Postgame quotes: Sporting 1-2 Union

Philadelphia Union postgame quotes

John Hackworth

On Philadelphia’s 2-1 win over Sporting KC

I can’t say enough about the guys in our locker room. That was an incredibly gutsy performance against probably the best team in MLS, coming to a very difficult place to play. You got to give Sporting Kansas City a lot of credit because they’re an excellent team and they really for large parts of the game put us in a difficult spot. Again, credit to our guys, they fought through. We didn’t play our best soccer — might have been in some respects one of our poorer performances soccerwise, but we got the goals when it mattered. The response after the Sporting Kansas City goal was fantastic, and held on till the end.

On the challenges of playing against Sporting KC

Honestly, I think that was Sporting Kansas City putting us back farther than we wanted to be back. If you saw the way we started the game, we actually tried to come out and press them. They were just very composed: they split their center backs wide. I think it took five minutes for Sporting to even come over halfway, but they were okay with just spreading the field out. The more the game went on, they kept coming, and kept coming. We backed off and that was a little bit of a mistake on our part because you can’t give these guys the time and space to get the mobility they do so well — difficult to defend.

On the team’s time wasting “shenanigans” at the end of the game

I’m not going to comment on that.

Why not?

It’s a ridiculous question. And if the tables were turned you wouldn’t ask the same question.

On the celebration after Danny Cruz’s goal

I think that’s a pretty special moment between the players and the coach. I had no idea that they had planned that, but I think that’s symbolic of what this locker room is all about and the fact that every man in there, we keep talking about the fact that we believe in each other, we trust the work we do, we trust each other. It’s a pretty good feeling to have guys believe in what you’re doing.

Was there anything said in there?

Guys just saying, “That’s for you, that’s for you.” I keep telling them they’re not playing for me, they’re playing for this organization. But we’re going through tough times and, certainly, we’re battling on, and that was just a great sign, it’s good for the guys to feel that way and that’s a credit to our staff and our organization that we still, through all these tough times, still believe in each other.

On conceding late again but then taking the lead once more

I think when you see that kind of response you see the character of the team, and you see these guys came in here, and the way that we fought, and battled, not playing our best soccer maybe, our typical possession style. It wasn’t our intent, by the way, I think Sporting Kansas City is just a really good team and they put us on our heels, we turned a lot of balls over. But, the response was excellent, especially for Maidana to do that in that moment . He’s a player that we think can continue to do that in this league and so it that was fantastic.

Zac MacMath

Thoughts on the match

They put a lot of pressure on us in the first half and I think we dealt with it pretty well. Sal [Zizzo] got two pretty good chances and thankfully I was in a good position to clear them out.

On the late goal

We showed a lot of fight tonight. Especially giving up a goal late and then coming back and scoring another goal and holding out to the end. I think it showed a lot of confidence in the team and hopefully we’ll take that into the rest of the season.

On the team scoring two goals

Everyone feels pretty confident in the offense after scoring two goals. It’s been a while since we scored two goals and to get two goals in the run of play is really good for the confidence of the offense.

Danny Cruz

On scoring the opening goal

I think it was important. Definitely, like you said, it got the monkey off our back. Chaco played a great ball in, keeper got a touch on it, and I just tried to throw my body into it. Big goal, got us going, and Chaco, obviously, in the end finished a great ball.

On celebrating the first goal with head coach John Hackworth

It’s definitely something we talked about before. We are behind him. He knows we are behind him and we’ve tried to make that clear to the media, to the fans, and tonight was big for everybody. including him. I think you could see the fight in everybody for that big reason.

On the team’s effort

You saw a little bit of a different team tonight. You saw a team willing to fight for each other. It reminded me a lot of last year. We had a lot of shots — it was pretty entertaining, I hope, for everybody. But, at the end of the day, we’ve been lacking that bite, that fight for each other, and it came out today, absolutely.

On a quick turnaround facing New England on Saturday

We walked into the locker room and said we are focused on Saturday now. This game is over. It’s a quick turnaround. We are playing a team that just beat arguably the best team in the league, Seattle, 5-0 last week, and they are going to be good. Our home form has not been good and it needs to turn around. But this is certainly a result we can build off of and I definitely think you’ll see, hopefully, the same kind of fight next weekend.

Cristian Maidana (translation provided)

On the win

I’m really happy, it was a gutsy team effort.

On his goal

This goal was for my family, and all the fans that always support me. And this is for the coach who believes in me from the first moment I got here. And now we just need to continue the same way. We just need to continue down this road and things are going to go well. And at home, at PPL Park, demonstrate the same type of capability.

So, right now, I’m happy, I’m really content. We’re going to enjoy this moment, but we are going to get ready for Saturday, as well. Thank you to all of the fans.

Sporting Kansas City postgame quotes

Peter Vermes

On Sporting KC’s 2-1 loss to Philadelphia

We deserved to lose. (Philadelphia was) the better team. They worked harder than we did and they were hungrier than we were. They beat us to all the balls. Very seldom do we get outworked playing against one of our opponents, but tonight we got outworked in our home stadium. That doesn’t sit well with me, that’s for sure.

On Sporting KC’s lack of energy during parts in the game

Maybe they thought we were playing the same game on Saturday in Montreal. We just didn’t have the juice we normally have. I’ll have to go back and look at the training that we’ve done over the last couple days. We lacked the pop that we normally have. Again, we got outworked today and they deserved to win because they were the better team.

On Philadelphia outhustling Sporting KC throughout the match

MLS is a very hard league to play in because the one thing you have to bring all the time (competitiveness) and hard work. You have to come with your work ethic, and if you don’t bring that, you’re not going to be competitive. (Tonight) is not a norm within our team. Is it a concern? Yeah, we just lost a game. But at the same time, it’s not something that’s going to be a trend, that’s for sure.

On Sporting KC’s approach to the match

I’ll look at the last couple days of training and see if we overworked them. I don’t think that’s the case because we monitor that every day. More importantly, it’s just mentality. You can easily flip the switch in your head to (play hard). When we were down a goal, we sure were firing away at points, going after it and trying to score. All the sudden we scored, and the next thing you know we give up a goal. For us to give up a goal right after kickoff is very unlike us. That shows the mentality that we weren’t ready for the game today.

On Sporting KC’s missed goal scoring chances

We should have scored two goals in the first half. Sal (Zizzo) could have had two goals himself in the first half. We had two great chances. There was a third chance that wasn’t as good as the other two because those came from inside the six-yard box. So at one point we could have been up 2-0. It still doesn’t matter—we got outworked on the field.

On the debut performance of 19-year-old defender Igor Juliao

I said to the staff before (the game) that he was a bright spot. For a 19-year-old, I thought he played very well. I think he is very scrappy. You have to understand he just started with us. So in a short period of time, I thought he did a great job in the game. He’s a bright spot for the team.

On Philadelphia’s approach to the match

They didn’t do anything that we didn’t know they were going to do. They dropped in and played a 4-2-3-1 and countered. We knew they guys they were going to leave up, so it was nothing we weren’t prepared for. The difference is that they brought a hunger and a level of work ethic that we didn’t match. When you look at the stats, they don’t always tell the story. But when you end the game and the other team out-fouls you 20-5, it’s because they’re more aggressive. Everyone always complains about us because it’s normally the other way around. When you play aggressive, it’s not because you’re dirty, it’s because you’re hungry. You want to win the ball back. Today they were more (hungry) than we were. That’s not something that’s going to become the norm for this group.

Matt Besler

On Sporting KC’s 2-1 loss to Philadelphia

We played like crap. That’s the frustrating part of the game—we can play like we do (last) week, and hten come out tonight and play like we did tonight. It’s frustrating because it’s up-and-down like that. Credit to Philadelphia—they played a good game, they worked. We didn’t work as hard as them, they wanted it more and they beat us in our own place.

On his impression of Philadelphia heading into the match

I couldn’t tell you their record. I know what they did in their last two games—those were the game we looked at. But record-wise, I had no idea. We knew they would be a tough team. They beat us last year with pretty much the same game plan.

On Philadelphia’s defensive performance

I think they dropped off, but they also played man-to-man in their defensive half. We weren’t able to figure out a solution of how to break them down. The goal that Dom (Dwyer) scored put us back in the game, then they drove right down the field and we gave something up. That can’t happen, and that’s on me. The final goal came in my part of the field, and that’s hard for me to swallow.

Dom Dwyer

On scoring the equalizing goal in the 80th minute, only for Philadelphia to quickly regain the lead

I scored a goal and we tried to go straight back at them again. We just got caught sleeping a little bit. It’s a tough one to swallow, really. We should be picking up points at home. It’s nice to have another game this week. We’ll have a day off tomorrow, get back to training and get fresh and ready for Sunday.

Sal Zizzo

On nearly scoring on two occasions in the first half

As a whole, (Philadelphia) did well and pressed us in the first 10 minutes, but they ended up bunkering. In the first half, I had to put away those chances. Those are chances that, eight or nine times out of 10, I’m going to put away. It’s frustrating for sure. So I’ll work on my finishing in practices, and hopefully when I get those opportunities again, I’ll be able to bury them. It’s really disappointing because you should never lose at home. Dom scored a great goal to make it 1-1 then we let down for a split second and they scored again. It’s unfortunate because that’s never something you want to do at home. We’ll look to correct things and move on.

On playing his first match after returning from injury

I felt fine. If I had put away those two (chances) I’d be feeling really good. Unfortunately I didn’t and life goes on. You have to look to the next game. We won’t be thinking about this one if we come out and play well against Chicago (on Sunday).


  1. haha i know at this point most people hate hackworth but you have to love him calling out that reporter

    • George H says:

      Agreed, that was a great (and correct) response to a dumb question like that.

    • kingkowboys says:

      Completely agree. Everyone wastes time, and with our record and that situation I wouldn’t care if everyone got a yellow, just kill the clock. Everyone does it to us and it’s not going to stop. Doesn’t make it right, just reality.

    • +0.5 – I think its undeniable a few people hate Hackworth. I believe most people are, however, fair and reasonable.

    • Earl Reed says:

      I guess it’s been so long that the KC media has forgotten the King of Wasting Time, Roger Espinoza.

    • hobosocks says:

      I actually like Hackworth quite a bit. He seems, and has always seemed, like a pretty stand up guy. My not being sure that he’s the right guy to lead the team doesn’t detract from that. I also loved that he showed some teeth to that reporter.

      Also, I have to respect Vermes there. I don’t always like the way he has his teams play, but at least he’s unabashed and forthright about it.

  2. Congratulations coach. Well played last night.

  3. That’s what we’ve been waiting for. Not on the Hackworth bandwagon. Way to go guys! Okugo was where he belonged last night. Why is Zach Pfeffer not up with the team yet? Why is Corbin Bone on this team?

  4. Good win, performance had heart, but it doesn’t change my opinion on Hack. It took many many poor performances from a FW/CB for him to actually put a defender back in the lineup. It also took an injury and two national team call ups for him to play Amobi where many of us have been calling for years. He needs to prove that his selection is good when he isn’t forced into making changes based on availability.

    Also, wenger put in a good performance but he and all the other mids and fwds should be practicing their finishing every day. Should have scored 4 or 5 last night.

  5. James Lockerbe says:

    O.k so remember when we were all trying to figure out if it was Brian Carroll or Mo killing the offense? Turns out it was both of them!

  6. OneManWolfpack says:

    Edu does not kill the offense. Brian Carroll on the other hand…
    With that said, I want to see if Hack has the balls to start the same starting 11 this weekend. I know it’s a short week, and some guys may be a bit injured, but that was the best game they played since the opener.
    Amobi Okugo deserves to be in the midfield. Period. Team chemistry and success with him in the midfield was not an accident.

    • I echo… success with him in the middle was not an accident. I’ve watched Amobi play since college. Dude is flat awesome.

    • The Black Hand says:


    • He won’t, mainly because Fabinho is out due to yellow card suspension. Most likely, Okugo will move back to CB, Williams will move to outside back, and either Carroll (if he’s healthy) or Le Toux will come into the midfield. Though I guess Hack could put Casey up top with Wenger again instead of playing five midfielders.

  7. I have always wondered: must one shenani-once in order to shenanigan? But seriously, MacMath as Man of the Match. Where did Cruz find a focus to his runs? What fun that was to watch. It is going to take some time for Maidana, Hernandes and Nogs to work out the kinks in their game, but I will take the occasional miscommunication and errant pass for the time being, as long as it leads to breakouts like I watched last night. Now if we can only see the time and possession control that was apparent early in the season, I would be happy.

  8. Has anyone thought about what may happen after the World Cup? In particular, Carlos Valdes? He was a captain and CB and I think the union still own him. Will he be coming back?

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