Hector vs. NY
Alena Schuckmann / Columbus Crew SC


Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter

On his team embracing the physicality of tonight’s match

I think it was just coming to terms with what kind of game it was going to be. We laid that out very clearly and the guys knew it would not be the prettiest game. Eastern conference games towards the end of the season, fighting for a playoff position against the [New York] Red Bulls who are already a physical team, a very good pressing team. We knew it was going to be challenging. Once we had that right mindset to be able to withstand that, I think we were fine.

On Federico Higuain’s overall performance tonight

[Federico Higuain] was good. The set pieces are a credit to all of the guys, they’ve been working so hard on getting to spots, and getting to the ball. When you have guys like Federico and Pedro [Santos] that can serve in a good ball, it’s dangerous. I thought the set piece play was excellent tonight. But overall he shows why he’s important, why he’s high quality, with plays that he made tonight.

On the ability for Pedro Santos and Federico Higuain to deliver a good set piece ball

I think what’s happening is that guys are running into space knowing they’re going to score. When you have the mindset that ‘The ball is coming to me and I’m putting it in the back of the net’, more often than not, you get opportunities. I think the timing has been good, the desire has been good and the execution has been excellent.

On his team’s confidence recently

As far as we’re concerned, we focus on the next game. We rebound, last week was a disappointment to concede that late. It was about regrouping, traveling back to the East Coast and regrouping, and getting ready to face a tough opponent. I think for us the focus is purely on who’s our next opponent and how can we beat them? The guys have that mentality.

On his team’s plan to be more effective on the counter-attack

I think it’s identifying the weaknesses of the opponent. I think the [New York] Red Bulls have a lot of strengths and they have weaknesses. And when they have weaknesses, you try to exploit them.

On the meeting he had with his coaches during the all-star break

The all-star break is a myth. We play on Saturday, and then we play on Saturday again, and there’s a game squeezed between on a Wednesday. It’s not like you have time to exhale. We have been developing, and to me, it’s about developing. We have a young team, we have young players and have guys that aren’t used to the league. All of that, you want to keep making progress, that’s the two things, you want to be able to work and make progress. And if we keep making progress, you build something like this towards the end. But, we’re not there yet. We gave up two goals today, in situations where I think we could have been better.

On his team’s response after giving up the second goal

I think so. I think it was important to have a reenactment of last week, right away. We went over the events that were leading up to that play and we did a much better job controlling the situation. I think from the 82nd minute on, we did a good job.

On Justin Meram’s exposure league-wide

I think there’s a balance, and the balance is getting the respect and accolades you deserve, which he clearly deserves attention. But then not resting on your laurels, and still pushing through and still wanting to improve every day. That’s the balance. I think there hasn’t been enough written about his play, I think he’s been excellent. You know, you want to improve and build something at the end of the season, you can do the same in important games.

On his team’s ability to score off set pieces

We’re dangerous. When you have guys that can serve a ball and you have guys that can head the ball, normally that’s a good formula.

On his center backs’ ability to score and record assists

I love it, because when you talk about the all-star break and the grouping. We looked at the goals being scored and saw that it was concentrated with three guys. We knew we were going to need other guys chipping in with goals and assists. We brought in a guy like Pedro [Santos] that could contribute, and then you ask more from guys like Jonathan [Mensah] and Josh [Williams], like Alex [Crognale], Lalas [Abubakar]. We said ‘You guys need to get on the end of this, the balls are good enough, let’s get on the end of it.’

On this run being similar to 2015

I have no idea, I’m just focused on D.C. [United] on Saturday.

On Wil Trapp’s performance this season

I think Wil [Trapp] is another guy that has performed much better building up. He’s been getting better and better. I think today was an excellent performance by Wil, it was really difficult territory today. They had numbers up sometimes and he did really well to win some important balls.

Defender Jonathan Mensah

On winning first and second balls

We watched film and their game against [Sporting] Kansas City. That’s how we prepared, and that’s what happened tonight.

On Josh Williams’ goal

I saw after my goal it has been two or three years since a defender scored a goal, so it was motivation for us. He told me during the game, I’m going to get mine and he had the determination to do it. We have to keep working, we have great players that put great balls in so we just have to get it right.

On his team’s ability on set pieces

We have been working a lot on it and now we have Pedro [Santos]. He’s really good on dead balls also. We have to take advantage of that and take our chances. If we keep working on it, we will keep scoring.

On his determination and making better runs

It’s always about determination and knowing you’re going to get it. You make the good run, with a good ball you are going to be in the right spot. We just have to keep working on it and we will get goals out of it too.

On his physicality with Bradley Wright-Phillips

I was told by one of the assistant coaches that he doesn’t like it. just be physical and he is just going to run away from you and play in the middle and that’s what happened. It’s good that we watched film so we can see what he does and it really helped us.

Midfielder Artur

On defeating an Eastern Conference opponent in the playoff race

It was good, it’s important. Every win is important, every three points.  And one against a team in the same conference is the most important to get.

On his team’s performance

All week we were training, thinking about this game. We prepared. We have to do it on the field, and I think we did well. Everybody played and it’s an important win.

On his team’s match against D.C. United next week

I think we have to do the same, keep pushing everybody and everybody playing together. Now the most important thing is keeping together. We have another week between and we are going to hear what [Crew SC Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter] has to talk to us.

On his own performance

I wanted to score one goal, but the most important is the three points and I am happy with the win.

On breaking down the New York Red Bulls’ defense

I try to do everything I can. So, I tried helping defensively and offensively. Everybody played well, so it’s good for us.

Midfielder Hector Jimenez

On his team’s momentum being similar to 2015

There are some players here that weren’t a part of that year so it’s tough to compare it to that year but it definitely feels a little like it did that year so if we can just continue to carry this momentum through the playoffs that’d be great. It was a difficult game for us today and I’m happy the way we closed it at the end, it’s something we learned from our last game in Vancouver and I thought we did well there at the end.

On his team closing out the game strong

To be honest with you it is something that we talked about, we watched video over and we really didn’t execute maybe taking the ball to the corner and killing the game and it’s something that Ola [Kamara] and [Federico Higuain] and Wil [Trapp] did fantastic today at the end. You have to give credit to those guys on the field at the end. It’s definitely something that we looked into and something that worked out for us today.

On his team’s confidence building

You see the vibes in and around the locker room and at practice. Everything kind of clicks. You can’t be too high and you can’t be too low. D.C. [United] is another opponent that is coming into town and these games are never easy, they’re at the bottom of the list, they’re never easy. But we have a long week to prepare and we’ll take care of that.