Postgame video and quote sheet: Union 0-0 Dynamo

Photo and video: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Jim Curtin’s postgame press conference

Postgame interviews with Sheanon Williams, Sebastien Le Toux, and Ethan White

Philadelphia Union postgame quote sheet

Jim Curtin

Opening Statement

Our second 0-0 thriller here against Houston. Not our best effort, we were a little rusty, I thought, a little sloppy, and a little off with the final pass. We still created a lot of chances, created enough to win. I thought the defense was very strong. I believe we didn’t give up a shot on goal, which is a positive. You take the point, [but] overall I’m not happy with the week when you look back at it now, with only two points from New York and Houston, and then, obviously,  the difficult loss at midweek.

We’ll have to rebound. We’re down to five games; so, three at home and two on the road. It’s still in our hands but, you look at the scores and teams are starting to put together results that were behind us and in front of us, so, it’s going to be difficult. We’ll have to win our home games. By not doing that and taking care of business tonight, now we have to steal something on the road likely. Difficult.

Again, still happy with the effort the guys put in. They brought everything, created enough chances to get a goal. I thought we needed a goal early on in the game when we had a couple of chances that would open them up a little bit, and let us maybe get at them a little bit more on the counter. But, credit to them, they were organized and tough to play through.

On playing the same ten players from Open Cup

It was an easy decision. I believe in those guys. That was the message to them. They put in a great performance on Tuesday; to turn it around and do it again on a Saturday, I thought they would be up for it. I just wanted to show faith in them and appreciation for the effort they put in Tuesday. You can talk about fatigue and being tired, but we don’t do that. A lot of those guys were rested in the New York game so I knew that they were going to play two games this week. Again, not one guy there said they were tired after the game so we’re not going to use that as crutch. Mentally is the toughest thing. The Tuesday loss is going to be tough  mentally, not physically for us, because our guys are fit, very fit. I think we have one of the most in shape teams in the league. So, I don’t think the fatigue was a factor at all. Again, We had chances. If we score one of those opportunities no one’s talking about being tired. So, I don’t buy that.

On Amobi Okugo not in the lineup

I think Amobi’s a great player, but at the same time he’s not displacing Vincent, he’s not displacing Chaco, and he’s not displacing Maurice Edu at this time in our group. So that was the decision. Three guys that play midfield for us that you guys have all seen —  he’s the odd man out unfortunately. Again, I think highly of Amobi, I think he’s actually in great form, but for these two games this was the lineup that we went with and I think that was our best midfield.

On the questionable no-call on Nogueira penalty

It’s a penalty for sure. It’s tough. You talk to him – he says it’s a penalty and he’s about as honest as you get. The ref was actually good on the night except for the biggest play. I said that to him when I shook his hand [that] he was actually good on the night but at the biggest moment I think he got that one wrong. I just said, you have to look at it and see it.  They actually showed it on the replay board, which is rare; they usually don’t show any controversial plays, but they showed that one and, yeah, it’s a penalty. It happens though, there’s mistakes that happen, it’s part of the game.

On Ribeiro in the 18 and Brown out

Pedro gave us a boost against New York. He gave us a spark there. Some difficult decisions with the Open Cup leaving Brian Brown out. We’re kind of down to — there’s an international rule that a lot of people don’t know about but, you’re only allowed to dress five international, so that’s why Fabinho was the odd man out in that, as well. Pedro has been very good at practice. I’m still high on Brian Brown. we’re just kind of  again, we have a deep squad — it’s tough to hold out a guy who’s a good goal scorer but, right now, we went with Pedro, that was the decision.

On lack of finishing on set pieces

We can improve. I think sometimes it gets cut out on the near post, so, that idea that we need to get the ball — beat the first man —  just to give it a chance. We scored on a free kick on Tuesday too so it’s not that dire of a situation. But you’re right, it can improve. It can always get a little bit better: better service, harder runs in the box, a real commitment to get on the end of something. It wasn’t our night; things bounced — there was a lot of blocks that Houston made, some good plays from their goalkeeper, some sliding tackles from their center backs at the last second. Again, couldn’t just get one by them.

Changing the mindset for DC United after two ties

When we go on the road, we can win on the road. That’s kind of our mindset. We haven’t dug a hole but now, by not picking up three points tonight, you certainly have to be a little more aggressive. We’ll probably have to steal a point or two on the road now, if you just look at the point totals and who has how many games left, and who plays home and who plays away. Would’ve been nice, we could have been controlling our own destiny but now we might need help in some regards. If we still take care of business in our three home game and steal a point here and there on the road — maybe win a game on the road, which we’re capable of…It’s the Eastern Conference though, this is what it’s going to looks like. It’ll probably come down to the last day, and we’ll probably need to get a win on that last day.

Rais Mbolhi

On getting this start

It felt great. I’ve been back from [national team duty with Algeria] for about 15 days now, so it was great to play unfortunately we couldn’t get the win, but I feel like we played really good tonight in both halves so it’s a good sign as we continue to battle for the playoffs.

On playing his part in getting a clean sheet

If you can give your team more confidence because they know you have it under control in the back it’s a good thing. It’s good that we didn’t let anything in, but it would have been nice for us to finish our chances because I thought we were the better team tonight.

On not getting points

We needed them. We are on a run to the playoffs and while one point is still important, you’re still racing for the playoffs, so to have the maximum points is what every team wants. We’ll take the point, it’s better than nothing, but we really should’ve gotten the three tonight.

Sebastien Le Toux

On going after Houston offensively

We pushed hard tonight, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out. We came up short against both Seattle [in Tuesday’s U.S. Open Cup final] and against Houston, but you have to shake it off and keep your head up. If we finished our chances we could have had four or five goals tonight.

On playing in a three-game, eight day stretch

We are professional athletes, so it’s okay. We have to be ready to play when there are games so there’s no excuse. Mentally, you can be a bit disappointed especially coming off these last two games, but like I said we are still in a playoff race and we need to shake this off and come back focused. Everyone can see that we are playing good soccer now, so it’s just a matter of getting back to it and putting the ball in the back of the net.

On preparing for tough game next Saturday against DC United

We have to prepare. Both mentally and physically; we need to get back out winning touch and I don’t think we have missed it, it’s just that we are looking again for that little spark from someone. People may see these past few games as bad results because we didn’t win, but we can all see it as a positive because we got points from the tie. We are still in the [playoff] race so everything is still possible, it’s just going to take all of us to get after it because nobody else is going to help us get there.

Maurice Edu

On coming off short rest to play Houston

We can’t look at that as an excuse we have to hold ourselves accountable. At the end of the day, we needed three points, but if you don’t score goals and take advantage of your chances…the onus are on us. We just need to be more clinical with our chances and be a little bit more concentrated in the final third.

Overall thoughts

“I think the effort was there. Maybe we were a little bit off on our final ball. In the final third, we could have been a little more clinical. But, obviously if the call goes our way with the penalty… I think overall it was an alright game for us. We defended well. I don’t remember Rais really needing to make a save in either half off the top of my head. We just need to realize that every game is crucial for us. We need to be more clinical. We can’t continue to finish off the season that way. We need to finish off the season the way we started the second half of the season where we were scoring goals and taking advantage of our chances.

Sheanon Williams

On team defense in general

We’re tough to break down. We’re definitely dangerous on the counter. We’ve winning a lot of balls, picking off a lot of balls in the midfield. We keep doing that, we’re definitely going to put ourselves in good scoring opportunities. And again, we just got to have that killer instinct. We definitely had some good chances today, some clear-cut chances, and with not too many games left, we need to finish them.

On the key to the defense going into next week

Just keep doing what we’ve been doing. We’ve been covering for each other pretty well, trying to block all the shots, being in the right place to give support on the opposite side. Midfielders have really been doing a good job cutting off the passing lanes. We don’t need to change anything I think. We just need to stay consistent for the rest of the season.

Houston Dynamo postgame quotes

Dom Kinnear

On if a tie on the road at this stage is as good as the beginning of the year

You make a good point there, yes.

On Union pushing late, Dynamo not getting much push

Did you see our injury report? That doesn’t help us. But we wanted to win the game. We put ourselves in good positions. Our last pass let us down. And I’m sure Philadelphia can say the same thing.

On if they were generating enough chances

We got ourselves in good spots. I wouldn’t call them good chances. But we got ourselves in good positions, but we didn’t take advantage of them.

On sweating out the last 6-7 minutes

We let them off the hook on the other end as well.

On how Omar Cummings played

I think he’s doing OK. When he’s in-tune and connected, he can run behind the defense. They were playing a high line — that was one of things we talked about before and at halftime — and obviously we would have liked to do it more. Sometimes the other team doesn’t agree with you.

On Union coming off a 120-minute game

It’s the end of the year. It’s the playoffs. I don’t think people go and look who they played on Tuesday. I know where these guys are at in the standings. I know what their mentality is. Sometimes determination overcomes fatigue. I would have loved to worn them down and score a couple of goals. But life on the road in the MLS is tough.

On anything changing after this game

We have six games to go. We have a game against Chicago next Sunday. We’re going to try to win that game and see how the rest of the results go.

On being shorthanded and the game plan

You want to have the same attitude and the same mentality. It’s not respectful to talk about guys who aren’t here. But we are missing quite a few players here. And we’ve done that for quite a bit — as has every team. I can’t sit here and say we’re the only team that’s fought this. But when I look at the injury report and see Philadelphia has none and ours almost outweighs our starting XI, it’s a cause for concern. But you want to try and win. If I come into that locker room and use a negative approach, and say we’re here not to lose, I think it’s a bad idea. And yeah Philadelphia had us on our heels, but we had a chance to put them on their heels.

On being limited on options because of injuries

Possibly the options off the bench are a little bit different. Sometimes you have guys playing out of position a little because of the injuries. But we’ve had a lot of experience in that department this year.

On any team separating from others to get into the playoffs in the East

I think it’s going to take a winning streak. We’re all playing against each other here. Our best chance to catch Philadelphia was to beat them head-to-head. You can’t rely on other teams. So for a team to make the playoffs, they’re going to have to win five, six games and go on a winning streak. It gives teams confidence and puts pressure on others.

Tyler Deric

On all of the chances for the Union

It was a big game for both teams and we didn’t expect anything less from a good team.

On being active on crosses

We’ve been training on getting to good spots. They put in some great balls and I probably got two or three but they probably whipped 12 or 13 on the night. I only got a couple, but it was some good crosses and if they give me a chance, I have to get to it.

On a road point not feeling as good this late in the season

It’s always good to get a point on the road. We just wish it was at the beginning of the season. We’ve got points on the road in our last six games. It’s crucial right now to get three points in every game, but you have to give credit to the guys. They worked hard and we gave it all.

On needing to keep a clean sheet because of all the injuries

We have a deep squad and we know that. We know guys are banged up, but it’s real important that we go out there and give it all this effort and take it to the other team.

Giles Barnes

On the Union making it tough to generate offense

Yeah, kind of. They played the game well and the counterattack wasn’t really working for us. Our defense was really good tonight.

On how tough it is to catch teams playing shorthanded

It’s very hard to keep looking up at other teams. We’ve got a game in hand on some of them, but they’re two points ahead so it’s something negative that doesn’t need to be kept talking about. As long as we try to keep winning, we’ll be fine at the end of the season.

On frustration of not being able to put goals away

Yeah, a little bit. One or two of the offside calls were a bit iffy as well. But that’s how it goes sometimes. We’re looking forward to the game on Sunday against Chicago and we hope to get three points there.

On whether or not getting behind the defense was a strategy

They kept such a high line and played the offside trap. The offsides may have been iffy, but that’s how it goes sometimes.

On wearing down the Union coming off an overtime game

Coming toward the end of the season, you should be fit enough to play two games a week. That’s a big thing. They were coming off 120 minutes, but are professional athletes.

On what it will require to get into the playoffs

We have to keep taking points away from teams in the East. We have six games left — that’s 18 points. There’s still a lot to play for.


  1. JC’s take on Okugo is troubling and in my opinion shows he is not the one to take over the permanent reigns of the Union. Once a managerial decision is made the Union need to find a replacement for Edu as the best CB to team with Valdes. They need a serious starting LB in order to make Gadis the starting RB. Sign Edu and put him with Noguiera and Maidana. Possibly make a move with Okugo or MacMath or both to bring in a dynamic striker and quality skilled players . If there’s any chance of losing Okugo and MacMath we need true value back . I don’t want the MLS expansion draft elitists picking the Union apart again to build up Orlando and NYCFC.

    • old soccer coach says:

      When Okugo came onto the field the spark went out of the attack. The flurry in the last fifteen was the direct helter skelter of endgame chaos. He is not as effective a creator as the combination of Nogeuira and Edu has been recently. His entry marked the end of midfield dominance. Correlate Houston’s corner kicks to okugo’s presence; it will show you that all of a sudden Houston had sustained periods of possession moving into the attacking third. And because of Cummings foot speed he was not an option into the back line for White. He is clearly first sub off the bench right now.

      • The number of times Edu road off threats to the Union back line unlike White in the first half and Noguiera’s movement after receiving the pass from Okugo In the 2nd refutes your argument. The offense bogged down in the final 3rd. White while serviceable can be drawn out of position. His physicality helps only to a point and his distribution is not a strong suit. Edu by far is a better player than Okugo at this stage. Edu is also the best CB, on the team.You don’t sacrifice as much with Okugo as you gain with Edu as your starting CB with Valdes.

      • James Lockerbie says:


  2. Find Eastern another team’s fan who wants to play the Union now. Even the Rev lost last night. Name another draw where we were as dominant as in the last two matches. Keep playing this well and I’ll bet Chaco’s shinguards we not just make it but win our first playoffs.

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