Postgame quotes: Red Bulls 3-2 Union

Photo: Courtesy of Philadelphia Union

Philadelphia Union postgame quotes

Note: Quotes from Jim Curtin and Chris Pontius transcribed by PSP. All other quotes provided. Questions have been paraphrased.

Jim Curtin

Opening statement

Obviously, disappointing to end a three-game road trip like this, a lot was on the line tonight. I thought it was two teams that got after it, it was a fast-paced game. I thought we had a good start, got the goal, and they raised their level a bit and came at us, scored the equalizer. Probably fair to 1-1 at the half.

Upset with the start of it at the second half. I thought that the first goal we give up is just a straight ball by Dax [McCarty] that’s clipped over the top. Didn’t defend it well; obviously, [Bradley] Wright-Phillips] will make you pay. From there, showed great character to get right back in the game and respond raise our level again, and we get the equalizer.

Disappointing to…You know, we talked a lot about not conceding fouls in and around our own box because they’re dangerous on set pieces. I don’t know if it’s a foul. I’ll have to look at the tape, see whether I think so. Sacha [Kljestan] clipped the ball and then we lose track of a guy, of Dax. So, a dangerous guy in the air.

So, all in all, again, an exciting game probably for the fans. Disappointing for us not to get points out of it. We put a lot into the game, but Red Bull was better on the day so we come out with nothing. We look forward to getting back home where we have two games now to the end of the year. Need to end with points.

On Josh Yaro’s injury

Yeah, not good. Wasn’t real responsive when he came off on the stretcher when I went over to him. It’s going to be obviously some form of a concussion. I don’t want to speculate. I don’t think it’s…hopefully it’s not anything with his neck or anything too severe. He is standing upright and walking around now. But, he was definitely out of it, that is for sure, so…

Anytime you have head injuries, you have to be very careful. I’m a guy who’s pretty proactive in getting guys off the field, it wasn’t something where it was even a question of him continuing. But, yeah, his health comes first, it’s bigger than the game. This was a big game and losing him hurt, [but] safety first, and with head injuries, for sure, it’s critical to treat those the right way.

On Andre Blake

Yeah, yeah, I would say that he’s been excellent this year. He made some big saves for us tonight, did a great job keeping us in it. We have a very young back line, and I would say he’s still a very young goalkeeper. This was his first full year, and he’s done a great job for us. Yeah, and again, we give up some chances and he bailed us out a little bit tonight. He made some big saves for us, kept us in the game and gave us an opportunity to get back in it. And we pushed and pushed, but weren’t able to get the equalizer. They were better on the night.

How much did it affect the team when Yaro was stretchered out of the game? What’s Maurice Edu’s status?

Yeah, I think with Josh coming out, anytime you lose a teammate, and the visual of him going off on a stretcher, I think that takes a little bit of the air out of a group, for sure. Red Bull seemed to push for those next 15, 20 minutes and really pressed us and kept us pinned in. Josh’s speed is evident. He’s a great center back and [?] for the team and did a good job. That’s a difficult situation to come into a game. He stepped up and did well. But, yeah, we missed Josh, no question about it, his speed.

With Mo, he’s pushed now to a level that he had a great week of training, he’s pushing out to a level where he’s covering ground in practice that he’s at a level where we want him to be for his position that he plays for us. Just a situation where, with [Warren] Creavalle coming off a great game in Toronto; Brian Carroll played well there, too, you know.

Mo is pushing and knocking on the door, but didn’t want to dress all three of them, a little too defensive. Hindsight now, when you lose your center back to a concussion, and all of his [talent and ability?], we got beat up a little bit tonight. So, maybe could have used him but, at the same time, you don’t want to go into a game with three holding midfielders.

(Inaudible question)?

Loud? No.

In terms of meeting the intensity?

Intensity, yeah, certainly. For sure.

How do you think your team responded to that?

Yeah, I think that was a fast tempo game. You talk with Sacha and Dax walking off the field and they said, “Yeah, that was a real game.” And it was, it was end to end, it was fast. They had chances. We had some chances, as well. But, yeah, tempo-wise, that was as fast as the game as we’ve played in. Good atmosphere from the crowd.

But, yeah, it had the look and feel of a playoff game where the weather gets a little cold, things get ramped up a bit, every inch matters, every play matters, and they’re a team that plays a high-pressing style. We do as well. And we saw how open-field position battles where they played a little direct and we played a little bit direct, and tried to pin each other in. But they got the better of us today.

With results going the way they are, what does the team needs to do in the final two games of the regular season

It’s clear what we need to do: We need to win a soccer game, you know? We have two at home against Orlando and this New York team, which is a good team. Both teams are good. There’s no easy points in our league, so it’s clear what we need to do: We need to win a game. Could have came tonight, if we win tonight it takes care of things.

But, yeah, you see the results. Obviously teams are pushing in the Eastern Conference, but we still control our destiny, which is a good place to be in, and we need to get a win.

On giving up set-piece goals

Yeah, disappointing. In big games set pieces are critical. We scored on one but, yeah, we’ve been a team that’s prided ourselves and done pretty well on defending set pieces in terms of statistically how many goals we’ve given up, that’s a pretty decent number. But in the biggest spot, in the big game, we came in small.

They took a short one, and, again, made them put a few passes together but lost track of their most dangerous player in Sacha in the box, which is unacceptable. And then the second one where Sacha cooks it in, we need to do a better job of being closer to guys. So, the situation is where you already have your ten guys behind the ball, it’s just a matter of winning your individual battle and wanting to get on the end of things.

But we’re young, we’re young, and a lot of guys this is the first time they’re going through what I would call real games, and this is a real game tonight and we came up a little short.

On Alejandro Bedoya’s injury

Rib injury; I won’t speculate, I’m not 100% sure. But he took a knock pretty early in the game, and it just gave him problems where he had to come out of the game. Obviously, I’ve never subbed him out of the game like that, but just something where he looked over and said he couldn’t go. So difficult, disappointing. Again, burning two subs is not how we wanted to use them, but plans have to change quick.

Chris Pontius

On the game

That was playoff atmosphere out there, and we set the pace of what a playoff game was going to look like. I think we knew that going in, I don’t think the guys got away from it, I just think certain moments of the game, especially maybe the first half when we get the goal, Red Bull does a good job pressing you and forcing you into bad mistakes, we just need to take a breath and get us out of the jam. We didn’t have enough possession to make things difficult. And when we did go, we went to goal and tried to throw numbers at them and try to get a little back and forth and we just go a little bit tight. And, once again set pieces ended up killing us.

On his bicycle-kick shot that was saved

I couldn’t see. I know I got contact and it was going in on goal and the ball just got pushed by.

Did the attempt feel good?

Yeah, it felt good. I mean, at that point you’re just trying to put it on frame. That’s all you can do.

Is the team still learning as a group how to deal with the intensity of a game like this?

We let in three goals and that’s the beautiful thing of a season, you have your ups and downs. There’s going to be games where everything is clicking, there’s going to be games where it seems like we can’t connect a five-yard pass. But, you know, there is obviously a lot to learn from tonight about ways we can score goals on the road, and whether we’re coming out with a tie or a win, but [inaudible].

On the Union goals

[Inaudible.] Fabi put a good ball in on goal. Fabian is a good player, a good finish, because I didn’t leave Fabian with the easiest of balls there [inaudible].

On being forced to burn two subs due to injury

It’s tough. But we’ve prepared all year these situations and [inaudible] in terms of what we do in training. We push each other every day so we’re built for games where things aren’t going to go our way exactly, we just gotta find a way to respond. Like I said, we responded, we put two goals up on the road, and I’d like to think we’re going to come up with a winner.

Audio ends before he answers a question about set pieces.

Alejandro Bedoya

On his substitution

My ribs have been bothering me all week. I made a play where I stretched for the ball today and the movement I made aggravated it again and I just really couldn’t move well and it was hurting. I couldn’t go out there and play at 50 percent.

On the intensity of the game

It’s a good game, it’s a little rivalry between us and I think the intensity was always there and I guess you guys could say that was kind of like a playoff game or whatever. But in an arena with the fans behind the Red Bulls like that driving up the atmosphere, it makes for an intense game. The Red Bulls surprised me today, how they tried to get behind us and trying to win second balls. I think we gave away too many soft goals. Two goals on set pieces, that is inexcusable, so we’ve got to do better.

Fabian Herbers

On the game

Yeah, we started off well, got the lead, got the 1-0 lead and then you know we tried to manage the game a little bit but couldn’t handle the pressure Red Bulls was giving us. Then they made it 1-1 before halftime; and then came right out of halftime and scored again and then we were kind of running behind and chasing, chasing the lead. Then we tried, tried to score, which we did but then giving up an easy goal again on a restart and then you’re chasing the game. If we score two goals in an away game you should at least get away with a point.

On his goal

Yeah, I just, Chris Pontius was making a run on the left side and coming inside and, yeah, he saw me open I think on the 18-yard line and, yeah, I just took my fortune and took a shot and fortunately it went into the goal.

On the atmosphere and intensity

I would say it was just like every other game. New York, yeah, pressured us high but every other team does that as well and, yeah, it was just another game for us. We did a good job but, as I said before, we scored two in an away game and you should at least get away with a point and we couldn’t handle that.

New York Red Bulls postgame quotes

Jesse Marsch

How gratifying is it to see your team fight back like that?

Yeah, first, I think Philly’s a good team. They came in here, they played hard. They made it hard on us, kept coming at us. I thought overall it was a really good game. A good game for the league and a good game to watch, and a good game to be a part of.

For us, I think to get smacked in the mouth twice, right? I mean, to go down and then even when it seemed under control at 2-1, and for them to deliver another punch and for us to get stronger, right? I think we got stronger as the game went on, we got better. We were more committed, more focused, more concentrated, and then it leads to us eventually getting the win.

So I told them after the game that for two years we’ve talked so much about getting better when things got tougher. And I think watching that tonight, I was really impressed with our group. I was really impressed with their commitment, with their sharpness, with their competitive will, with their heart and character, so much in there that we’ve been trying to be about for two years. So I think this group’s coming together in a good way.

Do you recall during your coaching days or playing days literally every time there is a playing date, a new team takes the lead in the division or conference?

It’s hard to recall all the years of different battles. When I was at Chivas, we always had really good battles with Houston. When I was with Chicago, we had battles with Columbus and with Dallas, sometimes with New York. So, you know, I mean, I think when I watched last night’s game, I see a New York team that’s very good and very committed and organized. I like that.

Obviously, we’re all rooting for Houston to get points so that we can set ourselves up. But I think that team is doing well, and it’s driven us. It has driven us in so many different ways. The bad start, the giving up leads, to being tested by other teams doing well. It has made us hungry, and it has made us drive to do better, to get better, to be the best.

So that’s where we’re at right now, and we’re going to stay focused on that, and we’re going to stay focused on ourselves. But I think we’re being pushed by a lot of different things right now, and our group is responding.

Just when the match started, first 13 games coming in as a coach you’re just kind of wondering when the team’s going to maybe lay an egg or start to have a bad match. The way this game started, was there any worry in the first 10, 15 minutes? Did they look flat, did they look energized? Did you see that in the beginning?

No, in that moment, it was like, all right, come on, let’s go. Let’s see what we’re made of. That’s where we’re at with this group. I believe in them. I trust them implicitly. I just believe in these guys right now. So for me as a coach, it’s just trying to feed them the right information. Get them as regenerated and healthy and focused for the next match. Come up with clear game plans and let them do what they’re doing.

So that’s what’s been the key, I think. You guys have heard me say this many times, but the more they take over, the better we are. It’s my job now to figure out how to reinforce things but also how to let them continue to take this. This is their team, and that’s my job right now.

On Dax McCarty

Well, I said when we were giving up the two-goal leads, I thought that Dax would be a very important element, because his experience, his savviness in the middle of the field, his understanding of what games are like, his understanding of what each moment of the game requires is one of the highest levels of any player in that position in the league and potentially any player in the league.

So, listen, I want to also talk about Sean Davis and what he’s meant to this team and how he’s helped us get to this point of where we are. But when you have a player like Dax who is our captain, our leader, our experienced guy on the field, our linchpin, our anchor, right? He’s incredibly important, and he’s going to be the piece that helps us ultimately get over the hump and find a way to really push to go after the championship.

How do you compare Bradley Wright-Phillips form, not just this year but since he’s been with the club to anything that you’ve seen as a coach or a player?

Well, what a great goal. I mean, talk about a confident take. I mean, he just ran after that. I have the perfect angle for it, and I’m thinking to myself, just nice and easy (laughing). I mean, he absolutely buries it. So, I mean, his form, his confidence, and I’ll say, so much of it stems from his leadership. He’s stepped up his leadership in such a big way. The times he chooses to speak, the things he says, the commitment he has to this group, I mean, has led us. It’s led us in so many ways.

It’s obviously led to him having clarity on the field and confidence. So he could have had another, but he’s been fantastic.

There is no surprise over the consternation about how you guys have finished off games when you’ve had the lead. Tonight it seemed your team put a premium on getting the ball deep and really professionally seeing the game out, passing the ball around and killing the game off. Was that a message to your guys over the last few weeks?

Yeah, showing maturity in that moment. Not being panicked. Committing to still play, committing to find the next goal, knowing how to kill the game by possession, and by how to handle throw-ins, goal-kicks, all of it. Just game management. And obviously I thought tonight that that was done at a very high level.

And the only thing in there is maybe we gave a few too many free kicks at the end, which allowed them to put balls in the box. I’m not sure that all of them are free kicks. But we’ve got to know that those can provide shaky moments, and if we can stand guys up, that we’ll have a better chance of handling it at the end of the game.

Dax McCarty

On what he learned about the team tonight

This team has character, this team has a lot of heart and a lot of pride. I think a lot of the talk the past couple of months has been our inability to hold onto leads and some of that talk has been fair but I think a lot of it, we don’t want that to define us for the season. We’re on a historical run right now and it almost feels like its kind of been insignificant because of the blown leads and I feel like, sure we should have some criticism and we should be upset about blowing some of those leads but at the same time we should feel really proud about what we’re doing with this club.

On his assist to Wright-Phillips

I wasn’t quite sure, I’m not a goal scorer so I couldn’t tell Brad what he needs to do to score goals. A big emphasis for us was trying to play in behind them, especially when Yaro goes off, they lose a little bit of speed on the back line and Brad obviously is great at running on the shoulders of defenders. Part of our game plan to stretch the team were playing against and play in between the lines is to go maybe a little bit more direct early. Alex took a good touch and I don’t know if he meant to pass it back to me or not but I called him off it and I saw brad was in a good spot between the center backs and I just put it in a good area and Brad did the rest.

On his header goal

I think Brian Carroll was marking me and I started in an offside position. I think in his head he was thinking I was going to run across the line towards the near post. Honestly Sacha told me before the set piece, get free and I’ll look for you. I think he just started back post and luckily I faded instead of running across the line. Its one of those where you hope the line drops and you find yourself onside. It was very similar to the goal I scored last year against D.C. in the playoffs.

On the tight Eastern Conference playoff picture

Its been a great, very MLS type of season. Teams jockeying for positions, going on big winning streaks and then some losing streaks. We started the season 1-6 and if you would have told us we’d be fighting for first in the East right now, people would have probably called him crazy but this team has a lot of character. We’re a veteran group and we know if you have a slow start you can always get back into it.

On Bradley’s increased leadership role

Brad’s a humble guy and a guy that’s never going to be the loudest voice in the locker room, he likes to do his talking on the field but Jesse has challenged him to be more vocal, and be a guy that steps up in tough moments as more of a vocal leader. People listen to him, people follow him. He’s one of the best players this club has ever seen and when you have a guy with that pedigree and that ability to score goals and win games for us, people listen to him.

Bradley Wright-Phillips

On his goal

I just wanted to get my foot through it, I know that Blake is a very good goal keeper so I was thinking about keeping it low and just getting decent contact. It was a great ball from Dax, as you see I didn’t need a first touch, because of the quality of the ball. I just tried to keep it low.

On the team getting “punched in the mouth” and responding

It was a great reaction, after the game when it’s all said and done I’m glad we went a goal down, because it’s good to see for ourselves how we, getting to playoff time now, to see the character of the team. As soon as they score we play better, it’s almost that we needed that. You don’t want to depend on those things obviously but we reacted well.

On the past few games against Philadelphia

They’re tough. They’re a very good team, in the middle of the season they were the top of the league for a while. Since I’ve been here I feel like this is the best they’ve been and they deserve to be where they are. In the table, unfortunately, to be higher but against them we respect them and I hope they respect us and we’ll see them again in a few weeks.

On the Golden Boot standings

In fact, you know what, this one it wasn’t. When David Villa scored, what’d he get, two yesterday? I was in all dimensions, what the hell man. I hate to go into games thinking about goals, and unfortunately this game I went in thinking about goals and I don’t like going in like that. If anyone is watching, keep my name out of the mentions, I just don’t need the drama.


  1. No, Jimbo: If your DP #6 is “knocking,” you sit the journeyman Creavalle, & start Mo or BC, then relieve.
    This is where you need to step it up.

  2. MikeRSoccer says:

    For me, there isn’t a question: they’ve got to shut down Yaro for the season. Regardless of his recovery and whether he passes the protocol, if he gets another concussion before November his career could very well be over.
    I’ve questioned whether he is tall enough to be a center back and maintain that he could be an elite #6, but it must be said that he has been phenomenal at the back. The difference in defensive quality between him and Tribbett is staggering.
    On that note, if Edu and Yaro are not ready to go, I think you have to give Trusty a start at CB. If Tribbett had even an ounce of pace, he could be an elite center back imo, but a description of his speed probably requires analogies to oil super tankers and a drunk 36 year old Danny Califf. He makes Nando look like Usain Bolt.

  3. Does Jim know the meaning of the word “speculate “? I get that he doesn’t want to do it, but he sure seems to do it a lot.

  4. el Pachyderm says:

    “An exciting game for the fans”
    Actually Jim there is zero chance I’d let my kids watch that as I’ve come to -you know – test quality control first…. I actually watched most the first half by peering through my fingers and decided it was actually in my kids best interest, who enjoy watching games besides for fun as also a means to learn.
    Quite simply it was awful. Not exciting at all. Is it any wonder head injuries are prevalent in our version of the game…. it’s all full speed, kick kick kick – human collision.
    Funny I kept expecting to see questions or read about sets and spikes and digs as the ball was clearly in the air as such but no mention of these things from our ‘media’ and press.
    As a responsible journalist….It would be my first and therefore only question to the manager… “Uh Mr Curtin can you speak to your team’s clear inability to possess the ball throughout the game -as evidenced by the newly signed DP launching a route 1 ball after first touch to open the game thereby setting precedent that the midfield would be devoid of actually ever seeing the ball and guaranteeing less than 37% possession?”
    I’ve seen this very thing multiple times in the animal kingdom when the submissive animal rolls on its back thereby admitting defeat.
    Besides addressing injury status this is THE only important question necessary to ask. Dear media and therefore MLS Lacky, this is going to sting a bit but its truth…you are part of the problem.
    The elephant in the room

  5. Glad I didn’t have to waste gas driving down to Talen to see this game. It was nice seeing all the Union supporters. This has to be the slowest team in MLS. Granted they have enough skill to be in most games but their over all lack of speed, quick ball movement and a quality MLS striker does them in more often than not. CJ Sapong is not a quality striker. He has no pace, separation quickness to create chance for himself and can’t finish the way starting striker are suppose to. Looking at Pontius, Alberg, Herbers and sometimes Barnetta who can all finish but they aren’t consistent threats. Ilsinho’s conditioning is still in question and he has no real pace either. Not one of these players have real pace. Alberg is an enigma. He can score but he is too damn slow which keeps him from being a starter. Davies has yet to make any kind of impact. If this team makes the playoffs hopefully Edu will be back. He is going to have to shield that back line with Tribbett replacing Yaro because every team they face will have the pace and skill to exploit him. I hope they make the playoffs and can at least win a round. The X factor is Curtin. I just don’t see him making the right moves when games are really on the line. The good news is Earnie Stewart appears to be a real soccer guy with the IQ to make changes in the off season. I wouldn’t be surprised if Curtin was one of them.

    • What move has Earnie done yet with good soccer IQ. Not saying I’m not thrilled to have him but the only players he has brought in so far have been Davies, Alberg, Ilsinho, Anderson, and Bedoya (kinda). None of them have been great.

      • I give Earnie a lot of credit (not all) for the draft. In some ways, I think the Union’s early start hurt the team in that it began trying to play to defend its position instead of taking bigger risks and developing younger players. Herbers should have been starting for Sapong two months ago. We have 25 attacking midfielders that could have played that wing position. (Or we could have just kept LeToux who led the Union with chances created per 90 before he was shipped off). Biggest knock on Earnie may be that the team doesn’t have depth to contend, but on the other hand, no one expected them to contend this soon,

      • Well I give Earnie almost no credit for the draft. He was barely here when it started. Maybe he moved around to get the players they wanted so I’ll give him credit for being able to move up to get Yaro, but I think it’s a stretch to give him most of the credit for the draft.
        Can’t disagree on keeping Le Toux, although that’s Earnie’s fault too.

  6. Ich heisse Rolf says:

    Earnie Stewart’s Cult of Personality firing on all cylinders quite nicely today. As always, I might add. And such lovely stuff, too. How is that Kratz signing working out? There is always next season, no doubt.

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