Postgame video and quote sheet: Union 0-1 Crystal Palace

Photo and video: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Interim Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin’s postgame press conference

Postgame interviews with Danny Cruz, Pedro Ribeiro, and Brian Brown

Philadelphia Union postgame quotes

Interim head coach Jim Curtin

On the game

It was a tough first half from us, I thought, poor start to the game. They gave us a lot of trouble down their left side; probably should have been up 2 or 3-0 the first ten minutes. I thought Andre Blake bailed us out a bit, made some big saves. We created some chances in the second half, pushed the game a bit. Never really made them uncomfortable, which I would have liked to have made them more uncomfortable in the night, but good effort. I think we learned a lot about our group. It was a good exercise for our guys who maybe haven’t gotten to see a lot of minutes to see what a real game looks like against a very good opponent. It’s funny, everyone wants to talk about how athletic MLS is, and everyone is big, fast, and strong and you look out there and it kicks off, they’re (Crystal Palace) a lot bigger, a lot faster, and stronger in a lot of ways. It was a good exercise for our guys, though.

On Andre Blake

Yeah, he is a very talented, young goalkeeper. There’s no secret, that’s the reason why he was the No. 1 pick. He’s a very good asset that we have, a great young goalkeeper, and guy that I think has a very bright future, not only with our club but, I think, beyond that, in Europe. I think he’s that talented and a kid that should have the desire to play overseas. He’s already done the international part of things with Jamaica and now the next step for him is to obviously get starting here and then move on after that.

On Ray Gaddis

That kid (Yannick Bolasie) was a handful out there, he gave him some trouble. Usually Ray is always a step faster than the guy he’s going up against. It’s, again, a good exercise for him to see, “Wow. There’s bigger, and stronger, and faster out there.” He had a guy who was on an island; it wasn’t just wasn’t on Ray, either, there could have been a better job in front of him, a better job with the center backs next to him too, talking, communicating, sliding. We weren’t on the same page as a back four the whole first half. I thought the second half was a lot better. But, definitely, you can see when they get isolated, they’re a very direct team. So, they play a long ball forward, they win the knockdown and fight for second balls and they’d be in on us. So, it was a back four under the gun for about 45 minutes.

On Pedro Ribeiro playing center back and where you prefer him to play

The idea before there was an injury or two, I wanted to play him in the No. 10 role underneath the forwards. So, that didn’t happen tonight; he stepped in and played center back against some very good forwards and did a good job. He’s a soccer player too; he’s one of these guys who can play multiple positions. We do have to find which one is best, though, because you don’t want to get caught, and it happens to guys in our league a lot: Is he a center back? Is he an attacking player? Is he a left-sided guy? Next thing you know you’re kind of scrambling from team to team and different things like that. So, we want to try to pick one.

I can’t tell you I know what’s best for him. I’ve seen him play in preseason as a hold-up forwards and he did a good job there. I’ve seen him play underneath; I like him underneath almost as a No. 10 because his feet are good and he can shoot a ball. He didn’t get to shoot a ball tonight, but he can smack a ball from distance and I think that’ s a big threat. He’s obviously a presence too, he’s 6’4”. So, you start to look out there and again, the bigger, stronger, faster thing is happening all over the world and he fits that mold of a presence. He’s got the body, he wins everything in the air, and he also has soft feet. So,  it’s a rare combination. I thought he had a very good game tonight.

On Brian Brown

I thought he was good. He didn’t get a ton of service in the first half. I would have liked to see him do better with the one through ball he got, maybe draw a PK. He had some good actions. In the second half, I thought he was a little more lively when he popped out wide which was good to see that he can do that because I wasn’t sure. He did okay defensively too, ’cause that’s a part of what we ask of our forwards to do, is to show to one side and cut passing lanes out; he did well with that.

We threw a lot of information at him quickly. He’s a young, 21-year-old kid. He didn’t get many shots. He got one shot off, but he’s usually looking to set himself up to shoot anywhere on the field, and he’s good at it. I’ve seen it in training and all the guys have seen it in training. It’s now just a matter of when there’s ten guys paid to stop you, it gets a little harder. Especially for his first start to be against a team of that quality, it’s challenging. So he doesn’t touch the ball as much as you probably would in an MLS game. So he doesn’t get the chances that you might see in a game if were playing an MLS team. It was good for him, though. He’s pretty fit; he got through 75 minutes and he felt okay afterwards. A lot of positives to take away from Brian.

On the second half

The message to the second group before they went in was that it’s a real game. This team (Crystal Palace) doesn’t look like they’re in preseason, they looked fit, they looked organized. Obviously there’s a lot of interchange and new faces coming in and out with the subs, but they have a way of playing, and their coach, credit to him, he does a great job with them, that’s why they finished middle of the premiership. They’re a direct team, they’re very direct and they attack with numbers — it almost looked like a 4-2-4 in a lot of ways tonight, especially in the first half when they came at us. Settled down a little bit, though, and I thought the second half we actually had a lot of play, which was encouraging.

On comparing the quality of MLS and the Premier League

It’s a big talking point right now, and I think it’s a tough one, just because someone will write the article that, “Well, the Union only lost 1-0 to Crystal Palace, and Crystal Palace tied Liverpool, so is Liverpool only one goal better.” And they start these conversations that are maybe good over a beer, but I don’t think they’re discussions that I think should be written (laughs). Until it happens when you throw an MLS team from the start of the Premiership season into that league, we’ll never know the answer. Even with the different games that have gone on with the Galaxy and Kansas City playing Man U and Manchester City, it’s, you know, they’re tough results. But, at the same time, Manchester United is not seven goals better than the Galaxy, it’s just not the way it is. Until you get the teams — and it won’t happen — but, if you put the Galaxy in the Premiership, from the start of the season — they have to come and play their games in the Home Depot Center — then you’ll have a real answer. But when we start talking about, you know, “If Nottingham Forrest played Kansas City, who…”, you know, and the Eurosnobs get going with their opinion that our league’s no good…It’s impossible, it’s an endless discussion. So, again, good for barroom talk, but we’ll never really know the answers. I still think these games are good, they’re useful for our guys to see what the next level is like. We had that tonight.

On whether Maidana will be healthy for the Sporting KC game

We’re hopeful, he’s progressing good. Our training staff’s done a great job of getting him back. He’s an important piece, though; you can see as we’ve missed him now in the past few games. He’s a guy you can give the ball anywhere on the field and he can calm things down. He’s obviously a threat on set pieces and a guy who’s good around the goal, so we miss him greatly and we’re hoping for Kansas City, that’s the goal.

Pedro Ribeiro

On finally getting a chance to play at PPL Park

It’s a moment I’ve been waiting for since I’ve got drafted. With the last game, the Open Cup game, it’s not an official game, but it was good to get on the field with the guys. I’ve played a bunch of games with Harrisburg, but it’s still a different environment. It’s good to have that first opportunity here at PPL.

On your patience waiting to have the opportunity

I knew since day one that I had to be patient and go day-by-day. Finally the day came and I felt I did pretty good. There’s always room for improvement and it’s not a position I’m used to, but it was good to get on the field with the guys and get some minutes in.

On discussions with Jim about playing at midfield or center back

We talk a lot about that, but I always tell him, whatever you need is what I’ll do. Whatever he needs from me, I’m for it. If he needs me to play left back, forward, anything I’ll do it.

Where have you been playing in Harrisburg

In Harrisburg I’ve been playing up top. I played a game on Wednesday and I played up top for them. It was a good game, 3-3 tie, but it was good to play a little bit more forward to goal — the opposing goal.

On adjusting from position to position

It’s tough, but it’s good. I think nowadays you have to be able to play in different positions, even though they are completely opposite positions. It’s helpful because I’m a forward, so I try and figure out what they’re trying to do against me. I try to take it day-by-day and be ready for whatever it is.

Brian Brown

On starting and playing against a Premier League team

It was amazing for me, to get my first start against an EPL team. I think those guys are good players. It’s a good feeling to play against those guys and get my first start. It was a great feeling.

Coming from Jamaica and playing in the MLS, what is it like to play against Premier players

It’s hard for me. Those guys are like two times my size. Those guys are big, but I just stick to what my coach wants me to do. Keep it moving and keep it to one touch.

How important is the flexibility between playing in the middle and out wide in regards to earning a spot

It’s good to know that you can play in more than one place on the field. Jim can play me wherever he feels, because he knows that I can do the work. Whether he wants me in the middle or out wide, he knows that I can do the job.

On different advice on how to succeed in this league

To keep working hard because those guys will be coming at me. To play strong and play to what I know and can do best on the field.

Crystal Palace postgame quotes

Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis

On getting his first victory of the tour

Yeah, it was pleasing, they made us work very hard; full compliments to Philadelphia, it was a very competitive game. In the first half we really and truly should have scored a number of goals, and that’s not criticizing them —  Bolasie, Chamakah, Puncheon, Gayle all created really good chances that they should have scored from. The second half we made a bunch of changes but it was a good work out for us.

On keeping his first clean sheet of the tour

It’s a result and it’s really about the performances and getting the players fit.

On overall impression of the game and experience in Philadelphia

We were very pleased with how Philadelphia approached the game, and the way they’ve looked after us. The city has been wonderful, loads to do and great things happening here, the stadium is also fantastic. I’m really pleased with everything that’s happened tonight. I think the first half we played well, and Philly came on in the second half.

On if that starting XI will be what to expect on Day One of league play

No, we are still looking to bring players in.

On the play of the Crystal Palace backline

They are players that face world-class players every game in the Premiership, which is no disrespect to the people of Philadelphia, but that’s what they can do on their day.

On if anyone in particular stood out

No, everybody stood out and everybody played well and we were very pleased that everyone came through without any injuries.

On if there is a particular place he wants the team to finish in the Premiership

Yeah, staying in the EPL.

On McCarthy coming out and then coming back on

He just felt his calf, and that’s always a problem so we will assess that tomorrow and have a look at that and go from there.

On his assessment of the fitness levels

The fitness level is pretty good, they just need more games now, and we will get that time against Richmond.

On the signing of Frazier Campbell

Yeah, I’m pleased it’s a signing we have worked very hard to do over a period of time, but I’m disappointed we haven’t been able to bring him to America. We need people who can put the ball in the back of the net. As you’ve seen today, we need to improve there.

On Campbell’s other attributes

He’s got a good attitude, and works hard he will blend in well with the group because that’s what the group has got going for them.


  1. ‘Liverpool one goal better’ is the similar argument I have heard about US only losing 1-0 to WC Champions. Ahhhhhh- NO.
    Makes me chuckle that Curtain said, “Eurosnobs”

  2. The Black Hand says:

    Loved Curtin’s comments. No beating around the bush, with this guy…so far.

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