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D.C. United Section

MLS Section

  United-Rapids Postgame Quotes

By Bryan Tucker Correspondent
Sunday, October 26, 1997

First, let's call a truce on MLS today. Let's celebrate the occasion of a great day for professional soccer in this country. Who would have envisioned it five years ago that this would have happened? I'm happy for MLS, and I give a lot of credit to Colorado Rapids. We had a chance to put the game away, at 2-0, but our inability to get the third goal and the fighting power of that team, taking on the personality of their coach, making it 2-1. And giving us everything we could handle for the last 15 minutes.

It was very difficult to repeat everyone was out to get us all year. Our guys got after it every day and we became a good team when we had to be a good team and I thought we played a great game against a great opponent.

Q: What does this mean for the league will teams will try to follow your professional example?
A: I think so, but the league is not about us. It is about all 10 teams and now 12 teams and how we grow and the product we put out on the field. I think we will do that and I think we have been a good example of that but so have other teams. I'm personally elated for professional soccer and I'm seen comments that have been critical, and I've made some of them, but I do it to keep the commissioner active because he is just goofing off. We have done a tremendous job in this league in two years given the economic conditions of professional soccer around the world.

Q: How much was this game different from last year when L.A. scored with about 15 minutes also?
A: No, because this game looked a little different. Last year, L.A. wasn't getting at us and threatening to get the third goal. We had momentum and I thought we controlled the game even though it was 2-1. Today I didn't make a change when it was 2-0 or even 2-1. We had many opportunities but were too casual with our chances to put the third goal away."

Q: In the first 20 minutes, you were passing extremely well and looked like you were ready to play?
Well, I told the team the big thing all week is that 56,000 fans doesn't guarantee a victory unless we brought them into the game and stepped up and played well. I learned from the U.S.A.-Jamaica game some weeks ago, I felt that Jamaica came into the game despite the crowd and we didn't want Colorado to feel comfortable from the start.

Q: Were you surprised that Raul Diaz Arce didn't shoot the ball on your eventual first goal?
A: A little bit because he was in a better position than me. I had to come back to touch the ball and it went in.

Q: You have had great international success what do these two games mean to you?
A: It means a lot for my career a lot. I came here last year when I wasn't playing in England and fortunately I had a good season last year and this year. I would like to thank my teammates and coach because my career was like dead in England and nobody knew me. Fortunately, I came here and could show my skill. I think twice champion is not bad.

Q: How does it feel to repeat?
A: It is a great feeling anytime you win a championship. It is a great feeling, and I'm happy we are the first team to win the first two MLS championships.

Q: Was it sort of relief to see that first goal go in?
A: I thought we put a lot of pressure on them and had a lot of chances-myself included-but we didn't finish any off. Jaime [Moreno] came through and got that one goal that really helped us out and we needed to get that goal.

Q: Do you see a possible three-peat?
A: I don't know we have a good team but you never know with the expansion draft coming up and maybe losing some players. I hope to be here next year and as many times as I can.

Q: Were you worried at all when it was 2-1?
A: I don't think it is my job to worry when it gets to that point. I just have to do my job and leave the worrying part to my fans, parents, or my girlfriend. I was fairly comfortable when it was 2-1 and I hope they were going to stick another one in but it turned out in our favor.

United Captain John Harkes
Q: What did you think of Tony Sanneh's goal?
A: Tony Sanneh's goal was a thing of genius it was a great goal.

Q: What are you feeling right now?
A: Right now it is an incredible feeling for what we have done, what we have accomplished this year with D.C. United. Sending a message to the rest of the league and D.C. United fans to make sure they take on what we are making right here a tradition and a class style for D.C. United. It is a great feeling to be at RFK and win the championship in front of 58,000 fans. Unbelievable.

I was entertained and I hope you were, I'm sure the fans were. I think you can see that we came to play, we created a lot of scoring chances. D.C. United is a fine team and a deserving champion. They continue to prove both on and off the field that they set a very high standard in the league for the rest of us to work up to. We took a team that wasn't respected neither in the city of Denver nor the national media on or off the field and got to the final in a real short time. I'm real proud of our whole organization.

Q: Did you think you could surprise D.C. United after being a goal down?
A: I wouldn't call it a surprise we were a goal down to Kansas City came back and won that game. We were goal down to Dallas and came back and won that game. I really thought we had a chance to do it again. It really hurt us to have to lose Paul Bravo in the beginning of the game with a hamstring.

Q: Can you talk about the play of Tony Sanneh and David Vaudreuil?
A: I thought it was a pretty good battle between Tony Sanneh and Sean Henderson and Chris Henderson and David Vaudreuil. Chris did not hit too many balls today that led to direct scoring chances but he hit a lot of balls to the next player who laid the ball in to create a lot of scoring chances. I can't remember a game where that many shots went directly to the goalkeeper.

Q: What led to your terrific run at the end?
A: Time. You don't take always a brand new team and have success with them instantly. A perfect example is D.C. United was 16-16 last year at the end of the regular season and they be the champions and deservedly so. A whole organization is an example of if you work hard day after day after day maybe you get rewarded and we almost did.

I'd like to congratulate D.C. We had a good run but today we lacked that little bit that we had during the playoffs.

Q: How do you stop Jaime Moreno?
A: Thank god I didn't have to that was [Peter Vermes] job. They are a good team they have two weapons up front with Marco Etcheverry in the midfield. I thought we went out and played well, tried to keep it compact and keep the game going forward and I think we did that. We came a little short but those three guys are really hard to stop.

Q: What does this mean for next year?
A: All year we have been fighting for first place and everyone seems to forget that. All year we were right in second place with a couple chances to get in first place but we hit a skid toward the end of the year. We come to the playoffs and everyone tells us we have no chance. I hope today we got the respect we deserve. After the game we watched them celebrate, and that burns inside and it us something that is going to fire us up for next year.

© Copyright 1997 The Washington Post Company

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