Postgame quotes: Crew 1-2 Union

 Note: Quotes provided by Columbus Crew

Philadelphia Union postgame quotes

Jim Curtin

Opening statement

Overall, I thought our guys came out and put in a good effort. Columbus is a top team in our league, and one that is a great passing team, so I thought we did a great job putting them under pressure and making it a little bit uncomfortable for them. They’re always going to create chances, so in those times we needed Andre [Blake] to bail us out and I thought he did. Our group is happy to get our first win here but at the same time not satisfied, I think we had a chance there to maybe get the third goal and make us breathe a little easier on the sidelines, but it’s MLS, this is how games go. They get a little crazy at the end of regular time, but I’m happy to get three points.

On scoring at the end of the first half

The last five minutes before half are always critical. I thought our guys pushed hard in the first half. Columbus had a few chances as well. I don’t think it was completely unfair, though, that we got a goal. I thought that we deserved it, we earned it and Chris [Pontius] did a good job getting on the end of one there. Happy to come out in the second half where it started maybe a little bit too end-to-end. It seemed like there was going to be a goal one way or the other. I’m glad Chris [Pontius] wound up getting the second one. But, the goal right before halftime, especially in a building, in a home opener, where they have a ton of fans, loud fans and a good team on the field, it is demoralizing for sure.

On discovering a throw-in weapon with Keegan Rosenberry

He’s a good player all around. It’s another box that he checks that maybe catches teams off-guard; they’ll scout it now and it’ll be over to be honest. But, we’re able to catch teams off-guard with it and it’s a good tool. He’s a smart player and he uses it wisely, whether it’s throwing early, whether it’s throwing it back to our center-backs to switch the field. A good game from him, though, a young player in a hostile environment, at FC Dallas and at Columbus; baptism by fire I guess you’d say. Two of the toughest teams in our league, so he’s held up well.

Andre Blake

On his performance

It goes back to teamwork. The guys were working hard in practice and we’re just looking to keep building and keep moving forward as a team.

On his confidence level after this match

That’s a part of my job; to do whatever I can to keep my team in the games. Confidence-wise, every time you get a win, that’s great, every time you make a save, make a play for your team, that’s great. I think for me that’s mainly the mental part of it. In practice you work hard, you train, you do the physical part but in the game you have to stay locked in and that kind of helped me with my confidence.

On knowing that he is an important asset to the team

It’s very important, but as I said before it can also serve as a distraction. I’ve been in this situation before. It’s always good that whenever your number is called, whenever you get the job, just make sure that you’re ready, that you’re prepared, you’re willing to do whatever it takes to help your team.

Chris Pontius

On the match

Proud of the guys. Put a lot of work into preseason, not easy to start Dallas away and then have Columbus away too. Two of the top teams in the league. Proud of the way we hung in there, we were more aggressive in this game than the Dallas game. I thought Warren [Creavalle] and Brian Carroll had huge games for us and put a lot of pressure on their midfield which is the strength of their team.

On Andre Blake’s performance

He’s been huge in both matches. We’ve asked a lot of him. The first two games he kept us in that game against Dallas and did the same tonight. Can’t say enough about the guy, he’s come up with some big clutch saves.

On adapting to a new team and getting the first win of the season

It’s huge. The first one always seems the hardest to come by for a team in the season, especially after losing your first game. It can throw your mind for a loop, especially coming here on the road, not an easy place to play, top team in the league. We knew it was going to be a battle. It’s huge. We’ve got a home opener next week and now we’re a confident team going into that game.

Columbus Crew postgame quotes

Gregg Berhalter

On Philadelphia scoring the first goal late in the first half

I think looking back at the first half we would have like to have scored a goal. It didn’t come, and at the end of the day, it’s not the worst half if you don’t give up that goal. I think giving up that goal, it hurt because I didn’t feel like we should have been a goal down. But, to me, it’s a concentration issue. That’s disappointing, at the forty-five plus one [minute mark], to give up a goal on a long throw is disappointing.

On the club’s current record

It’s two losses in a row and that’s not good. In these two games there was some good football, we played over 180 minutes. But, by and large, we came up short in these two games. We’re going to look to improve and get better, to raise individual levels, and focus on our performance.

On complacency as a factor towards the loss

I don’t think so. This is a tough league, and you guys see the results today, and you see what’s happening with this league. You can’t predict any results right now. Part of our job is to play our game and what’s most disappointing is that in the second half we didn’t do that, at all. You’re down a goal, but you stick to the program. You keep the ball moving fast, you focus on your spacing and we will get chances. Unfortunately, it went haywire a little bit in the second half. But, give Philadelphia Union a lot of credit. I think Jim Curtin deserves a lot of credit. They did an excellent job on Wil Trapp, they did an excellent job in the midfield. They talked about trying to sneak a goal and they did exactly that. Jimmy [Curtin] did a good job preparing his team for this game.

On what to improve

I don’t think our movement was good enough off the ball. We let them press us a little bit and lock us to one side, and just due to lack of movement – that’s the worst part about it, because we know what we should do and we got all on the same line and opened up very few passing lanes. I think that when you play like that, you don’t deserve to win.

On the club’s defense

I think that when you look at it, it wasn’t a terrible defensive performance. We limited them to a few amount of chances. But having conceded these goals, four goals in two games, and the way that we’ve conceded them, we’re not happy about it. That’s going to be what we need to focus a little more on to see if we can improve some of that.

On cutting down on opposing goal chances

We have triggers that we want to avoid, and that will help us prevent some of these opportunities. One of them is straight passes into the midfield; we always want to put angles on passes. The second goal is a great example, it’s very difficult for the guy on the ball to a: maintain possession, and then b: do something about it defensively if he loses that battle after the straight ball. So we want to avoid that and I think we got caught in that situation. The defensive set piece is something that we need to improve on, there’s no question. We’re going to look to do that.

On Cedrick Mabwati continuing to come off the bench instead of starting

I wouldn’t necessarily say that. You have 11 guys that can start the game and then you have seven substitutes you can choose from, and he was one of them. I thought he came in and made a good impact. Part of his ability is obviously one-v-one and I think when we got to utilize him he was very effective.

On Sauro wearing a cast and its effect on his defensive play

Gastón is an interesting case because he’s a guy who had an operation on his finger on Tuesday, and is playing on Saturday. I think it shows you what type of guy he is and what he’s made of. He put a cast on it and got on with it. He was able to do it fine, and I think it says a lot that he prepared to play.

Ethan Finlay

On what didn’t click

I think it just starts with us wanting to compete and that comes from within and that’s where it has to start. We obviously all know what our responsibilities are and our job, but first and foremost we have to be willing to do the work. And like Gregg [Berhalter] said, movement off the ball is work that you don’t always get recognized for, but I think throughout the game, as the game went on in the second half before they scored their second [goal] it got a little stagnant. That’s something that we usually pride ourselves in, is our movement off the ball and our ball movement, and that just wasn’t there tonight.

On Andre Blake’s performance

I thought he had a nice game. On the other side, we have to do better to pick guys out in the box. We talked about the cut-back space. I thought there were too many balls that he was catching free without a challenge. We need to make him compete for those a little bit more. I didn’t think the runs were awful in the box, but we have to work on our service and getting on the same page.

On if the team isn’t quite on the same page due to it being early in the season

Yes and no. This group is very familiar with each other, we know where guys want to be and we identify open spaces. Like tonight, the cut-back ball, we know Kei loves to get to the back post. That being said, it’s just execution to me. When we get in those positions, making sure we’re trying to pick a guy out.

Wil Trapp

On losing the home opener

It’s definitely disappointing. I think giving up the goal right before halftime was disappointing, but those are fixable things. On set pieces it’s just competing. We have to correct those things.

On dealing with and improving against the press/high pressure

I think they did a decent job of turning us over in bad spots and part of that is our decision making. Those second chance opportunities once the ball gets turned over is when you’re almost more susceptible to losing it again, so those quick transition passes at times I didn’t think we passed the ball particularly well. So losing the ball in bad spots, just like we talked about last week, it can hurt us.

On the positives from his team’s performance

There were plenty of opportunities for us to score. I thought in the first half we did a pretty good job, actually, getting the ball wide, getting crosses in. Still, just getting the sharpness back in that final third,

but that’ll come. I think getting Kei on the board, even though it was late, was important for us, but it’s a competing aspect of the game that we just need to raise that level.

On Philadelphia’s long throw-in ability

We knew, yeah. It’s just one of those plays where, like I said, it’s competing, and right before halftime is the worst time to concede. You just have to do your best to clear the ball and get it as far away when you know a guy has a long throw-in and I didn’t think we did a good job of that.

On the mood in the locker room at halftime

Coming in to halftime, you just try to refocus and realign, knowing that going in to that second half we have to get a goal and there were good things in the first half, so just trying to build off of those things.


  1. Lucky Striker says:

    Crew took the night off, and paid for it. Tchani was invisible and Trapp just bad. Let the Union have the ball way too much. Berhalter clearly didn’t watch enough of the Dallas film.

    Blake was dominant again, saved the Union’s bacon late. Have to think about giving him the Team MVP before the month ends at this rate.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Give BC and Warren Creavalle some credit for disrupting Tchani and Trapp., maybe?
      And while Columbus is good, their central midfield does not have the same level of pace as did Dallas’s on the day.
      Not sure what to make of Dallas being whipped so soundly by Houston. Perhaps they were too willing to believe their press clippings after the game against us.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        Agreed, Creavalle’s high pressing really took both Tchani and Trapp out of the game and the biggest difference between Higuain and Diaz is that Higuain isn’t going to get separation from a defender with his pace. This made things easier for BC to sit deeper.

  2. What “set pieces,” Wil? Are throw-ins now called set pieces? I confess that when Sheanon took them, they felt that way…

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      “Restarts” is a more accurate label, I think, and, yes, any throw-in is a restart in the literal meaning of the word.

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