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September 29, 2019

Chris Armas

Harrison, New Jersey

Red Bulls - 0, DC United - 0

CHRIS ARMAS: Yeah, I think that if we could imagine what a playoff game at home against D.C. United could look like, if you thought about that, that's exactly what you think it would like in my opinion, where there's probably close to 40,000 at the game.
You know, tempo, we've seen teams -- yeah, in the standing, of course, they are up a point. They are controlling things by slowing things down a bit, but that's what it could look like. And then, you know, trying to break down a block. We have been there in the playoffs, and a deeper block that leads to some frustration. It's not so easy, at least for us.
But I'll tell you, I think the first half and the second half was very different halves for us, where the second half looked like we wanted it to the whole game in terms of us controlling things when we don't have the ball differently.
We chose different moments to press them and try to create a different rhythm when we don't have the ball, and then when we had the ball, I thought we were much better and deliberate at moving things quickly, starting from Luis in the back, a real mind-set.
And again, this was part of the game plan coming in, but really happy with the second half, and it's our third shutout, which as a team, we feel really good about, and it's not often in this league or any top league in any sport that involves goals like this that you can play 90 minutes and not give up a shot on goal, and our guys feel good about that.
We might see them again in the playoffs, and then we can talk about the real thing. See where that game will be played. But proud of the guys and the way the team has stuck together the entire year. We're a real team.

Q. What can you say about the performance of Bill and building off that, what is the reaction that the team has coming off of a game like that where the goalkeeper just stood on his head for his team?
CHRIS ARMAS: The reaction of our team good energy in that locker room. No one's -- we're not static. We wanted to win that game. We made a good push.
But there's a quite belief in what we're doing. There's confidence and guys are talking about the shutout, and that if we play that game again, we'll win and we'll score, because yeah, I mean, you know, again I said it a few minutes ago to someone else, but that's not -- that wasn't luck on their part. They defend well, D.C. united. They have guys on that back line who are solid, top in the League. They are good at defending crosses. They are good in transition.
So yeah, I mean, we'll have to find ways, and in the final third, there's so many little things that go into it. You know, he pulls one out of the upper corner. Wasn't like we had a ton but we had some good set pieces that we executed well. We had some little slashing runs line and when there's not a lot of space, you have to look for little moments and it's the type of pass, the type of run, the weight of the pass. It's a fine line, which we work at this, so it's good that we tried things. It's good that we stuck to it and I can say real belief in this team.

Q. Do you think this was a little bit of two teams who think they may face each other in the playoffs, sort of not wanting to show their hand?
CHRIS ARMAS: I think you saw the hands. I think you saw it tonight. You know, I think they are happy with the point. Of course, we would be if we're them, for sure. They come into tonight, up a point, they keep us behind, buy a point, they are hosting Cincy, we go to Montréal. I think that was the right way to play it.
But yeah, of course, there's other players. I mean, there's -- you see Acosta more, he hasn't played as much recently. They are maybe peaking at the right time in terms of what they are trying to do. They are defending well. They are catching teams in transition, and again, if you watched them play in Portland, they are comfortable that way and they can also play. They can also play. Any time, you know, Wayne Rooney is on the field, Arriola, these are some of the best.
I think the second half, that's exactly what we wanted to see for 90 minutes, a real deliberate rhythm, especially when we have the ball to, yeah, I won't go into the game plan, but I think that's -- we went after the game tonight.

Q. That's their fourth shutout in a row and obviously they seemed to sit back and absorb pressure. What do you see from them? What are they doing differently, do you think, defensively, that's helping them close teams down the way they are?
CHRIS ARMAS: Yeah, I don't think -- I think they have been compact, and even when they attack, they are controlling spaces differently. They are not getting as stretched. They are not just relying on possession anywhere at all costs, like let's keep the ball and spread teams out as much as I saw earlier in the year.
So I've seen that they are more comfortable deeper, and you can see belief that's different now, and that they are getting momentum with some shutouts, one ahead of us, we have three, they have four.
To be honest, I think that Felipe is a big piece for them. I think he's brought a mentality to that team. He's been there in tough games. He's built -- of course he can play, but he can defend and against the ball, he's really intelligent.
I think he's added a dimension to that team and a winning attitude. I think that alone with the tactic makes them really hard to play against.

Q. The stadium was electric tonight. Can you just expound on how much the players fed off of that energy?
CHRIS ARMAS: The fans were great tonight, all of them. They were great. The energy was there. We all -- the staff, the players, we all fed off that energy. We felt like it was coming, too. Even in certain moments in the first half, we hear them chanting and urging us on. I think they made a big difference for us. In the second half, we gave them what they deserve, probably, right. They want to see a team, go after it, on the front foot, pushing the game. They could be proud of that, and so to answer that question, I think they were a big, big part.
Yeah, that's why we've been so good at home, you know. They are behind us, which I think we see that in the second half is a big part of it.

Q. Having gone through this season and struggled so much at home and now seemingly finally having caught steam at home and playing the way you want to play, how difficult is it knowing that this might be the last home game of the season?
CHRIS ARMAS: Yeah, I haven't thought that way about it because we have belief that we'll host one. That was coming into tonight, that was the belief. I haven't thought about that since the game ended. You know, for our supporters, for our chances to go where we want to go, we're working hard and have one thing in mind here.
So the more home games we get, I mean, some of the results at home haven't gone our way, but some strange ones, too. Colorado, you hit the post; they come down and score. You can't make it up.
But the guys love playing at home. We feel like we have a big home-field advantage here. The pitch is perfect. The fans are behind us.
So yeah, I mean, now that you mention it, yeah, that's a little bittersweet on the night then, but we'll go after next weekend and maybe get some help from Cincinnati, and then who knows, right.

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