Jan Gunnar Solli's two assists in Sunday's win played a pivotal role in New York's ability to mount a comeback and defeat the Timbers. He answered a few questions after a recent training session regarding the match against Portland, how his season has been going and this weekend's tilt against Sporting Kansas City.
It’s been a little bit of an up-and-down season for you with injuries and such, but you put in a great effort Sunday against Portland and have since looked to be on the rebound. Do you think you’re back to 100 percent now?
I hope so. I just try not to think about it too much. I get my fitness in and work really hard after playing a couple of bad games for myself, I just had to train harder. Getting the running in and I know all of the hard work always has to be in the bottom of my game.
I was able to get into those situations [two crosses that led to goals in the win over Portland] because I did a deep run and that’s a big part of my game. I just felt heavy in my legs earlier. It’s like my weight and my fitness – I wasn’t in bad shape, it was just getting the legs fresh and sharp and getting those runs in and working really hard. I would love to say I hope I’m there now, but I had a good run before I got injured as well. Sometimes soccer’s like that. Your mind gets twisted a little bit because you feel like you’re ready to perform and then you can’t always get the best out of it.
Hans Backe has always commended your effort to stay in shape and put in extra effort. Do you think that has helped in rebounding from injuries?
Yeah, I think so. It’s always nice when you ‘re getting feedback from the coaches, but most of all you know yourself what’s a big part of your game. I’ve been around for a long time now. I still feel hungry and I have a lot of things to prove.
Your two crosses into the box that led to goals in Sunday’s game were right on the mark. Is that an element of your game that you’ve been focusing on more this season?
I had some nice assists last season as well, but I'm working with the accuracy and getting the amount of crosses in every week. We’ve been working on it and I’ve trained a few times at Red Bull Arena. It just feels good, just making the crosses out there. You kind of recognize it when you get into those areas. Like, “OK, how much power do I have to put into it?” It’s like, getting to know the movement and how much power you should put in it.
Of course when you make runs in a big tempo you can’t put too much pressure on because then the ball will be knocked over. It’s just small things you’re focusing on. I saw Kenny in the box and my focus was just getting it over the first defender
because then anything can happen. If you play it too low, there’s going to be a clearance. It’s better almost to over-hit it. Sometimes it’s just spot on and it’s a good feeling.
You’ve also picked up three goals this season after not scoring one last season. That has to feel pretty good too.
Yeah. There was two in a row there. Honestly, I don’t care who scores the goals. For me it’s all about the team and it’s important that we win. Obviously to score some goals it’s a good feeling, but I get the same feeling when I get the two assists in the last game. So I don’t know which one is best. I’m not a good celebrator when I score goals so maybe I’ll do better with the assists.
But you could always bust out the bull dance when you score…
Oh yeah, a little bit. They kind of request it so I feel kind of bad if I don’t do it. But I want to have fun with it as well. It’s becoming a little thing that we – well, it’s basically still me just making a fool out of myself. At least they like it so I’m going to continue doing it as long as we win.