Crew 1, Fire 0 -- quote sheet



On the result:
"I'm proud of my group. This wasn't about who isn't here tonight, it was about the guys who were here tonight and those that watched the game saw that in the first half we had a couple of opportunities we felt we could have converted on that we didn't. Tonight should have been a point or three for us, but (Edson) Buddle hits a career shot and we end up losing. But I'm proud of the group tonight, they competed and we've got one more to go."

On the addition of Chris Carrieri to the line-up:
"Carrieri's a proven outdoor guy. He's an outdoor player having to play indoor, not an indoor player that we threw in as an outdoor player. We needed a forward and he was available. He's got experience in our league.

"We're disappointed we didn't win the game. We weren't looking to next week. It was all about tonight. We're not exactly thrilled, but the way this year has been and the way this league is every game matters. We knew that at the end of the year, it would matter and next week does matter. We'll be at full strength. Bring it on, we'll have to deal with it."

On whether or not he has ever had to deal with roster hardship such as tonight:
"For me, never. For the Fire, probably never. We still feel there's enough competitors to get the job done."

On whether the Fire had an advantage tonight at home:
"Soldier Field is still a place where teams don't want to come and play and I felt the tone Columbus played under was just like that, they wanted to feed off of some of our mistakes. They didn't take the initiative and we wanted to use Soldier Field to our advantage."


On the game:
"They took a touch out so I had to cover a little more of the goal. [Buddle] hit a bomb. I got a little glove to it, but obviously not enough. I felt like I had a good beat on it, but it really seemed like it sped up and then all of a sudden I didn't have a beat on it."

On having to face New England with a playoff spot on the line:
"It's going to be a tough battle. Not having a natural forward on the field is obviously detrimental, but we're going to get the guys back and be ready to go for the 'death match.'"


On losing to opportunity to put pressure on New England for a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs:
"For us to seal it up before [next Saturday] wouldn't be just. We're what, five games under .500? The fact that we can make the playoffs in this league isn't good in the first place, but that's what we've got. We can't ask for anything more than this last game here to try to get us in, so we're going to have to take the next 10 days to prepare ourselves to give them hell."

On getting the Fire's full roster back for the final game at New England:
"I hope they're going to be fresh. They're going to have to play in two tough matches and they'll be exhausted, but you play for your club and you take it that these guys will give their all. They're good guys, they'll give it everything they've got. I still think you look at our full roster, if we can ever get every player on the field we're not a bad team. It really hasn't worked out that way this year, it's been a strange one. We're going to get our guys back in and we're going to go back and try to put a line-up out there that looks more like an attacking team and try to do well."


On the result:
"It was a bad result for us. We needed a win and we got nothing, zero points. Regardless of who we put on the field we couldn't put it in the back of the net and we couldn't stop them from putting it in the back of the net. That's how things have been the whole year. I don't think Columbus came out with their full game and they still won. We've got one more game to try to put ourselves in the playoffs."

On the Fire's roster this evening:
"We were definitely missing our big guns, and that was a factor, but everybody here is a professional and they should be able to play regardless of who it is. We had chances and we gave up a few chances."


On the turnaround this season:
"We've only been moving forward, that's been our thought process all year. This team has always believed in itself, even after the slow start. We've got great leaders like Robin Fraser, Simon Elliott, Manny Lagos and Brian Maisonneuve who have kept everything in perspective for the guys. It's a long season and you don't win the trophy in March or April, you've got to do it through consistent play and the guys have certainly done that."

On chasing the Supporters Shield:
"We'd like to finish the season on a high note. We've got two difficult games ahead of us, at the MetroStars in just three days - it will be our third game in a week, which will be tough - and then out at Colorado, where winning has been elusive for us. But this team has risen to every occasion. We'd certainly like to win the Supporters Shield. We're not going to take any shortcuts and not get there, but we have to be smart. We've got guys that are dinged up and we'd like to get them some rest heading into the playoffs, but we've got to balance that with making sure that we stay sharp."

On the match:
"I thought it was a tale of two halves. I think we made a lot of changes in the first half based on some injuries and call-ups. We lost our shape a little bit tactically, but at halftime the adjustments were made and in the second half I thought we were very, very good. It's a typical Columbus Crew result, we found a way and grinded it out."

On the play of the goalkeepers tonight:
"A couple of saves from Henry Ring kept Chicago in it early and Jon Busch did what he had to do. But at the end of the day Edson Buddle put a ball where no goalkeeper gets."


On finishing atop the Eastern Conference in the regular season:
"It feels great. When I got drafted our goal was to win as much hardware as possible. When I play I'm trying to win championships, that's why they brought me here. We won the Open Cup in my second year [2002] and now we've won the division title. Overall, I've just been blessed."

On his game-winning goal:
"We worked on that play during training. It wasn't something we just went out and did. Usually Ross [Paule] is here, but unfortunately he has a concussion. It was a good shot; I hit every part of the ball and it felt good leaving my foot. It was one of those shots where you know when it leaves your foot it has a chance of going in." On coming back into the lineup:
"My grandfather's more special to me, but this game ... every game is special. I just try to live in the moment and I just really try to go out there and enjoy myself and stay focused."


On the team's performance:
"The team played great. It was a little ugly in the first half. We had a little trouble keeping the ball and they had a couple of opportunities because we kept coughing the ball up. But the defenders played great, they were stellar as they have been all year long. Everybody worked hard. It wasn't the prettiest game, but Edson [Buddle] got an unbelievable goal - that should be goal of the year, I think. We defended like a team and got the three points that we needed. "It's great. It was one of our goals coming into the season and we can check that off the list now. We can move on now to maybe winning the Supporters Shield and then into the playoffs and winning an MLS Cup."

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