Union vs. RSL Quote Sheet

QUOTE SHEET: Union vs. RSL

POST-MATCH QUOTES: Philadelphia Union vs. Real Salt Lake, 5.19.18

Philadelphia Union Head Coach Jim Curtin

Opening statement...

Overall, I thought a very strong performance from the group. We talked a lot about if we did not back up a good performance in Montreal with another one it would be meaningless. Credit to the players. They deserve all the credit. I thought the energy that was put in made Salt Lake uncomfortable. The amount of of times we played in behind, made their defense turn and face their own goal. Probably should have scored four or five goals in the first half. That was our biggest complaint. I thought, if you go through now, our execution in front of goals still can get better but on a night where you do get four goals you do have walk away happy with three points. It's big for us. Have a little momentum and it's a confident group. Proud of, from the back to the front, two young center-backs that are doing a great job for us. Teenagers that are playing major minutes for us. We set out at the beginning of the year to be team that played academy and homegrown players and we are second, probably pushing close to Red Bull now in terms of the minutes there. That's a real positive for the club. I think it's a big deal. It will start to get more maybe coverage. It will get looked at more as success and that's most important. We get a win tonight. Again, you go through each and each guy. Checked a lot of positive boxes. I thought the first half of our central three midfielders was excellent in terms of controlling the tempo. I thought our wingers were great. Overall, a satisfying three points.

On Borek Dockal...

You bring up Borek and I think he was treated unfairly at the beginning of the season by some snarky Twitter heroes. Again, you see his quality, you see what he brings to the table. He's a professional. He steps out on the field and dominated tonight's game. Again, it does take time when guys come with a DP tag on them. It's a little unfair the pressure that comes with that but he's a man. He's really stepped up and played some good games for us. A lot of the games even when we weren't getting results and losing. The through balls he's playing that should be assists aren't. It can change quickly in this league. I'm really happy for him. Again, I'm proud of the performance he had. He dominated the game tonight. I thought he ran the whole show. The amount through balls he played, the key passes that he played. He did exactly what we ask of him in terms of pressuring defensively as well. Overall, a very impressive player and one that will now as he gets more and more comfortable with this group will start and have better and better performances. Really proud of him.   

On the resilience shown after giving up a goal and have a goal disallowed...

I think it's a positive. Especially for so many young guys. I thought that our response almost...every time there was little of adversity they showed togetherness. The showed a team that was willing to fight for each other. I'm really proud again of our young group when that ball does go in and it's 2-1 and your dominating a team. It can be tough. We score again, it gets called back and your mind it can be here we go again mentality but that's gone from this group. I thought Auston Trusty was a man tonight. All aspects Mark McKenzie goes about his business. The things those kids are doing there are special. It's not easy to be a good center-back in this league. As you can see, you look around the league there's not a lot of good one and I think we have two that showed tonight that they can dominate. Mentality wise, I think it was strong performance. To get a goal a respond quickly after a little bit of adversity was important and to have the resiliency after a goal being called back and having that high of emotion. Showed a lot of maturity for a pretty young team.

On the game plan and execution...

We have speed. Speed kills and i think that if you saw Fafa (Picault) with confidence after Montreal followed it up now and do it again, which is the challenge in consistency we want from him. He's a special player and that right-back tonight didn't want to play against him. That was established in the first half and you could feel that on the field. It's credit to Fafa continuing to go out. It also takes guys playing quality balls in behind him in Borek (Dockal), Haris (Medunjanin) and Ale (Bedoya). Really played good balls in behind him. They weren't just kicking balls over the top. They're with a purpose. On the ground, in the guy's stride. The game plan going in was, especially in the first 15 minutes, to play balls on the ground in behind their defense, make their defenders face their own goals. They have some injuries to their back line. Maybe wingers playing as their outside backs. I thought that was something we could get at and the players deserve all the credit because they executed what we asked them.

On if tonight's game plan was just curated for Real Salt Lake or is something they try to replicate against all opponents...

We were a little lucky in terms of scheduling. The three team's that we had success with have pretty similar setups. If you picture our last home game against D.C. where it looks like a 4-1-4-1. Montreal same thing, 4-1-4-1. Almost two number eights. Also with Beckerman kind of being the one guy that sits there trying to tell the guys to give. That one guy, holding the midfielder, two things to deal with. Whether that means one guys ready to come inside from the winger spot. Whether that's a deep run from Ale (Bedoya). Just make it complicated for them. It felt redundant in preparation over the past three times. You're saying the same thing to these guys and probably thinking this is the same game plan. They executed and they did a good job. You see confidence in the group. Confidence is a drug. Once you have it everyone one is chasing it. They want that feeling of three points. We're still gonna have a lot of games in front of us. There's a lot of season left but this is group again, if you look at every metric. Whether you're an analytical guy or not an analytical guy, we happen to be analytical at our club. Whether you belive in expected goals, goals against, possession, dominating entry balls, creating chances, we are at the top throughout the league in all those categories. So the question is, well, what if we’re a good team?

On facing Nick Rimando...

He's a legend in out league. He's been, from the start, one of the best goalkeepers this country has ever had. He's a winner. He's a special player. He kept them in it in the first half to be honest. We had a lot of point blank shots that they're only saves Nick Rimando can make. It takes a special shot to beat him. We had special shots tonight. Keegan (Rosenberry) getting forward hits the post. We've encourage him a lot shoot as well as he shoots the ball. He's a legend in our league, has a great career and still one of the best goalkeepers we have. To put four past him is unique. His distribution is unique. He's a great player. Fortunate to get some balls past him.

On Marcus Epps...

I'm proud of him. Every player during the season has different obstacles they have to face. I think he had learning experience in the preseason. We believe in him. We still believe in the kid. We saw quality, a good kid that wants to get better. We get excited when he gets on the ball. You see now how uncomfortable he can make it for defenders. Really proud of his persistence. Continued to keep going. I think he learned some big lessons and he benefiting scoring some big goals in front of a great crowd tonight. It's really important he took advantage of his opportunities in Montreal. We believed in the kid. There's going to be a time when David (Accam) steps, there's going to be a time when Ilsinho is going to have to step up. It's fun to watch.

Philadelphia Union midfielder Marcus Epps

On how good the game felt tonight…

It felt great. It was a good team performance. I thought we played well with good energy. It felt good to get a good team win and get after them and do everything we worked on in training.

On regrouping after the disallowed goal…

Personally, it's wipe away the goal. It's always 0-0, even when you're up. You just try to attack it like it's 0-0 and just try to help the team get the goal back.

On Nick Rimando’s play…

Coach wanted us to keep attacking to get it going within the first fifteen and try to keep getting after him so the guys stuck to the game plan and we were able to get it by him.

On the mindset that a win tonight was needed…

Definitely. Last week, everybody had the mindset that these three points are what matters most. Last week was good but it doesn't mean anything if we didn't come out and get the three points tonight and that was the mindset of every player tonight.

On getting the first goal tonight…

We've been unlucky early in the year getting the first goal but Coach has talked about getting it going in the first fifteen and if it doesn't come, keep it up. So the guys kept that mindset and had faith that the goal was gonna come and the next guy was gonna step up and it paid off.

On the team’s ability to play in the air…

Fafa, CJ and myself are good in the air so we are good under pressure. We can play under pressure. We can play it up and get after it and attack it in the air and attack for the second ball and go from there so the guys did well in all aspects to find the ball in the air.

On playing with Borek Dockal…

It's so much fun. He's really good. We see him in training everyday and it's good for it to translate in the game and you guys get to see the chemistry that we build. We work on it everyday in practice and he's a good player and it feels good when you can combine with other good players on the field and get things going offensively.

On the final third creativity…

Everyday in practice, we work on it. We have the players and the talent and that's something we focus on. Being clinical. Being creative and having the chemstry. Tonight was just the reward from hard work in training and the guys did great.

Philadelphia Union midfielder Alejandro Bedoya

On Borek Dockal’s goal and what he was saying…

Nothing really. I was able to get the ball and thought Haris was going to get me the ball first but he switched it over to Marcus and I knew that he was going to win that ball over the defender. For me I just make those runs that I’ve been making all year in between the centerback and outside back. As soon as I saw Borek’s run and the center back I knew Borek was going to get behind him so all I had to do was just put it into space. It was a perfect ball and a good finish by him.

On Marcus Epps’ performance…

I mean I love what I saw from him today. We’ve talked all year about how we need to push everybody around us. Nobody is guaranteed a spot on this team, whether it’s me as a captain or a DP or a young guy; everybody has to fight for their position. To see him now and how he’s been knocking on the goal all season and in training it shows that it pays dividends to work hard in training. He showed what he’s capable of today and he’s a talented guy so hopefully he keeps progressing and it’s great to see him do the things he did today.

It’s funny though cause I got a little mad at him in the first half when he couldn’t square two balls that we could have put away, which was the only critical thing that I think happened with the team today. We could have killed the team off in the first half and scored four but we made it hard on ourselves again and a little bit in the second half; but great stuff from Marcus out there.

On the mentality to score more goals in the first half…

Yeah that’s kind of the standard we want over here. We want to always demand more of each other and I think if we are going to be critical we can look at the scoreline at 4-1 and think ‘well, how can you be critical’ but also see that in the first half we could have killed the game off which would have been easier. I had a long shot from range that I probably should have put in on target and we had a lot of chances where Nick made some good saves. But like I said, Marcus played a great game, but the balls that he had them behind where he could have picked his head up and made those through could kill those teams off. A lot of times this season we’ve had some good chances but don’t convert on which cost us games and points, so if anything we just need to be a little bit better offensively. Today I was proud of the team and the intensity, the way we pressed, how Salt Lake really didn’t have many chances in the first half and how Blake made some great saves that he’s been making all year. Overall, it was a good effort by the team and I’m happy about it.

Philadelphia Union midfielder Ilsinho

On the first half…

Yes, we played very well in the first half.  I think 4-0 or 4-1 in the first half has become normal because our team is much better than them but we started the second half a little bit lazy and that gave them confidence to play a little bit better than us for most of the second half.

The best part of tonight is the four goals we scored.  We get confidence, game after game, especially with two straight wins.  It is very good for everybody.

On responding after the disallowed goal…

Just keep focus on the game.  You know, even if they score one or two goals we have to keep focus on the game.  We played better tonight, we just have to take care of our passing and finish our opportunities.

On his desire to get into the game when he sees how his teammates are performing…

No, we just hope for what is best for the team.  For us tonight on the bench, if it is 4-0 in the first half, it is a little bit easier.

Real Salt Lake Head Coach Mike Petke

On the Union’s speed…

It wasn't our night, certainly. I thought we had three or four opportunities early within the first 30 minutes of the game. From there, we didn't shift very well which created gaps and they got a lot of opportunities coming through the middle. At the end of the day, to make a defensive sub at halftime and a second defensive sub, it never does good things for a team. We need to keep working obviously. Right now, this is who we are. On the road, we don't lose small, we lose big. We win big at home. 3-0 win last week. A couple of grind outs at home. This is who we are right now.

On winning on the road…

Right now, I think only 22 percent of away teams win in MLS. It's not easy to win on the road. When we do something, we do it big I guess. We don't sit back, we don't do this. We get opened up because we try to apply pressure and what's the difference between a 1-0 loss and a 4-1 loss? Three goals but it's still a loss. It's early on still. Coming up to midseason. Last year, it took a while for us to find our form and I'm confident we'll find it this year.

On the mental toll of a game like this…

Yes I think so. The mentality of the game is huge. I don't think people realize how big mentality is in sports. You need a strong mentality as a team, a unit, as an individual. We have a little ways to go to get that strong mentality. I'm not a psychiatrist. We work with a sports psychiatrist once in a while. Maybe she has her work cut out for her.

On the momentum the disallowed goal should have given…

Yea, it should've. It should've but it didn't. Again, move on to next weekend which is a big game in Seattle. Tough part of the schedule right now with a three game week next week.

On what the Union did…

We knew what they were gonna do. We know what every team is going to do. Doesn't mean we're gonna stop them. We prepare pretty intensely like most teams do. A lot of video, tons of pages that the players get based off of the scouting report. They are one of the better possession teams in the league. They've been a little unlucky in the final third. Tonight, they weren't unlucky in the final third. That's a very good team out there. I was a little shocked to hear Jim Curtin booed. I like the way Jim coaches. Tonight, they executed the gameplan, it came as no surprise. It was surprising that many goals went in but you have to take your hats off to them and move on to the next one.

Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando

On the game…

Yeah, they got some guys with some pace. I think that hurt us a lot. They had a lot of midfielders coming through and we were trying to play a lot of high line as well and they capitalized on a lot of their runs.

On road games…

You have to have the right mentality for sure. I think we lost that a bit from our first game. I think the fight needs to be there. We need to kick a little bit more. We need to know the time of the game. Just control the game a little bit more. We are still learning but it's definitely getting old letting all of these goals in on the road.

On the disallowed goal and if it should have given momentum…

Yeah, but it can go both ways, right? I think it gave them a bit of a spark too. I don't know how it broke down but I think it came to my right side and Ilsinho got a knee on it and it got by me.

On if he knew the play was offside

No, but I'm glad they called it back. That one just slipped through my hands.

On if RSL is a different team at home…

That's what it feels like. We go into these games with the mindset that we are going to get some points. The vibe in here is good. We gave ourselves a chance and we let it slip away this game. Right now, it feels like these away games are tougher for us to handle and hopefully we can learn from this, look at some video and do better next week.

Real Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman

On the game….

We are a young group. We need to learn how to win on the road. We've been able to figure it out at home but it's taking some time to find that winning formula on the road so we'll keep working try to improve this week and we got another chance next week.

On what it takes to be a good road team in MLS…

If you look around, not many teams do great on the road. You have to find ways and take your chances. We definitely tested Blake early in the game so there's some positives but definitely some negatives too.

On the Union’s speed…

I think we were a little open. We went at them, we weren't gonna sit back. We had our chances on goal and Nick made some saves to keep us in it. We had a chance when we shaved it to 2-1 and that's just how the game goes. You look for a chance to tie and we just weren't able to get one of those objectives but we'll give it another go next week.

On if the disallowed goal should have provided a spark…

Yeah, I think the game was really wide open. You have to give them credit, they finished their chances and we didn't. We'll look at video this week and work hard during practice to get better and see if we can do better next week.

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