“Bitterly disappointed with the result, obviously. 2-1 . . . two good chances to score to finish the game off and didn’t do it. From that point we just collapse and didn’t do the right things in the right areas to see the game out. Even at 2-2 you’ve got to see the game out and get a tie out of it.”
“We’ve got guys that aren’t ready to roll their sleeves up right now. And that’s disappointing for a team that’s defending their title. For me it’s a disappointment, but we move on. We’re still doing OK in our league, and we just are looking forward to the next game. And try to get it right – work hard during the week. We look forward to our game in Columbus.”
Is your bad road record a concern, particularly because you get the lead and loose it late in games?
“Yes they are . . . obviously, we’ve lost six in a row. We couldn’t get a tie out of it. That’s a disappointment, that’s a concern. Having said that, I would think if I could get Jeff Agoos and Troy Dyak fit, and playing together, it’s a little different. But still, that’s not an excuse. There’s still 11 guys out there and they’re capable players to get results. We can do it at home, so why we can’t do it on the away? That’s what I can’t figure out.”
Do you think it’s a mental difference in the players between the road and home games?
“I don’t know. I think we train the same we prepare exactly the same. What happens is that once you get in a couple of losses your confidence goes. I thought we played pretty well. I thought we moved the ball quite well . . . created a number of good chances. I just told the guys that you’ve got to take some positives away from each game. But, as a whole, we cannot perform like that or we’ll be out in two games in the playoffs. To be on top of your division and not be able to win six games away from home is not good. So we need to get that addressed on Tuesday, and we need to get that right.”
“The best quote of the night is from my great, great Assistant Coach John Trask. He said, ‘Ray, I know you don’t like Russian Roulette, but this was absolutely Shakespearean,’ because that’s what it was tonight.”
“You think I’m going to be coming in here happy? You’re wrong.”
“Nicky Rimando . . . world-class. You witnessed a world-class performance tonight. Anybody realize that? That was world-class. That was a world-class goalkeeper that won the game for us. It allowed us, just like in the Fusion days, a chance to win the game. Nicky is my man of the match. Great heart, and wonderful personality from this team tonight.”
“The fans will be thrilled, the fans will all be clapping – that’s what makes them fans. That’s the type of performance that gives me . . . endless . . . endless night of non-sleep. When we can be that good, when we that menacing, and yet leave something out there, leave something behind . . .”
“The way we played in the first half I was pleased with. I don’t think our passing wasn’t particularly good . . .and the way we started the second half.”
“But the heart and the personality in the team, the all-pros, came through. Moreno tonight, tremendous! Eddie Pope, rolling the dice and leaving his defensive position like I told him to, joining in and getting the goal. But it was still Russian roulette. And without Rimando to pull those saves out like he did, it’s a different game.”
“This will bang a bell around the league. We beat the champions. This was a championship team. That was their strongest team tonight that we stuck 4 goals past. That is an enormous feather in our cap all the way through the team. And we showed tremendous ability, and I’m not happy because we can be better, each one of us individually.”
“I told the lads at halftime, ‘If you’re happy and pleased with yourself, you’re kidding yourself. Your selling yourself short.’ I’m not being a wet blanket; I’m not being hypercritical. We could just be better. We were on the good side of it tonight. We’ve played as well, if not even better, in my opinion, than we did tonight tonight. And yet, we came out 4-2 winners against the championship team. I think . . . I hope this is the spring board for our roll. I hope we roll on because when they play like that, with that sort of desire, and passion, and personality, they can beat anybody. I think we may have had a rub of the ball, here or there, but it wasn’t that. It was our goalkeeper keeping us in the game, and allowing us chance to win the game.”
“But I’m still not happy and I don’t mind saying that. We can still play better. There’s one or two guys in there in terms of our passing – and I love that I’m looking for perfection, so you can criticize me for that – but we can be that good. There was too many casual passes tonight. We could have punished them tonight, really punished them in my estimation, but we didn’t. But we come away 4-2 winners and you say, ‘OK, that’s fine.’”
“We’ll take this and savor it. I’m so pleased for our fans – our long-suffering f—— fans. They must be on the wine right now, and god bless them. It’s an uplifting win. We need that. Them lads have been on the s—— end of the stick too many times where we’ve done well, we played well, and we lost. And we’ve lost to crap teams as well. That’s not a crap team. That’s still the championship team. In my opinion, that’s still the team to beat in this league. So we’ll see how it turns out . . . that’s still the team. And we stuffed them. We weren’t lucky! But I think we were a little fortunate. We had three, or four, or five players whose passing wasn’t too well. Obviously I’ll take take. Good stuff.”
What about the influence of Villegas and Zambrano as substitutes?
“Petter did well. That’s been a hard role for him because he’s not a substitute type player. But he came in with a great attitude. And credit to him he set up a lovely goal – knocked a lovely ball into Eddie Pope .. . picked Eddie out, and Eddie stuck his head in and got a little touch, and a lovely little finish.”
“And Henry’s a quality player. Just like we said he’ll have his place and stuff. He just got off the ship. He’s going to fit in well, and still learning the lad’s names. But he’s a good addition to the squad, and a good introduction as well. I thought he showed a lot of fizz in his game, and picked us up a bit.”
“A strange game to go back to John’s quote about Russian roulette. It was a strange game. Jaime again early on did his wonderful magic and set himself up for a goal, and your heart goes out to him – mine does – because he does so much, but its not falling into that hole for him like it used to. He just doesn’t have that touch right now. But he showed me a lot tonight. That was Moreno’s best performance all year long for me! It was the bravery, the desire with Jaime. That’s the biggest part. You can talk about the fitness not being right. You can talk about him not being as good as he used to, but I don’t think that’s the case. I think he just needs to get that desire back. To show this league he is the best. He is a superlative player, a menacing player. He menaced them tonight. There was some talk about bringing him off. I’m not going to bring him off tonight, and I think it paid dividends.”
Was there a moment in the game where the momentum changed?
“It was like the barrel just kept spinning! When they went up ahead 2-1 I thought, ‘Oh lord, not tonight after we showed so much in the first half.’ And again, credit the lad’s heart and personality because they didn’t let down. Even the lad’s, and I’m not mentioning any names, that weren’t having a good night, there was no drop off. And I’ve told you lads that this isn’t a team that is going to implode. They like each other, and they get along.”
“I hope this is a springboard. I hope this is a situation that will go onto the next game because if we can beat that lot, we can beat anybody. There’s no excuses now, and our fans should remember that as well. They’re good enough! They’ve got it, they can bounce back, they can did themselves out. That encouraged me, but it’s not the way you like to win – to come back like that – to go ahead deserved, to go behind.”
“But they’ve got great forwards. I thought Landon’s finishing was world-class. It took a world-class performance to beat Nicky tonight. He’s a real dagger man up there for them.”
“I’m proud as punch tonight. It will be a good night for the boys, and my god they deserve it. They deserve a little bit of sugar.”
What was there tonight, especially late in the game, that hasn’t been there before?
“Just a bit of guts I think. It’s a bad situation, but don’t have anything to lose. We can’t have anymore bad luck in the season. I think we just threw caution to the wind. We threw a few people forward maybe when we shouldn’t have to get the goals. We scrambled on defense, and finally broke them when we attacked.”
What did you tell Landon in the first half when you got in his face?
“Oh well no, I just said if he wants to have a beer with myself after the game, just to come back – no problems.”
Did you guys do anything different to defend against him tonight?
“No, he’s just quick as lightening, so obviously you’ve got to watch anything in behind. And in the second half the game opened up, which means the space opened up and we played too risky. But, he got two opportunities and he scored on them – that’s the sign of a good player. We had four opportunities and scored four of them.”
What was there the second half that hasn’t been there before?
“I think we stopped asking ourselves those questions – what’s going wrong? It’s so hard to put your finger on it, especially when you play well and you come up with a tie on the road, or a difficult loss. We just quit asking those questions, and we said, ‘Let’s make our own luck. And at the end of the day if we work hard and still haven’t won, then we’ll accept it.’ We need to make our own luck and try to get over that hump.”