Postgame

Postgame video and quote sheet: Union 3-0 Timbers

Photo and video: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Postgame wrap with Mike and Kevin
Jim Curtin’s potgame press conference
Postgame comments from Andrew Wenger, Ray Gaddis, Vincent Nogueira, and Cristian Maidana
Philadelphia Union postgame quotes

Jim Curtin

Opening statement

I thought it was our most complete performance of the year. The game plan was to press in the first 15 minutes and our guys did that. Unlucky not to get a goal, we had two or three chances early;  you start to worry when you hit the cross bar a couple times, and the goalkeeper makes a few saves, then maybe it’s one of those tough nights it’s not going to go in. Then we scored what I thought were three really good goals.

That’s a very good Portland team. In their last seven games I think they have five or six wins so, again, they’re a top team in West. We thought that with the travel cross-country that if we were able to high press…I think our fitness was good and we were able to maintain it as opposed to being in five or ten minute spurts. We faded a little bit at the end of the first half. As good teams will, they started to pin us in and they had some restarts. We made some good plays defensively.

I’d like to point out individuals on the night but I thought every guy — I don’t want to neglect anyone so I think that was a complete team performance from every guy on the field. Left it on the field.  Great crowd. Great atmosphere. You can hear the fireworks going off now.

So people will go home happy for one week but we know it’s one game. We have to do this over and over and over. We have fourteen left and every one, you need to grab points. You can see some of the results tonight. It’s getting tighter and tighter in the East which is crazy but I’m happy with the guys, good result. Like I said I think our best complete performance of the year.

On the winning being a trend

I mean, if you’re into the last eleven games, yeah, I know exactly what it is, it’s 7-3-1. So, that is positive, it’s trending upward but, at the same time, I’ve been around this league long enough to know that the second you feel good or comfortable is when you get kicked in the teeth. So we want to keep the guys — it’s been my mentality since preseason — never too high, or never too low. It was difficult early on because we had some lows. Man, we had some lows, we went through things together, some things you don’t want to go through that early in the season, but we went through them.

Right now I think that you can see a confident team. Every good team I’ve ever been on in my life as a player had some hard moments together before they won anything together. Starting to see a group that believes in each other. And, again, it is one game so I don’t want to get too high but it was a very good game.

On Maurice Edu’s yellow card

[Chuckles.] It’s a great tackle. It’s the tackle that I dream of as a center back. I loved it, I thought it was a clean play. I think that the mindset of the referee [was that] it did look hard because the guy gets taken out but you can’t get more of the ball [than Edu did]. And the big thing right now in their program, and it’s not their fault, but they always will say, “Studs up, studs up, studs up” — that’s the big thing. I always rebut back, “How can player in the field when you leave your feet not have your studs show?” You know? That’s the big thing: “Studs are showing, studs are showing.” You can’t physically slide and not have your studs show… athletically you can’t.

So, it’s difficult. I thought the ref was very good on the night but, at the same time that one, now we lose Mo on our next game. So, again, it’s a big caution, it’s a big yellow card that makes us a little shorthanded next week. Listen, inevitably as a center back he was going to get another yellow card during the course of the year and have to sit out. But, you know, going to Toronto, it makes it that much harder because Mo has been our best player this year.

On Andrew Wenger goal being from the right side and possible future changes because of that

Yeah, I won’t take credit for that, that just happened on the fly. He made a good play. He’s gotten good looks this year; nothing has seemed to go in for him. I know a lot of people wanted me to bail out and move on and not continue to believe in what Andrew does. But I still see the guy from preseason, I see the guy from the end of last year, and a play like that can be the difference that sets him on a hot streak now. Again, does he have a ton to still work on? Absolutely. But if you go back and look at the tape the one in DC that we could go up 2-0 that goes off the crossbar, then the other time against DC when he hits both posts: So, he’s been unfortunate. But he’s a great player and I will stand up and argue for him, and obviously I have by continuing to put him on the field when he has had some tough games. But at the same time he comes up big for us tonight.

Again it’s one goal, just like it’s one game, and it’s one win, so don’t want to get too low or too high with him either but, hopefully, that sets him forward. The little things that he does though, he won probably ten head balls tonight off goal kicks, he fight defensively. If you notice, he protects Fabi, he does a good job making Fabi’s job a lot easier. So, he’s doing a lot of the dirty running. It’s confidence right now and we want that to continue to grow — and goals usually give confidence.

On Portland’s two fullbacks making their MLS debut

We prepared for Villafaña, they kind of mentioned the possibility of Peay playing out there. He’s a kid that I actually like a lot. He played center back at Washington, I scouted him pretty hard. The drafts, you don’t always get what you want but he got picked by Portland and for him to have pretty much his debut…You look at the minutes and I think it was six minutes that the two outside backs had played. So, yes, we had a discussion before the kickoff that those were two areas we wanted to go at. They’re a great passing team. They get forward with their outside backs so the plan was as soon as their outside backs do go forward, and we do turn them over, to play balls into the spots that they vacated. Whether it’s Villafaña, whether it’s Powell, who’s not here, the messages and the ideas are the same. I thought that both young kids did a good job but, at the same time, it’s their first 90 minutes and you can’t prepare fitness wise for an MLS game — you can’t recreate it in any practice situation. So, we thought by the end of the game that they would have some tired legs; that’s natural with young players. The same thing happened when DC played us in the Open Cup: Two good young players playing outside back but the fatigue does set in in the last 15-20 minutes because you can’t prepare your body for the real thing.

On looking from the start of the year till now

Listen, we’ve been a little better in front of goal. The clean sheet is nice; limiting the other teams chances is obviously a big thing, something I’m big on. It’s confidence, too. They’re all the same players, we haven’t made 10 trades, you know? There hasn’t been a lot of wheeling and dealing. A couple tweaks maybe here and there, but for the most part it’s been the same guys playing with a little more confidence, getting healthy, and pushing each other. We have…the outside back position I would say is competitive right now with Sheanon, Ray, and Fabi. And, guess what, when you know the next guy’s playing well behind you it makes you elevate your game. And I think right now we have a lot of that going on at a lot of different positions. We’re thin in a couple but as we get guys healthy and continue to push, the healthy competition is good. Fear is a good motivator. Fear that you’re coming out of the lineup is a great motivator.

On criticism regarding Wegner being warranted based on how he was playing

Yeah. In Philadelphia if your team’s not winning and you’re not performing, they’re going to boo — and they’re entitled to boo. That’s fine. And they can boo me, and they can boo Andrew, and I accept that. It doesn’t mean you quit. This is pro sports and you can’t run and hide, especially in this city. I know what it’s about, Andrew knows what it’s about. And he’s a great player and I’ll stand by him for as long as I’m here.

So, again, every good pro goes through moments of dips in form, and how you respond to it is how you’re judged. It’s easy to quit and bail out, but the good ones, the ones who belong and stick in this league and have great careers are the ones that can deal with that. I’m sure he heard boos, you know? He’s nervous for sure, he’s a human being. It’s difficult when your home fans boo you but, at the same time, there’s night like tonight where if you reward them he’s got 20,000 people cheering for him when he comes off the field, and that’s a unique feeling. So, again, is it a little fickle? For sure. But, at the same time, he…a long time coming. He wishes he had 10 more goals, for sure. But, at the same time, for him to get the first and the fans to give him the support that they did was excellent.

On Vincent Nogueira’s goals

He’s really worked on the late runs in the box. He’s not a goal scorer, he’ll tell you that, you can ask him. It’s not his job really. His job is to break up plays, be the smart guy that connects our team from front to back. But, he’s had a tendency now, and you’ve seen it, to play a forward pass and kind of sneak into the box. And goal scoring midfielders in our league, man, are hard to find, and any time you can creep up around 5, 6, 7, and you can get that production out of your midfielders, those are the teams that get in the playoffs. Sp, again, I don’t think it’s any one thing with Vincent but you have years where sometimes the ball is bounced to you and he has had a couple drop to him in good spots and he punishes teams. His technique is good. So, while he’s not a goal scorer, if a ball pops to him in that area he can strike it, as you saw tonight.

On Cristian Maidana and his potential to be an All-Star

I think Chaco, ever since he’s been married he’s been a much better player. [Laughter all around.] Ha ha, I told him that, actually, when he came off the field; I think he understood me [laughs], my Spanish, my Chivas USA Spanish is not great but he got me.

But no, I…You have highs and lows with Chaco. You’ll have moments in the first half where it looks like he’s dead, and he’s gassed, and his legs are shot, and then you have the highs where he makes the pass that I can’t teach, no one can teach. He has some special qualities. The little one too he plays with Vincent at the end, that’s different. We don’t practice that, is maybe my point. He does things that you don’t train for because he sees the game differently, he’s got a great left foot. And sometimes you look out there and he looks gassed and you want more, and you want more defensively…But, at the same time, I’m greedy so, again, I see him have good games and I want more and more and more, and  you want him to run more and more and more. There’s a whole other level he can go to. It’s no coincidence — I think every game we play against an Argentine center midfielder on the other team he steps it up a little bit: Higuian, now Valeri. I don’t know if there’s anything to that but he rises to the occasion in the big spot.

Andrew Wenger

On how it feels to get his first goal?

Relief. It’s been a long time and maybe I really was cursed there for a little bit, but I’m happy to finally see it go in. Little bit of shock on my face, I thought maybe there was a post back there somewhere.

On Curtin keeping faith in him

Yeah, I’ve got to thank Jim. He helped me through that and stuck by me. And I tried to repay him even in little ways, just defending a little bit more than usual and try to make up for not scoring statistically, or producing statistically, on the field and defending and helping whoever is behind me.

On passing off Sebastien Le Toux’s run

Yeah, I mean it kind of got a little bit convoluted that Seba and I both ended up on the same side, so I just picked the ball up and tried to run at their back four. That’s kind of  what we talk about all day, is running at their outside backs. Seba and I maybe got caught in to different minds at one point, trying to see what’s going to happen. Finally he made the run, drew Ridgewell with him, and I said why not.

On how this goal can help him relax

Yeah, that’s certainly the hope. I mean if you look last year I finally got one, I think it was a trash goal in some game, and then that kind of helped me get a couple more. I’m probably a little bit of a streaky player even though I don’t like to admit it but, hopefully, this can help me forward. Not promising anything though.

On his conversations with Jim throughout his early season struggles

He said, “You’re a good player just keep going. Just keep after it. Keep moving forward” And that’s all you really can do. I mean, some of the best out players do it, everyone goes through slumps sometimes. Hopefully this is behind me.

A couple a games ago there were some boos when you came off the field. Did you hear that, did it affect you?

No, that’s the first I’ve heard of it. I mean, usually I come off the field and I’m more angry at myself sometimes than anything else, I really don’t hear much.

On handling a tough period mentally

There’s been good days and there’s been bad days. There’s probably been a few more bad than good but that’s the life of a soccer player, or an athlete, or anyone, really, my age, or anyone in life. You have good days and bad days you just try to get forward.

On his celebration

Oh, that was planned. I’d been sitting on that one for a while and I think you saw the team respond that we were all pretty hungry and after that we picked up two more.

Ray Gaddis

On how the fullback rotation has affected his play

It doesn’t impact you at all. I mean, like I said, whenever your number is called upon, you step up and you play. Now we have 14 games left, and we’re going to continue to take it one game at a time. And the team’s all in, together. It doesn’t matter who’s out there. We want to take it one game at a time and continue to go forward.

On how fullback rotation has driven him to practice harder

I mean, I always work hard, man, that’s a staple of how I grew up, that’s something that’s instilled in me. I mean, why else would you be here if you weren’t working hard in the first place?

On the Eastern Conference standings. Are there lessons learned when you go through a tough part in the year that it’s still along season?

Most definitely. I mean, right now the back stretch is where you get into the thick of things, and a lot of times you see a lot of teams that come out flying high and then they crash a little bit. But you to be peaking at the right time. Yes, this is the middle of the season, but continue to take it a game at a time and continue to move forward as a team.

Everyone’s talking about the goals tonight. How big was it to get the clean sheet, as well?

I mean, you’re a defender, so Maurice Edu, Richie Marquez, Fabinho Alvez, Brian Sylvestre — it was a complete team effort from top to bottom. But, you know, I’m happy, I take pride with those four guys, you know what I mean, that’s the backline and those are my brothers. So, we were all happy, we talked about it. We’re glad we got a shutout coming off of a little break. We showed that we were fresh and we came with it tonight.

Vincent Noguiera

On why the team is playing better

The fitness is better, everybody’s here, everybody’s focused and concentrated. Tactically I think we are much better in this part of the season. We are working together and we had a lot of opportunities to score tonight.

Are you surprised when you come out of a game with two goals?

Surprised? Yes. Surprised because it’s not my job — I mean, I don’t mind if I don’t score again. The most important thing for me tonight was that I didn’t lose the ball, that’s the most important thing. I know that everybody’s talking about the goals but I’m more appreciative of the fact that I didn’t lose the ball tonight and it’s one of my best games for this reason, and not because of my two goals.

What is it this year that has enabled you to score more? Knowing the league better? Luck?

Probably, yes, probably luck and I’m here at the right moment to take that decision. I shoot a lot outside the box; now I’m in the box and that’s more important. And when we have a player like Chaco that can give you a good ball, it’s OK for me.

What is it about playing with Chaco, you guys just seem mentally connected now

He’s able to do whatever he wants technically. I think the key is not Chaco or me, we have a great mixture. We work with Brian and the triangle is very good. We work together and Chaco plays easy, he  can do whatever he wants. So, he did a great job tonight and when he plays simple, he’s one of the best on our team.

We don’t talk alot about Carroll’s quietly effective play

That’s what I’m talking about [laughs]. That’s what I’m talking about, he does a great job defensively and today he did a amazing job when he started playing after maybe 10 games. He didn’t play a lot in the beginning and now he’s playing a lot. It’s great to play with him because defensively he’s smart and we work together [as the] No. 6 and it’s great to play with him because he’s very smart and we don’t talk about him but he’s very important for our team.

On how Carroll holding back in possession to cover for him

That’s it, yeah, he is here defensively for me so I can get a little bit higher, have the ball a little bit higher even if I try to stay because I think he’s OK. I think I’m back with my fitness; I say for a holding midfielder it is very important for the balance. That’s why I’m more in midfield and not in the last third but defensively he is. So sometimes I am able to go in this last third and I’m able to shoot.

On maintaining momentum

We have to stay concentrated. We know that we are able to win against everybody; each team, we can beat them. Now we know that and I think we are more confident with the ball. Everybody is running more off the ball, making more moves and we try to find the keys. We know how to win now and we know we have to keep playing like that in order to make the playoffs. We are late, of course, but nothing is done and I think if we keep playing like that we’ll be able to…To play the playoffs, it will be hard, but if we stay focused — it’s very important — we can do it, we will be in the playoffs.

Cristian Maidana (through translator)

On playing better now that he’s married

[Laughs]. It’s a big step in my life. I’ve been with my girlfriend for 11 years. I don’t think I’m coming back the same or better but I’m very content at the moment and it’s been a big step for me.

On his on-field relationship with Vincent Noguiera

It’s very easy because Vince is a very good player and we understand each other very well and we get along well too so it’s very natural on the field. It’s not just for ourselves it’s better for our team so they can all benefit as well.

On Curtin’s comments that he plays better against Argentinians like Diego Valeri and Federico Higuain

[Laughs] When I play against Argentinians I really try and do better and it brings out extra effort in me and I like that challenge. So, I agree with Jim that it does bring out a different level in me.

Portland Timbers postgame quotes

Caleb Porter

Thoughts on the game

I thought it was a very even game until the first goal. Disappointed in the last thirty minutes for us, I thought we lacked discipline and they caught us on two counterattacks. We knew they were going to be most dangerous in transition. We talked about it at halftime. You know when we were able to get numbers back they had a tough time breaking us down but in transition they were very good. They scored the first goal which kind of opened the game up and they get the next one a minute or so later and our response has to be better. We’re typically a team that’s very disciplined and defensively balanced and I thought we weren’t today in that regard. It something we have to look at and correct.

On what they can take away from the game

Obviously we had seven guys out in this game so we had a bit of a depleted roster. So in terms of the result, it didn’t go our way. We’re not making excuses on the result. We’re a deep enough team to get a result even though we had a bunch of guys out. But we did look at it as an opportunity to continue to build our depth. We really haven’t rotated our left back, right back, or goalkeeper, so we were able to get Taylor Peay in at right back, Jeanderson at left back, and Weber, get these guys a game. Perhaps it didn’t help us get the result tonight but it’ll help us in the big picture, in the long term that they were able to get some minutes.

Jack Jewsbury

Thoughts on the game

I thought we were a little slow out of the gates in the first 10 or 15 minutes and they were on top of us for a bit but after that we settled into the game up until the point when they got the first goal. For whatever reason, we’ve given up a goal right after and for them to get two, in the 69th, 71st, something like that, that’s tough to get back from on the road. That gave them a lot of confidence. So up to that point, I thought we played fairly well, we’re keeping the ball, creating some chances. But kudos to them for making the most of their chances and now we have to turn around and look to Vancouver next week and pick ourselves up.

On if they can take anything from the game

Yeah, there’s obviously some things. I think on the road, maybe, we started throwing numbers. Maybe trying to get three points and get the win and get out of here with a good road victory and at the end of the day maybe we have to be a little bit more conservative because when we did get forward that’s when they countered us and that’s when they’re dangerous, in that aspect. We have to look at the film and I think you can take things from every game whether you win, lose or draw and we’ll do that and get ready for next weekend.

Will Johnson

Thoughts on the game

Yeah, it was a good solid game until they got the first goal and obviously they got momentum, got the second one straight away. We’re disappointed in the way that the first goal especially was conceded, but credit to them. They made plays in the last important quarter of the game and we didn’t.

On what the team can take from the game

You just move on. There’s going to be a lot of tough, tough games down the stretch and we need to perform better and not make mistakes that we did [tonight].

On some guys getting their first start of the season

Yeah, it was fine. We lost as a team. I don’t think any of the blame goes any of the individuals who stepped in today. Hopefully the guys back in Portland got a little bit healthier so we can make a final push with our best players.

Fanendo Adi

Thoughts on the game

We were punished on our mistakes, of course we have to give them that, and I think the guys, the Philadelphia guys, played pretty well tonight; they sucked back and waited for us to come forward and they took opportunity of that. So you must say they had a good game. Of course, conceding three goals in a couple of minutes in not good for us but it’s just something we need to go back and work on. I think Philadelphia played well and deserved the win.

3 Comments

  1. Wenger handled the scrum well. No doubt he heard the boos, let’s hope we don’t hear them ever again. Noggy is a cool dude, he’s been the #1 Union signing in my book.
    edit: Jimbo seems confident and he’s never seemed to have waned much in that regard. I’ve respected him for that. I hope it continues to build. I’d love for him to develop winning swag.

    • Andrew Wenger is a class act. He had a golden opportunity to fire back at his critics – which includes me – and instead he took the high road and simply said he never heard the boos.
      .
      Hats off to you, Mr. Wenger. You played a fantastic game, with a terrific strike for a goal. And you were even better in the post game.

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