COLUMBUS CREW INTERIM HEAD COACH BRIAN BLISS
On his feelings on the win as the Interim Head Coach vs. the technical director:
You’re always happy and you’re always sad when you win and you lose -- technical director or coach. Obviously when you’re coaching you have a little bit more invested in the game for the 90 minutes than when you do when you’re sitting up in the box as a Technical Director. But the losses and the wins hurt and feel as good in both positions but you have a little more invested in it and little less in the voice box
On his feelings on the offense and two goals:
I was pleased with it, we went to goal quickly on three or four occasions, Justin [Meram] couldn’t buy a goal until he finally did get the one and those were all off of plays that happened, bang-bang-bang type of stuff rather than some long methodical drawn out build up and I’ve said it to these guys from day one, it’s a phrase of mine and they’re going to hear it again, it’s a running man’s game and these guys ran tonight. They ran and they ran and that’s why they won the game.
On his feelings on his message being received by the team:
I mean there’s not a lot you can do on the tactical side of things in a short amount of time, it’s built up over time and two training sessions, but what I think what Mike and myself were trying to get across was the mentality’s got to change and you can influence the mentality, you can’t necessarily influence the tactics so much in a short amount of time. I think the guys had the right frame of mind, very resilient, that penalty kick was a huge momentum swinger. You know we miss that, they get life go down and now we’re under pressure for 5/6 minutes until we resettle ourselves and that’s all due to the mental and that’s a big part of the game.
On his nerves throughout the day:
Yeah, I was nervous all day. I ate like I usually do, I came to the stadium at 2:00 here, because I wanted to get some work done, it’s a good day to actually get work done, so I was able to do some of that stuff. I actually put my son on the bus today which was good, don’t normally get to do that, so that was exciting and also walk my daughter to the bus stop because they go at different times, so I got away with one today on that side, so that was good. But other than that, nothing too much different. When the whistle blew, all the nerves are gone at that point.
On his emotions at the beginning of the game:
Mamma mia. I probably said worse on the sideline but you get the jist. But Chad Barson I think that knocked it off the line right? And then I think they had another chance similar to that one two, three, four minutes later. I think we dodged a bullet; the guy pulled it wide those were big plays, big non-plays on their part and it kept us in the game actually.
On his feelings on Justin Meram’s hunger on the field:
Justin has individual talent a lot of guys don’t have in carving balls and slipping by guys, creating his own shots. He can do that, whether he was doing it better the last six months or was doing it better today, I’ll leave you guys to judge that, he’s got that in his game, he just happened to be on today for lack of a better term.
On the penalty kick:
I don’t like to single out anybody to take the PK, obviously [Federico] Higuain’s been taking them for us on the field. You know the two of those guys were conferring, Ryan had the ball in his hand and both were looking to me and I said for Ryan to take it and the reason for it was because he just previously scored, I felt he had a high level of confidence and was feeling it because he had just scored so I made the call for him to take it, I take responsibility for it, it was my call. Can I replay that and say Dom can you take it? I can’t do that anymore, but we were resilient enough to come back and get that second goal afterwards.
On his feelings towards Ryan Finley’s goal:
The way the whole developed, I think was something we were talking about, the type of run that got Justin [Meram] the ball was something we were talking about in the last couple of days and it paid dividends for us so early in the second half, I think maybe was a body blow to Houston but they are a good team, we know that so the timing was very good.
On Josh Williams:
He took a knock yesterday at the end of training, we had to take him out of the line-up, out of the eighteen, he will get looked at again tomorrow and then again on Friday before we leave, before we make a final decision whether to take him to KC. He just has a knock, and we just have to let these guys deal with it and see his mobility is.
On potential line-up changes for Kansas City:
Look, you always say don’t change a winning team but there are other guys, that because they for whatever reason did not play, card suspension, red cards, you just can’t automatically jettison them from the line-up, they are a big part of our group. I don’t want to commit to whole sale changes going into Kansas City but I am sure we will some of those guys back in the line-up, Mike [Lapper] and I will have to look at it and see what is best for the team but I would imagine you will see those guys.
On Wil (Trapp) leaving the field:
I’m not sure if it’s the thigh, the knee, the back of the knee, the hamstring, because he had two bags of ice on him so he will get checked out by the doctors tomorrow, with an MRI and some hands on stuff from [Dr.] Pete [Edwards] and he will give us the nod whether he’s good to go or not, so we’ll have to wait on that on.
On the mindset at halftime:
We laid it out to them, we summarized a few things that happened in the game, in the half and then we gave them a couple of bullet points of things we need to do better and things we need shore up. You saw it: summarization was we caught a break by not taking a goal in the first 10 minutes. We did generate a couple of chances on their end which was positive and it was 0-0, so it’s a new half, new game and the game was there for the taking which was kind of the message and then we gave them a couple of things to remind them on the offensive and defensive side of the ball and I’m not saying that anything we said in particular led to goal, but the guys were hungry.
On what he will remember most about his first game as Interim Head Coach:
[The FOX Sports Ohio sideline reporter] Ashleigh [Ignelzi] interview in the 63rd minute was fumble-roosky, it wasn’t very good on my end. You can’t watch the game at the same time and try to answer a question, that’s what I’ll remember.
On his thoughts on the remaining games to come:
It’s an uphill battle, especially when the first one is at home the confidence will go down, the heads go down and now they have something to build on and there is a little bit of life left in them, I think we’ve pumped them up a little bit. The challenge is going to become when we don’t get the right result and we might play well, how do we react as a group then? Is it pointing the fingers again or is it accountability and pick ourselves up again, that will be the challenge.
On his thoughts about Tony Tchani’s substitution for Wil Trapp:
I haven’t seen him play like that in a Crew uniform since I’ve been here, since he’s been here. Refreshing, dominant, needed and applauded. And by the way, Chad Marshall, if [Jurgen] Klinsmann is listening, I’d put Chad up against any of the center backs on the National Team with that kind of a performance. Now Chad has to bring it like that week to week, but I’ll tell you what, those other guys who play in the back don’t have much on Chad, if he plays like he does.
On his thoughts for formation/line-up adjustments for Kansas City:
They more of a 4-3-3 where Houston is more of a 4-4-2. You’re not going to find two bigger guys than the two guys you face against Houston, battling Chad [Marshall] and [Eric] Gehrig like that. They’re not dissimilar in the way they play, it’s an up-tempo game, it is a little bit more going to goal quicker type of stuff and getting it into the box, with having two wingers the way they do maybe we catch a break not having Kei Kamara there, but Peter [Vermes] is a good coach and he will find a way to manage that. So we’re going to have our hands full but it comes down to how we handle the center of the midfield.
On any extra motivation to win going back to Kansas City:
I mean it was so long ago, I forgot I was even there. Look it’s always nice to go back to places that you have worked at before and I probably believe that there are some people there who still appreciate the work that we did when we were there for six or seven years. So yeah it will be nice to go in there and punch the bully in the nose.
COLUMBUS CREW FORWARD RYAN FINLEY
On scoring his first MLS goal in the 47th min:
It was obviously a special moment for me. I think [Interim Head Coach Brian] Bliss did a great job with the two [practice] days we had. I think the guys [Columbus Crew] took ownership of what happened. I think we [Columbus Crew] came out and ready to play today.
On what it felt like to be the player, other than Federico Higuain, to score a goal:
It felt great. Justin [Meram] obviously played a great ball across. I thought I have had some chances that have been blocked, did not get the shot off, or whatever. It was nice to finally put one in the net. I think I have worked pretty hard this season to get the opportunity.
On what it meant for Justin Meram to score tonight:
Justin [Meram] played really well tonight. Obviously that was a great finish and pretty unselfish to square [pass] the ball on the goal.
COLUMBUS CREW MIDFIELDER JUSTIN MERAM
On the teamwork used to score his goal in the 74th min:
There is not one guy that does it by himself. I have got to credit everyone on the field tonight. Everyone played tremendously and I was fortunate to be in the right spot.
On what he thought of his goal in the 74th min:
Honestly, I thought at some point it [goal] would not come. It was just the way things were going. Just getting a bit unlucky, but it always good to get your first [goal]. It is a little bit of relief, but hopefully on the road Saturday [at Kansas City] I can get a couple more.
On the Columbus Crew being “hungry” for a result coming into the game:
Yeah. It has been a tough week with everything that happened. [Interim Head Coach Brian] Bliss and [Assistant Coach Mike] Lapper did a great job in preparing us for this game with regards to keeping us focused on the game and not so much what took place outside of the game. We knew our roles, one through eleven. I think everyone played tremendous tonight.
HOUSTON DYNAMO ASSISTANT COACH TIM HANLEY
On whether he expected energized Crew with Interim Head Coach Brian Bliss:
Yeah. Anytime there’s a coaching change you see a team that’s really fighting. Guys want to impress, so that part didn’t surprise us.
On how the early second-half goal by the Crew changed the game:
An early goal always hurts in either half. It didn’t really change much of what we were doing. We had some really good chances early and didn’t capitalize and we just ask that the guys really fight hard and continue to fight. We were behind it a little bit and we know the Crew are good on the break and that’s kind of what happened. We have to press forward and do everything we can, and they’re pretty dangerous on the break. It was a tough night for us.
On an early chance that was missed by Will Bruin:
We had a couple there and then it’s one of those things where we were unlucky, but it really could have changed the game and it didn’t tonight for us.
On if fatigue was a factor after playing Sunday:
I don’t think so. We made some changes. The guys are really fit. We play and practice in a pretty tough environment, and so coming here it’s cool, it’s nice, you feel like you can run forever for us and so no, we generally don’t make a lot of excuses.
HOUSTON DYNAMO MIDFIELDER ADAM MOFFAT
On what effect Crew coaching change had on tonight’s performance:
They came out with a lot of energy. Young players out there. We had good chances ourselves. We’re disappointed with the result obviously. At the end we were fishing for an equalizer and sometimes we give up that second goal. That’s frustrating, but as a team we’ll stick together. We’ve got eight more games left, five are at home and three on the road so we still feel it’s in our own hands, but it was a tough one to take tonight.
On whether he got knocked off the ball on the first goal:
I’ll have to see it again. I thought I got a hip check a little bit from Tony Tchani, but I didn’t see it after that. I was on the ground, my hip was too sore. I don’t know exactly what happened there, I didn’t see the rest of the play. I thought the ref could have called that, but sometimes the decisions don’t go your way and maybe it wasn’t (a hip check). That’s my biased opinion. It’s disappointing to lose that goal so early in the second half. Goals change games and that changed that one.
On finding positives with the amount of chances Houston had:
Yeah, definitely. I think when you do lose a game it’s difficult. If you don’t create anything it’s probably even tougher. We created opportunities but tonight wasn’t our night scoring goals. Four days until our next game which is a good thing. You want to get back out there as soon as possible and it’s against another Eastern team. We’ll get back to work and focus on the next game and hopefully keep creating opportunities and if we do that we’ll start taking them.
HOUSTON DYNAMO DEFENDER BOBBY BOSWELL
On what fell apart in the second half after a promising start:
I thought we had a lot of the play early and they made some adjustments. I think [Tony] Tchani coming in helped them a lot. It kind of tightened up their midfield and we just got pulled out of place a little bit pushing forward. It was one of those nights we got a little unlucky not to finish our chances and they took advantage of theirs. That’s pretty much the name of the game. We’ve been on the end of some of those where we don’t play the best early and get a result and tonight I thought we outplayed them for a good portion of the game, but it doesn’t really matter now. They got the three points.
On changes in the backline:
You’ve got to have confidence in whoever is in there. We practice enough with each other; it’s late in the year, so we’re a pretty cohesive group. Obviously you don’t want to see guys get injured and go down, but it’s a part of it and we kind of knew with three games in this week with guys missing for different reasons that this was going to be an issue, but for me there’s no fingers to point. It’s just a team thing. You win as a team, you lose as a team. Tonight, we lost as a team.
On any positives Houston can take out of the loss:
I think the positive thing is that we play on Sunday against New York, a tough team, a team ahead of us, a team we can earn points against. I think it’s good for some of these guys, a guy like [Jason Johnson], a young guy to get out there and get a start. It’s good to get some guys minutes, but you never call it a success when you lose. You obviously want to get back out there and go at it again.