Postgame Quotes: Philadelphia Union 1-1 Columbus Crew (5-3 on penalties)

Photo: Courtesy of Columbus Crew

Philadelphia Union postgame quotes

Jim Curtin

On the team’s performance

We started the game a little slow, then our guys settled in and were able to create some chances. Did well, I thought, to get a goal. Sheanon Williams made a good defensive play that led to a good counterattack. Something that we’ve talked about and been working on in training. Fernando [Aristeguieta] did a good job to get on the end of the cross and headed in a good goal for us.

On Fernando Aristeguieta’s play this tournament

He’s good. He’s a handful. He’s a guy that fits our league. He’s a guy who’s athletic, can run, fight for everything, and is very strong like we saw in the box today. He was busy. He was active. He got a lot of good shots from distance off. We’d like him to hit the target on a couple more of them but he did well.

On the 4-2-4 (4-1-3-2) with Cristian Maidana on the wing and Zach Pfeffer at the 10.

Correction- Maidana initially started out at the 10 with Pfeffer on the left wing, but they switched places midway through the half.

Yeah, we wanted to try a few different things in the preseason and obviously you can call this a 4-2-4 almost where we have almost 4 guys playing in the forward spot. It’s something we wanted to look at. It’s something we’re going to go to maybe if we’re down a goal, maybe at home, that’s how we’ll play. We’re still trying to piece together some things. It’s a good exercise for us to push the guys for 45 minutes and now with Andrew [Wenger] and [Vincent] Nogueira being out we’ll get those guys back and push the group for ninety minutes in the next game.

On the playing conditions

It’s tough. The rain’s no problem but when the wind gets involved that’s kind of the ruiner of our game. The wind tends to ruin soccer and that was an example of that today. There wasn’t a whole lot of connecting and passing just because there were 25-30 mph wind and then also the fog. They were tough conditions but give our guys credit. They managed through it and they put a lot of tough, hard work into the game.

On the importance of winning in preseason

We set the goal in the third phase of preseason [which] was to win this competition and we’re on track to do that. It’s something that we’re happy about and we’ll see how this last game [New York Red Bulls vs. Toronto FC] goes and we’ll see who we’ll end up playing, possibly New York it looks like.

On the team’s recovery from a slow start and playing on the counter

Yeah, we’re a good counterattacking team. When we sit back to let teams come a little bit we pick balls off and we go forward. That’s what we did on the goal. So. yeah. we’ll mix it up. The exercise was to push them and press them a little bit during the 45 minutes, [to] make it uncomfortable because they’re a team that really likes to play it out the back and prides itself on that. We know we’re gonna see them a bunch this year and we didn’t want to show everything, but at the same time I think we accomplished what we wanted to work on today.

On the play of Raymon Gaddis and Sheanon Williams along the flanks

Ray and Sheanon are a good combination out there. They provide a lot of speed, a lot of athleticism, and they also get forward more than people likely give them credit for. They did a good job one-on-one defending. They’re put in a lot of difficult situations because we’ve been aggressive going forward. So they have to win their one-on-one battles and they did a good job of that.

On the health of Andrew Wenger

[Andrew] Wenger just has a little nick. He just slept funny, nothing major, so he’ll be ready to go during the weekend.

CJ Sapong

On the challenge of adjusting to a new team in conjunction with poor weather conditions

It’s the same for them. Individually I’m still focused on getting to know my teammates’ tendencies. I’m feeling more and more comfortable every game but I think today was obviously our toughest test of the preseason and I think we showed well. I was very excited about how well we were able to communicate and adjust to different situations on the field.

On Fernando Aristeguieta’s abilities and how he fits in to the team

Well clearly just pure finishing. I think he’s a player that after a while when teams get to know him, that it will open up a lot of space for me as well. His play gives me a lot more space to find the ball and hold the ball up as much as I can and play him through as well.

On the importance of winning a penalty shootout in a preseason tournament

Honestly, it just is what it is. It’s good to show that grit and overcome conditions, overcome whatever situation it is to get the win but it’s hard to say that anything that’s going on today is going to mimic anything that’s gonna be going on during the season.

On playing for a championship on Saturday

Obviously you know that’s why we do what we do. Everybody wants to come out on top. It’s gonna be another opportunity for us to play another good team. Hopefully an MLS team so we can continue to work on things and keep getting better.

On his ability to contribute both as a striker and a winger

My comfort zone is up top, but with this team I can definitely see how the strategy with playing on the wings is one that I could play and not have as many responsibilities as I have had in the past playing out there. So wherever Jim feels that I can provide an impact for the team is where I would like to play.

Fernando Aristeguieta

On his high rate of scoring and how he expects it to carry into the season

Yeah of course. It’s good to get confidence in my self and from my teammates. But at this point it’s not important. What’s important is March 7 and we’re working towards that.

On how his goal against the Crew came about

I received a very good center from Sheanon [Williams] and I just put it in (laughs). It was half and half [Scoring a skillful goal versus being in the right place at the right time] (laughs).

On adjusting to new teammates in a short period of time

All of them have been great for me. You know, all of them have made things very easy. In the beginning when you arrive to a team to break the ice is definitely important and the guys have definitely been welcoming to me and I feel very good to be with them.

On his individual goals and team goals this season

The objective of the team is to qualify for the playoffs and my objective is to help them to do it. Each part of the team, we have to work together to get this done and we’re working hard to do it.

Michael Lahoud

On his thought process during the game winning penalty kick

Going in before the penalty kick our assistant coach Mike Sorber just kind of reassured everyone. He just said to pick a spot and hit it, and you can never go wrong with that. So for me, I literally didn’t care where I hit it but there was definitely incentive going into the pk, obviously for my mistake that brought them back into the game. But I wanted to step up and I felt really confident regardless that if I hit it hard enough that either the goalie and the ball, or hopefully just the ball would go in the net. So I was successful.

On the importance of Rais Mbolhi’s save during the shootout

Oh, it’s always a huge lift you know? Rais is very good at penalties and he showed that tonight. Penalties are something that we are always competitive with in training throughout the week so it’s good that it showed tonight and it’s another stepping stone to get ready for the season.

On how his diverse skill set can help contribute to the team

Yeah, I just want to play. That’s my biggest thing. And, I’ve never played center back in my life until apparently today, but for me I don’t take it as a slight or anything. I just take it that I’m the man for the job. Having a diverse skill set only means one thing, at least in my eyes, that when there’s an opening I’m the man for the job, so it’s just another notch in my belt.

On whether he pictured himself playing center back and the team’s second half performance

Well…no (laughs). The way the second half started, I thought we were going to close it out. I thought we were solid. We created a lot of chances but the game went back and forth. Obviously when they equalized they had a good deal of momentum but overall it was solid.

On his involvement in the equalizer and his self-redemption

Obviously, I should have done better but it’s part of the game. Critical mistakes are going to happen, and your mistake is not the final exam, the final exam is how you react from it. I’ve been playing for a while and kinda knew that there would be an opportunity to atone for it. When pk’s came up I knew I was definitely going to step up, so obviously I’m glad I did.

On his new-found status as a game-winning goalscorer

Yeah, that’s the first time someone’s said that about me and you can quote me on that.

Columbus Crew postgame quotes

Gregg Berhalter

On his team’s ability to fight back from a goal down

It’s great. I think that in the first half we tried to fight the wind and get in their half and keep the ball in their half. It wasn’t always easy but we did it successfully at times and it looked good. I thought that overall it became difficult, but it was great that we were able to pull one back to go into penalty kicks and it was unfortunate that in penalty kicks we didn’t win.

On fighting back only to lose in a shootout

It’s disappointing, but it’s good practice. This is why you’re in these preseason tournaments, because you want things to come down to where you have to test yourself and this was another test. Any time you’re in penalty kicks it’s a good experience so I think we’re coming out ahead on this.

On how his team performed against their first MLS competition

It was good. I think we weren’t only playing an MLS team, we were playing the conditions. The wind and the fog made it difficult, but I think that the guys did well and are making good progress.

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