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Head Coach Adrian Heath

On changing the shape tonight and what he wanted to see and where the disconnect happened …

“Regardless of the shape, like I just explained to the players, you can play with three at the back, five at the back, 4-3-3, 4-3-2-1, whichever… But then you have to compete. And, we didn’t come in all aspects of the game. I thought we got beat by a better team this evening. They wanted to win the game more than we did. I thought they were better with the ball. And better without it. I thought we were really passive in the first half, in terms of getting tight to people and making it difficult. As I say, when you’re not good with it, and you don’t compete without it enough, then you’re going to struggle to win games. And, I don’t think we deserved anything from the game and that’s exactly what we got.”

On if it’s a consolation that it’s an Eastern Conference team rather than a Western Conference playoff rival with tonight’s result …

“Is it a consolation, does it feel like it at this moment? I’m sure when we look at some of the results that have gone tonight, then, you know… we know we’re in a really tight fight for the playoff positions. We have a game at hand on a lot of the people. But, as I said to the guys, we need to be playing better than we are at this moment in time.”

On his view on the two penalties his side conceded …

“I’d like to see them again. I can’t really… did Chase [Gasper] get him in the first one? And, the second one… so, I don’t know. I’ll have to see them again. But at the end of the day, that wasn’t the issue for us this evening. I thought we were poor with the ball and poor without it. So, you’re not going to win too many games playing like that. We actually thought the third goal was offsides from listening to people in the stadium. And we were trying to get a little bit of momentum when they get the third goal. But, too little too late, I think would have been what I would have said. I just don’t think we had done enough to win the game this evening.”

On if he’s ever made four substitutions at once before …

“No, nut I think that one of the things you could tell was that some of the players who have played a lot of minutes recently were a little bit not as quite sharp as they normally are, and we felt as though with the big game at the weekend, away at Dallas, then we had to go and freshen it up and get them a bit of a breather. Hopefully freshen them up for the weekend.”

On Emanuel Reynoso and Osvaldo Alonso not traveling with the team, if it’s rest or injury …

“A little bit of both. They’ve both got a couple of niggles. Obviously, Ozzie [Alosno] has played a lot of football of late. I want to make sure that Rey [Emanuel Reynoso] is 100 percent. So, rather than have him play with little niggles that he’s got at this moment in time, we thought, you know, Eastern Conference team, we thought, if we’re gonna do it, it would be a good time to rest.”

On how much the squad missed Osvaldo Alonso tonight …

“He’s a quality footballer. He’s been one of the best in his position for the last 10, 12 years in the league. So, missed his experience tonight. Maybe his calmness at times. I thought we got caught up in the game. We spoke about it before the game that they’re going to play high energy. Everybody knows that. They get the ball forward, they get the second balls and then they play from there. Make good runs forward. So, they’re a difficult team to play against. They’re doing well. And, I think they’ll make the playoffs and they’ll be a difficult team to play. Especially here.”

On if Bakaye Dibassy was out of position on the second goal …

“I’ll have to see it all again. I always say this, from where I am, the positioning in the stadium that you are, you never have any idea of depth and how far things are. I’ll have to have a look. I’ll look at it and see where we are.”

On goals changing games and giving up a goal right before halftime …

“Well, it was, considering we got ourselves back in the game. And, once again, I think that if I remember rightly, we had him covered down the sideline with two men against one, and the next minute he wiggles through them and, naively, we should have took a foul. That’s what a lot of teams are doing to us all the time. We don’t learn our lesson at times. We should have finished off the play there and there.”

On playing with four at the back consistently, and if it’s difficult to transition to three centerbacks …

“I’d say it is a little bit, but most of them have played in that position. Played in them roles before. We spoke about it and we worked on it this week. So, it’s one of them. At the end of the day, you’ve got to be flexible. Sometimes just personnel makes you do that type of thing. So, I wouldn’t want to talk about the shape of the team this evening or individuals. I just think that collectively we were second best, and the best team won.

On how his team will need to try and replicate the bounce back LA Galaxy win after falling to Sporting KC on the road …

“Well, I hope so. We’ll have to play better than we’ve done this evening. Talk is cheap, isn’t it? We have to start to man up now on the road. Certainly, the last two or three performances on the road have not been good enough. For sure.”

Defender Brent Kallman

On playing games on the road…

“I think we made it more difficult than it had to be. It took us too long to setup and get into the game. Particularly when we had the ball, which made it tough. We couldn’t hold it and we knew we wanted to play it direct and catch them, because they basically leave it three-for-three at the back. There are times when you have to hold the ball – even if its just for 5-10 seconds to let things open up – and it took us way too long to be able to do that. We were a little jumpy and we gave it right back to them. A lot of it was self-inflicted, we couldn’t hold the ball.”

On the two penalties…

“The first one I couldn’t really see, I didn’t have a great angle, but it looked to me like Chase [Gasper] put his foot there, but I didn’t see contact. Once it’s given it is hard to overturn. The second one is a bang-bang play. It comes out and it turns and Bakaye [Dibassy] is not expecting a guy right there, so it’s a bang-bang play. It’s a foul you see happen all over the field; frequently when a second ball comes out, but it was just a weird play that you don’t see very often. It’s a tough one, but they are probably penalties.”

On the second goal and the thought process…

“My thought process is: when [Ola] Kamara gets loosed, if I think Bakaye or Chase who are there can take an angle to cut him off, I’m not going to go. I’m going to stay in and im going to cut out more of a passing lane. It looked like – and I don’t if Bakaye got stepped on or what happened – but he went down and yelled and he’s holding his leg and Kamara is just going to go all the way down the sideline. I make the decision pretty quickly to come out and, because I think I have to confront him, but he makes a good play. He cuts it at a pretty sharp angle and [Julian] Gressel takes a good first touch and keeps the shot low. It’s unfortunate, those guys know that when we have a 2 v 1 there that that can’t happen, they know that. It’s one of those self-inflicted wounds and there was a lot of them tonight.

On D.C. being the hungrier team tonight…

“Yeah. It was something we talked about. They play with a really high energy, high tempo they put on you. They press you really, really hard. They won all the knockdowns, they won all the second balls. There was a point in the game where it felt like it started to turn to luck, things were kind of bouncing their way. You flip a coin and they keep winning it over and over again, maybe it’s not luck, maybe they were hungrier and quicker to get around the ball. Their movement was really intelligent up front. Felt like I couldn’t really get as tight to [Ola] Kamara as I wanted to. Part of it was because his movement was really good, but also the other guys next to him, the midfielders are making runs in behind constantly. For me personally, I felt a step behind, I couldn’t get as tight and physical with Kamara as I wanted to.

On the lack of results on the road…

“It’s always difficult to win on the road, but this team has shown, whether it was in 2019 or last year, that we can do it. The important thing, they are bad results, especially the one in KC, but you can’t let it affect the next game. You have to have a short memory, we have to be able to learn, take a couple things from this and we have to move on. We have a big chance on Saturday, every point is important, we can’t let this thing linger over us, we just have to move on to the next game.

On perspective of playing an Eastern Conference team…

“I don’t think so. Mathematically, it probably does right, you are taking points away from teams that are around you on the table. We can’t rely on other teams dropping points, we have to take our destiny in our own hands.”