Postgame quotes: Red Bulls 2-1 Union

Philadelphia Union postgame quotes

John Hackworth

On starting Aaron Wheeler at center back over Austin Berry:

I felt like with three games in a very big stretch Berry was coming off a poor performance. Wheeler had played well in the performances he’s had. Clearly we’re having some problems with our back line and we tried to make a change to see if it made a difference.
On Red Bulls reputation of being a good second half team:

Not only did we let them off the hook, but we should’ve had them in the second half too. We knew they were going to be dangerous if we let them hang around for as long as we did. They were going to get a chance, but you can’t leave a player like Henry on the field, he’s just deadly, he’s been his whole career. So it was tough. Very frustrating to play as well as we did in some aspects of that game and then be down 2-0.
On play of the midfield:

Our midfield has been good no matter who’ve we put in there. We were playing in our setup, our structure, our ball movement has been good. We didn’t create enough chances, we were a little predictable in the final third and that absolutely falls on the midfield’s shoulders too. We have to be a little more dynamic, we have to be more creative, when we pin a team as deep as we did in that first half we have to get better chances.

On communication between midfield and back line on both Red Bulls goals:

I just watched them both back and there’s a lot of breakdowns on that play. To allow two serves into the box so easy, then not to have men on the first one, we literally didn’t track guys from midfield. The second one we had plenty of guys back and no one chose to mark the most dangerous players. Literally it’s baffling to watch it back. You think about the plays we got right in that game and then we let those kinds of goals happen. We’ll have to go back and evaluate again because it’s not good enough.

On mistakes in the box that led to goals:

Those goals were a little different than the ones we’ve been giving up prior to this. I think that when I look back at those two goals very quickly in the locker room, I see breakdowns and I see our back line get pulled apart when we want them compact, where we want to make sure our center backs are in spots to make plays and that our outside backs aren’t getting pulled all over the place. At the end of the day I feel like we played well, but they were better in the boxes than we were.

On fixing the problems from tonight moving forward:

The part that we have right, is so much harder to get right. The part where we’re talking about these defensive things, you guys have seen it. The guys that have been out there before have previously done a really good job. I don’t know what to say besides we have to get that sorted out and continue.

Amobi Okugo

On defensive breakdowns:

Missed assignments, lack of communication, staying with runners, simple basics that we’ve got to clean up. One game it’s a failed clearance, one game it’s too much space and it’s not following the runners. We’ve just got to clean up. It’s getting annoying but we’ve got a big game Saturday so we can turn it around.

On challenge of keeping Thierry Henry out of the game:

He’s a great player. He can allow you to sleep for 89 minutes and he gets going in the 90th minute. That was just a missed assignment in the box. You’ve always got to be aware of a player of his caliber, where he’s at. Unfortunately he scored and we’ve just got to pick it up on Saturday.

On still looking for first win at Red Bull Arena:

It’s frustrating. Last year we had a couple chances to win here. Today we had a great first half. We didn’t keep the pace in the second half and they punished us. It’s really annoying but you just got to build on it. You’ve just got to forget about this game and play Saturday.

On making mental turnaround to play another game in three days:

It’s tough (playing) three games in eight days. We’ve got a couple guys rested, a couple guys coming off injury, I think everyone is going to be back for Saturday. It’s a big game vs. Houston, they’re in a slump and we just lost this game, and we’ve got to get the win.

Sebastien Le Toux

On taking the penalty kick in the second half:

We don’t really talk about it, I feel very comfortable to take the PKs and I did here and it was successful. It feels good to continue my good run, I just went to goal and I was confident. I know that Luis knows me because we used to do a lot of PKs just for fun when I was in New York. He kind of knows right is usually my strong side. I waited for a little bit to see what he’d do and he kind of stayed on his line and I went to the right side. Luckily it went under his stomach so I’m glad he didn’t stop it, but it wasn’t enough for us to come back in this game.

On if there’s a special feeling of scoring in New York against former team:

Every goal is special but this one didn’t really help the team. I’m disappointed right now that we’re losing here again this year.

New York Red Bulls postgame quotes

Mike Petke

On the game:

Wild. First half was like a street game back and forth, which was suffocating at times and frustrating at others. It was good, at the end of the day we don’t like to make things easy. Going up 2-0 then the red card, but listen, we got a result; feels like my first one because it is this year. It’s a good feeling, now we’ll go back and look at it again, and there are always things to correct but overall we are very happy we got that under our belt.

On Thierry Henry:

There’s a reason why he is called the designated player, and there’s a reason why he played with all those teams he’s played on, the level. Big players come up at big times. He took that goal very well and set it up, and set the tone for us, then, from that point on and we got the other one, as well. He’s a big player and he got the big goal.

On playing Eric Alexander in a different position:

Well, a large part of the reason we put him out left tonight is because Philly has a lot of central players, they like the middle. We figured we would like him to come inside more than not. His ability on the ball, to bring the ball from the right foot to his left side to get his way around, it turned out, actually, to work on the other side a lot more with Lloyd coming in. Lloyd came in quite a lot tonight in to the middle, and was creative, and Eric did as well. But, that was a tactical to have right footer on the left tonight because we wanted to over load the midfield a bit. With Thierry and Peguy sitting ahead of Dax, Thierry likes to make those runs behind defenders and we wanted Eric to come in there. I thought he did alright, I thought he did well. I’m a big fan of Eric’s, his ability with the ball. For me tonight I wanted to get guys on the field who are very comfortable with the ball.

On stronger second halves than first:

I told them before the game if they want me to “2-0 Philly” before the whistle starts, before the ref starts the game, I’d do that. But you’re right, it does seem like they need to be down, or the game needs to be in the second half before them to come alive. I thought tonight, from the opening whistle, we put pressure on them and I think that we ran a lot. Like I said, it looked like a street soccer game at times because four or five guys ahead of the ball, four or five guys behind and the whole midfield open, I think they were just up for it and excited. Half time it was all about getting back to our shape and I think we did that a bit better in the second half. But, overall I am pleased with the result and the effort and a lot of things from tonight.

On the relief of getting the second goal:

Oh yeah, let’s be honest here, we are seven games in and we’re without a win, but only two losses though. So, obviously there is some tension within myself. I wouldn’t call it outright pressure, but this is New York and this is the Red Bulls. Everyone who has been around this team long enough knows the pressure I put on myself. So, yeah, you saw a lot of relief after that second goal went in because the way things have been going year a one goal lead is not good enough, and as you saw what happened with the penalty kick. So yeah, relief it’s a bit of a monkey off the back, last year we had a slow start but this year it has dragged on a couple games more.

On rotating center back position:

Yeah, if guys keep getting red cards and accumulating yellow cards it certainly will be. I can’t fault Sekagya on that play, he had like three or four superman blocks in a row and one hit his hand. The only I’ll say is, I haven’t seen the replay yet, perhaps it’s a rule of the game but if there is a hand ball in the box or a shot at goal it’s an automatic red. However, I look back to our game against Montreal when Bradley Wright gets behind all the defenders and is one-on-one and not a card was shown. And I’m told that the ball was out of reach him, but the replay shows that the ball was at his foot when he got taken down. You get the call, and sometimes you don’t, like we didn’t in Montreal. If this was twenty minutes earlier, this red card, I think things would have turned out different. But, the guys hung in, ran their asses off, worked hard and got the result.

On Eric Alexander:

Listen, the way I feel about Eric, last year he came he was a guy that was used 30-40% of the time with previous teams. Everybody liked him around the league, but there was just something. And he proved last year, he got confidence and for me coming back from the national team this year, in preseason, you saw another step of confidence with him. I love Eric with the ball this season, I do. I think he is an intelligent player, I think he needs a couple of more things to make that jump. Perhaps, it’s a bit of confidence as well. He has proven that he could be almost like a Tim Cahill last year, where you can play him at two or three different positions. Like I said, tonight, it wasn’t something that Jonny did wrong, it was more that the way the team we were playing in Philly, with their central and outside guys come in and match them up, and I felt more confident with Eric coming into the middle with the ball at his feet.

Eric Alexander

On his second assist:

I just knew I had a one v. one situation and I had to get a cross off. Luckily I did and Lloyd (Sam) was there to put it in.

On playing on the left side:

It was fine. I had spent probably about 10 or 11 games there in Portland. I have played it before. It’s not too different, I’m pretty comfortable with my left foot.

On when Mike Petke told him he’d be starting on the left side:

He told me yesterday and he just said he wants to play me on the left and he knows I naturally tend to drift in. He said when Thierry (Henry) wants to fill it out there, just come inside and help out, so we’d have interchanging roles, and I think it worked pretty well.

Dax McCarty

On the play in the midfield:

They made it tough in the midfield, they put a lot of numbers there. They certainly like to have the ball and I don’t know what the possession numbers were, but I think for probably the first or second time this year I think they out-possessed us, but it didn’t matter. At the end of the day, it’s not about who has more possession, it’s about winning the game, and luckily we were able to hold on at the end and win the game.

On tonight’s result:

The first goal from Thierry was a great finish but I think it was a great buildup by everyone. You combine with your left midfielder and your left back and Roy (Miller)’s been tremendous this year going forward. I think for the most part this year we have created chances like that. We’ve had a lot of crosses in the box, we just haven’t really been able to get on the end of things. We haven’t been able to finish plays off and the final ball has always been lacking a little bit. So that’s the difference between being a team that hadn’t won a game all year and a team that could probably have three or four wins already, it’s just that quality in the final third. So, Thierry (Henry) stepped up and obviously had a great finish and I thought it was a real team effort today. No one player really stood out. I thought the team was, from back to front, pretty tight. It would have been nice to get a shutout for Luis (Robles) because he made a couple good saves again. But defensively, I think we have to start getting back to games where we can keep shutouts and keep teams to one goal.

Lloyd Sam

On the mood change after the second goal:

Definitely, yeah for about ten minutes till we let in the penalty and had a red card. But no, it was a good moment to score. Even better moment at the end of the game coming away with three points. Obviously you know how important it was after six games not getting three points so we’re really happy.

On earning playing time:

Yeah I mean, of course I wanted to be on the team last season. I wasn’t fit preseason, this season that’s the main difference. So hopefully it continues to go on like that. I’m happy I’m starting games and finishing games, it feels great.

Luis Robles

On the game:

It honestly felt like the hardest three points since I’ve been here on New York. I’m just really proud of the guys. I felt like that was a gutsy win. We made things a little interesting towards the end and we didn’t want to disappoint our fans so we gave up another PK. But that’s definitely a win to be proud of.

On the penalty kick:

I felt pretty confident on where it was going so I wanted to make sure I got a lot of momentum and unfortunately the momentum took me over the ball. I’m a little disappointed with myself, but I’m lucky that…I mean I’m happy that we won.

On Thierry Henry’s play:

I think from an effort standpoint that was one thing that we continued to push all week, is that we felt unlucky in DC. We just didn’t have that last ball, that finish. But if we continue to work the way we do, if we continue to dictate the game the way we did, I felt like we did a good job of taking the game to Philly. I mean Philly’s got some good players. Mo [Maurice Edu] in the middle is going to be dangerous for them, but we felt like our best game plan is if we can just take the game to them. So Henry did a great job of dictating and pushing the team forward and really getting us going. Regardless if the touch was there, if the passing was there, he was huge for us to help us win.

On the first win of the season:

Obviously going down to DC and not getting a win, Mike, he tried to bring that rivalry to it. And obviously the Atlantic Cup has lost some of its prestige, but there is pride there still for the club and he did the same thing for this game. For us, it was getting a familiar team. We played against them in preseason and we felt like we did pretty good against them so no better team than Philly to get the first win.


  1. So Berry was healthy and you started Wheeler anyway?
    It is raining when Sieve walks up to the center of the field, drops to his knees and raises his fist to the sky.

    • Interesting. I would have gone with “Hackworth:The Musical!!!”
      Song lists:
      “Do the 60th Minute Hopp”
      “I’m Baffled Baffled Baffled”
      “Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t (My CB)”

  2. The players own this game of incompetence. However in my opinion the team is a reflection of the coach. This team with all of their talent is stuck in neutral shifting towards reverse. Hackworth is not a coach. If you can’t get through to your “grownup” players who make the same stupid, unacceptable, incompetent, plays game after game, then it’s time to change Hacktics. They need a veteran no nonsense coach with clear x’s and o’s coaching strategy who has hopefully played the game at the pro level not some clueless wanna be!

  3. Former Season Ticket Holder says:

    “Wheeler had played well in the performances he’s had”
    I’m confused have a been watching a different Union team. I remember Wheeler having one OK game and then getting torched the very next outing. This isn’t Rec League soccer you can’t just play people out of position and hope for the best!

  4. OneManWolfpack says:

    This is where Hackworth will/is failing this team. All along we as fans were talking about his ability to adjust and actually manage a game. He has clearly shown this year that he can’t. His 11 and his subs are generally bad. He better figure this out because I am pretty sure Sack ins’t letting him go mid-season.
    And I just want to say that Noguiera is an absolute superstar. He is quality and a pleasure to watch.

  5. Sieve and OneManWolfpack I wish you guys could come to NYC tonight and watch the Flyers/Rangers game with me. The trash talkers from last nights soccer game and tonight’s Hockey game will be there. It’s funny, they always disappear when Philly teams are on top. I’ve been through a lot up here with these knuckleheads(some are my friends), if the Flyers win tonight and go on to win this series watch the NY fans scramble.

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