Postgame

Postgame video and quote sheet: Union 3-2 Crew

Photo and video: Daniel Studio

Mike and Greg’s postgame wrap

Jim Curtin’s postgame press conference

Postgame comments from Matt Jones, Fabian Herbers and Chris Pontius

Philadelphia Union postgame quotes

Note. Jim Curtin’s postgame press conference transcribed by PSP. All other quotes provided by Philadelphia Union.

Jim Curtin

Opening statement

First off thank you to the fans for driving us on again. This place has become a special place to play in this year.

Columbus is a very good team, well coached, gave us problems, I thought, in the first half. Over the course of 90 minutes, though, you did see that they had only I think 16 healthy bodies so they were a little bit thin. We thought if we continued to play at a high tempo we could eventually wear them down. A little bit of a patchwork back line that they had [so] we thought, over the course of 90 minutes, if we played our game and continued to push the tempo on a hot night, in our building, we would get chances.

Credit to the guys, they’ve fought hard over these last three games. We’ve proven now that we can go Wednesday, Saturday, Wednesday without blinking, and worrying, and acting like that’s the biggest deal in the world. So, travel, temperature, the referees, all the different things that go into it, I think our guys deserve some time off going into the break. Proud of the group, proud of the performance, proud of everyone at the club, that needs to be said. Everyone behind the scenes, all of the technical staff, the medical staff, the performance department has really put a lot into this thing. We’re nowhere near where we need to be, we still can improve each and every day, but for right now, setting the goal to go into the Copa America break in first place in the East, this is what we said at the beginning of the year; we’re there now. We still gave up too many goals, I’m still angry at the guys for giving up a goal up a man. For some reason we take our foot off of the gas a little bit and we get punished. So, you can still learn from even the wins and the success so, we will look at the tape, and we’ll evaluate the rest of the performances, and we will get back to work pretty quickly after taking a day or two to regroup. The guys have earned that. I’m happy with them and, again, this is the start of something I think special.

On achieving one of the main goals of the season (to be in first at the break)

Yeah, anywhere in the world you have to win your home games in any sport,you know, it’s critical. And we haven’t done that in the past and I think that the mentality and the mindset has shifted here and there is a confidence when we play here. Is the soccer perfect yet? Far from it. I think we can improve and can be a little smarter on how we close games out, but, at the same time, you can see a group of guys that pushes, is not scared, gives every ounce of energy, represents the city of Philadelphia, and is playing pretty good soccer right now.

And I’m a big believer in the table tells the truth. At the end of the day we’re where we are because we put a lot into it. Again, it is still tight in the East, it’s going be tight the whole year. So, we’re not satisfied. We’ll continue push but I am happy with my team.

On importance of Ken Tribbett’s goal line clearance

Yeah, over the course of 90 minutes there’s 100 little plays that could go either way. You know you could flip it and say if we get the 2 v. 1 right at the top of the box between Quillo [Tranquillo Barnetta] and CJ [Sapong] it can change the game, too. But Ken made a great play to pull it off the goal line. He has a… I’ll call it a high soccer I.Q., he has a knack for being in the right place at the right time as a defender. Probably was disappointed with himself when he slipped on the first goal and let [Ola] Kamara free. He’s actually in a good spot to clear it, just lost his footing there. So difficult, but he bailed us out in that moment. There’s going to be, against good teams like Columbus, there’s going to be, you’re going to have to dodge a bullet or two. I thought that we managed things well and Ken had a strong performance again. He’s very good center back in this league.

Are you surprised by the development and impact of the younger players?

No. They’re good, they’re good players. Earnie [Stewart] was aggressive in the draft, really aggressive in the draft, and we got three guys that we wanted, and then two guys in the later rounds that we wanted, as well, that are actually performing day in and day out in training. Keegan [Rosenberry], Josh [Yaro], and Fabian [Herbers] are the ones on the field right now; Fabian scores a heck of a goal to ice it tonight. But, they’re the three that are getting the minutes. We’ve played them, the rookies, the most in the league by a healthy amount.

We trust young players, I think that you guys know that. We don’t care if they are young or old, it doesn’t make a difference, we’ll put them out there. We’ve finished a lot of games with three rookies on the field and they’ve done an exceptional job for us. We are a team, I think by the true sense of the word we are a team. I’ve said it before, we came out today on the field, everybody is asking now, “Who is the leader of this group?” Or, “When the game gets tough, who is your guy that steps up?” I think I have 11 guys that will lead, and 11 guys that will step up, when the game starts.

On Fabian Herber’s goal/season thus far

I mean, Earnie, Chris, and I talk about it on a daily basis. We see what happened tonight in training everyday, you know, so he is a kid that around the goal is incredibly sharp. He has a knack for running, losing his center back, being in the right spot at the right time. Composure. So, he gets slipped in there on his weaker foot to have the composure to know that the center back’s only play there is to slide, he cuts it back to his strong foot and puts it in a pretty good spot [chuckles], to say the least. So, he has things that I can’t teach, I don’t take credit for any of that, that is for sure. He is special around the goal. He has a lot to learn, he worked hard defensively tonight, and I am proud of that. So, that was my message when we went in, I said, “If you score a goal, great, but I am more concerned now with the defensive work and the defensive effort.” And he, he is not phased by going into a game. Whether we’re winning, whether we’re losing, whether we’re tied, he’s the same every time. He is not scared, that’s for sure.

On Ilsinho’s role of the team

I think fitness is the clear one, right? So, tonight was 20 minutes and you could see he was fatigued, a bit, by the end. He is incredible 1 vs. 1, incredible. Again, a guy who got going really well, if you think back to the Chicago game where he played 90 minutes, and was taking guys on, and looked like what we saw in preseason, and he was able to sustain it. So, his fitness was very good. He had a little set back with, not a major injury, but just little minor ones that have kept him out. And he’s a guy that, listen, when he’s fully healthy and fully fit, he’s as dangerous as there is in our league. And I mean that, I’ve seen it in training. So, we’re not just going to throw him in there for 90 right away and have a set back and maybe another injury because other guys are playing well, also. Again, we’re two deep in each spot and when he is called upon he steps up. He made some good plays tonight, he made some plays that you question, some blind flicks, and it’s just a matter of getting some sharpness back, and you only get that through playing games.

On Matt Jones and his first start

I thought he was good, I thought he was solid. On the first one we made two mistakes: Fabi (Fabinho) [was] over aggressive, Ken slips. Again, we give up goals as team, but on that one I don’t think that there’s anything he could really do. The second one I didn’t really get a clear look at, but marking in the middle was obviously not good, we lost a guy out wide. Unacceptable up a man, again, to take our foot off of the gas, so I don’t anything Matt could do there. Did ok on some crosses, I thought. It’s not an easy situation, he’s had a bit of a roller coaster having your first born, so I’m very happy for him to get a win, he really helped the team. And we’ve had a next man up mentality, guys have stepped up and done a really good job, and by the true sense of the word, we are a team. We’re not about individuals, we don’t have a superstar, out team is the star.

On what he’s learned about the team after playing WEdnesday-Saturday-Wednesday

I learned that we’re in good shape. I think that we knew that, but it confirmed it; to go to Orlando in the heat, to go to play at altitude, deal with all of those scenarios, to come home on a pretty warm night tonight: we have good fitness. Our guys are pushing, and our fitness department has done a really good job of the maintenance, to not have a lot of little injuries. We’ve really minimized that. And you can see guys get stronger as the game goes on. There’s still a whole nother level that we can push to. We’ve gotten here by hard work, and we’re going to continue to work hard. We have a good group of guys that have a belief now. There’s a lot of positives going on at the club right now. We want to stay at the top of the East for the rest of the year; it’s not easy to do. It’s easy for me to sit up here with the microphone and talk about it but the only way that we do it is through the training each and everyday, and the guys have brought that. We’ll need to bring it now for the next four months so it’s still a long way to go.

You have a lot of respect for Conor Casey as a player…

‘Love Conor.

Did any part of you feel bad seeing him go out of the game with a red card?

No. [Laughter.] Not one part. Not one part. I love Conor Casey, he’s a friend. He’s a great player. I thought that our fans…I guess you’d call that a tribute, I don’t know what you call that. But, it was pretty cool to see a guy who gave a lot to the club go off probably not the way that he wanted to go off with a red card but, you know, Philly fans sometimes catch a bad wrap nationally, but we’re very knowledgeable people. We love people that give everything on the field. Those are the guys, if you go through all of the athletes, the [Allen] Iverson’s for the Union, and Conor Casey a guy that left everything out there, played physical, and had an in your face mentality so I am not surprised they cheered him off. But, at the same time, I was thinking, “Thank god there’s not two forwards up there for the last 15 minutes,” ’cause Conor’s a guy who is very dangerous. So, no sympathy from me, but, again, a guy that I think very highly of, and in a lot of ways is responsible for me getting the head coaching job.

Fabian Herbers

On his first career MLS goal

Yeah, I got a great pass from Ilsinho, It was on a counter attack and he put me through very well, and I cut it with my left so the defender was gone. I could have played Ilsinho back or Quillo [Barnetta] as well but I’m a striker and I just go for it. Luckily it went in the far corner.

It’s very important that we got a goal up then, we had a lead of two and we actually conceded one late in the game so that’s a good goal to have I guess.

On the celebration

I have done it in the past, back in Germany, I haven’t done it in college actually but, yeah, it was a special goal and I thought, yeah, just bring it back.

On what Jim Curtin thought of the celebratory flip

He hasn’t said anything actually; I haven’t talked to him yet personally so he hasn’t said anything yet.

On finally converting a chance

Yeah, I’m very happy, I appreciate the trust of the coaches; they always put me in late in the game. They trust me, they have the hope that I can make an impact on the game and yeah I have had several chances in other games, and I just got unlucky in those games. But yeah I finally hit one into the net and I’m really really happy about that.

On any nervousness for scoring the first goal

Yeah, I wouldn’t say anxiety, but I mean yeah you just want to score if you’re a striker. I mean I don’t get that many minutes yet but I have had several chances as you said and yeah. It’s not frustrating but of course you want to score, you always want to hit the net as a striker but yeah finally I hit one in and I’m really really happy about it. I broke the band and now hopefully I can score a couple more goals in the future.

Matt Jones


On the match

It’s a message that we have been able to send to the rest of the league that we are here for good. We are not going to go away and the big games, we manage to pull out results. From a team standpoint, it was a great result. Obviously, from a personal standpoint, it was great to be out there. The fans were great once again. So from a personal standpoint I can be happy with my debut and just look forward now.

On his performance

A little bit disappointed with the goals. Obviously no keeper likes to concede, especially the one in the last minute. It was a little bit hard to take, but at the end of the day it is part of the game. You have got to take the positives out of the game and go from there.

On Columbus’ second goal

Yeah, the ball came across quick and the guy made a late run just around the penalty spot. And unfortunately, he had a little time to pick his spot and he just took it well. At the end of the day, it is one of them things that the result was the most important thing today and three points are in the bag, so we will go from there.

On knocking off the rust

No, nothing crazy. Obviously getting that game rhythm is important for the keeper. Being able to read the ball is important and that doesn’t come overnight. From that standpoint, yeah, it was maybe a tiny bit of rustiness, but from a personal point, I was happy with the way things went. It was a big three points.

Chris Pontius


On his goal

On the first one, it was a good overlap by (Fabinho). First, the ball by (Sebastien Le Toux) to switch the field was unbelievable and then Fabinho makes a good overlap and they stayed with him and that opened space up in the middle. I just tried to get a shot off and was putting it back post, trying to curl it in there – a deflection, the goalie was already going the wrong way and it’s in the net.

On the second goal

To be honest, I didn’t see Vince (Nogueira). I’m not sure who made the run in and I just missed him behind, the ball squirts out to Vince and he is in the right spot at the right time and is able to finish it on frame.

On what the team learned about themselves

Stuff that I already knew about the team. We’re a group that is going to battle and fight every game. We go down a goal today and the response is well. It’s hot and it’s humid, but the guys battle through it. It’s stuff that I already knew that we could do.

On his goals against Columbus

It happens sometimes. Some teams you have better luck against during the year. Columbus is a good team. They spread you out well and a lot of teams get into trouble against them because their ball movement is so good. But, we stayed compact. They are a good enough team that they are going to create chances. They got their goals tonight, but tonight our offense just came alive a little bit more.

On contributions from the young guys

Yeah, it is huge. I’ve said it all year that these young guys don’t play like they are rookies or like they are in their first year in the league. They stepped up, so it is good for Fabian (Herbers) to get that monkey off his back. I know he has been wanting one. I mean, what a goal to announce himself, curling it back post.

On the differences between this Union team and others he’s played with

It starts with defense with us. Defensively, we are very tough to play through. And that is something that through the forwards, the midfield, the defenders – we are all committed to it. We go over it tactically in training and video sessions. We start a lot of our offensive attacks that way by winning the ball in good spots. Then you have less of the field to go when you do that. We are just tough to play against defensively. There is never a game that I think we are out of. Like I said, we go down a goal tonight and the response is the one you want to see from the guys.

Keegan Rosenberry


On going into the Copa break in first place

Yeah, it was a big result for us. I think, obviously a difficult game and at times it didn’t flow the way we wanted it to. But, Columbus is in good form right now I think after coming off a couple of good results. And so yeah, it’s a good win for us, especially to keep our form in whatever it is, eight or nine unbeaten at this point. It’s a good run of form for us. A couple of goals that we set for ourselves is being in first going into the break. And when you set goals for yourselves and you achieve those, it builds confidence.

On the Conor Casey red card

Yeah, I do not know. It is tough for me to say. I don’t have that third party vantage point that the ref has, but obviously he saw something that was worthy of a red card. It was good for us to play on with a man advantage.

On Fabian Herbers’ first MLS goal

I think you all have seen that he has been close a couple of times now. It was a pretty world class finish and I think he showed good composure. I think if you talk to him, he would maybe say that is something he could be better with – maybe with the chance in Colorado or maybe Orlando, I forget. He has got it in him. Maybe it comes with experience and a couple more minutes here and there. But he showed it tonight and I’m happy for him.

On the break coming during the team’s streak

It is a bit of a cop out, but yes and no. I think it’s good for guys after a tough stretch. I don’t know what it is, four games in 10 days. I think a lot of people need a little bit of a break. And for us, I think we have done a good job with even a week and half break or even a week break of staying sharp and playing as a team. I think the biggest advantage for us over this run of form has just been playing the same way. Jim (Curtin) talks about it a lot – home and away, trying to press and keep the ball. So, it will be a little more of a challenge with a couple week break, but that is what we will talk about the whole time – trying to have that same mentality going into the 18th.

On organization in the back with Matt Jones

I mean, that is one of the good things about having those goalies in training every single day. Matt communicates as well as Andre (Blake) or any other guy that is on the field. He does a good job. And, we rally around him whenever he talks like that from the back. Yeah, I’m happy for him. It was a good win for him.

Columbus Crew postgame quotes

Gregg Berhalter

On the overall season and tonight’s game

I would think so, I would categorize tonight as a lost opportunity. I mean we had the chance to come to the conference leaders and really show what we are about. And I don’t think we did that. It’s disappointing because, I think highly of that group. I think highly of the guys in the locker room and I know that we had more in us than we showed tonight.

On Conor Casey’s red card

I spoke to him [the ref], what we said was private but I’ll look at it again and see what it was and then go from there.

On any positives from this game

Yeah, I think Philadelphia was a good example of the hunger. The hunger of if you want to be at the top, that’s what you need. Let’s look at them, they were in Orlando on Saturday, they had Colorado on Wednesday and us again on Saturday, excuse me, Wednesday, Saturday, Wednesday. They came off that one, and they won 66% of duels in the first half. I mean this is the middle of the game, this is a physical league, if we expect to win games losing 66 percent of duels, it’s not happening. Not in this league, no way.

On Ola Kamara

He’s doing well, he’s settling well. He will get chances in this league, and it’s up to us to keep working to get him ever more chances. Today, I think we missed that final pass; we missed the looking to get behind the back line, having said that he still had a number of good goal-scoring chances. And that’s what he’s going to do and he scored and he will score.

Ben Swanson

On the overall game

I don’t think we played our best today, but it was nice to get my first minutes in. I came on and then was probably about 15 minutes left in, we were down 2-1 at that point, so we were looking for a goal and they got one and we got another one back.

It was obviously nice for me to get my first minutes but we have a nice little break coming up and we’ll regroup and get back after it and we’ll see what happens.

On being subbed on and making his debut

It’s kind of just like Mo [Saeid] is injured, so go out there and move. It was an awesome experience, and I couldn’t nervous to be honest. I have been kind of looking forward to it for a while but it was nice to finally get out there.

Ola Kamara

On the overall game

I mean they, after 20 minutes, they got a little bit more pressure on us. Then they had that shot and it went in and they get some momentum and I think they feel a little better. But I feel even in the second half we started out good, we had the chances, we had possession. But when they get the second goal, it’s difficult.

On chemistry with Ethan Finlay

Yeah, it’s good to get assist from Ethan as well. A great assist to Martinez as well but I mean right now I’m not thinking really about that. We lost the game and that’s in my mind.

On what’s next for the team

I mean I think the guys need to relax a bit, get fresh again, and we just have to start over again and we going to win at home next week, that’s the goal.

14 Comments

  1. Love the confidence from everybody. Curtin in his fresh duds, Herbs’ rookie coolness, and Pontius’ maturity. It seems like every man in the locker room is feeling like a winner on the hunt for more points. They boys know who they are. Let’s hope the break doesn’t retard momentum.

  2. That answer by Berhalter about any positives he can take from this game…

  3. Still in 1st place! Congrats to our Union.

    Now that is what I’m looking for from our Striker position! I am all about ES getting us a quality finisher, but maybe Herbers is that finisher! He should get the start for a few games so we can see if he can keep that up.

    I think Blake was missed bc he covers up for our mediocre to slightly above avg defense. You know my thoughts on Fabi. See 1st goal. Blake is a blessing.

    I question Curtin’s reading of the game and players. It was obvious CJ was hurt, but Curtin didn’t want to take him out. Why? Maybe not in his game plan. CJ had to take himself out of the game. He may have injured himself some more by trying to run on that ankle for another 10 minutes.

    We are an OK team right now. Getting lucky. Scored 2 goals tonight that would not have went in if not for deflections. Other team not as lucky tonight, including the post and red card. Our defense is so-so. But we have a ton of potential. If we can get Ilshinho and Edu and Alberg out there with Nogs and Barnetta and Pontius, what a killer midfield(and one of those guys is off the bench)! Get that star striker and we are talking MLS cup….THIS YEAR.

    • When CJ went down in th 59th minute I knew Curtin would leave him in for another 15 minutes, so predictable in making the subs too late. We need to see more of Herbers

  4. Lucky Striker says:

    I understand Curtin is not going to throw his players under the bus…..but Matt Jones scares the living hell out of me.

    That is all.

  5. WELL PLAYED game…Funny I’ve been thinking and watching and waiting for so long as one of two weaknesses I see in #17’s game is touch and passing in tight spaces …did any body notice CJ Sapong slip the ball to Barnetta at top of box in first half thru three CLB defenders while Barnetta darted opposite post… oh my it was clinical like an autoclaved scalpel.
    .
    Long over due as I’ve seen him with this exact opportunity at least a half dozen times this season alone and he either doesn’t see it, isn’t expecting it or the ball is not in ideal position to deliver… I’m wondering if Barnetta has talked with him about it, as more often than not it is Barnetta’s sneaky movement that provides the impetus or if it was coincidence that the right pass came off this time. I am of the opinion that is fairly easy to assume “The Calm CAM-shaft” would have at least three more gols this season just from these opportunities.
    .
    — either way, on a night when a bunch of things are easy to highlight as positives, this one specific play stood out — as it is a sign of improved run of play opportunities which are super important to me as a means of continued evolution and sophistication with the team.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      You are a scientist and cast forth hypotheses only after accumulating a sufficiency of data. I on the other hand am a humanities-trained being and set forth hypotheses on the basis of one datum or two data without pang of conscience.
      .
      I have seen Sebastian Le Toux pass balls with his head this season. I have seen the same man slotted into the corner kick defense “free”, i.e., zone slot two or three yards from the end/goal line even with the near post. And I have seen Seba use his feet to deliver controlled aerial short passes with more than random chance accuracy.
      .
      I couple my observations to yours, and propose the following compound thesis, especially since the known weakness of Columbus last night was straight down the middle at the centerback tandem. The first half of my idea is that when you add Ilsinhos, Albergs, Herberses (pl), Yaros, Restrepos, and other twinkletoed dribilinoes of whom I am not thinking, you make it possible for other less technical players to improve their own skill in those areas because trying the fancy stuff is less likely to fail immediately. The second half of the idea is that the technical staff have been encouraging tightly spaced highly technical play deliberately since preseason.
      .
      I add to my observed evidence improvements in these regards from BC and Ray Gaddis. BC risked a cutback to maintain possession yesterday evening, not in his defensive third mind you, but under pressure Brian Carroll beat a man on the dribble. I played thirty-one teeth and a bridge pick-up; you played thirty-two. Ray Gaddis likewise has shown more confidence with the ball at his feet this season. it seems to me.
      .
      Watch – as you undoubtedly already do when you can – the “social patterns” of the reserves during warm-ups and the activities of those groups. The core of the groups are the technically skilled ball handlers. Herbers, Ilsinho and Alberg are always goofing around together, in tight circles with this set of restrictions or that set, playing with each other, having a blast, and honing their skills on the ball. At the same time, last night coming out at halftime onto the field for warm-up, Ilsinho was doing precisely that with John McCarthy.
      .
      Run that same filter through your remembered observations of the open practice at YSC, which I noticed earlier we both had attended. When the group is skylarking within themselves, this is the pattern.
      .
      The gives and goes in the center between Sapong and Barnetta probably happen a lot more in practice than we see in games, but now CJ is feeling comfortable enough to risk their use in games.
      .
      Credit the technical staff and credit the players themselves. They work to make themselves better and have more fun successfully being outrageous!

      • I agree the interchange has been been starkly better this year and is growing as the year goes on. Our final pass still needs to get better, but last night it was almost there a number of times. Now the crew were playing with an undermanned backline but still, the movement and involvement (looking at your Nogs) has been getting better. I think soon we are going to break out a 5 or 6 goal game.

  6. Earnie’s apology about the pitch proved noteworthy – lots of slipping in the box, including Tribbett on the Kamara goal.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      somewhere last night I read a report of an impromptu interaction with members of the press in which Earnie made it clear that while he does not control how the stadium is used during the soccer season, he will always oppose its use then for anything but soccer.
      .
      I got the impression he will be fierce, repetitive and unyielding in presenting his argument.

  7. John P O'Donnell says:

    Thanks Jay Sugarman for having the courage to listen to your fans, yet still sticking to your beliefs. I heard a rumor that Sak was in the building last night. I wonder if he thought how did this happen so fast without him. I’m not surprised the Ernie made this Comment about the business end of the operation and the stadium.

    “If you choose to be a soccer organization, that comes first and foremost and every decision that you make,” Stewart said. “I understand the business part of our operation, but we have to think about that big picture.”

    This organization under his leadership had been elevated from top to bottom in less than a year. It makes you wonder what will happen as he gets to know the league?

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