Post Match Quotes | #DCvFCD

Head Coach Ben Olsen

On the win...

“We’re thinking about Paul and his family. The guys wore black armbands tonight for Paul and this win was for him.”

Overall thoughts on the match…

“It was a high level game and in the second half, both sides played really well. Obviously, we needed the points but they [FC Dallas] could have used them as well. They’re an attacking team with a lot of threats and we defended the box well. Overall, it was a great win. It wasn’t perfect in the first half and we made a few adjustments… more on the mental side than anything. We wanted to be more aggressive and not as direct as we were in the first half. We started to trust each other with the ball and opened them up when we kept the ball on the ground. Durkin came alive in the second half and you can see what adding Nick [DeLeon] does for the team. Then, it was gutsy stuff from a good ol’ central Pennsylvania kid [Russell Canouse] who made a heck of a play on the goal. I’m glad he was rewarded for all the work he’s done for us this year.”

On balancing playoff excitement during the final stretch…

“The mentality of this group is good. We’ve been on guard for complacency, but they’re a determined group. I expect them to be excited for where we’re at, with the understanding that we’ve still got a few games to make sure we’re in control of our fate. Montreal are in good form and some other teams are still in the mix. We just have to focus on the next game. I know it’s cliche, but that’s what we’ve been doing. I tell them not to look at the standings because we have a game this Wednesday [Toronto FC] against another good team at home and we have to take care of business.”

On what it means being above the playoff line…

“From a coaching standpoint, it doesn’t do it for me. It will mean something if we’re still above that line when this is all said and done. I’ve been through too many seasons and understand how dire each point is going into the last couple of weeks. We’re looking forward to getting back out here on Wednesday [Toronto FC] and having another game Sunday [New York City FC] in front of our home fans, who have been great and are a huge part of this. The energy in this building helps the guys when we’re tired down the stretch and it was a gutsy performance in the final 10-15 minutes.”

 

United Forward Wayne Rooney

 

On the last few minutes and the goal...
“We said before the game, win at any cost. Find a way to win. And we’ve done that tonight. I think it’s a sign of a good team. The game was heading for a draw, I felt we were better in the second half, and thankfully Russell [Canouse] got us the goal. I also want to say that all our thoughts are with Paul Arriola tonight after losing his father. It’s a big win for us but also it’s a sad time for him and his family. I want to give my best wishes to them.”

On being above the playoff line...
“It was important. Obviously Dallas are a very good team and tonight we knew was going to be a difficult game and we weren’t going to have it all our own way. But we knew that we could stay solid, try to limit the chances, force them wide, and keep them away from goal, which I thought we had done ok at times. But we kept the clean sheet and it always leaves you with a chance to win the game. I think if we were to play the 90 minutes and not score, it just wasn’t to be, but thankfully Russell popped up and scored the winner.”

On having to play in must-win games...
“I think that’s where you want to be in soccer - to have these pressure moments. No one wants to be in the middle or the bottom of the league and just playing for the fun of it. You want pressure moments and to feel that pressure, it’s important what we’re doing. We’ve got that pressure and we’re thriving on it and we’re picking up results and wins. The players have been brilliant and they’ve really shown that they can handle the pressure, which if we make the playoffs we’ll need.”

On Russell’s goal matching his playing style...
“Yeah, actually we spoke about it, him maybe getting a few goals and chipping in. Obviously we know he’s not going to score plenty but if you can get players chipping in with the odd goals here and there it’s important, like tonight. Also, as I’ve said before about Paul [Arriola], he’s close friends with him. If there’s a player to score tonight and for us to win 1-0, for that tribute for Paul, it's him [Russell Canouse] and thankfully that was the result.”

On the last stretch of games...
“We have a big game Wednesday and it’s important we recover well, get ready and prepare for the game on Wednesday. If we can pick three points up, the pressure obviously turns to Montreal, they’ll need six points. We’ll have the game against New York City on Sunday. As I’ve said before, every game is a pressure game and if we can win Wednesday we know we’re three points away - regardless of what Montreal do - from making that last spot. And you never know, we could even catch Columbus, so we keep pushing and see where we finish.”

On his first three months in DC...
“It’s been good, I’ve enjoyed it. Enjoyed playing here, enjoyed the games and the pressure of the games, and enjoyed being here with my family. Everything has gone to plan, really. Life in D.C. has coincided with what’s happening on the pitch. It’s obviously important to be around my family, but I’ve come here to play and try to help the team and thankfully that’s where I am. 

On his relationship with the fans...
“They’ve been brilliant. Especially at home, it’s been important to us as players and I think every week it’s getting better. We’ll need them; we need them in this push to make the playoffs and obviously if we make the playoffs I think they’ll be really important to us.”

On what it’d mean to win a trophy in the US...
“It’d be right up there with the other achievements. It’s great to win trophies. That’s why I’ve come here, to try to help D.C. win and if we can manage to do so in my time here then it’d be up there with the other trophies I’ve won.”

 

United Defender Steven Birnbaum

On the scoring sequence...

“We needed it. There was a flick-on at the top of the box, I don’t know who headed it back across to Russell, he hit the crossbar and it kind of fell to me and I just got a touch on it and it fell to Russell. Theball bounced around and he did a good job to get the ball behind the goalie.”

On Russell’s header...

“I love it. I think that’s his first goal here so I am happy for him and he had a good game so it was fun to see that.”

On what it means to be in a playoff spot...

“It was a big win. We knew coming into this game if we won, we would jump Montreal with a game in hand and we have been saying it, ‘we control our own destiny.’ Big game against Toronto on Wednesday and if we win that it really puts the pressure on Montreal for their game on the weekend. We know that if we win on Wednesday we will be in a very good spot. We have tobuild on the positives from tonight.”

On United’s perseverance tonight...

“I thought it was great from the guys. We dug deep. In that game, we kind of knew we needed a shutout if we are struggling to score goals and that was big from the defense tonight. I thought our backline played great and Bill (Hamid) played great. Credit to our fans too, they brought the stadium to life and gave us the push that we needed going into the end of the game.”

On United being able to grind out games...

“I guess right now, luck is kind of going our way. I think we are creating a lot, we are on the front foot of things. We are being a little more pro-active than reactive and maybe that was lacking in the beginning of the season and things weren’t going out way but things are kind of bouncing our way now.” 

United midfielder Russell Canouse 

On scoring his first career MLS goal...

“It was a special moment for me. Obviously, Paul wasn’t out on the field with me with the team today. He is back at home with his family. I said in my interview after the game ‘that goal was for him.’ It is sad but we all put out a performance today that pushed up into a playoff spot and we have to keep going with Paul or without Paul. We know he will come back and will be strong but we have to stay strong for him and keep working hard.”

On the goal-scoring sequence...

“Wayne (Rooney) pushed us all in the box. Obviously, we needed a goal. I peeled off the player, got the ball and hit the crossbar. I was think Montreal all over again. Somehow, someone, the ball was pushed back to me and I followed it up and hit it in. It was special obviously the situation we are in as a team to get my first goal. I think that wasn’t our best performance as a team but we still put in a fighting effort and I think if we keep doing that we can still grind out results.”

On if he thought he put enough power behind the header...

“When I headed it, I felt like it did have enough. I thought the goalkeeper (Jesse) Gonzalez was going to take my head off. At that point, I didn’t really care I just wanted to place it in the corner. Luck enough, it had enough on it to get over the line.”

On what Russell hopes to provide during Paul’s absence...

“I know from personal experience, losing a parent is not easy and I know I can support him through this time. It is a tough one but he has every single player in the locker room and the staff and we are all here for him. He will come back, he will be strong. He will be able to help us through these last couple games and we will all be here if he needs us.”

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