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Postgame quotesheet: Red Bulls at Houston

NOVEMBER 3, 2013

Thoughts on the match
"Poor clearance on our part, the red card killed us, and at the end of the day those goals were our fault — it wasn’t something creative, it was self-inflicted. But we’ll look on this on the road, and now we’re going to our place, and it's pretty much 0-0, so that’s a good thing. But our guys are injured with the way that we allowed them back into the game, and the Dynamo are extremely happy."

How big is the loss of Olave [for the second leg]?
"He started the whole year, but we have guys who can step up. It’s a big loss, but we’ll manage."

Why did things change in the second half?
"It changed after 2-0 because we allowed them back in the game. We were up 2-0, controlling the game, they had no opportunities -- they had one opportunity in the first half. In the second half, they get a deflection goal, and they’re at home, confident, and we allowed it. It’s self-inflicted."

What was the key to the first half?
"The first half went exactly how we wanted it to: We got in a good solid shape, and they had nowhere to play. They had a lot of longs balls, and they started breaking out of that and scored two goals, so it all came down to the second half. Like I said, a deflection and a terrible clearance on the top of the 18-yard box, and Clark has a nice shot, but it deflects off of Olave and it goes in. And the red card, you know, you’re fighting a team that is hungry and that is at home, so at the end of the day, it's 2-2.

Thoughts on the match
"Good game, I enjoyed it. I think, in the end, a draw is a bit disappointing, but we have one more game to go. This is playoff football; we're ready for it, and there is nothing to fear. I don't think we were fazed at all that whole game until we made a few mistakes, but it happens. We're a team, we stick together, and then we go again."

What do you think on Olave's red card and how big of a loss is it?
"Oh, it's a red, and it's a loss, but we've got great players and good depth in our squad, and we have just got to get on with it. I think for us, we just look at it as football. I'm not too fazed about Wednesday, because I know we're going to give them a tough test at home, and we're ready to go again."

What was the key to the first half?
"They were just lumping the ball anywhere in the first half and did the same in the second, and it fell to them nicely, but we have our tactics, and nothing is going to change. Whatever they change and whatever they do, we'll be ready. We'll watch the video, but it is what it is."

Do you think you're in a favorite position going back home?
"Judging by the feel right now, it feels like a loss just because we were winning 2-0, but now we go home and we have to win. Unfortunately the second half didn't go the way we wanted it to. They got a quick goal, and of course we were down a man for a long time."

How big of a loss is losing Jamison Olave?
"Obviously we prefer to play the next leg with Olave, but we have others on our team who can step up, so we have just got to let this sink in for the next hour and forget it."

What was the key to the successful first half that you want to replicate on Wednesday?
"The counterattack. We were strong on the counter, and if you look at our last three games against them, I think we scored quite a bit of goals on the counter. As long as we continue to play well defensively and get those goals off the counter, which has been the recipe of our success all season ... I can't imagine deviating from that.

Thoughts on the match
"The last 20 minutes and the red card -- we didn't play that well. We scored two goals and we didn't possess the ball, we didn't keep it between the team. We could have played much, much better."

What was your perspective on Olave's challenge?
"If it was a red card, then they should have had a red card in the first half. So if it's a red card, then there should have been two. It was a tackle from the side, and it was hard -- it was a hard tackle."

How big of a loss is Olave going to be in the second leg?
"He is one of the key players. Our defense has a lot of confidence, and from there we build our game. He's really important, but against Seattle, Ibrahim [Sekagya] and I played center back, and we did really well."

Thoughts on the game
"We didn't script it this way, but we talked to the guys about not being too high if we scored first and not being too low if we got scored on first. It's 135 minutes to go from halftime, and the guys came out with a great attitude in the second half. The red card obviously helped us a little bit. We've got two goals against us, but the series isn't over yet. It was a fantastic performance in the second half, and the way things turned out, it feels really positive going into Wednesday."

On Ricardo Clark's goal and its impact:
"You can't say how important that was. The goal was a result of play throughout the group, of pressing the game and being in the right spots -- not getting pulled out of shape and staying disciplined. It was good from the whole group and good from Ricardo to remain composed and bring it down to put it on target. Yes, he's done that in previous games and previous times, but this is what counted today. You need to have players step up in big situations to get through the playoffs. This is a group of guys that understand what it takes, and it takes full 100-percent commitment on every single play, on every second, from the time the whistle blows until the game is finished."

On changes at halftime:
"They are very good when the ball breaks. Cahill and Henry do a pretty good job. We talked about it at halftime. It was just a full commitment to come out and correct the things we weren’t doing well. If you don’t learn from your mistakes, then you’re a fool, but if you do learn, then you do what we did."

Thoughts on the game
"This is one of the biggest reasons that I enjoy being part of this team. It’s a group of guys that’s never-say-die, and I think that’s why were so successful in the postseason and getting into the playoffs and finding a way to do it whenever we absolutely have to. We have a group of guys that know this is two legs. We did a wonderful job of battling back and getting that second goal, giving ourselves a bit of a lifeline heading back into New York. The guys are confident and feeling good. It feels like a win with the way we came back and scoring late like that. We’re back in it now and looking forward to Wednesday night in New York."

What was the difference in the second half?
"We were down 2-0 -- that was a lot of it. You could feel the tide was turning, and the pressure was changing. Some of their teammates were starting to get into each other and were starting to feel the pressure. Any time you can continue to keep that on, you want to keep going. We really felt that our chances were coming, and after that first one, we felt the momentum keep coming and coming. And after that second one, I felt we could’ve got a third one, to be honest."

Thoughts on Omar Cummings’ goal
"I said it earlier this week that it was going to take our entire group. It’s not just the first 11 or the first 18. It’s the entire squad pushing each other and getting ready. The playoffs is the time when we’ve had guys step up in different situations, and that’s what you love to see. I'm extremely happy for Omar, and hopefully it gives another guy a confidence boost going into the next game."

How tough are Cahill and Henry to deal with?
"You can talk about their strengths and their weaknesses, and what you have to do to take them out of the game, but they are the players they are because of what they can still do. Everyone knows who they are. They’ve got the stature and had the careers because of how good they are. They are still going to find their spots. They are very smart in finding those little spaces on the break to help their team to get out. Sometimes you can stop them, and sometimes you’re not going to."

What was the locker room like at halftime?
"It wasn’t the half we wanted, but we almost break it down into quarters. You can’t control what happened in the first one, but you can definitely go out and affect the rest. From my perspective, I said, 'No more goals -- you’ve got to lock it up.' You can’t really win the series in the first leg, but I think you can definitely lose it if you give up a ton of goals. We said we’ve got to take our chances. Let’s forget trying to play the pretty game and just grind the game out and see if we can get back into it. Rico gets the goal, and then the red card definitely helped us and hurt them, more mentally than anything. It was great for the guys to give ourselves a chance heading to New York. The fans really helped us. They had this place rocking for the first time in a long time."

Can you carry the momentum into Wednesday?
"It has to, or we’ll be done. They are a great team. There’s a reason they won the Supporters’ Shield and are Number 1 in the league. They have great individual talent, and they showed that for a portion of the game tonight. We aren’t a pushover. We are going to fight to the last whistle. We have go out and try to hit them where it hurts, at home."

Nothing was going your way in the first half. Do you feel like you stole some momentum?
"Yeah, exactly. When we went down 2-0, you kind of had that feeling, 'Oh no, not this again.' We talked in the locker room: “Look, it’s not over, and it’s just one quarter.” We just had the mindset of going to chip away little by little. We won that half 2-0. It’s a tie ballgame going into New York."

What do you have to do to not allow that first half to happen again?
"We have to be clicked in and focused from the very beginning. We have to build on the second half we had and bring it out from the beginning in New York. We want to win and want to advance. We have to score, but we have to be smart and cannot let them score those counter goals like we did today."

What prompted the total turnaround in the last 45 minutes?
"I think we ended the [first] half pretty well. We had some chances, and we were fighting pretty hard. We just had the never-say-die attitude coming into the second half. We knew we had to press for goals if we wanted to get a good result for our favor going into New York. Credit to the guys, we all worked our butts off. It was nice to get those two goals."

Do you think you have momentum?
"It’s playoffs, man, that’s what happens. They are still going to fight. They are playing at home. We want to press on and go through the playoffs. It’s a whole other half of the series."

Do you have a chip on your shoulder with New York being favorites?
"We never read any of that stuff you guys write, which probably helps us out. If we are underdogs, then whatever, but there’s enough faith and enough fight in this locker room that we are going to work for each other to get a result and leave it all out on the field."