SUNDAY, MAY 23, 2004 - COLUMBUS CREW 3, CHICAGO FIRE 1
COLUMBUS CREW HEAD COACH GREG ANDRULIS
On Michael Ritch making the trip (a last-minute addition because of Edson Buddle's strained quad) and scoring his first goal:
"It's too bad Erick Scott got hurt and wasn't able to play because he had a great week of training. Michael's been dying for a chance and he made the most of it. We told him to be ready to go (on the trip) because we didn't know the status of Edson. He made a good contribution."
On the result:
"Results help your confidence. To be able to respond to Chicago's goal and hold off their charge was a big boost. Getting three points was our goal and the guys came out and played hard."
On Jeff Cunningham:
"Jeff was very good today. He challenged the team before the game today to come in here (Chicago) and get our first win here since 1999 and the guys responded."
COLUMBUS CREW FORWARD JEFF CUNNINGHAM
On talking to the team before the game in the locker room:
"I don't know who told me that we hadn't won here (in Chicago) since 1999. I took it as a challenge for us to get a result here, and it was also a very important game."
On scoring goals:
"There's always pressure to get results and score goals. Hopefully this will help the team's confidence and more goals will come. It was a good team win, everybody stepped up."
COLUMBUS CREW FORWARD MICHAEL RITCH
On making the trip to Chicago:
"I wasn't even supposed to go (on the trip). I had to go home after practice (on Saturday) to get my stuff."
On scoring his first career goal:
"It's unbelievable. Good things happen when you work hard."
On getting into the game early after Erick Scott's injury:
"My job is to come in, play defense, win headers, work hard and try to do my best. I just want to try and help the team as much as possible, run around and try to make things happen."
COLUMBUS CREW GOALKEEPER JON BUSCH
On making a save with his face in the second half:
"Keep the ball out of the net, that's all that matters."
On finally seeing some goals on the scoreboard:
"To see three goals on the board is great. Ten times out of ten, with our defenders, we're going to win the game."
COLUMBUS CREW MIDFIELDER KYLE MARTINO
On his goal:
"I haven't seen many of those situations this season, so I wanted to make sure to capitalize. When you get in the right positions and you make good choices, opportunities like that come. I made sure that technically I got a good attempt on the goal. I saw the goalie leaning to one side and I just slotted it in."
On the ball hitting a Chicago defender and falling to his feet:
"Those are the breaks that happen in every game. Those are the breaks that we go down one nothing, two nothing. It is nice to see those on our end. It takes those things to bring a team to life and change games. I've seen it in my three years endless times against us, so to see it go in our advantage is great."
On making a statement and the early season critics:
"We are trying to make a statement to people in the league, to other teams and to critics that are making judgments before they know everything about us, before they've seen us play some solid games. We don't like to do it with words, we like to do it with play. We're trying to get back to the people that have unfairly judged against us and to give our fans something to look forward to when we come back home."
On Michael Ritch getting into the game and performing well:
"You know what, it is tough to be in that position, but that's the depth of our team. What we need from players coming off the bench is to come up big and make big plays. Mike Ritch trains hard every week and doesn't get on the traveling team, but he doesn't let it get him down. The fact that he can come last minute, get on the field, unexpected, and produce like that says a lot about his character and about how hard he's been training."
On the continued stellar play of Jon Busch:
"Jon is definitely playing the best I've seen him in a while. He's coming up big, making great saves. It's great because the defense is playing great even thought they have had some personnel changes and formation changes, they are still playing great. Jon Busch is making sure that anything that slips through, through miscommunication, Jon takes care of. They have a great relationship back there and they are keeping us in games."
CHICAGO FIRE HEAD COACH DAVE SARACHAN:
On the result:
"It was disappointing. We couldn't quite get it into another gear today. It wasn't our best day, that's for sure. I can't explain it. Overall I just don't think we got it into another gear today."
On how Columbus beat the Fire:
"When teams play us they play us hard. There's no secret to our team and there's certain guys they key on. I think we have to be able to rely on others as well other than Damani (Ralph) and Ante (Razov). I thought today we didn't involve our flank play enough and guys are keying on our guys centrally. We just need to mix it up."
On the Fire's failure to win at home this season:
"It is concerning. I told the team that you just don't walk on the field and win at home, there are reasons why you win at home. You draw on the energy of the crowd and put a little bit more into it and for whatever reason at the start we just never got it going. You've got to give Columbus credit, they certainly made it hard on us today. But we also made it hard on ourselves."
On the penalty kick call on Columbus's first goal:
"I have to see the replay, but it sounds like [Curtin] grabbed him. Jeff [Cunningham] had gotten onto the end of it and we didn't complain a whole lot. Sometimes you can sense how your team reacts. It may have been a good call."
CHICAGO FIRE FIRE FORWARD DAMANI RALPH:
On his goal and the result:
"Credit everything to Chris (Armas), he played a great ball in and it was a good shot, but I don't want to talk so much about the goal. We just need to come together as a team and play more as a unit."
On the scoring opportunities by the Fire:
"I suppose I have to take a lot of the blame. I got a lot of chances today but I didn't put enough in the net."
CHICAGO FIRE MIDFIELDER CHRIS ARMAS:
On the match:
"When the game opened up they had their chances, but overall in the first half they didn't really create that much, so it's frustrating. They're a good road team, we've got to give them credit. We're not going to point any fingers or make excuses, but 3-1, that's convincing."
On the Fire's offensive chances:
"We're getting the ball out there, but for whatever reason they played us well. The times we did get it out there sometimes we were dangerous, others we weren't."
CHICAGO FIRE DEFENDER JIM CURTIN
On the penalty kick call in the first half:
"I gave him a little tug and he twisted a little bit and the only question I had was if he had already shot the ball and if I should have laid off and maybe Henry (Ring) might have been able to make the save. It was kind of a split-second thing where I thought I'd give him a little tug and sometimes you get away with it and sometimes you don't."
On controlling the play but letting in the first goal:
"It's usually a letdown. It happened again in the second half when we got our goal. We started to press and come at them, but they got a lucky bounce and the ball deflected and that sent Martino on a breakaway, so it's just one of those days where things didn't go our way. We didn't play well either, and that's the main thing."