I thought it was a good, hard-fought match all the way around. I knew they came in with an excellent game plan. I thought Ben (Olsen's) tactics were spot on. They made a formation change and it was hard to break them down. It was difficult. We had some good chances, but not great chances. We knew we weren't going to be given anything, we had to go take it and I think that's what I'm taking away from the game. We went out and found a way and that's what I'm most proud about.
We grinded it. There are going to be games where you've got to find a way and fortunately for us, those last two games things went our way, bounces went our way and tonight it just felt like we were going to have to make it happen. I credit our guys, I credit our leadership. I thought that (Chris) Tierney, (Andy) Dorman, Jose (Goncalves), AJ (Soares) - those guys in particular - really stepped up their game tonight and fought hard. D.C. is a veteran team and even after we scored, you saw them ratchet it up. I was impressed with D.C. in that regard and I thought our senior guys answered the bell and fought really hard.
I think Patrick (Mullins), the goals are awesome. They're kind of a bonus for how we want to play and I think Patrick does an excellent job pressuring, holding the ball up, and allowing players to get forward. It wasn't pretty. I thought D.C. did a nice job with their two defensive midfielders and they won every second ball, they shielded their back four really well, so Patrick had to earn it tonight and I thought he did a great job of finding the little gaps, holding it when he could and finishing off a chance.
(Putting Jose Goncalves back in the starting 11) was probably my toughest decision of the short season so far, because who do you take out? It's not an easy one. The conversation was about what was going to be better for us tactically tonight. It wasn't about just getting Jose back. I thought tonight we needed a little uptick from some senior leadership because that's what he does so well. If you ever worried about complacency, go in a locker room 10 minutes before a game and I'll tell you right now, Jose is going to eliminate any complacency in anyone.
You can win games different ways and I think we've shown a couple different varieties of ways, but in terms of tonight, an Eastern Conference game, when it starts to rain and you get a goal, give up a goal, where are the tough guys going to step up? And I think our guys did really well tonight.
I think (Patrick Mullins) has a great awareness of where he needs to be, where the ball is. He never goes outside the 18, he finds really good spaces in there. You have to have a knack for it, you can't just say, just go score goals. I think he's done it his whole life and he's just now finding he's good enough to do it at this level.
We're trying to win games. Whoever was on the schedule tonight we were going to give the same effort. You go into games, you have to prepare. I think it's more about the coaches, what we learned from the first game, how do we react to the next game we play them? Are we better at how we assess the game? We lost 2-0 in D.C., what was our game plan coming in that game and how do we change it so that we can be better tonight?
I think it's just our mindset, you know? It takes some time to build up chemistry. Working with each other in training and going in and executing in the games, it takes time. And now we're 12 games into the season and now everyone can see it's finally clicking. Guys are working for each other, putting the effort in and once you get that first win, they keep coming and coming and everyone's spirits are up.
I keep telling (Patrick Mullins), obviously the goals are unbelievable. He's scored in the past four games. But the things that people aren't realizing for me, is his hold-up play, his movement. He's just creating a lot of havoc for defenses which don't go on the stats sheet. But, us players, we see that and that's more important to us than the goal scoring. The goals will come, I mean, they're coming for him now but, his movement, his hold up play, just all-around play is really extraordinary.
For us, it's another win. It doesn't matter if it's close, if it's by six goals. By one goal, it just shows our resiliency, our character. Everyone's putting the work in from the first minute to the 90th minute. Like I always say, it's our mentality. Where we're going into training, training hard, it's competitive then when we step onto the field we want to entertain, we want to show the fans a good game and we want to win. That's what it comes down to, but we're also enjoying it.
I think for us, it was just maybe we weren't as patient as we should've been. Maybe we were forcing it a little bit too much. D.C.'s a great team and it showed. They were able to come back and tie it up and then we were able to get the game winner but it was definitely a close game.
I thought I did well on both sides of the field. I think I worked hard defensively and I think that if you do that offensively everything else just comes. Teal (Bunbury) played a ball across and it got flicked off and I just saw an open net.
Patrick Mullins just keeps scoring - but it all started with a ball getting wide to me. I tried to cut inside and take some players on and when I saw that I was one on one I tried to shoot it and even though it didn't work out, luckily Patrick was there.
We knew that we needed to break their backs and move it side to side. We were going 1-on-1 against them and it definitely worked for us.
This win gives us our confidence going; knowing we can win 5-0 or give it all that we have and still pull out a win with a score of 2-1. The important thing is that we keep going and we got the three points.
I don't think it got sloppy, I think that we were tired and our legs were going. We knew it was a tie game and if we wanted to win we needed to work hard. It helped scoring the second goal. However, we still knew that they were going to come at us hard.
I think we were always confident. We have good players that are very attack-minded - and that comes from our front players as well as our backs. We are very strong going forward a lot of the time if anything is going to happen, it will be from our wide midfielder going at their backs 1-on-1.
I think (Patrick) Mullins and I are working very well with each other - and you can even add Teal (Bunbury) in that. All three of us are working a lot better than in the beginning of the season. We are moving off the ball well and are making good runs. As long as we keep playing like this, more goals will come.
I tell everyone, after you get the first goal, it all comes after that. After I scored that first goal this season it opened up a lot for me - I think a lot of other players will tell you the same thing.
D.C. knows that they are our rivals, so when they came here they came out playing hard in order to try to win. They knew it was the number 1 team playing the number 2 team, and we both played hard to try to take that number 1 spot.
It feels great winning against teams that we've lost to before. We lost against Philly in the beginning - so when we went back and beat them, it definitely showed that we are a better team now.
On the goal
I think it started long before it came to my feet. Diego with a prototypical mazy run from him, you know, he's got great feet, and the defense just kind of opened up for him. I thought he was going to take it all the way, but, you know, as a forward you've got to stay alert and ready for any kind of rebounds, and the ball came to my feet. I just did some quick footwork in and out, got it on my left foot, and saw a tight angle. I just wanted to lift it, I wanted to make sure I didn't rush it and just try and smash it, I think at that point you need a little composure. I just lifted it and I found the back of the net.
On breaking down D.C. in the second half
I think we showed a good quality tonight, I was proud of the boys. I thought we showed good composure. We stuck to our gameplan, and that was to move the ball quickly and try to make them shuffle around and get out of position as best we could. Obviously D.C. United's a great team and very well organized, and well-lead from the back. It took a while to break them down, but once we did, obviously, kind of like the rain falling, you know, the goals came in the second half. We were lucky enough, you know, we had made some great plays at the end and came out with a great win.
On the rivalry and physicality
You know, I think that this was my favorite match so far. Like I said, with just the rain coming down in the second half, it really, I thought, set a great atmosphere for the fans. They were going berserk, they were inviting the rain even more. Sometimes, these games, they get a little chippy, and I think you need that composure that I was talking about before. I think our team showed great character, just guys making plays all over the place, from Diego [Fagundez] to Kelyn [Rowe] when he came in, to Stevie Neumann off the line late. It's just a full team effort.
On his recent run of form
Hard work. Doing what the team needs from me, and that is: hold the ball up, work hard defensively, make it easier for the guys behind me. I think as an attacking player I've got some skills to where I can find the back of the net, and if I do the other parts of the game well, I think those chances will fall to me.
I mean it's huge. Obviously, tonight wasn't a five-goal explosion but I think, when we get the ball at our feet we've got a good connection. You know, it's kind of one of those, when the guy's not even looking at you he still knows where you are on the field. It's great having, especially in the system we play, interchanging, in-and-out, me, Teal, and Diego, it's great having that kind of dynamic in attack.
Is this run better than you could have imagined?
I believe in myself. As a forward, you want to score in every game you come into. Like I said, I think for me I'm focusing that I'm a complete player and not just one that gets the goals. That's something that I think I can add to the team, but there's a greater role that I have to play.
I mean, it's a difficult league, there's hungry guys out there. Week in, week out you get challenged. I think college prepared me, Maryland is a great program for me, and we were in one of the best conferences. I played against great players who are in this league, and I think I was ready, it's just about getting into it and finding the right team dynamic. I think I've gelled in pretty well.
D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen
It's mostly just that I'm proud about the way we went about the game, barreling back to get to 1-1. We should find a way to get a result out of that, but overall I'm very pleased with the way we played and fought. I think we were unlucky not to get something out of it. But they're a good team - got a lot of moving parts that keep you on your toes. Not sure about the first goal. I'm sure when I look at it I'll think again that it was a foul. I'll have to check out the red on Eddie (Johnson). I'm sure that's probably a little harsh, too.
I thought (Alex Caskey and Collin Martin) both did fine. I thought they both worked extremely hard. You can see that Alex has been around a little bit and shown that he was certainly capable of starting for us. Collin is really a talent that's exciting to have. We believe in him and believe he's going to play for this team in the starting 11 one day, so it was good to get him some minutes.
It was a quick turnaround and a long season. Obviously, (Fabian Espindola) can change games and he did that again and he found himself in the right spot. Again, we fought back at 1-1 and we still had a chance for two down the stretch, but we were good tonight, and overall I'm really happy with the way we played.
D.C. United midfielder Davy Arnaud
We're extremely disappointed with the result. I felt like we did more than enough to come out of here with something from the game, and we didn't. Coming off three games in a week, I think we came here, we matched them, and then some. It's disappointing to not come away with something from the game.
We've seen things will go your way in the course of the season, and things won't. I think the first goal I think (Chris) Korb gets fouled, but either way we get back into the game, and gave up another one. It's disappointing you can't always point your finger at that but I do think (Chris) Korb was fouled on the first goal. I think if he looks at it again, I think he'll see the same thing.
I thought they both (Collin Martin and Alex Caskey) did very well. Collin (Martin), he's a young guy. You can see he's very composed, he works hard, he's a very good player, he's going to be a very good player. I thought (Alex) Caskey came in and provided us what he has been when he's been coming in games this year. We have a good roster, we have a deep roster, and I think when you see guys come in that haven't played they do a job. I don't think we missed a beat tonight. I think we came here, and we were well worth a point if not more.
D.C United defender Bobby Boswell
We're not happy. It was a tough game. I think we were hoping for more than that, at least a point. We came in here with expectations to even get three. You play a team in your conference that's ahead of you, you want to try and jump them. It wasn't the case tonight.
I thought we actually played pretty well in the first half. I thought we were the better team in the first half, and then in the second half they kind of got some things going. Fabi (Fabian Espindola) comes on and kind of turns the tide. We weren't able to see it out. For one reason or the other, it didn't go our way tonight. You play enough games you are going to have some that don't go your way, but this one still hurts because I think we thought we were better than that.
To be honest with you, I thought we started off better. At the end of the day it's all about points. We weren't able to pick up any points here, and they were able to widen their lead (in the conference). Everyone has stretches during the year where you are going to play a lot of games. That's especially with CONCACAF and Open Cup, things like that. We have a deep roster; I don't think that really affected us. I think the coaches made some good changes, and those changes they worked out one way or the other, maybe gave Fabi (Fabian Espindola) some rest so he can go on and score the goal, get some new legs in there, some new life. I thought it was alright, the final score is what killed us. Giving up a goal after we scored one, that'll pretty much hammer you anytime you play on the road.
I always talk about things defensively. A lot of times it takes games, the more games you play. It's hard to mimic real game scenarios in training. When you're in real games you learn what the guys next to you are going to do. I think that's been coming along alright. I told you from preseason in Florida our expectations were to win and win early. This isn't like a three-year plan where we want to be in first place. We felt we could have done that tonight. We're still making strides in the right direction. I don't feel like we got played off the field tonight. I felt like we kind of shot ourselves in the foot a little bit. Some things didn't go our way, but it wasn't like it was a bad performance by our team tonight, so I think we take some positives away from that, learn from the mistakes, and the ultimate goal is to be better and learn from it. I think that's what this group has been able to do. We haven't put together any real long winning streaks, but we haven't put together losing streaks either, so we obviously need to work on some things still.
I feel like here, as opposed to teams in the past, it's not like there's a first team and a second team. I feel like everyone feels they can contribute and they're going to get their opportunity, and the coaches have kind of stressed that. There're expectations from the 33-year-old guy to the 18-, 19-year old guy. Tonight you saw a young kid out there. There was no real drop off. It's a deep squad, and these moments are kind of what test us. I wouldn't say tonight was a failed test, but it definitely wasn't the desired result.
Pool Reporter Question to Referees
"Why did you decide to show a red card to Eddie Johnson (D.C. #7) in the 82nd minute?"
Written Response from Referees
"Eddie Johnson was issued a red card for violent conduct for kicking at an opponent while on the ground, while (the ball) was not within playing distance."
NE - 47.1%
DC - 52.9%
NE - 74%
DC - 78%
NE - 10
DC - 1
NE - 13
DC - 1
NE - 2
DC - 4
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