QUOTE SHEET: Union vs. New York Red Bulls

Philadelphia Union Head Coach Jim Curtin

Opening statement…

Obviously, a tale of two halves. I thought that the first half was a disjointed one with a lot of fouls. You had the heat, you had the wind, a lot of variables, water breaks. So, a little bit choppy. Having said that, we did a good job on Sacha [Kljestan] and [Bradley] Wright-Phillips, limiting their chances. I thought Chris [Pontius] had two really good looks, [Luis] Robles makes the one save and then the header before the half. Obviously it’d be better to take one of those chances. We didn’t, second half starts and [Fabinho] gets caught dribbling the ball and loses it and makes Derrick [Jones] have to leave his feet for the tackle. Don’t believe it’s a red card, you know, Felipe is a guy we talked about all week in terms of a guy that can get under your skin and frustrate you and don’t fall into the fighting or anything like that. I think he maybe baited the ref a little bit, made it look a lot worse than it was, but he’s drawn five red cards this year on opponents, so not a surprise there. You would like to see the referee maybe pause, take a deep breath, think about it, not just be so quick and excited to show the red. I think you could’ve gotten some communication maybe from the sidelines. It just happened very fast and I thought the red card was quick. You know, Derrick does tackle over the ball, but he doesn’t really touch Felipe so, again, you could get into all kinds of different arguments on the call, but obviously red cards change games. I thought that the guys fought hard and were difficult to break down. Again, Wright-Phillips is a striker that you can do a good job on for 80 plus minutes. He’s just looking for his chances, we couldn’t hold on at the end. I thought the goal, the first one, we almost get it blocked, Jack [Elliott] almost slides and blocks it, and they get the tap in at the near post. Difficult, obviously now, have to regroup quickly and get prepared for D.C. United and then we’ll see New York again in the Open Cup.

On the tackle that lead to Derrick Jones’ red card…

Listen, I think it got written down as violent conduct instead of the studs showing but, again, it’s all semantics. You can’t really make a tackle in a soccer game without your studs showing, so I think that’s a poor choice of words that you always hear referees and people say because you physically can’t slide without someone being able to see your cleats. Again, I just think it was a little bit rushed. I don’t think it warranted a red card, I think maybe a yellow, but again, he made a quick choice and we have to live with it. It’s a snap decision and, again, you can get into the semantics of it, but at the end of the day we had to play down a man for a long time, and against a good team that’s very difficult.

On the thought behind selecting the centerbacks for today’s match…

Yea so, you know we gave an opportunity, Josh [Yaro] played on the weekend. Still coming off of injury, still a little bit of rest, but obviously a guy we’re high on had a good performance. We chose Gooch [Onyewu] and Jack. They’re guys that have put together a good run. Haven’t conceded a lot of goals in our last seven or eight games, so there’s some consistency there. Again, on a different day you could judge the back line a little differently, but they had to kind of deal with being doing a man and taking a lot of crosses and different things we didn’t get the job done. If we get away with a shutout and a point there, we’re talking differently, but I thought the back line played well. Again, that was the choices that were made. We did get to see Keegan [Rosenberry] again in some minutes on the weekend. Giliano [Wijnaldum] been pushing and doing a good job as well, but that was just the decision that we made. Close decisions, but that was the choice we made.

On what caused so many through balls in the game for the Union…

Yeah I mean, listen, we didn’t switch the ball as much as we had hoped in possession. Again, that first half was one that was a lot of fouls and just kind of never really had a flow to it. You know, we had moments and stretches where we passed the ball pretty well and, when we’re able to chance fields, we create chances. I thought that, again, we had a couple of good looks in the first half and we didn’t take them and, again, the Red Bulls are a good team and we weren’t good enough on the day.

On the recent struggles on the offensive side of the ball…

Again, we’re getting looks. The second half of this game is a tough one to judge our attack on just because we are absorbing and taking a lot of pressure. I don’t think that creating chances is a problem for us right now, I think we do create enough to score. Executing on set plays, we can do a little better. I thought today was a little bit off in that regard, but I still think that there’s enough chances and, if one of the early ones goes in, I think goals chance games. I still think that we are a team that pushes, creates chances, but it’s tough to judge today because it’s 40 minutes of down a man. So, not concerned with the attack.

Philadelphia Union midfielder Haris Medunjanin

On his late-game injury…

It’s too hot today, and when you play with ten men you know it’s only defending and running back, so nothing serious.

On his free kick late in the game…

Yeah, it was our only chance I think with the free kicks when we turn over the ball in the midfield. I think we had a couple of them, so you know we could do something better. I think also the first ball when Fafa [Picault] and C.J. [Sapong] touched each other, they could maybe go one against one with the goalkeeper. I think overall it was a difficult match for both teams. Both sides we had chances, but when you play against the Red Bulls with ten men it’s always difficult. You know we kept defending until the [87th] minute, but when they scored it was difficult to come back.

On the red card…

I just saw it, I don’t think it’s a red card. Jonesy [Derrick Jones] went for the ball and with a player like Felipe that likes to jump, I think everyone saw it was not a red card but it killed our game. Overall, I don’t think it was a card. It was the first card in the game and they gave a red card. It was not even on the leg of him or somebody else, he went for the ball and I don’t think he even touched him.

On comparing the red card to others that he’s seen…

No, but I don’t think because it was a tough game. It was difficult for both sides because the conditions outside and the weather. I don’t think we play a tough game like this against an opponent where we want to make falls only, we want to play football and we want to score the goal. I think this kind of moment kills your game and we are understanding of this point.

On how the Union rebound…

We been here before in the beginning of the season, we lost some similar games, but it was not necessary because we had good chances especially in the first half with Chris Pontius in the last ten minutes of the first half. A couple of other chances we had, we also had something, but nothing serious. Like I said before, when you play with ten men it doesn’t matter who you play, it’s going to be difficult. We have two more games at home so we need to come back and we’ve been here before. We need to stand behind each other and win on Saturday.

On the weather…

Of course, it’s very difficult because it was going up and down and you want to score. Even sometimes you want to press but you don’t arrive there on time, so in this kind of situation we need to keep the ball more. I think we could do that better, and I think if we could keep the ball a little bit better we could play them out, but we tried to play the ball behind the defense. I think a couple of times this went well but we need to play more soccer from man-to-man and let them run, and in the second half we didn’t do that. It also comes because we got the red card so early in the second half so it was difficult.

On Warren Creavalle’s play…

Warren is a great professional player. He trains every time like it’s a game for him He’s part of the team and part of the eleven. He got a chance today and you see even with ten men he took some balls and cut some attacks from them. He’s a great player and I’m happy that he’s playing with us.

Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Andre Blake

Thoughts on the game…

Disappointing. We lost. When we went down to 10 men it was going to be tough. At that point we were just containing them and seeing if we could get a goal on a restart. Unfortunately, that didn't happen but it's a part of the game.

Thoughts on the red card…

I can't say. I have to go back in and watch the tape so I'm not sure.

On Wright-Phillips' first goal…

It was tough. As I said when we went down a man it was tough. We were trying to do everything we could and it just happened. He made a good run, it was a good ball in and he was able to get a touch on it.

On team rebounding from the loss…

We all knew this wasn't us and we were playing short for 30-plus minutes. It's tough. It was a hot day and were not going to let this affect us. In many ways we know this it's a part of the game. We got to bounce back and go again.

On the upcoming schedule…

We're taking it one game at a time right now and tonight we lost. We're going to have to go back, put in the work in training and hopefully we can win the next game.

Philadelphia Union defender Jack Elliott

Thoughts on the game…

We did well. I thought it was a hot day and the sending off really hurt. We were keeping the ball out in the first half and created a few chances. Even with 10 men we could have made a goal. In the end, the heat really got to us with 10 men.

Thoughts on the red card…

I have to see it again. I'm not too sure.

On Wright-Phillips' first goal…

I have to see that one again. It went out wide, slipped the ball in the six yard box and Wright-Phillips does what he does and got on the end of it. I have to see it again to definitely know.

On Wright-Phillips…

He's definitely one of the best at drifting up the shoulder and making it difficult to locate. Me and [Onyewu] just talk to each other and it takes the whole back line and the midfield to try and keep him out.

On competition in training with Onyewu and guys on the back line…

It's always good competition between the guys in training. Everyone is trying their hardest and trying to get playing time. Me and [Onyewu] have a good relationship on the field.

New York Red Bulls assistant coach Chris Armas

On the game…

It has been awhile since we have won on the road, so first and foremost that is huge, that we got three points against a good Philadelphia Union team.  The red card helped us in some ways and sometimes it makes it harder, but our guys stuck with it, I think all day had a good approach to the game, a good mentality and maybe could have scored a few with Brad up top earlier and we conceded a few too. This team knows us well, we know them well and I give our guys a lot of credit on a hot day to come away with two points. 

On the formation switch…

We have flirted with that in the past, in training.  We know Sacha’s qualities, can help the team get out of the back and quarterback from back there and we know that Felipe’s qualities, he is active up the field, he loves to sit in those pockets and turn and face goal and make those plays and help us counter press a little bit, so we think it was a good switch and it was effective.

On the wide players…

What one comes from Kemar Lawrence who got himself into some good spots, he is really a defensive left back, but has shown an ability to get forward this year.  He has helped us in a bunch of moments to score goals this year, so he comes on at halftime and he help us and Brad makes a great near post run. We knew that is where the spacing would be, in the wide areas and Kemar helped us there. Then Sal Zizzo who has been an outside right back for us this year we put him in more of an attacking role because we know he can make final plays and brings quality and some speed on the flag and again, we knew that there might be some space, he did not get as many touches as we would like, sure he made the one head up.

On if that is what he’s looking for…

Anyone who knows our team, we are not a team that spaces the field and tries to do big switches and really play in the wide challenge, that really is not our team. We do try to play a more interior, our wide guys Alex Muyl, Danny Royer, we ask them to come more interior, find the game and we are looking to go. Part of that, when you are outside the field is playing those interior spots and it leaves room for the outside backs.  In certain games, especially when there is a red card, when a team is set back, that is where we thought there would be some space.  It looked for a little bit that we might not be able to get one because Philly did a good job depending, but we broke through. 

On Jesse Marsch leaving…

(Chuckles) I was thinking “ahh do not mess this up.”  I think we had a good handle on the game from there and I did not really think too much about it. We knew beforehand that might be the case and there is always dialogue going of what the final minutes will look like and we had some good talk going into it, how to manage the end of the game if we would need to push the game or close it out. It felt very comfortable.

On Wright-Phillips…

I think goal scores, they can ride the waves.  When they get going, there is nothing, they cannot miss. Brad has a good mentality. I know we always say the next day, the next day the work was there and he was showing up in spots, he put himself in some good spots. He wanted to be out there, you could tell he was still working, still running hard.  He is a goal scorer, it is the reason why in the last two- three years he is number one in the league. We believe in him, he knows that and he is our guy up there. We could have made a change, but we know exactly what we discussed and to leave him in and it paid off. 

On the little things in a game…

I think it always is the little things, whether it is the Champions League Final or Philly Union vs. the Red Bulls.  If you think back to last game, the first goal is so strange. They clear the ball and we mismanage the play in a few ways, but up until that point we thought we had a really good handle on the game, especially in the second half. It was one of our best starts to the year in the second half. Then of course there is a handball and it is at your side, I do not even think we imploded on the day, we stuck after it, it was just one of those days. The results have not been great this year for us and we have had little things, to your point, cost us games and that is what it is especially the way we play. A lot of times we have the ball and we have possession and we are up the field bolt counterattacks and even today, they are very capable, [Chris] Pontius gets a header in the first half, there are a couple moments of counterattacks and some fouls unnecessarily around our box that put us in bad spots. As much as you can have a handle on games, lots of times lose focus and discipline that can be the difference. In the league that is so tight.

On the plan for him coaching the team with Marsch gone…

Jesse will be back toward the end of the week. We have talked in detail about what the week would look like and we have a typical schedule that we go do and the good thing is, we are playing an opponent next weekend that we just played, so we know the preparation is almost to repeat what we just went through last week. So we are off for a couple days, we had a long week this week, two games in a week we have a good plan going into New York. Right now it is about enjoying this win and stay with a good mentality and get ready physically and mentally for what is ahead.

New York Red Bulls midfielder Sacha Kljestan

On today's match…

Playing against a direct rival is always good. We're feeling good right now. I'm also impressed by the fact that we've got two shutouts in a row.

On the game management after the red card…

Yeah pretty good, I think we were pretty smart in the way we did things. We still turned the ball over a few times which I think was down to a little bit of laziness and tired legs and tired minds, and then set pieces. We knew they were going to be dangerous on all set pieces, so we gave up maybe a few too many fouls and one really easy corner kick, but other than that pretty good. They clogged up the middle, so we had to attack the wings and both goals come from the wings, so that was very important that we stuck to the plan and everybody stuck together to get the result.

On whether or not he feels this was their best game defending set pieces…

They could've nicked one, he put a good one in that went past Bradley [Wright-Phillips] and me for the back post and luckily it missed everybody. We got the shutout, so that's good, but I'm sure we have to be a little bit tighter.

On comparing this game to the last time these two teams met…

The result of the first game was so lopsided but the play was not. When we even looked back at the video of the 3-0 loss here earlier in the season, we had a lot of chances and we dominated in a few different ways almost the entire second half until they scored their first goal and then we just crumbled. A couple of good performances here, three points for each team, now looking forward to the Open Cup against them, that will be a good one.

On Tyler Adams playing in the middle…

Physicality is probably one of his strongest points, so his ability to not only be strong against the ball but to track down guys in counter attacks to make up a lot of room when there's little spaces to make up to close guys down, that part's been really good. I think that part comes easy to him, so now it's about moving him along, about manipulating spaces on the field when he doesn't have the ball, which he's going to gain with experience and he's going to gain with time and more games, but overall he's very good so far.

On Adam's play and how it helped him support Bradley Wright-Phillips…

In this game, obviously, I played a bit deeper as we tried to get more possession. First time I've played deeper as a six or an eight with this team in a long time, really, if ever for such an extended period of time and I thought it went pretty well because I thought we were able to sustain more possession from deeper positions, and then yeah, Tyler's ability to cover ground and help make up plays and track on turnovers and then also being very good with the ball. Today he had a very good game.