Man of the Match Q&A: Pat Onstad
Can you talk about your 12th shutout of the season; the 2-0 win over New England on Saturday that now gives you the all-time San Jose shutout record with 27 in your Quakes career?
Pat Onstad: "I am happy to do it. It really means a lot, especially to do it here against New England. They are the top scoring team in the league. The players that they have are pretty much an all-star team, so to get the result that we did, I thought we played great."
It seemed like the Earthquakes started a bit slow in the first half on Saturday. What do you attribute that to?
PO: "We didn't play particularly well early on, and I don't think we picked up the runners particularly well. But we got pretty organized in the second half and late in the first half, and then we started to get a little more possession and I think at that stage of the game we played quite well."
The Earthquakes have had one of the strongest defenses in MLS this season. What do you think the reason for the Quakes excellent play on the defense has been?
PO: "I think it is a combination of everything. I think everybody this year has done something to contribute to clean sheets. It goes all the way back to things like Dwayne De Rosario clearing one off the line in Colorado in our first game there [May 25]. Obviously the back four have been fantastic, but we've got everyone defending. The forwards like Alejandro Moreno are coming back and tackling in the box, and that is the kind of thing that championship teams are made of."
Saturday's 2-0 win kept the Quakes rolling on your 12-game unbeaten streak. What were your thoughts heading into the game against the best team in the East?
PO: "I think we were thinking we just wanted to get a win, or some kind of a result. We really wanted to have a good performance because we didn't play that well last week against Dallas and it took us a while to get our legs going on Saturday. Probably at the 30- 35 minute mark we started to play a little bit better and we obviously rode our luck to a certain extent, but I also think we got our just rewards."
The Earthquakes have enjoyed great success on the road this season. What do you attribute that to?
PO: "That is a good question. I think good defending and timely goal scoring is what has helped us win on the road. We have been able to kill off games as well. I think against New England when we got up 1-0, we really limited their opportunities. I don't think they really had many good looks in the last 25 minutes, so when you do that you make it very difficult for teams to come back."
The Earthquakes have two games remaining, and can conclude the regular season undefeated at home with a result on October 8 against Real Salt Lake. How is the team approaching the final two matches of the regular season?
PO: "Well, we want to keep that streak alive at home. It is nice that this year, after we clinched the conference, all three games that we have left meant something. Against New England obviously it was for the Supporter's Shield. This week we are playing to go undefeated at home, which no team has ever done before in this league. Then we have to go to L.A. where we have never beaten them at The Home Depot Center. So, in every game that we have left, we have something to play for. Going into the playoffs that is a good thing. We don't want to let our performance drop and hopefully we can carry that through the next two games."