SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2005 - NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION 1, CHICAGO FIRE 0
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION HEAD COACH STEVE NICOL
On the match:
"Semifinals are always tough. I think, basically, we started the game very well. For the first 35 minutes, we had the game in our hands. Then from that point on, it kind of went the other way and they had the upper hand. But you know, sometimes you win games by attacking and others you win by defending."
On Chicago's physical play:
"We expected it to be physical. They are a physical team but they can also play. We had to make sure that if we matched them on the physical side of it, that we'd be able to play our game. If we didn't match them physically then they would play this. As I said before, they had the upper hand for the last 55 minutes. But we defended well."
On the Revs' defensive effort:
"Sometimes you have to defend to win. We'd love to win by scoring four, five, six goals against teams but that's not reality. We got a goal and went tough, that's how we did it."
On facing the L.A. Galaxy in MLS Cup:
"To be honest at this moment, we're not really thinking about it. Again, it comes down to if we can put the pressure on them, then it minimizes what they can do to us. We certainly respect them as a team and a good side. They are dangerous and got some weapons but if we can do what want then that will help to take that away from them."
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION MIDFIELDER CLINT DEMPSEY
On the match:
"We're a tough team. They had a lot of chances but we were able to keep them out of the back of our net. We were able to get the win and that the most important thing. It wasn't pretty, but it got the job done and you have to give us credit for that."
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION DEFENDER JAY HEAPS
On containing the Fire attack:
"I think they did a great job, Thiago does a great job on falling in behind. I thought he had a good game but our midfield shut him down. We did a good job on their strikers because the service to them was shut down. We kept them to limited options. I was focusing on (Chris) Rolfe because I know he runs off Jaqua. I wanted to get close to him and prevent him from dribbling because he had a great game in D.C. So that's how we wanted to limit them."
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION MIDFIELDER SHALRIE JOSEPH
On the game:
"It wasn't even about soccer in the end, it was about who wanted it most. The game turned into a battle, there were a lot of 50-50 balls and guys were sliding all over the park. It basically came down to who wanted to win today."
CHICAGO FIRE HEAD COACH DAVE SARACHAN
Overall thoughts on the match:
"I respect New England, and good luck to them, but with all the games we had with New England this year, if you look at the possession chart, we came out ahead. But that doesn't mean you win the games. We gave up an awful goal, from my standpoint. We fell asleep three minutes in and now you've got 87 minutes to try and get back into it, and we did everything we could to do that. But it just didn't fall for us."
On whether he thought Gonzalo Segares was offside on his nullified goal:
"Frankly, from my angle there's no chance I'm going to be able to know. It's got to be 100 percent clear, and only the replay will tell when I go and see it. It's frustrating, obviously, when you're battling and battling and taking every opportunity to get back into the game and then you get rewarded with a goal. If it's 100 percent offside, then hats off to the linesman. I can't comment because I wasn't in line with [the play]."
On the breakdown on the New England goal:
"Three things happened. One is, when the foul was committed, we didn't get over the ball to stop the free kick. Secondly, Nate Jaqua's marked up with Shalrie [Joseph], but Nate's a forward and from where it happened, Nate couldn't get back. And third, we didn't have enough guys in the box that just said, 'Alright, I'll deal with Shalrie.' So we fell asleep, quite frankly."
On what changed in the Fire attack in the second half:
"We talked about just passing and moving and being active at halftime and that was the only way we were going to create chances. Just throwing balls up in the air is not the way to beat New England. They dug in and broke up a lot of plays and we took a fair amount of chances, and they just didn't fall."
On the effect of Nate Jaqua's exit from the match before halftime:
"We think we have good depth at forward, but Nate's obviously a different dimension. I don't think their back three have faced a guy like Nate. It was a blow to us, but I thought young Chad [Barrett] did pretty well. We ended up with five rookies on the field, so we were young, but we battled. But losing Nate was difficult."
On the fracas after the final whistle:
"There were just some emotions going on. I don't know exactly. There might have been an incident in the game that our guys took a little personally and there were some words. There were just some emotions from the boys boiling over a little bit."
CHICAGO FIRE MIDFIELDER JESSE MARSCH
On the match:
"If you know our two teams, that's probably the game you would have expected."
On New England's goal:
"They caught us off guard. Typically, I think you need to have somebody to stop the ball, and we didn't. We didn't get Shalrie marked up quick enough and then he just found space. To be honest, I turned around and all of a sudden he was shooting. We fell asleep, that's all you can say on that one. It's a tough way to lose a game on that goal."
On the difference in the match:
"I felt like every game we played New England this year, I thought we were able to find the game a little bit. But their key guys seem to hurt us every game - Dempsey, Twellman, Noonan, Ralston, Joseph - those guys seem to hurt us every game. That eats at you a little bit. You feel like you maybe have the game going your way and you just can't capitalize. That has been sort of the story of New England all year, I think."
On whether he thought the Fire would capture the equalizer:
"It felt like it, and maybe it did. I don't know, I couldn't see what happened. I felt like we did the right things to push the game and hopefully create some chances to put the score in our favor, but we were never able to ... whether it was the final pass, the shots, just some of the plays around the box we didn't get right and we've managed to struggle a little bit at that all year long."
CHICAGO FIRE DEFENDER JIM CURTIN
On the New England goal:
"I remember C.J. [Brown] and I were sorting out [Pat] Noonan and [Taylor] Twellman in the middle and there was a little confusion. Some guys started to come back a little bit and help on Noonan, creating some free space. Nate [Jaqua] was in the process of coming back to pick up Joseph, but we didn't have anyone slow the ball down, and they put it in quick. I think Joseph's shot was going to go wide, and Dempsey did a good job of following it in. To his credit, he gets all of those goals inside the six-yard box. He kind of makes his living whether it's heading the ball or just getting on the end of anything, and that held up, surprisingly."
On Chicago's reaction to the goal:
"[New England] had a flurry of chances right after that. Not giving up a goal so far in the playoffs and then having one scored in the third minute kind of catches you off guard a little bit. It was probably a good 10 minutes before we got settled back in. We were able to come at them a little bit and made it interesting in the end, but to their credit they beat us on the day 1-0, so we go home and they go on."
CHICAGO FIRE MIDFIELDER LOGAN PAUSE
On the New England goal:
"That goal wasn't one that they really created, we kind of got caught. They played an early one off a free kick and we were sleeping and they get a goal. I thought there would definitely be more goals today. It's unfortunate it had to end on that one and that we couldn't get any of our own."
On the Fire dominating possession in the match:
"It's not really a surprise to us. One thing that New England does very well is attack off the counter, so they don't mind sometimes giving up possession. But when they win it they go forward, and they go fast. We didn't take advantage of the possession we had. We needed to get Jack [Stewart] and Ivan [Guerrero] involved on the flanks and that didn't really happen through the first half. We came out flying and tried to get the goal back in the second half, but it just didn't happen."