Gregg Berhalter
Alena Schuckmann / Columbus Crew SC

POST-MATCH QUOTES | #VANvCLB

SPORTING DIRECTOR & HEAD COACH GREG BERHALTER

On Kekuta Manneh and Tony Tchani both scoring after being traded for one another...

“I think it’s nice. I’m happy for both those guys. Obviously particularly happy for Kekuta, for the warm reception by the fans, but not only that, the performance. I talked to him about how important he is to this team and about he is going to be able to make an impact down the stretch, and he showed it. I’m really happy for his performance tonight.”

On if he is happy with a point...

“I don’t think we’re happy with a point. If you look in the dressing room, the guys aren’t happy. We wanted to prove a point. It came back through the grapevine that they’re calling us a soft team, and they’re going to be physical with us, and it would be interesting to see the thoughts now after the game, because I didn’t see it that way at all. I think we controlled the match, we defended well with the set pieces which we knew was a big strength of theirs. And we looked the more aggressive team, we looked the team that wanted to attack and wanted to score goals. So we’re disappointed at the end that they got the goal, but we’ll keep our heads up and keep working.”

On Kekuta Manneh...

“He’s a game-changer. His profile is a guy that in any instant can change the course of the game through his ability. It’s nice to see him get the opportunity, but then take advantage of it.”

On their chances in the Eastern Conference and being a darkhorse...

“I don’t think we’re interested in what everyone has to say. We believe in our group, guys believe in each other, and we keep our heads down and we keep working. You know Toronto’s had an exceptional year, one for the history books, and they’re the team everyone’s trying to catch. But we’ll take it game by game and keep our heads down and keep working.”

On Ola Kamara...

“I think Ola’s an outstanding striker. I think if people watched our games they would see how good he is. Very good movement off the ball, very good finisher, very good work rate. In my eyes, he’s one of the top strikers in MLS, but I get to coach him. I think if people were watching enough they’d be able to see the same thing.”

FORWARD KEKUTA MANNEH

On returning to play in Vancouver...

“I was really excited coming back to Vancouver. This city gave me everything I had and everything I am today. I basically grew up here and I consider it as a home for me. So it was a bit emotional coming down, and different too being in different colours. But it was fun, the whole trip was fun. We came down Wednesday and the boys enjoyed the city, I showed them around, and I met some old friends. But I thought it was good. It feels a little bit weird. It was different, but we enjoyed it. It’s good to be back.”

On being more motivated than usual...

“Not really. I just thought our game plan was for me to succeed today. This team is very tactical. They wanted me to be that player that carried the team today, and that’s what we did. I saw they had me one-v-one, and I thought that played to my strengths, that’s what I’m all about. Let me play free and get me the ball in positions to run at the players. That’s what the coach did, and he did it that whole week. So that was our game plan, and we thought we could have success with that. I happened to be that player, and it could have been someone else, but the coach chose me. And I thought that happened, and I was fortunate enough to get an assist and score a goal, so I’m really pleased with the performance. But take away nothing from the guys’ performance, it’s been unbelievable. Playing against a big team like the Whitecaps, physical team. You look at our height and it’s crazy, I think only one person is over six-foot tall besides the goalkeeper on the field. So I thought we dealt with that very well. I’m really proud of the guys and I thought we gave everything we had and were very unlucky not to get a result here. But I thought it was a good game overall.”

On his start in Columbus...

“It’s tough. Life in a different city and different country, I thought it was tough. The team, the system is different. Everything is to perfection. Sometimes with things, you can get caught up. It took me a while to get adjusted to the system, and play a different system than Vancouver that I was playing in for four or five years. Having to go to a different system, it was tough for me to break into the team. I think it took me a while, but now I think I’m caught up to speed and I’m seeing the benefit. The way the team wants to play, and the team is adjusting to me with my style of play, and I’m adjusting to the team’s style of play. So I think it’s working now. So now it’s just getting opportunities and to help the team achieve their goals.”

FORWARD OLA KAMARA

Thoughts on the match...

“We’re very disappointed not winning this game. I think we played a very good game on the road. Coming out with one point is okay, but we’re disappointed that we had it 2-1 until the last couple of minutes.”

On his play this year...

“For me I think I found my shape, the last couple of games. Of course I scored a lot of goals the last couple of games. Hopefully if we get into the playoffs, I know I’m in good shape. And we’ll see, people are more prepared this year for what I’m doing, but I’m still able to get goals, so that’s good.”

On being a darkhorse in the Eastern Conference...

“I think we have a very good group, and you see we’re dangerous on the attack too. You see Kekuta coming in today, who was unbelievable. Then Justin [Meram]’s fantastic, and Pedro [Santos]. Pipa [Federico Higuain] is of course our playmaker, and right now I’m scoring goals also. I think we have a lot of firepower, and our midfield and defence are playing better continuing this season, so it’s looking good. But we have to get into the playoffs, then anything can happen.”

 

With home games against Eastern Conference foes such as the New York Red Bulls on September 23 and D.C. United on September 30 leaving vital points up for grabs, Crew SC is charging closer to chasing the 2017 MLS Cup.

Columbus closes the regular season on the road at Orlando City SC on October 15 and at New York City FC on October 22. 

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