Postgame

“This goal is for the fans”: Video of postgame press conference and interviews, quote sheet

Photo and Video: Daniel Gajdamowicz

John Hackworth’s postgame press conference

Locker room interviews with Antoine Hoppenot, Kleberson, Michael Farfan and Amobi Okugo.

Philadelphia Union postgame quotes

John Hackworth

On Kleberson’s performance tonight…

“There is opportunity for players to have an impact in a game, and it’s got to be the right moment and I thought it was the right moment for Kleberson. Two weeks ago I thought it was a fantastic opportunity for him to put a stamp on the game. Today, we were thinking about all the ways the coaching staff could practically influence the game or we could really come off the bench and provide a huge start and clearly we did.”

On the decision to keep the substitution after the Fabinho red card…

“I will tell you what Sheanon Williams came over and said to me. He said, ‘Coach, are we going to go for it?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, we are going to go for it.’ You know, and he said, ‘OK,  what do we do,’ and I said, ‘We are going to go four in the back like a little diamond, keeping a strong eye, keeping Kleberson right under Antoine and see if we can go after it.’

And you saw the guys — he delivered that message to the players and full credit to them. A draw, we didn’t think was good enough for us tonight. So they pushed as hard as they can, not always scoring a goal, but Zac makes a great save during our injury time; Ray kind of created a crazy situation for himself, but then makes an unbelievable defensive play. Lots of guys just left it out on the field, so full credit to them.”

On keeping the mentality going into D.C. United next week…

“We are going to have to juggle some things with D.C. United because Sheanon got his fifth yellow card so he will be out. From what I hear, and I haven’t seen anything yet on video, but Fabinho’s red card might be appealable. That is a possibility to bring him back. Point is, when we look at the last five games, we knew that we had to get 3 points here tonight and we did.”

On the substitutions causing speed…

“We talked about it this week, that this was going to be a team effort that we were going to have to attack by committee tonight a little bit. You know, Jack McInerney had a job to do, which was to get through the first half and do everything he could to get that goal, and he almost got it. To put the effort out there, Conor Casey’s job was to do his normal thing, and he knew having the bench that we had, bringing Antoine in with 30 minutes to go was to really open up the game. We thought that that was going to be a true opportunity, and Antoine got three really great looks. It was unfortunate that we didn’t get one of those in.”

On whether his experienced coaching helped to get this win…

“I don’t want to put this on me, this is about the players. This is about this organization. I was asked earlier this week whether this is one of the most important games in our club history and absolutely it was because this game and this with the results from last night is enough to keep ourselves in the race and to keep ourselves above the red line.”

On whether this game was a matter of being brave or just getting the job done…

“Toronto is a hard team to play against. They were doing what they do, and they have good players. The first half our tempo was too slow, we played into their hands a little bit. But the second half, our guys really went after it and I am proud of them.”

Antoine Hoppenot

On the game tonight…

“Coach (John Hackworth) told me before the game that he thought this was a great matchup for me. He told me I was probably going to get a lot of minutes if the game was tied or if we were down, so that I could try to get the team back into the game or get a win. Coming in, I knew I needed to create chances. I did that part, I think, pretty well. Finishing the chances was a problem tonight. It’s a great win though. Kleberson coming in and scoring that goal is incredible. You could tell how happy he was to finally be able to do that for the Philadelphia fans. He’s been working really hard in practice, so we’re all happy for him that he’s able to come in and get a great goal for us—a really, really important goal for us.”

On hitting the post so quickly after his substitution…

“It’s not easy—first chance, I got sprung through, I think by (Danny) Cruz, and I thought it was in. Obviously it hit the post and came back out. It’s tough to get that chance out of your head and focus on the next one. I got a few more and I wasn’t able to put those in, either. It was a tough game for me, finishing-wise.”

On the Union getting a big goal at home…

“For Kleberson, it’s big. As a team, it’s huge. We haven’t scored at home for a while, and we’re happy to finally get a goal, we’re happy to get three points. We knew coming in that we had to get three points. Coming from a big win against Kansas City, seeing the results from last night, we knew we needed three points to stay at pace with everyone else. We’re really happy to be able to do that. The fans were unbelievable tonight, spurring us on with ten men. It felt like we had 15 guys—the fans gave us a lot of energy. It was fantastic for us. It’s great to get three points.”

On the chances he created tonight…

“Well, I missed all of them, which was kind of upsetting, but I thought I did well moving off of the ball, finding myself in good spots. The finishing was off point today. I’ll try to work on it in the upcoming week, and hopefully it will get better next week.”

On the Union’s speed game tonight…

“Conor (Casey) and Jack (McInerney) did a great job in the first half of tiring them out and bodying them up. You saw Jack a few times go body against body against a lot of guys. That tires them out. When you bring in two fast guys like me and (Sebastien Le Toux) being able to run at them and run around them, it’s real tough for them to be able to change their pace like that.”

Zac MacMath

On Raymon Gaddis’ crucial clearing…

“Obviously he misjudged the ball a little bit on the corner kick, but with his determination, he backtracked amazingly—20 yards in a matter of a couple seconds, stripped the ball off of (Robert) Earnshaw, and kept it in bounds after that. Pretty incredible hard work by Ray.”

On what was going through his mind as Gaddis was tracking back…

“I was hoping he was going to get there. In situations during games, it’s kind of a blur to you, and you just kind of do it. Thankfully, he made a huge play for us.”

On the team’s emotions…

“I think we need to enjoy it, first off. We’ve got a day or two to probably take our bodies, let our bodies relax. We need to enjoy the win. Obviously, it was a grueling match, physically and mentally. Once we come back to work, on whatever day it is, we know that this game’s over, and we have three more left, and a big one against D.C.”

On the game against D.C….

“I think D.C. is our biggest rival. All of our games against D.C. are always tough, physical battles. Especially going into RFK, we have to be prepared mentally and physically.”

Kleberson (translated by Leo Fernandes)

On if he wanted to take the final free kick…

“It’s something that I work on after practice a lot, just being calm. I knew that I could do it.”

On the conversation with Sebastien Le Toux over the ball before the final free kick…

“We try to give each other confidence. Both of us can hit the ball really well, and I was feeling really confident, so Sebastien (Le Toux) gave me the opportunity.”

On what John Hackworth told him upon entering the match…

“When I went in, he told me to make plays and to play under Antoine (Hoppenot) and try to build. As I was about to go in, Fabinho got a red card, but Coach still risked it and put me in. We scored, so it’s a good thing.”

On how it feels to score the winning goal…

“I’m very happy. I feel like the Union fans needed this, I needed to show them that I could score a goal. I’m very happy that this moment came.”

On the fans chanting his name at the end of the match…

“I’m very, very happy. This goal is for the fans.”

On if he expects more playing time following his goal…

“The decision is always the coach’s, but I’m always ready to perform on the field.”

On the playoff push…

“It’s always tough to play in the playoffs. You always have to be calm, cool, and when the game comes down to it, you just have to perform well.”

Toronto FC postgame quotes

Ryan Nelsen

On lessons that can be learned late in the year…

“ I thought it was a fantastic atmosphere, Philadelphia and the crowd was brilliant it had a playoff feel to it. There are a lot of teams in front of them obviously they needed to win and it was a really good teach and feel game of soccer and it was good for us and our guys to experience it.”

On Joe Bendik’s performance…

“I can’t remember any brilliant saves he had to make, pretty routine. I think their keeper had just as many routine saves as Joe in that first half hour, 45 minutes. But we knew they come with lots of numbers coming forward because this was a must win for them so we knew if we would just stay patient we would get them on the break because that’s how they play. They push on and we had a 3 v 1 and a 2 v 1 that was going to win us the game and if we put that away then we win the game comfortably and we see it out. Soccer is a funny game and we didn’t take those chances and it was always going to take a set piece.”

On the substitution of Wiedeman for Convey…

“Well, Bobby had a knock on his ankle and wasn’t moving very well and so we had to shift Bobby, unfortunately we had to take him off, didn’t want to, to tell you the truth but again when you have ways top like the two breakaways we got went to scrip, the only problem was the end product.”

On playing spoiler…

“We are working on things. I thought if you took it as a playoff game, every game for us, we take it like a playoff game, for experience for next year. When you take how we played and the organization and how we absorbed the pressure and chances that we got were obviously really key ones and we just didn’t take them.”

On the man advantage…

“We could have gotten the ball and I would have liked them to get on the ball but even that, even with a man down, they were going to take more risks. They needed to win this game, we knew it. They committed guys forward and with a man less, there were more spaces to play and it panned out exactly how we hoped. The chance was such an obvious chance it was a 3 v 1 it was a pretty clear one and if we scored there and you’re asking me a different question.”

On giving up late goals…

“It was the first time in 15-16 games we’ve conceded one. LA has conceded a lot more than we have. We don’t even look at it as a problem. That free kick was a lovely free kick, it could have gone over the bar and you wouldn’t have asked me that question. It was a lovely free kick. Our free kick hits the under scale of the bar hits the line and it could have easily gone in.”

On playing well as of late…

“ We’ve got different players now and the warning to everybody else in this league is that we are in a position where we can add to this squad and we are going to get better. The great thing about it is that a lineup that is very inexperienced will change next year and there will be certain amounts of quality that our opposition are getting away with at the moment that they won’t next year. That’s something that our players understand and we’re always trying to get better.”

On playing teams that are in the playoff push…

“I love it. I think it’s fantastic. We take this as our playoff preparation. I thought the Philadelphia atmosphere and the crowd were fantastic and it was a really great night of soccer. There was a lot of teaching. We take it as a playoff and we know Chicago will be exactly the same and the last game against Montreal will be exactly the same so these games are great practice for us.”

Jonathan Orsorio

On whether the last three weeks on the sideline built anticipation for today’s game…

“I was really anxious to get back on the pitch and help my team get a result, unfortunately we didn’t get it. But if I can look at the positives I am happy to be back and now we just have to look forward to next week.”

On whether his attributes compliment Bright Dike…

“He is a big strong guy and a big presence up top, so it helps me a lot because he takes away central defenders and leaves that little space for me in behind. So hopefully we can keep moving forward with that and keep improving.”

On lessons he can take away from the game…

“For sure. Like Coach said it was definitely a playoff atmosphere, and I got a lot of experience from this game. There were a little bit of nerves out there but it is a different intensity to be honest with you, that’s the big difference. But no, this is good for us players especially for next year when hopefully maybe we are in that spot where we are fighting for a playoff spot.”

On the bye week coming up…

“Especially after a loss like this it gives us time to regroup and think about this loss and keep moving forward. I am heading over with the National team now so hopefully I can get a game in and keep fit. So that will be good for me and when I come back we will be ready to face Chicago.”

On having a man advantage and not being able to convert…

“Of course it is very disappointing –actually we are all disappointed in ourselves, we thought we should have done better after we’ve gone a man up. I think we know we were a little bit anxious and nervous because of that atmosphere, with their crowd being tremendous for them. It was hard for us to keep the ball and they were pressuring us a lot but we definitely should have done better.”

On what the team needs to work on going into the offseason…

“We gotta see a little bit more character, especially if there are games like this. Our next game is in Chicago, it will be the same thing, the same atmosphere, they are playing for a playoff spot too so we gotta show a little bit more character in our team and I think it will just build into next year.”

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