Postgame video and transcript: Union 3-0 Revolution

Photo and video: Daniel Studio

Mike and Greg’s postgame wrap

Jim Curtin’s postgame press conference

Postgame comments from CJ Sapong, Ilsinho, Roland Alberg, Warren Creavalle, and Ken Tribbett

Philadelphia Union postgame quotes

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

Jim Curtin

Opening Statement

I just talked to the guys, and in some ways — obviously it’s great to get a shutout at home — still wasn’t happy with the performance. I think we can play better. I think we can be cleaner with our passes because I’ve seen it in training.

So, again, we wanted to show today, to our fans — who were excellent by the way in a terrible weather game to come out and support us — we wanted to show our fans, to the rest of the league, what we already know in our group, that were different this year. We have a group that wants to play more, get on the ball to create chances in this building.

So, happy with the shutout but, at the same time, we think we have more to give. The players all agree. They’ve put a ton of work into things: training twice a day still, working on the fitness end of things, all the little details —  the guys have done a great job. So, from that standpoint, I want to hold them to a higher standard and get that third goal a little earlier on the day. From being critical, I thought our finishing was poor, penalty kicks aside. So, again, happy but I still know that this group has more to give.

Good thing to have this attitude of not being happy with the win?

Yeah, I mean it’s not me, it’s the players, they have the same mindset. I just talked to them, which I don’t always do after a game but, you know, they’re not happy with the performance. They know they can manage things a little bit better. New England still had a lot of the ball. Needs to be said that Andre Blake is good at soccer [chuckles], and making the saves that he needs to make, coming out for crosses, all the little things that he’s doing that makes center backs have a belief and a comfort level in him. So that part is good, in a day where we get up a man, I don’t think he should be as busy as he was. But, again, that all comes with raising the bar of this whole thing. We’ve talked about it a lot, now we want to show it on the field. 3-0 sounds great but, if you really break it down, I think we can play better.

On keeping the level up all 90 minutes, something that might not have been the case in past seasons

That’s just it, the past is the past. I wanted to see a third goal earlier, just to even put more separation, that that stuff’s over. Even when it’s 2-0 now and you see Lee Nguyen with the ball on the top of your box and good hard runs that they’re making and you can hear it in the crowd, “here we go again” kind of thing. I want to squash that, and I want our players to have the idea to crush that and put it way behind us and not even let it be a thought in anyone’s mind. We have to work to do that, it’s going to take time, it’s going to take…Our fans are great, we know that, they support us, they come out here and cheer us on but, at the same time, we need to build some equity in them and have that killer instinct and get that third goal a little quicker, because, then the party really starts earlier. It was good to get the third goal in the 90th minute or so, but I think it could have came earlier today.

New England head coach Jay Heaps said the red card was a good call but not the PKs? Your thoughts?

I haven’t watched them back. The red card was right in front of us, you know it’s not just that play. You look across the games last night and in Week One and Two, anything where the studs are showing they say, they’re pretty quick to go to red cards now. It has become… it’s getting easier and easier to get thrown out of games now, and it’s always difficult when they say your studs are showing. I don’t think there is a way to make a tackle on the field and not have your studs show, so…That’s semantics but I haven’t really seen the replay of the red card, so I’ll refrain from speaking on that. Penalty kicks from where I stood, it looked like Ilsinho got fouled, whether it was in the box or not, I’m not sure from where I was standing, I haven’t seen the replay. It looked like he got fouled though. And then, the other one, it looked like Seba and Goncalves had a little bit of a tussle; you know, they can go either way. But, actually I thought the referee for first games handled himself well. We didn’t score either of the penalty kicks too so Jay [Heaps] doesn’t have any gripe there [laughs].

How early in the day did you sense CJ was up for this game?

I mean, again, I’ve seen CJ all preseason, he’s a guy we believe in, he’s a guy that’s been scoring in training. For him to get two goals at a time where, again, maybe it was a little against the run of play for the first one the first one, you know we weren’t on top of things. Good goal for him — I think a little bit of a relief anytime a striker gets his first one. Hungry and he got the second, so good for confidence. I still think there’s things he can do defensively to help the group out a little more. We talked about that, he knows, he agrees. And, again, he did a good job fighting all day, holding balls up — you know, that center back pairing is a tough one. Farrell and Goncalves are two of the top in our league and he had a difficult job today and he came out on top. But, again, we want more from CJ.

On Roland Alberg and Ilsinho starting together

Yeah, the same things we’ve seen in training. They are both good on the ball. Alberg I thought had a big contribution today; you know, subtle things like drawing the red card. You know, he’s a smart player, he took a foul there, and was brave in that moment. You can see his composure on the ball, you can see the interchange with him and Ilsinho, and Chris, as well, and as you see more and more time go by, more and more training sessions together, it will grow and it can get even better. Obviously, his free kick service is very good. We didn’t set him up, we didn’t get Roland on the ball as much as I would have liked, and the one thing that comes up a bunch with him is if he gets a shot on goal or open look, he hits the ball as hard as anyone I’ve seen. So, we didn’t get him on the ball or in the spots we wanted to as much as we’d like today but, at the same time, very good first performance from him as a starter. 3-0 win at home, I’m not going to have too much negative to say, but he did well and, again, I thought Ilsinho was busy on the day, too.

Anything specific in the game plan to attack on the left?

Yes, and again, I don’t want to get into singling anything out, but we had an idea of where we wanted to get at them and the guys executed well, did a good job attacking down that side. We talked all preseason about getting three guys running hard in the box at all times, a real commitment to get in the box on crosses, and I thought you saw that today. There was an aggressive nature from all the guys to make that 40-50 yard extra run and trust that the ball is going to get there and really get yourself in the box. If you do it ten times you might not get it nine of them but that one where it bounces to you — and you saw that today actually on all three goals.

Any injury concern with Andre Blake?

I hope not. No, he had a little bit of a shoulder issue, he got hit a few times last week with Kei Kamara challenging, a couple collisions today but, again, can’t say enough, he is playing very well, he’s confident, he is a confident young goalkeeper. The more of these games he gets under his belt you’ll see him even go to another level. We’re happy but again, it’s early, we’re not going to get too carried away, we have a lot of work to do, but, you know, it does…We’re happy with the six points that we have. Andre is a big part of that. He gives us a guy that can win us a game. In the moments where we’re not at our sharpest or best, he can give us the big saves, and you’ve seen that in all three of our games right now, he’s made a save that you kind of…the Wow one, the Wow save, I would say.

On Chris Pontius’ performance

Pontius was good, I thought he put in a good shift. He’s a guy you know what you’re getting every game — he brings it. I was joking with him that he could have had three goals and you guys really would be talking about him right now, but, at the same time, he was busy. I thought a lot of the defensive running, he did the dirty work that, again, doesn’t show up in the stats. He put a lot into it, and again, he’s a guy that you want into the field to close out games because he is intelligent, he’s got a good, high soccer IQ. Good pro and we’re really happy with him right now.

On what has changed since last season

The past is gone. We have started better, we thought it was critical to have a good start. I think Earnie coming in and laying a good foundation for our group, setting a higher standard. We’re training harder, we’re training more. Our attention to detail is better. So, all those little things I think you are starting to see on the field, we’ve seen them in preseason in training sessions. And that’s one thing, [but] the Saturdays and Sundays is what matters most. For the young players to go through the things that they’ve gone through now in Columbus, and now on the home field for the first time, and be brave and trust the guys around them and get three points. Yeah, we are way ahead of where we were last year, but that’s not saying much because last year was bad.

CJ Sapong

On being tied at first place in the East after three games

That does not mean anything, man, it’s three games in there’s a lot of soccer to be played.

On scoring two goals

It feels great. Feels good to open the account – I’m always extra critical, I could have had four today, but it’s all good. Like I said, it’s a good statement at home and we feel like we can do better but we showed a lot of team camaraderie on the field.

Did you want to take one of the penalties?

I mean, you always want to score more goals as a forward, right, but we had two guys that are very class players that stepped up and unfortunately didn’t go in the goal.

How much do you think the whole crowd affected the game?

They always affect the win and give us that 12th man mentality. They come with the energy and the noise and we wanted to show up for our first game of the season.

On facing Jose Goncalves

It’s a match up I’m used to. I’m trying to get a little better at going to the ball and not getting too lost and struggling with the bigger center backs in this league, but that’s a kind of game I like to play. It keeps me in the game and it keeps my warrior mentality.

On what Ilsinho and Alberg bring to the attack

Just creativity. I think we’ve always had that within this team, may have been a little bit dormant, but you have guys that have played in the top-tier of Europe and are willing to make those creative plays and make it a fun game for the fans to watch as well. That’s always a good thing.

On scoring first brace in two-and-a-half years

Oh yeah, I’ve been thinking about it, but it’s okay – it happens. I definitely pride myself in the work I put out in the field on both sides of the ball and that’s something that the stat sheet doesn’t always record. But at the end of the day all that really matters is how I view my game.

Andre Blake

You got up slow a couple times in the game. Anything lingering there?

No, I think I should be fine. I just think the more games you play you know guys are going to start scouting you and do whatever you can to get you off the game to make you uncomfortable – it’s just something that I got to deal with and keep getting stronger so that whenever they come in, I’ll be fine.

What’s the reaction like when the Fagundez free-kick hits both of the posts? What is going through your mind at that moment?

Well, people normally say you’re lucky when you hit the post, but for me, I don’t really think that way because the post is not inside the goal – it’s more like the ball hit the post and goes in – so you know it’s not like it even saves you if it hits the post and doesn’t go in. It’s just what it is but I’m thankful for it not going in.

It feels like last year, the luck might have gone against you. Is that something you think in a moment like that?

Well, yeah, but sometimes you also create your luck. I think the guys have been working really hard weekly, we’re all locked in and believe in what we’re doing and believe there is a God, so yeah.

Are you okay after going down? Could it have re-triggered a shoulder issue?

Yeah, I’m fine. It had nothing to do with my shoulder, I just had the wind knocked out of me a little bit.

How important is it to get the clean sheet?

It’s definitely important. You know, I told the guys before if we’re going to make a run, it’s going to start in the back. So it’s not just the back four, but the entire team. We have to defend as a team, attack as a team, and that’s something we’re looking to build on.

Both CJ and Jim deflected the fact that you guys are tied for first place. Still, that has to carry some type of significance after last year?

It does, but it can also be a distraction. We just want to keep doing what we’ve been doing, take it one game at a time, and keep working on it.

First two weeks the team relied on you heavily — same even today. How nice is it to get the three-goal support after the last two weeks?

It was great. As defenders, as a goalkeeper, when your striker can get you goals it takes a lot of pressure off us and that’s great. So hopefully we can keep doing our job and the strikers can keep doing their job also.

Chris Pontius

On the game

It’s important to especially get off on the right note, and I think the first game in Dallas we weren’t aggressive enough. These last two games I liked how we came out and pursued it. Today could have been 6-0, the keeper made some unbelievable saves so it kept them in the game.

On not being satisfied and thinking the scoreline could have been even higher

Even when you’re not a man down, when you’re up 2-0 you gotta be able to put a team away a little bit better. There are things that we can certainly do a lot better and not get too comfortable with that lead.

On getting a win and shutout in the home opener

Huge. Especially going into a two week break, you don’t want a loss or a tie where you could have gotten more points lingering over your head so, like I said, I knew the mentality was right with this team after Columbus last week. We came in here a confident team and then you get your main striker two goals and get him feeling good, so we’re a dangerous team going forward – got our first clean sheet of the year and that’s important for us too.

Does it kind of hurt that you guys don’t play next week because of the international break?

Yeah, you would like to – you’d like to keep the momentum going. But, you know, it is what it is and we’re going to Chicago with full confidence.

Roland Alberg

On playing alongside Ilsinho

Yeah, we enjoy the game, we love the game, and we can both play together. I think the coach knows and everyone knows and that’s a good thing for us, and we have to keep going and looking forward to the next week.

On CJ Sapong’s performance

Magnificent, what a striker. Two goals – very important for us. He can hold the ball, can score, good header – he’s very important for us.

On playing at Talen Energy Stadium for the first time

The fans are incredible. I’ve never seen this. It’s good the players like it — I like it — and that’s the most important thing, I think.

Thoughts on MLS

It’s hard, it’s a hard competition. It’s different than Europe or the Netherlands – it’s very tough every game, and this game also. But we have to keep going and I like it so far.

On the travel demands playing in the US

Yeah, it’s much different than Europe and we played two away games against Columbus and Dallas, and the travel is hard, but I get used to it and now we have a week off and in two weeks we have to play again and I like it.

On adjusting to the level of play in MLS

It’s not that difficult – it’s tough, they play hard, and it’s different than in Europe as I said before. It’s not that difficult but I have to get used to it and that’s the important thing.

On playing with Ilsinho

Yeah, he’s a great player. I think everybody knows from each other what they are good in, and he loves the game and is the same player as me, and we have to keep going every day, every week and that’s it.

New England Revolution postgame quotes

Jay Heaps

The first half you seemed to have control, what happened?

You know obviously there was two breakdowns and I didn’t look at it on film, but it’s two almost mirror images plays were Sapong did a nice job to get a little bit of space and we shouldn’t allow it but he did a good job. Credit C.J. for two really great goals.

How did you feel about the first half, the two goals seemed unlucky?

You know this game is all about taking your chances. I want to credit Philly, I thought they did a really nice job, they took their chances. You know, we were battling a lot of different things out there today. I feel like we came out there with the right mindset. We weren’t dangerous enough. We have to be from the back a little bit better and that allowed two goals.

Every week we’re talking about something that the referee does. It’s starting to become a little bit exhausting.

On the red card

The red card was right in front of us. I don’t think there was much in the challenge, but at this point the studs were up, but I got to look at it on film again. But I didn’t fault the referee on that, I faulted him on the two penalty kicks quite frankly.. the one that was right in front of us … the breeze was blowing harder than what he got touched… The one in the second half was textbook, you just don’t do it.

Bobby Shuttleworth

On the first half

I thought the first quarter half was okay, I thought we played well. For the most part we were in control. I think the first goal was just misfortunate, reacting to the first shot, Jose is trying to close down and it takes a deflection. The second was a very similar cross, I have the save, and it takes a knick off Jose and kind of carries a little bit farther. I think we responded well once we got the red card and I think we played some decent stuff in the first half. We had a couple chances.

On the second half

I think if you look at the second half we had a couple chances to cut into that lead and the guys really grinded, everyone really put in their shift. We did our best to try to get a goal back.

On the two penalty saves

No, I have never done that before. It’s one of those things, but there were plenty of times where I had the defenders bailing me out. We had a bunch cleared of the line, Juan cleared off the line, Andrew cleared off the line, it’s the same thing, you know. Just trying to stand up tall and that’s it.

On what’s next

It’s one of those things —  early in the year, right? Got to keep ticking on and we go to New York next week and we have to put this one behind us, go over the tape and try to take what we can from it, move forward, and realize it’s early in the year and move forward as a team.

Lee Nguyen

On the first half

Two unfortunate goals put us in a hole there. One man down doesn’t help but honestly I thought we picked it up after going one man down, we played better, created better chances. Now we just have to be able to do that from the start.

On the free kick hitting both posts

I couldn’t see it, until I saw it go back to Blake’s hands. I was little hopeful that somebody was there. I saw it hit the post, and then I didn’t see it, didn’t know what was going on and all of sudden it was in Andre Blake’s hands. That’s when I figure it must’ve hit the other post.

On what’s next

It’s a long season. We know it’s the way you start but, at the same time, this is where we need to figure out where to improve, and it’s better to figure out now than later in the season.

On the misfortunes the team has experienced

It’s unfortunate, little bit unlucky, but at the same time we got to keep it tight and those chances will eventually go in.


  1. Hi..I’m CJ Sapong and I got healthy yesterday.
    I would like the possession statistic to edge more towards the Union- especially at home. I would like the passing accuracy statistic to move closer to 75%… and then dare say closer to 77%. Once that passing statistic gets closer to 80% I will be certain we and the league are
    on the right track.
    These are the nits to pick — while enjoying the morning after an excellent start to the season. I saw one point yesterday… You saw three. My vision is spotty at best sometimes.
    Say….are those birds humming? Is that the sweet succulence of a warm breeze? What a nice day.

  2. It’s funny how I was seeing this upcoming bye-week as a chance to recover from getting beaten into the ground these first three games. Now I’m dreading the lack of momentum. It speaks volumes that none of the guys are satisfied with the performance.
    WC and BC again impressed me. CJ is a brute. Ilsinho is fun, pure and simple. Rosenberry is a stud, an absolute stud.
    Pontius’ final touch and finishing were poor, I’m not worried. One thing that did worry me – ALberg’s intensity seems to drop off when something doesn’t fall his way. He lacked hustle at several points and it bothered me.

  3. Please keep the post game interviews coming! Love it! I’ll never live to see this on Comcast SportsNet any time soon, but who cares if it’s here.

    Well done PSP.

  4. Regarding the team performance, in general.

    I can tell it’s a new mindset with the team. Immediately after we score, we don’t have the opposing team hitting the post 3 times, and scoring within 5 minutes.

    But probably the biggest positive sign to me was the end of the Columbus game. The official ends the game while *we* have possession — in the Columbus half of the field. Once upon a time, we would be just holding on in our own end.

    Midfield lockdown. Defensive coverage. All while fielding a defense that is soooo young. I am very much looking forward to watching this team develop and head up in this league.

  5. Mr Heaps,
    Your team got bossed around and you have the gall to complain about the PKs. The PKs that your keeper saved. The wind blows and the wind breaks, but that was a cheap foul on Ilsinho, well off the ball, just inside the area, and right in front of the referee. Shut up.

    • That first PK reminded me of the one on Austin Berry a couple years ago vs RSL at home. They both happened out on top of the box with play going away from goal and you could say neither prevented a shot on goal. But they were both clearly fouls and in the box so the ref had no choice but to call it. The NE defender clearly stepped into Ilsinho’s path after the ball went by him. Tough call, but defend smarter.

  6. If you watch player after player being interviewed…when totally healthy, this team is going to be very nasty.
    G – Blake, Jones
    2 – Keegan, Gaddis
    3 – Fabihno, Gaddis
    4 – Tribbett, Edu, Yaro
    5 – Marquez, Anderson, Yaro
    6 – Edu, Carroll
    8 – Nogs, Creavalle
    7, 10, 11 – Some combo of Barnetta, Alberg, Ilsihno, Pontius…backups of Seba, Leo
    9 – CJ, Herbers
    Most importantly, every position (save maybe LB) has competition with quality. That competition will push all of these guys to perform optimally each week in training and games.

  7. Old Soccer Coach says:

    An observation that follows nothing mentioned above, which is not to say that it is always a better day the day after the Union win, but has to do with the overall organization and its approach to the future.
    Take a look at the depth chart for theorganization, not just the Union but the the two teams combined. According to my attempts to cobble one together, between players listed on the roster and trialists who have been mentioned by name in articles about BSFC preseason games, there are five strikers on the BSFC roster: Jamie Luchini, whose official status is unclear between signed and trialist; Mohammed Diallo, who is called a trialist in articles about the Syracuse match and was mentioned extensively by the BSFC staffers manning the table at the practice fields gate yesterday; Seku Conneh, Corey Burke (loan), Gabe Gisselle, and Amoy Brown, all of whom are listed on the roster on the “Steel” section of the Union website.
    It has occurred to me that these gentlemen are more likely to provide the reinforcements at first team ustriker, once they are sorted by the BSFC technical staff and Earnie Stewart, than is an overseas salary cap-busting striker. during the summer transfer window.

  8. I think the team is still a work in progress… They have much to grow on. I like that they all feel like there is more work to be done. Mr. Tribbet almost broke hir face grinning about the fan support… When the place is full an the fans a bit warmer…it will be even better Mr. Tribbet!!

  9. Lucky Striker says:

    Jay, Jay, Jay……

    First PK was a bad call, that’s why they had Ilson take it. Curtin’s way of playing the ball back to you.

    2nd was legit-your boy dragged the guy down FROM BEHIND in the box ! That’s why they had LeToux take it-but his “effort” was as poor as the weather. He focuses and doesn’t fall down on his ass earlier and he has a hat trick. Don’t complain.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      There is a picture gallery from the game at The Photographer, Clem something, got two close ups of Sapong receiving the foul that became the second PK.
      If those who know how were to copy the images and all send them to Jay Heaps, it might be appropriate. Visual evidence proves beyond any reasonable doubt, clearly and convincingly, that CJ was fouled; he has no legitimate complaint whatsoever.

  10. Is there any chance PSP could compile these interviews, with joining audio between players, as part of the podcast feed?

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