Postgame video and quotes: Union 2-0 KC

Photo and video: Daniel Studio

Mike and Matthew’s postgame wrap

Philadelphia Union postgame quotes

Note: Union postgame quotes, except for those from Roland Alberg, transcribed by PSP, all other quotes provided. Questions have been paraphrased.

Jim Curtin

Opening statement

First and foremost I want to thank the crowd, they were very good tonight and pushed us on. And, most importantly, thank you to the players, they put in a heck of a shift this week. People love the buzz word in today’s game, squad rotation, and it’s impossible to play three games in a week, even though they do it all over the rest of the world. And our guys, back-to-back in Columbus and to here, a lot of them put in 90 minutes in both games and fought hard.

That’s a very good Kansas City team, a very good Kansas City team, that knows how to win. And I think for our guys, with a lot of young players on the field, again, it was another exercise where they learn a ton from it. I have to credit our sports performance department for the work they put in on all our two-a-days, it starts to add up in these summer months now when the games get hard because; we were able to have fresh legs out there. And still have Ilsinho and Brian Carroll coming back, a Mo Edu getting closer. So, this is a very good team.

I just told the guys that we shouldn’t just be just happy to get into the playoffs, we should be shooting for the top of the East. You see a couple of the results go this night and it’s not out of the question. So, we still have a lot to work on to improve but this win tonight is all the players, it’s about 11 guys, the 18 guys, and then the rest of the squad pushing everybody in training. So, credit to them, they deserve all the credit for tonight.

On Roland Alberg embracing his role as a sub

He’s a starter, you know? He’s a guy that could start on most MLS teams. It’s just a matter of we have depth at that spot, at the 10 spot: Quillo [Tranquillo Barnetta] does a great job, Roland does a great job. He has a knack for goal. He scores…I guarantee if you did the goals per minutes he is far and away the leader in our league. [Editor’s note: Alberg has 9 goals in 925 minutes of play, or 0.88 goals per 90 minutes. The next closest player is Frank Lampard with 9 goals in 951 minutes, or 0.85 goals per 90 minutes.] He has a special quality. You do have to give him credit because he could put his head down but I think he’s actually worked harder in games and in training, especially on the defensive side, the tracking back, slide tackling against Columbus, making plays. And everything he touches tends to lead to a goal or a darn close attempt at goal. So, very valuable player to our team; it shows that we have a deep squad and, again, I can’t say enough about how well he’s played in any role, as a starter for us where he’s won us a lot of games and the role off the bench he’s won us some games now, too. So, a special player who makes plays, and you need playmakers in this league. It’s good that…You know, I’d say if anyone did a preseason poll and said that the Union would be the No. 1 scoring team in the league, I think not many people would have had that. So, I’m very happy. We are doing it as a team, though, everyone is contributing with goals.

Thoughts on the defense and especially Fabinho

Fabinho, the crosses he plays in the first half, I thought we deserved a couple goals. In the first half of the game I was worried he might tire himself out [with] the amount of running that he did. But defensively, yeah, Josh [Yaro] played very well, Richie Marquez had another solid game, and Keegan has been solid for us all year. It needs to be said though: the unsung hero is in front of them, the guys who cut off the passing lanes and make things predictable. Warren [Creavalle] has been very good the past two games, as well, so that helps your back line when you have a destroyer in there like Warren. Alejandro makes a lot of little plays that don’t show up on stat sheets, and he breaks them up. And then the work CJ [Sapong] puts in, Pontius, to Barnetta — everybody, again, we’re team is part of the team and if there’s nights where three or four guys aren’t on their game, we lose. And that’s the sign of a team for me, we all have to be bought in. And when we are, we’ve proven we can beat anybody.

On three rookies in the starting XI for the second straight game, could this lineup continue looking ahead?

When Ernie and I talked about players, we don’t talk young or old, we talk good or bad. We don’t care how old they are, if they are good enough, we’ll put them on the field. We’re not scared to do that. We’re a club that wants to be known as a club that gives good young players a chance to play, and that’s shown through our youth academy, the recent signings that we’ve made. Through a Derrick Jones and a [Auston] Trusty coming up — they’re not far off, either. So, again, there’s no such thing as old or young, it’s just good or bad, and that’s they way we believe it, and we’re going to put them out there on the field. That’s how you learn, too; again, you learn from playing against a Dom Dwyer, a [Sebastian] Giovinco, whoever it might be. There’s nothing I can do as a coach to replicate it in training, so until they go through these moments they’re never going to know what it’s really like. And we believe in giving those guys that opportunity and all of them have rewarded us with good performances and some wins.

At halftime, were you more disappointed not to have scored despite building up pressure, or excited to get back on the field to continue to build that pressure?

I think if you flash back, the first two minutes we actually started a little slow and it was kind of like, “uh oh, are we going to not get out of first gear?” And then we picked it up; I’d say, a good 35 minutes we were really strong and pushing the tempo. Then they had maybe the last five minutes of the half. So, we put a lot into the game. That’s a good Kansas City team: They fight, they’re organized, they’re tough to break down, and they have winners on they’re team, you know, they’ve won together quite a bit. So, we knew it was going to be a tough game but, yeah, once the second half started and we got the ball down and we passed it well, I thought we made them work really hard defensively and, eventually, wore them down a bit and got our goal. So, again: Players won the game tonight and I’m proud of them.

On the importance of winning at home with only three home games left in the regular season

It’s hard to win games — home or away– it’s very difficult in this league. So, any time you can take three points it’s very valuable. We’ve taken pride in being good at home; this is, I think, our eighth win now at home. We set the goal at ten [and] we have a shot at it. We have three games left at home, we have a shot to win at least two more. We want to win all three, obviously, but to get to that ten mark is a number that I think puts you in a good spot. So, we’ll continue to push but, again, it’s not easy winning games. We have a tough schedule; everybody I feel like now that when they look at the schedule they go “Ooh,” because everyone’s fighting for points. It’s that time of the year where every play gets magnified a little bit more, every clearance has to be good, you get punished when you make mistakes. So, I think that our guys now are confident, and confidence is a powerful thing, and we have a good group. We have, obviously, some international call-ups this week [so] that we’ll be missing a few guys, and we do believe in our team that we have guys that will step in and do a job.

Do you see the last two road wins as a turning point going into the last stretch of the season?

Yeah, I mean…There was a good article written, I forget who wrote it, but it was that there’s three teams in the league that don’t change their style home and away, whether they’re up a goal or down a goal, and that’s something that we, again, when Earnie and I sat down at the beginning of the year, we wanted to look the same, and it was, for those who didn’t see it, it was us, Dallas, and Columbus were the teams that were listed. So, again, that doesn’t mean we’re perfect but it does show that, home or away, we need to…we believe in playing the same way. It’s hard to win on the road, for sure; I think the two wins on the road do give confidence, in New England with a team that was desperate for points, and in Columbus it was a team that also needed points. So, they’re almost like playoff games. They’re not quite that yet, but the intensity is high in those games, and those are the games you learn the most from yourselves individually, as a coach, and as a team. So, we want to be playing when the weather gets cold and the games matter a lot more.

Roland Alberg

On having a role off the bench

I have to be patient when I come in to do my thing. Team performance: We did a great job getting three points and we are happy with that.

On getting used to coming in as a sub

It’s not something that I’m used too after having a couple games as a starter, but for me it’s now time to get my chance. It’s going well and I’m happy with the team performance, which is most important.

On your goal tonight

Yeah, I got a ball from Fabinho and I got a touch and it was a great shot. That feeling of the crowd–  the fans, they were awesome tonight. Big compliments, for them and for us. Let’s enjoy the few days off.

Andre Blake

On the two saves at the end of the game

They are a fighting team and I knew they were going to fight until the end. The one that hit the post I think I could’ve dealt with it a little better. But, at the end of the day, it didn’t go in and I’m thankful for that.

On your mindset when up a man and trying to hold onto a lead

Yeah, I think I have to stay on the guys to keep them in the game and to tell them to try as much as possible not to drop off and to try and keep the ball becasue, when a team goes down, they’re going to come at you to try to get back a goal. So, I have to try to talk to my teammates to keep them in the game.

Were you concerned about the team’s early chances not going in?

No. I mean, I know soccer is a cruel sport, but at no point did we have any doubt that we were going to get a goal. And, I think we got the goal early enough so they were not out.

On how important the defense has been

It’s been great, hats off to the guys. Jim [Curtin] has been talking about 11 guys defending, and not just the back four, the back six., and I think everyone is starting to realize that we should work it’s much easier and, hopefully, we can keep that going.

On confidence from two straight wins

It’s great, you know? It’s starting to let people see that we can actually play, and any stress for us to keep going, hopefully we can go on a good run right now.

Do you feel that the defense is hitting its stride again?

Yeah, we’re looking good, and as I said before, it was just some little things that were costing us and the guys are starting to realize, as I said before, we’re starting to defend with 11 guys and not just four or six.

How do you keep yourself focused?

Sometimes I do a little bit of movement because it’s pretty tough to be back there and not busy and then, all of the sudden, you know at some point you can be called upon to make a save. So, it’s very tough, but mentally, I just try to talk to the guys and stay connected and to stay in the game.

With three rookies in the lineup, are we at a point in the season where they don’t feel like rookies?

No, no. I mean, I’ve seen a while ago that they all can play. They’re great players and they’re willing to listen and to take instructions, and that’s very important. So, I don’t see them as rookies, and I don’t think that they see themselves as rookies. They’re just playing and doing they’re role.

Keegan Rosenberry

On the sense of urgency to get a goal

It’s actually difficult, if you remember back to the San Jose game when we were actually up a goal, and just kind of the ability for us eventually to continue to press once we were up a man is sometimes challenging. Sometimes you see a team sit back and they get jumped on and get scored against. So, I think we did a good job of that tonight and pushing for that second goal and not being conservative. But, again, I think it’s the leadership on the team, and it showed tonight, for sure.

On the importance of the chemistry with the new guys, particularly Alejandro Bedoya

It’s been good. He’s an easy guy to play with on the field and also just vocally and personality wise, he’s an easy guy to gel with. That’s a tribute to him and he’s helped the team so far, I think that’s easy to see from a third party point of view and in the stands, and I think everybody enjoys playing with him.

On the importance of the win with only three home games remaining

I think a lot. I think that’s the first time we beat a Western Conference team. You know, we like playing here more than on the road but when you haven’t beaten a Western Conference team before and you do it, it feels good. So, if we can continue to be this good at home I think it’s going to bode well for us down the road.

Are your eyes on the MLS Cup?

Of course, that’s what you strive for the whole year. You know, the past stretch, it’s gotten away from us a little bit, but I think if we continue to play the way we are I think we can get back there.

On the importance of keeping the momentum going

For sure, especially coming off the short week, coming straight from Wednesday and traveling home and playing this quick, it’s always difficult. But, now we have momentum and we have a week to rest and get our legs back,and I think the team is excited.

On the chemistry playing with Fabian Herbers on the right

It’s good. You know, it’s always difficult when you don’t have a lot of time with a player, especially that close, trying to combine together and playwell together. But, I think we showed a lot of improvement just throughout the Columbus game and here, as well. So, we’ll continue to get better, hopefully.

Sporting Kansas City postgame quotes

Peter Vermes

On if your club was tired late in the match

After five or ten minutes being down a man you could tell we were getting big time. We’ve had five games in 15 days and this was the last one. We traveled over 16,000 miles, but we went down two men we had some pretty good fight in the end. We almost scored one which is pretty good. It was a good fight by us in the end. The game was changed by the calls.

On goalkeeper Alec Kann’s performance tonight and what you say to keep his confidence up

These guys, they’re pros. Obviously I have my words with them, I think at the right times he knows there’s nothing you can do. The first goal was a great goal. The second one, we’re
pushing everyone forward and we’re down two men. It is what it is, I don’t think it’s going to affect his confidence, he’s done a good job.

On how you manage the two red cards moving forward

Well I’m going to appeal the first one. I’ll tell you right now we’ll win it. If we don’t win it then something’s wrong. Because it’s straight red, there’s no chance. No chance, the guy gets an arm to his chest. I mean you want me to show you, I don’t know what game this is, but it’s a man’s game and there’s going to be contact. That’s ridiculous. I actually think the referee had a little bit of a grudge because I don’t know how you give that call.

Benny Feilhaber

On the match and how the red cards affect morale

I don’t think it was our best game. We didn’t have as much high energy as we normally have in games. I don’t know, I think we weathered the storm for considerable amount of the first half and put ourselves in a position the second half, but obviously the red card makes a big big difference. We have to basically put 10 guys behind the ball at that point. They scored quickly after that with a nice shot and it put us in a tough position with the second red even though I don’t think it makes any difference on the score. I think it’s a soft call by the referee, Roger (Espinoza) looks like he’s trying to protect the ball and put his body in the way and obviously shield him with his arm. I don’t think there’s any assort of malice or over exertion of power. I think it’s a silly card to give at that point in the game, having said that they outplayed us and probably deserved the three points.

Ike Opara

On how the red cards affect your morale on the field

The effort was still there, the guys were giving it all they could. I can’t fault what everyone put on the field and played this game today. Obviously it wasn’t easy circumstances.


  1. Vermes is not too bright, is he?
    A grudge call? Espinoza was already on a yellow. Straight red gives you a much easier case for an appeal. Try appealing a second yellow.
    The ref did you a solid, Coach.

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