Ilsinho vs. FC Dallas

Union vs. FC Dallas post-match quotes

Philadelphia Union Head Coach Jim Curtin

Opening statement…

First off, a thank you to the fans, to the Sons of Ben. A special night for them, I thought they were excellent, loud, and really pushed us on. Overall, the first 45 minutes, I feel was the best 45 minutes that we've played this year. The first goal we score is a real team goal, an excellent goal. Really happy to have so many guys involved. The work that the guys put in, from the front line, to the midfield, to the backs, still pressing in the 80th minute, pushing the game, and still trying to get a goal, very happy with that. I think you can see when [Alejandro Bedoya] and Haris [Medunjanin] are clicking they can run the tempo of the game. They can control when it speeds up and when it slows down, I thought they were excellent on the night. Ilsinho gave in a great shift, Ray Gaddis was very solid, so again we had a lot of really good performances. Johnny McCarthy steps up, CJ [Sapong] is everywhere on the night, Giliano [Wijnaldum], excellent. You could go through each guy again and the players really stepped up.

We challenged them in the pregame talk: it's a 12-game season now. Six home, six away, and they really rose to the occasion. That's a very good Dallas team, a top team in our league, so it wasn't like we just did it against a middle-table team. They are a very good group, so again, credit to our players. They really stepped up in a major way and overall very happy with the effort and I guess also Philadelphia likes [Video Review] too, so that was a good outcome for us. To actually get the play right is what it's for and I thought that it accomplished that tonight. Good night all around, disappointing to give up the last goal. I know the guys wanted another shutout at home, we've really talked about the importance of that, so a little frustrating, but overall a very good night from the guys.

On whether or not this has been the best Ilsinho has been playing all season…

Yeah, I mean, I'm guilty of just doing it, so I feel like we always have to say "What's the best ever," you know, so again it was a really strong performance of the defensive work that he put in, the amount of tracking back that he did to break up plays. Obviously Earnie [Stewart] and I have encouraged him to shoot more and more because he does hit such a heavy ball and he's starting to do it. And any time some of his Brazilian friends come to town, he scores, so we're going to be flying them in every week. And again, happy for him though. Really good strong performance from him, not just offensively but defensively as well. He dominated the game tonight, it was great.

On what they know on the sideline during the Video Review process…

Zero. Again, that all stays with them. The referees keep it to themselves. Obviously it's clear that it was a controversial one where you could tell Johnny had some contact and from our standpoint, once they decided to go to the Video Review, it's almost very NFL-like, you know, it has that feel where everybody's kind of on the edge of their seat waiting. Waiting. Waiting, waiting, talking, you're asking the fourth official, he's saying "I got nothing, I can't hear anything." The process, they've put a ton of work into it, it's not just that they tried it tonight and then all of a sudden it succeeded, it's something that they've put a year's worth of time, experimenting here even in our stadium when the games didn't count for them. They execute, there's a lot of moving parts to it. The poor fourth official now has nine things in his mouth and in his ears, so there's a lot going on to it, but the ultimate goal is to get calls right, and it succeeded tonight, so that's what you want. We were lucky to be on the end of the first review ever in the league’s history and on the good side of it. I think it accomplished its goal and now we move on to the next game.

On the feeling from Dallas during the review process…

It's strange, you could hear Oscar [Pareja] was upset, he thought it was a good goal. Again, I haven't seen it back, you just knew that Johnny's reaction was that he had gotten kicked. You knew there was a chance that it could be overturned but Oscar is calling for it to count and we're kind of over there saying that Johnny got fouled and then the video usually doesn't lie. People's interpretations can still be different, so there is still that gray area, but again the goal of it and the talking points all through the process when Earnie and sat in the meetings in the preseason, it was to get the obvious calls right and that's what it did, so it succeeded.

On what about Ilsinho's play is now translating into goals and assists…

Well, his talent is undeniable, you know. When you see this player train day in and day out, the things he can do with the ball, players are scared to get close to him and you've seen it in flashes in the game, but the challenge is always, for every player, to play at your top level for 90 minutes and when he plays at his top level for 90 minutes, you guys saw the results. He's setting up goals, he's getting goals. His talent is, again, something that is unique and he's a difference-maker type of player and tonight it added to up to assists, it added up to goals, and again, the little things, the influencing. I don't think it's a coincidence that he works so hard defensively and, we preach this to our guys all the time, it rewards you offensively. The chances that you get, a lot of times, when we're going and clicking on all cylinders, come from our defensive pressure and tonight was an example of that and Ilsinho deserves a lot of credit.

On if CJ Sapong is starting to reach his projected potential from his Rookie of the Year season…

Statistically, the amount of goals per start is really adding up. He's also setting up a lot of goals, tonight's goals we're happy with because they were goalscorer's goals. He ran in the hard area and got tap-ins. The movement that you have in the box, he didn't hesitate, he didn't pull back to think that maybe he could get a ball laid back, he put his head down and ran hard at the middle of the goal on the first one and then at the near post on the second one and they make a great play for him to get tap-ins. Those are goalscorer's goals, there's no coincidence. CJ sometimes, he works his tail off each and every game. The amount of ground he covered tonight will be off the charts. The data will be ridiculous on that because he did so much running defensively and I do honestly believe there's no coincidence that he gets a couple of tap-ins on the night and he gets rewarded for his hard work, but those were goalscorer's goals, his instincts in and around the box have always been sharp, but I think that in this game it was at a different level. He was kind of in the zone, I guess you could put it, where he wasn't thinking, he was just going to run as hard as possible in the middle of the goal and he was rewarded for his efforts tonight. He did a great job.

On the difference between their home and road performances on the year and what is missing…

Yeah, that's a good one. It's no secret: we've struggled on the road. It's hard, first and foremost, to play on the road. I think that everybody knows that across the sport now. It's very difficult and there are a lot of different variables that go into it. We haven't been brave on the road, we've kind of been reactive. Even, Ale and I talked about it, in New England, you know, he's dropping back and getting balls off of the centerback. That's not his game, his game is to play in the space that Chris [Pontius] actually did a great job of occupying for us by just staying high, we told him to just run deep every time, because that's the space Ale likes, on that right hand side in front of the strikers. He loves to operate in that area and part of that now is, on the road, you're usually pinned in. If we concede a goal on the road, I talked with Haris and Ale about it too, their tendency is to try and do more, to try and run around and Haris to try to play more forward and play almost as a 10 and that's not us, that's not what we're strong at. So again, it's not a bad thing that they do because it's going bad and they want to help and they want to make the team better, but they get outside their comfort zone. You start to see Ale come deep to get the ball and then you see Haris all the way up in our forward line and our shape is out of whack and we're chasing it.

We have to be braver on the road, that's for sure. We're trying to continue to press and play the same way, but we'll look at it now and analyze what's the best approach when we go on the road so it looks like that because that will win on the road. If we can do that, that can beat anybody. That was FC Dallas, who is, points per game wise, the best team in the West, so it's not a question of whether we can do it, because we know we can, we have to be able to do it for 90 minutes and on the road, we do it for 30, then we go off for 10, and we give up a goal, and now we're chasing it, and we're not built for that. We have to be, from the opening whistle, on the road, a team that looks like the team tonight, and we're capable of that, but we do have only six more chances on the road, so we have to have that urgency.

Philadelphia Union forward CJ Sapong

On if tonight was what the team needed…

Basically we feel like we haven’t performed to the best of our ability thus far into the season, but I think these last 12 games, or 11 now are very important and it is good we get some momentum right now moving forward.

On playing with Ilsinho when he is in form, such as tonight…

Yes, not only is it easier all around, but it is fun as well. You allow the little kids to kind of come out of you on the field and that is always a beautiful thing to win that way. We just have to keep it up moving forward, that’s the important thing. It’s about being consistent and continuing to play at this level.

On being part of MLS’ first-ever Video Review…

Yeah, it was interesting to be a part of that. I think we’re all going to look back at that and say that was the first time in MLS history that a play actually was corrected, and that’s something we want in this game. It was pretty cool to be a part of it.

On if he is having his best-ever season…

Yeah, I would say so. Simply also because of the fulfillment I am getting off the field as well. I am in a point in my career where everything is manifesting the way I like on and off the field. Also, [I’m playing] with a group of guys that kind of make it easy to be yourself and maximize your potential. Timing is everything and I think it is about marinating the moments and just trying to get better for the next one.

On the Union’s first goal tonight…

It was probably the best sequence. Like I said, it was just fun. We were clicking and that’s one thing I could say, it was the most connected goal we have had all season and that is just a beautiful thing one to be a part of and to see it and experience because moving forward these last games are very important and this is the way we need to be playing going into the playoffs.

On what is causing his current run of good form…

I would say experience first. It is all relative; however you want to look at it. Judging by every season to me is a lap around the sun: what can I experience and how can I get better in that one lap, and look to keep the pace up or get faster for the next one.

On if the Video Review slowed down the match…

Not at all. I also think it was because it was after a goal. Usually after a goal, teams take their time celebrating and whatnot anyway, so it’s nothing that interrupted the flow of the game too much. It’s just good that they got the call right.

On if he can reach another level…

Oh yes, for sure. It’s a mental thing. Again, I said, timing is everything with a good group of guys that definitely believe in me and today for me is a very, very good day as a striker. To just be in the right spots at the right times and have our playmakers make plays, that’s when we are performing to the best of our capabilities and I think we can keep that up moving forward.

Philadelphia Union goalkeeper John McCarthy

On the Video Review…

I'm happy they did it right because it went in our favor. I'm sure there are going to be times where our team is not happy about it. It worked out well for us tonight. We’ll see how it goes and it was the first night of doing it so we'll see what happens.

On the oddity of Video Review…

It's definitely different. We came in here and joked a little that it is like actual American Football. Allowing them to go to the booth and check this is out is something like throwing a challenge flag or something. It's definitely a weird situation to be in but when it makes the game better and helps you out you're not going to argue it one bit.

On what he would have felt had Video Review not existed and the goal stood…

I would have been [upset]. I would have been so mad. He kicked the hell out of me. Like I said, it came in our favor but if it didn't happen I'm sure there would have been some yelling and screaming for sure like there was until [the referee] signaled VAR.

Philadelphia Union midfielder Haris Medunjanin

Thoughts on Video Review…

I don't think you need to use the video because I think everyone saw it was a mistake. This guy, he put his leg, he touched him and that is why Johnny [McCarthy] could not [save] the rebound. After all they want to test it so it was an advantage for us.

On the difference between home and road matches…

Yeah, the first half, especially, but you see the second half, [if you] don't connect the passes we can get into trouble. Couple times Johnny saved us and it was a great win for us. I just don't understand why we don't play like this on the road. It's a huge difference in away and home games. We beat the first team in the West. We can play against everybody but we need to [play like that] in away games too. We have another match coming up here on Saturday against Montreal that we need to win if we want to make the playoffs. We still believe in the playoffs and this game is important for us.

Philadelphia Union midfielder Ilsinho

On his performance…

It was amazing. Felt amazing after this game. It's not about my goal or assist, it's about the big win. We got a big win. We did a good job and everybody was on the same page and we did a great job.

On playing well when friends and family are in town…

When my family is around me I feel more confident. When they are here I feel more confident. I feel close to my home.

On if he is comfortable playing as a 10…

After a couple games, yes. First game was hard, the second one was different but now after a couple games I feel more confident with the guys.

FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja

On the Video Review…

I saw it after the game and still I have to say that it generates a lot of thoughts, but we respect it. I have to be honest and say if the referee had the chance to review it, the VAR, they made the decision, I have to assume that it is it is correct. But when you go and see it, because we have the right to see it after the game, and we may have different opinions, but we are in the same boat and accept it and I respectfully say this is a call for the referee.

FC Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz

On tonight’s game…

Obviously, things did not go as planned. We came out with a game plan and credit to [Philadelphia], they had a good first half and caused some fire a little bit and scored two good goals. We have to go back and re-evaluate what is going on and obviously that is seven goals [allowed] in two games. We have to clean it up and definitely do some self-reflecting and figure it out.

On what to work on heading into their next match…

A little bit of everything. When you give up three goals, you have to go back to work. I think that is the main thing. We have to keep our heads down and keep working. For us, our game plan did not work out and we have to go back and figure out why. I have to do some self-reflecting as well and figure out those three goals. Obviously you want to keep zeroes on the road and if you keep zeroes on the road you are going to be a successful team and we have to get back to doing that.

FC Dallas midfielder Victor Ulloa

On the game…

Disappointing. We definitely came with the mentality of recovering the three points we lost at home last week and disappointed that we gave up three goals. We were trying to keep it to zero and it did not go our way tonight

On what has gone wrong the last few matches…

I think we need to stick to our fundamentals. We always preach about keeping the zero and the shutout, and that we can score at any moment. Also, I think we are missing the final touch in the last third. We created chances, but unfortunately we dug ourselves deep with two goals in the first half and it is hard to come back from that.

On having members of the team coming back from the Gold Cup…

Our team is ready. The guys that are here and are available have been doing a great job. I think that we have been working well since preseason and we have the depth that we always like to talk about. We are glad the guys are back and look forward to the next week at home against Colorado and see if we can get the three points there.


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