USATSI_16647509

Head Coach Adrian Heath

On heading into the match with a long injury list…

“Sometimes you get it. I’ve never had where it’s nearly forward players were the ones who were injured. Obviously it’s something that we’re looking at because we’ve got seven attacking players who are in the same boat. It looks like there’s a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel. They’re all out on the grass, they’re all training so hopefully by the time we get back and get working, there’s two or three of them that will be able to join in and join the group for Seattle.”

On Adrien Hunou’s brace and the overall team performance…

“Got in good spots. Keep telling him he’s got to keep believing and getting in the right areas. I liked his first goal because I don’t think he spends enough time in them real danger spots, close enough to the goal. His second one is a lovely finish, very composed. So I’m pleased for him, that will do his confidence no harm. I’m pleased for the group to be honest with you. It’s difficult when you keep saying the same things, keep believing in what we’re doing and results will come. If you look at our last three results, for us to only have a couple of points is criminal, really, with how well we’ve played. To get a win here, where people might have said we were fortunate but as I said to the players just, this is reward for what you’ve done the previous three games when you haven’t really got any reward. Tonight, we rolled our luck a little bit at times. Thought [Tyler Miller] was great in goal. Great spots, great starting spots, through balls and every time he was called upon. I thought Brent Kallman came in and did outstandingly well. Thought it was a lot of good performances. But I’ve managed enough to know that this break is coming for us at the right time. We need get away from each other for three or four days, let people start to get better and get healthy and get refreshed.”

On whether it was about doing the same thing and getting different results or doing something different for Adrien Hunou…

“A bit of both. As I just said, I don’t think he spends enough time in and around the goal. He’s got to get in there where he matters and keep believing that ball is going to come for him. I kept saying to him, don’t always come out of the box, stay in the box and he’s done that better tonight and his timing, his run for the second goal was excellent. But I was really pleased with the first goal because he scored it from what? Two yards out? Three yards out? And that’s where goal-scorers predominately get most of the goals.”

On conceding a goal in the opening minute…

“Poor decisions. Two or three poor choices. Went for balls that we weren’t going to get and not enough urgency to get in the right spots. So I thought, here we go again because [Houston] has not really been a very kind place to us. For some reason, we generally don’t play well here. I thought here again but they dug it in and they got themselves back in the game showed a really good resolve and, at times, we started to move the ball really well.”

On fatigue or humidity affecting the team in the second half…

“It does, it always does down here. Look at my shirt, covered in sweat. I don’t know why it’s difficult. I think, maybe subconsciously players think about it more than they should because it wasn’t bad tonight, by Houston standards. The fact that the group has been…this group has played most of the minutes, there’s a little bit of fatigue in there as well. I think we could do without the internationals going away but certainly the rest of the group are going to have three, four days off now then we’ll regroup and get ourselves prepared for another difficult game on the road in Seattle.”

On whether Hunou’s role changed once Fanendo Adi came in the game…

“We played him a little bit deeper, more of a ten, where he’s played before. He’s played a lot of his career there and I thought he linked up really well. As I say, good runs in the box and a couple other good efforts as well, the keeper [Michael Nelson] made a good save on him as well. And I was pleased for the big man [Fanendo Adi]. He did really well for holding the ball and knocking it back to Ethan Finlay and then he puts a lovely ball in Adrien’s path. Nice goal, the second one.”

On Hassani Dotson playing on the left wing…

“I don’t know what you’re getting at, you think he’s good or bad but I don’t care where we play him, I know what we’re going to get out of him. We know it’s not his favorite position, it’s not where he’s going to play the majority of his career but he’s got himself in the position now where it’s going to be very difficult for me to leave him out of the team because I know what he gives us, regardless of where he plays.”

Midfielder Ethan Finlay

On finally getting a win after a few tough results in the last four matches…

“It feels great. I don’t think we felt like we got points out of games we thought we deserved in the last couple games and that was a little bit on us, to take ownership of not scoring and making plays in those situations. Tonight, this group that we had out there, the guys we had available, knew what we were about to get into and that was going to be a battle for 90 plus minutes in a tough environment. It’s hot. It’s hot for everybody but they’re a little more used to it. I was just saying to one of our staffers here, it’s three points but it feels like we got a bonus one because the way that we did it tonight and everything that we’ve been dealing with as a group and going through some injuries. We’re not using that an excuse and we wouldn’t use that as an excuse if we lost or drew tonight. We knew that the group that started or was available for this game was more than capable of getting a result. I’m just proud of the guys because that’s what we did tonight.”

On the team’s offensive struggles recently and getting the assists on both of the goals…

“We put the ball in the net. Honestly, simple as that. We’ve been creating chances and we’ve run into hot goalkeepers, we’ve hit the post and I was talking about ball luck earlier this week with somebody, you kinda need that a little bit tonight. But I think it was great to get Adrien [Hunou] on the board tonight, get him two goals. Huge for his confidence, great for our group. So those two things combined, for the individual and the collective, I think, is going to be a big thing and be a catalyst, hopefully, for a run that we can go on here now.”

On if it helps his confidence to get the assist as well…

“You know what helped my confidence? Wins. If I can be a part of them, I know I’m doing my job right. I don’t evaluate my play based on goals and assists, that stuff, hopefully, takes care of itself. If I’m playing well and I’m influencing the defense, the leftback and centerback, trying to open up space. I’ve had unbelievable games where I didn’t find the scoresheet but guys come up to me and say ‘that was one of the best games you’ve played. That was huge, you were so important to us today.’ Personally, I don’t look at the scoresheet and say I had a great game because of that. I do think tonight, we did do some good stuff. That second assist there, the play with [Fanendo] Adi, that was a great team goal off of a throw in. see him come in and make a play like that in his first game for us, holding the ball up. And then Adrien [Hunou] getting in the right spots. We’ve talked a lot about that. He needs to find himself in the box, in the right spots and he’s taking a lot of ownership to work on that and understand where we’re going to be playing the balls and where he needs to be and tonight he was Johnny on the spot.”

On what he’s seen from Adrien Hunou throughout his nine-game scoring slump…

“He’s been a little bit tight but we’ve got to remember there’s usually a three to six month period for guys that are coming from abroad. It takes them time. Some guys pick it up right away. [Emanuel Reynoso] is a great example of that. He came in and shocked the MLS, surprised everybody. He was really strong right out the gate. Other guys, it takes a little bit of time to get used to the flow, get used to your teammates. A new place that you’re living. It’s maybe his first time living in the United States for an extended period of time. All those factors play into it. They’re not excused but they’re real life things that guys are dealing with. What I saw is a guy who continued to work, continued to come in and be responsible. A guy who, actually, was taken out of the lineup for a couple of games and stayed true to himself. Didn’t become negative. Stayed a good teammate. I give him a lot of credit for that, persevering through that. I think Adrian [Heath] and the staff did a good job of communicating that to him and saying ‘we put this lineup out because we think this gives us the best chance to win.’ Now that he’s back in the lineup, now he’s showing his quality and what he can do. That’s only going to help us, the competition at various spots, whether it’s up top, whether it’s out wide, I think that’s going to be great for us. We got a week off here but we’re already in the locker room talking about what Seattle is going to be like and we know that’s going to be a tough week ahead of us with Seattle, mid-week Kansas City and home with the Galaxy. This was a necessary result for this group. It sets us up now to get some points against some of top teams above us.”

On staying mentally strong after going down a goal right away in a tough environment…

“That was a gut punch tonight. I’ll be honest with you, I’ve been a part of some of those games and a lot of the times, they don’t turn out this way. I wouldn’t be talking to you. The result would be flipped and it would probably be a bigger score. We can’t do that. The good teams, the really good teams in this league will make you pay for that. Example is LA Galaxy, right? That’s a game where I think we dictated at home, we were all over them and there’s an opportunity on the break, they score before half there and now we’re down one-nothing and we’re just kind of looking around. And we were never really able to get that goal because those types of teams can hunker down and keep the lead and defend it very well. Houston is a team that’s kind of had their ups and downs this season so we were able to persevere tonight. But it’s something we got to clean up. I think that the guys in the back know that. I don’t know if there was a miscommunication, we’ll talk about it obviously, this week, in some film study. Those are little plays that we have to be more alert and make better decisions on as a group. Is it a preventable situation where we can keep the ball and we don’t keep it and comes back down our throat? It’s not on one person or two people. There’s a whole 30 second sequence there where I think we can do better in multiple spots.”

On the result in Houston…

“I’m excited. That’s a huge win. Ozzie Alonso was telling me, he said it was the third time he ever won here. And that guy, I mean, he’s been in the league for…I mean I think Houston was moved to San Jose when he first started our league and then they got back. I don’t how long they’ve been in this league. Geez. That’s saying something for a guy that’s played every game for his whole career, pretty much, in the Western Conference. Take that for what it is and for what it means to the group.

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