MLS Cup '99 Teleconference
United-Galaxy eager for championship showdown
Posted: Wednesday November 17, 1999 02:09 AM
D.C.'s Jaime Moreno : "We are ready to play, looking forward to a great match." Dean Forbes/Allsport
D.C. United Head Coach Thomas Rongen Opening comments:
"We had a very good game against Columbus on Saturday, and it will help us in preparation for Sunday...The team is looking forward for a fourth time in the MLS Cup against a worthy opponent...L.A. has proven itself to be best team in the West....These are the top two teams, records-wise, in MLS."
"We are emotionally in good shape, physically, we have 2-3 players who are question marks...Albright won't play, and we'll see about Sonora and Slivinski... Besides that, we are healthy...
"Hopefully we can sustain the level of play that we showed against Columbus...That will be difficult against LA, a well-coached team...Sigi's done a great job, they are a balanced, consistent team, playing the same 11 throughout the playoffs. It will be a classic matchup"
D.C. United defender Jeff Agoos Opening comments:
"The matchup against Columbus when we lost was a real poor performance, we were fortunate to be able to prove ourselves in Game Three...We came out and did what we had to do...We came out and stepped up, a credit to the guys...Hopefully that translates into success on Sunday...L.A.'s a quality team, the top team in the West, we are looking forward to exciting game."
D.C. United forward Jaime Moreno on the strong Galaxy defense:
"We are ready to play, looking forward to a great match...I don't have to worry about L.A.'s defenders, they have to worry about me...I'll do what I can do."
Rongen on being the coach of D.C., a potential dynasty:
"This organization always sets goals very high, they are realistic goals...We always talk about the Cup, talk about trying to go as far was we can...With the group of players we have, those goals are attainable."
"Getting there isn't easy, but staying there is even tougher...We've persevered, losing players, and had some young players come through...We've always been able to overcome losses, such as Tony Sanneh, John Harkes, etc."
"My attitude coming here was don't change it if it ain't broke, let the players play the game."
Agoos on his most vivid memory from MLS Cup '96 at Foxboro:
" Probably waking up that morning and seeing a monsoon, it became less of a soccer game and more of 'how to survive'...It should be different environment this time...We should see a more attractive soccer game this weekend...The field looks good as it can get."
Agoos on what he expects on Sunday:
"I have no expectations for the game, the Final is such a unique event...Whatever the conditions dictate, we'll try to step up and accomplish our goals."
Rongen on Marco Etcheverry's postseason heroics:
"As they say, big players make big plays, and the money players play when it really counts...Marco has certainly done that, not just last week against Columbus, but throughout the year...He is a great captain and leader for us...Marco's part of a close knit group, and the way he goes, we go."
Moreno on Etcheverry:
"Marco is a great player, and big players make big plays...He's that kind of person...The most important thing, however, is the team."
Agoos on Etcheverry:
"He's our captain, our leader, we look to him for inspiration on and off the field...He provides it in big game environments...You see Marco prepare himself for games like true pro, and that translates to the younger guys."
Agoos comparing this year's L.A. team to the one in '96:
"This is a much different team, with only 3-4 of same players...Our team is much different too...We've both had a lot of development and progression for both teams...They are a team that's light years ahead of where they were in '96, but we are as well."
Rongen on his first MLS Cup:
"There's still four days left right now, but I'll get some input from the players...I value input from players, Agoos for one...Jeff should be the Defender of the Year...It's not unusual to sit down with four or five veterans and talk issues, like MLS Cup, to see how we can best prepare, and draw from past experiences...I'd be foolish not to, not being big enough to ask their input."
Rongen on altering the game plan against L.A.:
"All 11 players on L.A. stick in my mind, we have to prepare for them...We always go into games from our own strengths...Not to disrespect L.A., but we won't make big changes."
"Good teams adjust to any environment, and subtle changes will have to be made to be successful...We have to make sure we can put our team in the best position to win the game."
Rongen on his dangerous attack, featuring Moreno, Etcheverry and Roy Lassiter:
"They have proven again this year that they are an elite threesome...It's all about team effort for us. They can't do what they do without a great supporting cast."
"Marco's a gifted passer, creative midfielder ... Jaime's had his best year in MLS, taking pride in being the best player he can be, and is very happy with where he's at...He should be MVP of the league, he's so unselfish...Roy is Roy, he gets his goals, goes in slumps, and scores magical goals like he did to Columbus...It's nice to see all three clicking right now...the other 20 guys on our team do help them."
Agoos on his relationship with fellow National Team member Cobi Jones:
"We talked about it (MLS Cup '96) a while ago, it's in the past and its dead...This is the present that's what we have to deal with."
Agoos on Paul Caligiuri's landmark goal against Trinidad & Tobago that sent the U.S. into the 1990 World Cup:
"That was probably the goal that set pro soccer in motion, the goal heard all around the world. It had huge significance to soccer in the U.S., propelling us to being a bigger mainstream sport...The three World Cup appearances since are due to that moment, it's been a catalyst for a lot of things that have happened here."
Agoos on winning in '96 jumpstarting D.C.'s successful first four years in MLS: "In that game, we didn't give up, didn't say die even though we were down two goals with 17 minutes to go...The game is never over until the final whistle blows, and that was a very good character test, what this club has come to be all about."
Los Angeles Galaxy Head Coach Sigi Schmid opening comments:
"Obviously, we are very excited about being in the championship game...It's a great opportunity to play D.C., a team that has been very consistent...We are looking forward to Sunday."
Schmid on being named Coach of the Year:
"It's great to have won the Coach of the Year Award, unexpected...It's nice to receive the award, a reflection of the hard work that the team has put in...None of this would be possible without the hard work of the team."
Los Angeles Galaxy goalkeeper Kevin Hartman on being named Goalkeeper of the Year:
"It's a great honor, I think its somewhat of a tribute to the team...The guys I have in front me make it so difficult to get shots off, and get crosses in the box...I can then position players and the defense moves as they should...I am proud of the honor and am going celebrate it with teammates."
Hartman on playing in MLS Cup '99:
"We are excited about the title game, working for nine months for it...We have been maturing the past two seasons, working as hard as we can...This week we've been getting the little things out of way in preparation...We have the utmost respect for D.C., but we've gone four steps in a five-step path... we're not there yet."
Schmid on challenge of facing front line of D.C. attack:
"It's definitely a special challenge, they have great players, talented players...We respect their ability...Dallas had good scorers too, and we figured out a way stop Graziani and company...We gotta figure out a way to stop D.C. too, helping on defense, sliding and covering, which is not the responsibility of only one of 2 players."
Hartman on the D.C. offense:
"It's a matter of going out and playing our game...We have to respect the 'triangle.' As long was we come out and work as hard as we can, we can take account of those guys...They are smart, so we can't be caught out of position."
Hartman on Schmid's performance as the head coach:
"Sigi's always been a pro, and we continue to work hard and try and meet his high expectations...He surrounds himself with guys who can meet his expectations...Tactically, we are much a better team now, with hard practices...All around, it's been a great change for us."
Schmid on Hartman's strong goalkeeping:
"He definitely deserves the award, he's had an outstanding season...He's the most consistent keeper in the league, and on the line he is phenomenal at times...His improvement is remarkable and he's a very deserving award winner."
Schmid on changes he had to make in L.A.:
"The number one thing the team at that point needed was a change in leadership...I happened to be there at the right time...I took some things out, left other things in...I changed the types of practice....Getting a feel of the players and organization was the key."
Schmid on Mauricio Cienfuegos:
"Mauricio has played very well, especially in the 2nd half of the season...He is extremely fit, has good movements off the ball...He provides great connections -- from right to left, or back and forth...He's tireless and seems to be ageless...He never stops working, that's what makes him the player he is....He's what Etcheverry is to D.C....Cienfuegos is as good as anybody on primary assists."
Schmid on the impact of Ezra Hendrickson and Roy Myers:
"I think Ezra's impact is strong, he finds his way forward and attacks... But he has also has improved a lot defensively...He's a very important player to us."
"Myers gives us another option in midfield... He turns something out of nothing...Myers has given us another weapon, another dimension."
Hartman on Hendrickson and Myers:
"They are similar players, Ezra is lanky, awkward guy that's hard to get grasp on. He can cross, defend and move forward."
"Roy has taken attention way from Cienfuegos... He's the second creative midfielder we have...He can turn it on, and he amazes me every day...He works hard to get the ball back... He wins balls in threatening positions on offense."
Schmid on Carlos Hermosillo's play in the postseason:
"Carlos is a player who has a wealth of experience, in big games before... He's good at keeping things loose, and light... He pulls pranks, changes jerseys, as a result he keeps everybody laughing...To him, it's just another game, and he's been super in the playoff run."
Schmid on LA potentially getting its own stadium:
"I think it would have a tremendous impact, not only a stadium but a practice facility...That offers all kinds of opportunities, with all we could do with the team and community... Our own stadium that's not as large as the Rose Bowl where people can interact is a big boost for our team and the atmosphere."
Hartman on a new stadium:
"It's a situation that the atmosphere, with a lesser number of seats -- no more cavernous stadiums -- would be great. Hopefully, we can fill the stadium...People can cheer louder, and it makes it feel like the rest of the world...Stadiums would make the field conditions better throughout the league, making play better."
Schmid on the remaining players from MLS Cup '96:
"The thing is the length of time it took to get back. When you are a young player and get to the title game in year one, you expect to get back every year...Now, going back after 3 years, the players appear aware of the fact that this opportunity might not come along every year...No 'would haves' or 'could haves' this week...They know what happened, but we don't talk about it a lot."
Schmid on the short field at Foxboro:
"It's not a very big field, the smallest we played on this year maybe...It makes it easier to defend...Both teams have speed up front...Short fields mean there's not that much space behind the fence...The last time we played at Foxboro, we scored five goals. Half that many would be great on Sunday."
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