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Quote Sheet | Week 29

D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen

On Patrick Mullins’ performance…

“I think it’s been a long time coming for Patrick [Mullins] and it’s going to obviously be a big story. It’s hard to score four goals. Having somebody clinical in the final third has been a thorn in our side all year long.”

On tonight’s team play…

“The second half was some of the best soccer we've played all year long…offensively, defensively and our movement. I though the back four were fantastic. Steve Clark had a very solid game with good communication. Canouse has also made a big difference with his ability to clog lanes and start attacks. I thought Marcelo [Sarvas] was great. There really weren't any bad performances on the night and everybody worked their socks off and that’s what it takes to win games. If your final product is there, like it was today, we have the type of talent and team that can do this. But it just hasn't happened enough this year.”

On Paul Arriola and Zoltán Stieber making a difference…

“It’s big in so many ways. Arriola comes in with hype and he’s expected to deliver and this was the first real night where you saw what he can bring to us. And it’s not just with the ball and his service, his movement off the ball is relentless and that has to be there because you can’t guard against it. You can’t take movement out of the game. If you’re constantly moving and have quality, you’re going to be a dangerous player in this league. Stieber also had a good night. If he’s on the ball, we’re going to be pretty good. He’s a good passer, he’s got a good final product and he understands the game. He has not had this type of impact in every game and part of his success will be finding relationships with outside backs. ”

On reasons for playing Clark over Hamid…

“You’re going to see more of this throughout the rest of the year and you’re going to see changes. The one good thing about the situation that we’re in is that we have the luxury to…obviously we’re still going for wins, but also we can see what other players are about. In certain circumstances, you can also get a sense for their competitive nature because they’re not playing for the playoffs…which guys show us they want to be around here, change our fortunes and go into next year with a real fire in their belly so we won't be sitting here this time next year in the same situation with where we are on the table.”

On frustration this season and the atmosphere at RFK…

“You need to see what he [Mullins] did today more, because there wasn’t enough of that this year. There have been injuries and he didn’t necessarily come into preseason fit. Again, it was a great four goals and he did a heck of a job tonight. It’s always difficult because you win 4-0 and you’re excited but in some ways it pisses me off that we’re in the situation that we are, because we have a good group. There are real players out there that can make a difference and we just didn’t do it enough this year. The fans tonight were unbelievable. The upper bowl was open and the glow was out. This was a great night at RFK. The New York Red Bulls game is going to be a show and it’s going to be a whole other animal. I really enjoyed tonight from that aspect, because it wasn’t the final one but the fans came out after a very tough season…to show us that type of love, I have a lot of respect for that, and I’m glad we can reward them with some goals.”

D.C. United forward Patrick Mullins

On scoring four goals…

“Let me just start by saying I think the fans deserve that. I think that was the mission going into this game. We haven’t done enough at home to entertain, to meet the fans’ goals for us as a team. And a shutout, a full 90-minute performance and goals… the three of those haven’t been a combination for us much this year and it was good to do that tonight. We want to finish off the season doing that again. Personally, the first one goes in and as a forward in this league everyone knows you want to get that first one quickly. It took me a long time this year, for many reasons, but I wanted to stay calm. I knew there was a lot of time left in the game and I’ll give myself credit for that. I think that composure kept my drive going and it came into fruition with those next three goals.”

On “getting the monkey off his back”…

“I think this was coming for me, maybe not this type of performance. To get the first one, I’ve seen improvements in my performance each game since I’ve come back from injury. It was a long road for me, maybe longer than I was expecting to be back to full sharpness, and I think there’s still things I need to get a little sharper at. But we got four games left here and I want to keep that progression going, I want to keep on playing better because when I have a good performance usually that means getting my foot on the ball, getting my head on the ball and put it in the back of the net.”

On dealing with an up and down season…

“Every season as a pro is different, you have different challenges. And this one, I’ve never dealt with injury before. I had dealt with a season with some ups and downs team-wise, but to have both happen in one year, it has been challenging. But I think it was gratifying this performance, just walking around and having that good feelings with the guys, making sure that we keep it. I don’t think anyone in [the locker room] is fooling themselves, we’re for tonight and the fans but we want to finish off here at RFK on a high note. We’re not happy with how it’s has gone this year and we want to show how hungry we are to show we are going to change that in the last four games.”

On adjusting to different lineups and looking forward to the next game…

“I think it does take a little time when you have so many pieces and with injuries and things we’ve had, but now you just want to keep playing. And luckily we have a game coming up quickly and we’ll get right back at it.”

San Jose head coach Chris Leitch 

On the overall result...

"We started off decent, but if I'm honest, they had better chances even in the first half as well. So we started off okay and I think we gave away a ball or two and lost a little bit of confidence and that, combined with the fact I think we got a little bit too stretched defensively, became problematic for us." 

On coming into tonight's game...

"I knew where they sit in the East, but I also know what they've done throughout the year, with the guys they've brought in and how they've been playing, especially as of late. They've beat some really good teams this year to--Atlanta three times and they've won five out of their last six maybe and they've just played overall a lot better. It's a tough team to break down defensively to put a lot of numbers behind the ball and then offensively they've gotten to the point now in this part of the season where I think they have a pretty good understanding of kind of how they move the ball. For me, it wasn't a trap game--I told the boys yesterday and reminded them today that this team isn’t commensurate to a team that's bottom in the East, but with that being said, we've got to do better than 4-0 on the road." 

On Paul Arriola...

"Arriola is a really good player. Obviously, he's one of those guys that they've picked up this year that has really made a big difference for them. I think we made Mullins look really good tonight. We're playing against one forward and it seemed like he got his way with us way too easily and so did their ten." 

On the stretch ahead...

"This is the part of the season where every single point is extremely valuable--I think this team knows that though, so that's the most disappointing part. That's disappointing that we don't take anything out of this game. That being said, we've got a somewhat fair result earlier with Houston tying and Dallas is down 2-1 right now at halftime, so I just addressed the team and said we're in this thing, we're not satisfied at all by how we played tonight and it's unacceptable. At the same token, we still have a lot to play for, so all of our focus has to be on Wednesday and it's going to be an important game for us at home against a good team in Chicago." 

San Jose midfielder Tommy Thompson

On the overall result...

"I think you have to give D.C. credit--they have some great players and they came to play tonight. We were hoping to continue our momentum, but they were the better team." 

On Paul Arriola...

"He just keeps getting better and better. He's a talented attacker--I think he had two assists on the night--he did well." 

On going into tonight's game...

"The goal is to make a difference and that didn't happen. We've got a couple more home games left in the season, so we're looking to build on that and finish off strong." 

On Patrick Mullins...

"He was dangerous up top. We have had problems on the road this year, all season, so we have to address those. Fortunately for us, we have three home games left, so we're looking to maximize points in those games and that'll take us to the playoffs." 

On the intensity in tonight's game...

"It's a high level--MLS just keeps getting better and better and D.C.'s made a couple of moves to get some great players on their team and you could tell they played well tonight. We have to have a short memory and we've got to bounce back against Chicago on Wednesday." 

On coming up empty-handed in tonight's game...

"It hurts, but there's a lot of home games left for us and we've been great at home, so we're going to have a short memory about this and maximize points and hopefully this will be a distant memory when we make the playoffs at the end of the year." 

On Chris Leitch's post-game message...

"He said that this hurts because we had a huge opportunity tonight to separate from the pack, but we're still right in it and we need to have a short memory and bounce back against Chicago on Wednesday." 

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