Postgame

Union 3-0 Crew: Postgame video and quotes

Photo and video: Daniel Studio

Eli and Mike’s postgame wrap

Postgame interviews with Richie Marquez, Sheanon Williams, C.J. Sapong, Sebastien Le Toux

Jim Curtin’s postgame press conference

Philadelphia Union postgame quotes

Note: quote sheet provided by Philadelphia Union

Jim Curtin

Opening Statement

I’m happy for the guys to get a comfortable win at home, I wanted to keep a shutout and I was still nervous in the 80th minute up 3 goals against this team because of what’s happened in the past so I never felt comfortable till the final whistle. I think that the last 10 minutes of the game was the hardest I’ve ever coached in terms of yelling and keeping the guys going. Again happy with these four good performances, even with the loss in DC which was good as well. There’s now 4 strong showings in a row and I think something special is about to happen. Again it’s still only four games that we’ve put together so we need to keep it going. In a lot of ways it’s good to get a quick turnaround against NYCFC because we’re in a good way right now. It was great for our fans to come out here on a Wednesday night and cheer us on. I thought was loud, they pushed us, they were behind us from the opening whistle, and were kind of the 12th man out there for us. So thanks again to the fans that came out and put up a good atmosphere. I thought we started a little slow, they had some new faces on the field and it took a little bit of a feeling out process but as the first half started to go on to the 25th and 30th minute I thought we were able to put our mark on the game, created some chances, and got the goal. CJ made a good hard run into the box after a good buildup. The best thing we’ve done in the past four games has been winning back the ball after those first 5 seconds where we lose it in the attacking third. If we don’t (win it) then we step back and drop but we’ve been able to pick off a lot of balls in that five second period and get at teams. So I was proud of that. The guys executed well and we put in a really good performance.

On CJ Sapong’s play

Yeah I think that we have competition at the forward spot and CJ’s been excellent. He came in tonight and held up a ton of balls, even those little plays at the end there with him wasting time at the corner. He has a way of colliding with people and coming out with the ball at his foot. With those little twists and turns with the outside of his foot he wrong foots defenders a lot. He’s a guy you don’t like to play against and you love to have on your team. His timing on his head balls is so huge to have guys run off him. I’m proud that he got the goal but I enjoy the little nuances that he brings to the table. He’s deceptively fast too so he can get in behind. He’s a handful and he’s pushing to get into the starting lineup.

On squad rotation

If you’re comparing these two teams, Columbus is coming off a game in Orlando, in the heat where there’s a red card in the 16th minute. So there’s a ton of variables that go into it. I thought my group had a tough game in DC against a very good team, but one where they put in a very good performance and I wanted to give them another run. We didn’t have travel. We had to get on a bus and go two hours from DC. I think a lot gets made of three games in a week in our league, but the biggest factor is the travel factor. If you have to get on a two or three hour flight, that’s when those games really weigh on you. When you’re going to sleep on your own bed like we’re going to I think it’s not as drastic. When you look in Europe, they play three games a week quite often and they’re able to handle it. We have good athletes with masseuses, nutritionists, and they’re taking care of their bodies with how they eat and how they sleep. We thought we had a good thing going so we wanted to get them out there. We did catch them at a good time after they had put a lot into the game against Orlando. We knew that would be a factor with them down a man for over seventy minutes. There are definitely breaks that go on during a season and we caught one with Michael Parkhurst getting suspended. He’s a great defender and he also starts a lot of attacks with his feet. So you get lucky in some ways with the schedule and how it hits you and you get teams at certain times and you have to take advantage of it on nights like tonight. We were able to jump on them and get the three goals.

On the narrow escapes that they had early on

Yeah we definitely dodged a couple of bullets like you are going to against any good team. Ethan Finley was a handful with a couple runs at us and Aaron Schoenfeld got on the end of a couple crosses. Brian Sylvestre made some huge saves for us and we made a couple last second tackles. It’s a game of winning the battle in each box and I think we did that tonight but you’re right. On one end we lose Fernando as he gets kicked in the box and they go down to the other end and almost score. We were able to keep them off the board, get into the game and get the goal. Again, tough to lose Fernando early but CJ came on and gave us life.

Fernando Aristeguieta injury update

Nothing yet, I’m not really sure if he rolled it and he just said he got kicked hard and wasn’t able to keep going although he tried to push through it. He’s tough so I imagine that it was pretty significant for him to go out of the game.

On getting a comfortable win at home

I’m happy that we were able to get the second goal. That’s what we talked about at halftime saying that this is a game that’s gonna need a second goal because they’re gonna keep coming. Kei (Kamara’s) coming off the bench and Tony Tchani can come off as well. They had some weapons off the bench that I was worried about so I thought it would take a second goal. Credit to our back four who did a great job in keeping a zero. I thought every one of them was excellent. Obviously it starts with our team defending in our midfield where Brian Carroll quietly had a great game, Vincent had a great game, and Chaco Maidana in possession was unbelievable for us. He sees things that other players don’t. So again he’s that special guy and I can’t teach it, I can’t coach that. You either have it or you don’t. There could have been something extra with him playing against Higuain. Maybe there’s something to that: wanting to step up his game and show him up. I know that they have a relationship so to do his best in that one was big. You could go through every guy and find a lot of positives to check off. It’s nice to get the second goal and the third as well. I still never felt safe but I’m happy that we kept the zero.

On the fullback’s play

Yeah Ray is in that stage where he probably could’ve played but he’s still got that last 5 percent of that ankle to bounce back. With the other two playing well it can buy you a day or two. The last thing I wanted to do was throw Ray out there in a situation where he rolls it again and we’re chasing it again. To have three good fullbacks is a great thing. We’ll evaluate how these guys got through tonight and we’ll make the best decision for NYCFC. We’re not in a situation where we can rotate, rest, and hold guys out. We needed three points at home tonight and it’s gonna be game by game. Obviously now we’ll focus on NYCFC which is still a dangerous team. Yes we’ll have played on a Wednesday but I think if we handle our recovery I think that we can bounce back quickly. Is there a change or two? Possibly but we’ll see how it goes.

On how his team matched up against Columbus’s possession heavy style

They still possessed tonight but it’s different with Michael (Parkhurst) in there. I think that his replacement did well in the first MLS start of his rookie year, a kid that I actually liked at the combine a lot. But at the same time, Michael’s one of the best passers in our league. Our game plan was when they do split the center backs off goal kicks to have Fernando pick up 30 yards from goal but let the center backs make the plays. Greg wants you to overcommit and catch you on a late rotation and they’ll pick you apart. They’re darn good at it and there’s times where they’ll bait you into pressure, one guy’s late and the next thing you know they’re getting a tap in to your goal. It’s happened to us before. It was good of us to stay and make their center backs beat us. There were still some times where we had to dodge a bullet but that’s a very good team and they’re going to be competing at the top of the Eastern Conference for sure.

On how injuries and suspensions have helped his team find depth

Yeah that’s a good point. We’re finding out a lot about guys. Even the minutes that Pfeffer and Ayuk gave us tonight were big in the sense of the little plays to kill off the game. For an 18 year old kid (Ayuk) to not be selfish and go to goal but instead pull it back and waste another two minutes. Those were smart plays and you only learn them in those games. He still has to learn defensively but he’s 18 years old and did a good job. Pfeffer almost gets us a fourth goal. I told him to sit next to BC, listen to him because Vincent had a little knock on his foot. But those are big minutes for him to bounce back from an unfortunate outing against DC, which goes a long way for his confidence. But yeah, we’ve had guys emerge because we’ve had to throw them into situations where we threw them in a little earlier that we wanted. They’re only going to benefit the team in the long run and we’ve played a lot of guys. Take a look at Richie Marquez where I was terrified for him to have his first minutes against Jozy and Giovinco. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. He comes from Division three but he’s proof that it doesn’t matter where you come from if you can play in this league and play this game, you’ll rise to the top. It was a sink or swim moment but he took it and now he’s running away with it. His play tonight was exceptional.

On Brian Carroll’s play

Yeah I’m going to get on him for a couple bad passes but he put out a ton of fires tonight. Just being a calming presence in there and winning the ball. Guys that have been through 300 of these things are a select few. So he knows never to get too high or too low over the 90 minutes. He calmed us down a lot and the effort that he put in tracking back 70 yards is ingrained in him. That’s what he’s about. He’s a winner and a man. He’s a guy that does so many little things that won’t show up in the stat sheet. He’s not going to get the accolades. All the guys who score will get the credit but BC does his job quietly and it’s the same every game with Brian even when I used to play against him. He’s consistent and that makes you sleep easier at night as a coach.

Brian Sylvestre

On the diving save in the first half

Saw his header coming across and I got my feet set and made the save. We work on it in training so. Everything we do in the game we work on in training, so I’m able to make saves in the game.

On how he felt playing against the Crew

We got a new group and I’m confident in the backline. They did well tonight so we work hard enough in practice to make the backline solid.

On how much his save boosts his confidence

Obviously I’m glad I made the save, and it was a good save. That’s what I have to do. You know sometimes I have to make good saves to keep the clean sheet and the rest of the night the backline was solid.

On his comfort level with the defensive group

We’re working on it every day, you know, and building chemistry is important. We work on it every day. I’m confident in them and they’re confident in me.

On having the third most shutouts in franchise history and having the starting job

Obviously you need to work hard and I know nothing is given to me. I just have to keep making it happen, if I slip up, we have a great group behind me ready to step up. I’m going to keep fighting for what I have.

C.J. Sapong

On what he saw during his goal

Similar to my last goal in New York, just making a run in the box and the last time Fabinho played a great ball, this time it was Sebastien Le Toux, and I was just there to finish it off.

On coming off the bench earlier than expected

Honestly, I prefer it that way. Just getting in and getting on with it. I’m a player that likes to be instinctual with my play and that kind of plays to my strength I believe. Also at the same time, it’s my fifth season now and as a professional, you have to be ready whenever you’re called upon, and I just try to do that.

On the early appearances giving him time to get into the game

It depends on the game, sometimes at the end of the game it can be hectic, other players may be tired. Things might not be as open or they could be very open. I think coming in in the first half, where people are still feeling out the game, it was kind of a good situation for me to come in and just inject whatever energy I have.

On the third goal

Yeah, it was a beautiful goal, it was a goal that shows that the things we’re doing in practice are working and it’s always good as players to have that translate into the game. I think Sheanon had a great run and he did well to take his time, and Le Toux just being in the right spot, it just shows where, for you guys, it looks amazing and it might be tough to do, but for us its beautiful because everyone is just doing their job and everyone is where they need to be. I think that’s something that could be indicative of how our season goes, because if you can be on the same page like that, I think we’ll have a lot of success.

On the chemistry developing

I think its first and foremost confidence, you know, that first win that we got, that big win against D.C. gave us all confidence. My own situation with coming back gave me a little bit more appreciation and hunger, and from that it just emanates throughout everyone else on the team and you can just see that everyone has that hunger, and that desire to play, and play beautifully too. I think that its something we can continue to build on them for sure.

Sheanon Williams

On what the difference has been

We had some injuries, some off the field stuff that’s kind of held us back, but we’re starting to get players back, starting to get people in practice, starting to get healthy and starting to move forward. We talk about taking steps forward and I think we’ll continue to do that moving forward.

On playing New York City FC on Saturday

Yeah, they’re coming off a good tie over the weekend, and they’re a team that definitely on any given day can play well, and we cant take that for granted. We need to come and play our best like we have been in this stretch that we’re on and for me, the MLS is a game of runs, who is hot at the right time, and right now hopefully we can continue to stay hot and continue to move forward.

On if he feels he is playing some of his best soccer he has played in awhile

Yeah, I mean, unfortunately at the beginning of the season I got injured and it kinda put me behind the eight-ball. Now I’m starting to comeback, you guys definitely feel a little bit of my fire, asking what’s wrong with me, and Jim definitely told me to get things going. I knew that if I wanted to make a contribution to this team I had to get going.

On his injury

It was both hamstrings.

On the goal he set up

I mean really, I’ll put it all on my fitness.  I’ve been working hard to get fit, I felt like that was really holding me back and to help this team win, I needed to look at myself and get myself better. I’ve been doing extra with a bunch of guys after practice, and you know, have the energy to run up the line and keep going and play a good ball, composed to Le Toux. All it is is doing a little bit of extra fitness after practice and that’s it, its that easy.

On beating three playoff teams in the last four games

I think that we’ve put a lot of stuff behind us, whether that be injures or off the field stuff. We’re trying to put things behind us and move forward. It helps to have healthy bodies in practice, it helps to have a little bit of consistency. I think maybe this game might be the first game we’ve had the same lineups two times in a row, and that definitely helps. Hopefully we can continue that. A lot of credit goes out to our training staff, keeping us fit, and our strength and conditioning coach. It’s been hard on them with all the injuries so its been nice to have healthy bodies.

On what he saw on the third goal

To be honest, I didn’t see it. I was running back and all of a sudden I turned around and I see the ball at Vince’s feet and he’s got great composure to just loft it in over his head. To be honest, I have to look at it because I haven’t seen it yet.

Columbus Crew postgame quotes

Gregg Berhalter

Definitely not the score line you had anticipated going into this game. What went wrong for Columbus?

Well, I think the starting point is the Philadelphia Union played an outstanding game. When you look at how effective they were and how they were winning challenges and moving the ball, and the competitive desire to win the game, it was outstanding. I think that’s the best I have seen Philly play.

What did you think of the performances of your players who just got handed their first MLS debut or first starts of the season?

I’m not going to get into evaluating individual performances, that I’ll speak to the players in small meeting settings. But I think by and large we were disappointed with the performance of the team today.

What would you say Columbus was lacking through the game that ultimately caused this result? What would you attribute it to if you had to choose one thing?

Well, again, Philly did a very good job of controlling the match. They were first to every ball and they dictated the tempo and it was a good performance by them.

Chad Barson

What went wrong?

Definitely not the result we wanted. Three games in a short amount of time all against eastern conference teams so obviously very important games for us and it’s an opportunity if you get results to move up in the standings. I think overall it wasn’t terrible, but just a few plays that kind of dug us a hole and it was too difficult to dig ourselves out of.

Going forward, you have a quick turn around at home in 3 days against Montreal. How do you put this performance past you and move to the next one?

You have to; and that’s the good thing about having so many games in a short amount of time. You forget the previous result and move onto the next one and make sure that you recover physically and mentally and put everything towards the next game.

Any specific areas for improvement before next game?

I think finding our identity. We’re playing at home which always helps – I think we just have to come out, put the effort forward, and tactically and technically be there and if we do that, we should get a result.

Aaron Schoenfeld

Going forward, what is the biggest thing Columbus needs to do to turn around before Saturday?

We need to re-find our identity and our winning mentality. Obviously it’s three games now without a win and once we get back at Mapfre stadium with our fans behind us, we have to re-group and punish teams.

Comparing the two games this season, why do you think there has been such a drastic turn-around? Do you attribute it to playing away or a turn in form?

I think it just wasn’t our day today. We threw away a couple of chances early, so if we take one of those it changes the game up. Once they score that goal, they have some confidence behind them and start moving the ball a lot better. On any given day in this league, any team can win, which is the good thing about this league – there’s very little disparity between the teams. So if you come out flat, you’re going to get punished.

Considering it was your first start of the season, what are your reflections?

I thought I had a goal. Sylvestre made a really good save on that header I had and I think it was alright – you’re paid to score goals and I didn’t score, so there you go.

What didn’t click during halftime, when you guys were up in shots but down only 1-0, to then concede twice again during the second half?

It hurt. We had to change our lineup up – go a little more direct than we’re used to playing since we were a goal down and had to go that route. We have to be sharper in the final third.

6 Comments

  1. CJ should be a regular starter. As soon as he came on the field last night the offense looked much more fluid and dangerous. Another solid performance from Brian Carroll. Richie Marquez has absolutely won a starting spot. Le Toux looks back to his normal self, 2 goals and an assist in 2 games. Another weak performance from Wenger, if Fernando is healthy I would play CJ there or Ayuk/Pfeffer if CJ is playing up top. Don’t understand how he continues to be in the starting line up. He’s talented but slummping and maybe a sit on the bench is what he needs to get some pressure off and find his form. Pulling for the guy. Sylvestre is playing very well, FO needs to sign this guy and keep him for next season. All subs were on time and smart moves from Curtin, he managed the game very well last night. Hope we can keep this streak alive and climb back up the table!

    Anyone else think the Eastern Conference is a complete mess with all these games in hand? Hard to judge who is really the top team when they have played 5 games less than DC or us.

    • One or two games is one thing but three is really poor. How can one team have 3 games in hand on another. Only in baseball, with 162 games should something like that happen and seldom then even.

  2. I’m going to say this because even though I’ve been critical of the organization and certain players, it’s times like this when you have to say well done! The players played. When they are healthy and issue free they are capable of giving anyone in MLS a fits. They deserve a better owner/CEO front office. We all do. From top to bottom when they play you can see how dangerous and fun to watch they can be. As a born and raised Philly guy I reserve the right to be critical when warranted. Nothing to complain about hear. Everyone has been doing their job. I could go down the lineup man to man with praise and we got a GOALTENDER, SIGN HIM!!! Can we say Fabinho and Williams? This is what we’ve been waiting for. Love Ray Gaddis but I love what Fabinho and Williams bring to the game when they play the way they’re capable. Brian Caroll all props to you! Wenger just keep doing what you’re doing the goals will come. Sapong needs to start up top. He is a diamond in the rough! Nando needs to stay healthy and available. He’s had his moments but he’s either hurt or not available. He needs time with the team. His timing to me is off. Edu and Marquez twin towers! Le Toux keep it going. Maidana and Noguiera is a match made in heaven. Coach Curtin…Merry Christmas!

    Sell this franchise to a competent and financially competitive owner!

    FREE THIS FRANCHISE!!!

    • sp: here not hear. Shit missed my stop! Now I’ve got to get off at 14th. Watch it rain on me!

    • Nothing changes from my POV. This team is merely doing what it is supposed to do. They are digging out of an enormous hole.
      .
      I will skewer them when warranted and praise them in kind. This is my covenant.

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