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Quote Sheet: NEW YORK RED BULLS 4, COLORADO RAPIDS 1

NEW YORK RED BULLS 4, COLORADO RAPIDS 1
POST-GAME QUOTES – MLS REGULAR SEASON
RED BULL ARENA, HARRISON, NJ
MARCH 25, 2012


NEW YORK RED BULLS HEAD COACH HANS BACKE

On the match:
I think you can say it wasn’t a must win but almost after losing two games on the road.  Players, confidence wise, were a little bit shaky, but their flying start scoring two goals in the first five minutes settled it down in a good way. I think overall both defending and attacking looked solid.  A deserved win over 90 minutes, but I think everyone is aware now that this is the way we need to dig in every game and step up for each other.

On the effort from Rafa Marquez:
I think, as we said, last year is history now, but he’s definitely a player who only played less than 50% with us.  And now, after being involved in the whole preseason fitness wise he’s absolutely at his best.  He has to be.  The way he can organize the team attacking and defending during 90 minutes, his precise passing game, when to get possession and when to go direct is very important for us.

On a change in the atmosphere in the locker room before and after the game:
I haven’t been in after, but definitely before.  You can see it in the warm up, you can see it when you have the procession in the warm up.  You can see the players – how focused they are and they were definitely more focused on key moments in this game.  You could see a difference.

On explaining the difference in the locker room atmosphere:
I think it’s more that you lost two games.  You lost two games; you’re a little bit under pressure.  You need to perform, you need to dig in.  As we said, we need to be unbeatable at our stadium.  That has to be the target.  Make it a fortress and not just words.

On Thierry Henry in this match versus the previous two matches:
He’s not a striker that occupies center back and twisting and turning and battle.  He needs to find space for himself where he can turn and take players on.  When you have a midfield who can find him for those kinds of passes, you see the difference.

On Kenny Cooper:
I think if you look at the stats with Kenny [Cooper], he’s always been scoring, I would say, at least 10 goals per season and he keeps going and scoring.  He’s not a similar type, he has decent pace, he’s strong, and he’s quite direct in his game.  He’s a very nice guy, he’s probably too nice, so if he would start using his body a little more he would even score more.

NEW YORK RED BULLS FORWARD THIERRY HENRY

On the difference between today’s game and the team’s first two:
Mistakes. We didn’t do mistakes today apart from the goal that they scored. I think that was the difference today; no mistakes. Other than the one obviously we did conceding the goal.

On having Rafa Marquez and Wilman Conde in the starting lineup:
Do I even need to say? I think you saw the game. When you have Wilman at the back it gives you that confidence. He has a great left foot. And you can also see what it does when Rafa is on the field. Not to find any excuses for him, but it was his first game in a very long time. I think you could see at the end he was a bit tired. We were all tired but I think he was a bit more than us. But obviously having him on the field and Conde, that changes a lot for us.

On the atmosphere around the team:
We wanted to go out there and perform. Not to find any excuses but it’s not an easy to start to play Dallas and Salt Lake away. Having said that, doesn’t mean you have to play badly like we played. But we wanted to go out there and start well and I thought you saw that at the beginning. And after, I saw something that we didn’t do last year; we were keeping the ball well at times. I think the confidence for us was pretty high.

On home-field advantage:
I think it’s up to us. I think if you come with the right state of mind and the way we came in the first half, in the first minutes, trying to put pressure and get the crowd going, and obviously scoring goals does help. We need to every time start to do that and even if we don’t, make it like a fortress. I know it’s not easy to say right now but it’s going to have to be the case.

NEW YORK RED BULLS FORWARD KENNY COOPER

On if he felt it was a must-win game:
I think you could see the hunger in the team. Guys were playing with great energy, great enthusiasm. It was good to get off to a great start in the game. I thought from back to front everyone was fantastic. And I thought that from the first minute to the last I thought guys were tuned in and showed great energy throughout the game. The important thing obviously is the result.

On the assist he received from Thierry Henry:
He is incredible. I said it before, he’s a hero of mine. He’s somebody that I think anybody in the world would love the opportunity to play with. I feel very privileged that I’ve had a couple opportunities to do that now. It’s a great privilege I think to be on this team and to have an opportunity to lineup alongside guys like that.

On how his chemistry with Henry is coming along:
I think you could see it in his pass to me. He put it right in my path. He couldn’t have played a better pass to me. Again, he’s a player that has everything. He scores goals. He creates goals. He’s athletic. He has everything. I think anyone in the world would love to play alongside him and I feel very fortunate that I had that opportunity today.

NEW YORK RED BULLS GOALKEEPER RYAN MEARA

On earning his first professional victory:
Today was great, to get the first win. We got off to a tough start. Going 0-2 it’s not the way we wanted to start the season. So to come here and hold the home opener and get the first win, it was great. A great performance by everyone and hopefully we can build on this.

On playing in front of many family and friends:
It was great playing in front of all them. I was home last night because I haven’t moved into my place out here yet, and just driving around the neighborhood everyone was saying ‘I’ll see you tomorrow at the game. Good luck.’ It was great and I’m fortunate to have such support from home.

On being named Man of the Match:
No way, especially when he (Thierry Henry) scores two goals and I think he had an assist too. It’s crazy.

COLORADO RAPIDS HEAD COACH OSCAR PAREJA

On today’s match:
It’s a negative outcome; the first 15 minutes of the first half set the tempo for the rest of the game. We made some mistakes and New York was able to take advantage of them and make themselves comfortable. I believe we made a mistake with the game plan that we had on midfield, New York took advantage of this and as I’ve always said, me as the coach takes full responsibility for it. Throughout the game we tried different things to fix this and we were successful at times. When it worked we were able to create chances on goal, especially on the second half. The team reacted well but we still made some mistakes on defense, which led to the last two goals.

On the Rapids’ game plan:
We came in expecting to play organized; we wanted to make it difficult on their midfield because you can control the outcome of the game this way. When we gave up the first goal, our guys had a natural reaction and wanted to do too much, when you react that way you tend to leave open spaces. We tried not to lose our composure and establish our game because it was so early in the game. It was a roller coaster kind of game, we maintained possession at times and created some good football, but when we made mistakes the Red Bulls made us pay for them.

On moving forward and the next game:
There are a lot of areas we have to work on after a game like this. As a coach we have to look at what we did wrong and how we can improve on these areas. Without a doubt our maturity on defense has to be better than it was today, we have to pay more attention to detail, the team looked somewhat distraught at kickoff; not only because of the early goal. This is team is a work in progress and we have to keep on working. It’s easy when you win, we were coming off two consecutive wins but my message to the team is to keep on working, especially after tough losses.

COLORADO RAPIDS DEFENDER DREW MOOR

On the first loss of the season:
It’s always tough, especially after getting six points in the first two games. I think at the end of the day we got beat by the better team. Today there were periods when we played extremely well and created some good chances but we’ll go on and review the video. We will review some of the positive stuff because there were some positives to take from this game, for sure, and quickly put it behind us and look forward to the next week.

On the impact of the early goals:
You can’t put yourself down two goals within the first four, five minutes of the game. I think we have to take better care of the ball and once we turn the ball over we have to defend their opportunities better. We have to give ourselves a better chance; you can’t concede a goal early, especially on the road, especially two goals, it’s always going to be tough and it’s always going to be an uphill battle after that. You can’t fault our spirit and you can’t fault our effort throughout the game after that but we have to take care of the ball in the first five or six minutes, even if it’s just playing it long and keeping our lines up. We put ourselves in a whole that we weren’t able to get out of.

On the absence of Pablo Mastroeni and Jeff Larentowicz:
Anytime you are missing big parts of the team it’s tough, but we are a deep squad and have some very good players that can come in. After the first 10 minutes I thought we were a good team, especially the last 30 minutes of the first half, we created some chances and kept the ball moving nicely; Jaime (Castrillon) was big in the middle, Ross (LaBauex) worked extremely hard, which you know you are always going to get from him and they found some space as well, but again you go down two goals early it’s going to be an uphill battle.

COLORADO RAPIDS MIDFIELDER JAIME CASTRILLON

On the loss:
Today wasn’t our best game but we are calm because we know that we have a very good team, but we do have to improve in certain areas and this doesn’t mean that we are done. We have to fix our mistakes, keep on moving forward and adapt our game to play the way we can and want to.

On giving up the early lead:
Unfortunately five minutes in we were down 2-0 because of our mistakes and that wasn’t easy. We tried to recover the ball and it was easy for them to control the ball because they were up 2-0, they moved the ball well and found open spaces. It was tough but we didn’t lose our heads and when we had the ball we tried to find the open spaces but they weren’t there.

On the outcome of today’s game:
The positive of today was that the team never gave up. We gave everything even though we were down 2-0 early in the game, we didn’t lose our heads, it was tough but the outcome could’ve been much worse.