Photo: Earl Gardner
Note: Philadelphia Union postgame quotes transcribed by PSP. All other quotes provided. Questions have been paraphrased.
Philadelphia Union postgame quotes
Disappointing performance from everyone, from the staff, from the players. We let our fans down in a big, big, big way. Today we had a great opportunity. Again, the goals we give up are silly goals but, at the same time, we win and lose as a team. We won’t point fingers and blame individuals, we haven’t done that all year. We’ve stuck together through the very good times at the beginning of the year and the bad times now.
For some perspective if it was a thing where we were in DC [United’s shoes] and we were pushing late in the year and scraping our way into the playoffs, I think the feeling of today knowing that we’ve all but secured a playoff spot, barring a 12-goal difference, we’d be pretty happy. But, I sympathize with how the fans feel, how we feel, because the players and myself are the ones who are most gutted. It doesn’t feel quite like an accomplishment because it’s not 100 percent yet but, at the same time, we have put ourselves with the tiebreakers in a position where we should be in the playoffs now. It feels funny; don’t really know how we feel but we don’t feel good about it because we know we can do better on the field.
Next week will be about putting together a good performance against a very strong Red Bull team in our building and giving our fans something they can walk a little taller with, be a little prouder of. Hopefully we can get a little momentum going into the playoffs.
Did the players come out tense? Did they look scared?
You know, it’s tough one, we had one of our best weeks of training wise. I half was joking with the rest of the staff, sometimes you don’t know how that’s going to go. We’ve had weeks where it’s crappy and we’ve had really good performances. We did talk all week about getting back to the basics and doing our job and just doing the simple things. I think we actually started the game okay. The idea was to get [Tranquillo] Barnetta and [Alejandro] Bedoya on the ball as much as possible, and I think we did that probably for the first ten minutes. Those are the guys that we need on the ball dictating the tempo, deciding the game. We were all a little off on the day, we were second best in some cases. Listen, it’s a fickle fine line. If Fabian [Herbers], that ball doesn’t bobble up on and he takes his chance and he scores there, I think you could look a little different. But, these are the margins, we did not get a goal in the first half and Orlando was organized and they were tough to break down. And, again, we learn from it and we move on.
On if Orlando’s record deceived today and a result was taken for granted
I don’t think so. In some ways, when a team like Orlando, when they’re eliminated, I think it can work in their favor. They can take a little more risk — you saw a pretty attacking lineup out there, four guys that are a handful. They can take a risk and maybe play a through ball more than they would if they were still fighting for a playoff spot, so I think it works both ways. They play a young guy on the field who was probably eager to impress a new coach. They’re fighting for jobs next season, so that is a motivator as well. It’s tough to know what you want. Even when they were eliminated going into our game I wasn’t sure if that was necessarily a great thing or a bad thing. They still have incredible attacking players on their team, they were a handful for us today. The little second balls seemed to bounce their way, they have some quick guys that gave us problems and silly goals that we gave up. They punished us.
On the effect of the two-week layoff
In some ways I think it was good for us because we could recover a little bit. Bedoya was banged up a bit, we had some guys go away on the break, we had some guys that needed to get their legs back, we had a situation with Josh, we thought we might get him back, disappointing not to. Yeah, I won’t blame that on anything.
Again, we are mostly self-critical of the group [we have to look] in the mirror first, starting with myself, and we weren’t good enough today in the big game. Again, we have to learn from it. We have guys that are doing it for the first time I’d say all over the field and in big spots, and I think it spills in their development and their future, and it could be as recently as two weeks from now when they go on the road somewhere and I think they’re going to be a little better for it having gone through it now. That’s the way I believe things are, and I still believe in all my players. I still believe in the young ones, I believe in the old ones, and we’re going to get through this thing and we’re going to turn it around.
After earning only two points in the last six games, how crucial is the NYRB game in terms of confidence?
Confidence is important in our game. You can see right now DC as an example: They look unbeatable, you know? They didn’t look that way earlier in the year. They shook things up a bit, they got on a run. Listen, this is a league where there’s a lot of teams that would kill to be in our position right now, so it’s a very fine line of who’s good at the beginning of the year, to the middle, to the end, it’s a true 34 games. I still think every point we’ve earned, all 42 has been critical. Yeah, we want more than we’ve had in the last six games, that’s for sure. We could’ve set ourselves up for a home game; that’s slipped away now, that’s pretty obvious. We have to deal with that. But I still think my group could go on the road and get a result. So, we will use this last game to have a good performance and something to be proud of for our fans, they deserve that, they deserve better than today. And, again, I still wouldn’t want to play us.
On whether the season has been a successful one
It’s not for me to decide if it’s a success or not. Everybody’s going to have their own opinion of it, and that’s fair. That’s what makes sports sports. Some people will analyze it and say they came up small, or they didn’t take advantage, they should’ve finished in first place. The Eagles fans will say after three wins that they’re going to the Super Bowl. So, it’s fickle, you know? We were getting better and we’ve hit a tough patch right now. I still think we have a great core of young players. I think we’ve had some breaks go our way this year, I think we’ve also had some things go against us, you know? We’ve been without Maurice Edu. So, again, it’s for other people to decide what they think is a success. I think it’s a success to be in the playoffs for the second time in the franchise’s history. Now I’m getting into jinxing, dangerous, and giving up 13 goals next week, but I’m happy with the team, that’s all I can say: I’m happy with the group, I believe in this group. I’m proud of the work that was done, I’m proud of the work my staff’s done. I’ve learned a ton in the year under Earnie [Stewart] and it’s been special. If there were two more wins everybody [would be] talking it up as though it was the biggest turnaround in MLS. So, again, it’s that fine line. We came up small in the big game today but I still think we’re better for it. Again, a long answer to a long question…The highs and the lows of the year, which is fair, but that’s just what they are: There’s been highs, there’s been some lows. There’s things we’re proud of, there’s things that we’ve done that are really good. You could go through each player and the things they did this year…[inaudible].
Were you getting more concerned as the first half wore on?
It was strange. There were a lot of fouls in and around the box and you started to think it wasn’t…it didn’t really have a flow to it, which is when we’re at our best, when we’re passing and moving the ball a lot, and moving it from side to side and holding it up. It was very stop and start. We gave up a lot fouls outside the box and they started to get free kicks, so it wasn’t a good rhythm to the game. You don’t expect the goals that we give up to give them up the way we do; there’s not really much that you can prepare for in that. That’s not a practice thing, that’s just a mistake. And, again, we’re a team. Fabi’s been excellent for us this year. He’ll move on and learn from it and, again, he’ll be great next game. The second one is silly too. We had a ball and just rushed a little bit and now all the sudden they’re on a through ball again. So, disappointing in that regard.
Again, that’s the thing that keeps coming back again, I should have a smile on my face because we’ve done something that this club’s only done once before but it doesn’t feel that way.
On whether there comes a point when CJ Sapong not scoring begins to outweigh all of the good things he’s doing?
Well, that’s the way a bunch of things are moving for us. I think it’s clear we believe in the group that we have but we have to do a better job maybe in getting him service, puttin him in different parts of the field, whatever it might be, there’s million different things we can do. But, again, it’s a group that we believe in, a group that’s shown they can do it and play at a very high level against any team in our league. But, yeah, individually, CJ’s going through a tough time right now in terms of goal production. Still does a lot of intangibles on the stat sheet. He’ll continue to work for it and, again [inaudible].
Do you agree that, for a game of this magnitude, it didn’t seem like there was a lot of buzz in the stadium?
[Inaudible] I’ve always had the feeling, home or away, with afternoon games…I don’t know, there’s something to it when it’s dark. You can tailgate a little longer, it’s a little louder, so maybe [it’s one thing that comes up?] when we go on the road as well it’s a little bit less of a buzz when it’s light out. There could be something to that. But, yeah, we were tentative too, we didn’t give the fans enough to get excited with. And, again, you look back and we had a couple of opportunities early we could’ve took a maybe little better but we didn’t we got punished.
What’s the biggest positive to take away from the game?
That it’s over.
On if the team felt pressure on the field
No, I mean, we had pressure the whole season and we’ve handled it well. But, today just didn’t go in our way. We had one or two good chances and we didn’t score. It was just a little bit too hectic with the ball so we didn’t have the performance like we usually have at home and I think that was the key why we lost this game today.
On if the two weeks off prior to this game hurt the club
It’s always hard to say. I think we had two good weeks of practice. We worked hard and tried to come back with a good performance tonight and, unfortunately, we didn’t. Especially in the second half, we talked about pushing the game and even our first half wasn’t perfect. We believed in ourselves and tried to get this goal and unfortunately, we had a mistake and we had to run from behind again. We stayed calm and tried to create chances but I think we lost a little bit of our usual performance. [We played] just long balls, and that’s not our game, and that’s why we didn’t have a lot of opportunities, even though I had a good header, a free header. If I would be able to make headers and then we’d tie the game, but at the end everybody has to stand up now for next week and make a better performance against New York.
On what needs to change for the team to re-find its home form?
Just to go back to the basics, like, everybody has to do his job on the field and know what’s important for the team, that we are all on the same page. That’s made us strong the whole season. So, just because we had one bad performance at home, we don’t have to change everything. It wasn’t our best, we know that. We have to work on the things that we didn’t do well tonight but look forward and just make a better performance, every player, next Sunday.
On the team’s mindset knowing that the playoffs are on the line next week
At the end, we are happy that we still have a chance. Everything is in our hands. We can handle it, we don’t have to look for help, so I think we are in a good spot. We know that we lost a bit over the last couple of games, but keep going and do a good job next week and then I am sure we can hold sixth place and look forward to the playoffs.
When the fans are going crazy, is there something in each player’s mind that they know they need to step up?
Yeah, I mean, for me it’s not crazy what the fans are doing here there are maybe like two guys that they whistle or are unhappy so I’m happy that, overall, the crowd is still behind us and tries to push us forward. That’s normal if you don’t perform well, some guys are unhappy. For us it’s important that the guys get the experience, bring our everything into the game, and help the young players to do their job. And also, my job, and Bedoya’s, is we step up the next game and make good performances that the young player can have something to hold onto, and I’m sure that we’ll have a better game next week.
What positives did you take out of the game?
All the time, if you score the first one…I think Herbers had a good chance, CJ had a couple, so if you score, the game goes another way and everybody says, “hey, that was a good performance.” It’s always like this but today we didn’t score and then we have to go from 1-0 back and we have to try to chase the game. It didn’t work out for us but when we had the ball and we had patience to go from one side to the other we had a couple of opportunities. That shows us that we are able to do it and [we shouldn’t] lose our gameplane, even if we are back 1-0, maybe just try to keep possession and we will find some holes. Like I said, not everything is bad after one performance.
On if the team felt nerves under pressure
I wouldn’t say so. I think actually the first 15 to 30 minutes of the game it was even, if not leaning toward our end and our momentum. But it’s not just about the first 15-30, it’s the way you can perform over 90 minutes.
On what he takes away going into next week’s game
It’s motivation. I think, obviously the past five, six, whatever it is games haven’t been good enough for us and I especially think it’s important going into the playoffs and being in the right kind of form, not necessarily in results, but in terms of the way the games are going and the consistency of performances for us.
Does Chicago defeating New England take some of the pressure off?
I think marginally. It’s nice to know we’re in but, at the same time, I don’t think anybody draws it up that they get in with a 2-0 loss. But, again, I think the most important thing is the form we’re in and how we’re playing going into the playoffs. You don’t have a couple of bad results, pop into the playoffs and make a run; this next game is important for us
Orlando City postgame quotes
Obviously I’m very pleased with the guys effort tonight. Pleased that we got a shutout. Pleased that we got three points. Its been my feeling for awhile now that when the players and team are fully committed to defend, we get results. When they are not fully committed to defend, we don’t get results. I think tonight we saw a concerted effort by them to do their best defensively and its nice to win the game.
On whether the Union played flat
I don’t think I would quantify how they played as flat. I think that is better served for people that have watched them more often and their coaching staff instead of me. I know that nerves can play a big part in it. We were in the same situation two weeks ago where we knew what we had to do to stay alive and it made a very difficult situation.
On what you saw from your young players today
It was good. Really positive performances from everyone that did their part today, from the starters to those who came off the bench to make contributions. I think that they are making their case about where they want to be next year.
About the foundation already present for Orlando City
I think there is definitely a foundation to be built around. I think there are some really, really talented players that are a big part of this club, have done a lot for this club and given a lot for this club. We are looking to build around those types of players and that experience is what you need. You can’t make wholesale changes and expect to improve. We need to work around our best and most important players to raise the level and raise the number of really good players to improve next year.
On returning to the field in today’s match
I feel great. A little tired now because I haven’t played 90 minutes in a while but it felt great. I think they everyone worked hard so it was easier for me to get into the action.
On helping impact the match that resulted in a victory
I did my best to help my team get the win. We are playing for ourselves, for the club, for the community and for pride and that’s a good reason to play. That is why we gave 100% today.
On today’s win and your performance
(Translated) I thought it was very good afternoon for me. I’ve been working very hard to get this opportunity and once I got it, I was able to deliver. So I want to thank God for being able to help me out and helping me with my performance.”
On coming out strong and taking advantage of opportunities
(Translated) “They came out with the same conviction as us but we were able to perform better in the game. We were able to capitalize on our opportunities and that was the difference in the end.”