Postgame

Postgame video and quotesheet: Union 2-3 Crew

Photo and video: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Jim Curtin’s postgame press conference

Postgame interviews with Ray Gaddis, Danny Cruz and Mo Edu

Philadelphia Union postgame quotes

Jim Curtin

Opening Statement

In a lot of ways this one’s somehow worse than even the last one, as far as a letdown goes. Worked hard, guys always give everything they have, but to get up two goals on your home field and not be able to hold on is inexcusable from everyone, from the top down. Not good enough and to be honest, we’re not a playoff team. It’s clear. Over the course of 32 games now, we’ve come up short. To be eliminated on a night like this you deserve to be when you give up three goals in basically in a six, seven minute span.

What exactly happened there?

We pushed hard. We got the second goal and, when you look at the first goal we give up it, a little bit of a miss clearance. Johnny scoops up the ball, plays it wide and Finlay makes a good run in between our center backs. You can tell maybe at that point everybody starts to go, “Oh, shoot, here we go again.” Didn’t have a killer instinct to kill off the game. We lacked that and we’ve lacked that a lot this year at the end of games. It came back to get us again.

Lack of composure

Their second goal is a bit of a scramble off of a throw in, actually, in our half of the field. We get turned around a little bit and Ethan tries to end the play with a foul but the ref lets it play on, and he dribbles around a couple of guys and scores a goal. Credit to Columbus, they pushed hard. We thought we did enough, we thought we had a good game plan. We pressured them; as they played out of the back we picked off a few balls. we finally punished them. We get up 2-0 and, again, aren’t able to hold on in our home building. It’s inexcusable to give up three goals again at home.

Do you think they stopped playing?

No, I don’t think they stopped playing. Our guys always try hard. Maybe we’re not quite there yet, we’re not quite good enough yet. That’s part of it.

How to get a mentality to the players

It takes good seasons, and we haven’t put together too many good seasons. It’s been the fifth year of the club and we’re at a position where now we want to be a team that’s fighting to get into the playoffs. The only thing that cures that is winning —  and winning together, and sticking together in the tough times. And, right now, we’re in a tough time. We’ve been eliminated from the playoffs and we have two games left. That’s not where we wanted to be. It is contagious now, when something goes wrong it tends to go wrong too many times. You get sick to your stomach with it — it’s tough —  but you have to learn from these moments. We still have a good core of young players, we have to look toward the future now. Obviously, we finish up the season with these last two games but you start to look towards the off season and adding a couple of pieces just like every team does in the off season. Those pieces have to be guys that come in and lead and help us maybe close these type of games out.

About the next two games and speculation with contracts ending

I don’t think you block that stuff out, that’s the reality of our game, that’s pro sports. If you don’t win, if you don’t have success on the field, there’s always going to be changes to teams in the offseason. There’ll be personnel changes, obviously, with any team, but it’s always greater when your team doesn’t make the playoffs and have success. That’s part of the business, it’s part of sports. When you’ve come up short, and we did, it’s a fine line. It’s a fine line between being a team that’s successful and a winner in this league, and being on the outside and looking in, which is where we find ourselves. You can talk about the past, and you can talk about the last four or five games that could’ve gone either way for us but I still believe you are what your record says you are. And this is what we are:  not good enough.

On whether the team has suffered from Open Cup final hangover

That was definitely a tough loss for the guys but again it’s real easy to sit here and say, “If one ball goes on inch to the right and Vincent’s goes in the goal and we’re the Open Cup champs, we make the playoffs and everything’s fine with the Philadelphia Union, and we’re perfect.” I am a believer that things happen for a reason. I don’t think we were ready for that and I think that stuff happens for a reason. Sometimes that can mask things that need to be improved and I think there is a lot of things we can still work on and improve. Like I said, we have a very strong core of players, but we need to make some adjustments and we need to improve.

Danny Cruz

On looking back on run since Open Cup final

If you look before the Open Cup final we had a confident group, we were getting results highlighted by what we did against Toronto FC [in those back-to-back wins], there wasn’t a lack of confidence, but I think that draw last week [against Chicago] really hurt us and to get two goals this week and not hold it really hurts.

On having a 2-0 lead slip away

You guys know having a 2-0 lead is one of the worst leads you can have in this game because it puts a lot of pressure, because the next goal creates all the momentum. There is no excuse for it; I mean I know it happens in this sport, but now we have to move on and use next week’s game [against Sporting Kansas City] to better ourselves as a team and as a club.

On the feeling of playoff oust

I can’t stress enough our fans deserve better. We put a lot into the year and we are not happy now, this is not the way we wanted to end the year, believe me.

Andrew Wenger

On what happened during Crew comeback

It was a systematic breakdown. It’s not just one guy, every guy on the field played a part in that.

On if there was complacency because club was up, 2-0

Looking at what happened you’d probably have to say yes. I think that it’s pretty obvious that we [messed] up.

Ray Gaddis

On the game overall

Tough game, one that is tough to take in right now; I’d have to go back and look [at the game tape] to really tell you what happened, but honestly we just have to want it more and finish out these games.

On what the team can do to ensure a late lead isn’t lost going forward

I can’t point to anything right now, but we just have to finish our games no matter what…this is just very disappointing because we work so hard during the second half of the season to dig ourselves out of a hole and we can’t point to any real game in particular, but it starts from Game No. 1 to now, we just have to grind out results. That’s what other teams are doing and that’s what we need to do.

Columbus Crew postgame quotes

Gregg Berhalter

If that’s how he drew it up

That’s exactly how I didn’t draw it up actually. Our idea was to control the game more. As they needed to push for goal, we need to be more on the counterattack and we wanted to be in control. Down 2-0 obviously, something you can’t plan for. But the resiliency, the character of our group to come back from that is amazing.

What changed going down 2-0

I think we were in a difficult spot when you can play for a tie. It becomes scripted and you start over-thinking. When we went down, now there’s no more options. You need to get something out of the game and you change. And it was effective.

On being off their game

Well the first five minutes, or 10 minutes, they had great pressure. We still want to play. We still want to take chances. We don’t want to abandon our game plan. So they punched us. No question. But as we settled in, I thought they had a really hard time getting the ball and we were opening them up pretty easily. In the second half, we didn’t come out with that same intensity and I think we kind of got cramped up thinking about the tie and not being proactive.

On not playing for ties

Yeah, but I talked to the team and I said a tie or a win is good in this game. That was the message to them. Maybe they thought a tie means become passive.

On what it says about the team coming back

It says a lot. It says that these guys want it. I think that’s important. At the end of the day, it comes down to mentality and how strong you can be to come back from stuff. I think tonight we showed we were pretty tough.

On if he felt the third goal coming because of the momentum

I feel bad for Philadelphia. They’re a better team than that. I felt that they wilted after that second one. And, you know, visions of last week started coming back on them. And the season in general. I feel bad for them. Like I said, they’re a better team than that.

Getting a goal from Arrieta

It’s fantastic. You call a guy’s number time and time again. For him not to be called on for a while, and for him to score a goal is fantastic for him.

On Ethan [Finlay] sparking the offense with the first goal

We did it. I thought we were close in the first half and in the second half, there were times where the precision wasn’t there. And I think when we abandon our fear and say listen, ‘let’s just go for it’ we’re much better.

On Pogatetz getting in

I thought it was good. It was important to get him. It’s important to get him minutes and I think he won a lot of headers and helped shore up the defense.

On the play of his outside backs

Again that’s a credit to our team. That’s how we can line up on the road and still execute offensively. I think that’s pretty good.

Ethan Finlay

Did it take getting punched in the mouth to come out and start playing

Well we’re pretty disappointed with the goals we gave up. Credit to Philadelphia, they played hard and played well and took advantage of their chances. But I think we showed our resilience to be able to bounce back. Stick to our system and play the type of soccer we want to play. And we were rewarded for that. In the second half, we talked about trying to take advantage on the counter and it didn’t take two-three solid counters. It actually took a little bit more especially with them scoring in the second half. But credit to all the guys. The guys that started and the ones that came in.

On anything being said to change things, or just a realization

After last week, Gregg emphasized to stay focus, don’t panic. And I think that’s exactly what we did tonight. You saw that maybe some guys had their head down, but we knew, together, that we had 15 minutes to change this result. I don’t know if we thought we could win the game initially. But getting that early one, and then another quick one back-to-back getting to 2-2, I think at that point we felt pretty good about our ability.

On his 10th goal to spark the team

Great ball by Hector [Jimenez] l. I saw Tony [Tchani] slide it into Hector. Gregg always emphasizes when things aren’t going well, keep making runs, keep working. Personally I didn’t think I was on top of my game, but all it takes is one play, one run, to get a goal. Obviously it pushed our team over the hill and gave us the ability to win the game in the end.

Tyson Wahl

On what they had to do after falling behind 2-0

I mean obviously it showed a lot of resiliency. It wasn’t the way we wrote it up. It was that way since the start of the game. We still tried to play our game. There were times when we kind of paid for it. And the game was played at a different speed. We actually did better playing at that speed. You can control it, but if it’s a little bit slower, but we kind of shown that we need to get better at playing our style. We did show a lot of resiliency. It was a great character game and a massive win, obviously.

On if falling behind 2-0 took the pressure off to sit play and play for a draw

Yeah, at 2-0, we’re going for broke. We had to get the point. We made some great plays and capitalized on our chances. It’s funny it took a long time for us to score and then when we did score, we scored three right away in what 15 minutes or something? It was a crazy half. Fun game to be a part of.

On what it’s like to score three so quick

We knew they were going to be throwing the ball forward and it may be a little bit chaotic — and it was. So as defenders, we were thinking ‘one more goal, one more goal’ and then we were finally winning. We were just trying to stay engaged and be ready for their counterattacks.

If potentially clinching a playoff spot goes through a players’ head at the final whistle

I think so. We’re extremely excited and I don’t think we’re mathematically in the playoffs, but it puts us in a really position.

On what is says about the team dominating a game in the last 15 minutes, despite being shorthanded

I think we have some really well defined roles and Gregg has really set the foundation for how each position should be played. [Ben] Speas came in and really did a great job filling in. Same way for Bernardo [Anor]. We all know the roles and our outside backs attack. And Bernardo did that well tonight.

4 Comments

  1. JC wasn’t asked about changing pace & personnel after going up 2-0? Does he think that wasn’t a big part of the problem? I think DC meant a 2-0 lead was so unfamiliar to the team, they didn’t know what to do. That’s coaching, too.

  2. This tean has never been better off with Williams on the bench…yes I am effing bias but that’s the truth….

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