Postgame quotes: Earthquakes 1-2 Union

Note: Transcription from audio provided by Philadelphia Union. Questions have been paraphrased.

Jim Curtin

On Conor Casey

Conor came in and got us two huge goals. He’s had a good week at training, he’s kept his head up, he’s been a real veteran and a positive guy in the locker room. Even though he hasn’t been playing a lot, when he got his time he certainly took advantage of it.

Credit to our guys. We seem to have our best performances when we’re at our most depleted and guys rise up and do a good job. We just have to transition this to playing this way at home.

How do you make that transition?

Well, I actually say when we sit back, I think we’re very hard to break down. San Jose, I think up until the PK, only had zero shots on goal, so maybe we have to look at that at home, not getting over anxious and flying out. If you look back even to as recently as New England, when we fly out they are able to pass around us. When we are compact and then tough to play through, I think we can play with anybody. We’ve shown that during the year.

Again, very happy for the guys, a lot of guys put in a brave effort tonight, overcame the lack of two penalty kicks, clear penalty kicks that were missed by the referee. But, I told our guys at half time, no one’s going to help us. We’re not going to get calls from the referee, we have to play through it, no matter what, and stick together. They really showed a lot of fight, resiliency, because we had — the tough PK [go] against us, and we stuck together and got two goals.

On Tranquillo Barnetta

Tranquillo is a guy who we brought here to be a leader. He’s a presence in the locker room. He’s a guy who has been in the big game – he’s played in the Champion’s League, he knows what it takes to get results similar to tonight when you have to grind out wins on the road, which is difficult to do.

He’s a guy that I thought by giving him the band, would empower him a little bit, and I thought he had a very good night. He was very busy, active, and he’s still a guy who’s just in his preseason. So, he’s getting himself going again, and hopefully at the right time as we go into the final six games of our season, as well as the Open Cup final. So, I think he embraced the armband and did a great job.

What was going through your mind after the penalty call for San Jose? We’re you happy with how they responded?

Yeah, I was. Initially — it seemed like a minute before the call was made — the ball was actually already out of bounds, and then you hear the whistle blow. He points to the spot and you think it’s just going to be another hard luck game against us, or call against us, and the guys responded well. Conor came in, did a good job but, if you go through the whole entire list, I thought that there was a lot of good performances from guys who put a lot into it. San Jose’s one of the hottest teams in the league right now, they’re in a good run of form. Yes, they’re missing guys, but we’re missing a lot of guys, as well. So, hard fought game, and a big three points for us in the standings.

On Steven Vitoria and Richie Marquez partnership

Continuity is key for a center back pairing and they’ve gotten a good run of games now and they’ve had some zeros. They put up zeros tonight — we gave up the PK, obviously, but I thought they prevented a good San Jose attack for most of the night. I was very happy with Steven winning balls in the air, it was the most aggressive I’ve seen him winning balls in the air, broke up a lot of plays. And Richie did a a good job, as well, winning his battles. Quincy’s a handful up there, he’s a pain in the butt to play against. And Wondo is Wondo, he’s a proven goalscorer, as proven a goalscorer as there is in our league. So, they did a good job limiting those guys, I thought, on the evening.

On Vitoria coming into form, is it being healthy or feeling comfortable?

I think it’s a little of both. I think being healthy is huge, he’s also getting used to the league. With foreign players coming in of his quality, he’s got the quality, it’s just a matter of getting used to the  — I’ll call it the craziness of MLS. The variety of forwards you’re going to run into each week is different. And I think the compactness, when we’re organized and we’re dropping off a little bit, helps him a lot, because he reads the game well when things are in front of him, when we high press you can put him on an island a bit. So, I think we’ve kind of catered that a little bit to his strengths, and he’s done an excellent job for us.

Impressions on first time at San Jose’s new stadium

Unreal. Great atmosphere, great crowd. The facilities — it’s nice, every time I walk into these new places, as a former player I go…it’s unbelievable. You think of some of the old venues: Bridgeview, Napierville, and Dallas — it was a high school football field — just some of the disasters, even the cavernous old football stadiums. To walk into these, it raises the bar with every thing. Players play better when the field’s nice, when it’s a full house, when it’s loud,and I think as this league grows the stadiums are growing with it, which is a very good thing. Again, It’s just raising the bar with everything. It’s an impressive stadium, unbelievable.

On Earthquakes great Ramiro Corrales being inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame

He’s a guy who’s meant a ton to this organization here in San Jose, kind of an MLS lifer, you know? He’s a guy who I had a lot of battles with, a guy you respected on the field, really underrated as a player, too, won a ton of championships. A guy — I wasn’t ever a teammate of his but everyone you talked to in the league, word spread quick.

You played against him a lot?

I played against him enough, yeah. He was great. I wasn’t a teammate of his, but everyone speaks of him very highly as a great teammate, a great leader, and an ambassador for the game. We joke around, Ramiro will be one of those guys on the old NFL films on this league,when the league is the biggest in the world, he’ll be the old one complaining, “In our day, we made 24 grand, blah, blah.” But, no, he’s kind of a legend of the league and I couldn’t be happier for him on a special night.

On the penalty call and no penalty calls tonight and three coaches — Bruce Arena, Caleb Porter, and Peter Vemes — and one owner — Merritt Paulson — being fined on Friday for publicly criticizing referees.

It’s a hard game to referee, alright, soccer is very difficult to referee, it’s fast paced. You just wish…Again, I think tonight, he kind of half admits to me that he made a mistake. Which I’m fine with, OK, there’s going to be mistakes. Do they tend to go against us a lot?  Yeah, they do. But, at the same time, I have a problem with when there’s arrogance, and they tell you they saw it, they saw it a hundred percent correct, because the tape doesn’t lie, the players don’t lie. Vincent told me he got taken down, enough people texted me already that he got taken down. Third PK on CJ, that could’ve changed the game. But, again, there’s going to be mistakes, there’s mistakes from the players, mistakes from the coaches, and there’s mistakes from the referees, and you just want it to be a level playing field in terms of accountability and who I have to answer to for things. That’s all. That’s all we ask for is a an even playing field for everybody.

Tranquillo Barnetta

On being made captain

It was a great feeling but I think that we missed the two other guys, of course, so we hope that they are back soon and they can wear the band, the real captains.

On getting his first MLS assist

It’s also nice if you can help the team. I think I worked a lot in the last games but sometimes a little bit unlucky. Was two or three times really close and today I can help the team with this free kick. Really well done from Conor and we are happy that we had a great comeback tonight.

Does it help you to have a big presence up there like Conor Casey to serve the ball to?

Yeah, of course. I try always to help the team, to keep the ball. I think we did a good job also in defense, we had the lines together, kept it close, and that was our object for tonight. I think we did a great job. A little bit unlucky with the PK, I think it’s unlucky for Fabi because the ball jumped really bad for him. We are really happy that we can change this in the game.

This was your first long distance trip in MLS, Did the travel affect you at all? 

Yeah, of course, it was a bit different, we didn’t have this in Europe. So, it was new, but I think if we stay together as a team you can do a great performance like this we did tonight.

On playing more conservatively at home given recent success doing so on the road. Is that OK with you?

Yeah, of course. I think that means not that we don’t play forward, I think it means that we stay together. It’s also better for the offense. The guy next to you, if you play easy, play it to the next guy and we can keep the ball like today. I think we had a couple of really good positions with the ball, that we had a long time the ball, and that we have to go on also at home because then always you create chances. That don’t mean you only play defending but our first object has to be that we keep the [?] behind.

On playing with Vincent Nogueira

He’s really important for us. He’s a great player and he did some good moves, it makes it easier to play with guys like him. Of course, we miss other players like Maidana, like Edu, but tonight there was some other young players like Ayuk who did a great job also defensively. We worked all together and I think that makes a good feeling for us on the team if a player like Vince is there. Of course, I like to play with him.

Switzerland vs. England prediction?

[Laughs] I think we have a great game tonight, this night they won 3-2 against Slovenia, it was really important for us. They have not felt pressure in Wembley so I hope the guys will enjoy this game. I played there once and it’s a great feeling there and I wish they can make a great game there.

Conor Casey

On goals

To be able to come in and get some minutes and help the team out, it feels great

You came in and make an immediate impact, how did it feel to get a goal after such a long time?

It felt good. It’s been a while, about a month or so, and it always feels good to score so as a forward that’s what you think about. It was a great ball from Ray and it was in the right spot.

On Bernardez’s absence

I think we tried to get as many balls in the box as we could. They had most of the possession. It was pretty back and forth game. There weren’t a lot of chances but certainly him going down – he’s a very big presence – so him going down was a bonus for us.

What did Jim say to you before you entered the game?

Not too much really, just go in and try to make something happen, and just some formation stuff.

On going against Clarence Goodson, a player you know well

I mean, really, it wasn’t so much about that, I was just trying to time my run right and then get in a spot where I would be open. Lucky Ray put a great ball in there, and the second one goes to ‘Quillo. I was just trying to find a little bit of space for myself and hoped the ball would be there.

Wins on the road in Montreal and San Jose. What’s the key?

That’s hard, that’s something we’ve been trying to get our finger on all year. Our away matches have been good of late, so that’s great. Now we’ve got to carry that momentum and start to get more points at home.

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