Mark McKenzie vs. Orlando City SC

QUOTE SHEET: Union vs. Orlando City SC

POST-MATCH QUOTES: Philadelphia Union vs. Orlando City SC, 4.13.18

Philadelphia Union Head Coach Jim Curtin

Opening statement…

“A night where we talked a lot about breaking out as a team in terms of the attack. I actually thought we started the game well in the first 15 minutes, but in the end a disappointing night. The two goals obviously we gave Sacha [Kljestan] a bit of time and space and he was able to pick a final ball. The backline was a little disjointed there and a bounce off Dwyer’s back right into his stride and they punish us. So, disappointing the second one a little fluky where Jack [Elliot] goes in half way in a tackle and bounces through to Mueller, who just was a little more aggressive on the night and punished us again. It is not on a lack of effort from our guys, they emptied the tank and gave everything, but at the same time it is a struggle right now for us to score.”

On the mistakes made in the midfield…

“I still have real confidence in the group. I think we have quality players on the field and I think we create a lot of chances. It is not a night that Andre [Blake] needs to make 15 saves or anything like that. I agree we were not perfectly clean through the midfield with our passing, but at the same time we still had a lot of the ball and still created a lot of chance. The ball is not bouncing our way right now and it is not going in the net with that now obviously confidence drops and we are not built to chase a game from behind. It is a challenge and I understand the frustration from the fans and the players are frustrated. I am also frustrated. It is difficult and we need to stick together in the hardest moments. We have to move forward and try to improve.”

On possibly losing the energy at home…

“I think it is a fine line, if you look at our record at home over the last 17 games, which would equal a whole season. The record is strong. This year is the year that matters. 2018 is the year that matters now. Again, good start against New England, a fair 0-0 game against Columbus, a tough one against San Jose, and now it is teetering on the edge. We talked a lot about the importance of this game against a conference opponent and I did not get the job done. So, I will put my hand up and take responsibility for the group. I know we have a really strong team. We still play good soccer at home, but now it is just the matter of finishing those chances.”

On playing more through the midfield…

“It is a matter of inches if you go through a lot of chances we missed. The example would be the ball Ilsinho puts across that is a ball we train and work on to get in those spots. It comes across and Jay and C.J. are both in good spots, but it goes away. Bendik made four or five good saves for them and against San Jose really good saves. It is not going our way right now and we need to stick together. I still think the group is playing really good soccer, but we have no points to show for it tonight.”

Philadelphia Union midfielder Haris Medunjanin

On the lack of goals…

“It is difficult when you do not score which makes it difficult to win games. I think we went into the game too comfortable because the last performance we thought everything was okay, but we did not win the last game. Today was the game we needed to win. I mentioned a lot of times last year that if we do not play as a team anybody can beat us. You saw it today; the lines were too far from the defense to the midfield to the offense. Everything was not right and everything was not what we discussed into this week. Then you lose against Orlando, that is not a better team than us, but we give them two goals in the first half from nowhere. Then you need to chase the game and it can go anywhere. I think we had a couple of chances, but if you do not score it is difficult to win.”

On the central midfield trio taking more shots…

“We need to take more responsibility to win more, but we cannot give away goals that easy. If they beat us with a nice attack and a fantastic shot, then we congratulate them, but to give them that kind of goal at this kind of level is deadly. Like you said most of the time in the midfield it is the most experienced players and we need to keep the ball more. We want to attack every attack, but that is impossible. You cannot attack every attack, if the ball goes on the side we cannot attack all the time. Sometimes you need to be patience and pass the ball back then change the field. Be patience and let them run, but we play everything in their feet. We play everything how they want it, they played compacted and just waited until we lost the ball. Then they play the long ball to Dwyer and he holds up every ball tonight. I think that was our problem today we were not patient. We wanted to attack too quickly and in futbol you need to have patience because you are playing 90-95 minutes. I think we need to learn from that and play as a team that is the main key for this team.”

On creating more chances…

“No it is about scoring goals. If we just have one chance and we score that is enough. It is about winning games. The last game we played so good that we dominated, but we did not win and this game you need to win. It is not about how many chances you create it is about the goals and that you play as a team. If we attack, then everybody needs to step we need to play as short as possible from defense to midfield, from midfield to offense. We did not do that today. That is why you get in trouble against Orlando. That is frustrating because we are a better team than them, but we played poorly today.”

On giving the fans a good performance…

“The crowd is here to see a good soccer match. I think if you score the first chance with David [Accam] then it would be a different game, but we do not score that opportunity. Then we give away two silly goals. Then you are chasing the game and there are a lot of mistakes, normally we do not do that, but when you are chasing the game you want to do everything at a high level and that is why those mistakes happen. In the moment, we have to be more patient because even if you are chasing the game you need to wait for the right moment to give the ball to Borek [Dockal] or CJ [Sapong]. We want to do it so fast, and then we make a bunch of mistakes. That is what killed us today.”

Philadelphia Union defender Mark McKenzie

On his MLS debut…

“I thought I handled myself well out there, being able to connect on the first couple passes and get into the game. But at the end of the day, we didn't get the result that we wanted. Now we have to dig ourselves out and get back at it this week for our game against Dallas and get the three points.”

On how to prepare for a substitute appearance…

“The staff, they will prepare you properly. Throughout training, you get put in different situations and you need to be ready when your name is called.”

On learning from his fellow Homegrowns making their debuts this season…

“Absolutely. We talk and we hang out together a lot. We pass some advice and words of wisdom as we go and we take it in our stride and hopefully we're afforded the opportunity.”

Philadelphia Union defender Keegan Rosenberry

On the match…

“Credit to [Orlando], they are a good team. I think we made some silly mistakes and they are too good of a team to go down two goals and chase them the rest of the game so I take nothing away from them, they are a good team. They have a lot of skill, a lot of quality but I attribute this to those easily corrected mistakes we could fix. It's unfortunate but that's the way the game goes.”

On not taking advantage of the early home schedule…

“You always expect to perform better at home and you can look at the numbers, it's not going to surprise anybody that most teams do better at home but we want to change that mentality anyway and now we have a good opportunity to do that because we need to. We lost some points and results at home but it gives us a challenge and a little bit of motivation going into these road games. Again, it's early and you can look at past teams that have made runs to the playoffs … It's still early and we are a young team and we are going to strive to get better.”

On what he said to Mark McKenzie when he came into the game…

“Yeah, I told him when he came on to connect your first pass. I've said it before about the young guys getting minutes, you don't need much. Once they connect the first pass, the adrenaline and the athlete in you takes over and you see that with these guys and I thought Mark did really well tonight when he came on. He was calm. He played some passes that were taking two lines of defenders out of the play. I was proud of him. He stepped right in and that's not easy. I've done it before where you come into the middle of a game when the pressure is on, especially at a position like Center back when the game is open like that, it's difficult so it's a credit to him."

Orlando City SC Head Coach Jason Kreis

On finally playing with the lead…

“It felt different; we didn’t quite know how to handle ourselves. I’m really really proud of the guys’ effort tonight and the performance. For me it was the most complete game of the year, no question about it.”

On the keys to the three-game win streak…

“I’d say in the first two of the three it mostly came down to what the players were willing to put into it. Their mindset and a little bit about their fitness. A little bit about having special players that can make plays at the end of games, score the goals that was necessary to win those games. I think tonight we saw for the first time a collective mindset that we weren’t going to give anything away, defensively. I think it led to us being very well-balanced and very well-organized and shut them down pretty well. Still, Philadelphia created quite a few chances but they’re a good team that is quite capable of creating those chances. We just couldn’t be happier with the complete performance.”

On if there was a momentum shift after Dwyer’s goal…

“Yeah, there’s no doubt about it. I think Philadelphia really tried in the opening stages but we knew that they would. But our guys’ commitment to stay the course and not become too rattled I thought was really really good. Of course the goal, we’ve been in Philadelphia’s shoes, I think they’re exactly where we were or have been the past couple of weeks. They do so many good things and then they allow the goal that really hurts the mentality of the group. From that moment on I thought we were much improved but also really happy with the way we fought in those opening stages where it was difficult.”

On the performance of Will Johnson and Cristian Higuita…

“Super, super. Cristian [Higuita], for me was one of the top performers for us tonight. He’s been training really really well and so we knew he was ready and then Will [Johnson] put a shift in for us at right back for us last year for the first opening five or six matches. We knew that he was quite capable of that as well. We had Donny Toia on the bench that we could have played, but Donny [Toia] is left footed and I really wanted to have a right footed player over there for us to alleviate some pressure.”

On Chris Mueller’s performance…

“Fantastic. Really really fantastic. It can never be so rewarding as to see somebody that works so hard get success. Chris [Mueller] scored that goal just on sheer will and a never say die attitude, he kept fighting for it and it ended up at his foot at the right time at the right spot.”

On if there was an improvement in the middle third defending…

“Very much so. The cohesion of the back four in this game and the balance of the players in front of them was the best it’s been by far.

Orlando City SC Goalkeeper Joe Bendik

On the first clean sheet of the season…

“Feels great, just like any clean sheet does.”

On the solid defensive performance…

“I think we had a very high level of commitment. From the start we know that they are a very physical team. You know you’re going to have to win your duels against them so everybody was on the same page there. I think we were comfortable.”

On his six save performance and the importance of the first save…

“Yeah, the first one was just a skipped ball into me, but it’s just nice to touch the ball and not have to do something crazy. It gets you right into the game.”

On the Union’s pressure in the second half…

“I think we did a really good job of containing them. I think they had more pressure in the first twenty minutes of the second half and then they just kind of fell off because time after time we won our duels and we completely fended them off.”

On the impact of the first goal on the defensive end…

“I don’t know if it takes the pressure off, you want to score the first goal and when we do it’s a big lift of confidence. I think it was huge for us during the game and now we could control and dictate the game.”

Orlando City SC forward Dom Dwyer

On his goal...

“It was a fantastic cross from Sasha [Kljestan] and just a little chip through. I managed to stay onside and my right foot’s good in there.”

On controlling the ball with the first touch…

“I figured if I let it go it was going to run free too much so I just tried to get a little touch on it and it managed to lay nicely for me and I finished it up.”

On work off the field with four goals in the last three games…

“No, I’ve just been playing well. Obviously, I wanted to go on the field and help the team out and I think we’re getting into a good stride now. We’re starting to put in some good performances and obviously a clean sheet tonight is really what we wanted and of course, we scored some goals again and got a good result.”

On teammate Chris Mueller scoring two goals this season…

“You saw it in preseason, the kid’s a goal scorer. He’s hungry, he’s working hard and he’s getting his rewards. I think he did fantastic tonight and I’m very proud of him and excited for his potential. I’ll be keeping good tabs on him and pushing him in training.”

On feeling the momentum of the match change after you scored the first goal …

“It just kind of got just a bit more relaxed, I think, and then we followed up with another one not too shortly after. It just got us off to a good start to the game.”

Orlando City SC midfielder Chris Mueller

On scoring his second goal in two games…

“Honestly, attack through the channels was on for us. We found some pockets with Stefano [Pinho] and me. Cristian [Higuita] and Yoshi [Yotun] moved the ball so well that it made it easy to open up the space and the gaps for us. So, found a good time to get on the ball and make a good run and make a good goal.”

On his confidence building after scoring tonight…

“It helps for sure; you need that type of confidence. It is what it is, it’s more important to get the three points, but it definitely helps.”

On why he did not go for the slide on the celebration…

“The slide was more instinctual that just came out of me in the moment. I kind of just went back to what I do.”

On keeping the win streak alive…

“It is a big step for the club, getting three points on the road was huge and getting on that three game win streak helps a lot going into these next couple games. It just proves a lot and it shows us what we are really capable of. We are the farthest thing from satisfied right now and we are going to keep going. We will shoot for another three points next week.”

On gaining more energy over the win streak…

“I don’t know if it is a different energy. I think we had it in the first couple games. It is what it is, the results did not go our way, but we are just continuing to believe in the system and we know we are a good team, the results are just turning our way. If you play good soccer, it is just going to turn itself in the end.”

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