Postgame quotes: Impact 1-1 Union

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Note: Union quotes transcribed by PSP from audio provided by Jonathan Tannenwald, all other quotes provided by Montreal Impact. Questions have been paraphrased.

Philadelphia Union postgame quotes

Jim Curtin

Opening statement

I thought on the day it was a typical battle for the top of a conference. I thought they had the better of the play in the first half. I thought we pushed the game in the second half, we probably had the best chances in the second half. So, overall, I think a point is a fair result, it’s a very good team — Montreal — well-coached, well-organized, a dynamic front four that gives you a lot of problems. You know, it gets scary when the game gets stretched and they have those guys running at you full speed. I felt we dealt with it, for the most part, well, on the day.

Disappointing to give up a goal on a restart, I think in the second minute of the game. We actually are positionally in good spots, CJ just fails to get the ball up and out. He had a free header; Drogba, I’d say, made us pay.

So, happy with the response to bounce back and get a point on the road in a tough environment to play in. We’ll take it and look forward to playing DC on Friday.

On Tranquillo Barnetta’s influence after the Montreal goal

He has been excellent since he came off the little preseason injury injury, he’s gotten his legs. His ability to not just make the final pass or get us a goal… His ability to slow us down, he recognizes when to slow the game down, when to speed it up. He turns in tight spots and runs at defenders. He’s an excellent player, he’s a No. 10 that suits our team, it’s a running No. 10. You have to be able to run in this league, there’s no free roles anymore. Gone are the days of [Carlos] Valderrama and, you know, the free guys in the middle. You have to be able to run for 90 minutes and he is the new version of the Philadelphia Union running No. 10. He did a great job.

On Andre Blake’s strong performance

He makes a coach sleep well at night [chuckles]. It’s good for the center backs to have a guy back there that…The biggest thing: yes, he makes the incredible saves, the diving saves to bail us out in the big spots, but the amount of times when there’s a cross that looks like trouble and he comes out with those long arms and kind of takes it out of the air, it makes the center backs’ job easier, they can focus on putting their body on Drogba instead of worrying about the ball. That causes mistakes, when you go and attack the ball, there’s collisions and things, but Andre’s a nice warm blanket out there, he does a good job for us. He not only saves what he’s supposed to save, he makes the exceptional save that gets you points.

Are you worried about missing Blake while he’s away with Jamaica for the Gold Cup?

No, we have two strong backups and we’re very happy with where they’re at, they push each other everyday in training. They’re fighting for the second spot right now but, when Andre goes away, we have guys who are capable of coming in and taking the position.

With all of the talk about Zlatan Ibrahimovic possibly coming to MLS, are you worried about the pictures that appeared of the Union discovery list? Have you been contacted by the league?

I saw a bunch of things on Twitter, a lot of that stuff is speculation: Is a strategic move to have him on there? Possibly. We don’t need to reveal our discovery list, officially. Yeah, you look at different things, different mechanisms that our league has, different unique ways that players come back in this league and ways that can be rewarded if you’re a little out in front of things. So, our discovery list is fluid, it changes a lot. If you’re asking asking me if I would take Zlatan on our team? Yes, I would. But at the same time it’s just speculation now. There’s always different things that drive up prices, and things like that. So, we’ll see what happens.

Do you think you have a chance of signing Ibrahimovic?

I mean, again, we always want to upgrade, we always want to improve, and he obviously improves any team. He’s a champion, anywhere he plays he wins, he scores goals. So — I can’t believe I’m answering questions on this, by the way [laughs] — yeah, it would be nice to have him.

Were you upset about the discovery list getting out there?

Upset? It doesn’t matter, there’s nothing we can change, really. We’re fine with it [but] at the same time, I credit our whole technical staff for being a little bit ahead of the curve; and, again, it’s all speculation now at this point. We’ll see what happens. If it benefits us, it does. If not, it doesn’t really affect anything.

What statement has the team made with its recent results against top teams?

I think you grow from every game you play in, whether it’s against the elite; yeah, you get a little more confidence. Today was another game that was very high tempo, it was end-to-end, it was fast, tackles were flying in, the ball was moving quick: two good teams attacking each other. On a different day, it could have been a 3-3 game. I thought there were a lot of opportunities out there, the goalkeepers both played well. I think we have a good, experienced group but we finished again a game with three rookies on the field. Josh, Keegan, Fabian, it needs to be said, are doing a very good job, they’re not just out on the field going through games, they’re starting, they’re contributing, they’re making a big impact. Again, it’s a team, we win and lose as a team, we draw as a team, as well, and I thought that the guys put a ton into today, and we’re happy with the result.

Tranquillo Barnetta

How are you feeling?

Good. I mean, it was a really tough game, high level, tough start. I think we showed we are a strong group, we didn’t get nervous or something, we tried to keep going and for sure we needed 10 or 15 minutes, but after that we did a good job to keep the ball. We showed our real face and we deserved a second at the goal. Second half, I think, we did a great job to work them hard because they are a good team. But, still, we created out chances and I’m really proud of the group.

On being on the ball a lot after Montreal scored

We know that we can find the space between the lines and that was on key today. I tried to find the ball a lot and keep possession with the ball and let the [outside backs?] come. I think how the goal came, it shows well: bring the ball to the sides, great cross from Chris, incredible laydown from Seba. I mean, it was a really nice goal.

Prior to joining the Union, had you played against Laurent Ciman or Marco Donadel before?

No, I played them once here, I think it was my third or fourth game. I mean, they are really strong, you saw this, but, still, we tried to put them under pressure [so] they have no time to make the good plays, and we did a great job on this. But, still, sometimes they came through. And when they came through, we had our back line or Andre — they did a great job. Like I said, maybe we deserved more points but we take the good thing away, the confidence that we can play against the best in this league.

What have you seen that are signs the Union are a much better team?

I remember last year when I played on the road at the Red Bull game, we the first goal after a couple of seconds, and then we struggled, then we get the second, then the third one, and that changed. We [used to] get nervous, [now] we stayed calm. I think that’s one of the biggest things, that we don’t get confused; even if it’s a tough start we keep going and try to play our game, and that was something we showed tonight.

On the performances of Keegan Rosenberry and Josh Yaro

They are doing an incredible job. I mean, they are so young, they have maybe 10 games here in this league and still they play like old guys, and that’s incredible. And, still, they keep working, it’s not that they think now that they do a good job. They worked hard on Wednesday, they come back here and do the same today. It’s incredible to see what they are doing every day.

Richie Marquez

How are you feeling?

I’m feeling good. Coming out with a point, that was good away, so, I think that’s the first thought we all have right now.

On being injured

Yeah, a little bit of a hit, I just needed time to walk it off — a knee to the hip, wasn’t too serious.

On Didier Drogba’s goal

I was on Drogba and, as the ball was coming, I took a gamble and went towards the ball. He just stopped and as the ball was cleared, it landed to him and he took a good shot. I think he was just right there at the right time.

On settling down after conceding

It was just us getting our rhythm back; there was an early goal so it was us trying to get the tempo back in the game, and it was staying calm and just doing what we do best and staying together as a team.

On facing three very different attackers — Drogba, Piatti, and Oduro. How much do you change your style defending one versus another?

Obviously, you know who’s coming at you, but it’s staying together as a back four, and with the whole XI, actually. I’m not trying to change my game too much because, at the end of the day, it’s any other player, and it’s making sure I’m covering the ground that I need to cover to try and protecting the goal as much as I can for Andre.

On how Keegan Rosenberry is playing

Oh, Keegan’s a stud, man, I gotta give it up to him, for sure. I mean, he’s been playing really well and it’s been good to have him on there.

Montreal Impact postgame quotes

Mauro Biello

On controlling the game

It’s not easy to win games. We see it across the league. When you make mistakes, some teams will make you pay. We had our chances. We created good chances today. Their ‘keeper did well, but we did not control the game as much as I would have wanted.

On the players maybe trying to do too much at home

We have to find balance between playing patiently or urgently. When we want to speed up the game, it doesn’t mean to send everyone forward and lose our balance. That was a bit the story in the first half. We went forward and left holes for them to exploit on the counter.

On the Union’s defensive work

“They are a well-organized team defensively. We held the ball well in the beginning. We were able to involve Nacho in the game. While trying to get the second goal, we left spaces in behind and they were able to put their foot in the game.

Laurent Ciman

On a five-game winless streak

It’s not an urgency, more a questioning. We pushed all the way tonight to get a second goal, but their ‘keeper made big saves. They did not really have a lot of chances. That’s good, we’ll have to build on that.

On mistakes defining the final result

I’m not a player who will always clear the ball in the air. I try to pass the ball to my teammates. After the turnover, I followed [Tranquillo] Barnetta and tried to win it back… It’s not because we lose the ball in midfield that we will concede every time. I try to move the ball forward tidily.

On not being able to score the second goal

It did not haunt us, of course, when it doesn’t go in, you think it won’t be easy tonight. We still created a lot of chances and didn’t give many away, so that’s good. We have to play as we did early in the season, and we’ll work this week to try and keep a clean sheet.

Patrice Bernier

On retaining the ball

We have to open lines and not send the ball forward in the air all the time and gifting them possession. When we did play on the ground, we created chances. That’s our quality: we can play, we can execute. We have to play with confidence and not play on our heels.

On letting the Union back in the game

There will be moments in a game when you suffer. We scored early, after that we thought we could score a second and a third. It didn’t come. We then made mistakes that opened spaces, and they were able to use them.

On Drogba’s injury

We can only hope he is OK. Still, we have a lot of depth and many quality players. We’ll move forward and hope he can play in the next game.


  1. el Pachyderm says:

    Interesting perspective on Barnetta from the manager… I appreciate how much more cohesive this team looks when he is in the field, an outcome that isn’t coincidence and was expected upon his return from injury early.
    The success of this team is pretty squarely on his availability… funny how naysayers regarding The Calm have generally disappeared…. if he had world class quickness I imagine his skill set/ IQ would have him at a whole different level of play.
    He’s The Calm for a reason…

    • BC is the calm. When WC starts in his stead there is an obvious gap between our backline and midfield. BC is the spongy glue between the two that is only noticed when absent.
      edit: Barny is important too. Noggy and he are able to breathe on the ball, it’s reassuring. I just want to affirm my belief in what BC gives compared to WC.

  2. John P O'Donnell says:

    “I saw a bunch of things on Twitter, a lot of that stuff is speculation: Is a strategic move to have him on there? Possibly. We don’t need to reveal our discovery list, officially. Yeah, you look at different things, different mechanisms that our league has, different unique ways that players come back in this league and ways that can be rewarded if you’re a little out in front of things”.

    Curtin sounds like he has a secret. What does he mean by how players come back in this league if Zlatan Ibrahimovic never played in it? Normally Curtin would squash any kind of rumor but he leaves it out there saying they are always looking to improve the team. Has Ernie got enough influence to get Sugarman to spend some money?

    • What’s the point of a bluff if you tip your hand?
      TBH, I’d be mad if the Union stand in the way of the Zlatan joining our league because they want a handout. On the other hand, if the Union would be willing to pony up the dough but Zlatan would rather go to LAG, then I’ve got no problem with the Union forcing him/LAG to work out a deal–maybe we get the last legs of Robbie Keane for cheap (LAG has to dump a DP slot if Ibra is going to fit into their roster). Best case scenario, Zlatan ends up in Philly and we win 1 or 2 MLS Cups.
      How much do you think Ibra would be worth to an MLS team in terms of merch, publicity, and butts in seats? More or less than what he’d demand in salary?

      • pragmatist says:

        They are talking about $10-12M/year, last I saw. I think Kaka is currently the highest at $7M/year. So he would be the highest-paid, by a lot. And he would be completely worth it. He would immediately be the biggest draw in the league, the best player in the league, #1 in jersey sales…pick your superlative.
        The league is adamant about not changing their rules for him, though. So it will be interesting to see how it works out.
        Orlando has tons of money, and a brand new stadium, and a world-class midfielder to pair with him. That would be an interesting option…

      • John Ling says:

        I think compensation is set by the roster rules at $50,000 in MLS funny money. But I could be misremembering…

      • pragmatist says:

        That is correct…except we are not in line to get any. Apparently, since we are not ready to make a “good faith offer,” it is not a qualifying claim.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      “sugarman” spending” is too simple: salary cap, plus general allocation money, plus targeted allocation money all play into the dollars, and then there are the non-dollar considerations like all the roster rules.

      • Got to think there is money around somewhere though. We have rookies all over the field and veterans that aren’t too high priced. Still have a DP spot open and neither of our existing DPs make much in the DP world.

  3. When is Blake leaving for Copa America? If it’s not before the Columbus game then he won’t miss any time because I can’t imagine Jamaica getting out of the group stage which means he’ll be back for the June 18th match at NYCFC.

    • OTOH, if Jamaica does make it out of group stage, it will likely be because of Blake, and there’s a chance we don’t see him in a Union kit ever again.

      • pragmatist says:

        We have 2 years left with him. He still needs to develop a few things. But he will not grow old in a Union kit…

      • I figure we got this year, and one more year with the Union. Then England will come calling with enough $$$ that it would be crazy to say no.

    • Agreed. I suspect he’ll miss the Columbus game for training camp. Jamaica has a tough bracket that they probably won’t make it out of even with Andre’s backstopping. Then we’ll have him back for the NYC game. (And the way they’ve been playing, we will surely need him.)

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