New York Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke
On today’s match
I thought it was a tough start to the game. We were behind the ball and they were real enthusiastic, they had the energy. We didn’t seem to. I think right before the goal it shifted a little bit and once we scored the goal it opened up a bit more. The second half it comes down to mistakes again. We thought we cut a lot of those out but there were some individual mistakes that turns into team mistakes because everyone is trying to overcompensate. Toronto’s a good team. Then Tim Cahill gets his head on the ball, Bradley puts a nice finish, it was a back and forth game. It’s the first game in three and a half weeks for both teams so exciting game for the fans, we got a point.
On playing Tim Cahill right after arriving from FIFA World Cup in Brazil
I was hoping to bring Tim on in the 88th minute, up 3-0 so the fans could clap him for the wonderful World Cup he had. Obviously things change with the score, with the way the game went and we felt to bring Tim on for 15-20 minutes perhaps something could happen and obviously it did at the end.
On playing a young back line
The thought process is that since I took this job a year and a half ago I preached about giving young kids, giving academy kids opportunities. Last year I didn’t. I felt I wasn’t able to at times. Things worked out for the better during the season. This year, I think giving Chris (Duvall) that opportunity and seeing how he took it gave me the courage to give Matt (Miazga) the opportunity and he took it well, and gave me the courage to give Ambroise Oyongo the opportunity. This is a league that we play plenty of teams that are young and enthusiastic and have energy. If you don’t match that, I’ve been preaching this for a year and a half, if you don’t match that you’re behind the eight ball from the start of the game. I’m going to do what I feel I need to do to get that energy. I feel that in certain instances, a lot of players, we have the talent on this team but we need to have an effort every game.
On Toronto starting fast in tonight’s match
I don’t have an answer for that because I’m not in Toronto’s locker room, I’m not in practice with them all week. Their ball movement was better than ours, we were chasing shadows at times. All it takes is two or three yards for them to shift every time they pass the ball and you see how much better a team can pass the ball if players move around and get in pockets. Credit to them they’re a good team, they did a phenomenal job rebuilding their team and they made a lot of changes and have some good players. They walked out of here with a point tonight, I feel like us being the home team that we lost two points. Not necessarily in the way we played tonight, but just being the home team you feel like you lose two points. But good finish to the game, we rescued a point and now it’s on to Houston.
On giving more young players opportunities
Since I took the job I’ve made it very clear that the club is the most important thing, results are the most important thing. With my history with this club, I don’t give a damn what anybody says, or comes to me and says why is he not playing or why am I not playing? People will play when they show they’ve earned it in practice. Not to take anything away from the players you’ve named, I’ve given them shots in the past, but right now Duvall, Miazga and Oyongo have deserved to get their opportunity and they got it.
On position in Eastern Conference, other teams with games in hand and not defending the home field as well as last season
Anytime I lose it’s very disappointing and very frustrating. We made an effort from last year to this year of keeping the team intact. It’s virtually, minus two key players that are not here plus a couple additions, the same exact team from last year. We haven’t done much differently in the coaching ranks, on the practice we look to introduce new things but it’s virtually the same as it was last year, and we had success during the season last year. I can’t stop saying it, it’s MLS. It really is any given day. Right now we’re not in a slump we came in with a win and a tie so it’s just eerie at times to sit back and watch replay of the game, just little things here and there but at the end of the day last year’s bad team is this year’s good team most of the time. You know they’re able to rebuild, they’re able to get money, allocation money. We have 18 games left right now, 18 games to get it done. It’s not an issue right now as far as I’m concerned.
New York Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill
On being ready to play in this match
I spoke with the boss and he said "will you be available" and I said of course I'll be available, and here we are tonight, got fifteen minutes, or whatever it was and just happy to be able to contribute to the team's result today.
On if the jet lag and World Cup play affected his play
No, no. Straight away he knew that I wasn't set to start, but I said if there was any way I could contribute, even just for team morale or just to be around the boys, but if you need me to play half an hour I'm ready. I don't play for plaudits, but tonight it was important, we were winning the game and then come back into it and overall when you contribute like that it makes a big difference to the result. And that's pretty much what I wanted to do tonight. So for me it's a good feeling that I could help the team get a good result.
On the crowds ovation when he subbed in
The crowds fantastic. I think one of the biggest things for me was just to try and get this connection with the fans, for them to understand how much we appreciate them, and over the course of two seasons I have done that, and they respect that. They see how hard you work when you fly back every time from international duty they appreciate the commitment and effort, regardless if I'm playing or not. So, they mean a lot to me, and obviously the boys as well. But overall, they sung from the start and it's the passion of American fans, and the local fans here as well, and you see that at the moment at the World Cup for America.
On the assist that tied the game at 2-2
It's simple, I could see what happened. They come to challenge a few times before hand and couldn't win the header, and I thought that it'd be smart to back off and get my second ball. But overall, that's the mind games you play with center backs, Caldwell and the other guy at the back are massive and they won everything all day. But, as soon as I won two headers before that they didn't want to come and challenge and have the physical battle, but once I seen them peel off they went backwards without looking where there man was, and it was just nice to put it in a good area for Bradley (Wright-Phillips) to finish. The way he finishes he just need the ball in front of his body, and it was nice that he could execute the finish off the flick on.
On how tough it is coming back from the World Cup to MLS
I suppose it's tough to an extent, but it's something I've done my whole career. I think the best thing, more than anything, was my decision to come to the MLS, to play internationally in my third World Cup, and the calculated decision being great domestically. The league, the club, the fans, the success we had last season now looking for more success, and on top of that, having two of the best moments in my footballing history with a goal against Chile, and one agains the Netherlands. I'm proud that the MLS and New York Red Bulls have played a part in that. I know people were questioning, I left the Premier League to play in another World Cup, to be in a great league, and you look at the way the American national team's going, the amount of MLS player's playing there, it's justified for these boys and they're really flaying the flag well, and hopefully they can do us proud again by going to the next level.
On if he was happy with his World Cup
Yeah, I regret nothing. I played in three World Cup's, had some good times, but overall, yeah, I'm happy. That's the way football goes, you just look forward to the future and enjoy your time as a footballer.
Possibility of playing in Asia Cup next year
Yeah, we'll see exactly what the plans are for the coach. But overall, for me, I'm committed to playing as much football as possible and trying to do the best I can for my club.
New York Red Bulls defender Ambroise Oyongo
On his first MLS start
The first match I found it to be a lot more tactical compared to some of the other ways I’ve played in which are a little bit more amateur. This was at a higher level. Just evaluating how the other team attacked and everything like that. I’m very happy to take part in my first MLS match and I thought it went really well.
On if anything about Toronto surprised him
Its football, you kind of have to be prepared for everything. There was nothing really that they did that surprised us. We thought that we played well and it all comes down to training. We’re just trying to take everything we did in training and take it to the game.
On his performance in training
In football there are young players and there are old players, but ultimately it’s the best that play. I worked hard and did everything I could in practice so that I could earn my spot. I made it onto the A team, started my first MLS match, so I’m really proud of what I was able to accomplish in training and that brought me here and I’m going to continue to work hard.
New York Red Bulls forward Thierry Henry
On Toronto’s Jermain Defoe
You don’t see him a lot in the game but when you see him he usually does score. As you can see today he tried to put the ball on target, 35 times. That seemed often. He doesn’t look too much to see who’s around him and he tries to smash it. He got a good ball from (Dominic) Oduro. We were a bit lazy. I don’t know how Oduro found himself alone like that. He pulls the ball back and he buried it.
On New York’s back line
They played well. Matt’s been playing well, he’s a good young kid, played well against New England. Oyongo played well also. Great ball om the goal when Peguy (Luyindula) scored. But overall it’s a bit weird because, okay, we come back, 2-2, but they got away with one today the first goal and the second goal, it was a free kick, but the way we lost that ball to get that free kick and the way we lost that ball on the first goal. I would have rather them to score in the first half when they were outplaying us. Not the way we conceded the goals in the second half. But again we came back and it’s annoying because it’s only a point.
On the team’s difficulty on defending at home
Today if you look at the goals, you can avoid them, especially the first one. We gave the ball away cheaply and we conceded a goal and the second one the same way. And usually you pay the price. But we have to work as a team and try to do better. And I go back to that, we went on a good draw against Kansas City away, winning against New England but we didn’t capitalize on getting the points by winning today. The league is a weird one. Hopefully we can bounce back and have a good result against Houston. We all know that it’s not easy to win there.
On the younger players bringing an energy
They did. Oyongo has been great in training. You guys obviously don’t see him a lot. But great energy as you saw. He always wants to go forward. He defends well. He needs to work on his positioning and other stuff but he’s still young but definitely fresh. Matt Miazga and him and some of the guys that played before, whenever they have to play, they do it well and they did well tonight.