Postgame

Postgame video and quotes: Union 1-0 DC United

Photo and videos: Daniel Studio

Mike and Greg’s postgame wrap

Jim Curtin’s postgame press conference

Postgame comments from  Richie Marquez, Keegan Rosenberry, Chris Pontius and Andre Blake

Philadelphia Union postgame quotes

Note: Jim Curtin’s postgame press conference transcribed by PSP all other quotes provided.

Jim Curtin

Opening statement

I would open by saying I think the success we have this year has been predicated on our pressure, and our pressure in the first half was very poor. DC, credit to them, they really roll up their sleeves, they compete. They played some good soccer, I thought they made us very uncomfortable on the night in a lot of ways. We mentioned this to the guys, the names on the back of the jerseys for DC aren’t the same as LA or Montreal but they compete, and they fight, and they made it hard on us for 90 minutes. They created some chances against us, credit to my guys for sticking with it on what wasn’t our sharpest night on the ball. We played too many square balls, too many straight passes that where very predictable. Opened up a little bit in the second half and improved and, if you think back — I’m probably always a little too hard on the guys — but them you think about Seba’s chance, CJ’s good look, we had a couple of hard balls across the face of goal, and I think that we did deserve the goal. On the goal, obviously, Richie stays up and commits to staying in the box. It starts with a very good ball by Josh Yaro, who was excellent on the night; good ball on the ground to Seba. Seba knows what he’s doing before the ball comes to him, just takes a touch and finds the back post.

There’s a belief in the group, I think it is clear, even when it is not our best night we can win a one nothing game roll up our sleeves and fight. We can win in a lot of ways. We can win pretty, we can win when we are a little off and we can win on a restart. So, we’ve won in different ways this year. I think it’s a testament to the group; the belief in the locker room is strong [and] you know that starts with Earnie providing that in the whole organization. We’re in a good spot right now, It doesn’t get any easier though, we have to go on the road to Orlando, to Colorado. But, I’ll go to war with my group anywhere.

On Richie Marquez’s Goal

I give credit to my staff for that, we joked about it with him this week in terms of a lot times on corners, he’s such a defense-minded guy that initial ball comes in and he hits the ground and if it doesn’t go straight to one of our guys he’s just in retreat mode, defense first mode, and he’s running back. Mike Sorber, BJ Callahan mentioned to him to take a little risk and stay up there every once in a while. If you’re not in the box you’re not going to score, you know? So, again, it’s one of those things, you do it 85 times out of a hundred and it doesn’t come to you and that one time it comes to you — I said 85 times out of a hundred, that’s wrong math [laughs]. 99 out of a hundred, we’ll go that way [laughs]. But, no, Richie was committed to get in the box; actually scores a pretty difficult goal, it got on him fast, a great ball from Seba. Happy for him to get his first goal; most happy with the zero at home. That’s where it starts.

Being a former center back yourself, do like seeing a center back be the hero?

Yeah, I mean, I like to not notice my center backs I think our center backs for the most part, that means they’re doing their job. I think our center backs right now are playing at an incredible high level. Ken Tribbett needs to be mentioned at the beginning of the year, Anderson Conceicao: they push each other on practice, they work their butts off after practice every day. So, yes, it is good to see them rewarded because, you know, their names don’t show up a lot on the stat sheet, but Richie is a great player, a young center back that’s growing in confidence with the ball. Really is improved, it is nice to get a goal, but I still like when it’s quiet and you’re not talking about the center backs too much, that usually means we’re having success defensively.

On Josh Yaro

He’s been excellent. Sometimes I think people forget that across that back line there’s two kids from Georgetown, there’s a young goalkeeper, and Richie is in his second real year of playing minutes in MLS; Fabinho and Ray, you know, experienced guys — it’s a really good back line. The work that’s done in front of them needs to be credited, as well; we’re a team. You saw in the first half, when we’re not all on the same page collectively pressing together, we don’t look like ourselves. And it’s a sign of a true team because if one guy’s late, if one guy’s slow, we get picked apart. So, it’s going to take everybody being on the same page for 90 minutes, and it can’t be in waves, we’re not good enough, no team in our league is good enough, to go through games like that.

Does a finish like that make the rivalry more real?

Yeah, I mean, rivalries, everyone is talking about the rivalries this week.  I got asked if it’s a rivalry; If you have to ask if it’s a rivalry, it is not a rivalry, you know what I mean, so that’s where I’m at on rivalries. I think rivalries are formed over time and in the playoffs, and our only playoff was against Houston, and we see them once a year. So there’s no…It’s tough. I read an article today that Orlando and Kansas City have a rivalry, and I was like, they’ve played each other one time in their history. So, again, we don’t like anybody in the Eastern Conference, we want to take all three points. DC is tough, they’re well coached, they’re organized, Benny does a great job with them. New York and DC, I guess you could say there’s a little something just because of the proximity, we’re closer to them. There’s relationships between Earnie, Josh Gros, Benny Olsen — there’s a lot, we know each other, we know each other very well.  So, yeah, there is a little something in it but we are very respectful off the field, on the field. There’s some bite to the games, I would say, but I don’t think there’s anything more in it then when we go to Orlando now, it’s going to be another roll up your sleeves and get after it in the Eastern Conference. But, good game, it was a good game.

How big is going from a scoreless draw to a 1-0 win with the quick turnaround coming up?

It’s going to be tough. To have this momentum on a Friday night when, to be honest, the rest of the league is not playing right now so most of them are watching. To win a game is good for our locker room, obviously, with confidence. To now sit back and watch the Eastern Conference teams beat up on each other a little bit this weekend is good. Orlando is a really tough place to go, it’s going to be a challenge, and then you follow it up with Colorado, they’re having a heck of a season, as well, Pablo’s done a great job with them. So, it’s going to test us but, again, we’ll have to be smart. We’re going to be fearless on the road, we’re not going to be a team that sits back and just absorbs, we’re going to play the same way as we play in our home stadium as we will on the road. Obviously, our depth will be tested a bit, that’s why we have two guys at each spot so, we’re ready to go. But, yes, good for confidence, for sure.

Is it fair to say the subs and tactics were a bit conservative in the second half?

I mean, yeah, if you say it, it’s your decision. I mean, if you say it was conservative, it was conservative. But we won 1-0, we’re happy with how we played. Again, Vincent took an injury yesterday so we were a little defensive minded. We’re working towards, again, centrally, I said it, getting to more offensive guys, offensively-minded guys on the field. We’re not collectively there yet as a team to be able to sustain that. All three of my subs that went in, two were offensive, Fabinho had to come out because of an injury. So, what would you have done?

Did having to bring in a sub for Fabinho mess with your sub rotation?

There you go. Yes, you’re right, that affects a lot when your left back goes down, you don’t like to sub your back line, especially when you’re keeping a zero. Your left back gets hurt in the 70th minute, you’re going to make a defensive sub, in that regard. Nailed it.

On finishing and aggression in the box on offense

It can always be better. I think we’re a team that’s going to create chances over the course of 90 minutes. I like that we’re organized defensively, we’re tough to play through so, that part is good. Can you get on the end of chances? On a different night could Seba’s have gone in, that one that he has in front of the goal? Missed touches, that happens. CJ had a good look, you know, the one that ‘Quillo gets to the end line and plays hard across. Yeah, on a different night we could have had a couple goals. Good for Richie to get on the end of one. We’re a team. Again, there’s going to be nights where maybe the defenders have to step up a bit, there’s going to be nights where maybe our attackers need to step up a bit.

What happened to Fabinho?

Sounds like muscle…He says cramp in his calf, so it was tightening up on him, it wasn’t one that was going away no matter how much you stretch it, it kept coming up, so it was a difficult situation for him to continue push, and he made the right choice to take himself out. To have Ray Gaddis go in, Ray quietly did a really good job.

Was Chris Pontius perhaps chasing it a little bit against his old team?

There’s always going to be emotion in a game like this. You can say it’s just another game publicly but, yeah, there’s probably a little bit more in it. There’s probably a bit more in it for their guys, too, because they know him well, they compete against him in the locker room each and every day for many years. Sean Franklin and him know each other inside and out, so it was a bit of a stalemate there, you know what I mean? So, I thought that we needed to make a change. It wasn’t because Chris was poor, or anything like that, but just needed some fresh legs. I thought he was OK on the night but, again, there’s emotion there, for sure, and I think with all of our guys in the first half, you saw every time they got on the ball they wanted to make a final pass and were kind of pressing. And these are big games, they’re early games but they’re big, you know, first place was on the line in our conference so thee probably was a bit of nerves in our entire group. But, they responded well with a good second half.

On developing the mentality that enables a late win

It can feel helpless on the sidelines because you want to get in their mind with “clear it ten more yards up the field,” how to close out a game, these little things, but you’re standing on the sidelines, and you’re watching, and you think you’ve prepared them well enough to get through those moments but, until they go through them themselves, there’s nothing that can recreate it. And there is, you guys have known it, there’ve been games that have been lost here, and blown leads, big leads. The only way to go through it is to win 1-0 games, to know what it’s like to grind out, to get a 90th minute goal. It starts with the belief. There are a lot of new faces in the locker room, too, so I think a lot of the past is the past, it’s gone. And, it does need to be said, a lot of these guys have played in a big game or two now. We’ve lost a couple big games in an Open Cup final, but you still learn a lot from those moments. They’re growing, all of them are in different phases of their development, but to see them go through, and come back, and show resilience i something that your proud of as a coach, and it speaks to the locker room that we’ve built and the improvement in the organization.

Any updates on when Andre Blake will leave to join the Jamaica national team for the Copa America Centenario?

Yeah, we know when he will be here with us, and he’s an important piece to us; it’s between us and Jamaica right now, we’ll make the decision that’s best for both parties. Obviously, a goalkeeper that’s playing at an incredibly high level; Jamaica wants him to maintain that high level — so do we. He was excellent again tonight and he’s a big part of our success, and he’s done a great job. We know when he’ll be making the move to go to Jamaica and play those big important games for his national team.

Richie Marquez

On the game winning goal

Going off a corner kick or free throws, don’t necessarily leave the box right away. My first thought as a defender is to go back to my goal, but staying alive on the play when the ball came in from Seba [Le Toux] and I just judged it and was able to get my foot on it.

On how it feels to score first-ever goal

It’s a good feeling. I don’t score goals often, so it feels good.

On where he learned to finish like that

Surprisingly, in training. We train like that with the second sessions. We do some finishing like that, we do some crossing and everybody gets a shot at it so that’s credit to coaches for that.

On the pass

I wouldn’t say it was behind me, it’s just judging the cross really, you’ve got to time it yourself.

On the defensive performance

Yeah, I mean the shutout was more important for the defenders and whole team because it’s been a while since we have had one. We were able to keep the zero at home especially; it’s a good sign.

On the change of culture

I think a lot of it is just chemistry. I think the chemistry between the players on and off the field is just amazing. I mean these guys work hard for me and I’m going to do the same thing for them. It all starts in training really. Even off the field, you know lot of us guys, we hang out a lot and I think that correlates how we are playing.

On how important this win is

You never want to go into the game thinking you’re going to lose or draw. So coming out with three points, especially after those draws, it just boosts the morale again. It gives us the confidence again, especially because of the San Jose draw. That one felt like a loss to me personally. So being able to boost the morale with this game, I think it’s very important.

On the Rivalry Week

I think it’s definitely different. I think it’s a grudge match; both the teams are out there fighting and competing. Obviously the soccer wasn’t perfect today, for either team. But it’s one of those games where you have to fight through 90 plus minutes.

I love rivalries. Two Eastern Conference teams going at it. Especially the history that we have with D.C. I think it just goes to show that it’s fun games. Because those game where you have to fight like that, it’s good for everybody. The fans and the players.

On the similarity between these two teams

I don’t know, I just focus on Philly you know, that’s all I care about. Who knows, maybe next game they play differently, it all depends on them.

Andre Blake

On the shut out

It’s a great feeling. Feels like I haven’t had a shutout in a while, so to get this one tonight, hats off to the guys. It wasn’t our best soccer but we stuck to it and if we’re going to be a champion, we’re going to have to win games like those.

Thoughts on Richie getting the goal. Just what does that mean for a center back to do something like that?

That’s just perfect. The timing could not have been better. I’m very happy for him and it’s a great win for the team.

What does this do for you going into Copa? This performance?

It’s great. It’s always a confidence booster. Getting 90 minutes in, get experience and learning every time you touch the pitch, so every time I get to play a game, it’s great for me and it just build my confidence and going into Copa, I’m looking for to go and keep doing what I’m doing.

Do you know when you’re going to be leaving for the Copa camp?

Well, it’s still kind of pending, but let’s see. Hopefully I can get a couple of more games for the Union before I head out, but let’s see what happens there.

How about the big save on the overhead kick?

Yeah, I mean it was a reaction save, and as I said before, I’m in that to make the saves and to do everything I can to keep my team in the game.

We you proud of the whole back line tonight getting the shut out

Definitely proud of the back line but it’s not just the back line, it’s the entire team. I think it starts with C.J. up top and the guys have been doing a fantastic job. Been doing the dirty work in practice and it’s been paying off on the field.

Keegan Rosenberry

Big goal, what does that do for you? What does that do for him?

Yeah I mean seeing any of your teammates score is obviously invigorating but somebody in the back line alongside me is that much more exciting. But I think especially in the fashion that it was, it being late in the game getting us such a big three points and getting this close to the top of the eastern conference is exciting.

Being on the field, part of that moment, what’s going through your head?

Immediately for me it’s like, all right, we need to lock it up, you know it’s the last couple minutes of stoppage time and we got to be smart kind of thing, but obviously immediately when it happens, it’s a rush of excitement to hear the fans celebrate and the whole crowd is behind you. Its awesome.

And for the entire back line to get the clean sheet, just what does that mean?

I mean it’s where the three points start is the clean sheets. So we struggled to get that in the past couple games but, I think it pays off for us and we have more success when that happens.

You hit the goal last week and Richie scores tonight, what will it take to get Fabi one?

Well, he’s close. He had a good shot tonight. But I think it’s just a mentality for most of us and a lot of us have that mentality of being aggressive whether it’s in the box or taking an aggressive touch and having a look at goal. So no I think I think the whole back line is excited for Richie this week.

Does it feels like you guys are scoring by committee? C.J. has a couple but everyone chip in a little bit?

Yeah, I’d say so I think I mean obviously we rely on certain guys maybe at times to create stuff for us. I think that makes us more dangerous – not just one guy being able to do carry the whole workload. And knowing where it’s going to come from is good for us and bad for the other team.

Chris Pontius

On the game

Kept my emotions in check. Ii just wasn’t the prettiest of games on both sides. It comes down to something where we get a service or for Seba to serve a good ball then Richie with a good finish.

Is there a moment in the game at the beginning where you kind of lose the stuff that its DC and you used to be there? Is it just when the whistle blows?

Yeah I guess when the whistle goes, you don’t have time to think about that. You’re thinking about the next play. You’re thinking about what you can do so then think about it after that.

On not having Vincent Nogueira

Vincent is a key to our team so it hurts but we got quality guys that have played significant minutes stepping in so, Warren [Creavalle] and Brian Carroll in there, they’re both comfortable in there together just like I said for the whole team, it was not the prettiest of games, and D.C. did a good job making it that way for us, making it a bit tougher. And Andre made a couple big saves for us. Credit to Seba and Richie for getting on the end of one there.

On getting a win vs a zero-zero draw

Huge. Huge. It’s a tough couple weeks coming up. You want to go in with as much confidence as you can so to start things off right especially when we had a tough week so to get the win at home here and go on the road at two tough places to play, its good. It’s good to get off on a good start.

So there was no added sweetness to the win for you?

I won’t say that. I won’t say that. But you know at the end of the day when you look back at it, you know, some wins are ugly, some wins are pretty. This is one of the uglier but obviously beating my former team is a bit sweet.

DC United postgame quotes

Ben Olsen

On the overall game

I’m disappointed that we lost the game in the closing moments, but I’m disappointed because it’s a poor call from the referee to give them a set piece there. I’m disappointed that we weren’t men enough to see out the game despite that call. It’s a game; it can go either way right? A lot of good chances, open game, and disappointed. That’s what it is, the ups and downs, learn from it and move on to Kansas City.

On Luciano Acosta

I think he was forcing it a little bit; it’s not him, that’s part of this process. But he’ll figure it out.

It’s part of the process; he is figuring himself out, his teammates still figuring him out. Still think he’s got to make the right choice more and play simple. Those guys are going to double-team him, triple team him, so he’s got to make life easier on himself. But he is a good little player; he’s going to be good in this league. It’s not always going to be perfect. I thought Sarvas played well, I thought Julian came in and did a good job. And everyone gave a very good effort tonight. It’s just disappointing that we didn’t see it out.

On Travis Worra

He is making saves. That’s what goalkeepers do in this league you know. We are starting to expect him to play like an MLS goalkeeper and that’s what he played like tonight. So I’m happy for him but in the end we lost so not really in the mood to praise too many guys, including myself.

Bobby Boswell

On the overall game

I thought we started the game well. It went well for us in the first half, then they came out hot in the second half but we were able to control part of the second half. It kind got back and forth, which we didn’t like but we gotta see that out, it’s disappointing. I would like to see us keep the shutout there, we were close but unfortunately they got three points and we got nothing. So long bus ride back to D.C. tonight.

Steve Birnbaum

On the last few minutes of the game

I thought we defended well the whole game. We were under pressure, but that’s no excuse, we got to find a way and be for the last couple minutes of the game.

Luciano Acosta

On the coach taking him off in the second half

I understand and respect the decision.

There wasn’t really anything that serious, we were just trying to say something to each other and neither of us understood what each of were saying so.

Yeah, I found it uncomfortable, every ball I got, I wasn’t feeling comfortable to do much with it. And that’s why he made that decision to take me out.

5 Comments

  1. el Pachyderm says:

    Why does this rivalry thing MLS is pushing matter- that it dominates the week long local media questioning…
    .
    Yes NY has two teams and they have an actual Derby… which in typical east coast fashion as seen on Twitter appears to be heating up…Yes Portland and Vancouver and Seattle have a long standing Cascadia rivalry… I guess there are one or two more in the league… otherwise- stop fabricating them…it speaks to the homogenized petrie dish product this league of Fake Plastic Trees is pushing. The league and its clubs anesthesize me with rivalry week- meanwhile I had to watch this so – called rivalry game on Unimas in a foreign language.
    .
    Newflash— Rivalries create themselves! Its called authenticity.
    .
    Yeah Yeah…I know…tiresome…brooding..white noise to some…. but likely right too.

    • Have to agree Packy…and if your going to shove a rivalry down our throats,how about put it on national TV! Great way to sell your league! No problem with it being on Unimas,but it should also have been on an English network. Heineken is the “sponsor”… I wonder how they felt about the coverage.

  2. philpill says:

    Re: Blake: Why the secrecy about his absence? JC says they know, but rhey’re not saying. Do we think teams will gameplan differently for a GK?

    If his team still has to go with the double pivot when Nogs is absent, how do we attack more when Blake is not there to save us?

    Time for a team update on Edu.

    • Zizouisgod says:

      Managers are always going to be coy about those things so they don’t give away any clues to the next team that they’re going to play.

    • I’m personally looking at DC/NY in early July for a possible Edu appearance. We should be very thankful we’re so deep this season. Not rushing recovery is very important.

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