Dallas Soccer: Hans Backe

FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman

General thoughts on the game…
We were able to create more scoring chances and I am glad that we were able to strike early. Both teams put a lot into today. Both teams played with a lot of energy, a lot of pride and courage. It was a sellout crowd and it turned out to be a beautiful day. They saw a good FC Dallas team today. I liked a lot of what I saw today and it’s early. The team is only going to get better as the season goes on.

What did you talk about during halftime?
We talked about being careful on all of New York’s counters because that is where they put a lot of moves on us.

What are your concerns moving forward?

Our concern is that we’re trying to help out the U.S. Olympic Team as much as we can, but we’re going to miss Brek being away. Fabian most likely won’t be here for the next game due to his injury today. My biggest concern is the flank used to be our strength.

What are your thoughts on Blas Perez’s performance today?

I thought Perez did a very good job under pressure. He had two or three killer passes that we could have done more with in addition to his two assists. Also, his two shots that were saved normally would not have been saved. He may be that striker we were looking for.

Defender Zach Loyd

What are your general thoughts on the game?
We’ve been building up to this game now for six weeks. The guys have put in a lot of hard work and with the turnout we had today everyone was really excited. We wanted to put on a good show. We came out strong in the first 15 minutes and got an early goal. That gave us a little momentum and we were able to ride that to a victory. Overall, the team did a great job today.

On his goal…
Andrew Jacobson hit a long ball to the back post and Ugo [Ihemelu] and Blas [Perez] did a great job battling. The ball just happened to fall to my feet. My only thought was to hit it low and hard and keep it on frame. Thankfully it went in.

On what it means to get a win today…
It was really important for our team morale to get a win today. With a crowd like that and the hard work we put in today, I think the result was fair. Hopefully we can continue to work hard and get a result next weekend against Portland.

Midfielder Ricardo Villar

On his goal…
I made an overlapping run and Blas [Perez], he’s a smart player. He was aware of how the play was developing. He released me. It was perfect timing and I was able to get the goal. Two minutes before that I had a ball kind of in the same area, 50-50 with the goalkeeper and he made a save, so it felt even better for me to get this goal.

Talk about your celebration, it looked like you were cradling a baby.
My wife and kid are in Florida at the moment. I told them… It had been a tough week for me. I wasn’t even sure if I was going to play because of the concussion on Wednesday. But I told them I was going to get a goal for them, so it was nice.

What does it mean for you to be able to score in the first game of the season?
It means a lot to me. I painted that picture in my mind. People close to me know how hard I’ve worked during my time here. And after coming back from injury this week and getting the opportunity to play in this game today, I wanted to be in the moment and play my best.

Forward Blas Perez

How did you feel today? It felt really good to be out there with my teammates. They supported me with their play and I tried to support them out there as well. I felt like we played hard. We could have scored a few more goals, but we got the win and that’s important. I had two good chances, but that just happens sometimes. I’m just glad we won.

New York Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe

General thoughts...

Two very silly, crappy goals… You can’t give away two goals like that. It’s assists from our guys. Poor clearances. We deserved a better result. We had good possession. I don’t think Dallas touched the ball the last 15 minutes. Perhaps, we can ask for a little bit more of an end product, but overall the work ethic was good. But, you can’t handicap yourself two goals down with those kind of individual mistakes.

On Kenny Cooper…
It was great to see Kenny [Cooper] come on. He had a very good attitude. He was lively and brought a lot of energy that helped the team. When Victor (Palsson) came on with his power, it also lifted the team a little bit more. But, of course, you’re happy to see Kenny have a good preseason and then being subbed in from the bench and showing this kind of attitude coming on. It’s well done.

On defensive miscues…
[Stephen] Keel played well. Both Markus [Holgersson] and Keel. Markus was phenomenal in his first game in MLS. Keel played absolutely up to his limit. It’s more, I would say, the individual mistakes for the first and second goal. Otherwise, we defended quite well even if we gambled a lot the last 30 minutes in the second half to try to tie the game. But, of course, [William] Conde gives you a little bit more in your attacking game with his left foot. He is very precise, a very good footballer too. Of course, it’s very early, first game, but we will improve all the time getting Conde, Markus, Luke Rodgers in… we will have then, also a very strong bench when these guys are back.

On Ryan Meara…
He was quite nervous before the game. I could see his face and it’s understandable. I only think he had one cross he missed in the first half, otherwise, two-three very good saves, so I’m happy for Ryan.

Midfielder Thierry Henry

General thoughts

We have to win games. And we have to score more goals in the opening minutes.

Goalkeeper Ryan Meara

On his debut
It was nice to come out and get the debut over with. It was a long preseason leading up to the first game. I thought another day we could have come out with a tie or a win. We played well in the second half, but it didn’t fall our way today.

Were you nervous before the game?

I definitely felt a little butterflies walking out. It was a good atmosphere, lots of fans, lots of noise. I was enjoying every second of it. It was a lot of fun. It would have been a little sweeter had we been able to come out with a draw or win. If we play like we did the second half, we can have a pretty good season.

What happened on FC Dallas’ first goal?

There was a scrum and it fell to one of their guys and he smacked it in.

Forward Juan Agudelo

General thoughts on the match…
I feel like we were really close to getting a goal at the end. Maybe we had some tired legs. We couldn’t finish the game and get the tie.

On the formation…

It is tough being up there by myself. I felt great when we had two forwards playing up. I like Henry at midfielder and I think that’s where he’s the best. I like having Cooper up at forward because it helps stretch the back line.
FC Dallas Manager Schellas Hyndman

Thoughts on the game…

“I really thought that we came out with very lively legs and really good team chemistry and team spirit to do everything we possibly could to get the result we wanted. I thought the first 20-25 minutes, we were very good. I thought we put some really good pressure on New York, but we just couldn't get on the end of some of those services, or we couldn't get the shot on frame. But, I thought we were very good.

“The second half I thought we came back and tried to set the tempo. It was really a pretty even game. About 60 or 70 minutes into the game I thought it was pretty even, and then we turned too many balls over in the back. Our distribution coming out probably gave them their better chances. A good shot on [Lindpere’s] part, Dane Richards gets to it, it gets knocked across and we had it covered, but they just got to the ball first. We did everything we possibly could and, no excuses, they came in and beat us on our field.”

Comparing tonight's match to the two team's last meeting at Pizza Hut Park...

"You know I thought (New York) played better today. When you say we outshot them, I don't think we outshot them, 18-7, like it was maybe last time. They're a hard team to break down when they're winning and even though they were down a man, we were just not experienced enough. We make some poor decisions under pressure and that comes a lot through our youth. It's not because of a lack of effort. It's just that we kind of played into their big men on the services, so they played better today than they did the first time. The problem being we were shut out both games.”

On having trouble getting the ball to Brek Shea...

“It's a combination of [Red Bull] having a pretty good game plan to keep Brek in front of them and we weren't able to get the ball behind the defense for Brek to run onto. Like most players, if you don't see a lot of the ball, you keep looking around for it. We did a good job getting behind (Rafa) Marquez, but we weren't able to get behind their defense.”

FC Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman

Thoughts on the game…

You put so much into a season… It’s tough. We’re in front of a home crowd with a lot of fan support that we really appreciate. It was a quick turnaround, and to have everyone come out on a Wednesday night was exciting for us. We just did not play up to our expectations, except for maybe the first 15 minutes.”

On the goal…

“[Joel Lindpere] shot from distance and I was able to turn it to the outside. Jair [Benitez] went outside and defended against [Mehdi Ballouchy], but he slipped a ball in behind George [John]. It was just sort of slotted home. From that point, we started pushing forward trying to do something and unfortunately we gave up another goal late. We’re a team that doesn’t want to lose. We’re a team that is going to go out kicking. Unfortunately some of those goals that we give up late are a direct result of us trying to push it and catch a result.”

FC Dallas defender Ugo Ihemelu

On the differences between the first and second half…

We came out fairly strong in the second half. We were going after them. We created a lot of opportunities, but when you let a team hang in there like that… They were able to come back and capitalize. They are a team with great players. We gave them one chance and they capitalized. It’s a cruel game, but that is how it works sometimes.”

Did this game feel similar to a lot of the losses the team has suffered lately?

“It has been frustrating lately, you feel like you are a better team. But that’s the game. Sometimes it is not going to go your way. That’s just how it is. The ball is going to bounce well for you sometimes. Last year, the ball bounced our way a few times in playoffs. This year it just didn’t.”

On if the team felt fresh throughout the game…

“We started off strong, but then we let down. We took our foot off the gas and they started building some pressure in the first half. We came back out strong in the second half. I thought we were doing well, but once you give up a goal to a team like that, they just sit back and they’re hard to break down.”

Red Bull New York head coach Hans Backe

Thoughts on the game…

“It was a solid game from us. Definitely the key was our defense with our back four together. Even when we put one down, they still played unbelievably disciplined. The first half was like two heavy weight champions fighting and it never lead to any big chance or risks but it was quite expected. I’m very pleased with our defense.”

On playing on the road…

“We went down to the wire to make the playoffs. After beating Philadelphia, I felt our last two sessions that this was a relaxed team, a calm team, with two very, very sharp sessions. Probably the two best sessions we have had all season. We are close to our peak at the right time.”

On playing it safe for the first 30 minutes…

“We knew they would be all over us in the first 15 minutes with the pace they have. We said before the game that the key had to be closing down [Daniel] Hernandez’s distribution. So we put Thierry on him and we set our four midfielders back to challenge the pace of Dallas’ front guys and give them as little space as possible.”

Red Bull midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy

On picking up an assist immediately after entering the game…

“I think it’s just the opportunity I got. We took the ball up on the right and I decided instead of crossing, I should bring it back and play it in with my left. [Dallas’] back four stepped up, which opened up Joel [Lindpere] to finish it. We were fortunate to get the first goal.”

On making the playoffs on their last game of the season…

“It shows that we play for each other. We tackle for each other and we run hard for each other. We are a dangerous team. Even when we were down to 10 men – we were talking and our shape was good.”

Red Bull New York forward Joel Lindpere

On the team’s performance and organization…

“It was somehow a replay of the last game we played here against Dallas. So, we knew that they come out very strong and last time they didn’t score and this time they didn’t score. They made a lot of crosses and have a lot of power in their attacks. We got the game under control at the end of the first half and we knew we would get our chances. It was like a copy of the last game.”

On the play leading up to the goal…

“First we created one chance and the ball went out to Mehdi [Ballouchy]. He gave me a great ball and I was timing my run perfectly. Maybe I didn’t hit the ball hard but that’s still difficult for the goalie.”

On playing against Los Angeles…

“I think we tied them away and won against them at home so it’s going to be an interesting game. A lot of chances will make it a wide open game. We know we have two games so we don’t need to worry. We just need to keep working like we have done lately – as a team.”

Dax McCarty: being a visitor at Pizza Hut Park definitely strange

September, 18, 2011
Saturday night, an old friend returned to Pizza Hut Park. Of course, we’re talking about former FC Dallas midfielder Dax McCarty, a fixture in Frisco from 2006 through 2010. But when La Flecha Roja returned to the Oven this weekend, he did so as a member of the opposing New York Red Bulls.

It was actually McCarty’s second time to face his former club as a Red Bull. The first time came back on June 22 when the sides played to a 2-2 draw at Red Bull Arena. But this time was very different. He was back in a place he knew very well and after the game, he admits it was a unique experience.

“It was very strange, being back here the first time. It’s late in the season, so it just feels like it’s been longer than it has,” he said. “It feels like a couple years rather than year. It was strange. I walked out on the field before the game, just looking around the stadium. You just walk out of the tunnel so many times, it’s hard to realize that you’re about to be the guy on the opposing side of the field. It’s definitely a strange feeling.”

And it was also not lost on him that Saturday’s match served as a tribute to his former teammate Bobby Rhine, who tragically passed away on Sept. 5.

“It’s extra weird not having Bobby Rhine around. There are so many emotions,” McCarty said. “You can’t even really describe it. It was very emotional but obviously a great result for us. He means so much to so many people here. It’s hard to single out just one great thing about him.”

New York left PHP with a 1-0 win, just their second road win of the 2011 campaign. The Red Bulls also snapped an eight-game winless streak with that victory. Ironically enough, the former FCD midfielder was also on the field for the Red Bulls’ other road win of the year, which was back on April 21 at RFK Stadium, a 4-0 win over DC United. However, McCarty was playing for the Red-and-Black back then.

He has been a Red Bull only for a few months now, coming over from DC in a trade that sent Dwayne DeRosario to the nation’s capital. But his new coach Hans Backe is already a big fan of what he brings to the table.

“A lot of energy, a lot of energy in the central midfield,” Backe said. “Dax will always be you can say in our attacking game a late runner. He can run all day long, so of course he runs from midfield for crosses, whatever it is, final passes, means a lot to us, the energy.”

And it’s clear McCarty has taken a liking to his new coach in New York.

“Yeah, he has a good sense of humor. I think tonight was a relief off everyone’s shoulders, a big weight off everyone’s shoulders,” he said. “We’re in New York, so the media attention and fans, it’s all a little bit magnified. If we don’t do too well, the fans are all over you and the media is very critical, rightfully so.”

The Red Bulls didn’t arrive in Dallas until about 9 PM local time on Friday, which didn’t give McCarty too much time to catch up with old teammates but he planned to do so after Saturday’s game.

“First person [I called] was probably Brek Shea and then Spencer Wadsworth, old teammates. Spencer’s an old friend and Brek’s obviously one of my best friends that’s still on the team because there have been a lot of changes here recently,” McCarty said. “It was nice seeing them. I saw them all a little before the game and we’ll try to grab dinner after the game to just catch up. It’s a short turnaround. We’re not here for very long. As much time as you can spend with your friends, you try to do it.”

He also wanted to give a shout out to the Dallas fans, who turned out in droves, over 17,000 for Saturday’s game.

“I thought the fans in Dallas were fantastic tonight. They came out in numbers,” McCarty said. “They obviously wanted to see a good game and I think they saw that. I think they saw a very good game.”

But he admits when he looks at the current FCD roster, one he used to be part of, he sees even more changes have been made by former coach Schellas Hyndman.

“Schellas has made a lot of changes to the team that made it to MLS Cup last year. Those guys that he’s brought in have done a very good job for him,” McCarty said. “They were hard to play against tonight. The heat was a factor because they’re used to it and we’re not.”

And since he’s not one who usually deals in hyperbole, when he said Saturday’s win was huge for him and his teammates, he wasn’t exaggerating in the least.

“This was something that I think we needed for our team. It was gut check time so to speak,” McCarty said. “We’ve been drawing way too many games because we’ve been soft. I think tonight was a big step in the right direction toward changing our mentality and being tougher to play against.”

Also, considering that win came with a first 11 devoid of Rafael Marquez, Jan Gunnar Solli and Thierry Henry, who didn’t even make the trip because of a chronic Achilles issue, beating FCD, who was without top flank players Marvin Chavez and Brek Shea, remains a considerable achievement.

“We’re a good team and we should be getting better results but I think tonight, it’s good to just get a win, especially against a very good team on the road. That could be a season saver,” McCarty said. “We’re in a very tough playoff battle with all the playoff teams in the East. You cannot afford to drop games in this league. It’s a great step in the right direction for us. We need to keep pushing. The playoffs are the most important thing because once you’re in the playoffs, anything can happen. Look what my old team in Dallas did last year.”
FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman

Thoughts on the game:

“It’s obviously a very disappointing outcome. I thought we played extremely well the first 20 to 25 minutes, created many very good opportunities for ourselves, but didn’t finish. Scoring goals is probably the most important thing in soccer. Then we found ourselves on the counter-attack and gave up the goal. We knew it would be difficult, in the second half especially, with them going with a 4-5-1 and sitting back on the lead. The end result was very disappointing for us.”

On Maicon Santos:

“He’s a very good player. I think he’s shown the quality of combining, shown the quality of holding the ball, breaking lose and then distributing. Probably the best part of his game is finishing, and tonight it just wasn’t going to be there. I saw a little glimpse of it against New England last week. We get the ball where we need to get it and then we’re able to finish it.”

Other thoughts…

“The bright spot for us is, we’re anxious to get [Marvin] Chavez back. We’re anxious to get Brek [Shea] back. Those two players would make any strike force better.”

On the team’s wing play:

“Not having our top two flank players is difficult to go without. [Ricardo] Villar added something. He’s a very crafty player. He’s very intelligent and a good passer of the ball. But the thing he doesn’t bring is that penetration into space with speed. Jackson kept on floating into the center a little too much.”

On the state of your team:

“This might be the first time in a long time that I see discouragement in the locker room. People are really disappointed. We all know how important it is for us to get three points at home. Down to the final whistle, I was encouraged to see how they kept fighting and how determined they were to get that goal. If that wasn’t the case, I would be extremely discouraged. When players encourage each other, it’s like the human body needing oxygen. You can’t live without it. So what we want to do right now is keep everything very encouraging.”

FC Dallas midfielder Ricardo Villar

I think our team is still one of the better teams. We just have to keep doing things right and eventually things have to turn around. We’ll just dig ourselves out of this. I feel like we’ll start a game at an incredible level and then just drop. I think it’s the fatigue of so many games, or I’m not quite sure what, but I know what I feel and you kind of hit a wall because of so many games and you cannot keep up that same energy the whole game. I feel like that’s true for the whole team, but we keep fighting and that’s what’s good about this team… the courage.

FC Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman

I can’t necessarily speak on behalf of the team. I can speak on behalf of myself and it doesn’t’ seem like we’re playing with the same type of intensity and we’re not having as much success as we had perhaps in the middle portion of the season. I don’t know if it’s because we have different personnel on the field, if it’s because we’re lethargic, we’re tired. I don’t know exactly what it is. I know we need to hurry up and rectify the situation as quickly as possible. Whether that’s taking care of things from an individual perspective, or just continuing to work on stuff from a defensive perspective or an offensive perspective, those are the reasons we have Schellas and we certainly value and respect anything it is that he figures out for us.

New York head coach Hans Backe

General thoughts on the game:

“Both teams have some players out. Four starters you can say, with [Jan Gunnar] Solli, [Rafael] Marquez and [Roy] Miller, three out of the back four normally playing and Thierry [Henry] out. We’re without four starters but it didn’t change our result. Dallas loses a little bit of pace. I can just give credit to our three new players in the back four, the attitude and spirit. They had to defend a lot, but they did it well. This is the way we probably need to do when we are on the road. Get back to the basics, to get the formation, to fill in for each other and just play a little bit better.”

On winning without key players:

“I think that sometimes these guys can pick up each other. I think that they really know where we are. I can’t say it’s a must win because going to Dallas and winning is not easy. But we are back in the race now after winning this game. Some of the guys know how important it is when the big-guns are out. We need to step up and take responsibility.”

“Hopefully now we can build on this, even if we had to defend a lot today. We didn’t have that much of an attacking game, maybe two or three good chances. Overall it was a good game for us. Defend, defend, defend, and play a little bit dirty. We like to get these three points."

On what Dax McCarty brings to game:

“[Dax brings] a lot of energy on the central midfield. Tim is more of a holding guy. Dax is, in our attacking game, a late runner. He can run all day long. He has runs from midfield, his crosses, his final passes; it means a lot to our game. Of course, there’s energy from getting Rogers back for the first time in two months. It helps a lot having him.”

New York forward Luke Rodgers

On scoring a goal in his first game back…

I just love it. Obviously, I haven’t played for a bit, it’s my first game back and I felt good. I didn’t feel as sharp as I usually do, but you’re only going to get that with match fitness. I’ve got 45 minutes under my belt now, which is big for me. I came through it good, scored a goal, which is nice as well. I’m just pleased for the team. It’s just so massive to be back playing. I’m just so happy with the win.

On his goal…

“I saw [Juan] Agudelo make a run, the ball broke through to him, and I just had to make sure I was in the six-yard box to score. The ball came in, it seemed to jump up a bit, and sometimes when you hit them perfectly, the goalkeeper saves them, but it sort of rolled up my leg and went in. I don’t care [how it goes in]. We won, we scored and it’s the best result of the season.

On tonight’s match:
“Great first half, we kept Dallas very quiet on the first 45 minutes. We played well, played smart, lot of possession and a decent end product with the possession. So we definitely deserved to be up one – nil at halftime. Then you can’t say another poor start, but we were not really, really focused the first 10 or 12 minutes. They score a goal; they had one real chance to go two up in front of us. (I) thought it was a very even game and of course getting one guy out, red carded, 2-1 down, it’s a good come back the last ten minutes. I think the psyche is really well and we showed a lot of passion just to get a tie, which we definitely deserved today.”

On saying earlier in the week that the team could make a statement in the match:
“You can say in the first half we definitely made a statement to show we are a quite good team. We played very well against one of the best in-form teams in the league, a very good team. Being one-up, and then a quite even second half where we lost a little our passing game, our possession. Then of course it was very tough to go 2-1 down and get one player red carded, but to come back the last 10 or 15 minutes was very good because we suddenly started playing the way we wanted.”

On Thierry Henry’s game-tying goal:
“That’s the kind of player he is. Suddenly he can just switch on, make a difference and score a goal like that. It’s a phenomenal goal. But we didn’t perhaps set him up the way we want in the second half. The first half was okay, but the second half, just a little too quick going for final passes, killer passes. And in this heat, it kills you.”


On tonight’s match:
“It’s not like a really, really good performance for any players. They were there and we gave them a little bit too much time and space and they scored two goals, but everybody is like, when we get back at least, there are some smiles in the locker room because quitting is not an option and we must never give up. We have shown it so many times that this team can strike back and of course we needed and we wanted three points tonight.”

On if they are aware that they are squandering points that could affect their playoff position:
“We are definitely aware of the situation. Everybody was like we really need three points tonight but when we couldn’t do it, it’s like at least (we got) one point. But of course, we know it’s been too many tie games and that is not something we are happy about. We need to win games or else the playoffs are slipping away from us. That’s our main goal, as it turns out we are too far behind to win everything. It’s all about getting into the playoffs, which that’s, in the end, where we can be the champion.”


On the match:
“Coming back one goal down, one man down into the game, you can always say we came back. But we were in control of the game and again, out of nowhere, they scored a goal. The first one took a deflection, not as big as the one we scored, but at the end of the day they played better than us in the second half. I think saying that, I thought we didn’t do badly playing with 10 men in the last two minutes. But again, it wasn’t a consistent one. We played well in the first half, and we didn’t play well in the second half. So we’re going to have to work, work hard, and try and grab some points.”

On the second half, and if the weather had an affect:
“I don’t know, don’t get me wrong, it was crazy hot out there, and humid. As I said, we played better in the first half, which I thought some time in the first half, we kept cool around the box and had more awareness on the ball. We may have had another opportunity to score a second goal, we didn’t. They played better than us in the second half. They scored two, should have scored three. We hit the post, so maybe at the end of the day maybe the draw was a fair one. But we have to be more consistent, not only playing well one half.”


On if there is a sense of frustration that they gave up a 1-0 lead again:
“Yeah, I mean it’s definitely frustrating to give up a lead, especially after the first half where we controlled most of the game and knocked the ball around pretty well and created a few chances. To give up the two goals early in the second half but you can look at it the other way too. Down to 10 men and we fight back and Thierry (Henry) hits a good shot and scores a good goal. To be down to 10 men and to come back and tie it, you have to take a little something from that.”

On when squandering points becomes a liability heading towards the playoffs:
“It started two months ago. For some reason we aren’t winning games so it’s frustrating and like I said, it was an issue two months ago and it’s still an issue. So we have to figure out a way to dig even deeper and come away with three points next game.”

On Dallas’ first goal tonight:
“They played a couple good touches and that ball to (Marvin) Chavez who was toeing the line, he did well to stay onside and they slipped a pretty good ball to him and I was just trying to get over and get anything on it and unfortunately I got too little on it and put some top spin on it, over Frank (Rost) and under the crossbar.”


On the tie:
“Of course we are happy with a tie. I thought we were very poor in the first half. I did not think we played very well in the first half. Being down a goal, to come back, I think showed a lot of character and courage on our part. Being up a goal, you are disappointed. Both of us had difficult road trips. It took a lot of character for us to come back from that first half.”

On the first half and being down one-nil:
“I think we are still kind of in that (Rafa) Marquez, Henry mentality—these guys are so good. The more and more we play these Red Bulls we will start to recognize yes they are exceptional players of course, but we cannot change our game.”

“I just thought we had a couple of players who were really off in the first half. It seemed like whenever we were at a trigger point to get something going, the ball ended up on the other player’s feet. That was the disappointing part. I thought the Red Bulls came out with a lot of intensity, a lot of focus. It was one of those things where they have a lot to get done here.”

On Marvin Chavez:
“He is just a busy player. It was a lot of work out there today. He is a busy player, there was a ball save as well that he broke through. Today the ball broke through to him, in those cases.”


On if the team made offensive adjustments at half time:
“No, I just did not think we played very well in the first half. We came into halftime just talking about playing better. We kind of played well in the first ten minutes. Then we let up and they started attacking. Halftime we just talked about coming out and playing our game. We made a sub kind of early in the second half. We put Bruno (Guarda) in and it helped tremendously.”

On of the team showed RBNY too much respect:
“I think we gave them just too much space and let them do their thing.”

On his near goal in the second half:
“I came across wide and I made my run. It bounced and I could not get there before it bounced. I just tried to get something on it and I ran into the goalie. I thought it was a goal, but oh well.”


His overall thoughts on the game:
“The heat here was substantial. We train at 8:30 a.m. in Dallas because we have the similar heat. Today was difficult for us. I imagine it was difficult for both teams.”

“I did not think we really had our best performance in the first half. The second half we came back and I thought played very, very well. We were able to catch two goals. Unfortunately, I did not think we did a great job shutting down (Thierry) Henry, by the time we got so many numbers over there I just could no longer see it. So I am disappointed we gave away the two points.”

On Henry’s Goal:
“I think he got the ball--he is very good on the ball. He was able to cut and we weren’t able to get enough guys over there to put him under the type of pressure that he needed to be under from 19 or 20 yards out. I’m not sure it was a product of the heat, I think he is one of those guys that is able to cut to find time and space. We did not do as well as we would have like to have with it.”

On Marvin Chavez’s performance:
“He is one of those guys that is willing to work for us offensively, he is able to win the ball in advantageous spots. He gets to the goal quickly. He makes good runs. He is a small guy, he is willing to compete against much bigger defenders and try to win headers for us. We get numbers forward and are pretty quick up there but he is someone that is able to hold the ball for us. At the same time he is able to move us into a spot where we are going to be dangerous. So he is someone that is willing to do it defensively as well as offensively. He came through with some great scores today.”

MLS Cup vs the Supporter Shield

February, 14, 2011
Yesterday New York Red Bulls coach Hans Backe sounded off on a topic I hold dear to my heart, MLS Cup vs the Supporters Shield. Here's a short taste, you can read more of his comments at the link.
“My target is to win the Shield. I think we're good enough to compete with the best teams. Maybe it’s because I’m European, but I would like to win the Shield,’’ said Backe, who considers the MLS Cup more of a crap shoot, while the regular-season is the test of a true champion.

“I'm not sure I care about the MLS Cup, (but) we need to be No. 1 after 34 games; then you’ve proved you’re the best team in the U.S. Then of course you can see with a Cup what you can do. But that, for me, is more like a mini-tournament for five games. Being No. 1 after 34, that's the target for me and the team.’’

I, for one, couldn't agree more.

This is a position I've held for a long time. I would much rather see FC Dallas win the Supporters Shield than MLS Cup. I know MLS Cup is where a club gets the title of MLS Champion, but for me the best club and true champion is the one that wins the Supporters Shield.

Most importantly to me, the Supporters Shield means that I get to watch, day in and day out, the best team.

So how about you, MLS Cup or Supporters Shield?

Hans Backe