Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls Post-Game Quote Sheet
May 26, 2018
Philadelphia Union Head Coach Jim Curtin
JIM CURTIN: Before I talk about the game, I think it's important to point out the kickoff -- you see 13 American players on the field, which is something that I don't think the you're going to see too often in MLS. In both teams, it's something that's important and it's also very good soccer being played on the field. So we have good players in this country, firstly, get that out of the way.
In terms of how we played, Red Bull, best team in the League right now. You watch them, you watch the Champions League games, and they play with an intensity that is -- no one can match in our league and I thought today that we with a lot of young players stepped up and created enough chances to win the game. The guys are actually disappointed in the locker room which is a change and not a usual feeling in this building because it is a very tough place to play.
Very happy, you can watch two center backs that are kids playing against Bradley Wright-Phillips, and did he have a couple chances and looks today? Yes, but overall their growth and development, limiting opportunities for Red Bull was very good.
Really proud of my entire team. They did everything -- thanks to the fans for coming and on a different night, we had the two delays, created enough chances to win, and so it does feel tough but I am proud of the overall effort.
Q. The center backs, two of the American players you were referring to, to sustain that for all 90 minutes in the weather and against Kaku, how much does that say about their growth?
JIM CURTIN: As a coach, I can't create that in practice. It's impossible. Until they go through it, I try my hardest to create it but I can't. The intensity that they play at, the speed of game, a young player is never going to be used to that and for them to both step up and handle it can confidence, with winning tackles, playing with a yellow card, too, by the way, playing smart -- we have asked them now through the weeks to grow and they are growing before our eyes and they are impressing. They are impressing the other staff, as well.
Again happy with where they are at. But it was a total team effort. Don't want to take away from the rest of the group. I think everybody put a lot into it and again, almost disappointed that we didn't make three points.
Q. Being aggressive, what was the mind-set like trying to bring fresh legs on?
JIM CURTIN: We want to be aggressive on the road and we want to play the same home and away, always a difficult thing but I thought we wanted to be proactive with ourselves. Again, maybe try to steal a goal left, so we went with Illsinho, who I thought impacted things, David gave us some light and then Corey, just to get pressure when CJ started to lose a little bit of his legs.
Overall, three attacks subs to try to get points on the road. We're chasing a little bit now in terms of the playoffs. Still early but at the same time wanted to be impressive and I thought the performance was good enough to chase a win.
Q. What do you say --
JIM CURTIN: He's a striker and you have to have a short term memory. Again, it's a tough one. Top players miss PKs. It happens all the time. It's important that our teammates pick them up.
Overall I thought Philly put in a good shift, fought for it. Again it's not one person or one play that it comes down to. Over 90 minutes, there's enough chances for both teams and probably should have had a goal in the first half if we're being honest.
Q. Is it worrying you, the penalty kick --
JIM CURTIN: The penalty miss -- again, he just approached and we were going the wrong way and just pushed it a little bit to the right. It happens to a striker and he'll bounce back quick and I know he will, and all the good ones have short-term memories and they are worried about the next chance.
Q. Bradley Wright-Phillips --
JIM CURTIN: Yeah, we talked all week and we prepared all week for a high-pressure situation, not wanting to play four- and five-yard ball; we wanted our spacing to be good. I thought they were calm and did a lot of what we asked to dribble out of pressure so that they are not able to initiate that press.
So they moved the ball well. Very composed. Passed the ball good with both feet for both of them. I think that's another level to their game that think bring. The physicality and the winning of duels they do excellent.
Q. Two results on the road -- how important now that you're able to get a point?
JIM CURTIN: Yeah, it's important to get points on the road but this game and performance will mean nothing if we don't follow it up again quickly on Wednesday. We go Wednesday, Saturday, Tuesday, Friday now, so we are going to need the full squad. Again this takes a lot out of guys' legs, a game with this intensity and this heat but I think every one of our guys grew a bit in the game, even the older guys, I think they raised their level, as well. A unique game, I thought a good game, and as exciting as you can have, but these types of games we see young players growing and developing on both teams.
Q. The heat --
JIM CURTIN: He just cramped up at the end. He'll be fine.
I think we have a much deeper team now and you look at our squad -- Ilsinho, Corey, you can argue could be in our starting lineup -- we have guys now that have significant minutes and we have much more depth and now you can go to the guys that are quote, unquote, reserves a lot quicker and with a lot more confidence. That's a credit to Ernie for the squad that we have, Chris. So again we have a deeper team now so it's easier to do that rotating, and we've done it already this year with MontrÃ©al.
Q. The battle with the midfield --
JIM CURTIN: Yeah, it's fun to watch -- would have a couple opportunities where they turned us over a couple times with their pressure and their legs and you would see the intelligence sometimes of Haris and Oli to pass through them, also. It was a back-and-forth game. Both teams had chances. I think we had the better chances on the day but again, it's a 0-0 result and a tie in this building is still a positive one. But overall, that match up was fun to watch on the day.
Q. How do you feel about this performance going into Wednesday?
JIM CURTIN: Confident. That's the most powerful thing there is that we have a group in the locker room that's confident. I was asked the question last week, I think we are a good team. You guys with write what you want on that.
People have their thoughts, but we have a team that can play with anybody. That's the best team in the League and that's my feeling. Watch them play Champions League and watch them play this season against Atlanta last week on the road, that's a really good team. On a different night, we get three points.
It's very fickle -- at the end with a sub, things can change in the blink of an eye. We did our best to limit their strong players and we limited their opportunities and tried to not give them good looks and at the same time, you need your goalkeeper to make big saves, and Andre did that, as well.
It's a team sport, it's a team effort now, and you look at the group that we have, and Mark McKenzie and Auston Trusty and Keegan Rosenberry, if they don't have Andre behind them. We need each other and we're going to have to lean on each other with a very busy stretch.
Philadelphia Union Goalkeeper Andre Blake
On what he saw from his young center backs against BWP…
“They did a great job staying engaged, always knowing where he (Bradley Wright Phillips) is. I tried to talk to them before the game, trying to them what his talents are and what he likes to do. I think we did a very good job today organizing and talking.”
On the development of Philly’s young center-back pairing in the short weeks they’ve played together…
“It’s been great and the key is communication. They’re two young guys who want to learn. They take constructive criticism very well. So, that’s very important. In training, Haris and us, we try to be very hard on them and they’re willing to learn and that’ a very good thing. So, they’re going to make mistakes but we’re here to cover for each other and we’ve just got to keep going.”
On whether there was more of an emphasis on communication tonight to mitigate Bradley Wright Phillips’ threatening form…
“Yeah, definitely. You’ve got to stay compact, you’ve got to talk, you’ve got to have the guy next to you and in tough times you just have to stick together and keep talking.”
On his saves…
“Every time I’m able to make a save I’m very thankful. As a goalkeeper that’s my job. Sometimes you’re not fortunate enough to make the save. So, on a night like tonight where I was able to make the save and get a shutout, it’s not just me, it’s the entire team. So, I want to say we did a pretty good job.”
Philadelphia Union defender Mark McKenzie
On the team’s preparation against Red Bulls’ high-press...
“It’s just being composed on the ball. Know what you want to do before you get it - assessing your options before the ball gets to you and read the situation whether it’s good to build out the back or step our lines and play off the second ball.”
On what the team needs to do to build off tonight’s performance going into Wednesday night...
“Just regroup with the group. Make sure we’re fresh and ready to go and bring the same energy as today.”
On the importance of the team’s recent results going into their upcoming matches…
“We’re steadily building momentum and just building on each performance, watching film and getting back at it again and see what we need to do better in order to get three points.”
Philadelphia Union midfielder Marcus Epps
Q. How do you believe you played tonight?
MARCUS EPPS: I think I did alright; did pretty well, created some chances but I think I have to do better in finishing these. This is my second game that I forgot my stuff in this position so that’s definitely the next step.
Q. How about the breakaway you had?
MARCUS EPPS: Yeah great save; Kemar Lawrence also did a good job closing the space, but like I said, I got to start capitalizing on some of these opportunities.
Q. Three results in a row, how is the confidence?
MARCUS EPPS: It is very high; we know how good we are and we know how good we can be, so to get a result in confidence feels really good, but we’re trying to build continuously; see if we can build a streak.
New York Red Bulls Head Coach Jesse Marsch
Q. Was it a lack of sharpness in the attack or did they make things more difficult?
JESSE MARSCH: Yeah, I think, first of all, it's a hot day, right, and so now you have a really hot and humid day and both teams haven't really trained in that weather much, haven't played in that weather much, so it really slows the game down.
I thought the first half hour of the first half was quite good and we were moving the ball well and creating spaces and tried to use that to create openings. In the end, you know, we don't really do enough and then at the right moments, Wright made some big saves and he does a good job on the crosses.
And so you know, but what I said to the team is it feels disappointing any time we don't win at home but you know, Philly put a lot into it. They competed hard. They had a good game plan, good tactics. Their players made it difficult on us in transition, and there have been many times in the past where this team would have given that game away and we would have somehow wound up losing that 2-0, which actually, we've done against Philly.
As much as it's a little frustrating not to break through and get the goal and find a way to get the three points, still, sealing the game up and not giving the goal away, giving up a penalty, as well but still find a way to get a clean sheet is good and we'll take the point and move on.
Q. First half, you were able to spread the ball around, and second half seems like you bogged down and Kaku was off and you got very narrow in central. Was it something they did?
JESSE MARSCH: I think they did a good job. First of all, you've got to give credit to the two young center backs for Philly. They did a good job of keeping track of Brad, not letting him get too much space, a little bit of room there in the second half, maybe around the 70th minute, 75th minute.
But overall, they did a good job and yeah, they try to keep things compressed and we try to find ways to still penetrate and play through them but we were not quite sharp enough on the day and included in there is like not feeling like we quite have our legs enough. So you know, now that the summer is going to roll around and it's going to start to get hot, we're going to have to acclimatize to the heat and train more in the heat and then use more guys at different times. So we'll be ready to do that but I'm not taking negatives away from this. I'm taking positives and I'm taking we are going to move forward in a good way and there's a lot of momentum in our team right now.
Q. Parker had a very good match, as well. Can you talk about since you brought him over from Vancouver, how important is not just the center back pairing with Aaron, but also the save he made to help out Ryan when he left his line for that attempted shot by Philly?
JESSE MARSCH: I think Tim, you know, what I've said about Tim is the transition of him to our team from a mentality and tactic and style of play has been literally seamless. I don't think we've ever had a player come into this team and fit so smoothly into what we do, and that's a lot of credit to, I think, our scouting team and our sporting team of identifying him as the type of player that we need, and it's a big credit to Tim. It's a big credit to Tim and his excitement and anxiousness to try to come here and fit in right way and establish himself on our team.
I think I said last week that Aaron and Tim are a really good duo, and they showed it again tonight.
Q. Ryan, very solid.
JESSE MARSCH: Yeah, I think that if you would have told Ryan he would play in two big games and he would walk away with one goal after 180 minutes he would be very satisfied with that, and I think that it's not just the one goal in 180 minutes. It's also the way he played, the saves he made, the clarity he had on the field. Like his transition into the team, it was like he's been there for years.
So really happy for him and obviously Preston has done a good job of making sure that he's ready to go and you have to credit Red Bull II, but Ryan, he's a good goalie and it's great to see him do well when he's called upon.
Q. Last week you were optimistic -- goes the distance today -- what do you think of him today and what was it that happened to him last week?
JESSE MARSCH: Well, to be honest with you, there's some theories on what happened with Kemar. It wasn't concussion-related. It was something maybe with either a heart kind of reaction or something in his neck and then how that can somehow release chemicals to shut you down, like almost a whiplash-like neck thing. They have done a myriad of testing on him. Everything has come back very positive. He feels great, so there was no issues, right.
You know, if you know Kemar and his love of life and his love of the game, you pretty much knew that if he was cleared and felt fine, that he was going to be able to play today, and he did. And so you know, I don't know if you guys saw him afterwards but he had his two kids. He has his whole family in town now and he has his green card. You feel like he's really acclimating on every level to what we do here and who we are and he's been a big contributor on every level.
I'm happy that he's okay. It was a scary moment for all of us. And so, yeah, we'll keep moving forward with him, but he's important and everybody's really happy for him.
Q. Carlos Rivas, what do you think about the game -- you brought him in after awhile and he has not been out in action, and why haven't we seen more of him?
JESSE MARSCH: Well, there's been a few different things. He's had some injuries and he had a personal issue that he had to go to Colombia for a little bit of time. But we're continuing to try to bring him into things.
Tomorrow he's going to play with the USL team. He's continuing to try to figure out the tactics and how we play. But you know, we're still very hopeful that as this thing moves along that he's going to continue to figure it out and become a big attacking piece for us.
You know, we're going to be missing some guys in the next stretch of games and we have a lot of games coming one after the other, so we're going to have to call on more guys and we're going to have to make sure that they are fit, that they are clear and that they are ready to go.
Q. Luis Robles, any update on his status? Because of Ryan's performance, you don't have to rush him back?
JESSE MARSCH: I don't think that Ryan's performances will change our approach with Luis. It's just making sure that whatever we do with Luis we set him up to be successful and strong and ready to go.
My guess is that he starts training this week, but we are still just taking steps on a daily basis to try to make sure that everything, when we add a little bit more to the workload that his knee responds correctly and that he's in good place and that we're not risking further injury.
So far everything has gone better than you ever could have hoped and that's one of the strange things. We just want to make sure that we are not stressing anything, but all the responses from him physically have been great. Like I said, I think we'll see him training this week.
Q. What were the goals of the adjustments and how did they work out in the second half?
JESSE MARSCH: We felt there was too big a separation between our front four and our next six, which meant that specifically with Medunjanin and Dockal, as well, we were able to pick up balls in gaps and send their wingers out on the run, and that made us do a lot of dirty running which then gave us fatigue, which then didn't allow us to have a grasp on the game, and the heat, that was something that was getting away from us.
I think we did better with it in the second half for sure but weren't able to quite capitalize on our possession and certain attacking moments. You know, we'll keep working.
Q. In regards to the time of possession, you controlled the ball pretty well. But the offensive side, was there a reason for mostly attacking on the left side?
JESSE MARSCH: We have a specific game plan, sometimes attack on the right, sometimes attack on the left, sometimes to go through the middle, sometimes to create match ups that we like. Sometimes we like to play up and more direct and to certain areas and become second ball. Sometimes there's a lot of little different things we do to modify our tactics for the opponent.
You know, one of the things that challenged some of the things we wanted to achieve today was fatigue and heat and everything else, so you know, I think Philly did a good job defending. You have to give credit to them and their goalkeeper, so they were not really able to let us establish certain things. We'll do better. We'll do better moving forward. We'll find ways to be more dangerous.
Q. Jim Curtin just named the Red Bulls the best team in the MLS. What do you think about this statement?
JESSE MARSCH: You know, I don't -- I don't like, I don't -- like feeling like we're the best and I don't like people saying that we're the best, I truly don't like that.
I like to feel like we always need -- we always have something to prove, right, and we always have more to do and more room to grow and further improvement, so it's key for us to maintain our hunger. You know, the group was disappointed in the locker room afterward but you know, we're not going to win every game. That's not reality.
But as long as we have a real concentration and a work ethic to prove and do more and do better each day, then we will continue to establish ourselves as a good team and give ourselves a really good chance to really play for something and that remains the goal. The goal is to not to be good in May. The goal is to put ourselves in position to be good in October and to really go after the playoffs.
I appreciate Jim saying that. He's a good friend, maybe that's why he's saying it, but we've still got a long way to go, that's for sure.
New York Red Bulls Striker Bradley Wright Phillips
On what he attributes to tonight’s end result…
“We just lacked a little sharpness, I think. The final play was off; me especially, I had three chances that I feel I should be hitting the target. I guess it’s one of them days.”
On struggling in the second half following a well-played first half…
“I thought the heat played a factor. I think it’s hard to keep up the pace of the game that we like to play in that kind of heat, especially being one of the first games we played in that kind of heat. Not an excuse, it’s kind of the facts of today. We have to take the draw at the end of the day.”
On what’s most difficult about playing against the Philadelphia Union…
“I think they look at us as a big rival. Before the game, I spoke and Jesse spoke, about just trying to match almost their enthusiasm and mentality, how they’re going to come out and play us. I thought we started out well and, it’s just, playing them is difficult because they want to beat us and it’s a big deal to beat us. So, it’s tough to play against them.”
New York Red Bulls Defender Tim Parker
On tonight’s game:
“Tough game. Obviously with the heat and everything it was a tough game to be a part of, but I thought we had out hand on it. We had our control in the game, putting it on our terms and sometimes we just don’t get that goal. That happens sometimes and as a defensive group we’re happy to keep it clean at the back.”
On his save in the first half:
“Obviously Ryan always has our backs, so every time he gets out of the goal I try to have his.”
On his partnership with Aaron Long:
“It’s growing. Obviously it’s something we’re really excited about. We’re getting the hang of playing with one another and we’re really looking forward to continuing to build this partnership into something big.”
On acclimating to joining the Red Bulls:
“It’s just fully buy in. I think it’s hard to have a style where in Vancouver I played such a different style and here it’s something so new, so I’m really throwing myself fully into it. Dealing with the ups and downs and mistakes, learning from them, and continuing to push them along.”
On Philadelphia’s back line:
“They did well. It’s hard to keep tabs on Brad. They’re two young center backs, so I’m happy to see they’re obviously doing well and getting time. It’s hard to get time in this league as a young center back, so it’s exciting to see them do well, but obviously I wish we would’ve put one in on them.”
On his father’s tweet:
“I knew he was in Aruba. He told me before the game that he wasn’t going to be able to watch it. To be honest I’m not surprised that he tweeted at the Red Bulls. It could be 2 o’clock in the morning and he would still be asking for updates.”
New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara
Q. Talk about the game, first clean sheet of the season?
RYAN MEARA: Yeah, I think we’re all disappointed to not win. Anytime we play at home we expect to win and we knew coming into Philly tonight it was going to be a battle, it always is, and tonight is no different, so we’re disappointed to not get all three points but in the end they missed a penalty. I guess it could’ve gone either way so I guess we’ll take the point tonight.
Q. Is there something about Philadelphia Union tonight that just made it difficult for you guys tonight?
RYAN MEARA: Yeah, I think they get really up to play us every year. You know, we’re the big rival and we know if we don’t show up and bring it competitively and physically it's going to be a long night for us, so I think we matched that tonight and on another night with a couple of those half chances we had, we burry and the end result is different.
Q. What does it mean to have your first league start here at home since your rookie year?
RYAN MEARA: Yeah I mean, anytime you can play here it’s great. It doesn’t feel like, I guess between all the Open Cup and Red Bull II games I feel like I’ve played here a bunch but anytime you get a game, it’s good. Opportunities are hard to come by so I try to make the most of it.
Q. What was the emotion when you went the other way and saw the PK roll off?
RYAN MEARA: As I was diving I was kind of looking at it and I was like, man that’s a little far and hopefully it doesn’t hit the back of the net. So I don’t know it was a questionable handball. I don’t think Kemar did it on purpose; he wasn’t even looking at the ball, so sometimes things have a way of working themselves out