Union / Video

Union postgame: Union 0-0 Vancouver

Photo/video: Peter Andrews

Vancouver Whitecaps FC and the Philadelphia Union battled to a scoreless draw Sunday night at BC Place.

We have postgame comments on video from Derrick Jones, Alejandro Bedoya and Fafa Picault. We also have a full transcript of Jim Curtin’s postgame remarks.

Jim Curtin’s post game remarks

Opening

Yeah, I thought two very organized teams tonight. Kinda canceled each other out a little bit. Chances were few and far between. Happy for my group to come to a very difficult place and get a point. Again, I thought we were organized, I think we conceded one shot on goal which is something to be proud of for the group, something to build on as we move towards our home opener against Toronto on Saturday. But, I think overall, fair result for each team to get a point on the night. Two good teams that went at it and we’re happy to go home with a point.

On Derrick Jones

Yeah, you know, just with what I saw — and you know my opinion may be biased — I thought he was the best player on the field, both teams. Very happy with Derrick. I thought he was excellent, broke up a ton of plays defensively. Of course, as a coach who’s been around Derrick for a long time, you’re nervous for him on his debut. The first player in our club’s history to go from academy, to Bethlehem Steel, to first team. So from that standpoint a proud moment for our club. I give him a ton of credit, he’s worked hard in the preseason and earned this opportunity. He didn’t just blend in there tonight, I thought he left a real mark on the game, and I’m really happy for him.

On Derrick Jones’ composure

Yeah, he was calm on the ball. I thought his passing accuracy was excellent. He kinda calmed us down when we needed to calm down. Haris did a good job with him in helping him in some difficult situations, because Vancouver is a team that when they get some numbers around the ball they have some really fast guys that can make it difficult on you. But you know Derrick remained calm, in a hostile environment in again a very tough place to play, on Astroturf, all those little variables for a kid as young as Derrick and as inexperienced, I thought he really stepped up and grabbed a hold of the opportunity. It was a special night for him, one that he’ll remember. Maybe not the most beautiful game of soccer, but at the same time for him a great debut.

On the danger of overhyping young players

Yeah, I think that’s a fair comment. You don’t want to put too much pressure on young players. Alphonso [Davies] isn’t my player, so I won’t speak so much on him, but he’s incredible. Basically our entire — not entire, but the vast majority of my weeks leading up to this was spent on how to shut down a 16-year-old kid. That’s a compliment. He’s a heck of a player, to see him run in person, how effortless it is, how powerful he is, and then to have the feet that he does. Yeah, I don’t want to get carried away, but he does have a heck of a future.

And it’s a credit to their coach too — Carl has to put young guys on the field. It takes guts. It’s very easy for coaches to say it, and a lot of coaches do say “I’ll play young players,” but very few actually have the courage to do it. And Carl is at the forefront of that in this league. Someone that I can look to and say, yeah, you know what, Derrick Jones is ready also, let’s go with this. You have to believe in young players. You know, Derrick is obviously able to play for our national team in the future too. So, we want to be a club that develops young players, brings them all the way through our club, and someday they get to wear the jersey for the United States. That’s the highest honor there is in soccer in this country. Does every club in our league approach it that way? No, but at the same time, that’s what our goal is. Derrick did a great job, but you do have to be careful, it’s one game, and not getting carried away. I agree with your point, if you put too much pressure on these kids it’s not fair. They’re important, and they’re getting better each and every week. But I’ve said it before, in this game, in soccer, there isn’t too young or too old, there’s only good and bad. And they’re good players, and they deserve to be on the field, and they’re dominating games. So it was good to see tonight, those two.

On not collapsing down the stretch

Critical. You know, to close out a game on the road is important. Early in the season, it gives belief, right? If you give up a late goal — and again late goals are a problem all over the world in every game in every league. Even today, you see Tottenham looked so comfortable and all of a sudden the crowd’s going crazy, Everton scores a late one and then they’re scrambling again. Late goals are an issue for every team, all over the world. We do want to be a team that does better in the late-game moments, staying calm and closing games out, [and] I thought tonight was a good example. Vancouver made a big push, and kinda started to press us a bit, we pulled one off the line, and then after that I felt we were able to get a little bit of possession and kind of take the wind out of the game. And that was kind of, yeah, maybe dull for the fans to see a game close like that, but if they’re booing a back pass on the road, that’s a good thing for the team that’s coming here, across the country to play. Again, two good organized teams tonight, no goals, but again happy with the point. I think it was a fair result

On Jay Simpson’s debut

We know our team is going to be by committee, our goal scoring. We probably don’t have a guy who’s going to get 30 goals. I’d love for one of them to, but it hasn’t happened in any of their careers. Jay did a good job — did a lot of dirty running, worked hard, created some chances. There was a few in the attacking third where I think everybody was just a little bit off with the final ball when it needed to be on the ground and behind it was clipped in in the air and they would pick it off. You know, just getting on the same page, it takes a little bit of time. I thought Jay had a good game, worked hard for 60 minutes, and happy with where he’s at for us. He has a proven track record that if we get him service, he’ll get goals. So, proud of Jay and the work he put in, I thought it was a good debut for him, and something to build on for next week against Toronto.

On Fafa Picault

Whether you put him at the beginning or the end, as you see with Vancouver, speed kills. Kekuta [Manneh] and Davies, when you put them in there, they make your whole team adjust, make your center backs drop a little bit deeper where it gives space for everyone else. And the last thing a defender wants to see is a guy with that kind of pace come on at the end of the game. So, Fafa I thought left a mark on the game which I thought you want a substitute to do. And, again, I wish he had the full preseason and didn’t have the little injuries, because he’s a special player. I think he has a bright future with the club, very talented, and again I think you can’t coach speed. Certain guys have it, certain guys don’t. To be able to run like that would be fun, I will say. Not something I was ever able to do. He’s a kid that, again, not scared when he gets on the ball, he likes to go 1v1. That’s a good quality we want from our wide guys. Fafa came in and threatened Vancouver a little bit with his pace.

 

6 Comments

  1. Could Derrick Jones be any more chill? That is one calm dude.

    • He’s also just a kid. Frankly I don’t care if he speaks Klingon as long as he puts in shifts like that one last night.

  2. Funny — I turned off the TV set and thought, “I do believe that Derrick Jones was our Man of the Match.” Apparently Jim Curtin agrees with that assessment. If that was no fluke, then Mo Edu might find himself playing Tony Romo to young Jones’ Dak Prescott.

    • pragmatist says:

      You mean we might free up $800K in salary for our summer DP replacement?
      .
      That would actually give us 2 DP spots, but more importantly, the money. You know, as long as someone was willing to trade for him.

  3. Old Soccer Coach says:

    It was one gam, a good one, a successful one, but one.

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