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D.C. United Head Coach Tom Soehn 2009 Open Cup Final Pre-Match Quote Sheet

Pre-Match Quote Sheet:
Seattle Sounders vs. D.C. United
2009 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final
Sept. 1, 2009

D.C. United Head Coach TOM SOEHN

On what he expects from a cup final:
“Well, you always expect the energy to be high and you know that there are two teams who have made it through a schedule which is single elimination through quite a few rounds, so everybody knows what’s at stake. Seattle is a team that’s done very well in their first year, and they’re going to come in and throw a lot at you. So I expect it to be a very energetic and exciting game.”

On playing a team in the final that’s never been there before:
“I don’t think it changes at all. The personnel, the coach, they’ve all been through this before. Every year teams take on new identities with new players, and basically it’s just the players coming together and most of them have experience in the league, and Sigi’s had a great run as a coach. So it’s not that unique; I was on that team in ’98 that won the Open Cup for Chicago and no one looked at us any different—it’s a team vying for a cup.”

On D.C. United’s experience as a team that’s won championships before:
“Yeah, there are high expectations in the D.C. organization to win trophies. I think that no matter which cycle of coaches come through, that mentality has always been there. It’s a standard of the organization. Having guys who have been there and done that obviously helps, because they know what it takes to play in games like that and know how to raise that trophy at the end of the game. So that’s certainly an advantage.”

On the challenge of defending a title:
“I think for one, this tournament has been around for a long time, there’s some prestige to carrying that trophy. Defending it is obviously never easy and this year was even harder for us, we actually had to play in against New York and Dallas just to qualify for it. So it was actually longer to get to where we’ve gotten. There’s definitely some pride at the end of it, making sure that you’ve done everything you can to get there, but then also finishing it out and making sure you win.”

On D.C. United’s challenge of playing in multiple tournaments in addition to league play:
“We’ve rotated quite a bit to make sure everybody’s fresh for the stretch run. Now as we get in the stretch run, we’re going to focus on our core guys, so that we can build rhythm and consistency. So this is the time now to pull ourselves together, and there are things on the line, and there’s no better time to come together and make sure that you’re ready for the stretch run which is the most important of the season.”

On what they took from their 3-3 draw in Seattle earlier in the MLS season:
“Well, I think teams play different when they’re home and away. I think they’re going to see a different mentality of the way we play at home, and they’re obviously coming into our environment and I think our fans are going to show them what D.C. United fans are like. It’s a pretty hostile environment to play there (Seattle), it’s a great environment and you wish you could see more of that on the road in MLS. So I think it’s a great story, but they’re going to have to go through some of that playing in our stadium, and I intend it to be a different game.”

On getting the chance to play at home with the support of D.C. United fans:
“Yeah, our fans truly offer a unique environment and our players feel it every time they step out there. There’s a real bond and relationship that they share with the fans and it’s something that carries them through. It’s part of the reason we haven’t lost at home this year—they’re our 12th man. They’re phenomenal, and they haven’t just been phenomenal for one year, they’ve been phenomenal since the league started.”