COLUMBUS CREW HEAD COACH ROBERT WARZYCHA
Overall thoughts on his team’s effort:
I think I’ve said the entire year that I’ve never questioned the effort [of the Crew players]. The effort was there…I think all season we’ve talked about before games that we always play hard and we always play to win. Today was difficult conditions for both teams. I think it was a little more difficult for us because just last week we didn’t qualify for the playoffs…Like I said before, we play for the fans and we are professional athletes and we are always going to play for the win.
On the MLS debut of Homegrown midfielder Ben Speas:
I think he did well. He’s a player that you always have to be worried about. His dribbling is very good, he can go after defenders and create something. It was good to have him on the field, he deserved it.
On his club’s injury situation:
There’s injuries, obviously some disappointment because this player’s playing, this player’s not playing. Obviously we want players on the field that really want to play for this club.
On measuring the success of the 2012 season:
I think we are very disappointed that we didn’t make the playoffs. I don’t think we can say that the season was successful because we didn’t make the playoffs, we didn’t win the [Lamar Hunt U.S.] Open Cup. But there were some positive things that happened this year…A season like this when you don’t qualify for the playoffs, maybe we overlooked something last year – because we gave up two goals a game, because we were giving other teams chances or maybe we didn’t create enough chances. We have to look at the last year and fix [the problems] for next year, for the next season.
On lessons learned from this season:
I think [the players] are professional athletes and they play to win. This is a professional sport, sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t. As long as you give effort and as long as you leave everything on the field fans will appreciate that. You learn because you give your best and you measure yourself against other teams. Maybe we were a step behind the teams that were in front of us this year…it’s the little things that make a difference, and that’s why we were losing by one goal – we didn’t make the playoffs by one point.
COLUMBUS CREW FORWARD FEDERICO HIGUAIN
On his opening goal:
Jairo [Arrieta] was fighting with the defenders like he normally does, he found me and I took a touch, beating one defender. I hit [the ball] with my left foot and hit it across my body and the goalkeeper was going the other way.
On drawing a penalty for the match-winning goal:
I controlled the ball and faked to shoot, cut it inside and the defender caught me from behind. It was a penalty kick. I took time watching the goalkeeper and I finished [the penalty].
On his initial experience in MLS:
I’m really happy about winning today for the fans. It was a really bad day weather-wise. In my first twelve games I had the opportunity to get used to the speed of the League, the players and I’m happy about that. I’m disappointed not to make the playoffs because that was the team’s goal, but next year I expect to have a better year and help the team make the playoffs.
COLUMBUS CREW GOALKEEPER ANDY GRUENEBAUM
On the win:
We knew it was going to be a battle with the weather. Both teams had to play in the elements, so we wanted to get a win in front of our home fans because they’ve been supporting us all year. That was the main goal and we got it done.
On the match:
I thought we possessed the ball well at times. I thought for sure we were the better team. It was a direct game from both teams, but we were able to get the ball down a bit and play. We could have scored a few more goals, but we’ll take the win.
On missing out on the 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs:
It’s a competitive Eastern Conference this year. Sometimes it works out that way where you put up a good number [of points] and it’s not enough in one conference where it would have been enough in another [conference]. We just have to try and build for next year and we have a good result to build off of here tonight.
TORONTO FC HEAD COACH PAUL MARINER
General thoughts on the game:
The weather was great, great weather as far as I'm concerned to play football in. You can run all day in conditions like this. I think the difference between the two teams was just the top end of the field, in the final third. Quality finish by [Federico] Higuaín to get [the Crew] going and I think we responded extremely well in the first half. Then, a ball that was played square that really should have been in our possession, but we were out of position a little and they break, and we concede the penalty. It was a bad penalty, no question about that. It's the nuances of the game once again. It's just all about quality.
On defending Federico Higuain and Jairo Arrieta:
I thought we did very well. You didn't see much of Eddie [Gaven] today. Eddie Gaven is fantastic player. I thought we really coped with him very well. To be fair, apart from those magical few seconds when [Federico] Higuaín scored that goal and the break on the penalty, we were pretty comfortable to be honest. I thought Adrian [Cann] and [Richard] Eckersley did well. Terry [Dunfield] screening in front, I thought did a great job. We had some nice football in the first half, some glimpses of what we can do in the future. But again, we've lost and it's quiet as a mouse in the dressing room, you can hear it.
On ending the 2012 season:
Ironically, I was talking to the staff and I said, ‘I can't wait for 6:10 on Sunday night.’ Because as far as I'm concerned, my new season starts. I'm going back tonight, I've got meetings tomorrow, and I'm traveling on Tuesday. I'm going to Europe on Tuesday and I'll be away for a period of time. I've got my commitments in Toronto that I've got to fulfill, which it won't get in the way of that. As far as I'm concerned, preseason starts now.
TORONTO FC GOALKEEPER FREDDY HALL
General thoughts on the loss:
We played well. The first half, we were moving the ball and we were enjoying it. It's just little things that are hurting us and once we're able to iron out those little things, I think we're going to be a quality team.
On the weather:
I kind of enjoy playing in weather like this. Especially as a goalie, you want to enjoy it because the ground is not as hard…I used to play in England, so I'm kind of used to this weather. It wasn't too bad.
On next season’s goalkeeping competion:
It's really up to the gaffer for that, and management and what they want to do. I love the team and I get along with the guys. Toronto FC is a club that's really going to push for the playoffs next season, for sure.
TORONTO FC DEFENDER RICHARD ECKERSLEY
On the season ending:
It's very, very disappointing. I think there's a few guys that are glad to see it ending, but that's no excuse for today. We should have beaten them comfortably, I think. We had great possession of the ball and we created chances, but it's just silly goals and silly mistakes. If we can take that out of our game, then I'm looking forward to the future.
On the weather:
Honestly, it was cold for the first 10 minutes of each half. But once you get warmed, it's fine. You come straight into the game and that's your focus. The weather is no excuse. It's the same for both teams, but I thought we were going to come out with a win today for sure.
On heading into the offseason:
I'll be thinking about it throughout the offseason. I think every player in here should as well. I think everyone should review the season personally, because as a team it wasn't good enough. I think if we keep saying, ‘Next game, next game, next game, or the next season,’ and we keep looking forward, how about now? What about the game we just played? We'll never get results otherwise. We need to change our mentality. It starts next season.
COLUMBUS CREW HEAD COACH ROBERT WARZYCHA