Postgame video and quotes: Union 0-0 Rapids

Photo and video: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Jim Curtin’s postgame press conference

Postgame interviews with Jim Curtin, Zach Pfeffer, Fernando Aristeguieta, and Maurice Edu

Transcript of Jim Curtin’s postgame press conference

Note: Questions have been paraphrased

Opening statement

“Happy with the group in terms of defense — I thought we were solid, we didn’t give up many chances. Happy with that part. Again, [the] crowd, thank to them. Thank you to the people who cleaned the stadium [of snow], made the field very playable, it was good in that regard. Created enough chances to get three points today. I look at it as two points dropped. Disappointed from that standpoint. Again, I thought we got balls in the box. I think [the stats] said we got 16 at goal to their two. Again, with the finish, we had some good looks. Guys that are usually quality in front of goal, maybe a couple of things were a little off in terms of the final pass today and getting on the end of a cross in the box.

Again, I see it as two points dropped. The positives are that we kept a clean sheet at home, which is something we’ve stressed all preseason. We need to have zeroes at home. The goals will come as the group moves forward. The idea of playing the 4-4-2, we took a little bit of a risk and wanted to put an attacking group on the field that would occupy both their center backs. Turned into a little bit more of a fight than a soccer games at times in the first half, I thought. Settled down a little in the second half. Again, I thought we created enough to win; came up a little short. In the end, disappointing that we didn’t get all three points. The guys are kind of upset in that because, again, they did enough to win.

Was the 4-4-2 just a match-up thing for you?

No, it’s something that we were good at in the preseason, whether it was in training during the week or whether it was in games. You know, with the personnel that we had, and the form guys were in, we put the best group…the best group we had from the preseason started the game. Unfortunately, CJ took a knock to his head and we had to adjust things at half time. It winded up being in some ways an OK thing because it gave Chaco the space in front of the two giant center backs, [which] was open, where he got in and caused some issues. Again, we just came up a little short getting that goal.

Some new faces out there today, new guys in new positions. Do you think with more time together, familiarity will take care of some things you saw out there?

Yeah, you know, I would think so. There’s enough guys out there that know each other that we can…we should still be able to put the ball in the back of the net. You know, again, our guys are disappointed that we didn’t. I thought we pressed the tempo of the game the majority of the 90 minutes. Like I said (unintelligible) was dictated by us — a couple of chances on corner kicks and I think the one break we gave them was a mistake. But other than that, we didn’t give up a lot. Yeah, I think there will be…it will take some time with Fernando gelling with the guys. I think he put in a really hard working shift, it wasn’t his cleanest day with the ball. So, again, it’s something to build on, and it’s a positive. We’ll take the point. We have a tough game in Salt Lake next week.

On balancing what CJ Sapong and Cristian Maidana bring

Yeah, there’s a little risk and reward for both of them. CJ gives you a bigger body, bigger presence in there and can deal with things on restarts defensively, and also gives us a little more on the attacking side. So, there was a lot of discussions during the week. It’s one of those things where, if we finish one of our chances, it looks like that’s the formation was a good choice and, because we don’t, there’s always going to be doubt. But, I believe we need to become a team that can adjust on the fly, and our players are comfortable doing it. I think they showed that they are, just a little bit lacking in the final ball and the final quality.

Credit to Colorado too, they worked their butts off, they got behind the ball even when we were up a man now they put nine guys in the box. It’s never an easy exercise. We worked on it in the preseason, how you play up a man and how you dictate things. I thought we pushed the game OK, maybe a few too many passes backwards. But, on the whole again, put enough balls in dangerous spots to deserve three points.

What did you want to see differently when your team went up a man?

At that point, we were kind of all over them. The guy gets sent off and there’s was almost like a, it felt like there was a five or six minute period where a [Colorado] guy was either down injured, and then Mo went down injured for us — there never was a real flow once we got up a man. A lot of stopping, starting, the ball goes out of bounds more than it was in-bounds. Credit to them, they killed off the game and got their point.

On the number of long balls from the back, both in preseason and in the game, was that conditions based or something to expect?

A little conditions, a little bit of both. We want to be a team that plays in the other team’s half, but, yeah, it wasn’t a day where we were comfortable passing, rolling the ball out of the back. The field was good condition, it held up OK, but there still were some dicey spots. So, you know, there were a few longer passes maybe then they needed to be, especially with the size they had in the back, (unintelligible – Clint Irwin?) could really get on the end of a lot. Wanted to try to make him have to deal with things on the ground in front of him, and play balls in behind. We had a couple, but not enough.

On Zach Pfeffer’s play

Zach had a great preseason. Vincent had a bit of groin injury towards probably the last two, three weeks of preseason, so, to push him as long as we did to the 80th was probably the max. Zach’s a guy who can get you a goal from a deep spot, so that was the thinking on that one. And then, obviously, Conor, just getting him up there and pushing Chaco out to get service in there to the two forwards. Took a little bit of a risk and, again, didn’t get the result we wanted, but close.


  1. Q: Was the 4-4-2 just a match-up thing for you?
    A: “No, it’s something that we were good at in the preseason, whether it was in training during the week or whether it was in games. You know, with the personnel that we had, and the form guys were in, we put the best group…the best group we had from the preseason started the game.”
    I’m speechless…

    • They really like Sapong for whatever reason and it looks like they will change the formation to get him on the field even if that means putting Maidana on the bench.
      Our coach looks like a Muppet and I am starting to suspect he coaches like one.

  2. Now this Q and A with Jim scares the $hit out of me………………….by what was said in the interview……….it’s going to be a long season. Jim……it seems there are people who post here who have more tactical nuance than you and your staff do…………

    • It is interesting the lens we view things through- the manner in confirming our biases- some of his answers are plainly naive and whether steeped in protectionism or not, reek of American Soccer hack Coach who spent his carer hoofing the ball up the field and seeing the game from in front of him.
      Jim, what I saw ‘up a man’ was total chaos and no tactical wherewithal. What I saw was a team afraid to build play from the back against a bottom dwelling basement level team. I saw panic and the easy wasy out. I saw American soccer where even the Benfica CB elected to boot the ball into the 30th row along the touch line on multiple occasions with minimal pressure rather than own the game.
      Instead of WSSM how about BATN.

      • ugh, that would be ‘Balls Across the Nose.”
        there I said it again.

      • Dude from a coach in that situation………the second we go up a man: 1. get your back 4 up to the other side of midfield and play a high line. 2. Press the living daylights out of them. 3. If Colorado is going to park the bus….particularly between the 18 box….get Seba and Wenger’s heels on the touchlines to spread them the hell out! I’m not asking for Barca esque pinging the ball around in the oppos half….but what I am asking for and anyone at this level can do….we could have pressed for counters in THEIR HALF OF THE DAMN PITCH….set up shop in their half…and don’t let them out. But what the hell do I know……..I’m not in the Good Ole Boys network……where no accountability reigns! And the song remains the same: “You don’t know what your doing!”

      • and one more thing…….
        ***********Super Gunners***********

  3. Pissed that we didn’t get the 3 points vs Rapids Goons. However, I will say that the Union should be able to cause some damage this season and be fun to watch. They have talented skilled players and should be able to change things up and not be a 1 trick pony. I would like to see more depth but it’s nice to see Casey come off the bench and be a threat right away. I don’t think Nogueira is 100%. Wenger is scary(in a good way), Le Toux is Le Toux, if he had any skill dribbling the ball…OMG! Sapong(I hope he’s ok) and Aristequieta are exiting young players who will be tough to contain. I like Victoria’s game and right off the bat I noticed his calming influence on White. Gaddis showed much improvement getting up the field. Williams needs to get into the game from the opening whistle and get up the field and be a bigger threat. He got better as the game went on. Maidana also took a little too long to get going, but he’s great at finding Casey. MBohli makes me hopefull and I trust him in goal! The Union however can not give away points at PPL Park! No excuses … NONE!

  4. WestmontUnion says:

    The biggest take aways for me are:

    Le Toux, who I rate very highly as a high IQ and efficient footballer, if best deployed upfront when playing 4-4-2. He has a nose for goal, and also reads his strike partners movement better than Sapong. Fernando and Le Toux upfront would have yielded a goal yesterday, without a doubt.

    Sapong was impressive. He’s only going to get more confident, and fitter (he was a little slow on the counter). He is definitely capable of playing on the wing, drawing defenders wide, to allow Fernando and Maidana more pace up the middle. Hopefully Curtin adjusts going forwards.

    Danny Cruz. I think we missed him out there. With 20 minutes to go, he could have been brought on to charge at the tired and sluggish backline and be the disruptor that he is.

    Noguria, my favorite player, looked out of sorts. Curtin should have subbed him at the 65 minute mark and given Pfeffer a long run out. I hope it’s down to match fitness, and not a lack of synergy with Edu in the middle. If they play another game like that next week, Curtin has to move Edu to CB (for White, who god awful), and pair Nogueria with Maidana in the middle.

    Overall, it was a sluggish match but we had signs of life. I think Vitoria and Fernando are great signings, and I hope we are still in the market for another CB or CM, which would move White to the best. I like White as an athlete (and great photographer), but his big hoofs out the back to no one over and over again was ameteur.

  5. White seemed scared and he is awful passing forward. Noguiera doesn’t seem right. I hope the constant barrage of pulling tripping and tugging doesn’t cause him to go back to france. He seems frustrated and unhappy.

    • I was surprised how much of the Union’s strategy seemed to involve White carrying the ball out of the back, when that is clearly something he struggles with.

  6. First game of the season, freezing temperatures, concrete hard pitch, and guys still trying to get fully game fit. Heavy legs were obvious… Can’t expect too much considering that.. Overall an OK performance. Defense looked solid. They moved the ball well on the counterattack. With a few more games hopefully the offense starts gelling more… Seba could have easily had 2 goals. Should have been more selfish on a few plays… Subs brought on 10 minutes too late… I think this team making the playoffs is a realistic expectation but the biggest factor is finding their stride before the big guys like Toronto, NYC, New England start showing up on the schedule, could get ugly.

  7. Wait wait wait. Let me get this straight. They spent most of last season in a 4-5-1. They went out and got big strikers who operate best in a 4-5-1. And now they’re going to play a 4-4-2 because they had a couple of good preseason games against shitty teams? Are you fucking kidding me? I apologize if profanity isn’t allowed on here, but I think this deserves it. “People would have said it was good if we scored”? Is that what you’re basing your decisions on? Whether you score? Not whether you’re actually effective? Holy shit. I’m sorry, Curtin, you are a moron.

  8. Never should have been hired. Will not be fired; but should be.

  9. The Little Fish says:

    Leaving Maidana on the bench is just plain dumb. I’m sorry. I am a glass half full guy but this really worries me. I’m starting to get déjà vu. Remember how it felt when Hackworth refused to play Jose Kleberson? I do. And on Saturday at 3:55 when I saw the starting eleven I couldn’t believe it. It’s happening again! Is Chaco not our best facilitator? What the heck am I missing?

    • You’re missing the fact that this was ONE GAME. People are acting like Curtin is bound by law to use the same formation for the rest of the season. You will see plenty of Chaco and the 4-5-1 this season, especially when the 6-point games start in April.

      • The Little Fish says:

        I hope you are right cszack4. I hope coach Jimbo knows what he has in Chaco Maidana. A bit concerning that he wouldn’t be part of the opening day eleven (which is uasually the coach’s most favoured lineup.) But I’m still bullish on this group. I like the makeup of our squad….I just like it a lot more with Chaco distributing gifts to our forwards!

      • I hope I’m right, too. Because if they try the same 4-2-4 against Dallas in two weeks and get crushed, I’m going to be singing the ‘you don’t know what’ you’re doing’ song along with alicat.

      • Alicat215 says:


      • pragmatist says:

        Agreed. The sky is not falling. There were plenty of chances created on Saturday, the guys simply didn’t put the ball in the net.
        If this game had ended 2-0 (if LeToux’s shot had gotten over Irwin, Casey’s header doesn’t go wide, to name two great chances), people wouldn’t complain at all about the formation.
        A lot of this falls on they players. They need to finish.
        Yes, Chaco needs to start. I’m in agreement on that. But this game should have been put away long before he came in.

  10. alicat215 says:

    I think one day we may hear that famous British song at PPL park………”You don’t know what your doing……..”

  11. I honestly don’t think the 4-4-2 (which really played more like a 4-2-4) would have been that bad if anyone up top had good service. The best passer left on the pitch is Noguiera who plays too deep to make that formation work. The only success they can have with this formation is going to be long through balls on the counterattack and I can’t imagine that clicking consistently. The 4-3-3 gives them more opportunity to sustain pressure and be more dangerous in the attacking third instead of hoping for mistakes by the other team for 90 minutes. Lest we forget the Union were up a man for almost 30 minutes and didn’t look much better than the rest of the game.

  12. From what I saw all MLS weekend there was not one team that looked all that and NE just gave up! All the 0-0, 1-1 and 1-0 games bear it out. We have a strong starting 11 and some serviceable subs if diploid intelligently. I know its the Union(Onion kudos to Joel) but our starting 11 has undergone major changes and did play well enough to win. Of course if they don’t live up to their potential all bets are off. I still say they 1) Need a GM with business and a solid FUTBOL IQ, 2)need to strengthen their bench even more. 3)Find a way to completely own the Harrisburg franchise and if a new stadium can’t be built move them to the Lehigh Valley. Dream scenario build a stadium downtown Philly and move harrisburg to Chester.

    • I thought LA looked decent on Friday night……better than most this weekend. Orlando, while raw, looked like….. if they gel they could be a handful too. Seattle looked decent last night as well, but like you said………NE $shit the bed halfway through that match. The Galaxy still look like the most technical and tactical savvy side in the MLS. As for Bruce Arena, I couldn’t stand the guy growing up. Having said that, he is now probably my favorite American coach….I’ve come full circle on the guy. His interview after meeting President Obama in the White House is freaking hysterical too!

    • People are overreacting. Nobody looked that solid of the games I watched.

      A couple of inches on a few of the chances, a ref that took Colorado’s ridiculous fouls seriously before it was too late and didn’t ignore an egregious handball in the box, the outlook is much different. Yes, they could have taken chances a little better. But they had some serious bad luck with the aforementioned aspects.

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