Saturday, November 14, 2009

Players React to Western Conference Championship Win

The champagne was flowing in the Galaxy locker room, but we were able to pull a few of the guys away to answer some questions about tonight's game.

Here is what they had to say.

On the match:
We came out on top tonight against a great team. I thought we played extremely well in the first half, and in segments of the second half, Houston took the game to us. [Donovan] Ricketts made great saves, and [Pat] Onstad came out with a bunch of great saves for Houston throughout the game. We beat a great team and a classy team. I think the world of Dominic [Kinnear], he does a great job with his team, and all fairness to them, I think the extra 30 minutes they had to play on Sunday really depleted their tanks. Obviously, when we got to overtime, I felt very comfortable that our team would find a way to get a goal. It was a game that could’ve gone either way. Let’s be fair about that. They had their chances, we had ours. I give our guys a lot of credits. Our concentration was great. Our center backs were terrific tonight with three forwards that were a handful. What can you say these games – a play or two makes the difference. We were the team that was fortunate to capitalize on our opportunities.

On being crown Western Conference Champions:
I don’t want to end it here. We have to win another game. I think can celebrate the next 12 hours or so, 24 hours, but then we have to get back to business and trying to win the MLS Cup. But, I am really happy for our players. They really came together this year to be a good team. I think a bunch of you know what we looked like the beginning of the year. It was going to take a little time and patience, with the leadership of Landon [Donovan] and David [Beckham] our second half of the season has been terrific. These games aren’t easy. You look back, and there were a couple of plays here and there during the year that made the difference. The home field advantage for the Western Conference Championship was huge. Give our guys a lot of credits, they played very well over the last two months or so.

On the match:
Certainly both teams had their chances to win and looked a little bit nervy at times but at the same time you never knew which way it was going to go. I think tactically we gambled a little bit holding on with a few guys but in the end it paid off and certainly we were the stronger team.

On the lights going out:
He tried to keep everybody going obviously, but in all honesty it was difficult. As we sort of talked about it, it was probably quietly welcomed—at least the first one. Once the second one went you know it is always a little bit awkward and certainly the first few minutes coming back after something like that you want to make sure there is not somebody that is not really quite out there yet or half asleep and it can cost you a goal so we were a little bit concerned with the starts after the break but certainly I thought we handled things well. The guys got in good situations tonight.

On winning:
You know we still haven’t won anything we want to win next week. Reaching it was the biggest thing we’ve done that, we’ve done that with the hard work and the togetherness that I have spoken about for some time and this team deserves it.

On making MLS Cup:
The important part for us is a franchise and to reach the playoffs. Once we reached the playoffs—anything could happen. And, we’ve proved that. We’ve worked hard and we rode our luck along the way. You have to have a certain amount of luck in any sport. We’re in this position because we’ve worked hard, and whatever’s been going on around the team and around the club—it’s been brought into the locker room—which is the important part.

Los Angeles Galaxy Defender Omar Gonzalez
On the first goal:
I was just ready to put my body on the line, I just had to get my head on it. I haven’t gotten to many headers all year, but time was winding down and I just wanted to get my head on it and it just happened to fall off a Dynamo player and Gregg [Berhalter] was there to finish it up. Beckham put a great ball in there.

On his rookie season:
This was just a dream come true season. Winning the MLS Cup will just make us better. Playing every single game, playing with these players has been just tremendous for me it has definitely helped me grow. I am just happy to be here.

On playing through the two stoppages:
Stopping twice for fifteen minutes was really tough. It takes you out of the game a little bit but you just have to be on your game. Just being able to focus and just fight through that. You body cools down and you just have to get yourself back in the game.

LA Galaxy Defender Gregg Berhalter
On his goal:
Obviously Jovan [Kirovski] looked like he has going to hit it back I just went to the ball and fortunately got in a good position to put it in. It was fun it was an important goal and goals like that are great.

On lights going out:
It’s tough. It’s tough to stop the game it makes it hard to get back into the game but to both teams credit we did that, putting the effort and I think it was a good performance by both teams.

On the team’s performance this year against the Dynamo:
We just stayed together, we stayed focused on what we wanted to do and every time we played them it was an important game and we’re really proud of that. The first time, we were coming off two losses and we really needed a win. The second time was for Western Conference basically first seed so we had a lot of importance. And this obviously was for the Western Conference Championship, so I think we were really focused on the game. This is what you want. It is a lot of hard work and it’s been a long season but it’s rewarding too.

LA Galaxy Forward Landon Donovan
On the game:
Give Houston a lot of credit. At the end of the day we knew that we had to make a play in order to win the game and we did.

On the team’s improvement from last season:
Anything is possible. It hasn’t been easy, it has been a lot of hard work but I think that we deserved it.

On the team:
Houston deserves a lot of credit too, but the reality is that this is a real team you don’t win a soccer game with one player, two players or three players you win a soccer game with 11, 14, 18, 22 or 24 guys through out the year and that is what have been.

On dealing with all the delays:
It makes it interesting. It is a little bit weird but I was really impressed how our guys dealt with it. A lot of times it can be really frustrating but we got on with it and it was what it was.

On the team’s performance:
We just had bad decisions on the ball. We could have taken another touch, keep possession of the ball because it’s a big field, there are a lot of gaps out there, but I think sometimes we were just trying to get the ball forward too fast.

On the Dynamo players:
I’m proud of the guys the way they played. A great group of guys that could have asked to go above and beyond like a lot of teams do in this league, and they came through. Some young guys have made some good season and great strives, and all the veterans are consistent. So in the end when you don’t win, you kind of come out empty.

On the game:
I think it was unlucky, we couldn’t finish our chances. I thought we had the better chances, we had one header in the crossbar, and we had a goal that was called badly. So, it was tough. I think the officiating kind of let us down tonight, but at the end of the day, there is nothing you can do about it so we just have to move on, it was a good season.

On the foul that led to the Galaxy’s first goal:
The foul that led to the set piece for the goal was kind of soft based on the previous calls the referee has been make it. I don’t think they were consistent with that at all. So, I think that caused us the game. I think it was fair to call the penalty but I don’t think the foul that ended in Galaxy’s first goal was fair.

On the game:
I don’t take anything away from LA, they are a good team, but I thought we had the better of the play for the majority of the first and second half. We didn’t take our chances and obviously, it was a game that was going to be decided by a mistake or a set piece, and that’s what it came down to. From there, we were pushing forward, and they got the penalty kick. It’s disappointing because I think we have a winning team, we could have won it all, but it didn’t work out that way.

On the season:
It was up and down throughout the year, but overall it was a good year for us. To finish second in the Conference tied in points with LA, to done well in Champions League up to the last game, I think overall this team under circumstances, all that we put on a yearly basis, I think we did well to get wherever we were. But obviously we are not satisfied with that; we think we had a team that could have won the MLS Cup.

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