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Quote Sheet: #PHIvPOR

Head Coach Jim Curtin
Opening Statement…
“First and foremost, congratulations to Portland for moving on to the final. Obviously, they made it very difficult on us tonight. We were not at our sharpest but we still had chances to get ourselves back in the game, but it wasn’t meant to be tonight.

I won’t allow it take away from the strides and the growth that the team has made during this competition. We challenged them to take a step to the next level of teams in this league. I think we did that.

We had a lot of great performances from players. I am really proud of the group and the work that they put in each and every day. I think we will take a lot of momentum from the competition into the regular season that will be getting started soon.

It hurts to lose. You always want to win and move on but it wasn’t our sharpest day of soccer and credit to Portland for making it hard on us.”

On the difficulty of breaking down Portland…
“Diego Chara would be a good starting point. Probably the best defensive midfielder this league has ever had and they are well coached and organized. When you give up a goal early on a set piece you are chasing right away. It was always going to be hard once they got a lead. The first time in the all six games of this competition that we were down. So we had to try and find ways to break them down and we just were not sharp enough on the night. They defend very well and are comfortable just sitting back without the ball. We still had four or five really good looks on goal that on different night in this competition we have scored. The name of the game is putting the ball into the back of the net and we came up short tonight.”

On message to the team and fans after the tournament…
“We don’t talk much directly after the games because it is emotional. I did congratulate each guy for the performance that they put in. we came up a little bit short of our goal to win the competition but overall we played some really good soccer. I think the league noticed and other teams took note. I know our fans are itching to have us play a home game. We have done all of this not having played a home yet this year. I am proud of the group for everything that they did on the field I think we showed a lot of growth and improvement. I think we have a lot of good things that we do defensively. I think that we improved as the tournament went in the attack but we still need to tune something things up and continue to improve as we look forward to the rest of the year.”

On what is next for this team…
“Ultimately you want to get to a final and lift a trophy. We came up short of that. I think that it is clear that we can play with any team now, but in the key moments we have to find ways to get over the hump and win a big one. We came up short tonight but at the same time I am proud of the group and believe in this team.”

Defender Jack Elliott
On what was different tonight compared to the other matches in this tournament…
“We conceded off two corners. That was the killer. They did a good job of playing deep and in a way that is difficult for us to play and score against, so credit to them for that. It was two set pieces that undid us and I think we had the chances after that to score and we didn’t. In the end we did fight until the end and it just didn’t go our way by the final whistle.”

On team’s overall performance at the tournament…
“Overall it was a fairly successful tournament but the next step for is winning these big games and showing up better in coming up with the details. I think we can take a lot from the tournament and there are definitely things we need to work on and things that we can get better at to improve on for the rest of the season, whatever that brings.”

Goalkeeper Andre Blake
On staying sharp until the restart of the regular season…
“Just like when we were in lockdown, you have to find ways to stay sharp and do whatever you can to try and be a professional and figure it out.”

On takeaways from the tournament…
“For me I think we continued to grow as a team. This was a semifinal game, there was a lot on the line so we need to learn from it and keep growing. We have to know that in games like these it is about the details. Teams like them that are very tough to break, if you give them a restart goal you may never get a chance to get back into the game. It is a tough pill to swallow. We will learn from it and gain valuable experience going forward.”

On returning home…
“It has been a long time that we have been here. I definitely miss the family but we have been here long enough that we want to be going home with something. It is what it is and life is more than just soccer. We are going to have to learn from it, put it behind us and get to reunite with our families. Have a little down time and be ready to go again.”


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