QUOTE SHEET: Union vs. Minnesota United FC

PHILADELPHIA UNION HEAD COACH JIM CURTIN

On the 1-1 draw with MNUFC … 

Overall after a really good start on the road, we talked a lot in the past two weeks about being ready for an intense game. They’re confident in their building. I thought we had a good start and good possession early. We got our goal and from that point we had a couple chances to get the second, but we don’t take advantage of them. CJ [Sapong] has the one, Chris [Pontius] has a good look from the six-yard line, but we don’t score.

On MNUFC’s goal …

Four guys probably have the chance to make a tackle, but we’re kind of tip-toeing and not getting stuck in an important spot in the box. 

On Philadelphia’s second-half performance …

We have a lot of chances, as well as them. Probably a point is fair on the night. It’s always difficult on the road, but we walk away with a point. Obviously we wanted all three so it’s disappointing, but it’s something to build on now as we move forward to New York.

On moving forward to the match against New York Red Bulls … 

They were a team tonight that has a good organized block of six guys and they attack with four guys that are pretty dynamic and have the freedom to go all over. We did a decent job limiting their chances. I think both teams ended with the same amount of shots. They had a few more on target, but overall we just weren’t kind of able to make a final pass. We had a lot of opportunities, 30 to 40 yards and in, and our decision making on when do we pass and when do we shoot was a little bit off on the night. [Bobby] Shuttleworth made a few saves as well. Again, some things to work on obviously and now we look forward to going to New York against the Red Bulls. They have an Open Cup final coming up on Wednesday so we’ll have to get prepared for them. I’m sure they’ll be excited and it’ll be a tough game.

MNUFC HEAD COACH ADRIAN HEATH

On how the early moments of the game played out … 

Well, we started terrible. Couldn’t have started any worse than we did. First 15 minutes, it was a comedy of errors – really was. And conceivably, could have been further down than the one. I thought we grew into the game after that. And I thought, after 20, 25 minutes, I thought we were probably the most dominant team. Started to get some proper possession. Started to look as though we were a threat going forward. Sammy Nicholson, you know, two or three really good efforts again. And second half, I can’t fault the guys. You know, it was a bit too end-to-end for my liking and probably for Jim [Curtin’s] as well. But we did try and force the issue. So, disappointed that we only took the point. But we go again.

On carrying momentum in MLS with breaks for international call-ups …

A little bit. And I thought [Michael Boxall] probably was the pick of our Internationals. Because they’ve had a tough couple of weeks. You know, emotionally as well for some of them. And I thought Boxy did really well considering less than a day ago he was 24 hours on a flight. So, he can be well pleased. And I can’t fault Francisco [Calvo] and [Kevin] Molino and the guys. Our players, our forward players were not as sharp as I probably would have liked. And I thought we made poor choices at times. Final ball wasn’t the right choice. We ran with it at times when we should have passed it and then we passed it when we should have ran with it. It was one of them nights. A nearly night as I sometimes call them. You know, I said to the guys, we were nearly very good in a lot of occasions. But that wasn’t enough. And it was one of them, I don't think the draw does either of us any good. I just spoke to Jim [Curtin] there and he [said the] same. They needed three points and we did. And that was probably why it was as end-to-end as it was, again. But, we’ll dust ourselves down and get ready and go again. Tough week. We travel to Vancouver and then we got to go on the other side of the country. So. thank you very much for the scheduling for that one.

On MNUFC’s goal being the result of some hard work …

Francisco [Calvo] did a little pirouette on the ball, like he sometimes does. I’m pleased it was in their box rather than ours. But no, hey, I thought at that particular time that we were gaining momentum. And I thought after the first 15, 20 minutes, I thought it was pretty much even, but we were most likely. And then most of the second half, I thought we were the most likely. But it wasn’t to be.

On Ethan Finlay’s two goals, two assists in three games …

Well, he’s come in and he’s got a goal and his confidence is sky high at the moment. And he’s a good player. It’s what we expect. You know, and I fully expect if we have Ethan for a full season, you’ll get double figures from both. Because that’s what we expect from attacking players.

On the VAR explanation from the overturned penalty …

It was a push before the actual handball.

On if he agrees with the VAR decision …

I haven’t seen it yet. I normally don’t dock it, but I haven’t seen it. So, I’ll have to have another look. What do you think?

On whether Christian Ramirez will return to the starting XI when healthy …

Well, it’s like everything. You want competition for places, and you know, we didn't feel as though it was worth risking Christian. He hasn’t really had three or four days of continual heavy workload with the rest of the group. He’s trained really hard today before the game. He should be fit and healthy for — he’ll certainly be on the bench at the worst on Wednesday night.

On MNUFC’s set pieces … 

Well, we did okay considering the size they’ve got. You know, they probably got more size than most, if you go through the two center backs who are both 6’3”, 6’4”. Then you’ve got [Chris] Pontius. You’ve got the midfield guy, who’s 6’2”, 6’3”. They've got some weapons up there. CJ Sapong. So, you know, we did well with it considering they do pose a lot of issues, just by the sheer number of big guys they’ve got. And they put invariably some good quality in the box. We’ve defended the box quite well from that.

On MNUFC’s corners …

I thought, you know, we looked more dangerous this evening. And a bit better quality. We had people in better spots. So, we’ll have to work on that, because that’s been an issue for us this year. Our set pieces haven’t been good enough.

MNUFC MIDFIELDER ETHAN FINLAY

On what has helped his uptick since coming to MNUFC …

It’s got to be the air, right? It’s crisper here. I think this whole thing was kind of a change of scenery, get you out of your comfort zone. Ya know? Get a spark. I won’t take away and act like it’s a one-man show because tonight was me just cleaning up [Francisco] Calvo’s pretty mess that he made for us. Sometimes you just need a little luck and obviously been great. I think, unfortunately tonight, we would’ve loved to have gotten three points out of if it. But you know in those games we’re 1-1-1 now. The goals and the assists are great, but I’d love to have a couple more in the win column.

On player making his home debut as a Minnesota-born …

It was great! What a great environment. I think when I played here with Columbus, you kinda try to shut it out. Just act like there’s 11 of us on the field versus 11 of them. But tonight was great. From the pregame to the music to the countdown, I loved it. It might’ve been one of the longest countdowns in sports history, but I enjoyed it. I thought I was on the set of Top Gun 2. It was pretty special and that’s why I came here. There’s something special here. To have 20,000-plus here this evening and packing the lower bowl. Can’t imagine what it’s going to be like years down the road.

On the video review decision …

[The official] said there was a foul right before. The key thing is it has to be clear and obvious. I haven’t actually seen [the play] since I’ve been in the locker room so I can’t make a judgement on whether it was clear and obvious. But that’s what the letter of the law is. You know a lot of that stuff goes on. There’s a lot of pushing, there’s a lot of shoving, there’s a lot of nudging that doesn’t get called. So, unfortunate that it comes to light when a call like that is made because that same push probably happens in the box five out of 10 times. But that’s what the system is used for so when one of those calls are made, they’re gonna look at everything. They deemed it to have been a foul before the hand ball. That being said, I thought [Oguchi] Onyewu possibly could have deserved another red later in the game when Abu [Danladi] cut him back. You’re 20 yards from goal, I think to me that’s one that I’m not sure [the official] got right. He saw it in a different light. But we move forward. It was unfortunate because we had the momentum in that moment and it was a slightly deflating process as it took three, four, five minutes. At least that’s what it felt like. But that’s the world we live in, so we move forward. I don’t think it changed, necessarily, the result. Again, I think it was a fair result.

On the upcoming road trip …

It’s definitely not easy. It will challenge us as a group. Especially coming off the break that we had. I think we saw a lull in that first 15-20 minutes. To now, we’re gonna have another two games here [within] three days of each other. It’ll be very difficult. It’ll test the depth. I think it’s an important time for Adrian [Heath], the staff, Manny [Lagos] and management to say, ‘What is this team made of? What is our depth? And who wants to be around?’ Because some guys who maybe haven’t had the opportunity as of late are going to get an opportunity and we need those guys to step up. I’m excited for it. I think road trips kinda bring guys together. We’ll have more than 18, so 20, 21 guys on this trip. I think it’s a great opportunity for us to come together again and get a result. We’ve had two really good road performances, despite a loss in Seattle. So, I’m excited. This team actually kind of relishes the moments on the road a little bit now. I think it’s nice. We can play spoiler out in the West.

MNUFC DEFENDER FRANCISCO CALVO 

On whether it was one point gained or two points lost …

I feel like we lost the game because we are at home and we have to get three points right away. I’m pretty sure we’re better than them, but for sure we didn’t do our best game tonight. We know that and we need to take care of what we did wrong and try to switch our minds right away because we have our game on Wednesday.

On struggling to possess in the first 10 minutes …

I don’t know if it was … To be honest it’s not an excuse, but the ball, it’s a little bit different. I don’t know if it was that or I don’t know what happened with that. We lost like three balls and then we lost our confidence in 10 or 15 minutes. And that was weird. It was a little bit weird. But after that we started playing good and after the goal the team started playing better.

On the video review decision …

I’m not agreeing with the video review. Because the feelings of football, or soccer, is not the same. It’s football. I mean that’s why the referees are there. If they made a mistake, they made a mistake. It’s life and they can make mistakes. FIFA wants to do the VAR team and I don’t agree with that, but it’s okay. In MLS, they want to use it. I can’t do anything.

On if he planned to do his spin move before the goal …

I wanted to do that. I mean, I wanted to score, too. That’s good that Ethan [Finlay] scored. It’s not the first time I did that. I don’t think it was my best game. It’s not my best position at left back. But the coach knows that and I’m trying to help the team until [Marc] Burch or [Thomas De Villardi] get fit. The only thing for me is to try to do our best game in and game out. 

On Finlay’s performance since joining the team …

He’s a good guy. He’s a good player. He puts energy in the team. He’s been a good addition for us. He has experience, he’s been playing in Columbus for a long time so he knows the league. 

On the upcoming road trip …

It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be two hard road games, but we got three points in Chicago against a good team and we know that we can beat any team in this league I’m pretty sure. It’s all about attitude. It’s all about our minds. It’s all about trusting your teammates and trusting yourself. But now we rest, train, then fly a long trip. It’s all about rest. I think when you play every three days, it’s all about taking it easy and rest and try to get your body in shape.


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