Postgame

Postgame quotes: Impact 0-1 Union

Philadelphia Union postgame quotes

Note: Transcribed from audio provided by Philadelphia Union and Jonathan Tannenwald. Questions have been paraphrased

Jim Curtin

On the importance of a shutout road win

That was very important. We knew that this was going to be a sold-out environment; everybody was anticipating Drogba, we actually prepared for them in case he was going to start. We talked very much about the two different strikers in Drogba and Oduro, the different things that they bring. I thought we did a good job dealing with them. Obviously, I don’t have to speak about Drogba, he’s world class, and all the accolades…I thought we did a good job dealing with him in the box. I was happy with keeping a clean sheet.

On the importance of not giving up a late goal after what happened last week against Chicago

Real important. We’ve had a lot of inconsistency — we’re either a clean sheet or we’re giving up three goals, which is not what I want. So, again, this was something to build on. I thought we were very good in the Open Cup semifinal doing a good job limiting chances, and then had an end-to-end, a little too wide open game against Chicago on the weekend, and then followed up with a good performance here on the road. Our last two road performances, Orlando and this one, I’m very happy with, just the defensive organization, guys doing all the dirty running, and our forwards setting the line — CJ doing a lot of the work defensively, as well.

A lot of disappointment after the last home game against Chicago. Have you been feeling any heat?

No. Obviously, we want to win. We’re at a spot in the year where every point matters. We don’t like where we are on the table. There’s always pressure in this game to get results and I think we’ll enjoy these three points but we know we have New England, a very dangerous team that’s in good form, coming in. So, again, yeah, you think about it, you look at the table and your not happy with where you are, so of course there’s always pressure in pro sports to get results, and tonight was a good step for us. We have an Open Cup final coming up, and we have New England coming into our building as well.

Vincent Nogueira returned from injury…

Huge.

How do you get him, Cristian Maidana, and Tranquillo Barnetta all on the field at the same time? How’s Barnetta feeling about playing on the wing?

I’ve had good conversations with [Barnetta], he’s “whatever the team needs at the moment,” and I think that’s what’s best for the team right now. Would I love to be able to play Chaco and Tranquillo in the middle? Yes. We can start talking about tweaking that, but what’s best for the team right now is not doing anything too drastic. Having him play out on the wing, and having the interchange with Chaco that naturally happens in the run of play, I thought they did a good job tonight of kind of changing the inside out and giving Montreal some different looks.

Listen, they had possession of the ball, they out possessed the heck out of us, but still, in the key department, which is the creating chances, I thought we had the better chances. And, again, they’re a very dangerous team, but I don’t think Andre had to do a ton.

On Andre Blake’s performance

We gave up four shots on goal and Andre did a great job being clean with them, not giving up rebounds off some pretty hard hit shots from distance. He came out on crosses. It’s a huge confidence builder for him because it’s been a while with the two knee injuries for him to get his first look. He’s been very patient, and we thought he deserved an opportunity and he stepped up and kept a clean sheet. So, very happy with that. Hopefully we can ride that momentum now and start picking up some points.

Will he have another opportunity?

Yeah, he’ll get the next game, as well.

Andre Blake

Were you nervous getting your first start of the season?

Well, I once learned that if you don’t have nerves going into a game, the game doesn’t mean anything to you. So, definitely there was nerves, you just got to know how to control it.

How much confidence did grabbing that cross give you?

Well, for me that’s very important to be able to go out for a ball like that, and getting contact and coming down with it. Stuff like that just kind of roots [boots? moves?] me, push me in the right direction and to give me, like, a push in confidence to carry on through the game.

How does it feel getting a vote of confidence from your coach with him saying you’ll start next week?

Well, I’m just taking it one step at a time. Now, it’s back to practice, there’s stuff that I need to improve on. So, I’m just going to go back to practice, work as hard as I can, and then whenever my number is called I’ll be ready to help the team in whatever way possible.

On communicating with his center backs

I try to communicate as much with the guys but sometimes the crowd is a factor when they get really loud and stuff; [if] the guys are too far away then, obviously, they can’t hear me. But, whenever they’re in distance where I can shout and give them direction, I do my best.

You’ve seen Johan Venegas with Costa Rica in CONCACAF play many times. How did he seem tonight?

I think a very good player, but for me when I go on the field, I just take it as we’re all human, you know, we’re all the same, so I just try [garbled]. So, I respect every player but I try not to put any player too high, and that’s the key.

Michael Lahoud

On the importance of keeping a clean sheet, especially after last week.

Yeah, it’s huge. It’s becoming our foundation, especially on a night like tonight — our goal is to put in a professional performance, manage the first 15 minutes, especially with Didier Drogba making his debut — and we enjoy playing the part spoilers [role].

How do you prepare for a player like Drogba?

Well, I thought Richie and Steven did a tremendous job. As a player, when you have the opportunity to make a debut you can get…your focus can get kind of clouded., and that’s something that I think we prepared for very well in training, knowing that it was going to be a party atmosphere, that it is a sold-out crowd. And you could hear from minute zero the fans were chanting “Drogba, Drogba,” almost like he was going to be their savior. We took it upon ourselves to take the guys who were going to make the game — whether it was Drogba or Oduro, Mapp when he came in, Romero, some of the dangerous guys, Ciman — taking them out of the game, we thought that was going to give us a chance, and it did.

How do you scout a player like Drogba?

Well, you know, at this point if you’re a professional soccer player and you don’t know what Drogba’s about, you should probably get a new job. Maybe at Subway.

But, everyone in the world knows what he’s about. He’s earned the respect of everybody in the world — he single-handedly won a Champions League for Chelsea — he’s a hell of a player. And, we respect him, but we don’t fear him. I thought that about his play tonight. First time he gets in, I think someone fouls him. Although that puts us in a dangerous situation with free kicks, I thought everyone stepped up, stepped out of the defensive end, I thought everyone pulled their weight. We just knew that, as long as we kept a clean sheet, we can give ourselves a chance to win, because our attack is really starting to hit on all cylinders right now.

How do you keep the momentum going?

Well, we keep our feet on the ground, you know, it’s one game at a time. Obviously, our next opponent’s New England. We have a little bit of revenge on our minds against them, especially [after] the last time they came to PPL Park. And they’re a good team. But we know we’re also a good team and we’ll play for a result. So, we enjoy this one tonight, and then we get back to work next week.

12 Comments

  1. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Did not see the game, non-existent WiFi in a valley very well screened against cell phone powers. Andre Blake’s use of the phrase “roots me” might be a Jamaica man’s idiomatic usage, emphasize might be. I am guessing.

    • Likely right OSC.
      .
      In homage to Bob Marley and our ‘keepers Jamaican heritage, I thought Andre played, “Iron, like the lion….in Zion.”
      .
      I having been waiting patiently skipper Curtin…patiently waiting.
      .
      Andre Blake…..Iron. Lion. Zion.

  2. Little Fish says:

    Playoffs. Why not us?

  3. I didn’t see the game either. Curious if Barnetta was playing left or right wing? I was never a fan when Hackworth used to have the two wings flip-flop mid game, never seemed to confuse anyone but ourselves. But with the way Maidana loves to drift right, if Barnetta is on the right wing, I could see some very clever interplay and movement between those two switching wide and central responsibilities on that side. If Barnetta is on the left he’s too far away from Maidana’s preferred area. Someone else would have to play the left wing. Not a big fan of Wenger, Ayuk has played on the right mostly but I think he’s played on the left some. Possibly Pfeffer? That would also mean sitting LeToux (or playing him on the left which I’ve not seen him do effectively) and LeToux is hot now, and we know when he gets on a streak you have to ride it. Tough call for Curtin, should be interesting to watch.

    • you would not have loved the match, there was the flippy-floppy thing, and there was very little in the way of clever interplay and movement

  4. Largely uneventful game. Only comment I have is I cannot stand the vitriol directed at BC. The only people who don’t care for BC are those who A) don’t truly understand soccer (specifically his position/role) and B) don’t understand our roster limitations. Brian has had an amazing resurgence and essentially eliminates the center third of the pitch from the opponent. Everyone’s heard “you know BC had a good game when you don’t hear his name” and that is a FACT. The man isn’t going to run box to box and get involved in fast paced one-twos going forward. He’s going to stay home and use his head. His soccer IQ is off the charts and without him we’d be even worse for wear. Does he make mistakes? Is he old and slow? Does he X, Y, and Z? Yes, yes, and maybe sometimes. But overall, you can’t deny he’s been one of the very few bright spots this season. BC haters be damned.
    .
    Very happy Noggy is back though. He, Chaco, and Barnetta are going to be fun to watch the rest of the season.

    • I think you’ve been reading last years comments. Lots of people went off on Carroll last year; to a person pretty much all of them have said their mea culpas and sang Carroll’s praises this year.

  5. I missed the first half. After 6 hours of house painting, I didn’t have the energy. But I woke up as the first half ended, and was happy to see 0-0. Was a bit worried by all the possession Montreal had. But the boys put in a nice defensive shift. Was over-joyed at Fabi repeatedly putting his spikes into Drogba. I also couldn’t understand the announcer’s dismay at Drogba’s bitching for penalties. Have they never seen Drogba play? Par for the course for me. It was also really nice to see Blake. And to see him play well.

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