On where the Union are at right now
If you guys would have asked me that in February, that we would be in the thick of it, I would take it, for sure. Especially with five games to play.
I feel really good about the way we are playing. I know the perception is that we’re having a slide but, based on performance, based on what we were able to do against Houston and games before that — the half against San Jose, the first half against New England, but taking into consideration the Montreal game — I think we’re in a good spot. We have everything to play for, it’s up to us. I think we’re in a spot that most of us would have taken at the start of the year.
Is there a chance Roger Torres will see more playing time?
Sure, there’s a shot. But how many minutes did you say he played so far this season? In reality, I don’t think we’re in a desperate situation. And I think if you start to reach for straws and play guys who haven’t really represented your team at this point in the year that you’re getting to desperate times. Roger has done well in training over the last couple of weeks, that’s why he was in the 18 against Houston. But I think it’s unrealistic to say that you’re going to go to a guy that has played under 40 minutes for you all year.
On whether the team has been treating the remaining games as if they were playoff games
I think we have that approach for some of the games, for sure, back to, like, New York. New York was an absolute playoff feel for both teams. Now you have New York who is sitting at the top of the table for both conferences. But that was another good performance by us, that had a playoff feel to it.
I think you can get into a little bit of a tough situation if players feel like every week its gotta happen this week. The reality is, if you look at our last five games, and you’ve got Kansas City twice in that last five, going a way to Kansas City certainly is gonna be a huge difficult game for us. But I don’t think its one where people are going to say, ‘Philly’s gotta win this one in order to put themselves back into the race.’ You look at the home games in the rest of the schedule and think there’s probably a better chance to do that.
At the same time, we gotta keep things in check so that we don’t let that pressure get to us. Good week of training so far, guys are relaxed, confident, feeling good about themselves and what we’re doing, and that’s all we can really be prepared for.
What does the Union need to do in the final five regular season games?
I think in the next five games you have to get three wins and probably another point along the way. And it’ll depend on what other teams do too. But, I think realistically, you want to get nine to ten points out these next possible 15.
On playing Kansas City on the road
It’s gonna be tough. But we’ve been a team all year that’s come up with some firsts for our club and, in particular, we’ve been pretty good on the road. We’ve gone to some places that are traditionally very hard — and we haven’t done well in — and we’ve gotten results. So, that’s our focus right now.
I always put things on the performance and the process. And the process of training and our performances — I still say we’re in pretty good form right now — we just gotta translate that into results so that the perception is that we’re doing both. ‘Cause it is, no question, a result oriented business and we have to get those points.
On what Fabinho brings from a coaching perspective
It gives you some versatility that, before, we didn’t have, for sure. It gives you — once yo add one of those pieces, it gives you a lot of flexibility to move some guys around and try to maximize the guys you have.
What can be taken from the season opening loss against Kansas City as the team prepares to meet them again?
We have a little different team now, a little different lineup that we’ve been going with regularly. I think we take away the fact that they came here and stole three points from us. Now our job is to try to do the exact same thing to them.
Any injury concerns?
A couple of knocks. Keon has a little nagging groin issue. Seba has had some Plantar fasciitis flare up but not bad, not limiting training.
Having scored only one goal over the last five games, when does it become desperate?
We’ve scored one legitimate goal, OK? But we have scored three goals for sure that the head of officials has gone on national TV and said should have been goals. And, we’ve created numerous chances. So it becomes desperate when you’re not playing well, when you’re not creating chances. But if you have been in this game long enough, you are gonna realize it’s a cruel game and you’re gonna go through times where they’re not falling for you. But you don’t want to hit the panic button, you want to make sure you believe in what you’re doing and the process by how you’re doing it, and that’s where we are right now. And that’s probably why I sound the way I do, that our team is in a better spot then the perception that’s out there.
I think if you look at Kansas City’s roster, a lot of really good players — there’s a reason that they’ve been so successful. Having guys step up at opportune times, they’ve played a lot of different players. I think Graham Zusi is one of the best players in our league right now. He’s on great form and he’s done the same thing for the national team. CJ has been on a little bit of a tear, he’s a handful no matter what. They’re a really balanced team with a lot of depth.
I think every guy on our roster has a very important role to play, but similar to the way I talked about Roger earlier, I wouldn’t expect us to go to desperate lengths and play guys that hadn’t been a part of what we did all year. I would make the point to all of you that this is the first time the entire season that we’ve lost two games in a row, alright? And saying that, probably shouldn’t have lost two games in a row, you know? We’ve been a team that has bounced back and we’ve been a team that’s, for the most part, when we’ve had a bad performance, we’ve come back and had a good one. And that’s consistency. I don’t know how you measure that. But the way I’m looking at it, we’ve been pretty good in those situations. Now it’s our toughest challenge because we had two games where we haven’t gotten the results, and we need to bounce back from it.
Considering the fanfare that greeted Kleberson’s arrival and the amount of money he’s being paid, what kind of message does that send to the fan base?
I’m not trying to send any message to the fan base. I’m trying to put 11 players on the field that, game-in and game-out, give us the best chance to win. And Kleberson has been important to that. But I would go back to the real reasons why he is here and what he has done for the club. And those are different for our coaching staff and for the players in the locker room than they are, for sure, to the people out there.