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Quote Sheet: Union vs. Sporting KC

Philadelphia Union vs. Sporting Kansas City Postgame Quotes (July 30th, 2020)

Head Coach Jim Curtin
Opening Statement…
“First and foremost, an apology to all the wives, girlfriends and kids back home in Philly right now. Please do not blame me. This has to go on your husbands and dads for being good at soccer and prolonging this thing another six days.

We set out to win this competition and you can tell by the effort the players have put in. from the defensive side to the attacking side, getting transition plays right. Overall, I am happy with the performance. Everyone left everything on the field for us tonight. A lot went into the game and we have a lot of time to rest up and recover for the Final Four game and we will sit and wait to see who our opponent is.

I will single out Ray Gaddis again. If there is a Best Xl for this competition, or whatever it might be, I think he has to be on it, because it is five games now that he shuts down the entire left hand side of the opponent. It tends to fly under the radar but he is playing at an incredible level both without the ball and with the ball.

I am happy for the group. I was disappointed that we almost let them back in the game at 3-1, but we got our legs underneath us again and were able to kill of the game in the second half.”

On Brenden Aaronson’s performance…
“There were a lot of young players on the field for both teams so credit to Kansas City, credit to us for putting young American talent on the field. B Then you talk about Brenden Aaronson’s performance. I thought he was dominant. He was active. His movement off the ball to find space was really good. The ball he plays on the third goal is a top ball in any league in Europe, not a pass that many people see. His confidence is very high right now. There were a lot of eyes on tonight’s game with most of the other league being finished up right and it was a good showcase for our players.

Some players tend to shrink to the occasion, he tends to raise his level and raise his game. I don’t know how long I will get to coach him, but I am going to enjoy every day and continue to push and try to get better., Him and Mark McKenzie, I am so happy with them. More importantly for them is they just want to win and move on, survive and advance in this competition and lift a trophy at the end.”

On Sergio Santos recent form…
“Sergio Santos is a very unique player. We were joking about how much he impacted the team last year and only started five games when you go back and look at it. Part of that was injuries and part of that was fitness, but tonight you saw just how much he can change a game.

You can’t teach speed; you can’t teach decision making on breakaways. His ability to stretch a defense is really good. He ran so hard in that first half that I think he felt sick at half time, that is the reason we had to take him out.

I am really happy for him for the goals that he created and the goals that he scored. He is just a dangerous player. He is a good compliment to Kacper Przybylko. That speed in behind really stretches things for the rest of our midfield to find space and operate. He clears a lot of room for Brenden Aaronson, Jamiro Monteiro and Alejandro Bedoya as well. His speed helps a lot and was really good on the transition of a couple of the goals.”

On the team’s overall performance…
“The first real soccer play we put together took us 24 minutes to get to it. We did not start the game well with a lot of unforced errors. Kansas City pressed us and made it hard for us., but that has a play that we finally got right and you can see that we got a tap-in out of it. And then we followed up with another quick goal.

The transition goals are what we coach and what we preach. Overall, still not a perfect 90 minutes, but against a really good a opponent, scoring three goals in the first half isn’t easy. I am happy with the victory but there are things that we can work on for the offense and the defense.”

Midfielder, Brenden Aaronson
On the play leading up to his assists…
“Sergio’s commitment to get in the box is always there and I think it’s just finding him. He made a great run back post and it was just up to me to find him. That’s my role on this team and I want get assists for them and try to help them out scoring goals and that is what we did on the play. Credit to him because he’s always there and he’s going to get his chances and he did today.”

On finding his best position on the field throughout a match…

“In the second half you get more and more space because they are tying to score, trying to do something different. In that moment in the second half there was more space and when I get more space I can be more dangerous and with the pressing I think I am good and that is why he put me in that position.”

On his play with scouts watching…
“I’ve seen some of the stuff going around but I don’t like to pay attention to that stuff because I’m in a tournament and I want to play the best that I can. The stuff can get under young kids but it didn’t for me and I just went out and tried to play my game and I didn’t worry about that kind of stuff. All I want to do is win it for the team and help my team win.”

On the team’s feeling as it looks to become one of the top clubs in the league…

“I think right now the team is very confidently and I think that as a team we are playing at a high level and we’re grinding out results. Like Jim [Curtin] has said, we still haven’t hit our 90 minutes of playing great soccer but in the conditions that we are playing in its tough and we’ve been good as a team. In training it’s amazing right now with everyone being pushed. It’s been a really good experience for the team. We’ve been winning a lot of games and we want to keep going with it and win this tournament.”

On the team having so many difference goalscorer…
“If you look at our offense we have unbelievable players everywhere. We have Jamiro, Ale, Sergio and Kacper as well as El Brujo coming up. Everyone has been amazing this tournament and the interchange has been amazing and the recognition that if I go up then Jamiro stays back. If Jamiro goes up then I take his position. It’s been very good communicating wise and everyone has been confident on the ball playing forward. Credit to our strikers because they are generating goals every single game and making runs and being a real pest for the defense.”

Forward, Sergio Santos
On having a teammate like Brenden Aaronson assisting on goals…
“When you have a guy like Brenden Aaronson giving you that pass, everything comes easy. I did my obligation that i’ve been working on in training to finish the ball and give us the lead.”

On how the team’s fells heading into the Quarterfinals…
“everyone is excited for the Quarterfinals. You see that we play together and fight for everything. There are moments where we can be cleaner in these games and there are some other factors that have to do with that. At the end of the day the fight of the team is always there. I think that at this point in the tournament and with the conditions we are facing that is an important factor to winning games here.”

On scoring the second goal and how it felt…
“A lot of emotions went through my mind basically the thought was Aurellin Collin, my family and for Philly. For the first goal I wanted to dedicate Collin but I didn’t have that in mind but for the second one that’s why I went over to him and gave him a hug.”

On playing out of the back…
“today, they made it difficult to play through our central players and forcing it out wide and occasionally into the channels for some relief but overall our midfield has good movement and Gaddis and Wagner get up well and are easy to find. For us in the back in me and Mark McKenzie, I think we are capable find finding a player every time and if not we got Sergio Santos running in behind with extreme pace. That is always an outlet for but we definitely try and play through and if its not on we go long.”

On what he saw in the breakaway goal…
“I went with my instinct and what we work on in training. When I saw the opportunity to get the breakaway, I tried to finish it off as best I could.”

On all the space Kansas City found later in the match…
“Our goals came in pretty quickly but after that we had to focus on trying to hold onto the lead and continue our playing.”


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