Q&A with Nowak, Eskandarian, Adu
John Dyson is a contributor to DCUnited.com
Peter Nowak - Head Coach
How would you describe your search to fill the next roster spot?
We're looking in many different places to find a good player. We want to make this team better. From the start, I've told you guys that it doesn't matter where the player comes from. We want to add a player that is going to help this team win. Nothing has changed. It was sad to see that a deal with Ronald didn't work out. He decided what to do. It was his decision ... we have to check it out. We're going to bring in a couple of players to train with us so we can have a close look. We're not going to add anything to this team that is going to hurt us.
Do you have a timetable for adding to the roster? Will there be another player for the game against Dallas?
It depends on the player's status. There are a couple of players who are free agents, so the can come immediately. Also, we have players we will wait for their transfer window to open.
It has been reported that the team is specifically looking for a target striker. Is that the type of player you are looking for?
We all know that we need to put someone along with Jaime (Moreno) who is going help him. We have (Alecko) Eskandarian, who can play a big or small man like a lot of the guys in Euro 2004. As I said, we want to get someone who can dominate in the air and hold the ball from the second line, especially with the way we play with a lot of runs from the second line. We have three strikers right now. But, as I said, we're looking to resolve this pretty quickly.
Moreno played as a withdrawn forward against Columbus and was effective. Is that your plan for the future?
We mostly played a 3-4-3 in that game. Jaime always finds his spots so he can move with the ball and play it forward. We'll see.
Can you comment on Eskandarian's performance on Saturday?
I was happy for him, of course, especially after his injury and being out for three weeks. He was a little frustrated about that. We trust in him that when he's out on the field he's going to give everything. Of course, the goals were nice and added to what he brings to the table. He chased the defenders and held the ball very well. That's what we're looking for.
What are your plans for Santino Quaranta once he comes back in the next month?
First things first, he has to be fit. We have to see in practice how he's doing, what he needs, and what the best position for him is. We are too far from the first game for him and this kind of speculation doesn't bring anything.
Alecko Eskandarian - forward
With the two goal game against Columbus, do you feel like you are on a roll?
We'll see. Obviously, it was my first game back from my hamstring thing. I'm very happy with the way things went. I've got to improve every week. I've got to just keep going.
What is your biggest improvement between last year and this year in your game?
I think just confidence, to be honest with you. Last year, being a rookie and all, I didn't even feel like a part of the team. I think all the rookies got that sense. But this year, especially with all the play on the Olympic team, and doing pretty well with them, and getting my first call up to the full team, really helped build my confidence. I can come in and do things that I know I'm capable of doing. Whereas last year, I was doing whatever the team needed or doing the simple things. This year, I'm doing things I know I can do. I'm taking on challenges more.
What was the conversation on the second goal, the free kick?
When I walked up that's normally a left footed shot from that angle, but I knew that Jaime (Moreno) loves taking free kicks and is more experienced and I was hoping he would let me take it. Fortunately, when I walked up he said, 'You take this.' That really gave me a boost of confidence to know that he believed in me to hit. Dema (Kovalenko) did a great job standing over the ball to block Busch from seeing the ball. It worked out perfectly.
On a shot like that, as a player do you know that it is a guaranteed goal? Do you just get that feeling that you will not miss?
Yeah, I go up feeling like that every time I hit the ball. It doesn't work out every time. I can honestly sit here and say that I thought I was going to put that away. I convinced myself that I was going to score.
What has your dad been telling you the last couple of weeks?
He's been a lot happier this year. My dad is my biggest critic, and I love him for that. He's always been honest with me throughout my entire life with soccer or off the field stuff. He's one hundred percent honest with me and direct. This year, he's been a lot more positive because he knew last year was a disaster. He's been happy. I talk to him after every single game and he tells me to keep it up and that I'm doing a lot better, but there's still a lot of things that I've got to work on. For the most part, he's happy for me that I'm scoring goals and playing.
The team has been on a roller-coaster this year. The game against Columbus it looked as if the right chemistry was found again. What makes this a team that plays well versus a team that plays poorly?
I think there have been a lot of changes in that time when things weren't going so well. There were changes in the lineup, some injuries, different things going on that affected our performance. At the same time that's no excuse. We sit here and preach everyday that no matter who is playing, we need to bring our style of play, our 'A-game,' no matter who is playing, or who we're playing against. Unfortunately, we went through a stretch where things weren't so good. Now we're getting guys that are healthy so it's getting better.
With (Ronald) Cerritos being waived and your last performance, are you more comfortable thinking that you will be a consistent starter?
I guess. To be honest with you, no matter who is here, I want to earn my spot. Since the start of the season, I've said that I wanted to be a starter and that I was going to work hard to establish my position. Like you said, with the numbers (of forwards on the roster) down, it doesn't really have an affect on my mentality. I hope to be a starter every game, but it's no guarantee. Who knows what is going to happen? I hope to just go out there and prove to myself, and keep my spot.
Does the game against Columbus feel like the type of game that will get D.C. United on a role?
I think everyone has a little bit of a spring in their step now. Obviously, it was a good game for us, not just my performance, but all around the field. Troy (Perkins) made a couple of big saves, the defense held their forwards in check, Benny (Olsen) did a great job in the middle, and the other guys did a great job in the middle breaking up their plays. It was a great team performance. It's about time. It's been a couple of weeks since we've played like that. I think it's a good sense of confidence knowing that we're back a little bit. But, you're only as good as your last game. We've got to bring it next week the week after that and every week.
Freddy Adu - forward
You have been effective coming off the bench. Is that how you see it?
I guess you can say that. That's the only time we've broken out and scored goals. I haven't been up top with Alecko and I'd love that. He's a force against defences. Obviously, we're not the biggest guys in the world, but Jaime isn't very big compared to defenders either. It doesn't really mean anything. We're both very quick and pretty fast. We'd both be buzzing everywhere creating problems and making them work.
The team said that it was going to probably bring in another forward to fill the slot when it waived Cerritos. How does that make you feel?
I feel like I've got the upper hand right now because I've been here and I know what the team is all about. All I've got to do is go out there and work hard everyday at practice and prove that I deserve to be out there. That's what Alecko (Eskandarian) kept doing. And he got his chance and took full advantage of it. That's how I've got to be.
Do you feel like you are close to that point where you can be a good consistent starter?
Yeah, I feel I'm pretty close to that point. Peter (Nowak) came to Florida to watch us (U-20's) play against Brazil and I felt like I played great against them. I was just me again, like it was the Under-17's all over again. He saw that.