New England Revolution head coach Jay Heaps
Well, it’s not exactly how you draw it up. For us, we needed to win a game where we didn’t start well and the game was kind of against us in terms of just the way the own goal and just their second balls. Their energy was really good so we had to battle that back. So for me, I thought it was a really good turnaround. We had a good conversation at half time and in the second half I thought we really took the game and created a lot of chances.
For me and for our team we are going one game at a time. So every game we step on the field we are preparing for a must-win. And I think we’re at the point now in the season where points are vital and we have to go out there and do whatever we can to get three, especially at home.
I think that once they scored, that it could tighten up. I thought that, to be honest with you, they controlled the game, they deserved a goal. I don’t know if they deserved a goal in terms of creating chances, but they definitely had control of the match. Once they scored, they were able to tighten up their control, meaning they were able to clear their lines better, have tighter spacing, and sit their two defensive midfielders deeper. That’s what they did real well. They have two defensive midfielders and they block it off well. But I still thought we figured a way in the second half to find little slicing balls – even though we had less room because it was tighter – to find Diego (Fagundez), who I thought did a nice job. I thought Lee (Nguyen) was doing a good job of getting in and behind there.
(Getting the goal after the penalty miss was) Very important. I felt like the game was going that way but that was our first real chance to have a goal after the penalty kick, and penalty kicks are tough so we put Lee (Nguyen) in there, he’s our PK taker. You got to credit Bill Hamid, I thought he made a great move, great save. And so for our guys to stay up and react well, I like that a lot.
That’s when I said that’s not why we draw it up and we wanted that tempo from the beginning. You realize once they scored that allows them to play a slower tempo, D.C. United, and you saw every time the ball went out there was a 30 second drop, any time they got a chance there was a 30 second drop in time and they were wasting it, and that’s smart play. For me,they did a nice job of not letting us get up-tempo. But I thought after half time we really came out and we started to push guys higher, we started to release a little bit more, they kept getting deeper and I think that in the end, we just had more pressure than they were able to defend. But we wanted that tempo from the beginning. I’m disappointed the way we reacted. We have to be able to control tempo at home all the time, but there are times when you have to make do with what you’re given and we did alright with that.
(Scott Caldwell) bounced back in the second half. I thought he was instrumental in the way we played; he was excellent. You’re talking to a guy that probably had four or five own goals in his career. Own goals happen. Own goals mean you’re defending, and he’s trying to let down the play, no one wants to put it in … I knew he was going to handle it well. Here’s a kid who we’ve asked so much from this year and every day, whether it’s training or in the game steps on the field and performs. And tonight I thought he was instrumental in the second half.
Again, I think that was another gutsy performance from (Lee Nguyen) because those are not easy. Again, you’re talking about a guy who has missed a couple of PK’s in his career. Those are tougher than own goals, because own goals aren’t really your fault. PK’s are tough to come back from and I thought Lee stepped up and really delivered.
New England Revolution midfielder Diego Fagundez
It was important (to score right after the missed PK). Lee (Nguyen) went down and we had to try to push him up. And after that goal I think he definitely got his energy back, and he got another PK and he finished it off well.
I think we came to the locker room (at halftime) and we all said that it’s a must-win game. We’re in the playoffs right now. This game was part of our playoff games, so it was very important. We all came out here and we knew that we had to give it everything we had, and we went out there and did everything we could, and we got results.
It was tough, but we knew that we could break them. We did everything we could, and we got it done.
(Matt Reis’ big save) was very important for us. It was a critical save right there, and we needed that. I think that was another save that definitely our energy went up, and of course we got results all over, and I think our whole team did well overall; defense, goalie, forwards, midfields, everyone.
To tell you the truth I was a little surprised because after I scored the first thing I did was look at the ref because it was so close. I’d have to see it again to see if it was or it wasn’t (offside).
That’s the way soccer goes. The game goes both ways. Sometimes you get bad calls, sometimes you get good calls, but you have to deal with them. And if one day you don’t get good calls maybe the next time you get good ones. It doesn’t really matter now, we get points and we just have to keep moving up the table and keep winning at home.
It’s so nice (to play in front of a big crowd), especially when you’re playing against a rival. You always want to win against D.C. When we went out there, I think we all knew we wanted it more than they did. It was nice to win.
It was hard because we didn’t start well. Especially after that own goal, it was tough, but we knew we had to fight. And I think our team definitely fought, and we definitely deserved that result.
I knew that if (Lee Nguyen) was going to get it, there was no way the goalie was going to stop it. He knew if he missed it would have been hard for us to get back in the game, but he finished it off well, and that’s how we do it.
I don’t think (Lee Nguyen) would have let anyone taken that PK. I think we all asked for it, but I’m glad he took again, and definitely got that goal.
To tell you the truth, every team is tough. It doesn’t matter where you are in the rankings. [D.C. United is] a good team, and we knew they were going to come here and fight. So we knew we had to get off there and try to get a couple goals so we could get results.But it was tough with the first half, but finally in the second half we got the tying goal and we finally got that second PK to score.
I think in the first part of the season we all wanted it and we knew that we did not want to miss the playoffs. And I think even before this game, everyone knew that we were out of the playoffs, and it was going to be tough. We were fighting everything we could, and we’re giving everything we have on the field. We’re going to get results as long as we keep going up the table and make the playoffs.
New England Revolution midfielder Lee Nguyen
Well, I knew it was a mind game because he read the first one. I was thinking about going down the middle after that. And it was just great to have the confidence from my teammates and the coaching staff. Chris (Tierney) was also confronting them and he was like, “Dude, think about going down the middle.” So he had a little confidence in me going down the middle and after that, that was all I needed.
I wanted to take it and I had to redeem myself. My teammates had confidence in me, the sideline had confidence. It’s just like training, only I have a lot more eyes on me this time. So thank you for that.
No, I was planning on going to that side. He read it early. Right in my mind, into my half swing, I knew, I was like crap. I wanted to but I couldn’t change it in time. Credit to him, he made a great first save. We fought hard and I want to thank Diego (Fagundez) for saving me on that one.
(Dejan Jakovic) go me pretty hard. It took a little bit of air out of me on the first one. The refs did a good job this game calling it both ways.
(Bill Hamid) was coming in with all sorts of answers against us. Credit to him, he made tremendous saves this game, probably the save of the week. We fought hard, we never gave up. Credit to the team: we were able to hold them the whole second half. We knew we were going to get chances.
Last year, we probably would have dug ourselves into a deeper hole. You can tell the belief of the team is there. We’ve came back more than once. So we knew that this week’s wasn’t any different than any of the past games.
It was huge (getting three points). It was huge. The guys did great. We prepared really well for this weekend. Like you said, we couldn’t dig ourselves into another hole and this game was big for us to keep ourselves in the playoff run.
I wanted (to take the second PK) bad. I needed to redeem myself after that first one. Like I said, my teammates had my back and the coaching staff had my back, and you’re always going to be confident when they have your back like that.
I mean Saer (Sene) probably wanted it and anybody else. I told them I wanted it and they were like, “Alright, this is you, man.”
It was tough but my head was in the deep after the first [PK] and thank God for Diego (Fagundez) there, for saving me. I didn’t want to dig our team into a deeper hole and I just had to get that in. Thank God for that. (yells to a teammate) Did I give you a heart attack?
D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen
What do you want me to say? We had stretches (in the first half.) We had chances. We were going up against too much today. Take that for what it’s worth.
It has not been a great season. I don’t know if that play (Matt Reis’ 81st-minute save) sums it up. I don’t want to sum up the hard work that our group’s done and our organization’s done on one play.
It’s a different animal playing against a different type of team (during the U.S. Open Cup.) I give them a lot of credit. You don’t necessarily know how to defend them. They just throw so many numbers at you, and the numbers that they’re throwing at you have a good understanding with interchange. They pass and move very well. The way to beat them is to make sure the times they do throw a bunch of numbers forward, you have got to punish them by either keeping the ball for stretches and making them defend or getting a second goal. And that would have been key, but they hung in there. They had a bunch of chances. They had us spinning there.
D.C. United midfielder Chris Pontius
I thought, in the first half, we had a little bit of momentum, created some opportunities, but in the second half they threw a lot of numbers at us. When we did win the ball, we weren’t clean enough with it, coming out of it. Then you get heavy legs and make it even harder on yourself. So we just weren’t able to do the simple things in the game to really pressure for ourselves.
(A physical match is) always going to be the case against them and on this field. It doesn’t play like true grass and so a lot of balls are popping up like they normally wouldn’t on grass. It just creates a lot of 50-50’s. I don’t think we necessarily did a terrible job with those. I just think we did a lot of little things wrong tonight and it added up.
I haven’t seen them on replay. I’ll take a look at them later. Sometimes the calls go your way, sometimes they don’t. It’s just the game of soccer.
D.C. United midfielder Dwayne De Rosario
Obviously, a little bit of luck. But I think we worked for that luck, in terms of we start off the game exactly where we wanted too. Putting pressure on them and then after the goal, things changed. Obviously, they started to push forward but, very two questionable free penalty kicks and what seemed to be offside goals. So, again, things that haunted us. We have opportunity to score and save off the line or what have you and then they come back down and get a PK and we get punished by it.
We’re playing away, so I think in certain parts of the second half, we had control and then some parts we didn’t. But, again I think some questionable decisions led to the 2-1 result. Not to take anything away from New England but you give a penalty shot and then what looks to be offside goal and then we have opportunity and the ball grabs the net or its on the line so that’s pretty much our season.
It’s very difficult to play on a field like that. You know it’s terrible, it’s unacceptable. I think this is a great stadium but the pitch is a disaster. But, we have to deal with it. Every team has to deal with it and it’s very tough to play football on that field. A lot of the game I think you saw was in the air bouncing, bobbling and it’s not a pretty game.
Referee Carlos Rivera
Pool Reporter Question: Why did you decide to award the first penalty?
Rivera Answer: “D.C. United #5 Jakovic committed a direct free kick foul in the penalty area.”
Pool Reporter Question” Did you consult with SAR about the decision after awarding it?
Rivera Answer: “No”