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Galaxy: “We’re not foolish enough to believe that this thing is over”

Post by Don Ruiz / The News Tribune on Nov. 11, 2012 at 10:32 pm with No Comments »
November 11, 2012 10:32 pm

Here’s some of what the Galaxy had to say tonight after its 3-0 win in the first leg of its Western Conference final with the Sounders:

Coach Bruce Arena
Overall thoughts on the game:

“We played very well tonight against an excellent team and we’re not foolish enough to believe that this thing is over. The game in Seattle on Sunday is going to be a real difficult game and we have to have our team ready to play.”

On the performance of key players:
“Christian [Wilhelmsson] played very well tonight. I think the combination play with him and [David] Beckham and [Landon] Donovan and [Robbie] Keane and [Mike] Magee was excellent. They had a good night and they were dangerous. Obviously the goal at the end of the half was certainly huge and made a big difference. Seattle pressed to get a goal, open things up and gave some talented players a little bit of room to help us get the second and third goals.”

On the form of Robbie Keane:
“I’ve said it a number of times. I think he’s been simply outstanding since his return from the European Championships. One could argue he’s been the best player in the league, unbelievably important to our team. He’s been healthy and in just about every game I would think since he’s returned. He’s simply been outstanding. What can I say? He’s been great.”

On his team’s depth:
“It’s been a progression over the season. I think it’s well documented that we didn’t start the season well but we started seeing progress end of May, June. Our young players have really improved. We think we have a lot of good depth and a lot of positions. In the Champions League we were able to use our second group in most of the games and ended up winning the group so it’s a tribute to the way they’ve developed and the kind of group we have.”

On the full week ahead of rest ahead of the second leg:
“It will be good. I think this is a difficult schedule for all the teams. I think it was challenging for D.C. United going down in Houston, I think Seattle would probably say the same. We’ve had, obviously to play in games. So it’s been a lot of games in a short period of time and we’ve been fortunate enough to be able to survive to this point.”

Thoughts on what the veterans bring to the team:
“I think if Keane, Beckham and Donovan for example are right, and even Omar [Gonzalez] in the case of Tommy Meyer, they’re outstanding role models for those guys, and examples, when they’re focused and their minds are right they’re great examples for any of our young players to look at and learn from and help them develop. I would say they’re vitally important to the development of our young players.”

Forward Landon Donovan
On the team’s performance in the victory:

“It was a good start. I think if we’re critical at all, we probably should have gotten a fourth goal. When you have a team down, you have to bury them. That being said, if you would have told us at the start of the night, do you want 3-0 at the end, we would have taken it. But this is far from over. I, myself, have been part of bigger comebacks than this so we’ve got a long way to go still.”

On the injury that forced him out of the game:
”I felt my hamstring tighten up a little bit, so we’ll see, go in tomorrow and look at it.”

On next Sunday’s second leg in Seattle:
“Next week they’ll have Eddie [Johnson] from the start, my guess is they’ll have Rosales from the start and they’re a much different team at home than they are on the road. They beat us 4-0 earlier in the year and there’s no reason why they can’t do that again so we’ve got to be prepared.”

On Robbie Keane’s goal just before halftime:
“That was huge. We didn’t play all too well in the first half, created a couple chances but we weren’t all that dangerous, so to break through right before [halftime] I think broke their back a little bit and then our second half was terrific.”

On the goal scoring of Keane and Mike Magee:
“Big players step up in big games and we have a number of those and we need those two to keep going. As they go, so goes our team.”

On having a week off between games:
“It’s going to be a little weird not to play in three days. We’re going to take a couple of days off to rest, we need it. But then it’s back to work because we’ve got a big one Sunday.”

Forward Robbie Keane
On the importance of the goal right before halftime:

“It was important that we kept our patience and that certainly was the case. We knew that was going to be difficult, they were going to defend well and hey did that. I think the goal just before halftime was a big boost for us and obviously killed them a little.”

On the win and next week’s second leg:
“We can’t obviously get too carried away with ourselves. We got a good win tonight, but the job’s only half done. So if the lads think for one second now this is over, they may think again, because as we know in football it’s a funny old game and anything can happen. We’ll enjoy tonight, enjoy the win, but as soon as we’re back on the training pitch, the focus is on next Sunday.”

On the mindset ahead of the second leg:
“I think it’s up to the lads, the senior players who have a lot more experience than the other guys to make sure that they know that this is by no means over.”

On tapping home the third goal which Christian Wilhelmsson had sent toward the goalline:
“My coaches when I was a kid always said just make sure the ball hits the back of the net. I wasn’t too sure who was around me so I was just making sure, because he cleared a few off the line tonight so I wasn’t taking any chances. It doesn’t really matter who scored as long as we win the game.”

Midfielder Mike Magee
On the key to the team’s combination play:

“Landon and Robbie. Landon and Robbie were phenomenal. And any time they play together they are so dangerous. It makes it so much easier when every ball they try to lump forward, and every cross they hit, it gets eaten by our defense and our goalie, it makes it so much easier when they are not possessing it in our defensive third.”

On if the team can sit back with a 3-0 lead:
“We can’t sit back. This is a team that if we go there and we think 3-0 is going to be good enough I think we will be proven that it won’t be good enough. “

Midfielder David Beckham
On the win and looking forward to next week’s match in Seattle:

“We always create chances, so it was great that we put them away, but this tie is far from over. Seattle’s always been a tough place to go and win games and play at. Their fans will be right behind them, but we have obviously put ourselves in a good position. But we know that it’s far from over.”

On what kind of approach they need to take into the second leg:
“The same approach that we took for this game. We’re not going to sit on the lead that we have. It’s important that we still play our soccer and play it like we can. But obviously, we’re in a very good position. We don’t want to concede too quickly in the game, hopefully not at all. It’s going to be a tough one.”

On whether they felt the game opening up in the second half:
“I think that always happens when you’re chasing the game and you’re down a goal or two. The game opens up, the other team has to take a few more chances and luckily for us it opened up. We could have one or two more than we actually got, but we’d have taken 3-0 at the start of the game.”

On having a week off between games:
“It’s great. We’ve played about 50 games in the last two weeks, that’s how it feels. It’s nice obviously to get a week in between each game because you can recover from any little niggles or injuries that you’ve picked up in these latest games. But sometimes you want it to come a bit quicker.”

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