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November 18, 2007
THE MODERATOR: We're going to begin with opening comments from the Houston Dynamo, MLS Cup 2007 champions, head coach Dominic Kinnear.
COACH DOMINIC KINNEAR: I don't know where to start, really. Oh, I start now, the stats are here.
I was saying earlier, it's kind of a surreal experience when you step on the field. Because the whole event kind of swallows you up, but there is a game to be played. For them to go one up, for some good play by them, took us down to halftime. But the attitude of the guys coming out in the second half was impressive.
Obviously, we had to chase the game a little bit and get after a goal. We switched up, I think, about the 60th minute to a 3-5-2, we equalized. And it was some great coaching we had going on here. Maybe wanted to go back to a 4-4, and the guys were urging on playing the 3-5-2, because they felt they could control the game and play better. So we stayed that way.
Great reaction by Joe to bounce on a loose ball there. And then the service and finish by Dwayne was excellent. But that wasn't it, because New England pushed forward a lot. Pat makes a huge save off a set piece, and from there, we held them at bay. Definitely difficult to complete.
Congratulate Steve and the New England Revolution for having a great season. Open Cup winners and then this game here. As well as a consistent team and tough team to play against.
But proud of the guys sitting here with me, and proud of the guys in the locker room. Because for us to be standing here after the start we got off to, showed how steely and determined these players were. And how special they are not only as players in tough situations and easy situations, but as people off the field.
So I feel extremely lucky to be sitting up here for a couple of reasons. Obviously, champions of MLS. But also lucky to be coaching the Houston Dynamo, and I'm forever grateful to these guys.
Q. Dom, was the halftime speech one of your patented paint peelers?
COACH DOMINIC KINNEAR: No, not at all. However, that gets thrown out I'm a paint peeler, maybe that happens twice a year. For me, the guys will testify you just need to play a little bit better. The field was slowing us down a little bit. It was getting stuck in our feet. Just told the guys if we all pick up our play 5, 10 percent, I think we'll be in good shape.
But in saying that, yeah, I think the guys' mentality to keep on attacking even after it was an equalizer, it was hard to kind of -- we had a couple of guys saying let's not do this, not do this. Keep going for the win. So I give the guys full credit for that.
But the halftime speech was pretty calm. We have a lot of time left to score one goal and we're back in the game. So that's how it was.
Q. Dwayne, can you just talk about the comeback, and particularly the header for the win?
DWAYNE De ROSARIO: Yeah, I mean, again, we proved how strong of a will our team has, you know, and, you know, we never give up. I mean, I can't speak any more highly of my teammates. I mean, just the dedication, determination, and just the will to never give up is unbelievable. I feel blessed to be with a great group of guys and a great coaching staff that instills that attitude in us every day at training, and every time we step on the field. And it shows.
You know, Joseph scoring that goal, that's a determination goal he scored there. He fell down, got back up and was still kicking the ball, and thankfully it went in the net. And then Brad played a perfect ball to my head, and I just had the easy job of putting it in. And the rest is history.
Q. Can you talk about Dwayne in the second half, some of the changes that occurred, and how you were able to utilize him differently?
COACH DOMINIC KINNEAR: I think the move to get Dwayne more forward, and bring Brad in the middle, and kind of have Wade and Brian on the outsides, gave Dwayne a little bit more freedom. Well, it gave him a lot more freedom, actually, to get forward.
Because in the first half, we kind of relied on our wide play, and it was close, but it wasn't exactly there. So we went for the more direct approach down the middle. And just felt that with him getting some room, you know, always creates problems for the defense, you know. I can say laughingly I can't believe he scored with his head this year. Because if you see him in practice, you --
Q. Surprised he didn't fight it?
COACH DOMINIC KINNEAR: Surprised he didn't take a step back and try to sidewinder it. But when you look at it, I think Dwayne's being a bit humble when saying all I had to do was finish it, because it was a good ball from Brad, but it was an excellent header, so -- and then from there.
And we just kept telling the guys, we moved them to the front after that. They were going man-on-man. You put your money on Dwayne to hold the ball for us, and he did that. So a more effective second half, and also because of the change we made. And the attitude of the guys was a little more attacking as well.
In saying that, you go to the 3-5. You really rely on your back 3 and Richard to kind of keep the game close in. And I thought Ryan and Eddie, and Craig, and Richard back there, and also Pat organizing them did a really good job. Because Pat Noonan was a thorn all day with his movement.
But I think when you do that, it gives someone like Dwayne and Brad a little more involved. But Dwayne's obviously advancing and causing problems.
Q. Did you do anything different to make Joseph get some runs in the second half? And, Dwayne, can you tell us the last time you scored with your head?
DWAYNE De ROSARIO: As Dom says, I don't score with my head (laughing). But, yeah, that's it. I guess in these games it's more instinct than anything else. The ball was played, and I usually, I try to volley it. That was the first thought that came to my head. But I thought using my head was the best option. And thankfully I did it and it went in the net.
Q. You had the opportunity to score two game-winning goals in MLS Cups, could you put each one into perspective?
DWAYNE De ROSARIO: They're both special moments, both with special guys. I'm, again, very grateful that I had the opportunity to win a championship with a great set of guys. I think 2001 was special, and I think this one's even more special, because just the fact that, you know, we're the second team now to go back-to-back. Just to make history in the league again, to be the second team to go back-to-back is a special moment, and I think this moment will live in our hearts forever.
Again, great group of guys, and I can't speak highly of our coaching staff, and the guys that we're with. I scored big goals because I had big players around me, and that's why I scored big goals.
Q. New England had a couple of chances to go 2-up. But I think Pat was able to come up with some huge saves. Just talk about his impact on the game today, Dom?
COACH DOMINIC KINNEAR: Yeah, I mean, it was maybe in the second half we had a chance, and they kind of went back down again over Ryan's head, and Pat came out and deflected to Noonan, it was through. And then the one where Twellman kind of gets a piece of it in the first half. Pat's footwork was really specific on that, if I could be more specific about goalkeeping, I guess.
But I think the one that stands out for me was Larentowicz off the corner kick. The reactions were great. If you watch the replay, his eyes are always on the ball, and he's keeping an eye out for something special because it's a crowded penalty area. So great reaction.
But having said that, we had some chances to maybe tie it up or go ahead. Sometimes when you're down, and you're pressing forward, there are gaps and your goalkeeper needs to come up big for you. Pat did it last year, and he did it for us this year, too.
Q. The play that you just mentioned, the goal on Larentowicz, and also I wanted to ask both players if there was a little bit of frustration in the first 50 or 60 minutes where thins didn't seem to be falling for you guys?
PAT ONSTAD: I'll answer the second question. I thought the first half, from my perspective, we looked tentative, a little nervous, which really surprised me for the type guys we have.
But at halftime, no one was really down. Everyone was like we've got 45 minutes, we haven't played our best stuff. We can go and come close to playing like we had against Dallas in the second league, and in Kansas City in the conference final, we thought we had a good chance.
I just felt in the first even off the kickoff, to get it wide, and Joe gets a half chance and hits it. I felt like we set the tone, even though they got a chance right after that. I thought you could tell we were into it right off the bat in the second half, and we played a great second half, and probably just on that second half deserved to win.
In terms of the save, it's one of those I'm thinking maybe I can come from the cross, I don't know. He's in tight, and he can't put it in the corner, so just stay big. My biggest concern was the rebound. I knew it couldn't react to the rebound. Fortunately it got past that big wave of attackers and the guys did a great job of mopping it up after that.
Q. Did you get your foot on it?
PAT ONSTAD: I think it was my leg. But to be honest, I couldn't even tell you at the time.
Q. Dom, I'm going to ask you to embarrass Dwayne a little bit. This is four championships for him, two game-winning goals. I'm wondering if he gets sort of the recognition he deserves for the body of work in this league over the past six or seven years? Could you talk about whether or not you think he does get that? And could you talk about what he sort of intangibly brings to some of these big events because he always comes through in the finals?
COACH DOMINIC KINNEAR: I think the one thing about Dwayne, he has a flair for the dramatic. He's a scorer of great goals as we've seen year after year. His play is -- you could say it's not risky, but it's a little cavalier where he tries to do things that maybe other people don't try to do. And a lot of time it comes off.
Like I said, today was maybe not an exciting goal, but it was an important goal. If you look at some of the other goals you scored in the past, he scored some wonderful goals. I think with respect, I think that just, I think the media -- Dwayne's well respected in the locker room, he's well respected in the league. I really don't pay attention to East Coast and West Coast newspapers if they're writing articles about Dwayne. I think that comes down to the media here.
But he definitely has the respect. He's been best 11 now for the last two years, he's been an MLS All-Star. So I think he's getting just rewards for the play he brings to the game. And I think he knows he has the respect of his teammates. He has the respect of his peers, for sure, the coaches and players. When you get that respect from the inner circle, that's probably most important.
THE MODERATOR: We're going to take a question in Spanish.
COACH DOMINIC KINNEAR: Secrets out again?
THE MODERATOR: Is that okay?
COACH DOMINIC KINNEAR: Yeah, great.
Q. Could you tell us about your feelings in Spanish, and what is the secret with this match?
COACH DOMINIC KINNEAR: (Speaking in Spanish.) This team here, this is a team that should be talked about for years to come.
Q. I wanted to ask you about tactically what did you see when Ralston came off? Did you see that as an opportunity or a point where things were changing for New England? And how did you feel, Dominic, as a player, Ralston has been in the league so long t may be his last opportunity. You can answer in Spanish or English.
COACH DOMINIC KINNEAR: I prefer English; it will be a little easier for me.
Steve and I are good friends. Before I answer the question, I just want to say if you were to put together an MLS all-time 11 for the first 12 years of this league, Steve Ralston is a permanent on the right-hand side and the left-hand side.
He's a wonderful player, wonderful person. Just a consistent professional. I feel bad for him. I don't, because I'm coach of Houston, but I do, because I'm a friend of his. And I think he's been one of the best players the league has ever seen. Very underrated, I think. But a wonderful player.
But the question, during the game, I didn't know it was him that was taken out. I was so worried about our guys and the organization. I knew Andy Dorman was coming on. But I didn't even notice, because at that point you're not caring about players and how your team's doing, but who you were matching up against. Someone told me after the game he came out, and I didn't even know it.
Shows you how much attention I was paying to New England. I was making sure we were together. But Andy Dorman came on and created some problems for us, as well. They came forward. But yeah, I didn't know it was him that was out.
THE MODERATOR: We're going to take two more questions.
Q. I need to ask the obligatory question with respect to Pat Riley, what do you think about the chances for a repeat?
PAT ONSTAD: I don't know if my contract's going to be renewed next year. No, but with the group of guys that we've got in the locker room, it is an exciting challenge to face next year. I think we have a great group of guys, and this year, our goal from minute one was to win this game. And to be down 1-0, and not play our best soccer and come back in the second half, it just shows you how much it means to these guys and how much character they have in there.
Q. Dwayne, I was wondering the names and ages of the kids up there with you. And, also, this is your fourth title. If you could reflect on the success you've had in your career and getting to this point in this title?
DWAYNE De ROSARIO: Yeah, this is my son Oseaze, he's six. And this is my daughter, Asha, and ten. And I have another son Adisa, in the back, and he's three.
I can't remember, what was the question?
Q. Can you reflect on your career and the success you've had?
DWAYNE De ROSARIO: Again, you know, I'm very grateful to win another championship, and this is even more special because it's, again, back-to-back. You know, I couldn't -- I wouldn't want to win with anyone else besides these guys beside me and in the locker room. I just think the dedication and every day-in and day-out training I'm with these guys, I see how hard we work.
You know, we have that desire to win, and that never-die attitude, and it shows every year. Every year our teams say we're Dynamo the champions, and they kind of wrote us off. And we proved them wrong again.
And New England, again, was leading 1-0 in another final, and we found a way to come back, and that is through hard work and determination. And it is a credit to Dominic and Spencer for finding the players that have that drive and have that passion to do whatever it takes to win. I don't know how they do it, but we always find players that desire to win. And I'm just grateful to be beside a great group of guys.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks to the coach and players of the 2007 MLS Cup champions, Houston Dynamo.
End of FastScripts