COLUMBUS CREW HEAD COACH ROBERT WARZYCHA
On Higuain’s impact:
Performing as well as we did in the last two games, creating chances, and then he is in the right place at the right time. The second goal was an unbelievable goal. He does something every day that people love to see at the stadiums.
On offensive spark:
We needed somebody who would finish our chances. We had three or four chances that we could have probably scored. Chad [Marshall] had a header in the first half and Dominic [Oduro] had two or three in the second half. I’m glad that Pipa’s [Higuain] experience has paid off. The first goal, the rebound, he was in the right place at the right time. The second one; we talk about closing out games and scoring another goal, and that’s what he did.
On Higuain playing further forward:
We talk about him being intelligent because all the teams we play are afraid of him in the center of the field and around the box. He’s scoring those goals because he’s in the right place at the right time, which is in the box, or around the box, closer and in front. That’s why he’s effective.
On the team’s performance
I think we carried on from last week against New York. Hopefully each week is going to be better and better. Understanding between Trapp and Anor, and between Arrieta, Higuain and Oduro; going behind or using his speed, is tremendous
On Warzycha’s 70th career regular-season win:
I’m about winning but winning with the club. It doesn’t mean anything to me personally, to be honest with you. It’s nice to win the games but the most important thing for me today is to win the trophy. We won the Trillium Cup [presented by Scotts] which is something that we talked about before the game. That’s the first trophy this year. You always want to win trophies. Anything for me is just winning the game and knowing that the team is playing well. It was nice to watch and I’m happy for the performance.
On the specialness of second goal:
I remember a lot of goals but it’s obviously something special that I will always remember.
On closing out the win:
We are more aggressive on both sides of the ball. We are aggressive defensively and we are aggressive offensively. A lot of times the shape and the space is very good. When we win the ball around the box we have a chance to score goals. We did that a few times in the second half.
On defensive performances:
I like that we are not giving up chances. There were a few crosses that were dangerous but we did very well defending them. Sometimes you don’t have to win the ball, so long as you don’t let the other guy touch it. There were a couple of crosses across the box but we did very well marking and putting bodies on the players. That’s the way to do it. That’s the difference. Chad Marshall is taking ownership of the group. He is very vocal and I think he is having very good games, especially last week.
On stringing wins together:
The four goals that Higuain scored last week and then this week, that’s what we were missing. We were creating chances but maybe our confidence wasn’t as high when we didn’t win the games because we were creating chances but didn’t score. Obviously losing games in the last minute doesn’t help. We have to not only have a good performance but we have to score goals.
On momentum ahead of Real Salt Lake:
Playing here we’ve won [two] games against teams that were in first place. New York is not an easy team to play against and Portland isn’t either. But those were our best games. That’s how it has to be against Salt Lake. They are a very good team and are at home, but we have had success in the past there and with the confidence that these guys have we could put together a good performance.
On making a playoff push:
I think it’s the timing of it that matters. If we lost the game against New York or lost this game then we’d be in a more difficult situation. Now, not only do we have to win, but we are in a situation where we need some luck. We need some teams to lose some games or tie some games. We are happy that we won. We have to play hard and try to win the rest of our games.
On Wil Trapp:
He’s a good player. The last two games this group has played together and understood what they are doing. He’s making good choices and playing better and better. There were some games that he was in the lineup but with the games he’s playing better. The players around him are doing a good job of helping too.
On what needs to improve:
Absolutely everything. I think that you always want to get better. You have to string together more passes or be more creative or play better defense. The communication on the field is crucial and everyone needs to be aware of that. We can improve tactically too. Going to the games and preparing for the games on the road, at Salt Lake, we have to be mentally prepared.
On defensive group:
This group is very solid, the entire team. Like we said, Wil Trapp is in there as a part of the defense. And Bernardo Anor and Justin Meram, who had a good game. Everybody’s defending. That’s the key to success.
COLUMBUS CREW FORWARD FEDERICO HIGUAIN
(Through a club interpreter)
On how his 67th-minute goal tonight compares to the goal he scored last week against New York:
They are all important, especially when they help the team win. I am happy with the functioning of the team right now, and hope to keep going down this path.
On his thought process to keep the team working towards the playoffs:
As long as the mathematical possibilities are still there, we are going to keep fighting. The beginning of the [season] has not been easy, but as long as the possibilities are there, we are going to keep fighting to the end.
On being the guy who has lifted the team during recent games:
Since I have got here, I have always said the same thing. Eighteen players come together the day of the game, thirty players who train during the week, eleven players who come out onto the pitch. The responsibility falls on the whole team. And it’s the whole team that gets us victories.
On if he is being more aggressive as of late:
This has happened. I have had games in the past where I think that I have had a lot of good chances. They [chances] have hit the post or they have been close but have not gone in. Right now, if feels like things are happening for this team not just up front, but as for the defense, midfield, the offense, it feels like things are happening for this team.
COLUMBUS CREW MIDFIELDER WIL TRAPP
On overall impression of the game:
Two wins in a row, it’s a great confidence booster for us. We just have to keep doing what we are doing, and keep winning games.
On the momentum moving forward as a result of winning two games in a row:
It’s huge. Two wins at home to get the fans back into it. Especially two shutouts, it’s even better. It is something that we can build off of.
On his play since being inserted in the lineup:
I am trying to bring energy and some leadership. My strengths are keeping the ball, getting the ball off of the center backs, trying to keep possession, and make the other team work for the ball a little more.
On Federico Higuain’s skill level:
It is hard to be surprised. That one [67th minute goal] was just unbelievable today. I think my jaw dropped a little bit when it went in. He is a fantastic player. It is great to have him on our side.
TORONTO FC HEAD COACH RYAN NELSEN
On the game:
Columbus is very good at home and they have some very dangerous players and they played very well tonight. We had a bad day at the office; they had a good day and it culminated in a loss for us.
On defending a player like Federico Higuain:
Obviously, I think we were our worst enemies to tell you the truth. We gave way in very poor areas. He is probably most dangerous when the opposition has the ball because he gets into really nice areas and nice pockets.
On getting Maximiliano Urruti minutes:
He hasn’t really hasn’t done much in a while. He got some valuable minutes that he needs to get.
On Doneil Henry’s mindset:
I don’t think you have that in your head. You just go out and play the game and whatever happens…happens. I think all the boys would probably say it. There wasn’t very many that played well today. We’re probably not at that level, not good enough, where we can have an off day and get away. Hopefully we will be in a situation where we will be one day. But we’re not and all guns blazing.
On goals in last two weeks:
It’s an accumulation of not being able to keep the ball and giving it away in really poor which means defenders have to make decisions that can be tough decisions. We live and die on those decisions. The rest of the players didn’t really help out. Our defenders were not really treating the ball with respect and keeping it. When we did keep it for like four or five passes, generally something half decent happened. We weren’t at the office. I’m not going to single out anybody but I think everybody, from one to eleven, wasn’t that great tonight.
On final 80 minutes:
Again, we gave the ball away in bad areas. And it’s about keeping the ball and if you can keep the ball for four or five passes. We are our own worst enemies and we kind of played into their hands a bit. Like I said they are some dangerous players and given time and space they can hurt any team.
TORONTO FC FORWARD ROBERT EARNSHAW
On both teams’ play tonight:
Sometimes you have to give credit. They played well. But at the same time we could have played much better.
On where Toronto could have played better:
I think pretty much everywhere. Nothing gradual. Nothing specific. I think they had a lot of time and space. Sometimes we couldn’t get near them – they made it difficult for us. They had good energy. I think our energy could have been better tonight. And it’s just one of those nights. We didn’t play well and we didn’t come out firing. We’ll get better.
On not getting a lot of opportunities:
Yeah it was difficult. We had some of the ball but we just could have used it better. Sometimes we just need to get to know each other a little bit better. I think sometimes it can get difficult because we still sometimes play off the cuff. Sometimes we should just learn a little bit more about ourselves and playing together. This will come. It comes with playing a lot of games. I think with the result tonight it was a case of ‘they were much better than us.’ They scored a couple of great goals, great play, and they had some great chances. We gave them this. It was just a difficult night for us.
TORONTO FC FORWARD JEREMY BROCKIE
He’s the best player in the league and when he’s playing like he did today…hats off. Just got to congratulate him really.
On his keeper Joe Bendik:
Joe’s been quality all season. He’s one of the best keepers in the league. We have to thank him for keeping us in the game at times. He is a very good keeper and Toronto is very lucky to have him.
On team performances:
I think we definitely weren’t at our best today. When you have players not playing at their best and they have players like Higuain on their side it’s a bad combination.
On lack of touches up top:
This week didn’t really click for us and we were sort of just sniffing up half chances. I think it just goes back to the team performance and we know that wasn’t good enough and we have to get over this one pretty quickly.
COLUMBUS CREW HEAD COACH ROBERT WARZYCHA