SEPTEMBER 1, 2004 - CHICAGO FIRE 3, KANSAS CITY WIZARDS 1
CHICAGO FIRE HEAD COACH DAVE SARACHAN
On the result:
"This is an important night for us. We needed three points. We told the team in the locker room that the season starts tonight. I thought we took the initiative tonight; it was just a good performance. We executed very well in front of the goal."
On coming back from the halftime deadlock:
"When [Kansas City] scored that goal they had one chance [in the first half] and scored. We came in the locker room and took the temperature of the team and the heads weren't down, the shoulders weren't slumped. It was a confident group thinking we'd get back in and take three points tonight."
On starting D.J. Countess in goal over Henry Ring:
"It was a combination of things. Henry [Ring] has been very good for us this year. He's played just about every game and every minute, and that's a lot mentally and physically. We felt in this stretch he needed a break."
On the recent play of midfielder Justin Mapp:
"You're seeing the Justin Mapp we were hoping to see, a kid that has the stamina and the different gears. The last three performances have been very solid for Justin and that's the type of performance we're going to need from here on in."
On the "wisdom" of bringing in midfielder Craig Capano:
"I looked over at my staff and said 'It's the Capano Theory!' He's a good player and I was pleased he got the goal. He's a kid that is improving and we've got to keep looking at him."
On how the win helps the Fire heading into Saturday's match against D.C. United:
"It just takes one game and maybe this was the game. We're going to have confidence heading into Saturday. Unfortunately we'll be missing some players to national team selection, and that's bad timing, but all we can do is build on the last performance and tonight was a good performance. We just hope we can sustain it."
On the Fire's new acquisition Andy Herron:
"We're not sure when he's reporting. He's still with the Costa Rican team. But we'll take a look at him and see how he fits in with our group. That will be a decision we make as we get used to him and he gets used to us. But he's certainly fit and ready to go from that standpoint."
CHICAGO FIRE MIDFIELDER JUSTIN MAPP
Describing his second goal of the season:
"Somehow I picked off a ball in the middle and had a lot of space in front of me, Andy Williams played a good ball in. It was a breakaway and I was lucky enough to finish it."
On putting in 90 minutes for a third straight match (including Open Cup semifinal match vs. Charleston):
"I'm trying to stay out there as long as I can. I'm working hard in practice doing extra running and obviously playing a consistent 90 minutes makes it easier the next time and just playing full games has helped."
On Saturday's Eastern Conference showdown against D.C. United:
"There's six games left in the season and it's a tight race in the East. D.C. always brings their 'A' game, so we're looking for a good battle."
CHICAGO FIRE MIDFIELDER ANDY WILLIAMS
On his third goal of 2004:
"It was a counter attack and I was on the outside defender. We've been practicing on crossing and crashing to the near post, and I figured if I didn't get the ball I'd make space for someone on the back post. But fortunately it came to the near post and I tucked it in by the defender."
On the Fire having to play without he and fellow Jamaican Damani Ralph this Saturday:
"We have a great team, great guys on the bench that are not really getting playing time. Hopefully they can come in and show that they belong in this league and that should start on Saturday."
CHICAGO FIRE MIDFIELDER CRAIG CAPANO
On scoring his first career MLS goal:
"I just ran in the box. Justin [Mapp] crossed the ball and I was fortunate that it landed right in front of my feet. I just took the shot and it went in."
On his recent "Super Sub" status:
"My confidence is getting pretty high and I feel a lot more comfortable coming into games now. The guys have confidence in me and I think I can give the team a little bit of a push when I get in and I'm glad I was able to do that tonight."
On what this match does for the Fire heading into the stretch run:
"It's great. It pushes us up in the standings and puts us in position to be a playoff contender. This one against D.C. and the last five coming down to end the season are big for us. We just need to keep composed and play the way we did tonight and we should be fine."
KANSAS CITY WIZARDS HEAD COACH BOB GANSLER
On the game:
"They played better and were the better side. But what we couldn't handle was their speed out wide and, consequently, they were getting that and pinning us back. It is difficult when we had the ball to get enough stuff to go 90 yards. They had more energy for sure and they came at us more aggressively too. It is something we have seen before and something we have handled before and actually, in the first half we did handle it as we came back in th last 15 or 20 minutes."
On facing Chicago in the U.S. Open Cup Final:
"Regardless of whether we wouldn't have played the Fire once this year, or if we played them every week leading up to the Open Cup, it is going to be an intense match because of the stakes. It doesn't make it any more, it doesn't make it any less. It makes it extremely important and that is what it was even before tonight."
KANSAS CITY WIZARDS GOALKEEPER BO OSHONIYI
On the team's remaining winless in Chicago all-time:
"I don't understand why we can't solve them here (in Chicago). We have the team to do it, we just couldn't get it done. Tonight it was a matter of who wanted it more and they showed they wanted it more."