Man of the Match Q&A: Pat Onstad
Looking back on the Earthquakes 3-0 win over Los Angeles, what are your overall thoughts on the Quakes' performance?
Pat Onstad: "I thought we did an excellent job [Saturday]. We limited their opportunities, and obviously we kept a close eye on Landon, which we needed to do. We limited his touches, which we need to do. He is the best player in the league, the best player in the U.S. and you need to be careful when he is on the field. But, I thought we played a great game all over the field. All 11 players contributed tonight."
Were you surprised with the overall way that Landon Donovan was received by the Quakes fans in his first game back at Spartan Stadium?
PO: "Not too surprised. But I am glad that I heard a lot of fans applauding too. He did a lot for this franchise, and the guys that know him know that he is in a place where he is a lot happier. He will be a better player for it, and he will be a better player for the U.S. in World Cup qualifying. I think we've already seen that. I think most of the guys in here don't have any hard feelings for him. It certainly wasn't something he planned, that he was going to go over and it wasn't going to work for him in Germany and he would be back playing in L.A. I think some people believe that was a deep, dark secret that he was holding, a conspiracy or something, but that's not true. Landon went over there hoping he would be successful in Germany, and it didn't. But that is not to say that it won't work out for him in the future over there if he wants it to."
Immediately following the game, you shared a moment with Landon and exchanged jerseys with him. Can you tell us what that was about?
PO: "I had a lot of respect for him when I played with him. Obviously, he is a great player and a true class act, both on and off the field. Its funny, the only other jersey I've ever asked for was in the [2003 MLS Cup] final from [Chicago Fire goalkeeper] Zach Thornton, so I guess Landon is now my second jersey in this league. I don't normally ask for them, but that was nice of him to give it to me."
The Quakes have now won two straight home games and are in the midst of a 416-minute scoreless streak at Spartan Stadium. What has been the difference recently for the Quakes?
PO: "We weren't pleased with our record at home at all. We knew it was time for us to start getting more wins and playing better here and getting the points. It was important to come out and play well on Saturday, and we did that."
Can you talk about what you saw or remember from the incredible sequence in the second half when you made four straight saves from point-blank range?
PO: "Obviously, when the ball bounces loose and one of their guys is going to get a foot on it from about five or six yards out, you think it is 1-1. That is the first thought that goes through your head. But fortunately, I was able to get in the way and so were some other players. I made some timely touches and blocks. That is a sequence that if you go back and watch it on the tape, you can really see how committed our team is to trying to win that game. I think right there that sums up how we have been playing the last few weeks."
How much of a turning point in the game do you think that play was?
PO: "It was definitely a turning point. It was 1-0 at that point, and that sequence turned the tide the other way. The defenders maybe haven't been under as much pressure as we have been in the past, but certainly when we have needed to be called upon, we've done the job in the last few games. We just need that to continue."