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September 25, 2018

Alejandro Bedoya

Jim Curtin

Houston, Texas

Q. Jim, you spoke about your record on Wednesdays. One of those Wednesday games was here in Houston, that 3-1 win in July. I think you guys have been 7-2-1 since that game. How did that game kind of factor into your turnaround for the season, and what do you take from having been here already and being able to experience this crowd, this atmosphere into tomorrow night's game?
JIM CURTIN: Listen, in the same way the previous finals that were lost, they're with different teams, they're at different stages of a campaign. When we came here and beat Houston, they were at a different spot. They had different injuries, national team call-ups, as did we at that time. While it's the same two teams, it's at a different stage of the season.

It has a little more on the line. So I don't want to say it totally doesn't matter, but there's a feeling of our group that we've been better on the road this season as a team collectively, and that's been a little more commitment on the defensive side. We've improved in that regard, even the change from Earnie Stewart to Ernst Tanner. Now, there's different things that have come in, and we've done a good approach to maybe dealing with counterattacking teams and we've had discussions on that.

A lot of different things have changed, little things that can add up to big things. Again, a Houston team that we respect a great deal. Wilmer has done a good job with them this season, and obviously to get to a final is an incredible accomplishment, but there's one more step to take. Again, they want it just as bad as we do. The 90 minutes -- hopefully, 90 minutes will decide the winner. We want to be on top.

Obviously, yes, we expect a packed house, adversity, difficult conditions to play in. Luckily it's not 120 degrees like you guys like it here in the midday. So it will be a little cooler in the evening. Both teams are going to leave everything they have on the field. It will be a typical final, and hopefully the best team wins.

Q. Short and sweet. Coach, you may have addressed this already, but I just got here. I apologize. The three things that you guys must do tomorrow and the three things that you must not do tomorrow to take that Cup home?
JIM CURTIN: Three, huh? Oh, man, this is on the spot. Listen, it comes down to which team controls the tempo and the rhythm of the game. It's no secret that Houston is probably the most dynamic, dangerous team on the counterattack that our league has. They've beaten some top teams to get to this position. They have a squad that, again, wants to lift the trophy for the Houston Dynamo. They have a very good coach in Wilmer Cabrera.

The team that dictates the rhythm of the game and is organized and knows when -- in our group, our attempt will be to know when to slow the game down and when to speed it up in certain moments. It's no secret that their front four is dangerous. Manotas' movement in the box. Elis, if you let him get out into open spaces. Quioto, if you let him run at you and come inside on his right foot is as dangerous as anybody. And Martinez with as good a left foot in our league as there is for No. 10.

So we have our hands full. I won't list any three because I don't want to give Wilmer an exact head start on things. But those are some of the strengths of the team that we have to shut down. And it needs to be said, listen, there's pressure. There's been build-up. I like the fact, though, that we've been in a rhythm Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday, and our preparation has been good, but there hasn't been a lot of time to just dwell on the moment and how grand and big of a game this is.

And our players, it's no secret, are in good form. It's a powerful thing. At the end of the day, when the whistle blows, it is just soccer -- football, that does good Espanol for me. It is just football. And right now we have a team that is playing good football right now. We're confident, and that is a dangerous thing. We'll be a tough opponent. It will be a hostile environment in their arena.

There's good friends on the other sidelines that are playing for them, and DaMarcus Beasley, who's a friend of mine, a former teammate, we've lifted this trophy together, but tomorrow -- he shared the field with him as well, but tomorrow it's enemies, and it's going to be competitive for the 90 minutes and maybe 120 in penalties, and we'll shake hands afterwards.

But I'm confident with where our group is at. We'll give everything we have. You'll see us fully empty our tank and push for this trophy. I love my players. I love my team right now, and we'll give everything to lift our first trophy for our fans.

Q. I think DaMarcus lifted the very first trophy you won.
JIM CURTIN: He was a baby then. He's still doing it. It's crazy. He's still dominating. Incredible career, incredible person, and incredible player. But tomorrow we're both fighting for the same thing.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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