Postgame: Union 2-3 Whitecaps

Photo and video: Daniel Studio

Jim Curtin’s postgame press conference

Postgame comments from Keegan Rosenberry, Joshua Yaro, and Andre Blake

Philadelphia Union postgame quotes

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

Jim Curtin

Opening statement

So, not a feeling that the group is used to – or likes. First loss at home comes exactly at the midway point. Again, the guys are really disappointed, upset, frustrated because on the night I thought we played really good soccer. We had some of our best actions in terms of possessions, movements, the goal. Credit to Vancouver, they made some big blocks, the goalkeeper made a few saves, especially early when we were buzzing a little bit in the first half.

So, again, difficult because we give up three goals at home, which we’re not happy about. Again, getting a little too stretched against a team that counters the way that Vancouver does, they break quickly. I thought Hurtado was dangerous or them, holding the ball up, letting their team move. Obviously Kekuta Manneh in space was a handful for us. I don’t think we gave up a ton of chances, but the ones we did, we were punished for — and good teams punish you. And Vancouver is a good team.

We have a good team, too, and that needs to be said. This group fights hard every game, they never quit until the end. On a different night, I think that we could get points out of this one. I thought the performance, again, was strong, was good. You’re starting to see a lot of good combinations and movement, just got to get the final pass right and finish our chances. Again, on a different night I think we get more goals.

On potential team response after first home loss

They’ll respond well. They’ve responded to a lot of adversity already this year. Again, we never quit in any game. We have young guys, three young guys, out on the field, rookies that are fighting their butts off, learning every time out there, and growing from this. I don’t really think they’re losses, you either win or you learn; and we’re learning right now and growing as a team. I still think you had strong performances out there and you could go through every guy and Ithere’s not really a guy on the field that had a bad day. So, again, we’ll regroup from this, we have two big games to get better. Obviously, a big rival game in the Open Cup against Red Bulls here, and then we go on the road to Houston, who’s playing better under a new coach, Wade Barrett there. So, again, we still have a good team. Difficult to lose at home, we’re not happy with it, but we had a good undefeated run here and we’re going to start another one.

On concern with defense over last three games

It’s team defense, it’s not the back four, it’s not individuals. Again, we didn’t give up a ton of great looks to them in the run of play. Dre’ [Andre Blake] makes the one big save. The first goal is a corner kick — Dre’ knows he could do better — and the second one actually comes off of a really good attack that we have, going forward, have numbers in the box, Quillo [Tranquillo Barnetta] tries to make a play, gets to deflected, kid makes a great first time ball out to Manneh, and Josh is in space: maybe take a foul, stop the play. But, again, young player, he’s going to learn from it, he’s going to grow from it. He had a great game, he played very well for us. The third one is, I take for that because we went to a 3-5-2, we pushed, we took a huge risk, we threw numbers forward, and they punished us. So, again, that one’s on me. You do have to look at all of the goals: how many good goals have we given up? We could go through the last…It’s a lot, I’m pissed about that, don’t get me wrong, and we’ll get it fixed, but a lot of silly goals I would say.

On Tranquillo’s performance

Good, I think he moved us well as a team, he connected a lot of passes. Again, he finds the balance of playing forward and getting back off of Roland [Alberg] or Ilsinho. You can see the way they move and find each other, it’s fun to watch;it’s great for the fans obviously, it’s exciting, it puts a team under pressure, under duress, it fatigues them. Vancouver though, credit to them, they hung on. After the first half, even though we were down 2-1, I still thought we played really well and I thought we wore them out a little bit but they caught their second wind in the second half and got their 3 points.

On CJ’s absence and potential of finding new players to boost team

No, CJ’s going to be back soon. I think Fabian [Herbers] in his absence has done a great job, he’s created chances: one inch just below the crossbar there on our first goal, that’s a hell of a shot that he hits off the bar. So, Fabian’s fine in space, he’s doing a great job for us, fighting. Do you miss a good player like CJ Sapong? Of course you do, you always want your full stable of guys. But the thing you don’t see where this is important and it adds up through the 34 games is now Fabian’s getting a great experience — he’s not just out there — he’s contributing in a major way for us, so we’re happy with him and his growth and where he is at. And CJ will be back soon, and I like our two forwards, we create enough chances, it’s not an issue. We scored the most goals in the league going into the game, so we’re OK in that regard.

Maybe it’s a familiarity whenever we play Vancouver. We don’t know each other too well, you know we only play once a year and, yeah, obviously, you watch a ton of tape and you have a good idea of them but it seems like more times than not when we get together it’s 3-3, 3-2, and it’s a little end-to-end and unique with the West teams. So, we didn’t take care of business and we need to in our home games.

On Chris Pontius

Chris is a starter, first and foremost, he is a starter. On this team he has started every game for us, it was just the situation on this week where he went a hard 90 and he hadn’t gone 90 yet this year — and he maybe wants to. He pushed hard in the Chicago game, in a game that, to be honest, should have been easier than it was. He had a lot of running and he took a big knock on his quad at the end of the game,  it tightened up. Again, I held him today and he jumps in the game and contributes right away. So, Chris is having a great season for us, he’s a great pro, been a big impact to our team. Can’t say enough positives about him, a true professional, great in the locker room, and a great addition to our team and, again, he’s going to play a major role down the stretch here.

On seeing anything different out of Andre Blake after his return from international duty

Again, I mean you can break down every goal, and stop it and rewind it, and, you know, it’s a hard position, he’s been seeing a lot of shots. He’s the reason, though, that we’re in first place in our division. So, I said it at halftime to the group, yes, Dre’ made a mistake on the corner kick, [but] I actually think if you watch it again he gets clipped just enough that…you see it called a lot that it’s a foul. But the message at halftime was Andre’s bailed us out a hundred times this year, let’s get two goals and bail him out. It didn’t happen today but I was still happy with the way my team pushed. Andre is going to be fine, I’m not concerned with him and where he is at, he’ll be great, and we’ll get back on track as a team because we win and lose as a team.

Roland Alberg

On the game

I think we deserved more today. We played a great game, but at the end, no points and that’s disappointing.

On creating more chances offensively

Yeah, today I think I could have had more goals, maybe two or three. I scored the one and after that we had to keep playing. It was difficult. They scored, 1-1, and then 2-1. You know, at the end had some opportunities with some long balls, but it was unlucky at the end when they scored 3-1. It was disappointing. Of course I am happy with my goal, but the points aren’t counted.

Andre Blake

On the first goal

Yeah, disappointed in the moment. It was a mistake. As a professional player, there are going to be times that you make a mistake and unfortunately that mistake cost a goal. But, I can’t dwell on it. It’s the past. I’m going to have to move on.

On if he was fouled on the first goal he let in

There was some contact, but I mean, the ref didn’t think it was a foul. I think – I’ll just say it was my mistake. I’ll leave it at that.

On giving up another set piece goal

It was very disappointing, and again, something that we want to quickly forget and move on. Hopefully, we can get it right, too.

On if letting in six goals affects his confidence

Yes. There’s no way we are happy with giving up this many goals. I just think we are going through a phase. We just have to hang tight, stick together and ride out the slump.

On fixing things

If I really sit down, I can’t pinpoint one thing. I just think that some bounces are not going our way. Sometimes when we get our block to the ball, sometimes it’s blocking and going in. I just think it’s one of the things where you don’t want to sit down and start to think too much about it because as I said before, it’s just something we need to stick together as a team and it will pass.

Josh Yaro

On bailing out Andre

Yeah, he’s a key paddle. He plays a really big role. Usually, I mean, you want to protect your keeper. You don’t want him to do too much work because that means the defenders aren’t doing well. But I think as a unit, the back four and the whole team, we tried to defend and to do it right. I think we have fought well so far, but sometimes it happens and things don’t go your way. But, he’s a big part of us. As a unit, as 11 guys on the field, the 18 and everyone on this team – we’ve had to stick in to keep it zero. Sometimes things don’t work out.

On Manneh’s goal

I don’t think it was a matter of speed for me, just a matter of judgment. I misjudged and tried to play the first time and it didn’t work. And at that point, you don’t really know what the striker is thinking and there’s a lot of ways he could go. I was actually just hoping he would knock it down the line and try to run because I would have had time to catch up, but clever play. He did well on his part. It was just a mistake and I’ll have to learn from it and hopefully it doesn’t repeat itself again.

On if he feels shoulder discomfort

Not really. I’ve played with it – this is my second game coming back. I haven’t had any issues with it yet. It doesn’t affect the way I play. I have a brace on. It has no effect on how I play.

Vancouver Whitecaps postgame quotes

Carl Robinson

On calling this a statement win?

It was a big win, a very important win because we didn’t take care of business at home last week against New England. We played very well. We made one or two individual mistakes and in this level it catches up on you. So today we wanted to show a little bit of character – and I think we showed a lot of character – and be in contention towards the end of the game and we were. So, all credit to the guys in there. It’s not an easy place to come, this place. We’ve never won here, but we have tonight.

On resilience to come back from down 0-1

Like I said, good character in the group. They get along very well every day and it’s important because if you don’t do that coming into work 300 days a year is a bit… daunting. So the guys work their socks off and make individual mistakes sometimes, and my coaching job is to improve them on a daily basis so we do, and today we showed a lot of character coming back from a goal behind. We haven’t done it too many times but in Major League Soccer in general, teams that concede the first goal don’t usually go on to win the game. We’ve done it well, I don’t want to do it too often to be honest. I like to go ahead more than behind, but when you have the ability to do it, it’s helpful.

On showing dynamic scoring options

Listen, we’re a team and we’ve got to score goals by committee, we haven’t got an individual scorer that can score 20 goals like some teams, and we know that. Will that change? I’m not sure. Players have got to step up, you see it at the Euros now, you’ve got world class players, superstar forwards that aren’t scoring goals but the team is stepping up for them and that’s what we are, we’re a team and we stick together. I don’t really care who scores. David Ousted can score a goal if he wants.

On Octavio Rivero’s status

No we’re just, we’ve been talking and we’ve talking for a couple of days so you’ll see he wasn’t involved in the A-team today and over the next 24-48 hours, probably something will happen. So as soon as it does I’ll let you know. I’m sure people will write it anyway.

On roster’s depth in this match

You need a roster in this league, it’s important, people pick up injuries, you lose the national players. It’s tricky because you want to identify the best young players – or older players – and they’re in the national’s usually, and when international teams play you lose players and it gives other players opportunities. Usually the teams that are able to use their squad correctly during the season and not burn them out towards the end – because it doesn’t matter what you do in the early part of the season, it’s getting on a run as Portland showed last year. A number of players got a chance today from Tuesday night, we’ll make sure we look after ourselves and prepare for a big, big game on Wednesday night.

On staying in Toronto as oppose to going back home before tonight’s match

It was perfect wasn’t it? Because we won. If we would have lost I would have said no. I don’t know all of the answers and anyone that says that they do know all of the answers, I’m afraid, would be lying to you because whether you travel two days before when you go coast-to-coast or one day before, whether you change your food times/pre-match meals, you do it because you want to try and win a match of football and when it comes off you assume that’s the right thing, but we could probably do the same thing next time and lose. It probably helped us, we made a number of changes which was also helpful as well, so on the fence with that one.

Jordan Harvey

On how difficult it is to play on the road

On the road it’s a difficult task, especially against this really difficult Philadelphia Union team. They have been playing really well, I have been watching from a distance. To come in and get three points, it’s very satisfying. Hopefully a defining moment for our season.

On a short trip for this game

Absolutely, traveling has a huge factor in this league. Percentage wise, you see the home team gets a win majority of the time. Staying in, a short flight over here, I think it really helped us.

On the Manneh goal

Gave us the win, we needed all three goals tonight and he is an important player for us. To get him going like that, get an amazing goal, I mean he took it pretty much the length of the field. It’s huge for his confidence and us moving forward throughout the second part of the season.

On the Jacobson goal

Yeah it’s great, I’m sure it was extra special for him, coming back here tonight. In the right place at the right time. He says those things never fall for him, so it’s good tonight.

On recovering from going down early

You know what, we haven’t done well going down a goal in the first part of the season. So coming back was a huge thing for us, I think it will be a huge thing for our character moving forward. And you just have to keep plugging away. I thought we were able to break them down in the first half, second half we defended because ewe had the lead. But once we got back in that game, we knew we could get chances, we just needed to keep plugging away.

Kekuta Manneh

On the overall game and the meaning of a win

I thought it was very important for us to get to winning ways. We have a final coming up on Wednesday and I thought this game would give us confidence going into that game. We played the way we wanted to play and you know we got our goals. Some games, we get chances and we don’t take them and this game we took our chances and that’s what this game is all about. I thought that was the different between us and Philly. I thought they were great but we took our chances. But great effort from the guys tonight.

On the goal he scored

I gambled, when to go forward and when to stick with him. So we won the ball and he was a little bit up the field. So I got some space, and Pedro [Morales] passed me the ball and my thought was to go forward. I know I had a chance, there was one defender in front of me, So I thought I could take him so I ran at him. He had a bit of a cover and I cut inside and I shot it near post and I thought it was a good goal, but again just glad to help the team win the game. Take nothing away from the performance today. I think everybody fought today. I thought we deserved the win.

One Comment

  1. I’m not feeling like this is a slippery slope. I actually expected a slow down after the break. I didn’t expect we’d leak goals like a sieve and I didn’t expect we’d lose two of our first three back but I did expect less than the first half of the season. Our rookies are starting to look like rookies and the bounces aren’t bouncing our way. This too shall pass and we’ll find our footing once more. Union 2.0 can handle this, everybody calm down.

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