NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION: Locker Room Unfiltered – June 8, 2013 – NE Revs 0, DC United 0
Welcome, brilliant readers, to the latest (and greatest?) feature of New England Soccer Today’s Revolution coverage. Go inside the locker room and hear postgame reactions from Revolution head coach Jay Heaps and assorted players and personalities. Also provided for you is a transcript of each interview so you can follow along and easily tweet out player quotes (Just give us a shout out @NESoccerToday, alright?).
From this week’s disappointing 0-0 draw against bottom-of-the-table DC United, feast yourselves on interviews with Heaps, Juan Agudelo, Bobby Shuttleworth, Diego Fagundez and D.C. United coach Ben Olsen. Enjoy, and come back for more. We plan to provide this new feature for every New England Revolution home game. We hope you enjoy it!
Reporter key code:
KM = Kyle McCarthy (mlssoccer.com, The Boston Herald, foxsports.com), SD = Sean Donahue (New England Soccer Today), BO = Brian O’Connell (ESPN Boston, New England Soccer Today), CS = Carl Setterlund (Worcester Telegram, New England Soccer Today), Julian Cardillo (boston.com, New England Soccer Today), Steve Stoehr (The Bent Musket), Justin Churchill (goal.com), Kevin Koczwara (Soccer By Ives), MW = Michael Whitmer (Boston Globe), PG = Peter Gobis (The Sun-Chronicle)
New England Revolution head coach Jay Heaps:
HEAPS (opening remark): “I do want to go back and look on the film on this one. From the opening whistle I think we all know DC is a tough team and I think tonight they really showed some real grit. They didn’t give us much at all. We tried to take a little bit, but Bill Hamid made a good couple saves. So, in the end we’re not thrilled but at the same time we were up against a hell of a team tonight.”
JC: Are you a believer that there are nights when you just kind of can’t find the back of the net?
HEAPS: “I know there’s nights you can’t find the back of the night, like tonight … You’re talking about psychologically?
JC: It’s just, you know, not in the cards.
HEAPS: “I think that when you look at it later, our final pass was a little bit – we can look at that, I want to look at the film and see exactly what it was – but I know that our final pass was a little bit off, our spacing was a little too tight and DC really once we got in their final third, they were bending not breaking. I think they did a nice job keeping us out of there half. They pressed high and we did have some good sequences, but when we did get in their final half and we had good opportunities, they bent but they were never really anything we were totally in and when you give Bill Hamid the right cover like that, he is going to bail you out. Not that he had to bail them out, he made two really good saves and I thought they deserved a point.”
KM: Were you expecting Chris (Tierney) to cut back onto his right foot and shoot at the near post?
HEPAS: “No, I don’t think anyone was. I mean, that’s the kind of sequence we were talking about, where I think it was off the quick corner, but there were a lot of guys in the box, and maybe too many guys, right? I think there was just nowhere to go, so he had to cut it back.”
PG: Psychologically, you knew you should have put this team away. They come in here with only one win, can’t score any goals, give up a lot of goals….
HEAPS: “You’re terrible, man. I’m not even going to answer that question. You don’t watch the games. This is a good team, I’m telling you. I’m telling you. Yeah, I agree with you that’s there’s stats and things like that that you can reel (off), but that’s a good team. Actually, you know what? I’ll take you into my office and show you the film. That’s a good team. Now, am I saying that we were at home and we should have done better? Yes. But they played well tonight and I don’t care what you say. You can put any stat up, when you go out on the field every week and play against opponents like we do, it’s tough. And that’s a good team and I don’t care what you say. Last year, they were second in points. I think they’re a tough team and I was glad that we didn’t give anything away. I thought that was good start for us not giving anything away. I thought we could have scored, we didn’t, but I give them credit.”
MW: Jay, did you get a sense from (indistinguishable) that there was just something missing offensively?
HEAPS: “I think that they did a good job, I want to credit their guys. I think they did a nice job. I think when we had our chances and had that final ball, it just wasn’t there and that’s our fault. I don’t think we made enough runs off the ball. I thought in the first half, we didn’t run enough off the ball. From where I’m sitting, I didn’t see enough off the ball, where if Lee (Nguyen) has got the ball he only has one option, I want him to have two or three options where if it’s (Juan) Toja running off him, (Juan) Agudelo this way, Saer (Sene). I thought in the second half we did have more runs when (Andrew) Farrell was going. He came in and saw two and three options; he played Lee in that time. Those are things we are looking for. When we are firing and a little bit better offensively we have those type of runs and I think that’s what was lacking tonight, along with the final ball.”
BO: You talked about the way that DC played – were you expecting them to come out with the kind of game plan they came out with?
HEAPS: “I was expecting them to push us. I thought they did a better job of pressing us on the second ball. When they would lose it, we would make a good two or three passes and then they would get to that one. I think we have to do a little bit better at breaking pressure. We did it at times. A few times Scotty (Caldwell) got out and got (Andrew) Farrell released. When we did that well, we were in the attack. When we didn’t, we were forced to play a questionable ball to the forwards and they ate it up.”
New England Revolution forward Juan Agudelo
JC: You guys put the ball in the back of the net once, but you guys didn’t protest when they took away the goal. Did you think it was a legit call?
AGUDELO: “It was 50-50. I think if I touched the ball it should have been a foul, but I didn’t touch the ball. I don’t think he was going to touch the ball and we went up for the ball together. I didn’t feel like I punched him in the back of the head, but maybe it should have been a goal.”
SS: They came at you guys with a really high-pressured, kind of physical game plan, trying to throw you guys off your game. What did you guys do to try to counteract that and do you think that you were successful?
AGUDELO: “We just tried to play the way that we play. It wasn’t like they were trying to put so much high pressure. I didn’t think that our defense was pressured that high, I don’t know how they feel. But, I felt like it was a normal game and we were trying to play out of it. I felt like maybe we should have had some more long balls because my strength was working today.”
SD: Looking at the standings, do you feel that this is a game you should have got three points out of?
AGUDELO: “Yeah, I’m pissed off. Can I say that? I’m pretty pissed off.”
SS: Shifting gears a little bit, the U.S. is playing Panama on Tuesday and I think back to the Gold Cup game when you guys won 1-nil last year with Felipe Baloy a lot in that game and he’s kind of been a dominant defender. What was like playing against him and what do you think the U.S. forwards are going to have to do to win?
AUGDELO: “It wasn’t really fun playing against him. He’s a strong, like, you could say intense-like player, some drugs, I dunno, but… he’s really strong and he’s fast. I think if you’re quick, really don’t try to get into a physical battle with him. It won’t work.”
BO: What can you guys try to do to kind of maybe be more successful next time you guys play a team that tries to kind of bring the game plan that DC brought today?
AGUDELO: “I just think we need to be more direct. I feel like sometimes we’re playing the easy ball, which is sometimes when we play out wide because its just the ball where the man is open, but maybe we need to be a little more direct and get some more chances.”
SD: Did you feel like you didn’t do enough with the set pieces today? It seems like a couple of the balls didn’t even make it past the first defender.
AGUDELO: “I felt like we were unlucky, we should have had at least one chance on the set piece, but again D.C. was really good defending it.”
SS: Turning back to the other side of the game, how does it feel as a forward coming into a game now with a 390-minute shutout streak? Is there an effect on your game or is there a confidence boost knowing the defense is that good for when you game plan for what you’re going to do up top?
AGUDELO: “I think it’s pressure because we let them down today. They did their job, they didn’t give up any goals and any time that, it is like we are playing defense against our offense. If they are up here and we are up here (makes hand gestures), then we are winning like we did last week against the Galaxy. But today the defense was better than us. We have to be better and I feel like we have to apologize to our defense for working so hard.”
New England Revolution goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth
KM: I guess, first thing’s first, what did you think of the defensive performance tonight from you guys? You were able to keep you and limit them to not a lot…
SHUTTLEWORTH: “I thought we were very organized again. The guys played really well in front of me, didn’t give away any chances – there were a couple half chances – but like I said communication was good across the back line with Scotty (Caldwell) and everyone put in their shift and we stayed pretty organized.”
KM: This is kind of a recurring theme, we keep saying the same things over and over again, but it seems like the guys were organized in front of you and not giving a lot, you know?
SHUTTLEWORTH: “We go through it in training throughout the week and everybody knows their role and what they have to do, and Jay (Heaps) makes that clear to everyone. The communication between all of us has been really good. The back line has been unbelievable, and Scotty (Caldwell) and everyone have been putting in the work. As long as we keep putting in the work, then I think we’ll be able to keep our defensive shape as we go along.”
KM: What about taking a point from this game?
SHUTTLEWORTH: “Obviously, we are disappointed. We had the chances to get three. Credit to Bill (Hamid). I thought he played really well. Obviously, disappointed, but we’ve got to keep moving on.”
KM: But, getting a point in these sort of circumstances, these are the sorts of games last year that might of ended up with zero.
SHUTTLEWORTH: “Yeah, I agree. Last year, I think we were probably losing that game 1-0. It’s a stepping-stone; I think it’s a good thing that we are disappointed that we didn’t get three points. That being said, we’re at home so we need to maximize our points and dropping points here is not what we want to do.”
KM: It’s a quick turnaround too with the Open Cup in mid-week. How do you guys kind of put this one behind you and get ready for an important game in Boston?
SHUTTLEWORTH: “We didn’t lose right? We got the draw, so it’s not a good result for us, but it’s not a loss. We take the Open Cup very seriously and I know there’s a lot of guys in this locker room that want to do well in that tournament. We have a lot of good depth so I think you’ll see on [Wednesday] that the guys are ready to play.”
SD: Almost 400 minutes now without conceding a goal, second-longest streak this year. Is that something that you guys are kind of proud of?
SHUTTLEWORTH: “Yeah, every time we step on the field we want to get the shutout, we want to keep a zero and the guys have been really, really good. The back line has been super organized, like I said. The shape has been good throughout the entire season. The goals we have given up, I don’t think that we were making the mistakes on those things. So, as we’re going along we’re trying to fix those things and I think that’s exactly what’s happening.”
SD: Do you think the consistency has made a big difference? It’s seems like you’ve had a run with very few changes on the back line where in the past you’ve had a lot of changes, has that made a difference?
SHUTTLEWORTH: “Yeah, I think there are a lot of guys on this team that can step in and we won’t miss a beat. Like I said, credit to everyone that’s stepped in and done well. I think we’ve made changes along the back line and we’ve still kept shutouts. I think that this says a lot about the type of depth we have across the back line and not just there, but in the squad.”
SS: They came in obviously with a very high-pressure, kind of physical game plan. From your vantage point, what did you see going wrong as you guys tried to combat that and create your own chances?
SHUTTLEWORTH: “I thought in the first half we had our fair share of the possession. I thought we were trying to hit them on the counter a bit in the second half. It’s a bit of a lull coming out of halftime. Towards the end we were picking it up and we were playing some good stuff. That being said I think we had our chances to score and, like I said, credit to Bill (Hamid) and their defense.”
New England Revolution midfielder Diego Fagundez
BO: Going into this game, you guys beat the Galaxy, 5-0. Back here against a team that doesn’t have the same results as the Galaxy have, did you guys view this as maybe even a trap game?
FAGUNDEZ: “No, we didn’t. We came out here and we knew they were going to come out with everything. They wanted the points and we wanted the points too. It was a good game by them and we just need to work on a couple things to get everything all done.”
BO: What were they doing to kind of stifle you guys on offense?
FAGUNDEZ: “They put us in spots where they could trap us. It was hard for us to get out of those. We played good as a team, so it was nice by us, but we just have to get those little things correct so we can be a better team.”
BO: It seems like they kind of made you a target with the fouls and stuff, did you think they were maybe targeting you a little?
FAGUNDEZ: “I don’t know (about) targeting me a little bit. I know they just didn’t want me to cut inside for shots, so they just kept forcing me out and every time I would try to go in they would just foul, so it was just tough.”
BO: How can you adjust to that?
FAGUNDEZ: “You just have to keep playing and don’t get mad, don’t get frustrated and keep going one-on-one and at one point they’re going to either get another yellow for a red or you’re just going to go right by them.”
D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen
OLSEN (opening remarks): “My overall thought was, at first glance, it seemed like a pretty even game. Both teams had some good looks and some good breaks and neither team was able to finish. Both goalkeepers played well. I was proud of my group tonight, and it’s been a tough three months, I’m not going to lie. For the guys to keep grinding and fighting together to get a result tonight, I was very happy with that and I’m proud of them.”
KM: What can you take from something like this, knowing you’ve got to start somewhere?
OLSEN: “Well, when you’re in this position, you’re looking for baby steps and this is, again, maybe something that we can build off of. I thought the way we got into the attack was better. We had more numbers now in and around the box. Now, the final ball has to be better. Last week, we worked on getting numbers forward and having enough guys in the box when we’re getting good opportunities. We did that. We were committed. The final ball just wasn’t good enough tonight and that’s kind of been haunting us.”
REPORTER: Do you think the guys take away a lot of confidence shutting down a team that scored five goals last week? Going ahead…
OLSEN: “The five goals, if watched that game a couple of them were late and LA was pushing. I think it’s a good attacking team. They’ve got a lot of nice little players that play and move and cause trouble. So I’m happy that we were able to shut out what was a pretty formidable offense.”