves like Poku, Shelton. They’re a handful. They are not a fun team to play offensively. But I was very happy with how we dealt with that down the stretch and used their aggression against them.”

D.C. United Midfielder Chris Pontius 


On clinching playoff berth…
“In a few games, we’ve had some opportunities to do it, and once again, we like to make a little dramatic, but attacking-wise it was smooth. I liked the team’s response.”


On the team’s overall caliber of play…
“I just thought we were able to get into a rhythm, and I was able to get in good spots. A lot of the guys, when we are popping in good spots, it makes it easier on everyone else. We were able to get on the half turn and get running at their backs a few times, which put them on their heels. Generally this year, it’s been kind of us on our heels at times and we were able to get off on the front foot tonight, minus the goal. We responded well.” 


On conceding early-game goals…
“I don’t think we thought about it too much. Like I said, we’ve been in that spot a few times this year. We’ve come back maybe three or four times from being down a goal. That second half, if we were a little bit cleaner on some plays, I think we could put two or three more in on them. “


On the team’s attitude towards clinching a playoff berth…
“It’s a goal achieved, for sure, but we have talked about how we need to get hot going into the playoffs. I know New England went through a six- or seven-game losing streak last year, and they got hot at the end of the year and they were the hot team in the playoffs. We have two or three games left to get that going. I thought the chemistry was good tonight, but it can get better for us. “


On if the team had lost tonight’s game…
“You do not want to sit on a loss on a two-week break. It is not fun sitting there and thinking about it, especially when you have to get another result, so it’s nice going into this two-week break.” 


New York City FC  Head Coach Jason Kreis 

On the overall result…
“I’m obviously shattered right now. What a great start by us, to score early like we did, but as the game wore on, I thought to myself that sometimes you can score too early. After the first goal, I felt that our guys maybe thought it was going to be a little easier than it was. In the second half, I thought we came out real sluggish, and credit to D.C. because they were putting us under a lot of pressure, putting a lot of balls in and around our penalty box. We had to deal with a lot of corner kicks as well, so I always felt like the dam was getting ready to break. But, I did think the guys put another incredible effort out there, and I just couldn’t be any happier with their effort and their commitment level has been fantastic.”


On the chemistry between Lampard, Pirlo and Villa…
“I think that those three players, in particular, have started to really link up quite well with each other, and it is unfortunate now that perhaps we won’t be able to carry this into a playoff run, but what we have is something special to build on.”


On the team’s mindset after D.C. United’s first goal…
“We were going for the full points. I think that it led to some guys being really tired. Our centerbacks had to deal with a lot of space, so I think that could have played a part in why we allowed their second goal. I think we were probably fatigued to make a play at that point.”


New York City FC Midfielder Andrew Jacobson 

On the team’s future this season…
“It is something we can’t really think about. As long as we have a chance, we are going to keep going for it, and all you can really do is just prepare for the next game.”


On mixing together different players on the same field…
“It takes time. We have great players. It is hard to bring it all together and immediately know how exactly we are going to play and how guys are going to fit in. I think we are starting to gel and you can see that on the field.” 


On the uniqueness of the current squad…
“There have been some changes. I think teams make changes. I have been on teams that have made a lot of changes. To be honest I just try to come in every day, work hard and do what is asked of me.”