Ben Olsen
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Post-Match Quotes: March 9, 2013

D.C. United Head Coach Ben Olsen

On the game:
“Well, we started off shaky. Defensively we were pretty sound from the start, but we just looked too revved up. The guys looked antsy on the ball and we forgot how to play soccer there for a little bit. About 25 minutes in, I think we settled down, and then we looked pretty good from then on out. I thought the last 15 minutes of the first half, and then up until the goal in the second half, we had a good rhythm going on and I liked the way we were going about things. When we scored we dropped off and panicked a little bit and didn’t manage the game as well as we would’ve liked to, but we hung on and that’s important at that stage of the game"

On John Thorrington’s assist and injury:
“We don’t think it’s anything season ending, but there’s probably something in there, maybe an MCL, but we’ll wait. We’ll wait until we hear what’s going on. I thought he had a great night. He calms us down. I thought Dejan [Jakovic] was pretty sharp tonight, and [Brandon McDonald] and the back four were very connected. We weren’t connected and we didn’t look out for each other in Houston and the back four did a great job of that tonight.”

On preparing for a different lineup from Real Salt Lake:
“I think it’s a different team. You know, they’re missing [Fabián] Espíndola, he’s always such a key piece for them, good or bad, however you want to look at it. But he was a handful and he made them a little bit uneven, which is tough to play against because he’s always floating out to the left and causing you matchup trouble by adding a plus-one number out there and he did a great job of it. So they’re a different team.”

On Abdoulie Mansally (what looked like) head-butting Perry Kitchen:
“I haven’t seen it. It looked like [a headbutt] to me. I’m not sure. If it was, I’m not sure why he was still in the game. But, again, I credit our guys for hanging in there, even down the stretch when they were throwing numbers forward, they did a good job of creating chances. We stuck together and came away with three points.”

On De Rosario coming back after starting 1-1:
“We were looking for four points out of the first two, as a goal, knowing that Houston’s a tough one. So a win tonight at home is big. It’s big for the fans. They came out strong tonight and it’s good to send them home happy.”

On Lionard Pajoy:
“He scored a goal tonight. The one that won the game. So you’re not going to get any knocks on Pajoy right now from me.”

On Marcos Sánchez starting his first MLS match:
“Yeah, I mean, I think it was good to get him in this game so he can feel the pace of this game and the physicality of this game and the speed in which he has to play. You can see his technical ability is very good and he understands how to play. But, it’s a physical league and there [are] times when he got caught on the ball that could’ve cost us, but he’ll clean it up and as this team moves along he’ll understand, that in this league, of what he can get away with and what he can’t. Same with [Kyle] Porter. You didn’t see Porter’s true strengths tonight because he’s an offensive guy and he gets after you. But I give him a lot of credit because he dug in there defensively and helped. And Carlos Ruiz, I thought it was nice to see him out there and I thought he did well and you can see what type of influence he has.”

On Perry Kitchen playing in a more advanced position tonight:
“You know him and Johnny [John Thorrington], they’re creating a relationship. You know Johnny is very comfortable on the ball and he likes to get it off our backs at times and I think Johnny sensed that the game needed him back there to slow us down and get more possession so we did that. And the last thing we want is Perry right on top of him. You know, he needs to get out of there and I thought he did a good job at times. I thought he was a stud tonight. Much better than last week and he just has to constantly remind himself that he’s a really good soccer player as well as a physical presence out there. And he does that. He can play midfield on any team in this league.”

D.C. United midfielder Chris Pontius

On the game play overall: “The defense is phenomenal. Could have been a lot more clinical on offense. But once again you’re talking about, you know, beating a season. I thought the game got chippy at times and I thought we managed it well.”

On teammate Lionard Pajoy:
“Hard worker. I think everyone on this team likes playing with him, you know? I think everyone tends to say, ‘Oh, he’s not the greatest finisher,’ but the work he puts in off the ball, I think, is phenomenal for us and that’s what we need from a forward.”

On taking back RFK again:
“Yeah, I think when you sit down at the beginning of the season you say, you know, ‘Let’s win our home games and get a point on the road and then if you can do that you’re looking at you know top of the East, top of the standings in MLS, so you know it’s a big one for us tonight. Reasonably, we’d like to pick up more points on the road.”

On how tonight’s offense differed from last week’s:
“A lot more clinical, and that’s including myself, you know? It’s a bitter rest and it’ll come especially when you’re bringing back [2011] League MVP [Dwayne] De Rosario next game so I think that’s only going to ease things up for us.”

D.C. United midfielder John Thorrington

On the flow of the midfield tonight:
“Yeah, I think, you know, our job is two-fold: to screen the back four and then also dictate the play a bit going forward and [Perry Kitchen and I] take turns doing that so at times it’ll be me deeper, other times it’ll be him, but I felt really good about how it worked today. That’s the first time I’ve played it with him in there this season and, you know, I thought we did it to good effect.”

On starting stronger in the first 20 minutes:
“It’s a mentality thing. It’s like we need something to poke the bear to get us going, which you shouldn’t need in your home opener but, you know, we rode the storm. Although we didn’t start very well, I didn’t feel like we were particularly vulnerable at any point to them and then our play started dictating itself. And we knew Salt Lake, you know, you have to think part of that is also Salt Lake coming out here and the way they set up the first twenty minutes, but certainly we need to be sharper starting games. But thankfully we did ride the ship and I thought it was a good performance for our fans for the majority of the rest of the game.”

On his knee injury:
“Yeah, we’re getting an MRI Monday. It’s unfortunate obviously, I don’t want to speculate, and set any expectations – no expectations, no disappointment, so we’ll see, it’s heartbreaking for me. I was really enjoying myself out there and, you know, it’s just one of those things. I went to block a shot and it’s a freak thing and it happens. It happened to [Dwayne] De Rosario last year, and, you know, I’ve come back from injuries before. I’ll do it again.”

On his chip shot that led to the goal:
“The ball just rolled out to me. I wanted to hit it first time. I couldn’t, didn’t think I’d get a quite a good contact on it, so I took a touch and then knowing that I was going to get sort of bum-rushed I just thought of, you know, trying to chip it. I didn’t even see where the goalie was but everybody tends to rush the ball, so I just thought rather than try and smash it through a crowd I’d try to go over it and Nick [Rimando] made a … I didn’t even really see it ‘til late – but made a good save, and then thankfully Lio [Lionard Pajoy] was there to head it in.”

D.C. United forward Lionard Pajoy

On the goal: “One of those plays where as a forward you’re always aware of what might come out of it and happen to be at the right place at the right time and was able to make it happen.”

On possibly being offsides (for the goal):
“When I scored I just went and celebrated. I didn’t really think about being offsides… it wasn’t even a thought in my mind that I could have been offside. But, as a forward, those are the situations that you want to take advantage of.”

Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jason Kreis

On losing another match at RFK Stadium: “Another typical road fight. Very unlucky on the goal situation, ‘cause literally inches. I mean, that player is on, a step ahead them. By a few inches or a few feet more out of the goal, then it would have been a clear offside. And then really, really pleased by our response.”

On the team’s response to being down a goal: “Like I said, I’m really, really pleased with how they responded to going a goal down. There was no feeling sorry for themselves, it was just, ‘Okay, now we gotta be a little more aggressive with our decisions,’ and I thought the guys had a terrific response.”

On never taking away three points in the nation’s capital: “We have a few places where we haven’t won, and I’m sorry, I just don’t give it much thought. I’m sorry, I don’t care. I know everybody really wants to care, but I really don’t care.” On grabbing three out of six points off of two road games to start the season: “I’m pleased. I’m pleased. Again, ‘cause I think both performances were very strong ones. I think the guys’ mentality was terrific in both matches and I think they were ready for the fight that was presented to them. I think in both matches we went through some difficult patches and we handled them well. We responded well to both of the adverse situations, so I’m very pleased. If you would have offered me three points before the season started, I would have taken it every single day.”

On how suiting up for the U.S. U-20s might have positively affected Luis Gil’s play tonight:
“I don’t know. I think Luis puts the bounce in Luis’ step. I don’t know that he really needed to play in the U-20 qualification in order to improve – I’ve seen the kid improve week-by-week and month-by-month. I’m not surprised that he’s taking another step forward.”

On if he thinks Abdoulie Mansally will face a suspension by the MLS Disciplinary Committee on his headbutt on Perry Kitchen:
“Absolutely not. Absolutely not. I’m just shocked there was a foul called…Oh, there was a headbutt? I didn’t see that, though.”

On the positive and negatives to take away from the team’s performance:
“Umm, I thought the number of times we pressed in their half of the field, especially at the beginning of the match was good. I thought we had an aggressive start and a lot of aggressive decisions being made about trying to win the ball in the right spots on the field. I thought we responded, as I said earlier, I thought we responded really, really well with a goal down and created enough chances. On a different night, we walk out of here with a draw. What we didn’t do so well – I think there was more soccer to be played. There were more gaps in the midfield that we could have found and maintained possession a little bit better than we did.”

Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando

On extending Salt Lake’s winless streak at RFK to eight games:
“It’s always tough to take a loss, but actually not too mad. I thought the performance from the guys was great. Our response from when they scored the goal was great. [We were] unlucky on the goal – barely kept them onside. We had some opportunities, but again, when you go on the road to a good team, you’re not always gonna get the results you want.”

On being back at the familiar stomping ground of RFK Stadium:
“Yeah, your mindset going in is to always to get some points here – one point or three points. We’ve beaten them before in our house, so you gotta win your home games. They did tonight. It feels good to come back here – I have great memories, but I’m with Real now and I wish we would have won.”

On the goal RSL conceded:
“Yeah, the ball got deflected out, cleared out. It went to Thorrington, he took a touch, I slid over to try to see the ball. Once I saw he hit it – it hit off one of our players – and then went far post, scrambled to get there, got a hand on it, next thing I know Pajoy is there to head the ball in.”

On getting to play at home next week, for the first time in 2013:
“Yeah, if we play like we did tonight, especially in front of our fans and get the energy from them, it’s going to be an exciting night for us next weekend. It’s good to be home and we’re excited to be there and finally get this road trip out of the way.

On how he feels about one win and one loss to open the season on the road:
Yeah, whenever you get at least one win out of those two, you’re doing okay. You know, [we’re] battling injuries – some guys stepped up. It feels good coming back home with three points.”

On why Salt Lake has yet to take home a win at RFK:
“Yeah, I don’t know. I have no idea, I have no idea. Maybe you guys could figure out with statistics or something like that, but we go out there to get points and sometimes it doesn’t happen. It doesn’t happen here for some reason, so we’re not going to stop trying.”

Real Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman

On assessing the team’s overall performance:
“Really we didn’t give up much except for a dead ball situation. We asked some questions at the end, we thought maybe there could have been a PK for us, maybe we could have got a point.”

On never taking away three points at RFK Stadium:
“They’re a good team, especially here at RFK. You know, you only get one crack at it a season, so now we have to wait almost two years before we come back, but you know we don’t really look at those stats.”

On the difficulty of winning on the road:
“I think it’s a really even league is what it is. Any team can beat anybody, and it’s a really hard league, I mean the salary cap keeps everybody fair and even so it’s really hard to just run away with things.”

On returning back to Salt Lake for the team’s home opener:
“We’re excited, of course. We get to open our stadium. I think our fans are really looking forward to playing a game in the stadium against our rivals. It’s always a big one.”

On Real Salt Lake’s last two games:
“Actually, I think we played better tonight than we did last week. We got the result last week and we didn’t tonight, but overall I think we improved in a lot of areas tonight, so there [are] a lot of positives. Just like when we win a game there’s positives but there’s negatives as well, but I thought we played well tonight and it was just a bit unlucky.”

Real Salt Lake forward Robbie Findley

On how Salt Lake regrouped after the D.C. United goal:
“For the most part we acted well, after [United scored]. We took it to ‘em and that’s all we can do really, is our reaction.”

On how he thinks the team has done at the start of the season:
“It’s just like you said – [we’re] only a couple of games in and for everybody to be on the same page, will take a little bit of time. But we’re trying to do it as fast as we can, and really get things flowing. We’ll get opportunities. We’re not really worried. We’ll go from there.”

On if he thought the club played better in its loss here than in its win at San Jose last week:
“Umm, yeah I mean it was a great performance, you know what I mean? Like I said, [inaudible] got shut down on their set play and that’s how they got their goal. We got to make sure we’re focused 90 minutes in and for whatever stoppage time next time and really be focused on our marks and stay ready and alert. But I think as far as performance, we did well.”

On finally getting a home game next week:
“It’s going to be good. Being away two games in a row from home at the start of the season is not easy. We were hoping to get a result, but it is what it is, you know? So, now we gotta focus on next week’s training and get ourselves ready for the Saturday match and we gotta get a definite three points at home.”