SPORTING DIRECTOR AND HEAD COACH GREGG BERHALTEROn beating Seattle at home and whether it seemed like a statement win:I think [the win] is business as usual. Obviously, I’m pleased with the game. I think the way the game was played, I told the guys to go out and entertain the fans and entertain the people watching, and I think they did that. I think it was an entertaining game and we put a lot of energy into it, and I’m pleased with that. But as far as we’re concerned, we know they’re a good opponent, but it’s another game.On the expectations of Crew SC’s high level of playI think we work hard and we try to make progress every week and when you see the progress, you’re pleased. I don’t want to pretend that we’re not happy with the win, that it’s not a big win, that it wasn’t against a great team. It was. But we just keep working, keep plugging away. We have a tough game next week.
On the questionable no-call leading to a Seattle goalWhat do you think? I didn’t see it, I’m asking you guys. What would you guys say? Luckily we won, or thankfully we won.
On Hernan Grana not playingIt was a choice by me, it was a coach’s decision. I think different guys get chances at different times, and I think it was time for Hector to perform and I think he did a good job.
On the offensive quality in tonight’s win versus last week’s match against D.C. UnitedWhat was D.C. [United]’s defensive record last year? You guys know? Strong. They’re one of the best defensive teams in the League. They’re difficult to break down, they got a lead [last week]. A lot of [our performance] is situational. We talked about it last week – everything was a little too slow, the movements weren’t there, and the final ball wasn’t there. This week everything was sped up a little more. I don’t think Seattle has the same defensive structure as D.C [United]. D.C [United]’s a very well-structured defensive team, and Seattle is just different. It was a great game, a great opponent. They took it to us. That was a good game.
On if there is a team in the league who can hang with Crew SC when both teams are at their bestI can’t answer that, I don’t know. I am sure there is and there are a lot of good teams in this league. I have told you guys every week that anyone can beat anyone. I am sure there is a team that could beat us when we have a good day.
On the decision to start Hector Jimenez over Hernan GranaI have talked about us having a deep squad and guys getting chances and everyone has a time and we felt that this was time for Hector. I am pleased with the way he performed and I think that his final ball could have been better at times but he never quit. He just kept sticking with it and he delivered some decent crosses.
On replacing Mohammed SaeidMohammad had a little groin strain, he picked it up so we had to make a choice and it was a tough decision. We were debating between Kevan [George] and Michael [Parkhurst], but we felt that putting Michael [in Saeid’s position], he would be comfortable and build up like we normally do. He would understand that what’s happening because he’s been in the game. There were times where both Dempsey and Martins were in the pocket between the two lines and we really wanted to get ahold of that and we thought Michael would have a better understanding of that since he has been playing in the game.
On his thoughts on the Man of the MatchWe always give Man of the Match when we win games, but we will keep that [within the team]. It was a very strong match by a lot of guys and when I think from the goalkeeper all the way up, I think everyone performed well.
On Federico Higuain’s performanceWell, I know you guys are going to be happy because he scored and that’s how you judge his performance. That’s not how I judge it. I’ve never judged it like that. He was great tonight and he’s been strong this year and his movement, the way he can control a game is excellent and it was like that tonight again. He also got a goal, so we’re happy for that.
On if he is more comfortable with the counter-attacking style or if it was just for this gameNo, it was a strange game in the sense that a lot of our attacks progressed really quickly. We were able to get into goal scoring opportunities pretty quickly and because of that it became a strange game. They overloaded the middle with numbers and it became difficult to win the ball back. It was a very attacking orientated game. I think my one criticism might have been the ability to control the game a little bit more in the second half. I think we lacked that, especially when we went up 3-1. We didn’t have the determination to keep the ball.
On his feelings on this result when things went not as plannedYeah, the other part about it is that’s a very good team. You see what they have been doing to teams. They’ve scored the most goals in the League, right? Listen, they’re a very good attacking team and we knew we were going to be under pressure and I think we dealt with it well.
On what he was expecting following the loss last weekYou’re always looking for a response after a loss and I think we definitely got that response. Like I said, you’re going to lose games in the course of a season and you have to stick to the plan, you have to keep working and don’t get fazed by that. You don’t get emotional, you just keep working hard and just keep focusing on what we do and I think in the long run we’ll be fine. What I sensed from the guys today was a real urgency and determination to get a result.
On Emanuel Pogatetz’s performance for Crew SC this seasonIf you look at how many headers he wins, he doesn’t lose a header. It is phenomenal. [Pogatetz’s presence] gives us a lot of power on that side of the defense. You add that to the fact that he’s winning a lot of balls on the ground and some tackles, in the box on crosses and with the ball he is calm and collected. I think he is doing a great job.
On if the team cares about beating Seattle at home for the first timeI didn’t even know that to be honest. It’s nice to have a first time [beating Seattle at home]. I’m not sure how many games were even played against them, probably only like five? So, it is not a big sample size.
On how Crew SC regrouped after Seattle’s second goal
They put us under a lot of pressure, they had a lot of guys forward, they were playing very risky, very offensive orientated and it became challenging. They put some good crosses in the box, they had a lot of bodies and we responded well. It is disappointing when you see a replay and you think the referee might have gotten the call wrong, so I understand the frustration within the team, but they responded well.
On the chemistry of Crew SC’s attackI keep saying that when [our team] plays together more, they are going to be dangerous because they combine and they look for each other. They are dynamic. If you take [Higuain, Finlay, Kamara and Meram] and some of the guys that have come in and played that position and look at their qualities, they are so contrasting. But, when you add it together, it almost makes a perfect package. It is really interesting. Ethan [Finlay], with blazing speed and great timing of runs. Justin [Meram], with very good one-on-one ability. Federico [Higuain], the ability to control a game, make a final pass, score himself and Kei [Kamara], what can I say, getting on the end of crosses, making it difficult for defenses, one-on-one ability, ability to hold the ball up [as a] target man. When you add those four and with Kristinn [Steindorsson] coming in and some of the other guys who can come in, Ben Speas can play that position, it’s a good group.
COLUMBUS CREW SC MIDFIELDER ETHAN FINLAYOn the first home win versus SeattleWell, first time we’ve ever beaten them here. But yeah, I think this was a great win for us. Any time we can get points against the West, I mean, it’s a bonus for us. We’re extremely happy with it, it was a hard fought game and we got another Western Conference opponent next week and like I said, we can get points on the road and against Western Conference teams we’re going to be happy.
On the feelings about beating SeattleYou care about winning games, regardless about who it’s against. I think it makes it a little bit sweeter obviously for our fans because there was a little bit of a rivalry with the expansion and how that worked out. Right now we have their number and hopefully we can keep it that way.
On the quick jump in the gameWe play against teams that come out and play us. We usually do well and if you look over the past 12 to 16 months here in our system, in Gregg [Berhalter]’s system, teams that come out and try to play us, we usually have good games against and we usually are on the beneficial side of that. When good teams come in here, we’re excited because we want to play them, we want to play the best, we want to be the best. It was a great night for us.
COLUMBUS CREW SC MIDFIELDER JUSTIN MERAMOn what was said at halftime in the locker room Well, I mean, we played well the first half. I think we dropped a little bit, gave them some room. But, you know, we love playing at home with these fans and they’re behind us for 90 minutes. The game of soccer, it’s a tale of two halves. The first half we still had chances but we kind of chased and defended too far back and in the second half we went after it and we scored two great goals.
On if this game against Seattle was some sort of statementMaybe people see it as a statement. For us, we just see it as, you know, a group of guys working really hard. You don’t see us in the limelight every single day. It’s just a humble group from top to bottom with the coaching staff, the players and we just love playing in big games. Teams don’t like to come here and play us, especially the way we keep the ball.
On what it says about the team after beating Seattle it is just business as usualIt is what it is, we’re going to focus, play who’s up next week, San Jose and that’s that. We can’t get too ahead of ourselves, we played D.C. [United] last week and we didn’t really have anybody really who had a good game and we knew we had to pick it up and get back on the winning track. It’s always good to get three points against a Western team.