SPORTING DIRECTOR AND HEAD COACH GREGG BERHALTER
On Ethan Finlay and his two goals:
His work rate was phenomenal, but I can say that about a lot of guys. We’ve had a tough stretch this last month or so with games. I think this was our ninth game in just over a month. So we’ve been grinding. To see some of these performances, including his, was pretty good.
On overcoming the early goal:
Obviously, we’re not happy with how we conceded but we came into the game pretty well. We were aggressive right from the beginning. Things like that happen in a game, but we’re going to look at that and analyze it. The guys were up for it tonight. You can see how they were playing, it was really aggressive. I’m proud of them.
On Ethan Finlay’s confidence after a game like this:
It’s great, for the whole team’s confidence. I think the way they played, the matter in which they played, I think there was something like 19 chances. We were getting after it tonight. For Ethan [Finlay], it’s a huge confidence boost, but I’ll tell you, I don’t think he’s lost much confidence anyway because he’s been chipping in with assists. He’s been phenomenal. But, when I look at guys like Kei [Kamara] and Federico [Higuain] and virtually everyone on the field, they were solid.
On what is different about Ethan Finlay’s play when he is finishing chances:
I think just that. He’s at the end of chances and he’s finishing chances off. We know he can provide chances but we know he can also score. So when he gets on the score sheet with goals, it’s nice as well.
On Kei Kamara’s game with his two assists:
We knew how he was going to be effective tonight. We outlined that and he did a fantastic job of executing it. That’s all on him. It would have been nice for him to get one himself, he had a great chance at the end, but it wasn’t to be. His work rate and what he gave us was pretty good tonight.
On his feelings of Wil Trapp being back on the field:
It’s great. It’s nice to start having everyone coming back and getting healthy. We missed Wil [Trapp]. Having said that, I think our midfield played pretty good tonight. But, we’ve missed him. He’s a quality player. It’s great to have him back, it’s great to give him some minutes and we look to increase that as we move forward.
On the partnership of Ethan Finlay and Kei Kamara:
They’re tough to play against. But I think when you add Justin [Meram] and Kristinn [Steindorsson] and Federico [Higuain] into the mix it’s a tough top four to play against. Federico [Higuain] was all over the place supplying and making some passes and getting some chances of his own. I think, by and large, that’s a tough group to have to defend.
On Columbus Crew SC’s defense tonight:
We were fine. We knew they were going to come with some energy and we knew they were going to be aggressive moving forward. I thought they dealt with it well. [Emanuel] Pogatetz was winning a lot of headers, Michael was in a good position, our fullbacks were doing really well. I think we handled it well. We’re obviously a bit fatigued with some of our guys playing on Tuesday in Orlando. They’ve recovered and they looked sharp.
On what the arrival of Cedrick Mabwati brings to the team:
We’re going to work to integrate him as fast as possible. I’d say first and foremost, he gives you pace. He’s very good one-v-one. We’re going to look to utilize that. If you see a game like today, if you have a guy in the latter stretches of the game that can take the ball the whole length of the field, it can be pretty effective. We’re going to work with him and get him into the team as soon as possible.
On Wil Trapp’s substitution into the game:
It’s special. He means a lot to this area and rightfully so. He’s a guy that most, if not all, of Columbus is proud of. I think he has a bright future ahead of him and it’s our job to keep working with him and keep progressing and getting him to where he needs to be.
On Steve Clark’s late-game save:
That’s Steve Clark right there. That’s what he does. He comes up with that big save that gets you wins. They didn’t have many clear chances, but that was certainly one. He came up with a big save at the right moment.
On level of play from midfielders Tony Tchani and Mohammed Saeid:
They were fantastic. Strong on the ball, good in the tackle and I thought that they both had outstanding games. New York’s midfield is a good midfield, a strong midfield, but I think we handled them well tonight.
On Lieutenant Stu Tudor being at the game tonight:
I have not had contact with him recently, but what I would say is he’s one of us. Obviously a tragic accident, an unfortunate accident happened last year, but he didn’t leave our minds and we were thinking about him the whole time. It’s great to see him here and that’s a special moment.
FORWARD KEI KAMARA
On recovering from a 1-0 deficit to win the match:
You don’t want to go down in a game, but it seems like the past few games at home we’ve gone down, and going down woke us up. If that’s what it takes to win the games, fine, we’ll take it, but it’s not good. Today, really, as a team we showed so much character out there. It was really good from everyone, even the guys coming off the bench. It was amazing work.
On assisting Ethan Finlay twice tonight:
Team game, really. Team game. I told you guys earlier in the year that I was scoring goals and saying ‘what if teams start figuring me out and block me from scoring goals?’ That’s why I have guys around me that can also score goals. It’s definitely a team game as you can see. The second goal, a great ball from Federico [Higuain] to me to Ethan [Finlay], stuff like that. It doesn’t matter what they do, we’re going to find open guys. To me, goals are going to come. When they don’t come, as long as I can work, help the team out and get three points, I’ll go home happy.
On his first assist:
I was just thinking if I could have brought it down, but then I saw Ethan [Finlay] there and I didn’t see a defender near me. All of my headers, I’m kind of jumping up and going for them, but that one I didn’t have to jump. I had five, six, seven, I don’t know, 10 headers before that, and it was only a matter of time before Ethan could get behind one of them and score.
MIDFIELDER ETHAN FINLAY
On what scoring two goals does for his confidence:
It’s great, but what’s more important is that we got the win. I’m extremely happy with the win. We played well enough for it, created a lot of chances this evening and it’s a big three points for us going forward.
On the club’s first match with New York this season and if that played into the team’s mind:
No, actually – I think we had a great game plan. Gregg [Berhalter] looked back at that game, he’s looked at how they’ve been playing and we identified some ways we could exploit them. We did a fantastic job of doing that tonight. We could have had more, maybe a little unfortunate not to. It was a great game plan and the guys went out there and executed. It resulted in a win.
On scoring two goals this evening assisted by Kei Kamara as opposed to assisting Kamara:
Kei [Kamara], Pipa (Federico Higuain), whoever it is, Justin [Meram], Tony [Tchani] – [Kei] was in a great position, and don’t discredit the ball from Pipa. His vision there to find [Kamara] on the back post was a heck of a little sequence there. It was a great play, and I even noticed Steve Clark got on the scoresheet tonight, so good for him.
On recovering from a 1-0 deficit to win the match:
It feels good, but we’re still disappointed. I know those guys would tell you they’re still upset about giving that one up, and I know Steve [Clark] wants that one back. We probably deserve a shutout in some of our recent games, but we’ve been a little bit unfortunate. We need to figure it out; we need to tidy it up back there. Great resilience from the guys tonight to respond.
MIDFIELDER WIL TRAPP
On his past two months and what his experience has been like:
It was a long time. I’ve never been out that long, but I’ve been surrounded by great staff here, the coaching staff, teammates, girlfriend, family, team doctors – everyone’s been huge in helping me get back, helping me stay positive. It’s never fun when you’re watching from the sidelines, but you just keep that goal in the back of your mind and push toward that every day.
On the club’s midfield tonight:
Unbelievable tonight. You look at a guy like Tony Tchani, he’s played four games in the last two weeks, to put in the performance he did is incredible. There’s a reason he got the man of the match ball after. Mo [Saeid], the same. It’s tough sledding against a team like that because they put so many numbers forward, they press so hard, especially in the midfield, and I think those two handled it exceptionally well.
On having Saeid’s presence on the club:
It’s part of the game, it’s part of the team. You have to have that competition. I’m happy for him. He’s done exceptionally well. Him and Tony, it makes it tough for me to get back, so that’s good. It only makes you better. Challenges are good, and if you want to get better, you have to accept those challenges and take one on the chin sometimes.
MIDFIELDER CEDRICK MABWATI (from pre-match introduction, through a club translator)
On how it feels to finally be in Columbus:
I’m very happy to be here, I’m excited to come to the Columbus family. I’m excited to be here and work hard for this club.
On what he is most looking forward to as a player for Crew SC:
When I got approached by the coaches, I got very excited because this is another milestone for my career. So I’m very excited to come in here and work hard.
On why he was excited about the opportunity to play for Crew SC:
I’m just very excited, the league has grown. I decided to try something new, I have been in Spain for a very long time so I wanted to get out a little bit and experience a new league.
On what attracted him most to Columbus:
I spoke with some of the players, I spoke to Waylon [Francis] and he was very excited about it, [he said] it was very family oriented and it was a very good team so I wanted to come here and try my best.
On his style as a player:
As a player, I am a very fast player. I attack very well up front and I am very skillful, so that is what I am going to try to bring here to the team.
On his role with Crew SC:
I’ve always played an attacking role, so I can play anywhere there. I am comfortable on the left side, but whatever Coach Gregg [Berhalter] decides, that’s where I will be.
On having signed a contract while still playing for Osasuna:
I signed a contract during Christmas time. It was fun, both clubs came to an agreement and I was very happy to end my career there and come here and start back up.
On if he has been to the United States before:
This is my first time [in the United States], I’m very excited to be here.
On his familiarity with MLS:
I didn’t know much about [MLS], I didn’t follow it very much. But, since I have signed, I have been following MLS and this club and I am very excited to be here.
On how he got to know Crew SC defender Waylon Francis:
We actually met at through Instagram and then we started talking and we have become good friends.
On challenges he anticipates while playing for Crew SC:
It is going to be difficult for me because I am unfamiliar with the league, but I am here to play and I am here to work hard and be an asset for this team.
On how he feels physically:
Physically I feel fine, we finished the season over there fifteen days ago, so I am prepared and I am ready to go.