Postgame quotes: Fire 1-0 Union

Note: Philadelphia Union quotes transcribed by PSP. All other quotes provided by Chicago Fire.

Philadelphia Union postgame quotes

Jim Curtin

Opening statement

Obviously a typical spring day in Chicago. Crazy weather, difficult conditions. Tough to assess the first half just because it was so crazy with the wind and snow and different things. I thought the last 15 minutes of the half we were able to push the game a bit. Started the second half very well; unfortunately it’s the “year of the red card” across the league. Not a good way for games to go but this is the initiatives that’ve come in. And, you’re seeing almost every game now there’s a team playing short-handed. So, have to be disciplined.

I thought we started again [well] with the second half, just hit the bar; had a little momentum and then we went into a silly tackle. From there I was happy with my guys, I thought they still continued to fight, push the game. Had a couple chances down at the end and to go away empty handed with no points is disappointing.

On being disappointed not scoring with the amount of shots created

Yeah, you know, it was a day where, again, it’s going to be tough to create chances. I still felt we managed to hit the bar twice, hit the post. I thought we could have got a goal. I thought maybe a fair result would be a draw but, at the same time, credit to Pauno for his first victory, his team worked hard. It wasn’t a beautiful day of soccer by any means but how could it be the conditions.

Happy with what we created. Again, the guys worked hard, down a man for a good chunk of the game, and still we were able to compete and create chances. But, again, you leave empty-handed and that’s disappointing.

On whether the red card was justified

You know, Warren had a…Again, we’re trying to look at the stats sheet and figure out if he gave a straight red; I know he was obviously on a yellow card. We talked about Warren being careful and not leaving his feet so, a little bit silly in that area of the field. I think he should just let him turn there and we live to fight another day kind of thing. But, he goes in and mistimes it. I haven’t seen the replay so I won’t really comment on it. But, I think it looks like they gave a straight red so, again, disappointing from that regard.

I thought Polster dodged a bullet in the first half where they should have gave him a yellow. I think they gave it to the wrong guy, and that would have come back to help us. But, again, these are the decisions that are made, we live with. There’s gonna be good calls and there’s gonna be not so good calls, and we have to live with it.

On hitting the crossbar and post and not finishing

I thought Ilsinho was dangerous on the day. It’s not surprising to me to watch him perform like this because we see it every day in training. I think it’s going to be an eye-opener to the league when he gets one versus one with the skill he has to break a guy down and wrong foot a defender. It’s special. Disappointing for him not to get on the end of a goal but our guys are gutted just because they put a lot into the game and to the little bit of momentum and then all of a sudden the sending off obviously changes the game.

On the defenders’ performance

I thought it was shaky at the beginning. We have three young guys across the back with then Fabinho maybe the experienced one on the left. But they’ve done a good job limiting chances. Chicago has some dangerous attackers and I thought we did a good job with them. Started a little disjointed in the beginning. I think everybody in the first 15 or 20 minutes was getting used to the conditions, the wind and that kind of thing, but I thought our whole back line competed well and we didn’t give up a ton of chances. Credit to Chicago because they took their one and buried it.

Warren Creavalle

On the match

I believe that we were the best team today. At the end, I feel we were unfortunate not to show it — in large part due to going down a man on my part. So we’re unfortunate in that regard.

The team played well, hit the post several times. What do you take away from today’s game/

Yeah, that every game isn’t going to be pretty and we have to find ways to grind out the ugly ones and deal with these kind of situations.

On what you want to see from the team in response to the loss when it faces Orlando on Friday

Just a positive response from today’s match. You know, we dropped our first game and were able to bounce back well in Columbus and the next game and we’re looking to do the exact same thing going forward, especially playing at home.

Were you surprised when you were shown a red card?

I was a bit surprised. I ended pulling out a bit but he went down and it’s been clear that the refs are making an initiative to kind of crack down on those kind of plays. So, surprised, but not too much.

A little bit of a learning experience for you?

Absolutely, I just have to be more disciplined.

Chris Pontius

On what he saw from the team today

I liked the fight to the end. We created chances. It didn’t go our way in terms of balls bouncing off the post and stuff tonight. But, you create that number of chances on any night you’re bound to have some go in.

Overall it was a sloppy game but we should come away with at least one point.

On not coming away with a point after a good start to the season

Yes, there’s always disappointment for us in a loss. We want to be top of the East, so, I think the guys know that. The only good thing about this is that we have a short week and we have game on Friday and can get back on the field and get back to work.

Will the short week help your momentum facing Orlando?

Yes, exactly. We’re at home; we’ve been on the road for three of our first four games, looking forward to get back in front of the home crowd.

On seeing the team battle even playing with 10 men

Yeah, we created chances. At that point you know you’re going to give up some chances; you do what you can to limit them, but also know that you have to push somehow with a man down, create some chances for yourself. We did that but, like I said, unfortunately it just didn’t go our way tonight.

On Coach Curtin being aggressive with the substitutions in the second half

Yes, of course, at that point you’re going for a tie or a win so sitting back — we are down 1-0 at that point — sitting back does no good for us.

Chicago Fire postgame quotes

Veljko Paunovic

On getting the first win of the season

It means a lot for me and for this locker room who works very hard. So far, I think winning this game gave us more confidence now and believe we are on a good path, which we always knew we were but it’s always very, very important to have proven our results, winning games. As we said before, I believe we did a very good job against a very good opponent, who also did very well and for me, I would like to congrats to our fans who were, on a day like this, supporting and I want also want congratulate our team. They were very outstanding today in a very difficult game from different points of view, especially because of the condition, especially because of the great opponent that we had.

On possessing the ball more

We improved our possession, we improved other parts of the game too. I think we, again, created a lot of opportunities. We have to improve our finish, our finishing needs to be improved because even though Kennedy had a great goal, the winning goal, which matters a lot but still we have to convert all these opportunities that we are, as a team, building together, it’s very important in order to grow, we have to convert everything. It’s always a matter of conviction, it’s always a matter of concentration, those moments count, we need to work on that. Very happy about possession. Defensively I think we have to be more consistent defensively, again, great opponent in front but I think they had a lot of opportunities, very good opportunities, and we have to recognize that defensively we could be better.

On Philadelphia creating chances

That was for sure the most difficult game for me coaching MLS for Chicago but I would say from the other, I was very confident every time the team read the game well, which means to control the game in possession and try to come and I was confident we could score, at least have more opportunities to score. That was our goal in the second half, that was our goal when Goossens came in and LaBrocca came in. This win helps us to grow, to grow to the next level of confidence, the next level of believing what we are doing. But still we have a long path in order to become the team we all want to be.

On bringing Goossens on in the second half

It was a part of the plan before the game started, as you said. And we spoke to Goossens and then Arturo after both of them being injured after the last game against Columbus and the recovery that they did, they recovered very well but we don’t think they are ready to play 90 minutes between them because both of them and everyone in our locker room are very important and they will all participate and have opportunities to help the team and to enjoy playing soccer so the thing was, before the game, as you said, this is our game plan, the part of the game plan was to play Goossens in the second half and then also it depended on what was happening on the field. We had to make other decisions.

On the performance of the back line

For sure I believe that they did very good. We will have statistics up later but I think that both of them, the stops, they blocked many, many shots for us and one of our rules is, in the locker room is, ‘No cross no goal,’ but no shot no goal, which is very important to those tackles and blocks that they did very well. But I would say, as you can see so far, we switched from one system to another system, everyone is involved – almost everyone. The season is long and we need all our guys engaged, and so far we are very happy with how our defense is doing but both of them, both Meira and Eric are coming back, and other guys who are involved in defense. But again, defense is the same thing as attack: it’s teamwork. And we really, we always to highlight that teamwork and always say that altogether we defend and all together we attack and we score goals together. The defense today worked very well but when we scored it was a play that we as a team built up and finished with Kennedy which is very good. Everyone liked that, at least I liked when the team plays as a team. We have our very good players, talented individuals, who know that, when to play together and how to play together in order to win games.

Kennedy Igboananike

On changes from last season

I think this year is very different for us because we have a new coach, new leaders, everything is new. I just don’t want to talk about last year because it’s in the past, so we just have to focus on this year. Whatever happened last year, we’re just going to correct it this year. Last year wasn’t good for us, so we’re moving ahead.

On playing in bad weather

Absolutely, to play in this weather is very difficult because you never know what you get; it’s snow, it’s cold, it’s windy, it’s a very difficult situation for us. But you have to be mentally strong and believe that the weather can’t stop you from winning. Winning is what we’re looking for, so we’re not giving up. We have to go out there and give our best, come out to be successful and get three points.

On playing on a different side of the field

For me, I don’t think there is a problem. I’m always a professional player, so I’m ready to play any position that the coach needs me to play. If he needs me to play right wing, left wing, attack, I’m always ready for anything.

Razvan Cocis

On playing through the weather conditions

The conditions were crazy. I have never played in this condition ever. I’ve played on snow, but not in this wind. For me, it was hard. You have to put more effort on everything you do, and I think we did that, so that’s why we deserved to win.

On improvements from last season

There are things we improved, like for example, we had two clean sheets, we had the first win. It’s good, it’s better, and we train every day to do better, to be the team that everybody wants us to be.

On the relief of getting the first win

You feel a little bit of pressure before the game because we had two games at home until now; this was the third one, and we didn’t have a win yet. The win gives us time to breathe, I would say. We can come Monday or Tuesday, when we meet, and come more relaxed and focused on our next game, which is a good thing mentally for the team.

On playing after a long break

We had two weeks. If you have a weekend without a game, or two weeks without a game, you can get out of shape, but it’s good that we practiced and got to improve on things we needed to improve on. We focused on that in the last two weeks. In the end, the final result from today makes me think that we’re doing a good job practicing and doing the corrections that we had to do.

On establishing a style with a new team

In the preseason, we had good possession. This was supposed to be our style, to have possession, but with some teams we couldn’t. It’s a new team, and that can be a factor for why we didn’t have possession in the first games. Hopefully from now on, after this game, we can show that we can have possession, win the game, and keep doing that. This is what we train for.

On playing further up the field

I played that position a long time before. I’m used to it; I was playing a lot of positions when I was young, so I’m used to playing different positions. I felt okay, I enjoyed it.


  1. Lucky Striker says:

    CJ provides a vitally need outlet for this team, and his ability to lay the ball off with his back to goal is a blessing.

    Unfortunately, he’s just not a clinical finisher….and is never going to be one. He needs too many opportunities-or a lot of luck-to score.

    I thought his brace against NE was luck over talent. Neither ball was struck well. Couldn’t understand the clamor to have him take PK’s.

    They only have a kid, albeit talented, backing him up. Seba’s legs are gone. Many have complained about the lack of a back-up with experience.

    I’m the voice in the wilderness screaming that the pivot can’t last as constructed, and Fabinho isn’t a long or short term answer at LB.

    They ignored that as well.

    Get ready to experience the consequences of both………

    Oh; and Coach? :

    It may be “the year of the red card, but Warren earned it.

    • pragmatist says:

      I am in the camp that thinks we would be better off with a 2-striker setup, so that CJ and Herbers can compels net each other’s skills. Playing alone exposes the holes in their games. But paired up will highlight their strengths.

      • I love how hot and cold we are on CJ. Dan writes his “we dont need a DP striker” piece, and one game later, we’re convinced we need to change formations, get Herbers on, and any number of other things to improve our offensive effectiveness.
        I saw Chicago as a tough team for CJ to score on, simply because he was going to be contending with 3 center backs, not 2. This would end up pushing him wider and deeper in order to find space. It’s then up to the wingers to cut inside and give support when CJ drags the backs out of position, which Ilsinho did really well in the first half and the first 5 minutes of the second. The red card forced our midfield to stay more central for the remainder of the game, which helped contain Ilsinho immensely. Had they gone on 11v11, the goal(s) were coming, but more than likely from the midfield/wings.
        The real question is, can this be a sustainable and winning strategy for the year? Or will teams wise up to it, press high into the midfield and essentially dare CJ to beat them himself?

      • pragmatist says:

        That’s my point. My opinion is not anti-CJ. In fact, it’s the opposite. Love the guy. But I think a 2-striker set is more effective than a single striker. Personal preference.

      • I’m personally more on the “I haven’t seen him do it yet, but I still believe he could” bandwagon. But I absolutely see your point. The Revs game didnt prove him to be a danger man, more of a poacher. The game against NYCFC at the end of April I think should go a long way in showing us what we have in him. God knows what the heck kind of strategy Viera will put on the field, and CJ’s job will be to read, react and break it down on the fly. That defense hasn’t been stellar since… really ever.

  2. Lucky Striker says:

    Who would you remove then? Curtin….change formation?……

    • pragmatist says:

      I’d play a simple 4-4-2. Remove BC, or any CDM, and play that 8 alone. It’s been Creavalel, but can be him, Nogs, or Edu.
      That leaves Pontius/Alberg/Ilsinho as the other midfielders, CJ/Herbers up top, and your standard defense.
      As long as your #8 is athletic enough to cover some ground, as ours are, it’s the way to get your best players on the field at one time.

      • Lucky Striker says:

        all I can do is respectfully disagree. Creavalle is….”temporarily unavailable”, Edu is gone for more of the year than he’s here for and there is no way I can envision Nog or BC shielding that back 4 alone.

      • pragmatist says:

        I was laying this out hypothetically. It would entail a fully healthy and available roster.
        With that caveat, I’d suggest Edu as the first choice and WC and the backup.
        Nogs and Alberg split time in the middle. Pontius/Barnetta left, and Ilsinho/LeToux right.
        Basically, I’m just in favor of anything that increases our offensive ability. We’re getting shots, now we need to finish.
        The next two games will be more telling about the state of our scorers (or lack thereof).

  3. Wow Warren, I’m going to need more than a “Im surprised” out of you. Also clearly makes it sound like he has no idea what is a foul or not. He’s played his way out of the starting lineup. Totally cost us 3 points.

  4. OCSC looked really good thrashing the Timbers last night.

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