Post-Match Quotes: Union 3, Seattle 1

PPL Park Opens its Doors on Sunday

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Photo Credit: 
(Getty Images)

Manager Peter Nowak,
Philadelphia Union

On PPL Park’s opening:

“It was a historical moment.
The place was just amazing. Everybody felt the tension and everyone was pretty
quiet before we entered the field. If you are not motivated playing in front of
these guys, with this kind of atmosphere, you should change your profession.
But these guys were very focused and very disciplined.

On making adjustments after
Seattle scored first:

“Unfortunately (Seattle) got the
goal right before half time, that was very not encouraging. But the more we played
the way we did, there were a couple moments in the first half especially that
we made it difficult for ourselves trying to make plays and passes between the
defenders and trying to push the game a little bit too far.”

“And I think we talked about
that at half time, to stretch them out and to make sure we had the wings out, and
push the game to their half with tactical discipline. All this good (stuff)
comes from the outside. They did a great job bringing the balls in and there
were good runs inside.”

On believing in his club:

“3-1 is 3-1. (While) it’s just
the beginning, we are very happy with the win. It’s the first game at home;
this is a very special group. I never stopped believing in this group. This is
a work in progress and we are trying to do the best job every day and make sure
the team is in the right direction.”

On how much better this team
played today compared to the previous match at Seattle:

“Well we didn’t give up two (early)
goals; that was positive. I think we talked about that, we worked on it. And of
course, without these guys and me believing, and without the work, the results
will not come. Where we were after those games, it’s good to be home. This is our
place to play with fantastic fans and you guys supporting the team.”

On the club’s overall
performance:

 “I was very pleased with everything, the ball movement, the
creating of chances, the shots, everything was there. The first half wasn’t
perfect but the second half was almost perfect. As I said many times, you can’t
play a perfect game because even Tiger Woods can’t play a perfect game, but
these guys tried really hard the second half to play a perfect game and the results
say it all.”

On what today’s win does for
the team’s confidence:

“With (coach) John (Hackworth)
we tried to find a balance between not being down, not being dismissing, not
having long faces. We have been there before (with) the goal before half time.
We knew what to do in the second half, how to play our game. Rhe confidence of
the whole group, they make themselves better and that is a very special feeling
for the coaching staff knowing that these guys are hungry for success.

“As
I said, this is just the first step. We know the feeling after we won (against)
D.C. United and then what happened after that. It’s the balance between having
an emotional breakdown or being too high with your feelings after the win. For
me, I will let them celebrate today because it was a very special moment but
tomorrow we go back to work.”


Goalkeeper Chris Seitz, Philadelphia Union

On the penalty kick save and
the lift it gave the club:

“I think our coaching staff
does a real good job of getting us footage of past games. They had a good idea
of tendencies of players and with that kind of stuff. I try and look at
tendencies of players throughout the game and try to make the best guess I can.
There is also a bit of luck in there.

“It felt good, but more
importantly it was good for our team. We were in a tight situation; it was 1-1
at the time and for us to keep it at 1-1 and go forward at the time from there
is a big part of the team. I am just happy I could get one finally.”

On feeding off the home crowd:

“It was special. For a lot of
us it was our second time here playing. To get the support that we have in the
city is just huge for us. We want to go out there after a break and put a good
performance together for our fans most importantly. So for us to go out there
and get the win that we did with a good answer in the second half is huge for
our confidence and huge for us moving forward.”


Forward Sebastien Le Toux, Philadelphia Union

On playing in the heat and
humidity:

“It was tough because of the
weather. (It was) something we are not really used to since the beginning of
the year. Maybe in Houston it was like that. But even I think it was worse here
than Houston and we ran a lot today. I think we gave everything out there on
the field and sometimes it was kind of hard. We tried to keep the ball and to
breathe a little bit. After running around today I have these lights in front
of me now like the sun, but it’s OK. It is still great, we won so (that makes
it) much easier.”

On playing midfield today
instead of forward:

“(Nowak) wanted me to play this
position this week and we tried to put that in place. On Wednesday, I found it
to be a bit of freedom when we played a friendly (against affiliate club
Reading United). I can make deeper runs from the midfield and I can get back on
defense. It was another catch-22 to do because Danny was on top. I had to
adjust a little bit. Sometimes it was difficult to push up and figure out what
they wanted me to do. But I am glad that we won today.”

On playing at PPL Park in front
of home supporters:

“It was very nice for me, (and
I was) just thinking of doing the best I can on the field. There is lots of
ambition because of the new stadium and all of the people who were crazy today
behind us. It’s great as a player and I will have great memories about that.”

On the win:

“Playing against Seattle, it
was very special. I really wanted to win this game because it was our first
game (at PPL Park). It’s great, I am very happy tonight and I am glad because
everyone did a great job. Chris saved us and he gave us confidence after we tied
and then he made that great save. Now we can sleep on that, but it’s just a
win. We are still behind, we have to be good at home and need to now put up
some points when we play on the road. We need to be strong and I am sure we
are.”

On the penalty kick:

I’ve known (Kasey Keller) a
long time and we use to practice PKs. I knew he knew my favorite side.  I just wait until the last moment and I
knew he would dive early and I put the ball in past him.”


Forward Danny Mwanga,
Philadelphia Union

On
playing first game at PPL Park:

“I knew it was going to be a very good game, especially
because we were going to be in front of our fans. So it was like extra
motivation for all of us just being able to do that for them, to win that game
for them for the first time in our new stadium. It was just the best feeling
ever.”

On his
goal today:

“I hit it the first time and (Keller) did a good job. He had
his foot left behind him and just like I do at practice I didn’t stop following
the ball. I knew that I had a second chance and I just had to tap it in.”

On Alejandro
Moreno and Le Toux:

“Both guys are doing a good job at helping me keep my head
in the game and helping me to work on some areas of the game. Both of them are
doing a very good job and have such a big impact on our team.”

On facing
Seattle again:

“Home field is definitely a big advantage for us. We all
knew that during the first game we had a couple mistakes, and we watched the
video from the first game and we learned from our mistakes and went out there
and tried to correct them and come out strong.”

On the club’s strategy against Seattle:

“They have a bunch of dangerous
players. We knew we were just going to play them physical. We knew they were
going to fall as much as possible, but we didn’t care about that. We played
them tight, we played them physical. They got one break on us from a little
counter attack but besides that I don’t think they were very dangerous.”

On how the team has come together since the last meeting
with Seattle:

“We’ve had more time together
as a team, we’ve had experience. Also we had a home crowd.  Playing in Seattle last time was tough
but we are definitely a lot smarter defensively. We know when to attack and we
don’t force it too much. We take our time a little better and our coach has
done well preparing us and fixing our mistakes. Hopefully we can carry it
through the next  19 games.”

On coming out in PPL Park for the first time:

“When we first came out it was
an unreal feeling. It was a little emotional during the National Anthem with
everybody singing, and just thinking about how fortunate I was to be there. I
just started to choke up, held back some tears, but it was an unreal feeling
and I just felt so blessed to be in this atmosphere.”

 

Midfielder Roger Torres, Philadelphia Union

On
importance of playing at home:

“It was something really beautiful and we needed it.  We were coming to this game from a
bunch of results that were not favorable and playing at home, we always get
something good out of it, so it is important for us to keep being home.”

On the
team’s progress since last playing Seattle

“It has changed a lot, because our first game it was
something new to us. It was our first game and we came out there and we were
new to the league. Now the team is more solid and we know the formula to play
the game and we showed it today and we won.”


Head Coach Sigi Schmid, Seattle Sounders

On
playing in Philadelphia:

“When you don’t train in the humidity, it’s a
little bit tougher to play in it. We were where we wanted to be. The penalty
kick, for them, I haven’t seen before, so I can’t really comment on it. Then we
got a penalty kick back. We haven’t scored a penalty kick in MLS play, and that
killed us at the end. If we score that penalty kick and make it 2-1, I think
the game’s a different game.”

On
the atmosphere for the game:

“It was good, it was good. Obviously the fans
are excited. They’re behind their club. It’s going to help them, and once they
got on the scoreboard, the fans got a little bit louder and were a lot more
involved.”

On
playing Philadelphia:

We
had seen them play, so it was more unknown when we played them the first time
because they hadn’t played a game. We were here yesterday, we had a feel for
what the stadium looked like, we knew that the atmosphere was going to be
great, and we’re used to playing in front of a great atmosphere.”

On
the flow of the game:

“Goals change games. In the opening night for us
we scored a couple of goals, and they took a red card, which hurt them in that
game. Tonight was the same thing. We had the goal, and we should have scored a
second goal off the PK, and we didn’t. Then the game changes. They ended up
winning and scoring the goals they needed to win the game. More so than
anything, they are more comfortable playing in the heat and humidity. It was
our first time we had to play in it and it made a big difference. It takes a
period of adjustment. It’s a lot easier for a team to train in heat and go play
in cold weather then to train in cold weather and go play in heat.”

On
the play of Kasey Keller:

“Keller came up big on some big saves. The
header off Arrieta was probably his best save. He had another good save going
to his right, but that’s what a goalkeeper is supposed to do, that’s his job.”

On
changes made a halftime:

“We wanted to drop back a little bit, and we had
trouble holding onto the ball in the first half, so it wasn’t just Ljungberg. I
think we got him the ball a little bit more in the second half. Today we just
didn’t have a good day of possession.”

On outlook for the rest of the season:

“I’m never a guy who’s going to say it’s
desperate, you have to believe you’re going to win. That’s what we talked
about. We have an Open Cup game midweek and then we play on the weekend against
LA. We still believe in ourselves as a unit. The games all about when you
dominate, you have to score goals, and you have to make sure they don’t score.
They worked hard, and in the second half, they raised their level of play and
did well.”

 

Forward Pat Noonan, Seattle Sounders

On
how the game unfolded:

“We came into halftime with a 1-0 lead; we had
done some good things. We were sluggish at times. I know we had some good
opportunities. We had a chance to tie the score with a PK, and it’s got to be
put in. We can’t keep thinking about it. We’re disappointed.”

On
his goal:

“Steve (Zakuani) got the ball and he took it
inside and put it across nicely, and I was able to get a touch on it. I was
able to scoot it past (Seitz) and score.”

On
how Philadelphia was able to win:

“We lacked energy, and we let them back into the
game. I had to get that PK in, but I didn’t. They came back and scored and put
it away. It’s frustrating. We need to go win in Portland to bounce back. That’s
about it.”