Jay Heaps DL

Postgame Quotes: D.C. United

New England Revolution Head Coach Jay Heaps
On the game:
“We didn’t have a good first half, to be very honest. We weren’t following our gameplan. We weren’t playing very well and it took a little bit of time at halftime to go over. But D.C. deserves some credit. They came out well. They came out playing. They were playing that 4-4-2, they were pushing high, and we had the ball but we weren’t dangerous with the ball. I thought they did a nice job. There were great tactics from Ben [Olsen]. So, they did that a little bit but I thought we were able to make the right changes at the start of the second half and they gave us more opportunities.”

On D.C.’s narrow defending:
“The last game that we played them, we went very narrow on them and it was a 0-0 draw. Part of our gameplan tonight was to get wide. In the first half we didn’t do it well enough. But in the second half we really wanted to get [Chris] Tierney in some better spots. We switched Saer [Sene] to the other side to give ourselves a bit more width because he naturally wants to come in so we pushed him wider. We found the little gaps. I thought Dimitry [Imbongo] had a nice finish and Saer really should have had two goals.”

On the impact of the equalizer:
“You’ve got to get back in the game and go from there. We just felt that if we play the way we want to play and how we know we can play. The game would change and we could get more opportunities and that’s what happened. It doesn’t always work that way, but I was glad that we had a full half. Sometimes you need to come in and have a word and I thought we did a good job and the guys reacted excellently.”

On the response of his players to tactical changes at halftime:
“It’s important when you can look each other in the eye and draw a little breath. When you get in the game, you’ve got to make the moves from the sideline and get the guys on the field to react. There’s going to be times when you can’t. So, when you come in you can take a breath, look at the shape, decide what we think is going to be strong. And that’s our job, quite frankly, as a staff.”

On the return of Revolution midfielder Kevin Alston:
“It was awesome. I thought he did great. He’s exactly what we needed—a shot of energy. He’s been great all week in training and up to this point in two weeks of training. He’s been itching to get on the field and you could see when he came on he was like a shot out of a cannon.”

On the impact of his return for the rest of the team:
“He’s been around the longest, probably, with Darrius [Barnes] and Reisy [Matt Reis]. So, he’s an old soul in our locker room and someone the guys lean on. You’d like to get a man into a situation where the game isn’t so intense, but Kevin went in and did an excellent job.”

On the need for patience with Alston’s return to match fitness:
“We actually wanted to get him a game or two in Rochester, and like I mentioned when it came out, the story’s unbelievable. But we needed a player and we needed an outside back, we needed cover and you saw how it changed tonight when we were able to get Chris [Tierney] up. It’s an awesome story. I know he’s going to make an impact on our team. It’s almost like a signing and a lot of the players feel like we added a really excellent outside back.”

On his relationship with Ben Olsen:
“I admire Ben. I think Ben was the one who opened the door for guys like us to coach for the team that they played for. Benny’s got a great vision of what he wants the team to be. I think it’s a tough situation, but if anyone can get them through it’s Benny. He’s not only dealing with what he’s dealing with this year, but you can see the foundation he’s building. I think the moves they’ve made for Luis Silva, who I think is an excellent player, and for Jared Jeffrey, who to me is going to be an excellent player in MLS. And obviously Conor Doyle who’s here probably six months and they’ve got to make a decision. For me, those three key additions for the team are dangerous. I think we went through it a little bit last year and they’re going through it a little bit this year. When you play younger players, you can build a good core and then you’ve got to let them get games and results aren’t always predictable when you have a group that’s coming together.”

New England Revolution defender Kevin Alston
On how it felt to return to action:
“It felt unbelievable. I was excited to be on the pitch, but at the same time I was telling myself to not mess up. But it felt great.”

On whether it was good to make a return in D.C.:
“It was…it was unbelievable. My parents were there, my brother was there, my grandfather was there, all my family and friends, so it made it special to be able to do it in front of them.”

On his eagerness to play again:
“It’s what I love to do and as soon as I got that green light I was training and thinking about getting back on the field and doing everything I can to help the team.”

On returning to match fitness:
“I feel good. There’s nothing like game fitness. So, that takes minutes in order to get that. However, my strength and fitness are night and day compared to how I felt before. Everything’s completely different. I feel like I’m starting fresh and starting over. I feel like there’s no weight on my shoulders. So, I feel a lot better.”

On the context of the game when he entered:
“Like I said before, I knew what the situation was. So, don’t mess up as we’ve got the lead. So, keep it.”

On how much patience has been required:
“I’ve had to be very patient. There were a lot of unknowns. Even through the whole recovery process. I can’t tell you how many times I’d go in for a doctor’s appointment and think I was doing well, but have the doctor tell me my level was much lower. That was my fault for setting myself up for a fall like that, but a lot of patience was necessary because there was so much unknown. I didn’t know how long it would be or what the recovery process would be.”

On whether he had imagined this moment:
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been laying in bed or in the shower just thinking about it and just playing.”

On the support of his teammates:
“As soon as the game was over, everybody came over to congratulate me and I was trying my hardest not to cry, I was fighting tears. They’ve been supportive since the start and they showed it again tonight.”

On if the return felt like a debut of sorts:
“It did. I had a lot of butterflies and I was really excited. It was almost like a renewed feeling.”

On if he took some time to soak everything in:
“Once the final whistle blew. When we had just the one goal, I was focused on not losing the lead and that was it—to do whatever I could to play right now.”

New England Revolution defender Andrew Farrell
On getting three points at D.C.:
“It’s kind of like a playoff environment for us. It was a must-win. We beat Columbus [Crew] and we wanted to gain back some momentum. We have some home games coming up. But, you know, D.C. [United] is a good team. Their record doesn’t show how good of a team they are. They got some new additions. Luis Silva is a good player. And Nick DeLeon, my former college teammate, he’s a good player. They’ve got a lot of good pieces. It’s just the results don’t show what a good team they are. But, we didn’t play good in the first half, 45-minutes, it was tough. We wanted to come out a lot better than that. We came out really flat, kind of like we did at Colorado. So, we were a bit nervous. But, you know, we felt like we still had 45 minutes to make up the game, to get a chance to take the plunge. In the second half we came out and reacted well. We got some good players and they showed what they could do tonight.”

On what the message was for the second-half:
“Well, you know, we didn’t have much to lose and had everything to gain. So, we just kind of came out and battled. Getting the second chances of people like Dimi [Dimitry Imbongo] and Chad [Barrett]. We were going to fight for everything. And then, you know, we just got to widen. The width was huge for us. You know, I didn’t get as high as Chris [Tierney] did. When Chris goes out wide, he whips that dangerous ball in and we got an opportunity out of it.”

On equalizing early in the second-half:
“It was huge. I don’t even know how much more time we had after the goal. Like, 30-plus more minutes left in the game? And we went after it. We didn’t want to get complacent with that goal. We thought we could win the game. And we came out and I think we showed that with the offensive guys. They did that and essentially we held them after they came back a little at the end of the game.”

On the impact of good away form as they return home:
“It’s always good to sleep in your own bed before a home game. The game’s on Sunday as well, so we get a little extra rest. We like to play at home. We’ve got some guys coming back from injury, some guys that maybe with a little bit of rest can heal back up and get back out there. Every game right now is important. Every game is against an Eastern Conference opponent, so we’ve got to take advantage of that.”