Ben Olsen at New England
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Post-Match Quotes: September 14

D.C. United Head Coach Ben Olsen

On the game:
“I think the difference between tonight and a lot of our games this year is that everybody showed up and played well. Everybody did their job, including the subs, and we had a couple guys who I thought played great. That’s the recipe to try to get results, especially against really good teams like that. I love the courage to come back from both goals and tie it up and have a look or two at the end to get a win.”

On what it means for this team to come back twice at this point in the season:
“I said it all year – we’re in this together and no one has folded up shop: staff, the organization or the fans. We’ve hung in there together. It’s a credit to everybody. It’s not a credit to me. It’s a credit to these guys. The results still aren’t there – we’re not winning games, [and] it’s been a difficult year. There are times of real spirit with this crew, and I still believe in the nucleus of this team, and tonight was a great dress rehearsal for Salt Lake because Real Salt Lake has this type of quality. Overall, I’m pleased.”

On Chris Pontius’s first start in a while and his form tonight:
“He’s looking good. Physically, we probably could have pushed him a little more, but we wanted to be safe. We really talked about him moving off the ball in an urgent way and players all around the midfield to make their moves dynamic. The urgency is there. We tried to look forward more to reward those guys for their runs and I think we did that at times, and I think it caused them a little bit of trouble. Getting the goal is going to help with confidence and it’s good to have another threat out there.”

On players making runs out of the backfield:
“The runs were there. We talked about making dynamic runs and that’s 50% of it, and the ball has to come. In the second half, we started to look for that and we were more dangerous at times. It’s still a balance. We still have to move the ball and make them work. We’re still figuring stuff out, but overall, [it was] a good day I thought.”

On this performance’s impact moving toward the U.S. Open Cup:
“We talked about it all week. This was a good test for our group for Salt Lake, and we put on a good performance as a team to get some belief.”

On the starting 11 for the U.S. Open Cup:
“There’s still competition going on. There are spots here and there that are up in the air, but overall I’m very pleased with that group’s effort tonight.”

D.C. United midfielder Kyle Porter

On his goal:
“Not much I could have done with it, but head it. It was a great ball by Perry [Kitchen], flicking me on. Good finish. We were down 2-1, so I had to threaten the line and I was off of Gonzalez’s shoulder. It just worked out in our favor today.”

On the result today:
“It’s tough to come back from two goals from a great team like the Galaxy. It just shows we can play with the best. We’re at the bottom of the table, but we can still play with the best. It’s very big, especially for our big [Open Cup] game upcoming. It just helps us put it forward. Everyone getting healthy, everyone gelling. We’re just pushing for that Cup.”

D.C. United midfielder Chris Pontius

On coming back from being down:
“It shows some resilience. We gave up some pretty easy goals. I’m to blame on the first one, as well. To fight back, against a team like that, with some world-class players, I think it’s a positive for us.”

On looking toward the Open Cup Final:
“You are starting to see people come back off injury. I think we started to find a rhythm in the second half a little bit. We created a decent number of chances tonight. We were dangerous. It’s what I think we have been lacking a lot in the first part of the season. It was nice to see today. At home, two goals should be enough to win.”

On getting his first goal in the run of play since last season:
“It something, as a player coming back off injury, it’s easier to get into a game once you score, so I felt a bit more confident after that. Just in this game, my fitness is lacking. I need to keep working on that. I could have gone more tonight...There were points where I got out of breath, but I would just sit in for a couple minutes and re-gain it. I’m on track. I should be ready to go by that Open Cup final.”

On how this performance compared to other recent results:
“Last year, I don’t think, no matter what we were down, I always felt like we were in the game and we could come back. It was nice. I saw that today. I didn’t see people put their heads down. I saw people keep fighting. A lot of times, there are mistakes we can clean up. For the most part, I was happy with tonight.”

LA Galaxy Head Coach Bruce Arena

On the result:
“We’re disappointed. At the end of the game, we’re positioned to have three points and we need to do better in those situations. It was a day where we give D.C. United credit – they played real for 90 minutes. We had to battle real hard. We positioned ourselves poorly at the end of the first half by…I call it giving away a goal. Give [Chris] Pontius credit as well for stripping Omar [Gonzalez] and finishing off the play. Then we got the second goal, which should be enough to give us three points, [but] we failed to keep them off the scoreboard at the end of the game, so that’s disappointing.”

On the physicality of the game:
“It was physical. We got fouled a little bit more than we anticipated, and it was a hard game. We made it a hard game because we were well-positioned early in this game. If we would be smart with the ball and good and tight defensively, we go into halftime with the lead.”

On Omar Gonzalez’s mistake leading to the first D.C. United goal:
“If it was a teaching moment, he failed – he got a bad grade, then. He’s experienced enough as a player now, he shouldn’t be in that position. Hopefully, he continues to grow from his experiences.”

On midfielder Michael Stephens’ goal:
“It was a good goal. Give him credit – it was good to see Mike [Stephens] come off the bench and contribute.”

On Robbie Keane’s play tonight:
“Robbie [Keane] was on the ball a lot the whole game. His legs were a little bit tired. I think he stood on the ball a little bit too much tonight, and I think that’s a tribute to his travel and his fatigue.”

On Jaime Moreno being inducted into the D.C. United Hall of Tradition:
“Great player – he belongs there. Well-deserved recognition.”

LA Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez

On the team’s performance and his own mistake:
“I think first and foremost we shot ourselves in the foot a little bit today. We didn’t come out with the right energy and obviously that first goal that I gave up. We were playing a lot of long ball—I wanted to start playing the ball on the ground and connecting some passes in the midfield, but on that certain play, I took a little bit too much time and [Chris] Pontius was good to be right on my heels. I didn’t see him there, and I just happened to lose the ball and give up the goal. But I moved on from that. D.C., I thought, brought a lot of energy to the game. Kudos to them for working hard and tying up the game.”

On the team’s mentality coming into the game against D.C. United:
“We knew that they are a dangerous team because they don’t have anything to lose—they don’t have anything to play for. Right now, it’s just all about pride and playing for their coach, playing for their fans. They’re going to come out and work hard and pressure us, so we definitely expected D.C. to come out the way they did. I just think that a couple lapses on our part killed it for us.”

On the possibility of the team’s international players being tired from midweek games:
“I think, for some reason, the whole team kind of had heavy legs today, particularly our midfield. I thought D.C.’s midfield was winning a lot of the second balls and typically you’ll see that from Marcelo [Sarvas] and Juninho—usually they’re the ones that are winning everything. But I think all of us didn’t play well together, but we still got the point and we didn’t lose. As bad as we played, we were still up and put ourselves in a position to win with eight minutes left. They scored a goal—I don’t know if it was offside or not—but good on the guy.“

LA Galaxy midfielder Michael Stephens

On his goal:
“It was an important one at the time. It would have been a lot better if it would have been the game-winning goal, but at the time it was an important goal and obviously we gave one up, which is unfortunate. But what are you going to do?“

On whether he toe-poked the ball for his goal:
“It was—it was the toe. There was a defender coming on my right so I just—I quickly got it off and hit it as quickly as I could and there it went, pretty slow.”

On his role as a substitute:
I think it was the circumstance of the day. I think if you would have told Bruce [Arena] before the game that we were tied or we were losing, I don’t think he would have gone to me, but I think the circumstances with injured players allowed me to get in, and I took advantage of the opportunity.”

LA Galaxy forward Robbie Keane

On the team’s performance:
“I think when you go 2-1 up with seven minutes to go, it’s obviously disappointing. We could have gotten three points, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be.”

On his less-threatening role in the second half after dropping deeper and holding onto the ball:
“You hold onto the ball because you wait for people to run, and if they’re not there what can you do? My legs are strong. I’m not heavy-legged—of course, I’ve been traveling all over the world. I mean, I scored a goal and had an assist, so it can’t be a bad day at the office.”

LA Galaxy forward/midfielder Landon Donovan

On the team’s missed chance to move closer to first in the West:
“Yeah, it’s a game we wanted to win. At the end of the day, it’s better to get a point than none. That’s a game, though, that we should never lose and we’ve only got ourselves to blame.”

On his ankle injury:
“It got rolled on. We got tangled up and he ended up landing on it. Hopefully it’s not too bad.”

On the team’s upcoming games:
“It’s a big week for us, a really big week, and a lot of guys are going to have their number called. Fortunately, we’ve had a lot of reserve games in the last few weeks. We’ve had a Champions League game so multiple games to stay pretty fit and it’s going to be a week where we have to use quite a bit of players. The Metapan game we have to win—we win that game and we’re in good shape in the group. And if we want to have a chance of catching Seattle we’ll have to win on Saturday.”

On the team’s apparent fatigue as the game wore on:
“I think we all seemed a little tired tonight. I’m not exactly sure—maybe the time of day, maybe something to do with the traveling. I’m not exactly sure, but everyone was a little tired today. With that being said, we were up a goal with eight minutes to go so we still got ourselves in a good position and we got to finish them.”