QUOTE SHEET: Union at Sporting KC

Philadelphia Union at Sporting Kansas City

Philadelphia Union Head Coach Jim Curtin

"Overall, I asked our players to have a strong response to Toronto and I got that. Not many teams come here into this building in a home opener environment and have the amount of the ball and the amount of chances that we did. Obviously, it’s critical for us to get that first goal. We didn’t do that. We made one mistake in the first half ‐ maybe Auston can just clear the initial long ball that lets Russell get in behind and then maybe the referee could let that one go. I don’t know if it’s really a foul on Auston. It’s difficult, but we have to live with it. Obviously, they get the penalty kick. We create a lot of chances. When I watch our group play against one of the best teams in our League, I still take away a lot of positives. A lot of shots on goal. A lot of attempts at goal. A lot of good actions. We just kind of lacked, in the run of the play, that final touch. We’ll get back to work. It’s still early, but we have a sense of urgency obviously to get our first points of the year. If we perform like that – being down a man for 30 minutes and still creating a few chances – I’m really proud of the players. It always hurts to lose. Obviously, we’re not happy when we lose. But at the same time, I think there’s still a lot of positives to build from off the game .”

Thoughts on the red card…

I just watched it back and it’s a situation where, again we get to a point where guys are sitting in a booth and have the ability to stop and pause things. My first look at it, it looks like he 100% wins the ball first. The ball is flicked over the player. Marco (Fabian) is off balance and in the air. He’s twisting. He looks to land somewhere. He’s kind of entitled to land somewhere on the ground. If you do pause it exactly when his foot lands on the guy, then yeah, it looks bad of course. I think it’s a tough decision that went against us today on a day when a lot of things went against us. We obviously give up a PK. We score an own goal. We have a missed penalty kick and we have a red card. We have a lot of things go against us. It’s always tough on the road in this League. But certainly, upon my first glance at the red card, I don’t agree.

Thoughts on the team defensively…

I thought we were compact and organized aside from the penalty kick scramble. We didn’t give up a lot to a very good team. To me, Peter is one of the top coaches in our League and I think that’s one of the best teams in our League. On this very field, they’ve played some teams off the park already in Champions League. It’s something to build on. I asked my group at halftime, ‘If these are the best teams, how far off are we?’ It does need to be that extra little bit that gets us over the hump. But we are close and we still have things to work on. I feel for our group because they put a ton into the game. You need something to come from performances like today. It feels empty. It sucks and it hurts, but we’ll regroup. It gets no easier. We have to go Atlanta now. We have a tough road ahead of us but over the 34 games, if we put in performances like today and parts of the Toronto game, we’ll get our points.

Thoughts on being held scoreless…

We’re close. You think of the first half, the ball that bounces to Marco in the box, that’s the guy you want on that ball. Jack Elliott has a free header. We have a penalty kick. In the run of play, we get a lot of crosses into dangerous areas. We’re just not quite getting on the end of them right now. Some things to work on, for sure. But, on the road if you put up 15 shots down a man, there’s still things to take away. Eventually, these balls will start to go in the back of the net. I have full confidence in our group. I’m proud of the response they had after what was disappointing against Toronto. We’re close but we have to take that next step if we want to talk about ourselves as one of these teams that is in the playoffs and in the same sentence as Kansas City.

Midfielder Alejandro Bedoya

Thoughts on the red card…

I didn’t see it, but I asked the referee what happened, and he said he thought Marco (Fabian) stepped on him. I asked him if it was deliberate, because what Marco told me was that he tried to win a 50/50 tackle and was up in the air, came down and that was the only spot where he really could come down. I haven’t seen it. I thought it was tough, but VAR is there for that reason and I guess his perspective of it was that it was intentional, so you get a red card.

On the mood in the locker room…

Well, we’re all a little frustrated but I thought this game we were better than in Toronto in terms of being on the front foot and defensively more sound. Obviously, the red card changed the game and we missed a penalty. I think Marco (Fabian) had a great chance in the first half. I think it was the first five minutes where he had a volley that he knows he probably should have done better with. We had some free headers, so we had chances given that this place is a hard place to play and Sporting KC is always a solid team. I think there’s some positives to take away from this game. Obviously, we’re frustrated but it’s still early in the season. It’s the first two games and we know we have the quality in the squad. We’ll turn it around.

On showing his frustration…

I play with a lot of passion and fire in me so there’s going to be times in a game where I get frustrated when maybe some decisions don’t go our way. I wear my emotions on my sleeves sometimes and you’re going to see that. Sometimes I gesticulate too much but I think it’s a part of the game and you move on. Obviously, we’re frustrated that we weren’t able to even come away with a point given that I thought we played really well in the first half. We have another week to rest up and get ready for the next game. Atlanta is not an easier opponent, but we know we can play well on the road. We did it last year so hopefully we can turn it around sooner rather than later.

On the change of formation…

It’s a work in progress. You go from last year where we had the best year in the history of the club, where we did well playing a good a style of soccer and this is a totally different style and new way of playing. It’s just about getting the pieces together. Like I said, this game was an improvement from our last game against Toronto in terms of being defensively compact and hitting them on the counter. I thought we turned it over in their half a bunch of times in the first half where we have to be a little sharper and be able to turn quicker and go forward. There’s a lot of positives to take from that but we worked on it in preseason and it’s the first two games of the season so I’m not getting carried away with anything. It’s frustrating to lose but we’ll move on and we’ll turn it around.

Midfielder Haris Medunjanin

Thoughts on the match…

I think we started well. We controlled the game, especially in the first half. We had good opportunities. When you don’t score on one end, on the other end something can happen. They get a lucky penalty. After that, we controlled the game again. We get a penalty. Unfortunately, the ball didn’t go in. But still, we were attacking and controlling the game. When you don’t score, it’s difficult to win. In the second half, we tried to push again but then you have to play with 10 men. Still, we had some opportunities. It’s very difficult to play here against Sporting KC with 10 men because they are a good team. They know how to keep the ball. We had it difficult, especially after the red card.

On being held scoreless…

It’s not only the attack. Like you can see today, we came here against a good team and we controlled the tempo. We controlled the ball. Soccer is about scoring goals and I think we need to be better – all of us – when we are in front of the goal. The movements of everybody and the hunger to score, that’s the main thing.

On replacing Marco Fabian against Atlanta…

We have a big squad. We have a lot of players who can step up. Unfortunately, we lose a great player in Marco. It’s unfortunate, but we need to move forward. I don’t know who is going to step up, who’s going to play and what the decisions are, but I think it doesn’t matter who is going to come in. They’re going to give their best. We are going to go there and try to win like we do every game. It’s a very tough schedule for us with the three big teams in the beginning. This is how it is. If you want to compete with the best teams, you should win these kinds of games.

Midfielder Marco Fabián

On his red card…

I don’t know how I can explain, but I didn’t want to hit this player. I just jumped and I landed on him because I didn’t have a place to land. Sometimes the decision is from the referee and I have to respect this decision.

On his penalty kick…

I have shot a lot of penalties in my career. Today, I think I had a little confusion because of the goalkeeper. When I shoot, I’m waiting and looking for the goalkeeper and he’s moving. I decided at this moment which side I would shoot. I keep waiting until the last moment and I wanted to go across, but he had good timing.


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