Quote Sheet Union vs. DCU

QUOTE SHEET: Union vs. DCU

POST-MATCH QUOTES: Philadelphia Union vs. D.C. United, 4.28.18

Philadelphia Union Head Coach Jim Curtin

Opening statement

I’m really proud of the guys sticking together when our backs were against the wall a little bit and I think we put in a great performance. It would have been easy to fold in this situation, but we came out strong. I’m most proud of the way we have possessed the ball lately, of which it’s at the highest level it has been. We talked about being aggressive and I really thought Alejandro and Haris with their passing completion percentage up in the 90s were excellent in this area. They stayed disciplined in the center part of the field and worked as the connectors for us, not going outside of their comfort zone. I thought Borek was excellent, not only in scoring a goal, but he was active and busy and that defensive run was immense for us. If we are able to play with a lead, a lot of our strengths seem to come out as David can now run at the back line and CJ becomes even more of a handful in the box. Again, really proud of the group overall. Even if you look at the two goals we conceded, one was a technical mistake where we tried to pass out of the back, which we encourage our guys to do, and the other we maybe could’ve closed down on Stieber a little quicker. Overall, I’m really proud of our young back line and how they played against a quality opponent. It’s a big three points for us to pick up and as a whole I’m really happy with the players and their performances.  

On relief with Borek scoring, especially with its timing…

In a game like that, that I thought we dominated for the most part, it would have been very disappointing to come away with just a tie. This locker room has stuck together through a tough beginning to the season and each player has each other’s back, something which showed through today on the field. They didn’t waiver, didn’t get high or too low and stuck together. But yes, getting that goal and three points definitely has everyone with a smile on their faces as we prepare for a big road trip coming up.

On the game plan of going at their left side…

We were pretty successful in that in creating numbers advantages on that side, which allowed Keegan to go forward often and combine with Ilsinho. We ended up a bit more balanced in the second half, but that was all by design as far as going down that side. DC adjusted to that a bit by switching Stieber over to that side, but we still had some joy and success in creating chances with lots of shots on goal. We could do better in pulling the trigger a few of those times, especially early, but we’re still fine-tuning those moments of when to pass, shoot or dribble to get our decision-making at 100%. We had our moments tonight, but still aren’t there yet.

On Fafa being out and Ilsinho’s play…

Fafa had an injury earlier in the week, so he missed a day of training. We did also talk about how teams had been sitting deeper with David on the field meaning there is less space to run into. So, we decided to have Ilsinho come inside to create a numbers advantage on either side of Durkin, who is a young player. We wanted to take advantage of his inexperience by confusing him with some new looks, which the guys executed well. It’s a balance of possession with Ilsinho and Fafa, who is more apt at getting behind, but tonight we decided Ilsinho would start, which worked out well, and Fafa also did a nice job coming off the bench. That’s what we chose for this week and it could change next week. Fafa had a great attitude about not being in the starting lineup when I told him about this earlier in the week and he’s embracing the team atmosphere that this group has. With three games in the next week, we are going to be calling upon everyone in some way and need them to embrace their roles as Fafa did today.

On Ray Gaddis’ play…

When you talk about 1 v 1 defending, I still say he’s one of the best in the league at that. Nobody really beats him clean and that’s his specialty. We’ve asked him to lock down that left side even though he’s not naturally left-footed. But, with the youth that we have on the backline, we wanted to put some experience and someone with a comfortability level back there to balance that. I really thought the smartest play of the game come from him when he headed the ball back to Andre when they started to come at us in injury time. A less experienced player may have panicked and cleared that ball on a long diagonal, but his play was the right one and kind of killed the game off right there.

On the attack not quite being as dynamic as he wants it yet…

It seems like inside almost 25 yards and in, we were putting together as many passes as I’ve seen from us, which is good, but you eventually need that incisiveness to really break down a team. It takes the perfect play, scoring goals is difficult, but we do see a better connection out there. Guys seem to be more on the same page as we get more games into the season and their connection will only continue to improve. If you’re talking about ‘Arsenal’ type goals where you basically pass the ball into the net, as long it finds the netting, that’s all we care about. It’s fun to watch, however, we need to think about pulling the trigger more often. You look at Ilsinho’s goal, he just toes it, but it finds its way into the net. You have to shoot to score and, although we had more chances to let it fly, I can’t be unhappy about three goals and the amount of chances we created tonight. 

Philadelphia Union defender Keegan Rosenberry

On DC’s two goals on four shots…

It felt like a lot of this year has gone like that. Sure, there are times we have been outplayed, but we feel like we have been playing better in most of these games, but just haven’t been able to capitalize on our chances. That’s definitely been frustrating, but luckily today we were able to score three, so hopefully that puts us in good form offensively going forward.

On getting forward more often playing with Ilsinho…

It’s been great. You see his quality on the ball and his comfort controlling the ball in tight spaces and with a defender on his back. It’s always a challenge working with new combinations, whether that be between a centerback and forward or centerback and mid, but today we handled that well and linked up to help the team win.

On Coach Curtin’s game plan for him to get forward on the right side…

You saw that today, whether it was working with Ilsinho or Alejandro, that we were making an effort to push forward on that right side. As many times as I could get forward and create an outnumbered situation, I made an effort to do that. We were able to create some great chances using that strategy today.

On trying to defend the counter-attack better in the future…

Yeah, I mean we just spoke about the push to get forward from the back, but that certainly leaves us susceptible to quick counters like you saw today. We can do better in maintaining our position and playing the ball to our attackers, trying to get that ball up to Sapong and our other offensive players to prevent this from happening. It’s something we’ll continue to work on as a team going forward.

Philadelphia Union midfielder Borek Dočkal

On his first ever MLS goal…

It feels good. It feels like, finally, because we needed to get some points today. I scored the goal and we created the chance but sometimes [this year] it felt like it was not enough. In three or four games we struggled to score a goal so I felt the responsibility to do something with the result.

On his improving connection with his teammates…

I just came the last few weeks before the start of the season. It’s obviously something you need to get training with your teammates, play some games with them, it’s getting better. I feel like to create the chance we need 20 passes, a good cross, and we really have to have good action to create the chance. The opponent doesn’t have to do that so far. We concede two easy goals and I felt like today we should have won 3-0 because we had full control. We shouldn’t be shaking under the last minutes. We need to improve definitely but we definitely need to keep it up.

On his partnership with Ilsinho…

I was actually looking forward to it because the talent he has is something incredible and he makes it easier for his teammate because he is always dangerous. He can pass the man and he opens the situations for other teammates so I was looking forward to playing the game with him. I think he’s an incredible player.

On how he and the team were more confident as the game went on…

Yeah, I think it’s mostly about the confidence. I hope this result will give us all the confidence we need. I feel like we started the season really well but if we don’t have a result we can be discontent. Even today was a difficult game after going down one-nil. I felt like after the second goal we had full control and then we conceded again so it was not easy for us. It was important to win today and be content going into the next game.

Philadelphia Union forward CJ Sapong

On getting a lot of goals in the win...

There is a lot of relief obviously, but I think that we all knew that we were capable of this. It was just about executing and scoring our way.

On the moment when the ball is coming to you right before you scored …

Initially, I think that it was Haris [Medunjanin] that had the ball and I just wanted to be an option inside of the box. He played a really good ball to the back post and I figured I just had to be in a good spot and when he put it there I was able to put it into the goal.

On the importance of the team’s possessions …

It’s important but ultimately it comes down to executing and getting the goals. We’ve been in that position many times this season where we’ve had a lot of possessions but the results still didn’t go our way. I’m very excited and I think everybody is very excited to see some balls went into the net and we had even more chances and opportunities so hopefully we can build on that.

On getting one goal before the half ….

It doesn’t matter at all. Were just trying to get the ball in the goal, win, get three points and have a great game for our fans.

On the relief of getting a goal this game ….

It always is. However, I’ve always prided myself in seeing the bigger picture and ultimately I still thought I was providing something for my team. It’s a little easier to step on the field even if the goals aren’t coming as much as you’d like. Obviously, it is better when you are scoring.

Philadelphia Union midfielder Haris Medunjanin

On the relief of scoring the team’s first goal today…

Exactly. We have been struggling to put the ball in the net before that and it was a relief to get the first one in. The first goal we gave away was a present. Today we had 20 to 25 shots and we still struggled to score. There were a lot of times were we could’ve found a better way to score and sometimes we try the more difficult one and that’s why we don’t score.  But that’s how soccer is sometimes. Hopefully next game we can score really early and finished the game with ease.

On the partnership developing between you and Borek Dockal …

I think it’s going well. Borek [Dockal] just came to us this year and I think he played amazing today. He was everywhere, created a lot of chances for us, shooting outside the area and scored a goal for us today which ended up being the winner. He just needed some time to adjust to us and I think you will see him getting better every game. He’s a good player and will give us more goals and more assists.

On playing with Ilsinho today…

Ilsinho is an experienced player. He knows when to make his action and when not and I think sometimes we need that. Most of the time we want to attack so fast and we lose the ball and need to go track it back. Ilsinho is a great player on the right side that can hold the ball, let us breathe a little bit. Today he played a very good game and got a little tired at the end but that’s how it is. He gave us a good 65 minutes which was great for our team.

D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen

On the performance this afternoon…

It was pretty inconsistent. It was certainly not my favorite performance from us this yea, but we still did enough to get two goals. Maybe have a chance or two there to get something out of this game. They played pretty well and we had our moments. They caused us a bit of trouble down the right side and we were not able to solve that problem enough. Some of it had to do with tactics, but some of it had to do with just not having enough guys be at their best and that has to be the case on the road.

On the late goal the Union scored…

It was only thirty seconds. I am not sure what happened. What happens is you become passive all of a sudden and what got you back in the game (2-2). We are off a little bit and maybe too passive. I’d like to see two plays again in this game and one is Steve [Birnbaum], seems like he is through on a corner kick and he gets pulled down, which I thought could have gone our way. Then Steve [Birnbaum] for the second goal gets hit pretty hard in the box, the one they reviewed and it does not get overturned. I only saw a quick replay of both of those. On a day like this where we were inconsistent, we almost needed that call or good fortune to get out of here with something. That was not the case.

On most plays coming down the right hand side…

We thought Ilsinho might start. He gives them another look. He poses different types of threats than Fafa [Picault]. In a lot of ways, I think that hurt us more because he was unpredictable and comfortable coming inside and overloading that right side. Again, we had trouble solving that, you could see that. Eventually, I think we did, but then it came down to some chances.  I think we put so much effort in to because we could not solve that problem in the first half. We put so much energy into defending that it started to wear on us offensively, guys not moving enough, are inability to regain possession when we won it. It wasn’t great on the day, bad decisions and in transition too many times we are looking to go for it when we can connect a bunch of passes and move them back to defend.

On Bruno Miranda coming on as a substitute…

Bruno gave us a lot of energy. He has had a good two weeks of training. He deserves some minutes. I thought when he came in, he got on the ball quite a bit and he was lively. He took the right pass. We need to work on his fitness a bit because he does not have a lot of games, but he is a good young player.

On the direction of the group going forward…

I am not too alarmed with the situation we are in right now. We just lost a game on the road in the MLS. So, it does not feel good and I do not think we played up to our capabilities So, that is concerning. I am not concerned with our abilities to win games. The group will be fine.

D.C. United defender Steve Birnbaum

On the game this afternoon…

You cannot get it in the habit of defending in the box for the majority of the game. I am a little upset. I thought there were a couple missed calls out there. I thought there was a penalty on me and there second goal someone hits me late. I think if it were anywhere else on the field they would call that. We cannot make excuses, that is a part of the game. We just need to be better with the ball and create more chances going forward. It was a great start to the game, that is what we wanted but, obviously we cannot sustain that pressure the entire game.

On the quick goal scored late in the game…

That was dagger to us. They were overloading on one side for majority of the night and they were having a lot of success going down there. They slip a ball, I really do not know what happened, but he [Borek Dockal] hit a good shot and roofed it. We cannot let him get down there that easy especially after the goal. You know it is just tough.

D.C. United midfielder Zoltan Stieber

On the match…

We scored early, so that was a good start for us. They had lots of possession, especially on our left side … we came back in the game. It would have been a good result for us if we could at least take the one point from here today, but it’s quite disappointing.

On giving up the third goal so quickly…

The first one was an own goal, I think, so that was unlucky. But these kinds of goals are very disappointing. We have a long way to go. We knew before the season that it was going to be a very hard first half of the season. Like I said, a long way to go. We still have lots of games. Obviously disappointing today that we didn’t get three points. We have to fight during our next game and the game after.

On what the team needs to work on…

We had a big change in the winter. We are still trying to build ourselves together. It takes some time. As I said, it’s a long way to go. Very disappointing today but we have to focus on the next weeks and it’s going to be a big fight for us.

On his one-goal, one-assist performance…

I’m very happy, but the goal and assist in the end didn’t help us. I want to get the three points rather than score a goal. I got 90 minutes today so I tried to get my rhythm. Hopefully this 90 minutes will help me in the next week.

Topics: 

Download the FREE MLS App

Follow the Union's scores, updates, highlights, analysis and more.