Just as fast as that winning feeling came back, now it's gone. The New England Revolution didn't play a particular poor or mistake-ridden match against D.C. United on Saturday night; they just failed to finish the chances, and were punished when United managed to finish theirs. Unfortunately, this also mathematically eliminated the Revs from the playoffs (not that anyone thought they were getting in anyway), and had the double effect of giving D.C. a clean sweep in the season series between the two clubs. Here are the postgame quotes and highlights.
On the game:
"We came out with the right energy. We were positive and played well. Unfortunately, in United's first goal we had a man down; one of our guys was stomped and D.C. continued playing. It's unfortunate that the game can be taken from us like that, as I feel that up to that point we had a good control of the game. To D.C.'s credit, they played well."
On the impact made by Benny Fielhaber and Juan Toja:
"They allowed us to change our formation a little bit. We had plenty of opportunities after bringing them in. I thought Juan did a nice job at finding space, and had some great vertical balls. Benny played well too, finding nice holes and connecting with Lee (Nguyen). When the three of them were firing we were looking pretty good. But then again, Bill Hamid. They say Chris Pontius was the man of the match, but I take off my hat to Bill Hamid tonight."
On D.C. winning all three matchups against NE this season:
"I think that they are a little bit more mature than us as a team right now. To be honest, I think we pushed the game on all three of the matches against them, but we could not take advantage of the opportunities we created, and they were assassins when they got the chances to score. We have to give them credit for their two goals and for being able to respond tonight. I think this shows you how well Ben (Olsen) has been able to groom his players and bring out the mental strength needed to get the result tonight."
On his general impression of the game:
"The important thing is that every single player of the team fought for the win. In the end, we could not get the result but we leave satisfied with our work. We gave it our all on the pitch and now we must look forward to our next game and improve going forward."
On playing against fellow Honduran Andy Najar:
"We talked before the game and wished us good luck. He, along with the rest of his team, had a very good game and we must congratulate them for that. They capitalized on their home field advantage. Now it is our job to defend our stadium in next week's game against New York."
On his role in the squad:
"Simply stated, I was brought here to score goals. I have only played about five games for New England, as I've been on international duty with the Honduran national squad, but little by little I expect that through my hard work I will be able to achieve what the coach and the teammates want from me and help New England get positive results."
On his thoughts about the game:
"I think we started really well, creating chances. Defensively we were stepping up, winning every second ball. They broke us after a long ball up front, with a great run and strike by Pontius, and then things started settling down. I think we created more chances and that we controlled most of the game but, again, they broke us in a breakaway; that's what D.C. does and we couldn't stop them."
On Hamid's performance at the end of the game:
"Bill is a great keeper and he did come up big tonight for D.C. I think once Juan Toja and Benny Fielhaber came on they really created chances for us. Our midfield regained control and I got the ball a lot more. I thought we created chances but Bill was incredible when he saved the ball that deflected off Benny's face, when he threw in his big body to save Benny's other shot, and then again when he saved Toja's chip. We created a lot of opportunities, but Bill came up big for them, and all the best to him."
On the remainder of the season:
"It's obviously news none of us want to hear or take in, but it's all about moving forward. We are definitely going to play for pride. We need to get wins and make sure this club reclaims its glory and we are going to work every game and every day to get there."
D.C. UNITED HEAD COACH BEN OLSEN
On substituting Lewis Neal for Branko Boskovic:
"Well one, Branko's not 90 minutes fit, so we knew at some point he was going to have to come off. It just looked like he was starting to fade a little bit. It is tough because Branko offensively gives you some real magic and the set pieces he put in today I thought were really good but there was starting to be a cost to that. I thought Lewis came in and really changed the game and slowed us down a bit, kept possession, won some tackles and was pretty diligent doing the work next to Perry Kitchen. I thought that helped and then he gets the goal, which is great, and I'm happy for him to get the winner."
On the performance:
"We were rusty. It was not a great game and we were probably a little lucky. It could have gone either way. They had plenty of chances and we had some good looks. We are going to have to do much better than that going forward if we're going to reach our goal. After they scored, we snapped out of it a little bit and our urgency was better, but overall nobody on our team today really played great, except Bill Hamid. He made two incredible saves today."
On why the team was rusty:
"We had two big time changes out there, two forwards that have never played together and you throw Branko in the mix. I think that was part of the rust and our balance was a little bit off. And again, we are missing a guy that has played for us every game so now we are changing things up a bit so there is that rust and then there is also the rust from just being off for a weekend. We haven't done so well coming off of bye weeks."
On how Maicon Santos and Lionard Pajoy worked up top together:
"The relationship between them is going to take a little bit of time. I thought Maicon had some moments where it was nice to have him back but he also had some moments of rust. It was the first time those two played together and I think time will help that. We can play Chris up there at times, that's always an option, but it was good for them to get that under their belt."
On being back in the top 5 of the Eastern Conference:
"That is going to change, again and again and again. We have six more games so this thing is going to continue to change. I hope it changes with us continuing to move forward - that's our goal. We have a couple of games coming up that we should do well in, but it ‘s going to take a much better performance than this."
On having to replace De Rosario:
"I think you don't really try to replace him, you try to just become a team now without Dwayne. You ask everybody to do a little bit more and I thought overall it was a gutsy performance that the guys pulled out together. We are not going to replace Dwayne, it is just not going to happen. So I have got to find the right group now that makes us perform at our best."
On being inducted into the Hall of Tradition before the match:
"As a coach it is all about team success and my preparation for the game was in the forefront (laughs), but it was wonderful. These fans mean a lot to me, my family was here today so it was a family day for me today and it was nice to have my kids on the field with me. I'm not sure if they knew what was going on, but I'm sure there is a picture or two that they will see 20 years from now and they will remember that this was a good day."
On Hamdi Salihi's role going forward:
"That's what happens when Dwayne goes out. Everybody goes up a spot and needs to contribute and I thought Hamdi did a good job. It is good to get him those minutes and he had two great chances and I think that is a very good role for him going forward. We have a lot of faith in him and he can score goals. I think he is going to play a part if we have success in these next six games."
On Chris Pontius stepping up into the Captain role and his recent contract signing:
"His production is good and it is going to continue to be good. Whether we have him at left midfield or up top will depend a little bit on his production. If we put him up top, his ceiling can be very high and I think he can take us to the next level. At left midfield, he does a good job, he does a lot of defensive work and is a very complete and smart player. Chris' focus right now shouldn't be about being anybody he isn't - in particular with Dwayne's absence - he just needs to continue to keep doing what he has been doing and if he continues down this path of scoring goals and getting assists and we keep winning, he is doing a good job. I am very happy we signed him. He is going to be a huge piece for this club in the next couple of years."
D.C. UNITED MIDFIELDER CHRIS PONTIUS
On Bill Hamid's performance:
"Obviously, he stepped up there when we needed him to make a play. It was unbelievable."
On the playoff push:
"Yes, the win puts us back in the playoffs. You know, it's a game where, necessarily, we didn't play the best. I thought we were rested in the first half. I thought we did better in the first part of the second half, but we are still taking plays off. A bit too many looks tonight."
On playing after the time off:
"We had a couple weeks off and now we're getting back into it. Coming out with a win, we battled and, obviously, we are back in the playoff hunt."
On setting up Lewis Neal's goal:
"You know, I get the ball one-on-one and trying to push it by him and looking to cross it left footed and he takes away my angle, so I pull it back, and to be honest I was looking to shoot right there. I think Clyde took away my space and I saw Lewis sitting there. I meant to hit the ball a little slower to him. I put some pace on it and he did well with it and obviously just got it into the far side of the net."
On the first goal:
"Branko was in a position in a stand still and I started creating a run and his defender had to make a decision whether to stay with Branko or stay with me. He stayed with Branko and he played an incredible ball and I tried to put it on frame."
On the play of Branko Bošković and the team in De Rosario's absence:
"It's huge. That's what we asked everyone. At the top we said everyone is going to have to step up a little bit and do their job and I thought everyone did a good job."
D.C. UNITED GOALKEEPER BILL HAMID
On the hectic end to the game:
"It was hectic back there late on, but we wanted to stay as tidy as possible and not give them any chances. Unfortunately, we got a little mixed up in the end but we came out with a win and we stayed strong.
On United's defenders:
"New England didn't have many chances throughout this game so credit to our back line."