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Sunday, April 25, 2010
In quotes: Chivas players, Vasquez discuss win

By Scott French

Here's what Chivas USA coach Martin Vasquez and his players had to say about Saturday night's 3-2 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes at Home Depot Center:

On the victory

Vasquez: "I feel finally we put 90 minutes of the way we want to play. I think this is going to help our team, that if we continue to believe in what we're doing, we're going to have a good chance to be successful."

Kljestan, who scored the first goal: "We went out and pressured them a lot from the beginning and made them kind of cough up a bunch of balls down the field. And we looked like we were pretty happy when we had the ball. We played with 'joy,' like Martin likes to say. We moved the ball around the field a lot, and it felt good."

San Jose coach Frank Yallop: "I thought they played really well, to be honest. Sometimes you have to say, 'We were outplayed today.' We didn't play great, and we thought they played well."

Vasquez: "I felt that against New York [two weeks ago, a 2-0 win], we showed character. We knew that there was an urgency to win the game, and the team responded. Against Houston last week [in a 3-0 loss], I didn't think we had the right attitude, at least in the first half. Today we were tested again, and our guys responded. Yes, the win was very important -- maybe at times it wasn't about playing pretty, but overall I feel we played well and earned the win."

Forward Justin Braun, who scored the second Chivas goal: "Tonight everything finally clicked. And I think this is the style of soccer people are going to see from us. It's what we've been working on all preseason. When we do play like that, we're going to be a very tough team to beat."

On the 4-5-1 alignment and possession-oriented system Chivas employs

Kljestan: "I think the mentality was great tonight. You could say from top top bottom guys had good nights tonight. Justin [Braun] in front of me was all over the place, and our two wide guys were getting behind [San Jose's defense] all night. It caused problems for them and opened up space for me. And then behind me, Ben and Blair were awesome tonight. And the backline was good as well."

Yallop: "I think the system they play gets a lot of people around the ball. They're not isolated. Sacha was [moving] a lot in midfield and picking balls up and doing his thing. It's all angles."

Kljestan: "I think we took a good step forward tonight. I think with the formation we played and the way we played it, it may be something that sticks."

On the play of ...

... Playmaking midfielder Sacha Kljestan, Chivas USA's captain

Vasquez: "He's started to respond to the responsibility that he has as the captain, as our leader, as out playmaker, and the guy who's going to make things happen for us. He was able to dictate the performance, connect and find runners, and also help us defensively by being in good positions. He's the leader we're looking for, that we want, and that's going to help us to be successful."

... Right back Mariano Trujillo

Vasquez: "I think he's been one of the two or three most consistent players from our preseason until now. If you go to how many he touches he got today, I will say he got the most touches our of everybody, and he was our playmaker from the right side."

... Rookie midfielders (and roommates) Blair Gavin and Ben Zemanski

Kljestan: "They were kind of the key to holding the team together."

Left back Jonathan Bornstein: "They both had really good games. They were able to get the ball, move it, spread it from side to side. & They just read together so well. If you didn't know they'd [previously] played together, you'd be like: 'Man, these guys play well together.'"

Vasquez: "I was convinced when I saw them play in the final four [with NCAA runner-up Akron in December] how those two worked together and ran their college team. We gave the the opportunity, we show confidence [in them], and they responded. They;ve been playing together for three years, so there's a good chemistry, a good understanding."

On Chivas' defensive pressure

Kljestan: "Before the game, Jonny [Bornstein] and I said let's go out and pressure them for the first 10 minutes and see what happens. Let's get in their end a bit. It worked. I could tell they were frustrated. They couldn't string three passes in the first half, and they were lumping it forward, and our center backs were winning a lot of balls. We were very disciplined and very determined."

Bornstein: "Rookie year [in 2006], we'd all get together: 'Listen, first 10 minutes, just high pressure.' We thought give that another shot. I think when you do that, it sends a message to the other team: This is going to be a tough game."

Trujillo: "The first four games we didn't play well with the ball, and today I thought was perfect. We lost the ball a couple times, but our reaction was great. The energy we showed today was perfect. If the team plays like that, getting the ball back as fast as you can and then keeping the ball, we're going to be dangerous in this league."

On Jonathan Bornstein's penalty that led to San Jose's first goal

Vasquez:"We saw it at halftime [on video] because we felt it was harsh. Jonny is trying to clear the ball, [San Jose's Chris Wondolowski] gets in his way, and he feels the contact from Jonny and goes down. From where we were, we thought Jonny had gotten the foul, and that's why we were complaining. But then watching the replay & it could have gone either way."

Bornstein: "I feel like I'm in front facing the ball, and I felt he stuck his leg in between my legs, and I was in the motion of swinging to get the ball already. It's like putting a broomstick in between [the spokes on bicycle] tires. It felt like I got fouled on the play, but they called it on me. What can you do?"

On whether Chivas has found its path

Trujillo: "We're thinking big. From the beginning [of preseason], we're thinking: Get the next step [in the club's evolution]. And I think the next step is winning the championship. & This team is young, but it has a lot of desire to get things."

Kljestan:"We can't get too high again like we did against New York, after the New York game. We can't feel like we're on top of the world again. We've got to continue to play well, continue to play hard."

Bornstein:"I don't think we can let this lift us so much. We had a bad performance last week, a good performance this week. We need to get a little more consistent before we can really say, 'Hey, guys, this is how we play.' If we come out next week and do bad again, it's, like, 'Where's that team from last week?'"