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August 26, 2018

Chris Armas

Harrison, New Jersey

New York Red Bulls - 1, DC United - 0

Q. Two-parter. One, just again, with such a difficult stretch that you guys are in, how pleased are you with the overall effort, and of course, getting the three points? And secondly, I know it's not a single person's responsibility and it's not a single player that you're trying to mark, but it seemed like Aaron Long, especially, did a really good job in limiting Wayne Rooney's touches. He really only had that one sniff, that one off the cross-bar?
CHRIS ARMAS: Well, first, how happy am I, it's a great win at home against a team that's been hot lately, and they are a good team. You know, so I think we talked even quickly now, like when you face good teams, that have a lot of confidence and quality attackers, and the spirit's high, it's not easy. It's not easy, home or away.

So at home, the shutout, three points to start this week off, we feel great about.

In terms of their attackers, you know, Wayne Rooney, you can see how good he is and what he means to their team because again, we said it coming in, he's a guy that makes all the players around him better. He can come underneath, and as much as we say, compress the spaces, get in front, anticipate, good players understand that they can be a step ahead of you, and on the night, I think it got better as it went along.

And you talk about Aaron Long, for sure, we've seen the quality now for all the years, on the outside, national team, you'll see this guy is a big-time player but you can't talk about Aaron without talking about the other three alongside of him.

So you see Tim Parker, that partnership, what that has meant; and then Murilla and Kemar. These guys take such pride in putting shutouts and limiting chances and they did tonight against a really good attacking team.

Q. Your first nine games as head coach, same record as Jesse Marsch's last nine games. You've had a lot closer games, another one-goal win tonight. What's your perspective on what you feel that might mean, playing all these close games in the middle of the season and grinding out these results?
CHRIS ARMAS: Yeah, look, I'll leave the comparison up to you guys. It's interesting, yeah, I think if you really think about it, we're a good team. You're going to win more than you lose.

My nine games, there's no easy games on there. If you play D.C. United twice, that's tough, anywhere. You meet in the park, that's a tough game. This is their biggest game and one of our's, as well. They are hot and we've been through a lot, too. We've beaten them now a couple times.

Then you look at our games, New York City twice; Kansas City, home; Columbus, home. You start to add up, Chicago Fire -- and the reason, by the way, more stats for you, it's almost 70 percent of all games in the last two years end in one goal or less. That's kind of the way it goes.

This time of year, in the last ten games, it even more looks like that where it's tight, it's playoff time and they have got to win and we want to win. So everyone has got this -- everyone is fit, everyone is sharp. Form is better. So I think you can expect the rest of the year to look like that, which is perfect, because this is playoff time.

Q. You moved things around a little bit. You took out Sean Davis and switched things around in the midfield. How do you think the midfield did today? What was the reason behind that?
CHRIS ARMAS: Well, I think the midfield did a really good job, and Sean Davis has been in great form and he came in to night in a tough, tough game and contributed, and we know that Sean, you know, he'll be out there Wednesday.

So moving things around, you know, we have some attacking options and at home, we talk about being aggressive and remaining aggressive.

So we can see, you know, that last time Derrick started against D.C. United, he got a breakaway and tonight he challenged his back lines. We look at Derrick's performance and it was really good. He was focused and he looked like -- you almost have to remind yourself how old he is sometimes. We put a lot on him: Academy product, which we are very proud of, and we put a lot on him. He's only 21 years old, unless I'm mistaken but he looked like a young pro tonight. All the things that matter, all the things that add up, Derrick was there. And he gives you the threat behind.

So I think that it shaped up pretty good. You have Marc, Sean and Tyler that can, you know, most off when you're playing with two holding midfielders, you're picking two of them. Sean has been massive for us and he's going to continue to be down the stretch and we thought that tonight, going after the game in an aggressive way, made a lot of sense.

Q. Bradley, first off, usually when he's on the defending side of the pitch, he's usually around the midfield line getting ready to spring for an attack but that one moment in the second half, he was actually a full back, and defending. What is it about Bradley that you've seen him do well defending, not just putting the ball in the back of the net, of course?
CHRIS ARMAS: Well, I'm asked the question a lot about Bradley Wright-Phillips and what makes him so special and I was asked the question the other day about where he ranks all-time in my mind, and for me, we wouldn't want any other guy.

There's so many great ones that have come and you've seen in this league, even now, but for the way we play, and for what this team needs, and how he consistently scores, yeah, it's clear to see. But he runs for the team. He plays for the team. He's the ultimate team guy.

So to see him tracking back, is just another example of his will to win. You see it all the time. Whatever the team needs, that's what the guy does.

Q. And early in the first half, you seemed a little agitated in the area. Was there something you didn't like, trying to get the guys to adjust? What did you tell them at half time? You looked a little agitated?
CHRIS ARMAS: Typically I don't look that way, I don't think, because I rarely am agitated. But there was a specific moment we were trying to play out of the back and it's just getting guys to sprint to spots, sprint to your spots, have the habits. If you're going to be a team that also wants to possess the ball at moments and play quickly then you have to sprint to spots.

So some things are nonnegative other for me and that was one of them. Half time we talked about some tactical things and some of the things on the competitive side, so we got the balance right and I thought we came out in the second half and had a good grip on the game.

Q. After the NYC match, a lot of guys in the locker room were saying that match felt like a loss and that they left points on the table. The importance tonight of getting the win, the three points and more importantly, playing the way you wanted to play, disrupting them, pressing, counter-pressing and getting back to looking like that team that has been on that run over the past month?
CHRIS ARMAS: Luis Robles just said: "Guys, it looked like us."

And if we are not looking like us, then who are we, right? We have a way. And you can say we're stepping up or dropping back, but our way is our way and we understand that in here.

Tonight against a really good team, look at the points. Watch what they have done, they have rolled over some teams in this last month. So, yeah, that's important, and in New York, against New York City, we looked a lot like us in the first half, too. Okay, things changed in the second half when you have the ball more, you're up a guy, then you're up two guys.

So yeah, it's an against-the-ball day or can you unlock and have patience and decision-making and get the details right; it does change. Now, we felt frustrated after that. How wouldn't we? A derby match, we get up one, give up a goal and now we're up and we want the three points.

I think you take each game in stride. We didn't get too low after that. We're focused on this one, and look, again it was important one, yeah, to come home, after three tough games on the road in which we don't lose and get the result at home. That was our goal tonight. We got it.

Q. How can you take this game, leading into the playoffs, we're a ways away from that, but you're going to have games like this later on this season. That's part one. And two, did you get a chance to talk to Thierry afterwards, and did he say anything to you or the team?
CHRIS ARMAS: Well, first, I mean, games, the playoffs, these are perfect games for us. The one-goal games, the ones on the road, again, if that's the playoffs, you come home and second leg and you're feeling really good.

So what do the playoffs look like? Every play matters. Every throw-in matters. We weren't happy about that. We were given easy plays or we were just shutting off and not dealing with it the right way; fouling around the box which we've talked about. All the little things in the biggest games, the set pieces in Vancouver against Columbus, we love it. Let's go through that now so the urgency is right for when it matters. The playoffs, we're going to be there, so it's just about having the right mentality and understanding that frustration never helps. In big games, that has to lead to clarity, and we talk about it all the time; focus, clarity, next play, where is it coming, and not to stop and get distracted.

So these games are great. They are great preparation down the stretch and obviously we have a goal in mind every game and to keep winning and to put ourselves in a spot for a few goals here. These are good tests for us and they feel a lot like the real thing.

With Thierry, I spoke to him before the game. I didn't speak to him after the game. It's always great when he's around here. He's always, you know, giving his thoughts, and we talk about the World Cup and his team, and congratulate him there. We caught up a bit. He watches a lot of our games. So yeah, he can see -- and when you talk to him, you can see how much he knows about our team, how much he appreciates our team; we talk about with the ball, against the ball. Always good to catch up with him. He's always welcome around here and we're going to catch up after, as well.

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