New England Revolution head coach Jay Heaps
Thanks for coming. I’m a little bit horse because I think I played the game a little bit on the sideline. But it was a good start for us, obviously. Sometimes when you get a goal like that it changes your gameplan a little bit. It took us some time to settle in, but I think as the game went on, there were things against us, things that were hurting us, but we fought through it and that’s what the most special part of the night was. When it got tough, we got tougher.
I think [the goal] was 30 seconds in or whatever it was. But I tell ya, it’s one of those where we were fired up from the beginning. We knew that they were going to be flying, so we had to make sure we came out with some energy and that’s what we showed.
It took at least five or six minutes (to settle after the goal). I think in the fifth minute, (Darlington) Nagby made a near-post run on a set piece and was pretty much unmarked and Matt (Reis) had to make the save. So when you do get a goal like that, you just have to stick to the game plan and it just took us a while to adjust. Once the half went on, we started to do some things. But really, when you get a goal like that it relieves the stress but the game becomes harder because they’re coming at you.
I think that Portland played a very direct game and they’re a tough team to play against. They’ve got good bodies; they’re strong. Then they’ve got players that come up underneath. Diego Chara all night long was running and making a go and Darlington Nagby, when he gets a head of steam, there’s not much better in the league than he is. You make sure that you adjust and we knew that they were going to come with that, but sometimes it doesn’t matter if you draw it up on the board, talk about those scenarios all week, but still when you get out there it’s much harder.
Saer (Sène) is a player we’ve seen a lot from in preseason. He took a little bit of a knock and he was out our first game of the year, so he’s still coming back from that and he’s not 100 percent fit. I think as he gets adjusted to the physicality of our league and gets adjusted to the travel and just the entire game, you’ll start to see that he’s a player who can adapt.
[Shalrie Joseph] played unbelievable. He and A.J. (Soares) had a good partnership and to be honest, we were hoping to have Flo Lechner start there, so Shalrie was playing a lot of midfield leading into the week. I had to pull him aside yesterday when Flo needed some additional testing. Shalrie had to be reactive and be the captain that he is. And I tell you right now, he was spot on all night. I don’t think he took a bad spot and he was able to lead us from there.
Kevin (Alston)’s nose is crooked; it’s not pretty. He wanted to play on, and that shows you the resolve the guys had tonight. A lot of fight, a lot of determination. That was the key tonight … he has to get a second (mask) fitted, though, because his nose is so the other way now, he needs to get another mask.
Personally, [the win] is gratifying. It’s more seeing the look on the guys’ faces. We’ve worked hard to get here. We go on the road the first two games and we had some confidence but we got clipped pretty quickly. You can feel the emotion of the game, in the San Jose game when we couldn’t get the game going and then the red card in Kansas City. I felt we were unjustly clipped of our confidence, so that’s a tough thing to try to believe again – to get back to believing in what kind of group we have. Make no mistake, there was never a time in either one of those games where those guys weren’t fighting for each other, and that is the key. And tonight I think it showed. When you’re up one goal for 89 minutes and you fight the entire game, it takes some good determination and resolve.
[Lee Nguyen)’s special. He showed what he has. He’s a player who’s very technical and tonight he showed he can block balls, he can close down space. We asked a lot of him tonight. He played 90 minutes and we asked him to close down – every time the ball went to their right back, he had to close them down. We basically demanded that of our two outside guys, so he and Ryan Guy worked tirelessly to get going. Then you see the class at the end there when he had the ability late in the game to make the crowd be special. And that’s what we want from our guys: we want them to be creative, we want them to play their style of game. That’s kind of the motto of Benny Feilhaber and Kelyn (Rowe) and Lee and Ryan (Guy) and Fernando (Cardenas): work hard, and then you’re going to get your opportunity to do what they do. And I think they look forward to those moments.
New England Revolution midfielder Ryan Guy
We’ve been playing for a long time, and a lot of us have been asked to play in different positions…myself and Shalrie (Joseph) playing in the backline. We’re not exactly used to that. It’s something that we’re absolutely delighted to do for the team, and when you get a win, it doesn’t matter where you’re playing. We’re just absolutely delighted to get a win.
We worked a lot this week on (defensive) shape. We knew [Portland] were going to be athletic, we knew they were going to push a lot of guys forward if we did go up, and that’s exactly what happened. I think the coaching staff prepared us very well for the game. We’re all very positive about everything that went on, and we never let up throughout the game. I think this is the first game in a long time that we were winning or not losing, and we actually tried to play in the last five to 10 minutes. I thought we bided our time well and took time off the clock when we needed to.
I think [getting the first goal] made our preparation all worth it. Going into a game excited and wanting to do really well, it gave us that jolt of excitement that we needed. It gave us the rush that we needed to calm the game down a little bit, and just to know that we could score. We haven’t scored a goal yet this year and that was our first goal. It was just a matter of, “You can do this now, let’s finish it off.”
As soon as I saw [Kevin Alston] come off and I saw Alec Purdie ready to come on, I thought, “Alright, I’m going to right back.” That’s no problem for me. I’m very happy to play wherever I need to be played. As long as I’m getting playing time, I’m happy. Even if I’m not (playing), as long as we’re winning…it’s a good thing. I think this club needs to get more wins, and that’s the way to do it.
If anything it’s a confidence booster. We know we can score, we know we can win. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing against. We played the (LA) Galaxy already and we did well against them. We just need to push on, and whether it’s with an injured backline or not, we’re going to do it.
Jay (Heaps) said that was an essential victory, and this is a win we needed to have on our side going into the next few weeks and going into the rest of the season. A home win in this league means a lot, because if you win the majority of your home games, you’re probably going to the playoffs. That’s our goal this year – to make the playoffs.
New England Revolution defender Chris Tierney
It was tough but you know towards the end of the game we knew they were going to throw everything they had at us. So there’s times where you have to be scrappy and bunker in and just try to hold on and that’s what we did. I think we would have liked to play a little bit more, but a win’s a win and we are happy to get that first one behind us.
Jay (Heaps) said going in let’s put balls in their box, let’s put them under pressure to start the game. So Saer (Sène)’s great at getting at the inner crosses so I figured why not whip one in and just try and put in a good area and Saer did great to get on the end of it.
We knew their game plan was going to be to get on top of us so we didn’t have all that much time on the ball, especially to start of the game. They wanted to make it tough for us to play and get balls in the box so I was happy to find a little bit of space to get one in.
The fans were great today; it was a great atmosphere so we’re pumped. We’re really excited to get three points. The more we can make Gillette Stadium a fortress and make it tougher (for) these teams to come in a play here the better it’s going to be for us. So we’re happy.
You got to try and control your emotions and that was tough to do, for sure. We were so pumped up coming into the game, we knew how important it was for us to win. So after we get that goal it’s tough to wind down a little bit and get the ball down and play. But I thought we did a decent job at it. We had some decent chances to put the game away but we didn’t take them, but I’m happy we held on.
We’ve all been playing soccer for a long time so I’ve seen some (early goals). But it doesn’t happened a lot. But the first goal is crucial. I think statistically the team that scores first tends to win most games in this league, so it was big for us.
We wanted to get this first win for Jay (Heaps), that’s for sure. He’s brought such a refreshing attitude in this locker room – this one’s definitely for him. We are behind him as a team and we really like the changes that he’s made. It’s great for him to get his first win, for sure.
Yeah, (Kalif Alhassan)’s a top winger for sure, but I think we limited them to a few chances. You just have to take up good positions and stand up on your feet and don’t dive in on them. The guys, Lee (Nguyen) helped me out defensively a lot, as well. A lot of these guys, Clyde (Simms), A.J. (Soares) is scrappy, so we had each other’s backs tonight, and that’s why we won.