Nov. 25, 2012
“They got an early goal, at times we were sloppy, at times we were effective. I thought we were very resilient. Real warriors today. Sergio Campbell was fantastic in the air again. Nick had a couple of chances right in the second half and he hasn’t played maybe as much as he should because of some of the guys ahead of him, but we said to him at the start of overtime that the third one’s the charm. It was a clinical finish.”
“There are years where we’ve played teams off the field and we went home. I’m tired of reading on Monday morning that it’s a strange game and that it’s not a fair game with us being on the wrong end of it. This is what it’s about right now. I gotta give our reserves credit. For four days, they played like New Mexico in training all week. They really gave us the picture we needed to prepare for this game.”
“We knew that this game could be 3-3 at the end because both teams attack. I give our guys a lot of credit for being resilient and tough. We worked all year for the home field. We’ve held serve. Now we have Akron or Creighton, doesn’t matter who, that’ll be a difficult game. We got this far last year. There’s no consolation prize for playing next week, you have to win.”
On New Mexico:
“Their front four, Sandoval, Smith and Robertson are the best front four we’ve played all year. We thought that if we got at their backs we’d give them problems and we did. We were able to get behind them. The front four is very good, very good. We had to ride through. They had chances. Our guy (Blake) made some saves. They missed that one at the end of the second half after we tied it up.”
“It was a pleasure that they came in and played instead of sitting back like every other team in the country that comes here does to be honest with you. It was a pleasure in a game of two good teams that there was actually soccer played all game. We’ll take it. He’s got a great team. They’ve got some very good players.”
On bringing in Zuniga for Adria Beso:
“Beso has been playing really good for us, but he’s still getting used to college soccer. He’s played in Spain and they’re not playing like the past two games over in Spain. He was brought in to replace Alvarez when Alvarez graduates and he’s done a great job for us. With Zuniga and Matheson and Diop fully fit, we can use Beso a little bit less right now.”
“Was that his first goal of the year? I said in preseason that this guy’s like Tony Cascio. Tony didn’t play much his first year, then O’Brian White does his ACL and Tony scores three straight game-winning goals. Nick’s gonna be good. He had two early he should have buried. The keeper made a great save on the first, he missed high the second. The third was a great ball by Alvarez and I give Zuniga a lot of credit. He buried it.”
On game winning goal:
At the moment what was going through my mind was to just put it in the goal cause’ I had enough opportunities that came, I’m just glad I got that one. My heart is still pounding right now.
On winning in OT as a team:
Well what I’m feeling the most right now is that I get to play more with these guys right here, seniors. They’re a good group of guys and I want this season to go all the way.
On winning in OT as a team:
Yeah, I think we have a great mentality right now. This is a different group than we had since ive been here, definitely. And I know we keep saying we are resilient but we keep proving it to. We had a couple overtime wins earlier this season and I think that definitely helped us for this game. New Mexico is a great team and it was great to not have to go to penalty kicks. Just great to finish in OT.
I said this in another interview, we are not used to going down a goal. We aren’t used to being down, coach always warns us if we let up a goal, we have to keep our heads, we have to be composed, we have to be focused. So I think that’s what we did. We made it to half without letting another one and we had our mind set on getting another goal and tying it up and going from there.
On goal that was almost scored by the other team:
Yeah, Andre stepped up and number 23 must have gotten by. He was by the offside line and I thought he was going to be offside, but he wasn’t so he was kind of free. Andre came out, he tried to get it by him and slip it in and Mercado and I came back. He was the one who kicked it out, I was there also so it was not going in.
On his equalizer goal:
First of all, it was a tough game. I give a lot of credit to the other team to participate. They came out and fight and didn’t give us anything. I saw the ball play to the side and I go to the side of the box. Coach was saying “you are going to have rebound today. You are gonna get a rebound goal.” So when I saw the cross, I just go like this and flick it in. It was right there and I just had to score.”
New Mexico Head Coach Jeremy Fishbein
“It was a good game. Coming in, we didn’t know what to expect. It was our first time out here to Connecticut. Great atmosphere. Great fan base. I know Ray a little bit. It’s a really storied program. It was good to be here. It knew was going to be a good game between two good teams. Two teams that are committed to playing soccer. Quality players, special attacking players, good defenses. It was going to be a matter of taking chances and limiting mistakes. It was an unfortunate way to lose the game. It was a fairly routine giveaway in the back. We had a lot of chances to win the game. Tough way to end the season. We lost to a good team, a proud team that was committed to playing soccer, which was nice. We don’t get to play enough games like that over the year. I think college soccer there’s not that many teams that are committed to playing out of tight areas. It’s always difficult to end your season, to end it in that fashion. I’m real appreciative of our seniors. The guys were good today.”
“You gotta be careful about what you say. It’s irrelevant about who you feel has better players and who’s the better team. On the day, they took advantage of a mistake and that cost us. Tough way to lose. I have the utmost respect for this program. I thought the UConn players were class acts. The coaching staff, that’s all you can ask for in a college soccer match.”
“I think we had some very good attacking players. I thought we had 11 good players at all times on the field. I liked how we played. There’s a few special players on UConn. One scored the first goal (Mamadou Diouf), one got the assist on the second (Carlos Alvarez). Like I said, I like our team, I like how we play and I wish we were still playing. Best of luck to a quality team that we lost to today.”
“There keeper was good, he was a good presence today. We didn’t take our chances. We had a golden opportunity with two minutes left to get the second goal. We should have. I don’t know what to say. It’s tough to lose. You put so much time in with these guys. You know the efforts they make. It’s always difficult to have the season end. Everybody but one team is going to end on a sad note. It’s dealing with that. Not much to say.”