Houston Dynamo 2 clinch playoff berth at AVEVA Stadium- Interview

Photo credit: Houston Dynamo

Dynamo 2 head coach Kenny Bundy 

(on tonight’s game) "That's one of the best teams in the league, right. They've shown that throughout the season. We talked about this with the boys. I talked about it with media, how difficult this game was going to be. It was never going to be straightforward. Their adjustments, the way they're coached, the style that they play and the players that they have. It was always going to be an evolving game. We didn't have the greatest first 20 minutes – we came out a little timid. We weren't brave enough to play and at halftime, I challenged the boys and gave them permission to be brave, to make decisions that maybe they were second guessing in the first half. What we saw is we played more in the second half the way that we needed to win the game. It wasn't the prettiest game. It was a grind, even up a man, they were still able to create a lot of chances, but I didn't feel like we ever looked like we were going to break.” 


(on how proud he was of the team going up against a team with more experience) “They've created a culture of wanting to win games – no matter what. It hasn't been perfect throughout the season. We've been up a goal with five minutes left in the game and conceded, we've lost the game that way, we tied games that way. What they've done is they've learned. You can see when there's five minutes of extra time, no one panics. Then the referee adds three more minutes because of substitutions. There was no panic, there was no arguing, it was get on with the business. To me the culture that they've created to do that is something special, that they believe in that, and there's a lot of things that we can always fix as coaches, right as a staff. We can sit here and say oh, we could do this better. We could do this better. Trying to teach mentality and trying to teach that togetherness and that willing to win is something that's very difficult. The fact that they buy into that and they lead each other through that is really special.”  


(on the performance of the backline tonight) “We have an unbelievable group that play at the back. It's not just four guys, you know, you can add Sterling (Penniston-John) into that as well. What really stands out to me is how a role like Marcelo’s (Palomino) changes in a game like this, where he's a player that wants to be on the ball all the time. Paulo Lima wants to be on the ball all the time. Diego Gonzales wants to be on the ball all the time. There were moments and spells in that game where we couldn't get on the ball. It just wasn't that type of game. What they did is they shifted focus and they did the work. There's nothing worse in this game. Sometimes when you just run, you just chase, you just press. It's very easy to feel sorry for yourself and feel like ‘oh, I'm not getting the ball. I'm not doing this.’ If you look at the group, back four, midfield three and even the three guys up front. They brought what they needed to do to win the game. Then to bring in Paulo Rios, Danny Rios, Joyner (Castilla) and Jathan (Juaraz) to see a game out like that coming off the bench. There's pressure they're not used to on the surface, you know, they've been waiting all game to play, to come in and do what they did because all their work was defensive. They really came in just to close the game out. I'm so proud of those guys.”  


(on playoffs) “It was a goal set out from the team. Our club goals for this project are to develop players right and to develop first team players. We didn't speak a lot building this project and the playoffs. It'd be a nice piece of it. Part of the team culture is you want to develop winners. That's part of being a pro. Part of being a winner is making the postseason. My message halfway through the season was we want to make the playoffs in enough time. To celebrate a couple of days and then get back to work. I didn't want to leave it to the end and then spend a day celebrating and then we have a playoff game the next week. I'm going to give them time to really enjoy this. We knew mathematically, it was going to be very difficult for us not to get in. I love that we controlled it, that we didn't have to wait for San Jose to play. We didn't have to wait for another team to drop points. We actually took care of it ourselves. It's a team that we're going to see again, I have a feeling. That's just going to build the rivalry that is new with St. Louis.” 


Dynamo 2 DF Talen Maples 

(on tonight’s game) “What a great game. Great opponent. These are the games that we love as players. These are the ones that we look forward to. These are the games that after the first time we played them and we had an unfortunate result. We've been itching for this game, especially me. On a rainy night, that's all we can ask for. It's just a good opponent. Good soccer, good fans, this is all we want. It means something. All of the boys played extremely well tonight. We fought for each other, guys who came off the bench played really well. This is what it's going to be for the rest of season. We all have that mentality of this is how games are going to be needed to play and we are accepting that. Which is great because we don't want to be shocked by that in the playoffs. We don't want to be shocked if these guys are playing harder than we are. It's not just about technique. It's not about anything like that. It's about just heart and the details is what I tell the guys the big stuff doesn't matter anymore. It's about the details.” 


(on the performance of the backline tonight) “No, that's big time. I have to be honest, I don't think that the rest of our team gets as much praise as we tried to praise them. Our midfielders, our wingers, especially Jacob (Evans), a number nine like Joyner (Castillo) who comes in, Paulo Rios, Danny Rios – all these guys who come in, Papa N’Doye. They do so much for us that I don't think they get a lot of praise for that. Kenny (Bundy) does, he has done a really good job of making sure that they commit to the style of play. We're a high-pressing team. We also like to pass the ball, but if we're in a deep block, we need everybody defending and man, we've all grown and we've all really come to love defending the goal by blocking shots, winning headers, winning second balls, winning tackles and that's what wins you games. I want to make sure that our midfield or wingers and our number nine is really highlighted for a game like this, because that's a lot of running that they did. They made our job a bit easier tonight.”  


(on clinching a playoff spot) “It's amazing. This is one of our goals. We have a goal board in our locker room and it's one of the goals that we're going to tick off. We've been waiting for it. We've been feeling it we've been having good results and stuff hasn't been going our way, but you always want to be a part of a team where you have your destiny in your own hands. You'd never want to play for a team or be in a situation where you're waiting on results and we're waiting on this, but you're waiting on that, you want to be able to hold it, so that you know if we didn’t make playoffs, that’s because of me. When we do make playoffs, it was because of our team. That’s where we have really grown accustomed to that. I’m excited to see what this team is going to do. We were just talking about that while walking up, a few more results away and we are back in the race for the title. That’s our goal. We aren’t looking at it like we need to do this, no that’s our goal. If it is still obtainable to win a championship, we are going to do that in the regular season and see what we can do in the postseason.”  


(on their emotions in the locker room after) “I always have this saying, you work hard and party harder. Celebrating something like that, you are going to remember the games, but you are going to remember the celebration after so much more. The elation that you feel with the guy next to you, that you were just sliding around on the field for, those are the types of celebrations that convince people to do this again. You never want to lose that feeling as Kenny (Bundy) tells us, you have to hate losing more than you love winning. Man, when you win, it’s feeling you never want to lose. It’s one of the best feelings and I’m really glad the team gets really involved and wants to be a part of it, because it is just a whole team effort at the end of the day.” 


Dynamo 2 DF Mujeep Murana 

(on tonight’s game) “It speak volumes. This team has grown a lot from the beginning of the season to where we are now. We got a couple of younger guys and we've seen those guys mature. That's something that we're really proud of and we want to continue that. That just speaks volumes to the growth that we've had as a team.”


(on the team’s collective defensive performance) "Defense wins championships. To have that, those guys they put in the effort for us. Even though we really appreciate that, hopefully they keep doing that work for us. We get that kind of effort, I'm sure we will go a long way this season.”


(on his goal tonight) “With the style that we play, Kenny (Bundy) likes for me to get forward. I'm just happy to do my role. It's funny because I always tell Beto (Avila) to get across his man at the near post. I saw him beat his guy and he looked up for a split second. I saw it as soon as the ball was in the air, all I was thinking about was to be the first person there, just hit the ball as hard as I could and thankfully won it.”


(on the playoffs) “The celebration we had in the locker room. That's the feeling we want and that's the feeling we want to hold on to. That's a goal that we had from the beginning of the season, and it's something we knew we could do. I'm just happy that we've done it and we just got to take it one game at a time and get ready for playoffs.” 


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