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San Jose 2, Union 1: Post-Game Quotes

Posted on 13 July 2010 by Breton Bonnette

Frank Yallop (San Jose Earthquakes Head Coach)

Q:  On the rare nature of having two goals each in extra time of the two halves.

A:  It probably is [unusual], yeah, but there’s 90 minutes of soccer and you can score anytime.  I was really happy with the demeanor of our team, the fight.  I thought Philadelphia played very well and on another night they should have gotten something out of the match.  We’ve played a few games this season ourselves where we played very well and didn’t get any points.  If they keep playing like that, they’ll do well.  For us, we’ve got to move the ball a bit better and play a little better.  But, I thought we were dangerous, especially on the break.  We knew that pushing the fullbacks up is something they like to do, so we thought there might be some chances there to have some 1 v. 1s and 2 v. 2s, and you’ve got to make sure to put those chances in. 

Q:  On goalkeeper Jon Busch’s performance, especially late in the game.

A:  Jon had an outstanding game for us.  Jon is a quality goalkeeper, he’s been in this league for a number of years, so when we had the opportunity to acquire him, it was a pretty easy choice.  We feel that we have two very good goalkeepers: right now Jon is playing and playing well, and Joe Cannon also is a very good goalkeeper.

Q:  On Bobby Convey’s play.

A:  He’s played well.  We had a lot of chances last year, but it was not an easy adjustment for Bobby to come back [to the US, from Reading F.C., with whom Convey played in the English Premiership and Coca-Cola Championship League from 2004-2009], and we weren’t playing particularly well at times.  We had a funny season: we were really good at times and really bad at times.  I think he got frustrated with the whole thing.  I think he’s let that go.  I keep telling him: you’ve got to worry about yourself; the team will take care of itself, you’ve got to play well.  Just because everyone’s looking at you, you can’t worry about the things you can’t control.  And he’s played real well, probably our most consistent player.  He hasn’t necessarily been a 10 out of 10, but he’s been about an 8 out of 10 the whole season, giving 100% effort.

 Q:  As far as new stadiums go, what did you think of the atmosphere at PPL Park?

A:  It’s great.  We trained here yesterday, but you don’t realize until people get in the stands how loud it is.  They’ve done a terrific job with the stadium and the atmosphere.  I think they’re a good team as well, I like the way they play.  Winning in this league is never easy because it’s a tough league, you can play well and not get the results sometimes, but I like the way they do it and I think they’ll be good. 

 Q:  When the Union started to push up more, did you feel as though you would be able to counterattack more?

A:  It’s cat and mouse.  They had a lot of chances to score at 1-1 and we had talked about at halftime that as the game went on, the home team is going to push and there could be 1 v. 1s.  They’re trying to score, they’re trying to get a home win, so it fell to the right guy in Arturo [Alvarez] on a 1 v. 1 and he managed to get a shot off and in the net.  Obviously, a good time to score for us; they certainly had their chances.

 Q:  As you said, they had their chances, and when you start breaking down the film and looking at the numbers such as shots for and shots against, it turns out you only had 3 shots on goal, but you put away 2 of them.  Do you feel like you got away with one here or stole one?

A:  I think they were probably better than us tonight in terms of possession and creating chances.  At the same time, we had 5 really good chances.  They did have the majority of the football and more good chances, but that’s football.  You’ve just got to score when you get the chance and defend.  I’d say that a tie would have been fair; they did deserve to score more than 1 goal.  But we’ll take it.

 Bobby Convey (San Jose Earthquakes Midfielder and Philadelphia native)

Q:  Can you describe the feeling of the team scoring on that last counterattack ?

A:  Yeah, it was a relief, you know we were tied the whole time, it’s a huge deal.  Arturo [Alvarez] flicked it to me and I got out wide and laid it into space, and he made a great 45-yard run and finished it off.  I think that last year, that doesn’t happen to us, so I think it’s a good bit of momentum for us going forward. 

 Q:  On goalkeeper Jon Busch’s performance.

A:  He was easily the man of the match; we wouldn’t have even been in it if he wasn’t in goal.   He’s just proving how good he is and how he needs to be on the field.  

Q:  On Philadelphia’s performance and the flow of the game early on.

A:  They came out and did well.  They spread the field well; they’re a good team.  I think once we survived that initial wave, Wondo [forward Chris Wondolowski] made a good run on our 1st goal and laid the ball back to Cornell [Glen], who finished it, so when you go into the half tied 1-1 instead of down 1-0, it makes a big difference. 

Q:  On what it means to him to come back to Philadelphia and play a game here.

A:  It’s great.  I think it’s really inspirational for little kids, the youth of Philadelphia, to see this.  I didn’t have anything when I was growing up here, I had an indoor team, and there wasn’t anything to look forward to.   The ownership here has done a really great job with the stadium and the fans are right behind the team.  It’s a great environment, and hopefully it gives kids something to look forward to. 

Q:  On the difference between last year and this year for the team and him personally.

A:  We just got better players, better competitors.  Our team competes throughout the whole game and obviously you see Jon Busch in goal making 5, 6, 7 great saves to keep us in the game.  That didn’t happen last year.  We would have been down 3-0 last year and the game would have been over.  I think it shows how hard we compete and how hard we work.  To score at the end of the 1st half and with a minute to go at the end really proves that we’ve come a long way.

[For me], it was a transition obviously last year [coming back to the US from English club Reading F.C.].  I think we were still figuring out who we were as a team, what players should be where and we had a lot of injuries as well.  This year, like I said, I think we brought in 5 or 6 good players that have really helped us push forward.  We had the game plan, Frank [Yallop] has us working and we work hard and compete.  [When that happens], you win more than you lose. 

Piotr Nowak (Philadelphia Union Head Coach)

Q:  On the disappointing result and the risk of giving up a counterattack when pushing for the winning goal.

A:  We shot ourselves in the foot today.  It was probably a lack of experience, not predicting and not anticipating the things that might happen.  From the flow of the game, from the commitment, you can’t really say bad words about this team, how they pushed forward, even though we exposed ourselves.  But there’s a lot of things that need to be corrected and fixed very fast because that’s what the game is all about. It’s not about how many shots you have on goal or whether a play was a handball or not a handball or was there a foul or no foul.  At the end of the day, the results stand regardless of the situation.  We lost a game we should have won, and that hurts.

Q:  Do you think that Danny Mwanga got pulled down by his pants on that breakaway [in the 47th minute]?

A:  You guys saw it just like 18,000 in the stadium saw it, same with the handball.  That’s obviously not a decision we make as a coaching staff, these guys [the referees], I don’t know.  Maybe too many people in the stands and they don’t have the courage to blow the whistle.  

Q:  What is it about right before the half or right before the end of the game, the door is wide open for the other team?

A:  Listen, we’re pushing the game forward, it’s the last minute of injury time, and the guys want to win.  At the same time we, need to stay compact and get back.  It’s something we anticipate, it’s a fire drill.  We need to get back, we need to make that clear so nothing will happen like that.  That’s the things I’m talking about that we need to fix and make sure it doesn’t happen again.  We can’t have the same mistakes.  Having all these games at home now, if you’re not going to prevent that, if you’re not going to make sure that we anticipate and stay clean, then we’re going to have situations like this, and I’m going to be very upset. 

Q:  Continuing with the goals conceded at the end of the half, you talk about what you can do to prevent it again, but this has been an ongoing thing throughout the season, even two weeks ago against Seattle, they got a goal at the end of the half.  So, the beginning and end of halves are certainly becoming problems.  What is the team doing tactically or otherwise to prevent that?

A:  I’m not sure it’s really a problem, it’s just a loss of focus and concentration at those moments.  The goal against Seattle was just a domino effect of what was happening in front of us: we had a free kick, and they ended up scoring a goal.  As I said, as a team, as a group, we need to understand that it’s a fire drill and we need to prevent it.  That’s the problem; in some cases it comes with experience, but we have ongoing maturation.  We have to make an adjustment: taking a professional foul, taking a card, being smart and not naïve like we were on both goals [today].  This was being very naïve professionally.  We’re making good progress as a group, and we have to keep pushing forward.  We cannot think that teams are going to come into our house and just lay down.  When they have counterattacks, we need to prevent it; that’s the job.  Whether it’s the defenders, the forwards, the midfielders, whoever is going to be in the situation.  We were chasing Arturo for 45 yards and that’s the problem.  We have to change that and we will change that. 

Q:  On the team’s development and the coaching of mental preparation.

A:  I said to the team, during the course of the season, however many goals we concede, I would say just off the top of my head that 70% of these goals are preventable.  The other 30%, the other team goes through us, get the chance, break us down, and get the goal.  But I think 70%, you know, we just give it away.  That’s the problem that needs to be corrected and fixed fast.  

Q:  This was a tough game for the players to lose in the way it happened.  What do you say to them to have them keep their heads up after this?

A:  Knowing me, you can imagine what I said.

Q:  On the health of Alejandro Moreno, who was removed after 55 minutes following not playing against Chivas.

A:  Listen, we have a lot of games coming up right now.  He’s tough, he felt it at halftime but told me ‘Coach, let’s try, let’s try as much as I can.’  I appreciate that about him, he’s an honest guy and instead of trying too much, I think it was a good time to take him off and get him some rest instead of having him keep pushing and losing him for a couple of weeks.  But he’s not 100%. 

Danny Mwanga (Philadelphia Union Forward)

Q:  On the breakaway in the 47th minute and whether he felt like he was fouled.

A:  He did bump me, but I could have done a better job finishing.  

Q:  On whether or not, give his recent scoring burst, he has been thinking about being named to the All-Star team.

A:  Right now, the most important thing is trying to make sure every time I step on the field I play well and help my teammates win the game.  We need points right now, I can’t be worried about All-Star, Rookie of the Year, I just need to make sure that when I step on the field, I bring something to the table to help my team win the game.

 Q:  On what improvements he thinks he needs to make to his game.

A:  I definitely need to play more quickly, stop letting people be physical with me to shut me down.  I need to move off the ball more often. 

Q:  As you said, you’ve been scoring pretty well, but you’re bound to have a game like this one where you have your chances but aren’t able to take them.  How do you rebound from that?

A:  You just have to keep your head up.  There’s games like tonight where you try your best but things just don’t come together.  You have to give credit to [San Jose], we were pushing, trying to get that goal at the end, but unfortunately we didn’t get it.

 Q:  You talked about wanting to play a little quicker.  How do you feel at this point in your first season about how you’ve been able to adjust to the pace of the pro game?

A:  There’s a lot of help from my teammates , guys like Danny Califf, Sebastien [Le Toux], [Alejando] Moreno helping me to make adjustments and get used to this level.  I feel like I’m moving in the right direction right now.

 Jordan Harvey (Philadelphia Union Fullback]

Q:  On the team’s vulnerability to the counterattack.

A:  The last goal, it happened quick, maybe we should have fouled or I should have fouled, I was the last guy back.  Obviously I could have defended better, but Arturo is a good player.  I just tried to keep him on the right, but he cut back on me and got a good shot off.   [We need to] eliminate the counter, prevent the first guy from being able to create a break.  Bobby Convey played Arturo through and I was 1 v. 1, so it was unfortunate.

Q:  Does it take a while to get past these 3 points you guys should have had tonight?

A:  We should have at least had 1.  We had so many chances, but no, we’ll move on, we’ve done it all season.  We’re a team that rises to the occasion the next game.  I know we’ll come out for the next game and bring the same intensity and be all over the next team.  Hopefully we can just finish our chances and get 3 points.

Q:  You talked about taking the professional foul there, is that something you’ve worked on or something the team is instructed to do?  Did the execution just fall apart leading up to the 2nd goal?

A:  I don’t know if I really had the chance to really get him.  I don’t know if anyone else maybe had the chance to foul him earlier on, but I was caught 1 v. 1 and he’s a good player.  I could have done better.

Q:  On the team’s performance.

A:  I thought everybody did well.  We just need to eliminate the counter and finish our chances when we have them.

We will add more quotes once all the transcribing is done…

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Post-Match Quotes, PPL Park Opener [team-provided]

Posted on 28 June 2010 by Breton Bonnette

We will have more to come but these are the quotes that were team-provided…

Manager Peter Nowak, Philadelphia Union

On PPL Park’s opening:

“It was a historical moment. The place was just amazing. Everybody felt the tension and everyone was pretty quiet before we entered the field. If you are not motivated playing in front of these guys, with this kind of atmosphere, you should change your profession. But these guys were very focused and very disciplined.

On making adjustments after Seattle scored first:

“Unfortunately (Seattle) got the goal right before half time, that was very not encouraging. But the more we played the way we did, there were a couple moments in the first half especially that we made it difficult for ourselves trying to make plays and passes between the defenders and trying to push the game a little bit too far.”

“And I think we talked about that at half time, to stretch them out and to make sure we had the wings out, and push the game to their half with tactical discipline. All this good (stuff) comes from the outside. They did a great job bringing the balls in and there were good runs inside.”

On believing in his club:

“3-1 is 3-1. (While) it’s just the beginning, we are very happy with the win. It’s the first game at home; this is a very special group. I never stopped believing in this group. This is a work in progress and we are trying to do the best job every day and make sure the team is in the right direction.”

On how much better this team played today compared to the previous match at Seattle:

“Well we didn’t give up two (early) goals; that was positive. I think we talked about that, we worked on it. And of course, without these guys and me believing, and without the work, the results will not come. Where we were after those games, it’s good to be home. This is our place to play with fantastic fans and you guys supporting the team.”

On the club’s overall performance:

 “I was very pleased with everything, the ball movement, the creating of chances, the shots, everything was there. The first half wasn’t perfect but the second half was almost perfect. As I said many times, you can’t play a perfect game because even Tiger Woods can’t play a perfect game, but these guys tried really hard the second half to play a perfect game and the results say it all.”

On what today’s win does for the team’s confidence:

“With (coach) John (Hackworth) we tried to find a balance between not being down, not being dismissing, not having long faces. We have been there before (with) the goal before half time. We knew what to do in the second half, how to play our game. Rhe confidence of the whole group, they make themselves better and that is a very special feeling for the coaching staff knowing that these guys are hungry for success.

“As I said, this is just the first step. We know the feeling after we won (against) D.C. United and then what happened after that. It’s the balance between having an emotional breakdown or being too high with your feelings after the win. For me, I will let them celebrate today because it was a very special moment but tomorrow we go back to work.”

Goalkeeper Chris Seitz, Philadelphia Union

On the penalty kick save and the lift it gave the club:

“I think our coaching staff does a real good job of getting us footage of past games. They had a good idea of tendencies of players and with that kind of stuff. I try and look at tendencies of players throughout the game and try to make the best guess I can. There is also a bit of luck in there.

“It felt good, but more importantly it was good for our team. We were in a tight situation; it was 1-1 at the time and for us to keep it at 1-1 and go forward at the time from there is a big part of the team. I am just happy I could get one finally.”

On feeding off the home crowd:

“It was special. For a lot of us it was our second time here playing. To get the support that we have in the city is just huge for us. We want to go out there after a break and put a good performance together for our fans most importantly. So for us to go out there and get the win that we did with a good answer in the second half is huge for our confidence and huge for us moving forward.”

Forward Sebastien Le Toux, Philadelphia Union

On playing in the heat and humidity:

“It was tough because of the weather. (It was) something we are not really used to since the beginning of the year. Maybe in Houston it was like that. But even I think it was worse here than Houston and we ran a lot today. I think we gave everything out there on the field and sometimes it was kind of hard. We tried to keep the ball and to breathe a little bit. After running around today I have these lights in front of me now like the sun, but it’s OK. It is still great, we won so (that makes it) much easier.”

On playing midfield today instead of forward:

“(Nowak) wanted me to play this position this week and we tried to put that in place. On Wednesday, I found it to be a bit of freedom when we played a friendly (against affiliate club Reading United). I can make deeper runs from the midfield and I can get back on defense. It was another catch-22 to do because Danny was on top. I had to adjust a little bit. Sometimes it was difficult to push up and figure out what they wanted me to do. But I am glad that we won today.”

On playing at PPL Park in front of home supporters:

“It was very nice for me, (and I was) just thinking of doing the best I can on the field. There is lots of ambition because of the new stadium and all of the people who were crazy today behind us. It’s great as a player and I will have great memories about that.”

On the win:

“Playing against Seattle, it was very special. I really wanted to win this game because it was our first game (at PPL Park). It’s great, I am very happy tonight and I am glad because everyone did a great job. Chris saved us and he gave us confidence after we tied and then he made that great save. Now we can sleep on that, but it’s just a win. We are still behind, we have to be good at home and need to now put up some points when we play on the road. We need to be strong and I am sure we are.”

On the penalty kick:

I’ve known (Kasey Keller) a long time and we use to practice PKs. I knew he knew my favorite side.  I just wait until the last moment and I knew he would dive early and I put the ball in past him.”

Forward Danny Mwanga, Philadelphia Union

On playing first game at PPL Park:

“I knew it was going to be a very good game, especially because we were going to be in front of our fans. So it was like extra motivation for all of us just being able to do that for them, to win that game for them for the first time in our new stadium. It was just the best feeling ever.”

On his goal today:

“I hit it the first time and (Keller) did a good job. He had his foot left behind him and just like I do at practice I didn’t stop following the ball. I knew that I had a second chance and I just had to tap it in.”

On Alejandro Moreno and Le Toux:

“Both guys are doing a good job at helping me keep my head in the game and helping me to work on some areas of the game. Both of them are doing a very good job and have such a big impact on our team.”

On facing Seattle again:

“Home field is definitely a big advantage for us. We all knew that during the first game we had a couple mistakes, and we watched the video from the first game and we learned from our mistakes and went out there and tried to correct them and come out strong.”

On the club’s strategy against Seattle:

“They have a bunch of dangerous players. We knew we were just going to play them physical. We knew they were going to fall as much as possible, but we didn’t care about that. We played them tight, we played them physical. They got one break on us from a little counter attack but besides that I don’t think they were very dangerous.”

On how the team has come together since the last meeting with Seattle:

“We’ve had more time together as a team, we’ve had experience. Also we had a home crowd.  Playing in Seattle last time was tough but we are definitely a lot smarter defensively. We know when to attack and we don’t force it too much. We take our time a little better and our coach has done well preparing us and fixing our mistakes. Hopefully we can carry it through the next  19 games.”

On coming out in PPL Park for the first time:

“When we first came out it was an unreal feeling. It was a little emotional during the National Anthem with everybody singing, and just thinking about how fortunate I was to be there. I just started to choke up, held back some tears, but it was an unreal feeling and I just felt so blessed to be in this atmosphere.”

Midfielder Roger Torres, Philadelphia Union

On importance of playing at home:

“It was something really beautiful and we needed it.  We were coming to this game from a bunch of results that were not favorable and playing at home, we always get something good out of it, so it is important for us to keep being home.”

On the team’s progress since last playing Seattle

“It has changed a lot, because our first game it was something new to us. It was our first game and we came out there and we were new to the league. Now the team is more solid and we know the formula to play the game and we showed it today and we won.”

 Head Coach Sigi Schmid, Seattle Sounders

On playing in Philadelphia:

“When you don’t train in the humidity, it’s a little bit tougher to play in it. We were where we wanted to be. The penalty kick, for them, I haven’t seen before, so I can’t really comment on it. Then we got a penalty kick back. We haven’t scored a penalty kick in MLS play, and that killed us at the end. If we score that penalty kick and make it 2-1, I think the game’s a different game.”

On the atmosphere for the game:

“It was good, it was good. Obviously the fans are excited. They’re behind their club. It’s going to help them, and once they got on the scoreboard, the fans got a little bit louder and were a lot more involved.”

On playing Philadelphia:

We had seen them play, so it was more unknown when we played them the first time because they hadn’t played a game. We were here yesterday, we had a feel for what the stadium looked like, we knew that the atmosphere was going to be great, and we’re used to playing in front of a great atmosphere.”

On the flow of the game:

“Goals change games. In the opening night for us we scored a couple of goals, and they took a red card, which hurt them in that game. Tonight was the same thing. We had the goal, and we should have scored a second goal off the PK, and we didn’t. Then the game changes. They ended up winning and scoring the goals they needed to win the game. More so than anything, they are more comfortable playing in the heat and humidity. It was our first time we had to play in it and it made a big difference. It takes a period of adjustment. It’s a lot easier for a team to train in heat and go play in cold weather then to train in cold weather and go play in heat.”

On the play of Kasey Keller:

“Keller came up big on some big saves. The header off Arrieta was probably his best save. He had another good save going to his right, but that’s what a goalkeeper is supposed to do, that’s his job.”

On changes made a halftime:

“We wanted to drop back a little bit, and we had trouble holding onto the ball in the first half, so it wasn’t just Ljungberg. I think we got him the ball a little bit more in the second half. Today we just didn’t have a good day of possession.”

On outlook for the rest of the season:

“I’m never a guy who’s going to say it’s desperate, you have to believe you’re going to win. That’s what we talked about. We have an Open Cup game midweek and then we play on the weekend against LA. We still believe in ourselves as a unit. The games all about when you dominate, you have to score goals, and you have to make sure they don’t score. They worked hard, and in the second half, they raised their level of play and did well.”

 Forward Pat Noonan, Seattle Sounders

On how the game unfolded:

“We came into halftime with a 1-0 lead; we had done some good things. We were sluggish at times. I know we had some good opportunities. We had a chance to tie the score with a PK, and it’s got to be put in. We can’t keep thinking about it. We’re disappointed.”

On his goal:

“Steve (Zakuani) got the ball and he took it inside and put it across nicely, and I was able to get a touch on it. I was able to scoot it past (Seitz) and score.”

On how Philadelphia was able to win:

“We lacked energy, and we let them back into the game. I had to get that PK in, but I didn’t. They came back and scored and put it away. It’s frustrating. We need to go win in Portland to bounce back. That’s about it.”

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Philadelphia at Chicago, Post-Match Quotes

Posted on 07 June 2010 by Breton Bonnette

 
Peter Nowak, Philadelphia Union Manager
 
On the match:
 
“I think we were surprised from the minute the game started. The team that is supposed to play attractive soccer, attacking soccer at home played with 10 guys in the back, behind the ball. I think we expected something different (with them) playing against an expansion team… I believe that in our league this kind of stuff is not supposed to happen. But it’s a good lesson for all of us.  

“We have to work on breaking teams down who just rely on single individuals, or maybe on one lucky shot. I believe that we tried to open them up. We tried different things — overlapping over the wings, trying to break them down the middle. Like I said if you set 40 yards with 10 people it’s very difficult to open them up. As I said, this is a good lesson for all of us. We have to work on that because this kind of stuff could happen along the way. I think that the people will start to open their eyes about our team and on the way we play. That’s probably the way the teams will play against us, so we have to be ready for it.”

On putting Torres in: 

“We know that at some point we have to measure the speed from Nyarko and shut the wing down and open them up from overlapping runs and different angles so we moved the formation. It was a little adjustment, but it was still an offensive adjustment, not just waiting for something to happen. I think the second goal was a lucky goal, it brought us down. I believe if it was 1-0 at the end of the day, we would’ve tied the game or won it. But that’s how it is and as I said, from the beginning, this is team that I’ve watched and played in and I believe that the passion and the way the Fire play, it was not even close to what we’ve witnessed tonight.”

On the second half:  

“We tried different combinations. We looked at the angles to change a bit just to see how they’d react, but they didn’t whatsoever. I think that’s their philosophy behind this game and behind the games they played lately. We’ve watched a lot of their games. We know (playing defensively) would happen against a team like AC Milan, but not against an expansion team. As I said, we were surprised, but that’s my job; to give those players enough experience and knowledge to know how to break things down.”

On what he wants to do during the team’s break: 

“Work. There’s no such thing as being on a break. I believe that we still have to develop the good players. We need to give them the knowledge and everything that they can face along the way. Some of them could make it to Europe so there’s no such thing as being on a break. Of course, we need to look at this but we will train during the break as well and come back before the home opening on June 27, and spend a good amount of time talking and working on some of the things we’ve faced in the past nine weeks.”

On Danny Mwanga’s improvement in the last couple of weeks:
 
“In the last three weeks and even before that, he’s been working very hard. He’s realized that it’s not college ball and that it’s now the professional league; the defenders will make his life difficult. The windows in which he scored the goals, (against) Dallas the window was 6 or 8 inches. The goal in Houston was the same situation. Today, when combined with Sebastian the window was pretty small. He has pretty quick feet for a big man to dribble between them and score a very good goal. 
 
He’s capable of doing these things. Most of these guys are still very young and inexperienced, but they start to believe in themselves. When you believe in the work that you’re doing then the results will come. At some point the good work will pay off.” 

Danny Califf, Philadelphia Union Defender

On Patrick Nyarko’s play: 

“I think he was definitely the most dangerous player for Chicago tonight. He did a good job with the space that he got; he just kind of sat out wide and was able to have some space. He’s a good player one versus one. He got to do that quite a bit tonight.”

On the heavy travel: 

“It’s just week after week, getting on and off airplanes. It alters the training during the week and we can’t get into a routine. But I hate to use that as an excuse. Obviously it would be a lot nicer to have had some more home games sprinkled in here but the fact is that we’re letting in too many goals. 

On whether or not there was a lack of team energy:
 
“No, not at all. I think we were good, I think we came with intensity. We maybe lacked a little in the final pass, in the final third but Chicago packed it in. I think we defended almost the entire game in their half. It’s hard to break them down when they do a good job keeping every single player pretty much behind the ball.”
On taking advantage of the World Cup break:
 
“I think we need to continue to do what we have been doing. I think tonight it was a 2-1 result where we had a lot of good chances and we’re doing the right things. I think we need to continue to believe and believe in the system the coaching staff has set out. Things will turn around. I’m confident in that. We’re a good team. We’re a much better team than we showed. 
Sebastien Le Toux, Philadelphia Union Forward 
 
On the goal:  

“It was difficult because we were playing really well. The ball was skipping very fast, it was kind of hard to get in good position. At the end we just tried to pass simply and we got a goal.” 

On the match: 
 
“There’s a little bit of frustration. We had some good opportunities, I had some in the first half. I almost scored in the first half after five minutes. We got some chances again and we played some good balls in but unfortunately we didn’t score.”
On his 40-yard free kick on goal:
 
“I’ve been working on my free kicks since the beginning of the season and I’ve had lots of free kicks like that. When the ball is very soft and very light it’s a bit difficult for the goalkeeper to see the trajectory and I got a good shot. It came close tonight.”
On playing so many road games:
 
“It’s not easy, we didn’t choose for our schedule to be this way. It’s a part of our season. We can’t use these types of excuses, we have to play the same game away if we put ourselves behind in it.”

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The Union in Houston: Post-Game Quotes

Posted on 30 May 2010 by Breton Bonnette

From philadelphiaunion.com:

PHILADELPHIA MANAGER PETER NOWAK

On the game:

“I think for the team, it means the work paid off. It was a tough environment we played in, and a victory like that over the Houston Dynamo is very good because it’s very difficult to play here. We came back to score a goal in injury time, and it’s very special. I feel like this is a work in progress. This is still a very young group who wants to work and win games, and for me it’s a work in progress. We are eight weeks in the season, and we have 22 games in front of us.”

On scoring late:

“We scored (seconds before) the 94th minute against Dallas. We play disciplined, we play efficient, we play effective, and that is the three most important factors in this game. I think we executed all three things to perfection.”

PHILADELPHIA GOALKEEPER CHRIS SEITZ

On the game:

“I think in the first half, we came out and did what we wanted to do. We kept possession of the ball, we created chances, and we went into the half up 1-0. In the second half, we gave up two free kicks in two dangerous areas. Houston is always dangerous at free kicks. That’s their bread and butter, and they got two good goals off it.”

PHILADELPHIA UNION FORWARD DANNY MWANGA

On the game:

“We came out pretty hard, and we knew that Houston was a very good team, especially at home. We knew it would be a hard game. So we came out to try and play hard and help each other and not give up until the referee blew the whistle. We all stick together and stayed focus for the whole game, and I’m very happy we came away with a win.”

On his game-winning goal:

“It was a great feeling. I came in last game and was able to score a goal, and that was definitely a great effort. As a forward, you know you need to bring something to the table to help your team, and I was able to score that goal (tonight) and help my teammates, and I am very excited for it.”

HOUSTON DYNAMO HEAD COACH DOMINIC KINNEAR

On the game:
“It’s disappointing. It’s a terrible way to end the game. To have a lead in the second half and play the way we did in the second half is a huge letdown for us. We scored two great goals. I’m not pleased about having to make two defensive substitutions when we have some great firepower on the bench that we could not go to. I give Philadelphia credit. They came in, worked hard, and gave us problems.”
On Philadelphia:
“If the game against Dallas gave any indication of the way they are playing, they don’t care about their record, they are here to play and try and win. That is why you have to give them credit. They gave us problems by winning a lot of first balls and winning a lot of second balls and never giving up. And that is the one thing we said before the game, this team is fighting for everything. I said if we don’t come out and meet them head on, we would have trouble and we were asking for it.”
On the injury substitutions:

“It’s one of those things where you are thinking about substitutions as the game goes on because we play Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday, and I hopefully had a plan in place, and that wasn’t going to happen because those two subs came along. Brian’s inclusion into the team gave us life and energy, but we just looked too spaced, too far apart … and that’s the sign of an inconsistent team. When you are confident, everyone is happy and talking, and when things aren’t going your way there are a lot of quiet voices out there.”

On his team’s performance:

“We had a couple decent looks. I’m not pleased though. We were inconsistent again. I let the guys know, I wasn’t happy with them at halftime. All in all, the guys should be disappointed, I think we all are.

“It’s hard to talk about inconsistency because I think if you look at it, you can point at certain things, we aren’t doing this correctly and then we are doing this correctly. I can define inconsistency for you: One game the forwards are holding the ball well and the next game the forwards are not holding the ball well. The outside backs are passing the ball well one game and not passing the ball well the next game. We are dangerous on set pieces one game and not the next. What we spoke about is that the messages aren’t inconsistent, but the performances are. And that’s why I’m angry with the way we played, because you want to put your finger on it and find out the answer, and the answer is the next game, and then we go backwards to the question.”

HOUSTON DYNAMO MIDFIELDER LOVEL PALMER

On the game:

“The coaching staff went through their team, player by player, to see what they do, so we knew what they were going to come do, and they did it, but we just were not up to the task. They did exactly what the coaching staff said, but we just didn’t concentrate. We let down the coaches.”

On facing opponents’ best efforts:

“Every game for the Dynamo is tough, because the Dynamo are one of the best teams in the league with the best players, and everyone plays hard to beat us, even when they are not playing well against other teams.”

HOUSTON DYNAMO FORWARD BRIAN CHING

On the game:
“They were a better team over the course of the game. Tonight Dom [Kinnear] said that was the case. It’s frustrating. You look at the history of this club over the last four years, and you could probably say we are one of the best teams over those four years. This year being 5-5, a lot of teams in front of us would probably take that, but with the history we’ve had, we’re all embarrassed here. To lose three games at home just this year when over the past two years I think we’ve lost two games in total at home, it shows … I’m just frustrated. I shake my head at it.
“The energy level isn’t good enough. They haven’t been good enough. I think that every one of us as players has to look at themselves. I raise my hand for this game, because I think I should have done more in the second half to lift our team. I should have held the ball more. It’s something that I think we all are going to have look into ourselves and be better and demand more. Our fans deserve better. The club history deserves better.”
“When you suit up as a Dynamo player, you expect to play for one of the best teams in the league. At this point in the season, it’s not the case. It’s a job for every single one of us as players to come out and stand up and be men. From this point in the season, move forward and put this behind us and step up.”
On scoring seven minutes after entering the game:
“I was happy to get the ball in the net, but if you look at the scheme of things, we lost, and that’s the most important stat to me. It’s all about wins here and the trophy at the end of the year, and at this point in the season, we’re looking like a team that won’t be competing for that trophy. It’s up to us to turn things around.”

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Philadelphia Union vs. FC Dallas: Postgame Quotes

Posted on 18 May 2010 by stoma

Peter Nowak (Philadelphia Union Head Coach)

Q: Given the way you’ve been playing, does a tie feel like a win?

A: Yes and no.  I think the team got rewarded for the hard work.  We’d been pushing the game from the first minute.  We got the goal against us and the first half was just unbelievable with the chances we had.  I thought we’d already have a lead after the first half, but this team is going to fight until the end, and we got rewarded at the end.  Even this one point, we cherish it for the team mentality and team confidence going forward.  Now we’ve got a couple of weeks to work on the things that didn’t work well this afternoon.

Q: Was it frustrating for you as coach to have your team dominate the possession so much and only come away with 1 goal?

A: I always look at not only possession but the chances we create, the way we understand each other out there.  From that perspective, it was very good to see how the team reacted.  We never stopped believing that we could score a goal and, when we did, we wanted to go score another one.  We just didn’t have enough time today.

Q: On the defense’s play, including adjustments made after the FC Dallas goal.

A: The last couple of games, we made some simple mistakes.  We’re trying to find a balance between not only going forward, but correcting the mistakes that we make.  We have a normal video session in the middle of the week, and there was a dialogue there, an understanding on what we need to do to correct the mistakes.   And they kept us in the game this week.  It all starts with that.  As soon as we know what to do defensively and we have a guy [Chris Seitz] who is going to keep us in the game, then we have a chance to go forward and score some goals.

Schellas Hyndman (FC Dallas Head Coach)

Q: On the Union’s Danny Mwanga’s game-tying goal and the flurry from Philadelphia at the end of the game.

A: What happened, I think there was a lot of pressure put on us by Philadelphia.  We were trying to work the balls out and tried to keep them away from a direct header.  I think we might have missed an assignment at the end because we were making changes trying to get fresh men on the field.  At the same time,  Mwanga hit a great shot that other players would have missed.

Q: On whether or not he was surprised with the amount of pressure Philadelphia put on them.

A: I think we expected the pressure.  I think if you look at their results this year, they’ve come out and worked awfully hard against the opposition.  They’ve made some mistakes.  I think in the first half we had some chances to put away.  I don’t think we got those chances in the second half.  I think they [the Union] are a team that is going to live and die by the sword.  They play a lot of pressure, they play with a lot of intensity and sometimes they do a lot of silly things from missed passes.  Today, it was through that pressure and that hard work that they ended up getting a point.

Q: On the reasoning for taking Forward Jeff Cunningham out of the game.

A: I didn’t think he was as effective as he’s been in the past.  I think [Midfielder Marvin] Chavez did a good job winning the post from them.  I don’t think [Cunningham] was as mobile as we would like him to be.  The idea of putting Atiba [Harris] there I think solves that a little bit; a bigger body, can hold the ball a little bit better.  He was able to compete for the low balls and the air balls.

Q: On Midfielder Brek Shea’s goal.

A: We were able to kick the ball early in the game and the ball went out wide to him and he brought it in to his right side, which is really a great opportunity for him to see it more in the goal and he hit a great shot.  I don’t think [Union keeper Chris] Seitz had a chance for it, it was just well hit.  Then, if you remember, the next seven or eight minutes, we created more chances, but we just weren’t able to put those in.

Danny Mwanga (Union Forward)

Q: Can you talk about what this goal does for you confidence-wise, as a rookie coming out of college with all the high expectations?

A: As you say, just coming out of college, I knew that this a different level than where I was playing, so I was working in practice to make that adjustment and help the team.  Scoring my first professional goal at a time when we needed a goal, we definitely wanted to win the game, but we didn’t have time as Coach [Nowak] said, so scoring that goal to tie it was definitely a good feeling.

Q: On what he thinks his goal says about him as a player.

A: It’s a great feeling.  Coming out of college, I was trying to make some adjustments.  Having my first goal in that big of a game in front of the home crowd was definitely a good thing.  I’m hoping that they’re very happy that we didn’t lose that game and we’re undefeated at home.

Q: On what it’s like having played a bunch of different positions.

A: I’m here to play whenever and wherever.  I’m definitely fine with anything.

QOn going into the bye week with a draw.

A: We have to do some work.  We could’ve scored 3 or 4 goals pretty easily in the first half.  Going into this week we just need to put in some work and try to work on our finishing.  The defense did a really good job today.

Danny Califf (Union Defender & Captain)

Q: On the topic of the game’s result.

A: I think we walked out of here with a point, but it feels like one of those games where we should have had three.  So, a bit disappointed in that fact, but overall I think it was a good performance.  We’ll take the good things from the game and enjoy the break that we have now.

Q: Was it kind of a boost, though, coming the way it did in the last couple of minutes?

A: Yeah, absolutely.  There’s been a lot of talk of us being on the road so much, so to come home and put together a good performance, create so many chances, and I think [Dallas keeper Kevin] Hartman was unreal today and really kept them in it, so for us to come away with at least a point was what we deserved absolutely.

Q: [Dallas coach] Schellas Hyndman said that he took [Jeff] Cunningham out because of the job you were doing on him.  Can you talk about the mindset against a guy like that?

A: He’s a dangerous guy, we had focused on him all week, denying him touches on the ball and things like that so I think it was a good collective effort.  We denied him touches and service through our hard work, so it made Michael’s [Orozco] and my jobs a little easier.

Q: Going into the bye week, how important is getting a point?  Does it make it easier for you guys?

A: Yes, much easier.  A little less fitness [i.e running] than usual, so that’s always a plus.  But it’s also good for morale going into the break.  I think we’ve kind of taken it on the chin the last few weeks, so for us to come home and have a good performance, even though it wasn’t three points, we fought to the end and showed a lot of character, and I think that’s something we can build upon.  That kind of character is going to be what pushes us through the tough time we have [on the road] before our stadium opens and other tough times we’re going to face during the season.

Q: On the mentality of going into the bye before three road games with a positive result.

A: I think you learn a lot from results like this because it’s easier to dissect the game and look at your problems and stuff like that when everyone’s not trying to, you know, hide from the tape. [Laughs].  I think we can take this result with confidence and move forward.

Q: Do you feel like this is the first game that the team put a full 90 minutes together?

A: Absolutely.  I think concentration-wise and everything like that, we put it all together today.  I know the result wasn’t the optimal one that we want, but from a mentality standpoint, it’s good.

Chris Seitz (Union Goal Keeper)

Q: On the topic of the flow of the game and the team’s defensive performance.

A: Obviously, they created a little something there in the first half, but besides that, our defense, our midfield and our forwards all worked together and limited their chances as much as possible.

Q: What do you think was the biggest positive the team can take from this game?

A: I think that we created a lot of chances.  We know that if the ball bounces our way, those are going to go in.  We easily could have been up 3-1 going into the half, and we also created a lot of chances in the second half.

Q: You guys go on the road for 3 games after the bye week.  What’s your mindset going into the road trip?

A: We need to start putting points on the board and be a tough team to play against on the road.  That starts with finishing chances and playing great defense.   We’ve just got to continue to work hard in training, we’ve got two weeks before the next game.  If we work hard, I think we can do well.

Q: On the topic of the benefits of the mid-week video session.

A: A lot of what we worry about is how we can get better as a team, so we look at ourselves and what we need to work on [as opposed to scouting the opposition].  I think anytime you look at video, you want to look at yourself and correct your own mistakes.  So, there’s stuff that we can go back and learn from.  Anytime you can go back and look at things, whether it be video or talking to the guy next to you in the locker room about certain plays, you can learn each other’s tendencies and learn from your mistakes.  So, anytime we have something like that, we just try and learn as much as we can.

Alejandro Moreno (Union Forward)

Q: What was it like having Sebastien [Le Toux] back out there with you?

A: It’s always nice to have Seba out there, he has a lot of work rate and he brings a positive attitude to the team.  He gets into dangerous spots and obviously had a couple of opportunities today that I’m sure he would have wanted to do a little better with, and the same for the rest of us.  But, at the end, we got a result, and it shows a bit of the fight and character of this team.

Q: It seemed in the first half as though the team was favoring the long ball, but in the second you started to use the ground a little bit.  Was there wind out there, or were you just trying to give them a different look?

A: It seemed like we were giving them a little bit of trouble with the long ball, I was able to hold the ball off for the team, and that did a lot for us to be able to get into dangerous positions.  We created a lot of chances in the first half, and in the second half they dropped off a little bit, which allowed us to have some space to play the ball on the ground.  But once we got into the final third, it was more difficult for us to get through because of the numbers they had behind the ball.

Q: There was a second after Kevin Hartman saved one of your chances in the first half that you dropped down and had this look like “what am I going to have to do to beat this guy?”  What was it like out there facing a keeper having such a great game?

A: Yeah, he was very good.  Kevin was my teammate in LA [2002-2004], so I saw the best of him there when he was in his prime perhaps, so I know that he’s very capable of this type of afternoon, I’ve seen it firsthand.  He had a great afternoon today and kept us out for most of the game, but in the end we were able to get a result so we’re happy.

Q: How about you personally?  It seems as though you take quite a beating out there on a regular basis.  About a quarter of the way into the season now, how are you holding up?

A: Physically, I feel good, I feel like I’m having a pretty decent season.  I feel good about my performances, we just have to keep going.  I bring a lot of things to this team and a lot of them go unnoticed, but I know the team appreciates it.  We just want to keep going and get more positive results.

Shea Salinas (Union Midfielder)

Q: On being able to play a bunch of different positions.

A: I think it’s a positive thing.  The more positions I can play, the more chance I get to step on the field.  Right now, I’ve played four positions on the team, so that’s exciting.  I think Peter [Nowak] knows that I have the stamina to go up and down.  When we went to three in the back, he told me to work the line.  That’s what I did.  I didn’t have the best game I could have had, but I think it went well for the team.  It’s a big point for us.

Q: On which position he likes the most.

A: I played both wings and both wing backs as well.  I don’t really have a favorite.  I thought I would hate playing in the back, but I really like it.  You have a lot of space and time on the ball.  I am trying to get a little more aggressive defensively, so I’ve enjoyed it.  I don’t have a favorite position.  My favorite position is on the field.

Q: On the team building confidence.

A: I told Danny Mwanga that was a huge goal.  I felt like the team deserved at least a point.  We played hard.  [Dallas GK Kevin] Hartman came up with some big saves.  The tie is huge.  It leaves us undefeated at home.  It gives us something to play for.  It gives us a little momentum going into the short little break we have.  It’s just a huge point for us and gives us confidence.

Q: On the mentality of coming in as a substitute.

A: Coming off the bench, you always want to be a spark, to create opportunities.  I tried to put a few crosses in and got some corners out of it, which is good.  I had a shot; that’s positive stuff.  You want to be a spark when you come on the field.  I felt like I probably could have done more, but it was a good result for us.

Kevin Hartman (FC Dallas Goalkeeper)

Q: On his experience playing in Philadelphia.

A: It’s nice, I actually got up this morning and went out to breakfast and had an opportunity to visit the market area and just kind of see some of the thinks Philadelphia has to offer.  I was impressed; it was a beautiful morning and a beautiful city.  I thought the fans were very supportive and it was a great place to play.  I really enjoyed it.  The fact that they play on natural sod is something that I really enjoy.  It makes the game a little bit better.  The field’s a little bit small, which was probably conducive for their game but for us, we really kind of relish possession.  With their high work rate and their fans behind them, it’s a difficult place to play and I imagine that a lot of teams are going to come in here and be as frustrated as we were, maybe even more.  I don’t think it’s an easy place to get points.

Brek Shea (FC Dallas Midfielder)

Q: On scoring his first MLS goal.

A: It was good, built the team up.  Unfortunately, we let a late goal in.

Q: On his vision on the goal he scored.

A: I just cut back inside with my right foot and felt the keeper was near post and tried to put it far post.

Q: On his first experience playing in Philadelphia.

A: They definitely had a good crowd, the fans were crazy which is always good.  It was fun, I liked it.

Heath Pearce (Dallas FC & US Men’s National Team Defender)

Q: Thoughts on the game in general, and specifically the second half.

A: It doesn’t feel good to finish the game like that.  I think we fought hard but we let the game slip out of our hands.  It’s tough to play the way we played in the second half.  We fought hard enough but we are going to have to change our style because we can’t just be defending for 45 minutes because it gives them chances to get a goal like they did at the end of the game.

Q: On expectations for moving up to play with the national team.

A: I mean, I’m just now trying to transition my mindset to the national team and make the most of my opportunities over the next couple weeks and see how it goes.

Q: On how it felt to play in Philadelphia.

A: They have a good atmosphere here, passionate supporters, the stadium was loud.  I think it says a lot about local fans, as well as the growth of soccer in the United States.

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Quotes from RBNY Invasion: Nowak, Salinas, Seitz, Backe

Posted on 25 April 2010 by Breton Bonnette

Hans Backe, New York manager

Q: [On topic of approach for U.S. Open match against Philadelphia on Tuesday]

A: I have to change my mind.  I told a couple of you journalists before that I’ve always had priority for the [Open] Cup wherever I’ve been: I’ve been in 6 Cup finals, losing 5.  But, with this schedule now and with the Juventus game coming up [on May 23], if you win in the Cup, you end up playing 9 games from now until June 5 and I don’t think this squad is available to cope with that.  So, we will play mostly the players who haven’t been involved in the first 5 games.

Q: [Asking on reactions the fact that, despite the Red Bulls’ early success this season, a close-in-proximity Philadelphia Union team in town, and ideal weather, that only 15,619 were in attendance]

A: Well, I was told earlier in the week that Philadelphia was sending 5,000 fans, but there were only a couple of hundred [actual number between 750-1000].  But, we’ve been playing entertaining games.  Last week [against FC Dallas] was a game that, even though it ended 2-1 , could have been 4-4 or something like that, it was an entertaining game.  It’s a stadium that should sell itself, that’s something I’ve said before.  Knowing this area, there are a lot of South Americans, Europeans, people who love soccer.  It should be, if not sold out, around 18-20 thousand, but I have no answer for why [it has been down].

Shea Salinas

Q: [On being called on to defend, not a usual position for him]

A: It was definitely different, but I had fun back there.  I felt like I did some things that you could tell I was new to the position, but it was fun back there.

Q: When did you find out you were in the starting lineup?

A: At the team pre-game meal, so not that long before the game.  But, I was super excited to get back in the lineup and start playing.

Q: And when you found out you were playing on defense [at Left Back], what was your reaction to that?

A: I was excited, I was just excited to be on the field.  The coaching staff gave me a chance out there and I was excited to be on the field, I don’t care where I was.

Q: Having played in a few places, like San Jose obviously, that had stadium problems, and I’m sure you played at Giants Stadium, what was it like to come into a place like this?

A: The stadium was great.  I thought our fans were incredible: the Sons of Ben were out there and they were loud the whole time.  The stadium was awesome and I really appreciated our fans.

Q: What did Piotr [Nowak] say to you after the game?

A: He just came over, shook my hand and said “Well done.”  He told all of us to keep our heads up; we’ve got to come back here Tuesday and play them again, so it’s a quick turnaround.

Q: Has the team discussed anything in terms of the roster for the Open match on Tuesday?

A: To be honest, I have no idea.  The coaching staff is in control, and they usually make good decisions.

Chris Seitz

Q: What it’s going to take?  It’s been, three things now? Four things now [unlucky breaks that have changed the game]?  Coach Nowak actually said that the team should get together and pray so that something else doesn’t happen.

A: Well, I think we’re putting good results together, we talked about it and I think in some ways we’ve almost got to get lucky on our end, you know?  I think we created a great goal in response to their first one and got unlucky on the second.  Obviously Mike [Orozco] isn’t going for it with his hand, he’s going for it with his head, but that stuff happens.  We didn’t react very well to that goal, but it’s going to go both ways.  We’ve just got to keep training hard.  We come back here on Tuesday for another game, it’s another challenge for us, and I think we’ll be ready for it.

Q: What did you think of Shea [Salinas] playing at the back?

A: He was good.  I think that was one of the first time he’s played there on the left, he’s played on the right, but it was good for him.  We wanted to match speed with speed out there [against Red Bulls attacking midfielder Dane Richards], and I think it worked well for us.  We were able to contain [Richards} pretty well.  [Shea] is a good player, and I think he can adapt to any position on the field, and that’s what good players do.

Q: Has Coach Nowak told you how you’ll be approaching Tuesday’s game?

A: We have no idea.  I think we’re going to get back on the bus, get home tonight, get a nice review on Monday then come back up on Tuesday ready to go.

Q: Lastly, what did you think of the fan support?

A: Oh, it was great.  Any time you see the Sons of Ben and Union fans in general, it’s special.  They made the trek up here, and we really appreciate it.  We hope that they continue to support us and we’re going to keep playing for them because they deserve the best.

Piotr Nowak

Q: This is your 2nd consecutive loss.  What do you have to do to get a win or a tie?

A: Both losses were close losses.  We understand, and I’ve told the team that we need to collect points.  But we’ve made some mistakes and paid for them.  That’s been the case in each game we’ve played so far, whether it be red cards or penalties.  They call it beginner’s luck, but that’s just not the case for our team right now.  The big thing is to finish our chances.  If you don’t convert your chances, you struggle.

Q: [On Orozco’s handball and whether or not it was unintentional and incidental to the degree that it should not have been penalized]

A: Well, we can’t complain, but I need to look at it.  It’s difficult to say right now [whether or not it should have been penalized].  I would say right now that it was a mistake.  Whether it was a shadow, or the light, or the ball was moving, it’s a goal we conceded, and those are the types of goals that we need to prevent.

Q: Why did you take [Roger] Torres out [at halftime]?

A: I thought he was struggling with the pressure and trying to find his rhythm from left to right and trying to find the passing channels.

Q: So, he wasn’t injured?

A: No, he was not injured.

Q: When do you think we’ll see [Torres] play a full 90 minutes?

A: I think [all the players] are capable of playing a full 90 minutes.  I think the mental and physical preparation for this game was pretty good, so I don’t think playing a full game should be a problem.

Q: [Asking what the starting 11 will look like for the U.S. Open with the 1st game coming up so quickly]

A: Do they give a trophy for [the winner of the Open Cup]?  Then we’ll play our best.

Q: What do you tell your team after a loss like this?

A: The most important thing is that we don’t get down.  I believe, and we believe as a group, that our play has been pretty solid.  [I told them to] forget about today.  Finish your chances, make sure you play for 90 minutes  and win the game.  The message for today is pretty simple: we can’t keep making these mistakes.  Probably the best thing to do right now is to go to church.

Q: Shea [Salinas] on defense: what were the thoughts behind that, do you know if he’s ever played there before and how do you think he responded?

A: I thought he did a great job.  With [Red Bulls attacking midfielder Dane] Richards, we knew that speed was going to be a factor in this game and that’s something we tried to avoid.  For his first game as a wide defender/midfielder

TIDBITS:

  • Chris Albright (Philly native) likely to play for New York in Tuesday’s game
  • Piotr Nowak refers to Jack McInerney as “MC”
  • According to Jonathan Tannenwald after a conversation with SoB Brad Youtz, RBNY fans cracked several windows on the Philadelphia Union fan bus before pulling out of Red Bull Arena. You can get that scoop here. Let’s hope this is dealt with swiftly…

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Quotes from the Home Opener: Veit, Onalfo, Mitts, Califf, etc.

Posted on 12 April 2010 by Breton Bonnette

President Tom Veit on the security line situation:

“Due to the heightened security for the Vice President’s visit it took us a little longer to get everybody in than anticipated, even though we asked people to come a little bit early. With that said, Lincoln Financial Field personnel, the Union, and the Secret Service worked together. As soon as the Vice President was able to clear the field we pulled all the magnetometers from the gates. We also took the extra step to pull all the scanners from the gate which meant people didn’t scan their ticket. So if you didn’t have a ticket and wanted to get in free, you could have…So again, we apologize to our fans. To have the Vice President visit was very important, it was great that he came to the game and I think our fans understand. We thank them for their patience and we hope we see them back on May 15th.

D.C. United’s Head Coach Curt Onalfo:

On the game overall…

“For us, it was a poor start. Obviously, it’s the first game for the franchise and the city so we knew it was going to be an intense first opening part of the game.  I was really disappointed we gave up a goal really early and then conceded on our attacking corner right before we went in for halftime. We dug ourself a major hole. We talked about at halftime pushing up the field farther, pressing them and getting a goal then getting a second. And that’s what we did. I was really pleased with the response, especially under the circumstaces and then it was very unfortunate to give away that goal at the end. It was tough to swallow”

What was the emphasis on Sebastien Le Toux…

“Obviously there wasn’t a good enough emphasis on him.”

Philadelphia Union Assistant Coach John Hackworth (served as Head Coach during the game)

Q: Coach, could you give some general comments as to the game to start us off?

A: Sure.  Well, that’s not how you draw it up, that’s for sure.  But, at the end of the day, if you take away a couple of major mistakes, which we were penalized on, I felt we played a really good game.  We executed from the start, we got an early goal.  Getting the second goal was really important.  We came out in the second half, created an opportunity and Sebastien, who will join us in a second, actually only took four shots in the game and scored three of them.  If he scores on his third shot, maybe we’re not in the trouble that we were in the end.  But, overall, I think you see a team that has a lot of ability and we looked like we had probably a lot more cohesiveness than people thought or realized we had, and in the end I think we had great resolve.  We gifted them two goals and somehow dug back, found the third and walked away with 3 points.  Fantastic crowd tonight, wonderful atmosphere for soccer in the United States, and I can’t say enough about the guys in the locker room.

Q: Talk about the insertion of Fred and [Cristian] Arrieta for the first time…

A: Well, Fred just gives you a totally different dimension as a player, extremely confident on the ball.  Having him in our midfield makes a big difference and we knew coming into this game that he was going to be a pivotal part of our team.  He brings not only someone with creativity and the ability to hold the ball in tight spaces, but he also brings some experience.  He’s been in a lot of big games around the world and he knows how to play.

Cristian Arrieta, fantastic job tonight, he really was solid.  He was a guy we looked at a lot on tape and film, put a discovery on, brought in for the last couple of weeks, signed, gave him the opportunity, and he was good tonight.  So, those two players helped us out a lot in improving from Game 1 to Game 2.

Q: Talk about the feelings pre-game, knowing that Peter [Nowak] wouldn’t be down on the sidelines [due to tragedy in Russia in which 97 people were killed, including Polish President].

A: I would tell you that, first of all, today was a very sad day for Peter.  My heart goes out to him.  For him, he had some close friends unfortunately in that plane crash today, and for his culture, he wanted to make sure that he paid the respects the right way.

That being said, this is something that Peter and I have talked about for a long time: whether it’s me going upstairs and being more of an eye in the sky or him being up there, we’re very comfortable with that.  We communicate, so for me, coming into this franchise, we had actually discussed that we would do that on occasion.  So, it wasn’t too bad, and I don’t know how the players felt, but I don’t think they skipped a beat there.

Q: Did you and Peter have conversations during the game, or did he totally stay away?

A: Peter was up high, giving me information from what he sees and we’re communicating.  It’s not the exact same as when you’re sitting right next to each other, but it’s something we had actually done with the national team with Bob Bradley.  Peter and I had played that role on Bob’s staff before where you’re in the booth providing information, so it was constant communication when needed.

Q: It seemed like there were a lot of cards, but it seemed like you were a lot more composed tonight [than in the first match against Seattle].  Was there any effort to tone it down or at least play a little differently than the last time you guys were out there?

A: No, but I will say this: you learn from your mistakes and we want to be a team that plays all the time.  So, what we said to our guys, and I think the guys understood, was that they had to be a little smarter about the way that we executed, trying to make it hard on D.C. to play tonight.  With that in mind, maybe we didn’t make some of the careless tackles that we made in the first game, but I still thought that we came out with the same level of aggression and tried to make it very difficult for D.C., and soccer is a tough game, so I thought we still tried to do that tonight.

Q: Could you comment on the home crowd tonight?

A: For me, it was fantastic.  As a coach, you’re sitting there on the side, and you don’t really pay too much attention.  But I remember after Seba scored the first goal and I’m walking back to the bench like “Holy cow, this place is rockin’!”  It was just awesome.  What a wonderful atmosphere, as I’ve said, and a great gift now that the team has given to this city that has supported us tremendously as we start our franchise.

Q: Roger Torres and Fred seemed to be crossing the line quite a bit; is that something you gave them free reign to do?

A: We tried to give both Fred and Roger a lot of freedom to find spots on the field where they could get the ball and use their ability to help us in the attack.  But, there’s a balance there, too, because sometimes that leaves us out of position when the ball turns over, and you saw that a couple of times, we were pretty vulnerable on some occasions.  But, the balance is that it’s very difficult for teams to defend when those two guys, especially Roger, get going.  And that’s good for us.

Danny Califf

Q: You’ve played in a lot of different places; can you equate the atmosphere tonight to anywhere?

A: The fact that the crowd was into it, they were behind us, they were cheering, they were booing, they were doing that you see crowds around the world do.  It’s a fantastic environment, and if you can’t get up for games with the crowd like this, then you’re in the wrong game.

Q: I know we talked before, and you guys were anticipating this, but did it even exceed what you had thought?
A: Absolutely, because you had every single person cheering, everyone was out of their seat, everyone one was going crazy, waving their flags and banners and things like that.  So it was insane.  For this being the first time,  I can’t even wait to see what the encore is going to be.

Q: Now, Philadelphia is not usually called European…[referring to the involvement and knowledge of the game displayed]

A: I mean, that’s where it’s at, right? As far as crowd involvement in the game and their passion for the game, obviously some places in South America it’s the same thing, but it’s all about passion.  Tonight was all about passion.

Q: You guys played better [than the first game] tonight, not so many cards.  Physical, but not getting booked.  What was the difference between the opener and tonight in terms of discipline?

A: To be honest, I don’t think we played a whole lot different.  It’s just when we were in Seattle all the calls went against us and he [referee Ricardo Salazar] started throwing out cards early, whereas tonight, I think it was a bit more even-handed as far as him [referee Terry Vaughn] letting things go, but disciplining when it needed to happen.  I guess that’s always the case when it goes for you rather than against you, right?

Chris Seitz

Q: How hard is it to have a quick turn-around?  You had a week and a half between the first two games and now only five days.

A: It’s good.  We’ve got to go back out there, which is always good.  The games are always what I look forward to.  It’s going to be a great environment, a tough environment [in Toronto], but we’ve played in Seattle and here at home in front of big crowds, so it’s not going to be a big deal for us.

Q: How was it standing in front of the Sons of Ben for 45 minutes?

A: It’s great.  They’re loud, they’re rambunctious, and they’re behind us.  I think that’s important, knowing that we have someone like that helping us push for our 3rd goal if we need it or late in games in the future to help push for a game-winning goal.  So, thanks to them and we’re happy that we could put on a good show for them and win our first home game.

Q: It looked like a couple of times out there you were looking at your teammates in horror (??).  Are you still making adjustments and getting to know them?

A: We had a long pre-season, we played in Seattle in front of 35,000.  So, I think, for us we know each other well and we’ve had two weeks to prepare for this game, so I’m glad that we came out strong and we played the way that we did.  Sebastien came through tonight with three goals and tomorrow it could be someone else.  We’re happy that we got through it and got a win out of it.

Q: What are some of the areas you think you might have to improve, whether it’s in the back with you or any other areas of concern?

A: Yeah, I mean, we won our first game, so let’s try and take the positive out of it rather than the negative.  For me, I’m excited that we won and happy for the guys around me, because they came through in the clutch.  We gave up two goals to bring it back to 2-2 and pushed for a third and we got it, so I’m taking that out of today.  We’ll go on and I’ll take a look at the film tomorrow, and we’ll make adjustments.

Q: What did you make of Cristian Arrieta playing his first game tonight?

A: He did real well for us, he’s real solid.  Having Rodney [Wallace] come out wide as a second player is always tough.  I thought he did superb for us tonight.  Very solid, good in the air and cleaned up some messes for us.

Q: Do you think there was some more experience out there for you guys tonight [as opposed to the opener]?

A: Yeah, I think all of us, we just played our first game together.  Any time you play your second game, it’s a lot easier than the first.  But, I think one game in a tough environment helped prepare us for this one.  We had two weeks of hard training to get ready for this, and now we’ve got a quick turnaround for Thursday.

Q: I know it’s only been one game, but is playing in Philadelphia different than playing anywhere else?

A: Oh, it’s louder for sure.  It’s definitely the best home environment I’ve been a part of, so from that aspect, it was awesome.  I think we were all really excited for the game.

Q: After the game, you kicked the ball into the crowd; was that premeditated?

A: No, I was just happy.  Things like that, you don’t really plan out, you just react.  I was just so excited that we could pull out a win at home in our first game.

Q: How important do you think it was to get that first one in front of the home folks who are seeing you for the first time?

A: It’s huge, we obviously gave up two late goals in the second half, and to be able to come back and respond to something like that is always crucial.  It’s good to see what your team is made of and we’ve made an early statement, to say the least, that we can come back from adversity and still win games.

Q: Were you the happiest guy in the stadium when Le Toux [put in the 3rd goal]?

A: Yes, I was.  I can’t thank him enough.  I’ve gone up to him twice already, but as I’ve said before: big players show up in big moments, and Sebastien came through for us.

Heather Mitts (Philadelphia Independence)

Q: Give us your general reaction on the crowd tonight.

A: Obviously, given the fact that I’ve played in this city, I know what the fans are like, and it was good to know how many fans that are in this city that will support soccer.  It was a bit mixed for me: I was excited, but at the same time a little jealous, with 34,000 showing up for the first Union game, it was pretty amazing.

Q: What was your reaction to the players going to the supporters section after the game, even going into the crowd?

A: That’s what they had to do, and we (the Independence) will do the same thing.  For the most part, we’re probably going to have to sell our sport a little bit harder than the men do.  Obviously, a great result for them and all the fans showing up, that’s exciting.  We’re going to have to work a little bit harder, but we’re prepared to do that.

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