Postgame

Postgame video and quotes: Union 4-3 Chicago

Photo and video: Daniel Studio

Mike and Matthew’s postgame wrap

Jim Curtin’s postgame press conference

Postgame comments from Tranquillo Barnetta, Keegan Rosenberry, and Chris Pontius

Philadelphia Union postgame quotes

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

Jim Curtin

Opening statement

A big three points. I said it at halftime to the guys: I’d say [the] team, attacking in the first half — was even better in the second half  — attacking-wise, as a team, A+. Defensively as a team, F. So, you see a little bit of the risk reward, we had a lot of good attacking guys on the field, for sure, but I think that collectively as a group, falling asleep on restarts, little things that we need to fix because on a different night we could have been punished.

We give up an early goal: No concern from the group, they don’t show panic when we concede, they have a confidence that we are going to create chances and we’re going to get goals. We did that on the night. At 4-1 we should do a better job closing out the game: We give up two corner kick goals, which is unacceptable. There’s no tired legs, we have 10 guys back at that point, and it needs to be executed, and not conceding goals off of restarts.

Again, good moments, though, there’s still positives in the attack. Really excited about the great night for Roland Alberg around the goal, could have had 4 or 5 to be honest. He had some really, really good actions to goal. He give us a calmness on the ball. Was very happy for him, he’s put in a lot of work in, and for him to be rewarded, he did a great job tonight getting the goals for us — and carrying us, to be honest.

So, got some things to clean up, though, for Vancouver coming in; if we play like that we’ll lose, simple as that. Undefeated at home, though — we’ll end on a positive — undefeated at home. This group fights, they have a lot of guts and, again, for whatever reason, Chicago — you can think back to last year’s 3-3 crazy, blown lead, the Rais game mistake where we had…against Chicago, also — the games against Chicago, for whatever reason, the games were wild against them and this was a big step forward, so, a good win.

On offensive push from Ilsinho, Alberg, and Barnetta

They’re all great players, great soccer players. You can tell when one gets on the ball they look for each other and they kind of come to life and there’s a lot of great combination and a lot of good movement. They did a great job; it’s a handful, I can tell you, as a defender to deal with guys that can combine like that and that are always on the move. They think and see the game differently than most players. So, again, they’ll be a fit for defenses to handle. Conversely, though, we got to tighten things up defensively for ourselves.

On response to early 0-1 start

Again, the group, it’s tough to say a slow start because they scored in the second minute, the game isn’t really going yet. A little bit silly at midfield where we go into a tackle, we don’t come out on the right end of it, and then [David] Accam is one of the fastest, safe to say, people in the world [chuckles]. No, he’s fast, and he is dangerous, and he’s a guy that you need someone being physical with him; and then you also need someone behind for when he does knock the ball long and to himself and run and chase it down. We got caught, he punished us, they started the game well. Again, could’ve had a couple goals in the first half, as well. I think the goal before halftime was critical to get that third and give a little bit of doubt to them. But, they kept fighting, to their credit. Again, they can throw kind of caution to the wind because there’s nothing to lose at 4-1 where they are on the table, all of these variables factor in. So, they can do some, call it unexpected things, and that’s difficult to defend sometimes. We stuck through it and got our three points.

What was the game plan against David Accam? Did you think he could start Josh Yaro in this game?

No, I mean, again, Ken [Tribbett] is on a yellow card, that was a reason there was a change at halftime. Obviously, the speed does factor in, Josh can run with an Accam. Again, the concern for me at the half, and we talked with our staff, is picking up the second yellow. When you’re up 3-1, the only way, maybe, they can get back in is maybe a silly second yellow card, and they gave us some problems up top. Again, I think it’s as a team that we need to improve: Help out the guy next to you, not only winning your one-on-one battle with the guy, but also helping the guy that’s next to you. And I think that we caught on an island a bunch with him, with [Kennedy] Igboananike. Too many times, whether it was Fabi had slid outside, Keegan [Rosenberry] has slid out to the line and now, in space, in 40, 50 yards of space, you’re dealing with those guys. It’s a handful for anybody so we’ll have to look at the tape, get some things fixed, but a little more compact; we got a little more spread out and that’s a credit to them.

On Roland Alberg’s recent offensive success

He’s great around the goal,that is for certain. He has a knack for…he hits a heavy ball, great left foot, makes good decisions around the goal, can pass. Again, it’s good to get him going in terms of the defensive running he’s really worked hard on that, he’s worked his tail off. There is always an adjustment period for everyone coming to this league — not because it’s an incredible league, that’s not my point when I say that — it’s a unique league. So, the running, the dirty running, he’s really improved. Again, listen, we had a group that created a heck of a lot of chances tonight and he was a big piece in that. Guys, when they play him the ball, they know that he’s going to get it back to them. All of those little things build confidence in a group with the ball. I think that we could have even been better with the ball, and that, for me is the best defense. If we can have possession of the ball, make the other team run, wear them down, that’s what we’re still working towards; we’re not there yet, but that’s what we’re working towards. Roland’s a big part of that.

On Tranquillo Barnetta playing deeper

It’s a different role for him. He’s an experienced player, he’s played a wide variety of positions at a high level. He’s a guy that will do the dirty running. I think him and Roland did a good job of sharing it a lot tonight where they had some interchange, which is good. Listen, that’s the first time — count the second half where we’re down in New York and chasing the game — it’s the second time they’ve done it together. So, for everyone to think it’s just going to click and be perfect defensively, that’s not going to happen. We took a little risk and we went with it in the starting group, and we were rewarded with four goals. But, I’m going to get on the guys for the restarts, that drives me crazy [laughs].

On the time management at the end of the game

Not smart. Again, all those things we need to look at. I can think of the play, the one where Chris gets fouled — that one, can’t do anything about — but, a couple of decisions that were made could be better to kill off the game. Coming to mind is the one [where] Richie [Marquez] plays a straight ball to Fabian, [it] goes right to the goalkeeper, and they’re back at us; so, that should be going to the corner. A couple where we take quick restarts: maybe we can ask for ten [yards], prolong things a little bit, just being smart closing out games. A lot of things we can work on, a lot of things we can learn from at the end of that game. I would agree, some poor decisions [were made], but the guys did stick with it and closed it out. Again, the message should be clear to the guys and we’ll get that fixed.

Roland Alberg

On his performance

The feeling is great. I’m happy with the three points. I think that is the most important thing today.

On getting the start

The beginning was difficult, to find my way. I think the last couple of weeks went well. The team knows the way I play now, so that’s important. I feel comfortable. I feel good.

On scoring the second hat-trick in team history

The feeling is incredible. I have never scored a hat-trick in my life. This is the first time for me. As I said, I’m happy and I want to enjoy tonight.

On his chemistry with Tranquillo Barnetta and Ilsinho

The three, we know each other and we play good together. It’s what I said, the coach knows the way we play and hopefully we can play more games together.

On coming off the field to an ovation

It’s incredible. The fans were great. Everybody – the fans, the staff, my teammates – I don’t know the word, but yeah, they love me. But, it’s good. This is the first time for me and look, I’m sweating now. It’s good, but we have to keep our mind on Saturday. That’s most important.

Tranquillo Barnetta

On dynamic of offensive between himself, Alberg, and Ilsinho

I mean it’s nice, to play with these two guys. They have a really good football understanding and we like to play like one touch, little one-two’s, but still offensively it is good. But I think that we need to work a little bit on the defensive part, yeah, but we have to be happy. We won the game but I think it was not a perfect game.

On trying to get the ball to a player playing as well as Alberg did in a game

We all we know that he is really good in the box and he’s shot is incredible and it’s our work behind him to give him the ball and help him so that he can score. He had a great game and that was really important for us.

On thoughts on playing deeper midfield role

It’s not a big difference. It’s good if I know it before, and, yeah, it was like he told me already yesterday that we will play like this and that’s all that counts so it’s not a really big difference. I think I had a lot of balls and I can try to feed to Roland (Alberg) and Ilsinho, but, still, like I said, also my work can be a little bit stronger for the next game.

On mood in locker room after a game that goes from 4-1 to 4-3

We are happy about the 3 points but I am a little disappointed because we have to close this game down a little earlier. I’m still a little happy for the points, but we have work to do and we have to keep going and not think that, we can’t think that these games are easy so we have to do a better job as a team and we will stay where we are.

On feel from going down 0-1 to 4-1 to 4-3

It’s crazy. It was a tough start but we tried to keep calm on the field and we know that we have the opportunity to always create chances and that’s all we did after the 0-1. But, still, how I said after the 4-1 because that was what we talked about in the halftime, that we need a fourth goal. We did this but still we struggled in the end, and that’s not going to happen for our next game because you have to win this game. Like I said, we are happy with the three points but, yeah, we have to keep going.

Keegan Rosenberry

On being disappointed with the defensive performance

Yeah, I think the first thing on everybody’s mind was the three points. But after that, you think about the positives and the negatives. The three goals given up is not something that we want each game. Jim [Curtin] talks about it game-in and game-out, the one goal per game average, and that hurts us. I think we look at the way we approach the game and the flow of the game. I think we can do better. I think it was too much end to end. We can do better in possession, we can do better in limiting counter-attacks. But again, bottom line is three points and that’s most important, especially at home.

On the response after Chicago’s early goal

I think that’s one of the best things about this team and it’s been obvious, hopefully each game, that even when we do go down, it’s not what we want. I think the team sticks together well, we respond well. Again, that’s two games in a row that it happens early and we don’t want that. I think it’s a testament to what kind of team we are and what kind of players we have and the leadership. Attribute it to the guys tonight, it was a good response.

On staying undefeated at home this season

That’s huge for us. I think winning on the road and getting ties on the road, even, is difficult. To be able to rely on your crowd at home and the level that we play at home, just the mentality we have going into each game is big.

On Roland Alberg’s impact on the game

He’s good. He comes from overseas. He’s extremely technical. He keeps the ball well for us. Tonight, I think we saw him play defense for us. He came back and won a couple ball sin our box, and that energizes us whenever players make those kinds of plays. I think he was the top man tonight, for sure.

Chris Pontius

On letting Roland Alberg take the penalty

Let him have it there. He was feeling it. I believe they took the first one away, so that’s for a hat-trick, right? There’s no arguing. That’s his.

On letting Chicago back in the game

The game was a bit to open. We have got to be able to close that game out at 4-1 and be able to just move the ball and keep them on the run. We pushed for more goals. I know that there was a game earlier in the year and we got caught doing that and don’t get it. Thankfully, we had a big enough lead at this point and it didn’t bite us in the butt.

On how the new look in midfield affected the game

“Well certainly, it can help us. Obviously, we saw Roland pick up a few goals. The amount of chances we created, I think that was probably the top for us on the year. The combinations in there were good at times. I just think, like I said, as a team in general, we have got to be better at closing out the game.”

On the quick turnaround with Vancouver

Well, you have a long break with Copa America and you get back right into the swing of things. A number of other teams have had to do it. To be honest, we haven’t talked about Vancouver because of the game tonight. So, we’ll look at them tomorrow – good team. And then we’ll get to business against them on Saturday.

On the response to Chicago’s early goal

No one hangs their head here. We all get back to work. That’s been the mentality of the group. Even 3-0 down at NYC. No one gave in. We kept working at it and ended up tying that game. The resilience of this group is good. We need to keep it going to get three points at home. We’ve been very, very good at home and that’s what you need to be in order to be a playoff team.

Chicago Fire postgame quotes

Veljko Paunovic

On feeling unlucky after the first couple goals scored against the Fire

I don’t believe in being unlucky, I just believe in performance and I think that in those situations we could react better for sure. Not exactly when that moment came, but before that, to avoid that situation, that critical situation when you have respond reactively, it’s more, that’s what was more concerning to me than the other thing. I also want to congratulate Philly on 3 points, on the win, and also I want to say thanks to the fans of Chicago Fire who came here, and also for the warm welcoming I had with Philly’s fans, so thank you for that.

On any emotion coming back to Philly

Of course there is always emotion, I spent very good time here and as I said, people treated me very well, so again, I want to thank them for that. And now it’s a different time.

On some things that Philly made difficult for Chicago tonight

I think that they were very efficient, I think that their efficiency was great. They created chances, they were very accurate with those and that’s what makes the difference. I think we had our chances, we weren’t that accurate, but even we did, we were close to tying the game and you never know if we could score that goal on time, the goal to tie the game, we could even win the game. I always believed that you have until the last second you have a possibility to win so that’s how we played we switched out formation, we moved people out in front, we pressed higher . As we said, we said that when I came to Chicago that we will fight every single game until the end and that’s what we proved. Of course that’s not enough, we’ve got to get better, we’ve got to win games, overall we have to improve.

On disappointing response after Accam’s goal

Again, no disappointment. There is no failure, it’s just how you’re ready, how you prepared, and how you respond to those things. I firmly believed that we could win this game, we started very well, but then we lost that good momentum that we had so we’ve got to improve.

On change in formation in the back helped the team come back

Well, it’s… it’s what you have. You have the team that you know, you know how they can play in that formation. I think that with 3 in the back we played very well. Offensively and defensively we struggled, so we had to adjust formation with the layers that we had. I think that was the best help to us. Then the guys that came from the bench Goossens and Rodrigo (Ramos) did very well and then Morrell, we tried with his pace to even get closer to the goal and have more opportunities but it didn’t happen.

Razvan Cocis

On the goal that he scored

Yeah, we opened the game to Rodrigo with the pass, he was wide open. I wasn’t offside, I knew that but as soon as he looked in the box, I just made a move inside, opposite side of the post so I cannot be offside. I attacked the ball and it was a perfect ball in front and I just went for it.

On the positives to take away from the game

Positive is, this one and I think even in the last game in the cup, I think we can comeback. Even though today was not a comeback, just 4-1 to 4-3 but we have potential. As long as we fight and we give our best, as we did in the second, and evn in the first half. But there were some mistakes, and we conceded three goals but eliminate the errors, and we are working on it, I think we are going to doing better. We still have time, that’s the positive thing. We are now going to focus on the cup game, the next game. We have Columbus at home, and we try to do our best in this cup. Then try to get a good result.

Khaly Thiam

On the overall game, and what’s ahead for the team

We needed this goal, I just feel sorry that we weren’t successful to bring points from here but the team, we fight till the end and I really like the character that we had in the game. I hope that the next game we can’t wait to fight to get the points.

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