Chicago Fire 3-4 Philadelphia Union
MLS Regular Season
July 11, 2018 – Toyota Park
Jim Curtin – Head Coach, Philadelphia Union
On the match:
"Probably a million talking points from tonight. I think the narrative changed six or seven times during the course of 90 minutes. I will just stick with the positives. I'm really proud of the group for the fight that they showed, I thought that we could have laid down when it was 3-3 and try to get out of here with a point but credit to David Accam, he stepped up in a big way for us and got us a huge goal. A lot of ways this league is kind of determined in the dog days of summer around midweek type games where maybe teams are fatigued and I thought that our guys showed a ton of heart. It's a huge result for us. It puts us above the red line I believe again. We couldn't be prouder of our players for the fight that they showed."
On whether he was worried the Fire would tie the game in stoppage at 3-2:
"Well, there is a lot of big bodies on the field, there's a little bit of debate with the referees. CJ Sapong goes out with what we thought was a head injury. They deemed it not head injury so that's the reason he could not come back on quicker. He was being evaluated by doctors while they scored tying goal on a corner kick when we were a little short. They had a lot of big bodies on the field, big attacking guys for set pieces. When they threw numbers forward, it's always crazy at the end of MLS games, but credit to our guys for sticking with it and getting out of here with three points."
On David Accam:
"David did a lot of good things even in the first ten games where he started. He just wasn't on the scoresheet. For him to get a goal tonight I think it's huge. I hope it's a big boost for his confidence. I know the whole group and coaching staff have had his back in this scoring drought we call it but this was a big way to break out and I'm really happy for him. He's stuck with things, he's worked hard at training to get back on the field and now he puts on a performance where he gets the winner."
On Cory Burke:
"Yeah, obviously Cory did a good job for us. He was called upon to start tonight. Gave CJ a little bit of a reset at the midway point now, and Cory stepped up in a major way. He has maximized every minute he has been given, worked hard defensively for us as well which is a pain to play against. Obviously he gets some goals, and probably would have had another one if it had not gone off of David. Maybe the lucky one it is with a reward for the goal he earned there."
David Accam – Forward, Philadelphia Union
On his game winning goal:
"It is huge for us. We worked so hard and I think we came here to win the game. We played to win and deserve those three points today."
On his game winning goal ranking high in his career:
"I think every last minute winner is amazing for us. For me, I've worked really hard and this goal will rank high in my career."
On whether this goal will help boost his confidence:
"Oh yeah, for sure. I needed this goal to get going for me. I'm so happy, for this goal to go in. It's even much, much better because it came here in Chicago so maybe I'm used to scoring goals here."
On the fans applauding him when he was subbed on:
"For me, I think I appreciate all their support that I still get from the fire fans. I think I did my best here so I appreciate their applause."
On battling the Fire for a playoff spot:
"It's huge for us. They are our direct rivals. In training that's what we're thinking about coming here and getting 3 points. Now we did and we move on to the next game."
Cory Burke – Forward, Philadelphia Union
On his performance:
"I know we needed a win tonight and the defense, they did us a favor. I'm happy to get a chance for another start, and if I start I want to score goals. I did just that tonight. It wasn't our best soccer or best game but we got the win and it's quite important for us."
On his two goals:
"The first goal, it was a really nice header. The second one, I saw the keeper make a mistake before so I know when I had my next chance I see, I'm going to be more sharp and put it into the goal. He made a mistake and I was ready take a chance."
On the importance of this win in the next week:
"Every game is important. We want to make the playoffs, and to make that you have to keep winning."
Veljko Paunović – Head Coach, Chicago Fire
On the match:
“Well, I mean it says what it is. Same thing that we’ve been in the past. It’s very, very similar to the start of the season, the game against Sporting KC. We conceded very soft goals, I think in the first half specially. We conceded too many opportunities. It was our weakness during the whole year. We could change in some moments for some time but we don’t have the consistency to improve and I think that’s the bottom line. I think we’re not capable of when we make one step forward, at least staying there, we go two steps back and today’s game shows that perfectly.
Like we said, in the future, we will fix it, we will work, and we will give back the team the good tone, and good form, and good image. We just have to stick with what we have and do our best. Not happy with the performance of course defensively. No team in the world, if we were in the Spanish league or somewhere else, teams that concede so many goals, they get relegated. No team in the world can support so many goals and it’s my responsibility. I have to make decisions. I have to move the pieces around and figure it out, and I have to train those guys and they are giving their best but that’s what it is. I’m just going to do more and more and look for the better quality, giving the guys tools individually and as a team to defend because we definitely can score, we can attack. When you tell somebody ‘today you scored three goals and you lost 4-3,’ it’s difficult to believe. Those mistakes just happened too often and too instantly. So, disappointment. We will fix it like we did in the past and it’s the same message: stick together, work, get some more quality and that’s it.”
On injuries to defender Kevin Ellis and the team:
“We still didn’t discuss that. We’re still waiting for the report. He got knocked so we hope it’s not bad but we understood if he wasn’t capable of continuing the game, so we had to switch and I think Diego Campos did a very good job. He pushed a lot and in the past, he played in that position and that kid is reliable. I think that he’s learning a lot, that’s what we want to see, and he’s capable also in main moments of the game, stepping up. He shows also good character. Yes, of course he has to keep working and improving, and same as everyone else. Injury-wise, we are where we are, so we will see where we stand with Kevin Ellis after the report.”
On how the Fire will address the defensive lapses:
“Like we said always, we are working with what we have but we are also working in the market so if we can figure out the opportunities and we can figure out how to bring him here, definitely that’s one way to improve but we work. Yes we do here, the whiteboard, we do all these meetings here, right here where you sitting, you’re showing up, you’re working. We go outside then we try to show how it works in training and that process works like that. But sometimes you see improvements, sometimes not. Today was just too poor. Defensively, I think we just concede too many goals.”
On how signing Aleksandar Katai will benefit the team:
“That’s what actually is pushing us forward. I always wanted more from him because he can give it. I liked his performance today. I liked that he was hungry. I just think that the last free kick, he could do better, but you cannot blame him, it’s just the decision you make in the game – you know the best, you see the best. So far he was very important for us, and yes we’re happy that we have him, but everyone has to raise the level at this point of the season. You cannot just concede in games like this. It cannot happen against the direct opponent for the playoff spot and just a little bit of everything else. It’s a little bit of everything – mentality, it’s the work that we have to do better and then it’s the decision making, it’s the quality and everything. So we have to put more quality there. We have to get better, working and get better.”
Thoughts on the game [Translated from Spanish]:
“The game was the same story as always. We're the team that makes innocent mistakes and good teams like Philly take advantage. We're the team that never gives up, that always fights back and equalizes. We keep committing errors and those errors are taken advantage of and the story repeats itself. It's the same as always. In the end, it is what it is. It's my responsibility but like I said in the past, we're going to fix it and we're going to bring back the team's good tone and image.”
On adjustments and if the defensive lapses are due to mentality [Translated from Spanish]:
“Could be. It's a bit of everything. It's the quality we have. It's the mental collapse or whatever you want to call it. The mentality, what I like to call it. It's the decision making and it's a sum of what we're doing and what we're capable of doing. It's a sum of all things and it can be fixed, of course. We're in the process of fixing it but today was not that day. Today was not the day where the team left a good image but we're still left with the team's identity and character. But character is not good for much if you're going to utilize that simply as a badge of honor. You need to have more soccer capabilities to solve the game during 90 minutes, not just character. We kept our character but this is soccer. In soccer, you either have it or you don't. Today, we didn't.”
On resting players amid the fixture congestion [Translated from Spanish]:
“The best rest is sleep. We let the players rest and we work on their recuperation when they're here with well-known methods that have worked for us in the past. Nutrition is also important. But the key is rest. Rest that sometimes is active or passive, like sleep and that is where we, with supplementation and everything, are trying to do all we can so the players can recover well. I think they've recovered well and it's worked well for us up until now. In the end, we go back onto the pitch and there it's different things that matter.”
Johan Kappelhof – Defender, Chicago Fire
On his first game since the car accident:
"Thanks to God, everything is good. I was good enough to play today, I trained on Monday and Tuesday. It was a big shock for me and my family. It could have gone the wrong way but I'm so thankful to God that I didn't have a serious injury. I just needed a couple days to rest and think about what happened."
On returning to the field after a long layoff:
"Of course, I didn't play for three weeks so I needed to get adjusted to the rhythm of the game. I think that's normal."
On what caused the concession of four goals:
"I think personal mistakes by my teammates, by myself. They punished us."
On what needs to be adjusted defensively:
"We need to work as a team, defensively. We still defend with all the players, I think that wasn't good enough today. Of course, we made mistakes in the back and they punished us. That needs to get better, we're a professional soccer team. We need to have the desire to not make these kinds of mistakes. We have to keep our head up, there's a game coming this Saturday, so we can fix on Saturday what we did today."
Jorge Corrales – Defender, Chicago Fire
Thoughts on the game:
"I think it was a tough game. We work hard every time for 90 minutes. We just keep pushing forward and working for the next game to come."
On the mentality of the team:
"I think we are the kind of team, we just think about the next game. We just keep pushing forward and think about three points and qualifying for the playoffs. We just think about what is coming."
On recovering from a tough loss:
"I think that with work and the right mentality, we can qualify for the playoffs. This game serves as a lesson but we are thinking ahead to the next game.