Quotes: Revolution 2, Rapids 0

Brad Knighton vs. Colorado Rapids

New England Revolution Head Coach Jay Heaps
On the importance of starting the game well:

Coach Heaps: “We came out talking about the beginnings of halves and beginnings of games. I thought we did a good job. Followed the game plan well to be aggressive. But the first half, I thought we did a nice job until we scored and then we let the game go a little bit. We got a little bit long and direct. I want to make sure we’re playing through it. And then the last fifteen minutes of the first half, I thought was much better. Diego [Fagundez] and Scotty [Caldwell] and Gershon [Koffie] and Lee [Nguyen], they were all very active finding the ball – and Kelyn [Rowe]. And then that continued on in the second half. I thought the second half was really a much better half for us, start to finish.”

On what inspired him to play Juan Agudelo and Lee Nguyen up front together:

Coach Heaps: “I think it was a lot to do with trying to find Lee [Nguyen] areas of the field where we can get him the ball. He’s obviously being hounded every time he touches the ball. Guys are all over him. And then, I wanted a really hard working midfield to really crash down and collapse on them. I thought that’s what happened tonight and I thought it freed up Lee to much better roles. He’s still finding the areas on the field where a number ten does, but now we have Kelyn [Rowe] to penetrate. We have Diego [Fagundez] to penetrate and that was the idea.”

On the importance of scoring a goal after such a long drought:

Coach Heaps: “It has [been a long time]. Then we hit the post twice. It was really important, especially knowing Colorado is the best defense in the league and they’ve given up a very few amount of chances and goals. So, it was a little bit different game plan. We felt like we had to play through them and use our little quickness, our speed. And we went smaller, probably because we had to with some call ups and some things like that. At the same time, going smaller, quicker, we felt like we’d be able to try and shake up their center backs. And that’s how we scored the second goal, real quick, in-and-out stuff to get their center backs to collapse on our smaller guys and then find the next pass. Obviously, that was part of the game plan and it came through, but at the same time, Colorado, they don’t give away anything and they fought all the way to the end.”  

On Chris Tierney’s heavily involvement in the attack:

Coach Heaps: “I think it’s because we had the extra midfielder to collapse and sometimes that’s the power of the diamond. Our second goal was the power of the diamond in terms of how tight it was, where Diego [Fagundez] gets it, where Scotty [Caldwell] gets it, and Kelyn [Rowe]. It is really compact and there’s just an overload. Lee [Nguyen] won it off the turnover and then it’s compact and there’s two or three passes, quick passes, and you have to collapse on that. Now, you have the width coming in with your outside back. That’s where Tierney was and it’s something that we want Tierney doing. It’s something that, when we’re at our best, he’s in that attack. And it’s not just crosses. It’s finishing chances.”

On how to build from this win and the importance of next weekend’s match vs. NYCFC:

Coach Heaps: “Huge game next weekend. I think that you look at the positives in this one. We got to spend some time making sure everyone comes through from an injury standpoint, but we don’t have time to relish anything. Right now, we’re on to the next game. I’ve already written on the board in the locker room, ‘NYCFC.’ We’re on to the next game.”

On Brad Knighton’s performance:

Coach Heaps: “I’m glad you brought that up. I thought the other saves in the game were good, but I thought that the save in the first half on Dillon Powers was excellent. And it was a timely save. And it’s a save you need in a game where we need things to go our way. That goal, if they had come back, now it’s 1-1. Who knows what the next moment is.  I thought that was huge. That kept our confidence up and then we kept playing through that and the chances came after that. A timely save from a keeper is vital and Brad [Knighton] made that save tonight.”

New England Revolution Forward Juan Agudelo
On snapping the winless streak tonight:

Agudelo: “A couple of us were concerned, but we knew. We knew the players that we had. We knew the ability that we had and we were able to show it tonight.”

On the sequence leading into his goal showing the team’s quality:

Agudelo: “Yeah, I felt like, with the way that we played today, there was a little bit of free roaming, so it gave the ability for our players to express themselves a little bit more, and we combined very well at times.”

On playing in a two-striker formation with Lee Nguyen:

Agudelo: “It’s good. I like it because it’s not me fighting against two guys. I mean, today it was like the twin towers there, but it was good that Lee [Nguyen] kind of pulled a couple of them away, and I was able to come in behind [and] vice versa.”

On his and Lee Nguyen’s usage of space:

Agudelo: “Yeah, it was key for us to keep moving and to not be [within] touching distance. At times, I was a little bit too close to them, and they’re strong guys, so there were times where I was able to catch some space.”

On how important Brad Knighton’s saves were:

Agudelo: “I think that was the key to the game, aside from my goal and Chris’ [Tierney] goal. I think he kept us in the game and to have a save like that and have everyone run to the keeper, the momentum, it’s something special for us.”

On how important it was to prevent the Colorado Rapids from scoring:

Agudelo: “Exactly. Like I said, it was huge, and it made us believe that we were able to get the three points.”

On how much he enjoys playing in the 4-4-2 formation:

Agudelo: “The biggest fan, probably, I would say, yeah.”

On how much work they have to do moving forward to qualify for the playoffs:

Agudelo: “Just look at this as a positive. We’ll come in, see some things that we could fix, and keep trying to get three points, because if we get a couple things here and there, and improve on those things, I think we can be a good team.”

New England Revolution Midfielder Lee Nguyen
On playing up top:

Nguyen: “I felt like me and Juan combined really well today, so that was good to see, but the important thing was we got the clean sheet, we were sound defensively and today was really fun. We were able to keep possession and play free flowing football and get back to the style that we’re used to, we also got a result and a must needed three points.

On if he thinks the goal scored by Juan Agudelo was due to Nguyen’s chemistry with Agudelo:

Nguyen: “Yeah. We kind of read off each other, we’ve talked a lot in training and we feel like we had that combination play as well that led to me hitting the post. I felt like we connected really well, but it also starts from the other [midfielders]. They were able to find the ball and keep the play moving and give us time to find pockets, so that was really great to see today. But the most important thing was we were able to get that three points that we needed.

On if he was surprised when his penalty kick attempt hit the post:

Nguyen: “Yeah. It was frustrating because it’s one of those moments where I wanted to take the pressure off my teammates. Had we gone 2-0 up, we would have been in a great situation, that’s one that I’m used to putting away so it’s frustrating that the post got to me, but we fought hard to stay tight. We knew that in the second half if we kept the same momentum and the same mentality we were going to get another one and then fortunately we were able to get a quick one and from there it was free flowing.

On his second shot off the post:

Nguyen: “That one was a little dagger too, because that was a great play from Juan to combine there, you love to see those plays end in a goal.”

On the fluidity of the formation:

Nguyen: “That was the whole point of changing the formation. The coaches wanted to put more of our possession players forward, so we could have those mismatched numbers in midfield. Today we were able to use it to our advantage. Diego [Fagundez], Scotty [Caldwell], and [Gershon Koffie], they were great to keep that little foundation and the ball flowing left to right and it was just a matter of me and Kelyn and Juan just finding those spots in between.

New England Revolution Goalkeeper Brad Knighton
On what this win meant to the team after a tough stretch of results:

Knighton: “Yeah, it’s massive for us. We’ve gone through a rough patch here recently and have just not been able to convert on our chances, and tonight I think we saw a pretty good performance from every single player on the field tonight. We put it all together and really showed what we’re capable of doing, and that’s a confidence thing, and that builds with wins, and builds with shut-outs, and, you know, hopefully we can continue that all in the next couple of weeks.”

On how he would assess his performance tonight:

Knighton: “For me, it’s just trying to keep the ball out of the net. Do the small things well. Not trying to do anything too sporadic, but do the small things well and try and lead this team from the back.”

On whether or not it was inevitable that the team would start scoring again:

Knighton: “Yeah, we work hard every single day in training, and these guys are finishing balls in training. It’s just not converting in the game situations. Finally, tonight, we took our chances – and we had multiple chances in the first half – and we hit two posts. So the chances are there and the goals are starting to come now, so hopefully we can right this ship and continue on this winning wave.”

On whether or not he sees the team pick itself up after he makes a big save:

Knighton: “For me, like I said, it’s the next man up. We’re expecting someone to make a play, whether it’s on the attacking end or the defensive end. If we can pull it off with that, that’s great, but for us, defensively as a unit, I thought we were fantastic tonight. And we’ve put together some great performances. A lapse here or there has cost us some games, but the last four or five games, we’ve been very good defensively, and we’re going to continue that, and hopefully the goals will still be coming.”

Colorado Rapids Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni
On his thoughts on his team’s performance:

Coach Mastroeni: “I think we had a good start to the game. I thought we were bright. I thought we had really good built-up play, really good efforts on goal. I think Brad Knighton trumped us on one or two of them. I think that kind of set the tone for the remainder of the first half, where there was a couple of defensive breakdowns that cost us. But then again, I think looking at the whole performance, I thought it was very hard fought, very steamy performance by the guys. I think we created enough chances to get on the board. I think at the end of the day, we weren’t clinical enough in the final third of the game and that ended up being the demise. There’s a lot to gain from this game as far as looking at the little things to get better, but overall a good performance away from home and a good one to build on against Dallas next week.”

On the attacking group creating chances:

Coach Mastroeni: “Goals change games, goals change momentum, goals instill beliefs, and take belief away, and I think that moment was pivotal. Even at 2-0, we had a couple of chances that we could have been cleaner on. A game of 2-1 with twenty minutes left, I think makes for an interesting game. I think we didn’t do well in couple of plays defensively, but I think overall, that’s a type of performance that we did enough to get at least on the board. I thought the attitude was very good from the guys, the mentality was good, and fight until the end was good.” 

On preparing for next week’s game against Dallas:

Coach Mastroeni: “I think you go back and watch the game unemotional and you think about the different areas of the field that you need to improve in. Look at the guys coming back, who’s healthy and who’s not, who has got jet lag. For me, the most important thing is it’s all about attitude – the way that you approach the game. I think it’s easy to come to these places and not give a good effort. Looking at the stats, we had just as many shots on goal, we had good crosses, we had some good wide play, which is very good to see with Marlon [Hairston]. There are a lot of good things to take from this performance. We will reinforce the group next weekend and go to a place where we feel like we have to win.”

Colorado Rapids Midfielder Sam Cronin
On why he thinks goals haven’t been coming recently:

Cronin: “Tonight, I think it’s just the final piece. We created quite a few good chances, so we’ve just got to be better in front of goal and then defensively we’ve got to do better as well. There’s a lot of reasons why we’re in a tough little stretch here, but there’s no time to sulk and hang our heads. We all need just to improve our own game as a team. As a result, we can play better as a team.

On if the team needs to focus more during the first five and last five minutes of halves:

Cronin: “Yeah, probably so. I’ll have to look back at the goals, but obviously not the first half we wanted and then a tough way to start the second half. We fight an uphill battle from there on, but in general, we just didn’t play well enough. All the players, we’ll look at ourselves and improve our individual game like I said. I think if we do that, we’ll get back to the way we know how that we can and the way that we deserve to be playing.”

On preparing any differently when they play FC Dallas next week:

Cronin: “At this point, we need points every game, so there’s no doubt we’ll be fired up for that game. We’re chasing them in the table at this point, so we’re going to have a good week of preparation and just have a good mentality and good fight coming to us that game Saturday.

Colorado Rapids Defender Eric Miller
On the team’s mood after the loss:

Miller: “I think the guys are a bit frustrated. That’s a testament to how good we’ve been all season, so we haven’t been in a spot like this before. We ran into two teams who played really well against us on the night both times on the road. Last week, Salt Lake was great. Tonight, I think the Revs played some really good stuff. They’re always capable of it, but they haven’t done it a lot this year. They have super-talented players, but this one of the fewer times this year they sort of put it all together and put together a pretty comprehensive performance and we were unlucky and unfortunate that we couldn’t change it.”

On how to put it all together for next week’s game against FC Dallas:

Miller: “I think obviously that’s a massive game for playoffs, Supporters’ Shield, all that stuff. Hopefully we’re up for it. I don’t think we played terrible the last two weeks. We just got a little bit unlucky tonight. We just couldn’t find a goal. We had some good chances and stuff, but I think a couple of adjustments this week, just get a little bit sharper, and I think we’ll be ready to face a challenge on the weekend.”