Postgame

Postgame video and quotesheet: Union 2-1 Cosmos

Photo and video: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Jim Curtin’s postgame press conference

Postgame interviews with Antoine Hoppenot, Amobi Okugo, Andre Blake and Sheanon Williams

Philadelphia Union postgame quotes

Interim head coach Jim Curtin

Opening comments

Just a quick opener on the game. I thought you had two teams that put a lot into it. Again, we’d like to take care of things in regulation, but this is how this competition looks. You been around it a lot of years and you’re always going to get the best punch from a team that plays in a lower division than you. So, credit to them, they’re well coached and well organized, they gave us some trouble going forward, but I thought our guys played very well. Our backline did a good job, competed the whole night, broke up a lot of plays. There’s some guys playing out of position due to injuries and stiff, and they stepped up. I was impressed.

On the officiating

It’s a tough job, it’s a thankless job, it’s not one that I would ever want. In particular, MLS teams I think are difficult to referee and then you throw in the fact that two different leagues and it makes it a bit challenging. Was he perfect? No, but they often aren’t. I think he had some good calls and some calls that were bad for both teams. At the end of the day I think we deserved a result and I think we deserved to win.

On moving on to the US Open Cup quarterfinals

This club needs a trophy and now we’re three wins away from a trophy, which is a big thing. Our ownership and front office have done a great job getting us home games because, if you look through the history of this competition, the team that plays at home usually is the one that comes through. Obviously, DC last year would be the exception but, Seattle all the years they won it, when I was in Chicago when we would win it, it was only because we hosted home games. For our front office to do that, show that commitment, now we’ll have a home game next game against either New England or Rochester — it’s a great advantage, it’s a huge opportunity. Three wins in a row and you are a champion. There’s two trophies in this country that you can lift and we want to lift the Open Cup, for sure.

On struggling in the middle of the field

The way that they play they’re very organized. It almost turns into what looks like a 4-2-4, the way the Cosmos play, they’ll throw four guys forward, they have two guys holding. We kind of mirrored a little bit that with Brian and Amobi just holding and breaking up plays in the middle, and we would attack with Danny, and Maidana on the outsides, and we played with two forwards for the first time probably in a long time. The guys responded OK to it, we created a few chances in the first half maybe Danny’s is a penalty on the tape, I’ll have to look at the tape — there were a couple chances in there. Andrew had a good look on the goal keeper.

Was it perfect? No, definitely not. But at the same time I knew this was going to be an ugly game where it was about competing and winning second balls and fighting for long balls, it wasn’t going to be about short passes. I watched the tape of Red Bull when they played the Cosmos and they tried to pass out the back and keep possession on a tight field on Astroturf and it didn’t go so hot because the Cosmos come at you and they put pressure on you, that’s the one thing they really do a good job, you saw it tonight. A little bigger field here so it was a little harder, so they were late sometimes, and that’s when we got our chances. But, again, the idea was to kind of almost mirror the lineup and say, man for man, we should be able to beat you. But, listen, they put up a heck of a fight.

On Le Toux and his role on the team/ability from the penalty spot

That’s not an easy thing to do. You saw today with Greece, the guy that steps up and you think, “what’s going through his head?” Same with Sebastian, he steps up and it’s a big spot. If you go back and look over the last three games he’s put some good games together. The Vancouver game, I though he gave us a big spark off the bench, Harrisburg, as well, setting up the goal, and this one now he’s come in and done a great job. Great response too, I thought, from our group after giving up a goal, didn’t lay down, and the reaction was quick, we got back up. It shows the character of the group, you know? Is it perfect, is the soccer perfect? No. I’m not going to sit up here and tell you we played a beautiful game, or anything like that, but sometimes this competition isn’t about beautiful soccer, it’s not about stats or possession, percentages, and all that other stuff, it’s about who wants it more and who wants to win a trophy.

On if anything will change during MLS play

There will be chances just due to we have guys that are pretty banged up after the 120 minutes tonight. New England is a team that is a strange matchup for us. You guys have seen the games when we try to play end to end with New England, it’s not pretty —  they’ve put five goals in against us, I think, in the last four games. The games that we have won against them are the 1-0, grind it out, not let their guys get a full head of steam and start running at you because, when you look at them, their front four players — Fagundez when he gets going, Kelwyn Rowe’s been coming off the bench, Lee Nguyen has been one of the top players in the league; they have a bunch of midfielders that can score goals, they have Bunbury up top and Patrick Mullins has stepped up and done well too — they have a plethora of attacking options. At New England is a tough place to play, it’s a really hard place to play so, again, there will be some tweaks but we’re going to stick to the things that we’ve stressed over the past two weeks, which are winning your individual battles, if you’re playing out of position do your best at it it getting us through this time.

There will be some reinforcements that come in after the World Cup, that is something that is in the works, and we’ll go from there. I still think that we have a group that can go on the road in two tough games in New England and Dallas and pull out results there in two tough places to play.

Sebastien Le Toux

On being perfect on Penalty Kicks in the past four years

I was very confident and I was glad that it went in, but I’m not worried about the stats. I’m just happy we won tonight.

Thoughts in your head when you stepped up to take that

Nothing. Just ask to have a good strike and be lucky; just shooting the ball in the goal and let it touch the net, so it’s good.

Not just that, but the first goal, feel like you got something going on here?

Yeah, I feel pretty good since the weekend after the break and even before Vancouver I had the back injury and had to sit out, I was not really a 100 percent. I was playing with my back bothering me when I run, so I took a few games coming off the bench and I feel much better, I’m close to 100 percent. I can see the field better, my touch is better, I can run better, I can help the team better, so getting good performances again.

Tied with three other guys as the all-time leading scorer of the modern era in this competition

I like this competition. It was a time when I was in Seattle and the USL – it was kind of a competition to show that we have a very good team and two times I finished with I think six goals. It was funny because in one game I just got four. It is fun, I was just talking about it with Andrew, he already scored two, so he should score again and maybe be the best scorer of this competition. He came to me and said we are now tied, so it’s good competition between us too. We have continuity and are now three games away from the final, it would be great to get the trophy this year.

On making it to the quarterfinals

You play against lower teams who want to show they can play in the higher level. I know because I did it with Seattle, so I know they are very motivated to win these games. For us it’s kind of we have to find some motivation. For us, it’s easy to say we have some easy competition, but to go far we have to bring all the fundamentals into the game and that’s what we’ve done these past two times.

Andre Blake

Thoughts on tonight’s win and your second victory in this tournament

As the guys always say, it’s about surviving and advancing. It was a tough one, but in the end we got that “W,” so we’ll take it.

Was there a difference in this game in comparison to the last overtime game?

I think we did most things a little better because we’re trying to raise the bar in practice and trying to compete as much as possible, and we’re developing that fighting mentality.

On the calls at the end that could’ve gone either way – what did you see

It got a little crazy, but that’s a part of the game. They saw that the game was going away from them, so they tried to throw the kitchen sink at us, but for me I had to just stay in the game mentally and be ready whenever I’m called upon to do so.

On being in the quarterfinals

It’s been great. This team has not won a trophy yet, so that’s the aim right now, to give it our best and see if we can get it done.

New York Cosmos postgame quotes

Head Coach Giovanni Savarese

Looking back do you think the foul on Mads was a PK?

No question. I know so, clear it was more PK that one then the one they gave for them. I don’t even think it was a PK. So we been robbed and its shame because Philadelphia doesn’t deserves it and the NY Cosmos doesn’t deserve it. It was a good game, two teams came to try to play but the referee we saw very clearly that you don’t give a PK at that moment. We had another one questionable at the end of the game for our team. It was clear today that it was a show and the principle guy in the show was the referee.

What did the referee say as far the penalty kick calls?

There was no communication, he gave red cards to our guys to walk for and we didn’t do anything. In fact No. 25, I don’t want to get into their team, because I respect their team and they came to play. The referee ruined the game and it was very clearly that he put his hand on this game and it’s a shame because our guys worked hard and they worked hard —  the other team — and it could’ve been a much better game for sure with a better end. And I don’t think our guys deserve to have a mediocre referee.

How much did the injury to Nane in the first half have an impact on the decision making?

It was difficult because it was an early substitution; Nane is an important player and the condition of us to make another substitution. And then towards the end I had to be very careful because we only had one more substitution, either wait for the guys in the back or put something you know on top so it was a difficult situation and I had to hold on as much as I could.

How significant of a victory is it to you guys to come in here on the road against another MLS team and go toe to toe with them despite how the result comes out?

Oh you know, I believe in our guys, we don’t have to prove anything. We know who we are, and we are a team that can compete with any team in this country, and we showed it again tonight against a good team. They put the best players, they played a good game and were very dangerous, as much as we were, they attack and we attack, and it was an open game. It was a very exciting game today and we didn’t come here to hide, we came here to play.

Was the kind of game attacking, open style of play that you expected coming here?

Definitely. I know it was gonna be this type of game because we came here to try and play, we didn’t want to hide, we tried to utilize some of the things we could utilize. They had some good players that created difficult situations. We saw that their goal also was a quick counterattack and they were able to capitalize right after our goal.

I guess have you ever seen a match like this. 3 red cards two coaches get ejected either playing or coaching?

No. But as I said the show at the beginning was the referee. It’s a shame because it should have been the players.

How frustrating is it for you to see the team playing as well as it is right now and to know it’s another year until the next US Open Cup to be playing against this level of competition?

You know a mountain doesn’t get built overnight, we have to work across the board, day by day; its being patient — some good days some bad days– that’s how you build a good base. We have a very good base, we have to understand that these kind of results are gonna happen, we have to understand that sometimes these types of situations are gonna be what we’re going to have to face. Because I don’t believe everybody is too content about what we’re building; just to make a point, it takes time. I think the most important thing is we have to let soccer grow in the United States and we part of it, and MLS is part of it, and NASL is part of it. It is bad when you have situations like this, we just have to continue working and that’s it.

Do you use this loss as motivation coming into the fall season?

Yeah, no no, I think it’s a realization for our players that we have to keep on working. For them it has been a great show that we play Red Bull, we play Philadelphia, and I don’t think in the other two games we can say that the other team was the better team. So you know we go home, not happy of course, but with our heads up knowing we have to keep on working.

Is it more difficult when you know the Open Cup is your one path to CONCACAF Champions League? And one official can change the course of your entire season.

Yes, it is more difficult, you wish you could have more opportunities. We have to play with what we have and, if that’s the only chance, we have to continue taking it very seriously and continue next year and that’s all. But we are very content to be playing in the NASL. We see it as a very strong league and that’s part of what we have to keep on working for.

8 Comments

  1. Scottymac says:

    From what I saw a section away, his coaches definitely deserved to get booted and Savarese was lucky he wasn’t. They were up and screaming about every foul, real or not, and even midfield throw ins had them yelling at the ref. the fourth official spent the whole game trying to get them to calm down and warning them.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      After the game I went home and watched the last 15 minutes again on the feed on the Union website and it was pretty clear that Savarese should have been gone. Apparently at one point during the melee he had walked down the field past Curtain which meant he was nowhere near his coaching box.

  2. Couldn’t watch the match but following the Twitter feed was definitely amusing. Union sounded listless and the Cosmos sounded certifiable. Oh, and the officiating sounded delightful. Kind of glad I couldn’t watch it.
    Away at Revs should be fun this Saturday…

  3. mountains. they take longer than one evening to build.

  4. I sit in 103 and I found the Cosmos and their style of play to be (complaining about every call and lack of discipline) very troubling. This is a reflection on the coaches to control their players. The penalty kick was spot on and I am sure that their chippy style of play added to them losing. The center ref was confusing and the assistant ref on our end of the field was overwhelmed and frequently looked confused and bewildered. It is easy to see why the Cosmos are not in the MLS. Very happy the Union won without any major injuries.

    • Yeah that was the minor league soccer equivalent of The Charlestown Chiefs.

    • as we now know, one should not expect the cosmos coaches to try to control their players. they seemed to participate and egg it on if anything

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