Doesn't it just feel good to get a win again? The Columbus Crew were probably the hottest team in MLS going into Wednesday night's clash in Foxboro; but they were exhausted and far from home, and the New England Revolution took advantage. It was a trap game for the Crew and a much-needed vote of confidence for the Revs. Here are the postgame quotes in their entirety (except for a short interview we did with Dimitry Imbongo, which yielded very little in the absence of a translator - his English is improving, but not really that strong) with the full highlights at the end.
Well, it was a good result for us. It was nice to end this [winless] streak to be honest with you. Just a tough road, but I think the guys came out tonight and played really well. Showed a lot of heart. Had a lot of guys getting opportunities tonight and I thought a lot of them did well to earn more time.
I don't know if there was anything different that we did. Even in the first half, when (Andy) Gruenebaum had some unbelievable saves and made some good plays, it felt like ‘Was out luck going to be there? Who knows.' And we just kept fighting and fighting and fighting. And that's what we just preached throughout the year. I think there wasn't much more than a lot of guys played with a lot of heart and knowing it's not easy to go out there on the run we've been on and the lucky that hasn't gone our way. I was really happy for the way the guys showed up tonight.
Diego (Fagundez) played very well. A lot of what we've asked him to do is pick up his game defensively and work. And he was all over the field doing that tonight. He created the goal and was a handful all game.
I thought (Dimitry) Imbongo was excellent tonight. He worked hard. He battled Chad Marshall, who is arguably one of the best center backs in the league and the best player in the air. And I thought Dimitry absolutely met him challenge for challenge, and step for step, and it was a really good game for Imbongo.
Columbus is a rhythm team and we never really let them get into rhythm. And that was important that (Jairo) Arrieta and (Federico) Higuain couldn't get the ball. And that was our focus - when they did get the ball, we wanted a guy on them quickly. You could see when Higuain would get the ball we were on him, and he started to drift wider and we knew to take him there. So we did a good job across the back line. I've preached it the whole time: it starts with our forwards and how they play defensively and they really worked hard and that sets the tone for the rest of the group.
I think (Stephen McCarthy and Darrius Barnes) read the game well together. I think (Stephen) McCarthy is playing with a lot of confidence right now. He making the right reads, he's stepping up and unfortunately had a goal called back tonight ... And I think Darrius (Barnes) has been waiting for his chance. He's stepped up and done really well.
(Getting a quick goal to start the second half) was important. We could sense that the game was going our way, that we were pushing them. And that was why I think we came out a bit sharper. It was all the little things tonight. That's what I'm really most proud of. Even at the end of the game, Fernando (Cardenas) drawing that foul and taking it, and then the guys rallying around each other when Kevin (Alston) got kicked at the end. Those are really important things, and things we're getting better at and things we need to continue to get better at.
I think (Matt) Reis really, the last two games, has shown some excellent heart coming out on plays, and making that one or two key saves keeping the game in our grasp. Against Philly he was excellent and again tonight.
It just feels good to get back in the lineup and to get some minutes in. I'm just trying to go out there and do my job. That's why Jay (Heaps) put me in there to try and go out there and prevent goals and fortunately these past two games we've been able to do that. With the help of all the guys around me and Matt (Reis), we've been able to come up with a couple of shutouts. It feels like we're getting into a little bit of a flow right now. It's unfortunate that we have an off week this week because we've been playing well these past two games defensively, but I think the rest this week is much needed and I think we'll be ready to go in D.C. in two weeks.
I think we complement each other really well. In the middle, me and (Stephen McCarthy) complement each other really well. I think we're both good in the air and Macca is really good at playing the ball in the back. What I lack, he covers for me and what he lacks, I cover for him. So I think that's the key, to just support each other and having each other's back and of course on the left side me and Kevin (Alston) are really comfortable with each other. The first couple of years we played on the right side, so we have a familiarity with each other. So I think just knowing each other's tendencies and being familiar with one another helps that cohesion in the back.
It's all about team right now. We've been right there on the edge. There was a point where we were on the cusp of moving up the table and then we hit a skid and it just feels good to get a win to break that winless streak that we've had for the past 10 games or so. It feels good to get back in there and hopefully we can keep it up.
We knew that they were probably one of the hottest teams in the MLS coming into this game. We wanted to contain (Jairo) Arrieta and (Federico) Higuain, and I think we were able to do that. We just wanted to keep them in front because last game they were able to get in behind us. Those were the faults we had last game so we just wanted to contain them and play on the outside because we felt that's where their weakness points were playing the balls in the box. If they whipped it in we were able to cover each other. So just not let them get in behind and get those kind of break away goals that they got in the first time we played them, that's something that we really keyed in on.
Of course that's with any team whenever they have time on the ball, whenever they are able to get the ball, pick their head up, turn, and pick out passes and the strikers trying to run in between the center backs, that's when they're dangerous. So we just wanted to make sure we put pressure on the ball and try to force them back and force them wide and we were able to do so, and I think that's why we were successful tonight. Very few times did they get the ball and they were able to turn and look for it and just spray those threw balls that killed us the first time, and have killed us in the past. So just being able to close down the space and being tight on the central midfielders and the strikers and forcing them back and wide was pretty much the game plan.
First of all, we should get some rest. These past few games have been taxing on the body for everybody. I've only played in two but I'm kind of exhausted now. I think the rest will be much appreciated by everyone and we get back in here, work hard and get ready for D.C. That'll be a tall task, going against one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. But hopefully these last six or seven games we can show what we're made of, have some pride and just see what happens. I know our backs are against the wall but we'll see what happens.
I think me and Dimitry (Imbongo) both came onto the field thinking that we needed to do something. Both of our main forwards are out - Jerry (Bengtson) who's out with Honduras and Saer (Sene) who picked up an injury - so me and Dimitry got together and both said we need to do something right now and that this was our game to help out the team.
It was just such a quick play. It was a good throw in by Flo (Lechner) and Dimitry (Imbongo) was holding his man very well and Dimitry coming in and barely touched it with my toe and he followed through and it was his first goal. It was very exciting.
These two starts have been perfect for me, even getting a lot of minutes in. My body feels good right now so I hope I keep starting.
Me and Dimitry (Imbongo) talked a lot yesterday and we were saying how we needed to help out the team and that was one thing that we both did very well today. We had more energy today attacking wise, that's what we needed last game from the midfield, defense and the forwards and we all did very well.
I don't think it's really about connection, it's more of just me following through. Of course today it led to the goal so I think Dimitry (Imbongo) did very well winning every ball in the air against Chad Marshall, who's taller than him, so I think I made my runs off that very well.
There wasn't a whole lot of buildup (on the second goal) to be honest. It was just a good ball from Matt (Reis), and there so big in the back you just try and keep it away from Chad Marshall. We just got a flick on, Dimitry (Imbongo) did well to chase it down, and that's what happens when you hustle, things happen and luckily it went in for us.
That's what it's all about right now, back to basics. We've got to grind it out at this point. First and foremost, we wanted to win the physical battles, win the one on one matchups, be tough to play against. It wasn't always the prettiest tonight, but will take ugly and a win over playing pretty soccer and losing games.
(The winless run is) a monkey off our back. It was up to nine or 10 winless and that was definitely weighing us down. We know we're a better team than that and we're capable of being much higher up on the table and picking up more points than we have thus far. It feels good to prove yourself against a good side in Columbus.
I'm proud to have 100 with this club. I grew up playing in the area and it's the only team I see myself playing for. I'm proud to be a Revolution player and have 100 appearances here. I'll look to keep improving and keep working hard and try and be a good teammate and a good leader and represent this club well.
CREW HEAD COACH ROBERT WARZYCHA
Overall, if we talk about the last seven games, we should be happy about how many games we won and how many points we got. Obviously, this game we came here to win but it didn't happen. I think New England was much quicker and I think they were more decisive and they wanted it more and that's why they won.
Well we can see (seven games in 21 days) as one of the excuses. We could use the excuse that we were playing on turf, [both] of those things were probably a factor to why we played how we played, but more than anything we just have to score goals. Like I said, today New England wanted it more.
We shouldn't have given up one goal obviously, it was an own goal. But we have to have better communication, especially from the goalkeeper because it can be avoided. On the long throw in, somebody's toe hit the ball, and then there was a second ball, and they scored. I'm never happy about a goal. We're too good of a team to give up goals like this.
Two teams played tonight. One team that has a pretty good record in the last few games and one was winless for 10 games ... which team was worse? To be honest with you, that's what happens in the MLS. You never know what the next game is going to look like. We have seven games left and we are hoping to get to playoffs, but we definitely have to play better than this.
For Federico (Higuain), it was probably the first time playing on turf; it's a different feeling. Sometimes we probably try to play too much instead of playing behind and looking for the second ball and we paid the price for it.
Obviously we have to talk about mistakes - we definitely have to do better on some of the things that happened today, but we do have to be happy about the stretch we've had. Some of the games you are going to lose, some of them you're going to win, hopefully we win more starting with the next one.
CREW GOALKEEPER ANDY GRUENEBAUM
We don't want to sit here and make excuses obviously. We just didn't come out and perform. I think top to bottom it was a bit of a struggle for us and I thought New England did a good job of playing their game. They play a very direct game on the turf and it can be effective when you let it. I thought they did a good job of doing that.
I think (turf) affects every team's style of play. You have to go a little bit more of a direct approach and it can be tough if you're a team that likes to get the ball on the ground. Some turf is better than others, but at the same time everyone has to deal with it and we didn't do the best job doing that.
I think we went on a good run and had a lot of games in a short period of time. We went on a decent run and we have to take advantage of this time off we're going to have and come back strong. I think that's all you can do is put this one on the back burner, forget about it, and move on.
Just two fluky goals. Shouldn't happen. It just never should happen. Obviously, miscommunication on the second one. The first one, just bouncing around ... just two fluky goals.
CREW MIDFIELDER EDDIE GAVEN
Just didn't play well. It's pretty much that simple. We came out flat, didn't really create much on the offensive side of the ball, and we let them have one too many chances. When you do that, they're going to put one in the net, and that's what happened.
It's just one of those games where things didn't click for whatever reason. We've got to go back and look at the tape, see what went wrong and try and make it better for next week.
I think it's just the mindset, to just work hard, play to the last whistle, and never give up. We've scored so many goals over the past few games late and that stuff shows. It just shows the fight that this team has and how much these guys want to win. Tonight obviously didn't go well for us, but over the past six, seven games, we went on a good run there. Now we have a break for 10 days. We can take a break after having a busy last month or so, and hopefully we can make a run for the playoffs.
(Federico Higuain and Jairo Arrieta) just make us more dynamic going forward. It puts the other teams on their heels a little bit, and it gives me space to run behind. It's been fun for me, and pretty much fun for every other guy on the team in this run. Obviously tonight wasn't very fun, but we've got to try and learn from this game and try to make it better.
We get a break here, which is nice. Legs are definitely heavy, but this is the time of year when you've got to be playing your best soccer. We've got to find a way to do that and make a good push for the playoffs.
(Fatigue) might have played a little bit (of a role), but we just weren't very sharp tonight. We just weren't making the right soccer decisions. At times, maybe we should have just went long with the ball and we tried to play, and the ball might have taken a bad bounce on the turf. Things happen, we turned the ball over in some dangerous areas of the field. That gave them some momentum, and they were able to get off two goals off of that. We weren't able to create anything going forward, so we've just got to look at the film and make it better.
(New England) had to play on (the turf), as well. Maybe they're a little more used to it than us, but we can't use that as an excuse. Maybe it did affect us a little bit in terms of trying to pass the ball on the ground, just because the turf has a little bit different layout than playing on grass, but like I said, we can't use that as an excuse. We weren't good tonight, and we've got to make it better. It's as simple as that.
We have to have that long-term (positive) perspective, that this past month or so the team's been on a very good run. We've been able to go from being in seventh place and being out of the playoff picture, to right on the edge now in a pretty decent spot for the final push. I think the team definitely has a very positive mindset still, even after this loss tonight, and we're just going to try and make it better as we go forward.