Photo: Nicolae Stoian
There is no other way to look at it: it is halftime, and the Union are down one goal.
Carlos Valdes: “We have one more game. This is not over yet…DOOP”
Sebastien Le Toux: “Thanks for the great support tonight! You are the best! We still have 90 minutes to beat them…
Morgan Langley: “tough loss…we can get the next one…def not over”
That five-man backline
Peter Nowak: “The decision was to avoid those penetrating runs. We decided to [play with 5 defenders] not just from a defensive standpoint, but from an offensive standpoint as well. We could push (our fullbacks) up further on the wings. I think that we weren’t balanced as well in the first half. There were some easy passes going to our wings. It was easy for Houston to put some passes together. I think that we adjusted well in the second half and the pressure was pretty good. The possession also changed in our favor.”
Stefani Miglioranzi: “It was definitely different, but we were comfortable with it. We had Peter explain the reasoning for it. He saw how they played as a team and we thought we’d get a little advantage because there wouldn’t be much of a threat behind us if we had five people in the back. All in all, I think it worked out pretty well. Maybe in the second goal, there was a hint of offsides that caught us on a break and then it was a trademark set piece for the first one.” [Editors note: ?!?!?!]
How does the Union stop Houston’s “trademark” set pieces? Danny Califf said, “Look at some tape and really renew our commitment to being better on it and putting bodies on people. That’s the only thing we really can do at the moment. Brad Davis serves an incredible ball and we’re not going to be able to get our heads on every single one, and not allow them to get heads on ball. But the more difficult we make their headers, the more we can get bodies on people and the more we can make it difficult, the more to our advantage that is. You’re never going to be able to stop them completely. They’re too big and [Davis] serves too good of a ball. You try and minimize it as much as you can.”
Faryd Mondragon added, “We know it’s one of the strongest points for Houston and on our first set piece we are giving a goal away. [We have to] stay concentrated. Not committing stupid fouls near the area and being more attentive.”
The first goal
Peter Nowak: “The set piece goal is what we expected and we just need to do better with that.”
Match reports from Philly Soccer Page, the Union website, the Daily News, the Inquirer (1), the Inquirer (2), Delco Times (1), Delco Times (2), Delco News Network, Houston Chronicle, SBI, Brotherly Game, Philly Soccer News, MLS Talk.
Nowak said, “We made too many naïve mistakes in the first half. But we still created chances, we just didn’t put the ball into the net.”
He added, “It may be good for this team to go into the [road] leg without the pressure to have to defend.”
Le Toux said, “It’s just our fault, it’s not them who put us in difficulties. We gave them the space and we have to really watch video and see what we can do better. I know we can beat this team and we already proved it. Now it’s on us to play. I don’t think it’s because of them [we lost]. It’s because of us.”
Califf said, “We have everything to play for—you’re always bummed out when you lose, but the fact that it’s a two game series…it’s crystal clear we need to win.”
He added, “We don’t really have anything to lose. They’ve got to go home and protect it. That leaves us with a lot of opportunity to leave it all out there, throw everything at them and see if they can protect it.”
Brian Carroll said, “We’re going to play with confidence and we’re going to fight and scrap for each other just like we have all season. We’ve done well against them down there and we know that. We lost this one, but we can go right back there and get it back. I expect us to play like we have in the past, fight for every ball and every possession and do everything we can to win. If we do that, I like our chances of getting a good result.”
Sheanon Williams said, “I expect us to fight like crazy for this game on the road. We’ve come too far to stop now. We’re going to give it our all and do our best to keep our season going.”
John Smallwood writes in The Daily News, Houston has only a one-goal edge, which certainly is an advantage because all it needs is a draw in Thursday’s game to move to the conference finals…By not giving up a third goal, however, the Union has more than a puncher’s chance of staying alive. If the Union gets a one-goal win in regulation, regardless how many total goals are scored, the worst it can do is force two 15-minute overtime sessions…Rarely has a one-goal advantage seemed to mean so little.”
What does Houston midfielder Brad Davis think? “We know that they’re going to come and throw guys forward and push the game because they have to. If we can put another team performance together like we did tonight but keep a little more possession, I think we’re going to be just fine.”
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