United quote sheet


Opening comments:
"That was a great, entertaining game. Unfortunately Dema got red-carded, but even after the first goal I never had a doubt that we were going to win this game. We stuck to our game plan, the boys did a great job, and now it's just time to celebrate our moment. Personally, it's an amazing year for me, as a first-year coach. (President) Kevin Payne, (technical director) Dave Kasper, all my players, they trust my way, they trust my vision, they share the vision with me, and it's just mazing what came at the end. But as I said before, we beat the defending champions [San Jose] in the first game of the season, and today we are the champions.

On whether D.C. got 'lucky' goals in today's match:
"'Lucky.' Give us some credit, in this moment. The players have been through a lot, I put them through hell, and they know what this real work is all about. And they got the reward today. And whatever the call is going to be, whatever the foul is going to be, yellow cards, red cards, in the end when the team has character, and has real attitude and mentality they're always going to come first and they're always going to be the winner. I really appreciate the way they look this year and the way they play. As I said, they share my vision, and we come with the Cup at the end."

On whether it means more to win an MLS Cup as a player or as a coach:
"That's a tough one. After the final in 2000 against Kansas City Wizards, [today] I got my trophy back. We were supposed to win [that] game. But the past doesn't really matter. I'm really proud of these guys, because they make me look like a genius. But it's all their work, nothing else. So you can't compare this feeling at the end of the day if you compare it, I don't care, as a player and as a coach it's a great feeling."


Opening comments:
"First, the group of guys we have on this team, I can't say enough about. We had a meeting last night, and we kind of reflected about the year, and Earnie Stewart got up and spoke and one of the things he said, what really got me, was 'this is the last time this group of guys will ever be on the field together.' We went through so much this year, we got along so well and it was an excellent climax to the year. It's unbelievable. Words can't describe it. Best team I've ever been on in my life as far as individuals, a group of guys that are just class acts. Great friends, I look at them as brothers, and this is just the top of it all. I can't even explain how great this feels, how happy I am for all the guy son the team, the coaches and everybody. We worked so hard for this and I'm just glad that we earned it."

On starting the game a goal down after five minutes:
"Our captain Ryan Nelsen always says the tough times are the best times. He always tells us that when things get tough that's when you've got to enjoy it, and dig deep and do something about it. So we got down on that early goal, a great strike by Jose, but it was the fifth minute, I think, so we knew we had 85 more minutes to play and we knew with our attack it's just a matter of time for us to get back into it an score a goal so we didn't panic too much, we just stuck together, which it what we've done all year long."

On the significance of winning a championship after struggling as a rookie in 2003:
"It means a lot to me, like I said earlier, just to be a part of this group of guys. They're a huge reason for my development from last year to this year, as far as keeping me positive, and the veterans always talking to me, after practice, during practice, letting me know little things. But with that said, it's a huge relief. What I went through last year I hope no soccer player has to go through. It's frustrating. But at the same time it made me a stronger person and it made me even more determined to come this year and try to make something happen and try to prove myself to my teammates and coaches and I'm just grateful that I had support from my family, from my coaches, from my teammates, they helped me along the way and there's no way I could make it here without them."


On winning the MLS Cup in his rookie season:
"It's awesome, that's all I can say. This is what it's all about. This is my first anything major that I've ever won, aside from winning a youth team national championship. And this is the biggest I've ever won. So it feels awesome right now. And I don't even know what to say." D.C. UNITED MIDFIELDER BEN OLSEN On the game: "What a great game. What a great final for MLS. It was back and forth with a lot of action, and some great goals. It was really a treat to be a part of this team the whole year, and then to come out here tonight and finish the season like this is very special. So we are going to party for about two months and then get back at it and try to win one next year."

On the feeling when D.C. went down a man:
"It was tough. We knew we were going to have to put in some serious work. But we have done it before. We came together as a team and we finished the game off strong. I was a little worried, but we got through it."

On Alecko Eskandarian's play:
"This kid [Alecko Eskandarian] is so great. He has great instincts, and his second goal is really a tribute to him and the hard work that he has put in all year. He is such a talent, and he is a greedy son-of-a-bear. He just wants to score goals. He's great."


On the feeling after Kansas City scores the first goal:
"They came out and scored first, and we knew that he had to come back. We did well, knowing that we had to come back and pressing on them, and getting them to put their backs to the goal. We came back, and when it was 3-1 we were confident but not too confident. It became tight when they got it to 3-2, but we finished it off."

On ending a tough personal season with a championship:
"It was an up-and-down season for me. I came back from my injury too early and had to have a second surgery. When I was ready again, Peter gave me the chance to come back in, and I grabbed a hold of that chance. It was a special year for me just to get back in net and to compete hard. Then to finish the season like this feels really good."


On Kansas City scoring the first goal:
"It was a bit of a wake-up call. We have some very talented strikers, and we knew we would have opportunities. It was amazing how critical Alecko [Eskandarian] was - he showed his true class tonight. And Jaime Moreno showed his true class tonight."

On what he said to the team when they went a man down:
"I told the guys to play smart. I think our experienced players showed tonight. Earnie Stewart was amazing tonight. Jaime Moreno was brilliant holding the ball. When you are down a man, you need those guys to come through. You need strong defenders like Mike Petke, Bryan Namoff and Brian Carroll. Those players showed their true colors tonight."

On what it means to bring a championship back to D.C:
"This means absolutely everything. The fans are definitely the best in the league. I am not just saying that, because every team says that. Our fans are by far the best fans. They have had some tough times over the past few years, and they deserve this."

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