United 2, MetroStars 0 -- quote sheet

it was a hard fight in these two games. We fought to the end and were rewarded with these two beautiful goals. As I said before, it's going to hurt us for sure, but we're going to win the next one and then move on.

"This is a split decision, it's the ref's decision and everyone makes their decision. It's difficult to adjust -- Ryan's card was our bench card -- I'm really upset with this card. Dema's foul, we can argue this one. Right now, we have to concentrate on the big focus and what we have to do."

On why Christian Gomez was substituted for at the half:
"He's been sick all week. He's really weak right now -- no power whatsoever. We needed someone to keep up in the game. I think Dema did very well in the middle. Nicky [Rimando] had beautiful saves in the first half. And then there was Freddy. Whatever you guys want to say about him, I'm going to back him up. He won the game tonight. He came in, energized the game, kept the ball moving and set up Jaime's [Moreno] goal. He's one of the best playmakers in the league. We're happy for him."

On approaching this game with the 2-0 advantage:
"We know that (the MetroStars are) going to be a difficult situation. We don't want to lose anything from this part, and it was very hard. They really didn't create something in a difficult situation, but they're still dangerous and we want to prevent them from scoring. The guys in the back, with Ezra [Hendrickson], did very well."

On the play of Freddy Adu:
"Freddy has fun, closed down the people around him. If you're going to have the chance, take your shots. He had a couple of shots."


On earning his second shutout in the postseason:
"I think the defense played well. Every shot that came in, I knew where it was going based on the defensive formation. They stepped up when they had to and laid off when they didn't. Credit to all of them in front of me. We've had each other's backs all season and, today, I had to help out a little more. The defense played well today and the offense stepped up as well, scoring two goals."

On his stretch of three saves in the second half:
"One of those came from a bad throw from me, maybe two. My distribution wasn't the greatest tonight and I should be smarter about that stuff, but you're in the game and you're just seeing everything. It was one of those nights where I was seeing everything and when you play well, your defense responds and gets confidence from it."


On playing the Conference Final missing Ryan Nelsen and Dema Kovalenko:
"They're big parts of the team, so obviously we're going to miss them dearly, but that's the way soccer goes. One day you're going to have these guys, the next day you're going to have those guys. It's harsh to deal with at times, but, on the other hand, you just have to deal with it. We've got a great group of guys here and we're confident that we can pull it off."

On the midfield play:
"We didn't play well today at all. We just didn't have the right numbers around the ball and it's obviously very difficult to play when you don't have the ball. In the end, you know that (the MetroStars) are going to have to push people forward, then obviously space is going to open up and when space opens up, things happen."


On his limited playing time in the series:
"I'm disappointed that I didn't get a chance to play in the first game, but sometimes that's just what the situation is. As a player sometimes you have to just suck it up and do what's best for the team. I'm more happy to have come in and made a big difference in this game, finding Jaime for the first goal."


On the result:
"It's a very disappointing thing because I think our team made progress this year. But at the end, our progress did not show in terms of results. You know that it's going to be very competitive and tight in the playoffs, I thought it was a good series, but D.C. is playing very well right now and I give them a lot of credit for their performance in these two games."

On trying to break down United's defense:
"(United) came out with a defense posture given that they had the lead going in tonight. I thought we had a couple of good chances in the second half, but you need that first one to open the door a little bit. In the first half, I thought the effort was good, our passing was not particularly good. We needed to be a little bit sharper in terms of the right ball at the right time. We just didn't seem like we were capable of coming up at the right time. In the second half, I thought we had things going better, had a couple of chances."

On his feelings:
"As a coach, I feel lousy right now because ... to try to make things happen, I used the third substitution early. It ended up obviously hurting our team. Cornell tweaked his hamstring and really at the end (last 25 minutes or so) it was like we were playing with only 10 men."

On the refereeing:
"I was worried about the way the game was called, we picked up an early yellow. It was risky to leave (Gilberto Flores) and I just felt as though it was risky to leave him on. And again when you're in a hole, you make subs a little quicker than you would normally in order to avoid a second card and to make a little more happen on the field."

On the future of the team:
"I think our a lot of our young guys. (They) really improved this year and that's positive. It's hard working building a good team. We'll continue to put everything we have into it."


On the MetroStars' problems:
"If we knew exactly what it was to start with, we would have had it fixed. There are a lot of factors going into it: injuries, call-ups, things just going wrong. That's just how the game is. What this team has to learn is how to make sure when you have those ups and downs, you have the ups at the end of the season."


On the season:
"I thought the season went well. Everybody put out a really hard effort, it was a really good group to play with. Hopefully, we'll be able to keep the same core group around and build on it for next season."

On tonight's game:
"It's a frustrating loss. They had lots of numbers back, but we just couldn't penetrate them. In the first half, we had the ball most of the half, but weren't able to create any chances. In the second half, we started to create some more chances, but weren't able to finish them. They definitely kept their defense very tight. We just had two major letdowns towards the end of the game. Definitely frustrating, because I thought everyone put out a really good effort tonight, but even with that we still didn't get the win."


On tonight's game:
"I felt that we came in and tried to do exactly what we set out to do: push forward a little bit, but not panicking. We were putting some good stuff together and pushing for that first goal. Even in the second half, we understood that, obviously, when we got that first goal it would be an all-out battle, but we came up just a little bit short. As the game went on and on, we just got a little bit desperate."

On the end of the season troubles:
"I would like to say that this team does a good job of getting everybody ready to play no matter who's out or who's injured. Obviously, those things don't help, but at the same time that's what every team goes through. We've got veterans on the team, we've got younger guys on the team, so I can't really point to either one of those factors. I think it's a mindset of the season being a long season and you have to play every game like it matters. Hopefully, we can learn from that, and hopefully we can improve on that for next year."

On D.C. United's form:
"D.C.'s on pretty good form right now. They're a pretty good team and they know exactly what they need to do. They're tight in the back, the midfield's very mobile, coming out of everywhere, and their two guys up front are pretty dangerous, too. They're a good side and we certainly couldn't break them down as well as we would have liked."

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