SPORTING DIRECTOR AND HEAD COACH GREGG BERHALTER
On coming from behind to win the match:
I think we talked before the game about managing the game. No matter what happens – we go down a goal, we go up a goal, it stays tied – manage the game. And I think after [New England’s goal] happened, it didn’t really affect us. Obviously it affected the scoreline, but the guys kept going and kept playing and they seemed to settle in nicely.
On if staying focused has been a coaching emphasis:
I think if you look at this league, crazy things happen. Teams go down, teams go up three goals, down two goals, everything happens, and you just have to remain calm, remain focused. You saw New England last week in D.C., they scored first, they lost 2-1. So you have to stay focused and don’t let that negative event affect you too much.
On if tonight’s win will provide momentum going forward:
It could. Again, it’s another game. I think that it was a good win; it was a tough win. At the end it got nerve-racking, so it was good to have to go through that and still get the three points. But I think we just want to keep making progress and I think that’s the line we’re going to go with – we want to keep improving. Today there’s still things we can improve and that’s where we’re at.
On goalkeeper Steve Clark’s 50th game in Major League Soccer:
Steve was good. Steve was really good. I think very secure. He needed a performance like that and he got it. I like the calmness, I like catching everything, holding everything. It was a strong performance from him tonight.
On how far Crew SC is from their best level of play as a team:
Well, again, we still want to make progress. I think when we went up 2-1, I think we could’ve been more effective in playing out the game and perhaps getting the third goal. Give New England credit for putting a lot of pressure on us, but I think we could be better in those situations. The third goal was certainly there to get and we didn’t and we made it difficult on ourselves. But again, it shouldn’t take away from the fact that I’m extremely proud of this group tonight for responding after going down, and coming back and getting the win and holding on when we are under pressure.
On how not getting potential penalty calls affected the game:
We haven’t gotten a penalty all year, which is odd. I’m not commenting at all on the referees but I just think that it’s odd that we have a lot of chances created, a lot of shots and no penalty kicks. So that’s curious to me. I think we’re probably due one.
On forward Kei Kamara’s performance and contribution:
I thought he was good. I thought some of the movements were exceptional. The first goal, sticking with that play, and following it up was great and the finish was great. He had a chance early right after that I think with his left foot that could’ve went in as well. And I think the movement – we want him stretching the opponent’s backline, we want him being physical, being mobile – and he certainly was tonight.
On how Kamara’s presence helps the team:
It’s fantastic. He’s the leading scorer in the League and I think that it’s a testament to him, but it’s also a testament to the group that they know where to find him, they know how to give him balls and they keep looking for him, so I think that’s a positive.
On midfielder Ethan Finlay’s performance:
Again, Ethan’s been another guy who would like to have more goals. We all would like that, but he just keeps plugging away. He never gets down, he keeps working and his assists mean a lot as well. It’s great to see a guy like that who had a breakout year last year just keep going and keep performing.
On midfielder Mohammed Saeid and midfielder Tony Tchani’s performances:
It was a tough game for them. They played against three players, so it wasn’t easy. I thought they did well. I thought Tony in particular was moving the ball pretty quickly, and Mohammed is fearless. I’ve said that before to you guys. He keeps working and keeps going and that energy level certainly helped us.
On how Kei Kamara raises his game to a new level:
Absolutely, I think, again, he could have had more, right, if you look at the game and it’s great. I think that he’s aggressive around the box, he wants to score, and that’s the best thing. He truly wants to put the ball in the back of the net and he has that urgency and that desire and that goes a long way.
On if the crossing style of play suits the team the best:
I think their centerbacks did a pretty good job in dealing with crosses. I think of those 30, I don’t know how many ended up in shots on goal, but they did a good job, we wanted to keep the ball on the ground and put it across the goal. I think that’s more difficult for that type of centerback. They did a good job of all the balls in the air, certainly.
On the weak spot of the team:
I think even in wins there are always weak spots. In any type of game you could always find something wrong. I don’t think that’s why we’re up here, I think we’re up here to celebrate the great effort by the group and coming back and getting a win. I think that’s the most important thing. We’ll deal with all of that stuff as a coaching staff.
On Chad Barson:
We value him and his ability to help close out games. He’s tenacious on defense, he has a great spirit. Hector got a little bit of a pull and so we had to make the change. There is no hesitation there at all. He knows his role, he knows what to do and he did a great job. He made a big play at the end also, big play on that header.
On Wil Trapp’s recovery:
That’s tough to say, but he’s certainly making progress.
On Kevan George’s Gold Cup call-up and Waylon Francis’ lack of a call-up:
Obviously it’s difficult for Waylon [Francis], I think he certainly deserved it but I’m not the coach of Costa Rica, so that doesn’t matter. Kevan [George], I’m extremely proud of. I look at the progress he’s made over the last two years, it’s really something. He’s made a ton of progress. We see the poise that he came into this game tonight with and you wouldn’t see that last year. That’s a testament to him and how he’s been studying the game and how hard he’s been working outside of training.
On getting guys rest for the coming matches:
We’re good. We’ll check with the medical staff but we move on. Tomorrow we fly out to Salt Lake and we prepare the guys, get the guys that can manage and get them ready to play.
On the plans for Real Salt Lake without Javier Morales:
I’ve admired him for years, I think he’s one of the better players in the League. It certainly doesn’t hurt that he’s not playing but you move on, you plan for the other guys and I’m sure that whoever comes in is going to want to take their chance. It’s not going to be easy.
FORWARD KEI KAMARA
On how the win feels:
Good. More for the way that one started and for us to come out of there with all three points, it’s good. Now, we’re back on the road so it’s really good for us to come out of that game that way.
On how his success this season has felt and how his two goals in tonight’s game felt:
It’s not three [goals]. Everybody says that I’m not use to scoring one, I just get two and then that’s it, but I enjoy getting balls in the back of the net. I have really good teammates that have been finding me and making that easy for me. Ethan, for example, the League has to recognize that he’s one of the best passers around and he can find people and he’s found that strength that he can make good passes. It’s not all about scoring goals all the time, it’s about making the good passes, finding somebody who’s open and it’s great. I’m just happy to be at the end of it.
On scoring four minutes after New England’s goal:
Well actually, good cross from Hector [Jimenez] in the first place and Pipa (Federico Higuain) getting that header in. Even when warming up, I’m just trying to look for rebounds all the time. I’m not going to get much chances shooting on goal, but sniffing around the goal is good. It banged off of the cross bar and all I had to do was just make sure I keep it on frame and it was good enough.
MIDFIELDER JUSTIN MERAM
On the key to having the answers tonight and getting the win:
To be honest when that first goal was scored, I couldn’t believe it. Right after that goal, I think we played probably the best soccer we had that whole game, the next 30 minutes. That just shows our composure and we didn’t let it affect us. That just shows the maturity of our team.
On coming back from a one-goal deficit:
It’s always positive, hats off to Kei. We tell him, just stay in that box and we are going to feed you the ball. He was a beast tonight.
On what it means to have a guy like Kei, scoring the way that he is on their team:
We are pretty disappointed in him right now because he’s always getting two and not three. I think he needs to step it up a little bit, two goals is just unacceptable now. (laughs)