Postgame video and quotes: Union 2-0 Dynamo

Photo and video: Daniel Studio

Mike and Eli’s postgame wrap

Jim Curtin’s postgame press conference

Postgame locker room interviews with Richie Marquez and Michael Lahoud

Philadelphia Union postgame quotes

Note: Questions have been paraphrased. Jim Curtin’s postgame press conference transcribed by PSP. All other quotes provided by Philadelphia Union.

Jim Curtin

Opening statement

I think we started the game on our terms. We talked all week about “Everyone, just do your job” was kind of the motto and theme for the week and, I think a lot of guys did that and got the message. Kept things simple, didn’t try to play out of each other’s comfort zones, played to each other’s strengths. There were a couple of dicey moments but, at the same time, it’s good to get a zero at home.

Something to build on, obviously, with the Cup final coming. Important, just like it was important for Kansas City to get a little momentum and get a win. Two teams that have been — us and them – that have been kind of up and down lately. So, happy for us in terms of the confidence for the locker room. I think the guys earned everything tonight. I thought they earned all three points.

I was very happy for Tranquillo to get a goal. He’s been kind of robbed a couple times lately by good goalkeeping, a couple of big saves on him. I’ll be hard on him and say he should’ve gotten the third goal but happy with his overall game tonight. A lot of guys had good nights so, again, we’re a team that when seven or eight are checking the plus side we’re going to come out on top. But we need all seven or eight just to even have a chance and tonight was a night where you had two desperate teams in their respective conferences.

I talked about at halftime, Owen was going to give them a talking to and then we were going to get their best punch in the first 15 minutes of the half and that would make or break our — I started to say this game, but then I said our season because it is at that stage. There’s desperation, but this group has responded well, for whatever reason, when our backs are against the wall, whether it’s red cards or tough games on the road where we perform better than, for some reason, at home. But, happy tonight. The fans were great and always feels good to get three points.

On Tranquillo’s goal and his overall impact in Philly

He does a lot of dirty running; his passing has been very good. He’s getting sharper and sharper, used to his teammates, you’re starting to see some combinations. I thought in the first half when we were just able to put, it sounds simple but, when we were able to just put three passes and move the ball a little bit side to side it wound up with a good opportunity for us. And Tranquillo was usually involved in those moves to goal so, happy with him.

He’s been asked to do a lot, centrally, out wide, and he has been a true professional with everything that has been thrown at him. He’s captained our team as well so, getting thrown into a team late he’s been everything that we could hope for on the field and in the locker room. A lot of the things he brings to our young players people don’t see each day. But, he’s a guy who’s done it at the highest level in the Champions League, so he brings a lot to our group. I thought it was important to have him in there to close out the game tonight, that’s why we didn’t make too many subs. So, happy for him and he deserved a goal tonight and could’ve got a second.

On John McCarthy’s recent play heading into the Open Cup

Not going to give Peter [Vermes] any head start on who to prepare for. So, was happy with the shut out. Obviously, there’s certain things Johnny can improve — I just talked about it with Paulo — in the consistency of his goal kicks, little things, little details that he needs to continue to work on and bring.

Andre [Blake] is a guy who I’m happy with as well so, again, it’s a bit of a feel thing, you want them to be going into the game confident. So, we do have a plan in place for it. I’ll let you guys kind of speculate as to what you think that might be, but again two good, young goal keepers, we only have two that can play. Brian Sylvestre, unfortunately, is not in the mix for it but I’m confident in both and we’l make the decision for New England and then, obviously, go on into the Cup final as well.

On the rationale for not giving Fernando Aristeguieta, Steven Vitoria, or Eric Ayuk minutes

We had to win the game and I felt like it was comfortable. The guys on the field were doing a good job. I thought that Houston had a few chance here or there maybe towards the end, but I wanted to show that I believed in the group to close the game. I think Chaco had some heavy legs. It was important for Mo to push through. At center back for Mo I think it’s, fitness-wise, center back is — I don’t want to say a joke to him — but it’s a walk in the park. He’s kind of a freak athlete. I don’t think it was — he’d tell you the same thing — it was his cleanest game on the ball but he has to get that rust off going into the final. And Steven is still in the mix for the final at center back, as well, too. We all know that he’s been in good form so, again, we have a tough decision to make.

I didn’t think it was smart to play Mo in the midfield in his first game back just because of the ground you have to cover. It’s a totally different position, the lunging the reaching for balls — it would have been five or six times the amount he did at center back. On a night where we had a good idea it would be Will Bruin up top — Will’s a great player but he’s not the threat in behind — so we thought that that would be the smartest way to go right now. Happy for him to get 90 minutes and keep a clean sheet. But he holds himself to a high standard and he knows he can do even better and be sharper.

On capitalizing on the momentum with the Open Cup while staying in playoff race

It’s a hard thing, it’s a balancing act. Brad Freidel, who did the game, he talked about he’s been on teams where he’s been in this situation and it’s very difficult to keep the guys focused on the next game because everyone has their eye on the cup and how close we were last year, so that is a big factor. We just needed a good performance, though. I think we’ve got good performances — again, for whatever reason — on the road in Montreal and San Jose, and we haven’t responded at home.

Again, I will say, if you look at Columbus and you look at how New England has been playing, those are top teams in the East, so there is something to that. Montreal is playing well now, as well. You have to weigh your opponent but, we have New England next, to go there is difficult. We’ll find the right balance of lineup to give guys the proper rest, and proper confidence, going into a final. I’ll tell you there will be no regrets in my mind in terms of whether we are fresh or not for the final. We will be fresh for sure.

On how important it was to get a win before the Open Cup

Huge. It’s huge. For whatever reason, and part of it I think is they press a little bit at home to get on the ball and make a final pass that leads directly to a goal or you get an assist. And all week we talked about playing with a smile on your face: If you’re not enjoying yourself, and you’re pressing, it’s no good. And that’s kind of how it has looked against New England and Columbus at home, where we’re tense, and uptight, and maybe forcing the issue, and playing a lot of long balls and dumping.

So, we tried talking about playing a little better out of the back. We weren’t perfect, but we know we need to upgrade and improve that as much as we can as we go. At the same time, you did see a lot of smiles out there. Getting the goal early always, always helps because it takes the pressure off a little bit and puts the pressure on Houston to come a little, and opened up some space for us. Wish we could’ve gotten a couple more goals, I think we executed really well on the counter up until the final shot or final pass. They made a few good saves on us and blocks at the last second. But, overall, happy with the guys’ performance.

You spoke earlier about Edu playing in the midfield. Is that something for the immediate future and the Cup final, or is that more long term?

Yeah, I’m going to look at my full – I’m not giving you anything Eli [smiles] – I’m going to look at my full selection of players. It helps to have guys in good form. I think tonight when you looked down the bench, that was our strongest bench. I think it was important for all those guys to go 90 knowing that the New England game, while we’re going to try to win it, like I said, we’ll have fresh legs for the final.

So, that sharpness, we can raise the bar a little bit. I still think there’s moments in the second half where we panic a little bit too much and aren’t able to just make the simple play and roll it soft to the next guy. Instead, we’re shoving it in and it’s bouncing at his ankles and he has to reach for it, and it’s tough. Part of that is just nerves and settling down and making the right play.

But, I think the group will be ready for New England and, obviously, Kansas City. If you can’t get up for that then you don’t have a pulse.

If he wanted to exploit Sheanon Williams’ tendencies since he was familiar with them

No, no. Again, I saw Sheanon’s quotes on the week, it’s a non-issue with me. He’s a player that I liked a lot, a player that was traded. You know, trades happen in the league, it’s an unfortunate part of pro sports but — maybe he was misquoted or whatever — but, no, we had no intention of going at Sheanon in any way, shape, or form. To be honest, we didn’t know if he’d play on the left or the right. Again, good player. It’s not about individuals, it’s about teams, though.

Maurice Edu

On how he feels

Sore, obviously, but good to get 90 minutes. I wasn’t necessarily expecting that but good to get 90 minutes under my belt and keep a clean sheet. It was good to get some of the rust off a little bit.

On what it means to have game minutes

Obviously good. It was what we were shooting for and it’s what the plan was all along to kind of be on track and, with that goal in mind, it’s a good feeling.

On getting positive momentum for the Open Cup Final

Confidence is key. Going into a final, you have to be confident. You want to be feeling good, you want to be clicking and you want to have momentum so we built a little today. We have a tough game away at New England and hopefully we can get a positive result there and go into the final feeling confident. That’s the key, to be confident.

Tranquillo Barnetta

On first goal

It feels great if we can score at home. It’s always nice and I’ve worked hard the last games to score one and, of course, it’s nice to start the game like this.

If he feels more comfortable with the team

Yeah, that’s the thing. I think when I feel better with my body then I can put more in our game and it goes better each game. You can see from the past games that it goes better and better. It’s always nice when you can score.

On the strength of the relationships with his teammates

It’s always nice if you can play with good players and of course in the beginning you need some time to know each other — and everybody thinks a little different on the field. I think with every minute we play together, you can see that we feel more comfortable and we know where the other guy is running, and that helps a lot. I think we have to keep going like this and we have a big game here in 10 days.

Houston Dynamo postgame quotes

Owen Coyle

You guys went behind the 8 ball so early, what does that do for the team?

We had to come over here, and Philadelphia Union had a good side. They had a very good attacking core. We wanted to hold them from having a good start, which they got… In the second half we came out and had great first 15 minutes. We were outstanding, and we gave up the ball. If we want to win, you know we have to finish those chances. I think it was the first time they ventured forward. At that point, C.J. Sapong, he was ready to come on and finish the goal. It was a wonderful ball from the Union, you got to love the movement from the left for the Union, and Sapong was ready in the middle.

You had chances, you had them last week, and yet two straight shutouts. Is it just a matter of finishing?

Yeah, for sure, I mean we have got goal scorers who can score goals for the team. When we have players missing in the back and conceding soft goals, then we have to take chances, and if we are behind then of course we have to take those chances…The second goal gives a chance to sit back and have a cushion. But even at 1-0 we certainly looked set to back to get back in the game. We can’t play whole 90-95 minutes if we are only playing in 15 minute periods. This is an elite-level.

What was different in the second half for the team?

I think what we did better in the second half was that we passed the ball better. We had two or three half chances, albeit Union had some good chances, and Deric made some good saves. But when we stepped up to the level that we are capable of then we showed that we can play and we challenged to score goals. We certainly stepped up, the intensity was better, we passed and moved the ball better, and we looked a good side. But we can’t just do it for 15 minutes; it’s got to be for longer periods.

Tyler Deric

How does it feel when you guys go down so early?

It wasn’t a good start. It’s difficult to get back control of the game. We fought hard, we had a good first 15 minutes in the second half, and that’s when I thought we played some really good soccer. Giving up 2 soft goals and not playing your best for 75 minutes of the game.

Two shutouts in a row now. What do you guys need to do differently to generate goals?

The strikers, they know how to score out there, and they’ll figure it out. I know the goals are going to start coming, the chances are there. I think we just need to be a little bit more critical. They got chances coming and I got faith, we’ll get a goal.

The defenders were getting caught on the counters, anything you do differently?

I think just giving the ball away cheaply really opens us up for the counterattack, because we are down 2-0 and we pushing for an equalizing goal to get back in the match. And when you give the ball away that easily, you’re susceptible to a counterattack. So just take care of the ball.

Will Bruin

Second straight game, you guys had no goals but many chances, what do you do differently?


Is it as simple as that? Are you getting in to positions you want to?

Yeah, we are getting chances we want; I think we need to be more patient in the final third. We can’t force it down on one side and just try to make something happen. If it doesn’t work on possession, we get countered on. I think we got to be more patient in the final third. Finishes the chances we do get to kind of change the way things are going.

You guys went down early, does that effect play being down so early?

Yeah it sucks whenever you concede two minutes in the game. That’s the way it was, we talked about being ready, being ready, we talked it blew up in our face. If you don’t it and show it in action, it doesn’t mean anything. It’s just a real gut punch when you get scored on two minutes in. But I think we are better than what we showed. We had our chances, we could have changed the game around, but we didn’t finish it.

You had 15 great minutes in the second half, what do you do to play like that throughout?

Start off like that, I don’t understand why we can’t start the game like that. I don’t know why we have to wait until we are down 1 nil and realize S&#T we have to keep the ball and play. It’s frustrating obviously because results are happening. We have got 5 games left, and at this rate it’s going to offseason for us.

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