QuoteSheet_1020

Quote Sheet: Philadelphia Union 4, New York Red Bulls 3

Head Coach Jim Curtin
Opening statement...
That was an incredible game, I think first of all, [New York] Red Bulls deserve credit as well. I thought they played a really strong game. Two good teams going at it at the end of the day and this time of the year in the playoffs, somebody has to lose, and unfortunately, we lose them, but they had a great season. On to my guys, the heart that they show week in and week out, at 2-0 down everybody has that negative feeling in their brain that were not going to get it done. It’s a group now that there’s always been questions, they’ve been in the playoffs 3 out of the 4 years, but they haven’t won a big game. So, while we recognize now we haven’t won a championship yet, this is a big step forward for the club. It’s the type of win that could build momentum in a playoff run. It’s a very fine line, as I was sitting there at 3-3, I said whoever wins this game is going to feel really good about themselves going into to Atlanta [United FC]. So, we’ll have to regroup quickly, we have a great Atlanta opponent, but again the players deserve all the credit for today. Every guy stepped up in a big way. You lose your top striker, Kacper, even Corey Burke, a guy that would kill to have been on the field tonight. I think there was a little something extra from all our players in it. I actually don’t envy you guys because the amount of story line from tonight that you can work with, it’s probably going to be a late night for you guys. Congratulations to the players first, congratulations to the Philadelphia Union, I think our fans can walk a little taller, a little prouder, which is a good thing. It’s been a long time coming to get that first playoff win, it’s been elusive and now we finally have it. And I have to say, probably the first time we’ve been the favorite in the playoff game, and our guys made it interesting, but took care of business.

On the feeling of a playoff win...
It feels great, I’ve never been one to hide. I think even before this game I said we have to win, it’s a home game. At 2-0 I was regretting all the things that I maybe said, maybe put too much pressure on our guys. But mistakes happen and in the course of 34 games, mistakes can happen in the playoffs. The sign of a true team is when we get into halftime and there’s still belief that we can come back. The guys had Andre’s back. I think in a way a different guy stepped up each evening. I don’t even want to single out individual players because there were too many good performances but really proud of them for the effort, but in terms of its not about me, I do feel very proud for the players, proud for the city, proud for the club. Again I think this team has had a special season, but the playoffs are honestly, I’m not being cheesy or cliché, the playoffs are what turns good players into great players and then also great players into legends. It’s the reality of things that people hate. Maybe euro snobs hate the playoffs, or it’s not European or it’s too American, but if you turned on the TV and watched MLS this week, this weekend, I think it’s been incredible for the game. Is it different? Yeah it’s different, its chaotic, its end to end, its teams being brave, but it certainly leads to teams leaving everything they have on the field. And it leads to desperation from coaches to do things maybe you wouldn’t in the regular season so, I think that everything that has taken place, not just for us tonight, but for the league as a whole is a real positive.

On the start of the match...
Yeah obviously it’s a huge goal. The first goal, the game was chaotic at the start just like we kind of talked about and thought that it would be. And they made a play, and you can live with that one. The second was kind of an error, and we made a mistake. So now you’re two goals down. And unfortunately, the goal that Ale [Bedoya] scored kind of comes from nothing. It’s a quick free kick from Haris, but that certainly changes the game because now the mind becomes a powerful thing. When we score that goal, Red Bull has some thoughts on the last time we played here as well. So things start to creep back into their minds. So, kind of flip the momentum. I thought we really pushed the first half even from Ale’s goal, to the end of the half, and then we had a difficult before the half which is always a challenge. To the players credit, they had confidence in the locker room, and a lot of ways they put confidence and instilled confidence in belief in me even when it can be tough, because 3-1 down at half time at home is still not a great place to be. We came out in the second half and I thought we deserved to win the game too, that needs to be said. I think we really created a lot of chances in the second half and then in the final 30 minutes as well. So a fair result in a crazy night, and I’m really happy for the guys.

On his talk with Andre Blake at halftime...
I hate to make it simple, but you know Andre [Blake] has won us games and won us points in the past by himself. So, errors happen all over the field and the thing about soccer, everybody makes a mistake in the course in the 90 minutes, they always get magnified more at the goalkeeper position. The players that we stressed to them to have his back and pick him and pick him up now when he needs it. Just like he’s picked us up so much in the past when we used to give up 30 shots a game. Joking but he bailed us out a lot of games as well in the past. We had Andre’s back, and this is a team that is together.

On this being a similar game to the last home game against New York Red Bulls...
The first part certainly we talked about. That was the first line out of my mouth at halftime was we’ve been here before against this team, and it’s not easy, it’s a hard place to be. Whoever scores the next goal in this game, the momentum is really going to swing in their direction, so I can’t take credit for anything that was said or done or tactics. It wasn’t about tactics, it was more about rolling your sleeves up and having Ilsinho on your bench helps also. So, he’s really a guy that can come in that can come in and change the game. Our roster is a deep one. I don’t think a lot of teams in our league can go and bring an Ilsinho, a Fafa Picault, and a Marco Fabian off the bench, and they all impact the game in the way that they do. So I owe a lot of credit to Ernst Tanner and Chris Albright for the depth that we have in our squad, the way they manage the cap and then get the bang for the buck that they do out of each and every roster spot. That part’s been helpful for a coach and it makes things easier. In terms of Marco, Marco is a great player and we all know that. Incredible talent. He wants to win here in Philly, he wants to make a special play like he did tonight to win us the game, and he’s a professional. While he’s disappointed with me for not being in the starting lineup, he’s always been professional and respectful, and when he’s called upon now, he came into the game and impacted not just with the goal, but holding the ball up for us, rolling a few balls through guys legs and being brave and keeping possession and drawing fouls. He gave everything for the club tonight. He sent 18,000 people home very happy because of his performance tonight.

On his timely substitutions...
So, it’s one of those things where if we lose or if it’s in the regular season and we tie, then the subs are always the first thing everyone points to, I’m not going to sit here and take credit for the timing of it either. I have good players and the players are the ones that win the games. So, sometimes they step on the field and score, but I’m not going to pat my staff or myself on the back, that’s not really how we operate. So, the players deserve all the credit in that regard, but certainly nice that they all had such a great impact because they’re great players.

On desperation moves...
You saw the games yesterday in our league, and just because its loser goes home, you have to be a little more desperate than you would in a game in July or August, that’s all I mean by that. So every coach now is forced to manage the game a little bit differently because of mistakes for sure. It was the case for sure because when you’re 2-0 down after 10 minutes, the plane goes out the window. So, you have to adjust, and tonight wasn’t about a coach, it was about the players and the performance they put in.

On his sense of tonight’s atmosphere...
The crowd was great. I thought the entire stadium after the early negative remarks that came from the Sons of Ben woke us up a bit which is good. They were right in their comment that I can’t say through the microphone right now. It gave us a little bit of life, it gave us some energy, and that desperation that we talk about has to come out. If we go down 3-0 it’s going to be real lydifficult. The crowd deserves a ton of credit as well. It’s as loud as I heard it here and then certainly at the end with our players excitement and the crowd’s excitement and the appreciation that they showed. It’s a team that’s easy to like, it’s a team that I think the city can be proud of. We’re different, it’s a group that’s from 12 different countries. We have a very diverse locker room, but everybody’s on the same page fighting for the same thing, and I think it’s a team that is very lovable for our fans.

On this win giving his team confidence...
I thought a lot about that all year, and in the games where we went back against Atlanta [United FC] and LAFC I think told me the most about the group. For me those are two of the best teams and we a good game against Atlanta and got a result we got a win. And we played LA into a tie and a game that could have gone either way. So those teams are the top. I respect that and I recognize the talent that they have on the field, however, our group on their day can play with any team in this league. I think you saw even New England went down there and caused some problems. They’re a little banged up, they have some injuries. Our guys are certainly going to be fearless and brave. Are we playing with the house’s money a little bit now? Yeah, we are, because going to Atlanta in front of 60,000 is a difficult task, so it kind of suits us a little bit. This was the big one though, because this one we were the favorite, that’s a hard thing to be when you haven’t ever been the favorite really and won. So we got that out of the way, which is a big step for the club, and now we’re back in the roll that we like, the underdog.

On an update about Kacper Przybylko...
Tough one. He desperately wanted to be a part of this. It hurts on a Thursday when there a little bit of a set back. And you get the news that he’s not going to be able to train with us first and foremost, then he tried to train again Friday and Saturday and it wasn’t going as smoothly as the plan we had in place, and that’s a hard thing for a player to do. He was crushed yesterday as he was sitting in the new Tunnel Club as he was recognizing he’s not going to be part of it. All you can do is support him, give him a high five, give him a hug and tell him how much he’s meant to this team and we’re going to win for him. Our players have done a good job of picking up the next guy, but Kacper we’re certainly a heck of a lot better team when he’s on the field and we have him with us in our group than when he’s not. In terms of the injury it will be kind of almost a day by day, and I’m not hiding anything. It’s literally going to be what he can tolerate. It will be something that we are going to continue to push to get him back. And he’s dying to play against Atlanta obviously.

On an update about Alejandro Bedoya...
Cramp on this one, so nothing related to the other injury. I was giving him a tough time because he has to come out of the game which I’ve never seen him do that. But he literally had the quad, he had been kicked about 15 times and put so much into the game, he was incredible on the night. The definition of a captain, the definition of a leader. No injury, just some tightness in cramp.

On Marco Fabian’s performance...
If people want to criticize Marco [Fabian], they’re wrong. The people should criticize me because I’m the one who didn’t put him in the game. And when he was called upon, he delivered. So, he’s a professional. He’s the guy that if you separate soccer off the field as a person that I like a lot. I think he’s a great person and he’s great with our guys in the locker room, he has a lot of friends here. And he just wants the club to win, so if people want to be critical on him than the fingers should point to me because he’s a player and he just wants to be on the field and at this time I chose to use Brenden over him and that’s not personal, but at the same time he’s a guy who obviously now has scored a very big goal for us and a guy that we’re going to need again against Atlanta and hopefully against Toronto [FC] and NYCFC.

On Marco Fabian’s legacy...
Everybody is going to remember this game. There’s a lot of reasons to remember it. They’re certainly going to remember that Marco scored the winning goal for sure. And when I talked with the FOX crew yesterday, whatever the game is, the Fabian game, we’ve had the Ilsinho game last game against Red Bull. This is now one where people are going to remember this game for a long time. Even not even fans of the Union to be honest so it’s a big one.

On getting the club’s first playoff win against a rival...
They’re a team we respect a ton, but they are our rival. In Philly and New York there’s always something extra across all sports. It is a little more special because it’s against a team that every time we get together, the margins are so tight. And it’s one play here or there. Tonight there were seven goals, there was a lot of plays. Unfortunately for a coach you don’t like seven goals. It was special but that does add a little extra having it be Red Bull our big rival.

On his image as a local guy...
I think the excitement first of the players when the final whistle blew. I think we had a couple false whistles where guys we’re already celebrating onto the field a little prematurely. Apologies to the league for that I hope they don’t fine us. The image of the players, their excitement, they’re kind of feeling that we did it, and then also the atmosphere in the stadium. The stadium when the final whistle blew was as loud as I can remember it. It’s something I will remember forever for sure and it was something that was special. Really important win for the club tonight. But, there’s still a lot more to accomplish. And as we try to become a club that moves up and is talked about with the Atlanta’s and the LAFC’s, we have to find a way to win, because at the end of the day that’s the only thing that really matters in pro sports, but it was a big win.

On his team’s history with Atlanta United FC...
They have done some special things already this year, they already have a championship, a [Lamar Hunt U.S.] Open Cup under their belt. It’s a hard place to go to, their stadium and their fans make it very difficult. We know we will have some traveling support that we need down there. It’s a team that has a couple injuries to center backs, I feel bad for [Michael] Parkhurst as well as he played yesterday it was incredible. It was like if you have a kid who is a center back, show them that game because he was that special. Disappointing for him to go off with an injury. They’re dealing with some injuries at this time. They have incredible attacking talent all over the field. We’ll have to be at our maximum to have a shot down at Atlanta. Playoffs are fun, and this is when guys that step up get remembered and that’s a special thing. And we’re going to go down there and be brave.

Defender Jack Elliott
On his goal...
From what I remember of it, it was set piece and it came off the crossbar, and I kept myself alive and found myself free to head it back across goal. I thought that was the best thing to do, and yeah that was it. It’s funny we were playing foot table over there, Teqball, just before the game, so maybe that helped me steer it back in, but yeah it was interesting.

On what he told Andre Blake during halftime...
I don’t think you need to say anything to someone like that. He’s a tough goalkeeper, who is going to keep us in the game, so I don’t know. I don’t think we need to say anything to him. He’s a strong goalkeeper and he will keep us in the game. You know, these things happen, but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter.

On if they felt that they could comeback in the second half...
Yeah definitely, everyone felt the momentum, even that goal just before the half. I think that it didn’t put the nail in out coffin obviously. No one came in thinking we were going to lose the game, and no one went out in the second half thinking we were going to lose the game. I think everyone had the belief that we were going to win. That was a belief that we had the momentum right from the start. We used it, we used the crowd and we came out and gave everything.

Forward Fafa Picault
On if they could sense momentum shifting...
A bit at the same time coming in, you have to give the second launch, ten fifteen minutes are very difficult. You take two sprints you are out of gas. I had to kind of time it and calculate my runs second one came quicker than I thought, and I was able to use that energy to my advantage while they were tired as well.

On earning that first playoff win...
It’s big obviously, we got our first win at home. The work is far from over and now it’s time to enjoy the moment, regroup, rest and start of things for Thursday.

Midfielder Alejandro Bedoya
On how close he was to exiting the game after the first half...
Yeah, I wasn’t going to come off, unless I really, really needed it. I mean I was feeling it, even on the goal I scored, you know, because I hit the ball with laces, but I told them before I got a cramp really really bad or I have to pull it. I got three months of off-season to get better, but what a game. I mean I’m sure you guys all enjoyed that right? We showed a lot of character, and the resilience of the team and I’m so proud of the group.

On what he said during halftime...
Whatever you can think of. I can’t really say everything I said, but I think I was just pissed off. That third goal I thought we were on them putting pressure on them, you know we should’ve got the second goal already. I felt like it was a cheap goal to give up, that third goal. So, that was a bit deflating but at the same time after I got my emotions back in check, just said we’ve been here before. We were down two goals last time we played at home, and there’s no reason we can’t do it again, and that’s what happened.

On the impact of Marco Fabian’s game-winning goal...
Yeah, I mean, that’s you know, you have to keep your head in the game, right? And that’s what I kept stressing to guys. Guys that are going to be disappointed in not playing when they can, like Fafa [Picault] and whoever. But its next man up here, you now, we talked about it all year, and its important that they’re still staying in the game, and when they come on to make a difference, you know, and was able to do that. He got the game winner for us, which was huge, and he got a couple numbers out there so.

On what he said to Andre Blake during halftime...
Yeah, I mean, I just, that’s why I had to get my emotions in check before I can get to him. But he knows himself. He’s been a pro for a long time. You know, if I mess up, I know that it’s my fault but at the same time right before we came out, just, I tapped him on the back and said we are going to get this for you and just keep your head up. So that’s all you can do in that situation, right? He made some good saves and was able to get some of the balls, crosses for us that were able to but us some time and he you know saved us a lot of time.

On the crowd tonight...
Yeah, the crowd was freaking awesome. They were electric. You can hear them when we came back, every goal that we scored, it was just crazy. You couldn’t hear yourself out there talk. The crowd was awesome man, it was what the playoffs are all about. That atmosphere was amazing, and I wish we had another home game.

On the impact of the subs late in the game...
Well I felt like that after it was two-one. I thought we were on them. I mean We know, they don’t really want to play. I know we are the way better team. You know you Can’t give away cheap goals like we did against a team like them. We knew just keep going, keep moving it, keep playing we are going to get our chances. I mean, I don’t know how many times they got into our area, but to me, at least on the field, it didn’t look like that many. So, it was just a matter of being patient, but not letting them get another goal, and then you know like I said in the second half, we had already come back early this year against them and why not do it again.

On the rivalry between the Union and Red Bulls...
I mean I guess for the fans it feels better. For me as a player, I just hate playing against [New York Red Bulls] because of the way they play. It’s not my type of style. It is what it is, they do their thing. Like I said, they got there two times and they scored twice, so they made it difficult for us, but they got a good team over there too, and they work hard, but we have a better team.

On winning the first playoff game in Union history...
I think it means a lot for everybody. We’re all happy about it, we talked about it. We have a situation that we can cement ourselves in Union history, getting the first playoff win here for the club, so we’re all excited about that. Tomorrow you can enjoy it, tonight you know, have a nice bottle of wine then it’s off to, well not a bottle, but a glass or two, and then it’s off to Atlanta. So we have a great team here man. This character we’ve shown here, we’ve shown it throughout the season as well. I couldn’t be prouder of them. We are going to Atlanta to hopefully get an upset there and keep moving.

On the significance of Marco Fabian’s game-winner...
Yeah, Marco’s my boy. We’re roommates since he got here. Obviously, we both speak Spanish and we are pretty close, so I know how hard it’s been for him and what he’s been dealing with. I just gave him a kiss on the cheek, you know a Spanish thing and just tell him that is the way to make a difference and just to leave it all out there. That’s all I pretty much said to him. Like I said that goal is great for him, and he showed that he’s still got it.

On Sergio Santos’ first start in a while...
Kacper’s [Przybylko] been questionable all week, so those guys stepped up, but for Sergio [Santos] we’ve known about it all year. I mean the guy is a tank. You see him in the gym, he barely lifts a weight but he’s strong as hell. We told him part of the plan of playing two strikers was to put pressure on the Red Bulls. If they’re going to press us high to get guys to go behind in space and deal with [Tim] Parker and [Aaron] Long, might be hard for them and both those guys dealt with that. I think Sergio was able to use his speed a lot and his strength. He did a lot of great things holding the ball up for us. So that’s what we expect of him and he showed up.

On his team’s confidence against Atlanta United FC...
Yeah, it’s a boost. We are confident, we’re a confident group. We believe in ourselves. I think that was the question mark there this game. We’re a confident group, we have a good mix of veterans and young guys. Like I said we went down there before this year and got a great result, and we beat them at home. This is playoffs man, anything can happen. We’re confident, after this game of course we’re extremely motivated.


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