Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter
On his team’s second half performance
I think so. It’s a difficult opponent [Montreal Impact], very strong opponent, good counter-attacking opponent, good defenders and it wasn’t easy. It was one of those games that we had to keep going, keep pushing, keep fighting and we did that. I think in this league [MLS], that’s going to be the case more often than not. It’s going to be rare from the opening minute you’re all over the opponent and you cruise and in the second half you relax, that’s not this league. I was proud of the guys for that resiliency and the way that we finished the game was outstanding.
On his team’s substitutions
I thought it was great. I thought it was great that Kekuta [Manneh] was able to have the impact. We wanted to shift Jukka [Raitala] inside a little bit, we wanted to put him [Kekuta Manneh] wide and isolate him 1v1 and that was the game plan and it worked out. All of the credit has to go to those two guys for executing. Kekuta is a guy that has been waiting for an opportunity to make such an impact like he did today. Adam [Jahn] has been fighting the whole year to have this type of impact as well. So I’m proud of both of those guys and they deserve a ton of credit.
On scoring three second-half goals
I think it was more of a question of hanging in there, wearing down the opponent and being able to take advantage of your opportunities. We knew it was a difficult game and we were able to just hang in there, keep moving the ball. I thought when Kekuta [Manneh] came in, the speed of the game changed, we needed a higher speed and we were able to get that.
On Federico Higuain’s run of form
It’s not only the goal scoring. I tell you guys this all the time. It’s what he does every day, what he does in the training complex, what he does in the games, how he can lift his teammates, how he can bring his teammates into the game. When you see the awareness that he had on Kekuta’s [Manneh] goal to play it over the top right away, I mean he knew exactly what was happening in that play. He knew Kekuta could get isolated and it was a really heads up play. You don’t see too many guys in the League that could make a play like that. So Federico [Higuain] is great and we are happy that he’s able to score and play the way that he has.
On Kekuta Manneh’s growth
Again, for him to hang in there, there was frustration that he wasn’t getting the amount of playing time that he wanted, but the frustration didn’t affect the attitude and that’s the important thing. We want guys to be frustrated if they’re not playing, but then you have to show it on the training pitch, you have to want to improve, you have to address your weaknesses, strengthen your strengths. All of that you need to do and he did that, he’s been doing that. It’s no surprise that he gets a chance to be in a position like this because he’s been working really hard.
On Justin Meram and Jukka Raitala’s chemistry
They have very good chemistry. They are both smart players, they both have good movement and I think we saw that from day one in preseason, their chemistry. They’ve done a great job.
On Kekuta Manneh’s efforts
Everyone is pulling for him, everyone in the clubhouse is pulling for him. We want to see him succeed. We brought him here for a very specific reason, was to help the team, help the team in attacking areas. The guys are pulling for him, the coaching staff is pulling for him and we all want him to find his form.
On Zack Steffen’s performance
He was important. Zack [Steffen] is a guy that I’ve talked about his poise for such a young age, it’s remarkable. That’s really good how he can stay poised and come up in big moments. He’s going to have to continue to work on that and keep focus on that, but he’s got a great skillset.
On getting the win at home
There’s a lot of circumstance that goes into every game, but what I would say is I’m proud of how the guys responded, they responded well. We’ve been disappointed in Colorado, disappointed in Atlanta and to come out here and have a performance like this is pleasing.
On Waylon Francis not being in the 18
It was tactical. There’s competition for spots and we’re going to have to be, there’s going to be guys that are left out of the 18 this week that will be back in the 18 this week and that’s just how it goes. You’ll see Waylon [Francis] on the field again this year.
Forward Ola Kamara
On his team scoring two quick goals
I think the good thing with it was that two quick goals killed them and then they had no energy left and the game was over. Those two quick goals they had no energy, and for us that means three points. Then [Federico Higuain] also gets two goals, so that’s nice.
On Kekuta Manneh’s impact as a substitute
Maybe that’s something that we’ve been lacking maybe a little bit this year: a substitute comes in and makes big plays like Kekuta [Manneh] made today. I think we need that from other people on the bench and then you just have to congratulate [Kekuta Manneh] with a fantastic substitute because he was a game changer.
On his assist tonight
I know when he is coming in, he wants to go one against one, and then it was a situation where the ball bounced a little bit and then I got to it. I wanted to shoot, but then I didn’t have the possibility to do that. Then, I knew both the defenders came to me and then I laid it off to him and he was able to finish it.
Midfielder Kekuta Manneh
On his goal and assist
It was good. I have been searching for that since I have been here. Like I said I am here to help this team. Today I played my part. I came in and helped the team and we were fortunate enough to win the game. It was good to get back to winning ways. We struggled a bit recently and it’s finally good to be able to get three points in front of the home crowd and do amazing as well today. We are happy to be back here.
On scoring on his second touch of the game
It was nice. It was a good play by Ola [Kamara]. That’s why I was so excited to come here because of all of these guys being selfless and they are very good players. They have a mission and it is great playing with them. I’m starting to enter the game more and more and being part of this team and we are going to take it game by game and hopefully we can do the same thing again.
On his thoughts before stepping on the field
Coming back from the injuries that I had and you know I had a week off and thinking about it and what I can do to help this team. I’ve been here for 10 weeks now and I need to help this team anyway that I can. I was hungry. I missed those weeks, I missed a month, and I wanted to catch up like I said. And coming into the game I was so hungry and I couldn’t wait. I wanted to get a goal, get an assist, change the game and hopefully win the game and that happened. So that was my thought process coming in to the game, playing my style. And coach said that’s why he brought me here because I have a different style of play and he felt like that could help the team.
Head Coach Mauro Biello
On what his team needs to improve
Yeah, you know we played nine games on the road and six out of those nine games we got results. The team is there…the team is working hard. We’ve had three straight games on the road and we dropped one tonight and I think this one was difficult to get those goals late. In the end they fought hard, the players worked hard, and we will be ready to bounce back.
On his team improving so far this season
Yeah I think so. I think we’ve shown that—like I said the second part of the season we will be playing a lot more games at home. A lot of teams have played nine or 10 games at home and we’ve had fewer games played also. In the end, this was a difficult stretch but now we are going to start on a stretch where we are going to have a lot of our games at home.
On his team’s change in form in the second half
I think fatigue obviously came into play here. I think for 70 minutes I thought we were in the game, I actually thought we were better than them in the first part of the second half, and then they got a lucky bounce, they got that break. At that point, the game turned on us
On his team’s defensive tactics
I think we’re taking a look at it. For us, it’s about being flexible and being able to adjust. We can play in the 4-3-3; and with three at the back now, it gives us another look. With all these games we’ve been having it’s been difficult to work on it, but overall it’s something that we have and it could use more work.
Midfielder Hassoun Camara
On how his team improves before the next match
It’s a reality of the league. We have to turn on and be ready to get focused on the next game. It’s difficult because we have a lot of games in a short time, but we have to answer to that and we have to be ready to go through that.