SPORTING DIRECTOR AND HEAD COACH GREGG BERHALTER
On if the team met his expectations…
I think so. When I look at the entire performance from start to finish, I think it was excellent. We knew we were coming up against a New England team that is dangerous: dangerous in attack, very good mobility, good height, good combination play. We knew it was going to be a tough task, but I think from start to finish it was an excellent performance by the group.
On the preparation for this game…
It’s great. It’s do or die right now. We’re going to keep fighting until we’re mathematically either out of it or mathematically in it. We’re going to keep fighting. We’re not going to hold back, and we’re going to keep going, and I think you saw that tonight.
On the number of shots from distance tonight…
I think we were taking a lot of shots in general. If you look at shots inside of the penalty box, it was 13. That could’ve been our high of the season. We wanted to create pressure. We wanted to create pressure on the goalie and I thought it was excellent attack. [We] varied the attack, shooting from distance, shooting from inside the penalty box, crossing, runs behind the defense. We had it all.
On what gave them the edge in the second half…We knew that they’re a dangerous attack with the diamond that they’re playing. They have a lot of guys combining. They have two big strikers who are physical. Our centerbacks did an outstanding job on the two strikers, and our midfield contained their midfield. And then at the end of the day we got the goal in the first half, so I think that was the difference. We knew we were going to give them some chances, but we did a good job of limiting those.
On if there was an emphasis to play wide…
In analyzing a 4-4-2 diamond, one of the weaknesses of the diamond is the wide positions. And we wanted to take advantage of that by bringing it more over to one side and switching the field, and we were able to do that.
On how to continue success against teams in similar positions in the standings…
We get the guys ready. It’s about recovery right now. The next 48 hours are about recovery, and then we have a game on Wednesday. Now’s the time of year where it’s easy to get up for games. This is the fun time of year, and especially when you have a glimmer of hope. And we’re climbing. We have games in hand, we’re playing well. We want to continue that momentum.
On Ola Kamara…
He was big. Not only getting the two goals, but also holding the ball up. We played a number of balls in to him and he was extremely physical, brought other guys into the game, able to receive it on one side, switch to the other side of the field. I think he had one of his better performances since he’s been here.
On the pace of the game…
I was thinking about this, and we want to play quick, there’s no question about it. But to me it’s more about changing the tempo, and it’s about at the right moment really switching into high gear and trying to hurt the opponent. I think if you play quick the whole time, the game loses structure. I don’t think you can maintain that effort for 90 minutes. There were a couple plays in particular that we did a really good job of slowing it down and then at the right moment speeding it up to create a goal opportunity.
On Mohammed Saeid’s health…
We have to remember, Mo (Saeid) was playing with a broken back. Two vertebrae in his back had cracks in them. So you could imagine, if any of you have gone through that, you know the pain. It’s difficult. And then now to play a professional soccer match makes it even more difficult. I think as he got healthy, he started to show why he’s important to this team. Great mobility. Great vision. Great ability to circulate the ball, and he closes down really well. This is the Mo that we know.
On Wil Trapp and Federico Higuain…
They’re both progressing. I would hope to have at least one of them back in some capacity on Wednesday, but again, we’re going to be smart with this, we’re going to make sure both of them are ready before they’re back out on the field … (Higuain) had a slight tear in his muscle. It started out as inflammation and then as we got the MRI we saw a little tear in his core and he’s rehabbing from that.
DEFENDER MICHAEL PARKHURST
On the play of the defensive line…
I thought it was very good. Outside of a couple little turnovers in the first half and then that last chance when [Teal] Bunbury got in behind us, I thought for the most part we kept them in front of us. We kept Kei [Kamara] away from our box. It was good. The pressure in front of us was really good. Nico [Naess] and Mo [Saied], Tony [Tchani] worked really hard in the midfield against four in the diamond. The guys up top did exactly what we needed them to do. It was a solid team performance, and it’s what we need. It’s time for us to do it and luckily we are.
On the incident near the end of the match…
It’s just guys sticking up for teammates. It looked like Scotty (Caldwell) had caught one, it looked like, and he was upset about it. Next play he goes in, and who knows if he caught (Ola Kamara) or not, but from where a lot of us were, it looks bad. So we’re just sticking up for a teammate. After we do that, it’s making sure that calmer heads prevail because we need every healthy body we can have.
FORWARD OLA KAMARA
On his thoughts of the game . . .
It was a fantastic night. We knew we needed three points; nice atmosphere and three points, so this game was perfect for us.
On playing against Kei Kamara . . .
For me the focus was the game and three points, but of course I knew that it was a matchup between the Kamaras and I wanted to be the winner.
On his performance during the game and if he emphasized anything different . . .
I tried to score goals.
On the significance of the first goal in tonight’s game . . .
In my preparations for the game I was thinking in my mind, because the first goal can be very crucial in this game. It’s going to be a tight game, both teams needed that win, it’s a six-point game, so the first goal was very important. So that was my feeling, right there and that was a good feeling to give my team that lead.
On pressuring the New England Revolution . . .
I feel like people were having their go a little bit. A lot of people could have scored today and we played well. We played organized and in the end I think that’s what won the game for us.
On the confrontation after the foul by Scott Caldwell . . .
I was talking to [Andrew] Farrell after; we are all competitors, a little bit happened there. You see my teammates, they stand up for me, same the other way and it’s an important game and I think people just felt the intensity in the end there, and that’s okay in soccer.