Ben Olsen at SKC
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Post-Match Quotes: October 27

D.C. United Head Coach Ben Olsen
On his conversation with the referee:
“It probably wasn’t the referee’s fault. We were a little outmatched physically and we put some guys in spot they are not use to. And I think you saw that in some individual plays at times.  But overall, it’s still the same old us. Good stuff, good quality, good build-up, but not enough killers in front of goal and not enough guys with the final savvy play to pull off a few goals.”
On why Collin Martin was scratched from the lineup:
“He pulled his groin in warms-up. Lewis Neal and Nick DeLeon were in it until yesterday and they had to pull out of starting roles. We had to scramble a little bit, but again we did enough to get the win and we just didn’t pull off some of the plays that mattered. Barnes is a big boy. He got himself across on a set piece. We knew we were going to be playing Russian Roulette on set pieces all night long. They bit us on one, but the guy makes a pretty good play.”

On his priorities for next year:
“Goals would help. Guys that can provide the last pass would help and getting more athletic and getting better on set pieces. Sure up our back line even more; You name it, we can get better.”
On being able to play in the CONCACAF Champions League:
“We’re excited about it. We are under no illusions that we need to get better and get deeper because that competition comes at an interesting time down the stretch when hopefully were in a playoff run. But, we’ll get there.”
On whether he thinks he will be back next year:
“It’s not up to me. I’m preparing and doing everything I can to make sure we’re ready for next year whether that’s the case or not. We’ve been preparing for next year for three months. We’ve known we have been in this situation for a long time. We understand what we need, we understand how we want to go forward and the type of players I need. It’s real. We’re not good enough. But, you see it again. When we match up against these teams who are playing for their playoff lives, the difference between us and them, its’ not that far off. It’s not. You guys see it. Its some players, some key players. It’s a little savvy and class in the final thirds. We have faith in a majority of these guys and with the things the league gives us, the draft pick, were going to have a very competitive team and I am looking forward to it.”
On what he sees on Conor Shanosky:
“We’re going evaluate everyone. The reason he didn’t play today is because I thought we needed our most experienced crew out there. James [Riley] hasn’t played center back in probably 10 years. He played pretty well or the most part and got caught on the one play and was just out muscled by a guy that’s just bigger, faster and stronger. Conor [Shanosky] has been a joy to have around. He’s a kid that grew up with this club and that’s always nice to see. We have a lot of evaluating to go though, but he has been a joy to be around.”

D.C. United captain Dwayne De Rosario
On the result:
“I’m really disappointed. It’s been my toughest season for sure. Hopefully, we take all of what’s gone on during the season and learn for next year because next year’s gonna be tougher, especially with [CONCACAF] Champions League and Open Cup and other things involved in the League. So, it’s going to be another tough year.”
On the prospects of returning to D.C. United next year:
“I like it here. I think the future definitely looks bright for things to come. Obviously, Champions League is huge. It’s always a good competition to be a part of. It’s going to come fast – I think the first game is somewhere between February or March – so we just have to be prepared…”
On what needs to change next year:
“A lot of things need to change, so hopefully we can work on those things.”
On what specific areas need improvement:
“I think it’s a combination of a lot of things. I think a lot of us could do a lot of improvement in the offseason, mentally and physically, preparation-wise. So, all of us have to come to the table next year, first and foremost, look in the mirror, say, ‘What could I have done better?’ And as a group, how can we move forward and learn from our mistakes.”
D.C. United midfielder Chris Pontius

On the season:

“You don’t want to end a season short ever, but it was going to end today. I would like to have gone out on a win. It’s been a tough season, especially mentally for guys that came off such a good season last year. To deal with this, this year, it has been tough. You never go into a season thinking you are going to win three games. It’s been not an enjoyable one. The thing you have to take from it, you have to learn from the mistakes that were made. The whole club does. Every player does. You can’t just let this be a waste of a season. You got to learn from the mistakes that can make yourself better.”

On moving forward:

“I wouldn’t say [I feel] relief. Like I said, I don’t enjoy sitting and watching these other teams playing playoff games. That’s tough on me. It’s time to step away for a little bit and get your mind right and get your mind going on next season.”

On what needs to be fixed:

“If I’m just going to talk about the game tonight, we had breakouts. We had good looks. Our final ball wasn’t good enough. When we were breaking out with numbers, we just weren’t clinical. Whereas last year, we were putting balls away and burying games early. I had a good look in the second half, on that header. I would have put that away last year. It’s the little things like that, that would have really changed our season around. For some reason, the ball just didn’t bounce our way this year. I don’t blame the coach immediately. Maybe everyone is to blame, myself included. I’ll point the finger at myself first. It’s just how I am. I expect a lot out of myself. I know I can play better and I need to be better for this club.”

D.C. United midfielder Kyle Porter

On the season:

“We got the Open Cup out of this season. It’s just been a tough year, overall. The leading goal scorer is only with 3 goals. I think three of us are tied for that. It’s just tough. Games like this, we just slip away. That’s been the story the whole season. It’s tough.”

On looking toward next season:

“We have some time now to reflect on the season and bounce back for next season. Hopefully, this is the opposite. We are at the top of the league next year. Hopefully, things can change. We showed we can play with the best teams in this league. We have great players on this team. This is a learning experience this year. We can only grow from here. I have all faith in our organization and our team to get the job done next year.”

D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid

On what changes need to be made:

“We just have to go back to the drawing boards. There’s a lot of positives. There’s a lot things that we’ve gained. All of us young guys gained a little bit of experience. Now we move into the next year. It’s credit to the whole team. We stuck in there. We fought through all of this adversity. People counted us out, but every single game we turned around. We forgot about the previous week. We focused in on the next week. We tried to stay as positive as possible...”

On comparing this season to 2010:

“Very comparable to 2010…It’s kind of the same lesson. You have to put the grind in for the whole season. No let-ups. No mistakes. The rest of the teams will punish you in this league. Hopefully, us as a unit, we’ve realized that and we have moved into the next year, positive with our heads held high. We’ve been through the worst and we can accomplish what we want to accomplish, because we won a championship at the same time.”

On moving into the off season:

“This season has now been forgotten in my brain. I’m sure every single one of us are in the same boat. It’s now in the past. Just thinking about this is depressing. Like I said, we have the Open Cup. It’s a great accomplishment. 2014. That’s where the thoughts are now.”

Houston Dynamo Head Coach Dominic Kinnear
On the team’s playoff qualification:
“It was probably more of a different road than years past. We started out well, hit a rough patch in the middle and I think we finished pretty strong. I think we’ve lost one of our last seven, so in six of our seven we’ve picked up points which has been crucial to get to the playoffs here.”

On whether the team gained momentum through an additional player or piece to the team:
“No, I think at the end here everyone’s gotten relatively healthy and we’ve had a bigger squad to pick from. I think during the year, our team—like others—have had your problems with injuries, so I think when we had that bad patch in the second third of the season, we were missing a lot of guys and we were just a little bit inconsistent with the lineup. I think now in the last little bit we’ve been a little more consistent with our lineup and I think the results kind of show that we have a good team.”

On whether the team’s experience helped them down the stretch:
“No. I mean, we’re just happy to get in. We’ve always said we want to try and get in and finish as high as you can. When you get to the playoffs, it’s anybody’s game. We seem to perform well in the playoffs. It’s going to be difficult as we know and I don’t think we’re going to surprise anybody. If we can make a run in the playoffs it’s going to be great. I don’t try to look too much into now that we’re in, we’re going to get to the Cup—it’s now we’re in and the difficult road starts again.”

On what the team can you take from their two recent trips to the playoffs:
“Nothing really. We’re not going to be over-awed because we’ve been in this position before. It comes from being there a couple times but you can’t say, ‘Well, we’ve been there before, so it’s easy.’ I think this year, it’s been tighter than any—we still could finish in fifth by the end of this evening. We could have been anywhere from third to sixth, so it just shows you how tight the Eastern Conference has been and even the West has been tight as well. You get in and it’s nice that we have our spot clinched—now we just got to see where we’re going but obviously the road gets tougher.”

On his satisfaction with the team’s good form down the stretch:
“Well, no more satisfied than today, because you couldn’t clinch a playoff spot a month ago with those wins. When you look at it, you kind of say, ‘Oh, 49 to 50, 51 points is going to get you’—I wasn’t satisfied until the whistle blew today, let’s put it that way. And then I was happy and was able to look that now we’re in. It’s an achievement over a 34-game season and now the second season starts.”

On whether the team’s familiarity with clinching a late spot will help them this season:
“Last year, we had clinched but we didn’t know what position we were in. It’s the last weekend, so like I said, being in this position before doesn’t guarantee anything. I think you prepare—it’s not something you haven’t seen before so I think you go in a little bit more calm. The competition doesn’t change, the games don’t change, the opponent’s maybe a little bit different, but I think everyone knows what’s at stake when the playoffs start.”
On the partnership of forwards Giles Barnes and Will Bruin:
“I thought they were good. Even today, they caused some problems for them, they could have maybe scored a couple goals more. I think so because we didn’t play them up front in pre-season at all. Then a couple injuries maybe made us force that move, and I think they kind of form a good partnership. They seem to get along pretty well off the field, and I think when they’re clicking and they’re close together and of the same mind, they’re a very good pair.”
Houston Dynamo defender Bobby Boswell
On qualifying for the playoffs:
“It’s just like last year. We were a couple points away from not making the playoffs, and we were a couple points away from hosting the final game. So, in my mind, the way this league is judged might be, over the years, is whether or not you make the playoffs because you gave yourself a chance.”

On why the team has been up and down this season but found its form late:
“I think that with the expectations that we have, and at times we play really dominating soccer and there’s some times, especially this year, when we’ve given up—in something like four or five games—a lot of goals, and that’s not really a characteristic of this team. We always say at the beginning of the year that we want to be in the playoffs, and that’s what we’ve done. As far as reaching that goal, we’re happy about that and we’ve given ourselves a chance at the post-season. From this point on, it’s all about results and we always seem to be a team that steps it up in the playoffs. I hope that trend continues, but we’ll find out after the results today when we’re playing and who we’re playing against. Right now, credit to the guys. People will talk about this game, but realistically, it was the 34 games that got us to this point. Obviously, we wanted to be higher but it doesn’t matter. We’ve been the number one seed going in and not done well and we’ve been the five seed going in and done well. It’s all about how you handle the next couple games.”

On the reasons behind the team’s consistent success:
“Obviously, personnel is different. The philosophy is very similar—it’s the same. You never want to say that you’re expendable as a player, but realistically, Dom’s asked guys to come in and do things—guys have either left or have moved on or gotten traded, and the guys that have come in have been asked to do things and they’ve done them admirably. Credit to him for finding these guys, but credit to the guys also. The guys that are here, that have been here continue to play well, and the guys that are new and want to contribute come in and they do well as well. I’m not a coach—it’s a different world from mine, but I give Dom a lot of credit for the reason this team continually year in and year out is competitive at the end of the year.”

On whether teams should fear matching up against the Dynamo:
“I don’t necessarily look at it that way. I look at it in terms of—I don’t think we’re a team you would necessarily want to play. Depending on who gets matched up with us, I don’t think we’re a team that people are saying, ‘Oh. We’re matched up with the Dynamo—good.’ It’s kind of one of those, ‘Oh boy. What are we in for.’ We’ll look at who we’re match up with. We got beat by New York a lot this year so a lot of ratios would maybe say we’re due to owe them one, but you never know with what happens. It’s all about how you prepare. Right now, we’re going to get on a plane and go back to Houston, get as ready as we can and see who we’re matched up with.”

Houston Dynamo midfielder Brad Davis
On if the team’s previous two years of playoff experience can help the team or not:
“I think it’s kind of both. You don’t know what’s going to come at you—we don’t even know who we’re playing or what day we’re playing on yet. Right now, it’s still a bit of an open book. I know there’s going to be moments where we can look back, and not even the past two years but the past—2006, 2007, where we’ve won—so we can look back at those moments and know what you need to do in the current position you’re in. I think the experience of being there can help us out a lot. Like I said, I don’t know where we’re going or who we’re playing just yet, but I do know that we do—this teams excited, we have the ability to get there, and I think at moments we will have to look back on our experience to get us out of some situations.”

On whether playing in the play-in game could give the team momentum like seasons past:
“It could be. Whatever we have to do, I know this group’s going to be ready for. I do feel like last year, the run that we made and that play-in game—it did help us. We were able to get—we were on a little bit of a roll at the end of the year. It took us a long time to get a road win and then we finally did towards the end there. It was good, and then we were able to get right back out on the field again and continue that momentum and that push. We were feeling good, the confidence was high and we wanted to get back out in the field as quick as possible. I think, in that situation, the game did help us, so if it happens again this year—we just won this last game, guys are feeling good, it’s the post-season, it’s a new life, so we’re looking forward to it.”

On how much confidence he can take away from the team’s form down the stretch:
“A lot. That’s what it’s all about when your back’s against the wall—you’re able to pull yourself out. I think this team has done an unbelievable job showing that we can do that. We’ve shown a ton of resilience. We’ve shown that we step up to adversity. We like those situations. I don’t like the fact that we put ourselves in them so many times, but we are able to get ourselves out. It is a fun group to be a part of, and I know if our back’s against the wall this is the group that I would want to be with.”

On forward Giles Barnes’ performance and goal:
“It always feels good, I know for him and as a forward on your team when your forward’s scoring goals. It was good for him to find the back of the net today. Like I said, you always want your forwards scoring goals. The biggest thing is about the team performance and he’s a big part of this team. I think it was good for everybody to see him score a goal, but for him as well, to get that touch back going into the playoffs—last game of the year, and ready for the bigger stage. Hopefully, he can take that into the post-season.”