Postgame quotes: Rapids 1-1 Union

Photo: Courtesy of Philadelphia Union

Note: Union quotes transcribed by PSP. All other quotes provided. Questions have been paraphrased.

Philadelphia Union postgame quotes

Jim Curtin

Opening statement

First and foremost, Colorado has a very good team, I think that’s clear. The table tells the truth, I believe that, and they’re on top of the league right now, so credit to Pablo and his team. Very difficult team to break down; I don’t think we created very much on the night, hard to get through. In a lot of ways, our teams kind of mirror each other a little bit, so it may be dull to the eye, but I actually like it because guys are out there breaking up plays and competing their tails off. We’re built kind of similar: a very good back four, big center backs that are very strong in the air, two holding midfielders that do a heck of a lot of dirty running — I think they have the exact same thing as us, in that regard — that maybe flies under the radar, they’re having a very strong season, and some talented players in the front line.

So, happy for the resilience that my group showed. It’s difficult going on the road to Orlando with the turf and the heat and then coming here to altitude. To get points in both places shows a lot of character and grit. To go down in the 87th minute is difficult, it can break a team, but my guys showed a lot of resilience and were in it for the full 90 minutes. So, proud of them, in that regard.

On Andre Blake’s importance

It all starts with good goalkeeping. In this league, it’s so valuable, it’s ten to twelve points a year. Zac MacMath is having a great year as well in Colorado. Andre is playing at an incredibly high level. We lose him now for Copa America, which is difficult. He’ll go there to represent his national team and I’m sure he’ll turn some heads with all the international scouts there. But, he’s been excellent for the Philadelphia Union, he makes these incredible saves and also makes the ones on crosses where he just comes out with those long arms and just kind of lets me breathe easy on the sidelines. So, he’s been a big part of our success [and] our defenders have done a good job helping out. Andre is an excellent goalkeeper.

On the subs

Ilsinho’s a special player. He’s played in the Champions League, he’s played at the highest level — he’s a big time player. We finally got him healthy, to get him 30 minutes today was important. You can see his talent with the ball: he can take a guy on 1 versus 1, he’s very clever and dangerous.

Fabian Herbers, a good, young player, he comes in and leaves an impact on the game right away. It’s not an easy game for a rookie player to go into. We finished the game with three guys who are new to the roster on the field that are rookies. So, happy, it’s a great way to learn. But Fabian, yeah, he contributed a lot of dirty running defensively and also caused some problems for the back line. And Roland Alberg, in a very brief time, left a mark on the game. So, happy with how they performed. We’re a team, guy 1 through 20 has to bring it every day, and we’ve shown we have good character and we’re sticking together.

On playing three games in eight days

We try to play — not try: We play the same way home and away. So, we’re not a team that by plan sit back. There were moments in this game where, because Colorado was good with the ball, they pinned us in a bit. But, yeah, we’re are a team that wants to press home and away. I think a little fatigue kicked in at the end, the altitude gets to guys a little bit. It is a tough place to play, the crowd was into it at the end especially.

The game plan coming in was to play the same way. We respected Colorado a great deal, we didn’t fear them, but we respected them a great deal. Both teams are missing some key guys; that needs to be said, as well. We got a little bit lucky that Jermaine [Jones] wasn’t here, and [Shkëlzen] Gashi is having a great year as well, so we like to think we’re missing some guys too: Nogueira’s injured, Ilsinho’s just coming back, and Mo Edu’s is coming back as well. So, two strong teams having good years and I think you saw, especially in the first half, this kind of mirror image of each other. Not a ton of action, but it opened up a bit. They had the better of play, for sure, in the second half, they took it to us a bit. We absorbed it; they got their goal, we responded, as well.

Do you expect Ilsinho to play a bigger role?

Yes [chuckles], the quick answer is yes, he’s going to play a big role. Because, when he’s on the field and getting 90 minute shifts like he just started to before he had the little injury setback he is a game changer. One versus one, he’ll beat the man in front of you, which always creates numbers-up situations for us. He’s special, he plays at a different level; again, we’re lucky to have him. Now it’s just being eager and patiently waiting to get him fully fit and healthy. 30 minutes is a good starting point but you still you want him where he can be in for the full 90 minutes. He’s a special one. I keep saying that because I see things in practice every day that I can’t coach, I can’t teach. He has it, and it’s going to come.

Is Chris Pontius’ head injury OK?

At first when they collided…again, two aggressive teams, both teams are really good in the air — a lot of big boys, big bodies out there — collisions happen. When he first came over to the sidelines, I kind of gave him, like, the “You’re running over here, get back out on the field.” And then they showed what happened to his head and he’ll need some stitches, that’s for sure. It was pretty gross, a big slice; he’ll probably get sown up pretty good. But, Chris is a tough kid, he has a great mentality and leaves everything out on the field. He’s a competitor — he didn’t hesitate to get sown up and get right back out there really quick. Yeah, he’s a man, Chris is a man, no doubt.

What do you see in Pontius?

Chris is a special player. Incredible around the goal. I think the work that he’s done defensively this year, that doesn’t maybe show up on stat sheets, has been very valuable. Yes, he’s got big goals and big assists for us, but I love the work that he’s done defensively: cutting off passing lanes, winning head balls, keeping things alive, fighting for every second balls, splits his head open [laughs]. But, no, he leaves everything out there and he’s a winner. He’s lifted trophies in this league, he knows what it takes to win in this league. And when I have a pretty young group, especially on the back line, he’s a guy that instills some leadership and some confidence in younger players. So, [unintelligible], you need guys like that. You guys have a bunch of them here in Colorado like [Sam Cronin who have been through a bunch of these battles. Chris has had a strong season, I hope he keeps going and he’s going to play 34 games. The injury stuff is in the past, he doesn’t talk about it anymore. That’s good.

Brian Carroll

On his game-tying goal

Just right place at the right time. I was trying to be further up the field and put some more numbers forward and just look for the knock downs and got in sort of behind them on the left side. Put in a cross, and that got us close, but then just stayed forward and the ball found me and I just made sure to keep it on frame.

On being the captain and extending the point streak to seven matches

Look, guys put in so much work on this road trip. To come out with high spirits like this on a high note getting a late goal to tie it and bring home some more points is great for our confidence, and now we just got to handle business at home.

Ray Gaddis

On first assist of the season

We were down a goal and coach was telling me to press. Had some good crosses in the first half, but in this moment just with the team, I wanted to help the team in any fashion that I could. I thought Fabian did great to get up and get it and BC did well to finish it. That’s a great result for us on the road.

On the defensive performance

Both teams were compact. It was going to take one play – that was the message from us in the locker room — to get a result. Both teams came up with a play. I mean, they were also very compact, it’s not by accident that they don’t give up a lot of goals.

Ken Tribbett

On playing in front of his friends and family in Colorado

Unbelievable feeling. The amount of support I had tonight: thirty family members to come out — most of them the first time they’ve seen me play at this level — was pretty awesome.

Thoughts on Colorado

They were very difficult to break down. I mean, it’s obvious to see why they’ve only allowed I think ten goal, maybe 11 goals now in the season. So, good team, strong defensively, and are able to break you down offensively, too. Pretty obvious why they’re first in the West and in the whole MLS.

Colorado Rapids postgame quotes

Pablo Mastroeni

Thoughts on the result

That’s football for you. The game doesn’t give you anything and you have to concentrate until the last whistle. Give them credit, they pushed and fought, but it was obviously disappointing.

On the number of chances created

I think myself and everyone in there believes that we’re going to win every game. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but the positive is that you keep fighting until the game is over. I think the first half was slow and sluggish especially in possession. We weren’t incisive enough. Overall, it was a game against a very good team who has been playing very well. Hats off to them for grabbing a point.

On missing Jermaine Jones and Shkëlzen Gashi

The way we talk about it is, everyone needs to play. You’ve got to go out there and win with the players that you have. To me, the most important thing is that you have to go out and prove yourself every week regardless of who’s available or who’s injured.

It’s not about changing a mindset because we don’t have certain players, it’s a consistent mindset that says it’s a great opportunity to once again, prove to ourselves that we’re a very good side playing against the best team in the East. We controlled large portions of that game and created some good opportunities. Unfortunately tonight, we just didn’t get the three points.

On Cronin’s performance

Sam has an uncanny ability to find those moments to squeeze past people in the midfield and find good spots in front of goal. Tonight, I think he showed his class. It was a fantastic delivery, fantastic finish at the right time and that type of mentality in the midfield is what we need.

Marlon Hairston

On what he brings to the squad

First of all, I want to credit my teammates. I haven’t played on the wing in a while, so during the week, they’ve been helping me and coaching me. I got a couple of reps in this week in that position, so when I got on the field they made my job really easy. I just try to put myself in a position where I can try to get 1v1s as much as I can, and try to run in behind the defense and be a threat as much as possible.

On what specifically he was told before coming in

Before I came in the coaches just gave me specific instructions to try to get in behind the defense. A lot in the first half and early in the second half, we were playing in front of them so we had trouble trying to break them down, but we were still trying to create chances. The more that we could stretch them, the more we could open up holes in front of the defense. Kevin [Doyle] did a great job and the entire attack, so I just tried to come in and be a threat in behind to try and be a hassle for the fullback.

On if this tie feels like a loss

Yes, definitely – for me it does. I just wanted to come in and make an impact for this team. We fought hard today, we created numerous chances. We wanted to go into the break with three points here at home, but at the same time, to finish before the break undefeated is still great for us and great for the fans, and it’s definitely something that we can continue to build on for when we come back from the break.

Sam Cronin

Thoughts on the match

We had plenty of chances in the game, we hit the crossbar a number of times. So we’re disappointed in the result obviously, but realistically we probably weren’t going to win every game at home. We’re still in great form, just a little better finishing and I think it’s a different result.

On the hard defending and his goal

In the last 15-20 minutes we had good control. Everyone was shifting around and passing and moving well. We were getting the ball wide in good spots.

Just a couple of times I didn’t feel like we had enough guys in the box, so when Marlon [Hairston] got the ball I just made a hard run in there and he served a good ball in and I was fortunate that it went in. On the other end, I haven’t seen it yet, but it was a long, hopeful ball. We’ve just got to track our runners I think a little better and just see the game out. Give a lot of credit to them, they’re a good team; organized and tough competitors, but disappointing obviously to give the late goal away.

On missing Jermaine Jones and Shkëlzen Gashi tonight

They’re obviously two quality players, so we missed them on the field, but by no means do we feel like when players leave the team that we don’t have enough quality to still get results. Everybody who stepped on did a great job, we’ve just got to see the game out a little bit better next time.


  1. Moxie and gumption Ed, well worth the wait. Let’s go boys!!

  2. Phil in Wilmington says:

    Not too thrilled hearing a coach call a player “a man” for playing on through a head injury…

    • Fair point but I think Curtin, and really everyone in the league is very aware of the seriousness of head injuries.
      I would like to think that comment was meant in a more general sense that Pontius is a competitor and doesn’t back down from a physical battle on the field.

  3. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Probably worth noting that in the table for the Eastern Conference at the moment a separation of only four points spans the top eight teams, you read it correctly, eight.

    • Lester Patrick says:

      Three cheers for precious parity. Remember, any professional sports league is really only as strong as its weakest member. Playoffs provide a valuable second chance to unfortunate teams that could not hack the rigors of the demanding regular season. America is all about second chances and equality, all about fairness. More importantly, gotta keep the cash-paying public interested on a league-wide basis all season long … so if EVERYBODY is in the playoff picture, how can than not be fantastic (pun intended)?

      • Strong point…..also all the while providing an unfortunate second chance to the team that has proven itself the best all season long.

    • philpill says:

      Sitting at 8th, a CLB win Wednesday would put them only 3 back. I hope we’re fresh & ready.

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