Post-Match Quotes

Post-Match Quotes: D.C. United - May 4, 2019

Zack Steffen - 5.4.19 - D.C. United


On the first 30 minutes of the contest

They weren't threatening at all. We knew the transition would be on, which it was. We were lively, we got on the ball… everything was spot on. Then obviously we score a goal, and we all know what happened… It’s a fair goal, it’s a fair goal, 100 percent. The referee gives it away, referee fouls Acosta, and then the referee looks at a television to bail himself out. I’ve never in my life seen anything like that. Everything was spot on out of our guys and that’s a fair goal, we should have been up 1-0.

On whether or not an explanation was given to him after Crew SC's goal was overturned

We’re not allowed to talk to the refs, so there’s no explanation.

On what he heard from the players about the play that led to the overturning of Crew SC's goal

He [the ref] told them (the players) that Will fouled Acosta, which didn’t happen. It’s unbelievable, guys. It’s unprecedented. Nothing like this has ever happened, where a referee literally gets in the way and then uses en excuse on VAR to bail himself out; for a fair goal that was scored which was 10 seconds after the play. It’s bad that he got in the way, obviously. But even worse that he looked at the VAR, I’m seeing the same thing he saw, and the fact he’s looking at the VAR and trying to bail himself out. There should be massive ramifications for that.

On whether he would file some kind of complaint with the League office

No, no. We’ll see. We’re not gonna get the game back, we’re not gonna get the points back. And that's the way it’s going for us. It’s.. We’re not getting the bounces, the breaks, if you will. We’re not getting respect. That's the thing that really bothers me. No respect, at all. I’ve seen it in the league, when I was in Portland for five years it was the same. The big name guys, so the referees oftentimes are not giving some. It’s nothing new. In saying that, we’ve got to keep fighting for our respect because no one’s gonna give it to us. Even their first goal, it’s not a foul. It’s not a foul. This is the first time all year I’ve said anything about the officials and because I haven’t seen any moments that I didn’t think were fair. This is unfair, completely unfair. So when it’s unfair I’m gonna back my guys, I’m gonna back my club, and I’m gonna call a spade a spade. First goal is a fair goal. Their first goal, not a foul, but he gets a yellow card. They have the same foul the other end, even worse, real foul, no card. How does that happen? I don’t get it. Is it the psychology of the referee? They fan-out on guys like Wayne Rooney? I don’t know. But it’s unreal to me. I’m tired of it. We deserve more respect as a club. My players deserve more respect. And their first goal, no foul. And, our first goal was a fair goal.

On whether the Video Review breaks affected the rhythm of the match

I think the official botched the whole thing, simple. I think VAR is great, I’ve been a huge proponent of it. I like it, I think it gets calls right. Clearly, he botched the whole thing. He couldn’t make decisions. On the one play, I don’t know what he was waiting on. Six minutes, and then we get four minutes stoppage time? It was a disaster. The biggest one, again guys, the fact that he got in the way, which happens, and we score a fair goal, and he has the nerve to look at the VAR? And then use that to bail himself out? That’s what’s unprecedented.

On bouncing back against two Los Angeles teams this week

 That’s my message to the guys. The most important thing is we have to recover, we had to rebound. We have to remember the first 30 minutes today and the fact we should have been up 1-0 because we came out, we executed, played well and we were spot on. We should have been up 1-0. We have to recover, we have to move on, we have to take care of business in the next two home games and that’s the number one thing I said to them. I did also tell them that we have to fight for our respect. We have to fight for your respect because it’s not gonna be given to a club like Columbus. It’s not gonna be given to some of our of players that don’t have, you know, the name. No one’s gonna give us that respect, we have to earn it, we have to fight for it. We have to do it the old fashioned way. I also told them I was disappointed in the third goal. Because, for me, those mistakes hvr ot change. We’re compounding not maybe getting the breaks by making big mistakes, and not finishing

On the Crew's response in the second half 

 We still have to finish, [you] know what I mean? But again, the goal was totally against the run and we gave it away. Those are the mistakes that we have to correct. Those aren’t acceptable. So I’m not losing sight of those. But I fell for my guys because they came out, it’s not easy. We’ve lost four, we come into DC, one of the top teams in the league, we’re on the road. W come out, we play well, we score a fair goal, and it's taken away from us. That’s the thing that ticks me off and I feel for my guys because they deserve more respect, our club deserves more respect as well.

On preparing for the upcoming matches

We have to take care of business in the next game, that’s the most important thing. If we take care of business in the next game and then the next game at home, this period will all be forgotten. I’m thinking today is one of these moments that will galvanize my group. Because again, we are a small market team, and it’s why we got one nationally televised game the whole year. It’s why we sometimes don’t get the respect from officials. I could go on to other things, scheduling, everything. These are things I’m gonna keep fighting for. For my player and for the club. And we deserve better. And also, no one’s gonna give it to us. No one’s gonna give it to us. We have to fight for it. We can’t compound it by making mistakes.


On tonight's match against D.C. United 

 That might have been one of the loudest halves I think I’ve seen in a long time. But yeah, I have been around the League for a long time and I’ve seen a lot, but at the end of the day, those things happen and we gotta do a better job of keeping a cool head, playing our game and staying positive no matter what happens on the field.

On the time it took for calls to be made

I think if you’re gonna take that much time it’s gotta be the right call. From what I saw, it wasn’t the right call. Again, those are things that, at the time on the field, we didn’t know if it was right or wrong. So we still get a free kick almost a minute later, two minutes later, and then we’d have a goal. We’ve got enough guys that have been in the League, but we can’t use that as an excuse. We still gave up a goal that was easily preventable. So, put everything aside, we need to look at ourselves in the mirror and realize we need to maintain focus.

On how to respond in the moment

It’s tough. But like I said, I think this is a locker room where enough guys have been in the League for a long enough time. Duncan said we’ve pretty much seen it all now, so now it’s just a learning experience, something you grow from, and that’s when like myself, Wil, Jonah, leaders on the team, bring everybody together and double down on focus and realize that whether the call was made or not. 

On how long he expects the feeling of being robbed to last

 I think it’s something we need to use as motivation for Wednesday. I don’t think any team is going to let us off the hook, the LA teams. They’re the top teams in the league right now. If anything, these teams are thinking that we’re going to be down. So, we need to pick our heads up, and I think we did that. Caleb came in for whatever happened out there, tried not to get fined, so I can’t use the real words. Whatever happened out there, we need to put that behind us and the next team is coming in on Wednesday.

On the recent stretch of matches

I don’t think I’ve ever had a stretch like this where there have been some calls that have gone against us and weird goals being scored on us. Almost one play in a lot of games, one play, one decision goes this way or that way and the game is over. Weird stretch, but that the same time I’m not someone to sit here and make excuses. We need to create our own luck and this is the perfect time, and we got two more games in a week, so you could look at it as a disadvantage or as an advantage, you get to go right back out there in a couple days and try to make the rounds. 

On Crew SC not getting the respect it deserves

Absolutely. But at the same time, I think it’s on us to create our own luck. We need to look at this as...that’s a bad call on Wil, the yellow card, that’s not a foul but they called a foul. We had our defense set up for a free kick goal and they still laid in a goal. Also it’s not something that was preventable.

On what can be taken into Wednesday in terms of defense… 

I think that’s a good part of our game, it’s almost been missing. We’ve got a couple of good chances here and there, but we just gotta maintain the belief in Gyasi [Zardes], Pedro [Santos], Justin [Meram], Niko [Hansen], Robbie [Robinho[, whoever gets in there that we can hit guys on the counters, because I think that’s a dangerous part of our game. Today, we let up three goals, but defensively, we felt sound. And also as long as we maintain a good defensive stature, I think we can start to hit teams on the counter and become dangerous in that area of the game.


 On Crew SC's disallowed goal

He [the referee] thought that Will fouled Acosta, but that was not the case and so, for some reason, he thought it was clear and obvious and he wanted to bring it back and VAR took it and we did not respond too well. We were too emotional, that kind of killed our focus a little bit for the set piece, and I have no words on the referee tonight.

On the play that led to the penalty kick

Wil was right in front of me and his arms were in a natural position.  I feel like he tried to even bring them in more and he said that his arms are out here. I mean, he’s the ref.”

On Crew SC's recent form...

We are underdogs in this League, we know that and we are treated like that. I think the events that occurred tonight will bring us closer and give us some fire and give an edge, get our edge back.

On tonight’s match against D.C. United

I thought we were in a good spot. You get a good goal, it’s fair, they took it back, and here we go again. Then we let in the goal off a soft foul again and here we go again. But ht hey that’s life and I’m looking forward to the game on Wednesday to get back on track.

On the upcoming games against both Los Angeles teams

I mean it happens so quick we have to leave it behind because there are two really good LA teams coming to town. We are going to have to get our bodies back and our minds back and get everybody back on the same page and ready to get three points and a shutout on Wednesday.

On the Crew's start to the match

I thought we started the game really well.  They had the ball for maybe the first four or five minutes, we didn’t touch it, and I thought our defensive shape was amazing and we were patient, they had nothing. They had nothing up until their goal, we shot ourselves in the foot with that free kick not clearing it and the ball bounced. Yeah, weird night. Weird night.

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