Robert Warzycha
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Postgame Quote: Fire

Columbus Crew Head Coach Robert Warzycha

On whether the Crew are going to cheer on Los Angeles against Houston:

“It is what it is.  Houston has a game at home, and obviously the chance for them to win.  But then it depends on who Los Angeles is going to play.  If we don’t get the first spot, then we have to go to Colorado.  It’s playoff time, and we have to win.”

On whether the Galaxy play with their first team against Houston:

“I will only worry about my team.  What happens, happens.  If we end up playing Colorado, we play Colorado.  If we play someone else, we play someone else.  We can’t repeat the mistakes that we made today and we have to play as well we have.”

On the team’s first half play:

“I think the game was fifty-fifty, to be honest, in the first half.  They had some possession but not good chances.  Their chances came from the crosses and we suffered from marking on first goal and the second goal as well.  One was on the corner kick and the second was on a bad clear on the ball.  But the second half was much better.  Then we started to play and we had momentum and we took advantage of it.”

On losing Ekpo for the first playoff game for the red card:

“The principal of defending is staying on your feet.  I didn’t think that was necessary.”

On the early sub last in the first half:

“I didn’t think there was communication between the midfielders and we tried to fix it.  That’s why there was the substitution. “

On the team’s mentality after losing their last regular season game:

“It would have been nice to win this.  It would have been nice to come back after being down two goals and win this.  We were on the way to do that.  Obviously we gave up one play and we end up losing the game.  It is what it is.  We have to regroup and play our best game in Colorado or whoever we end up playing.”

Columbus Crew Goalkeeper William Hesmer

On arguing with the referee on whether the last goal was offside:

“No, I didn’t know where he was on the last goal.  I was pissed about the two half a yellow cards called on Ekpo.  I thought that in that situation the referee didn’t understand the consequences.  He was throwing around cheap yellow cards but then again we told Ekpo that after the first one, no more fouls.  He has to be responsible on the field.”

On rooting for the Galaxy tomorrow against Houston:

“Yea, we need them to do us a favor.  I don’t think they’re going to go in there playing any of their guns.  But you never know in this week.  The Galaxy are good from top to bottom.  You can’t really say that they have a “B” team.  Their ‘reserves’ have gotten some great minutes.  It’s unfortunate we have to sit back and play spectator and hunker down for the midweek game.  But if we play one, we play one, and we will be ready.”

On being surprised it comes down to the last game of the season:

“No, the Eastern Conference has been a mess the whole year.  It’s been up for grabs right up until tonight.  Everybody had a chance to grab it by the throat.  I think a bunch of teams let it slip.  Kansas City seems to have found some consistency so they probably deserve it more down the stretch.”

Columbus Crew Midfielder Robbie Rogers

On whether or not they were paying attention to the Colorado/Vancouver game:

“No, not at all.”

On the Kansas City/DC United game:

“No, we watched the beginning of it, but we really focused on what we had to do on the field with us.”

On the team’s playoff potential opponent:

“Whoever we play, we play.  I don’t really think about it too much.  I’m not too worried.”

On the team’s performance in the second half:

“We did a better job moving the ball.   I thought in the first half it looked like it was just so easy for them, they had so much time to turn and play and do whatever they wanted.  I thought in the second half we were able to get some guys on the ball and make them make mistakes.  I thought it wasn’t the most difficult game for us but that we let in those two easy goals early on and just put ourselves in a hole.  Then we put everything forward and they counter attacked on us again.  I think those two goals in the beginning hurt us.”

On being surprised the team substituted late in the first half:

“No, you never think you’ll go down two-zero early in the game.  But yes, I was surprised with the substitution and I thought they were going to play me in at the second half because of my hamstring and everything.  I’m happy it felt good and that’s a positive, I guess.  I was surprised to go in the game before the second half.”

On whether he was expecting the team to make the playoffs this year based on the team’s turnover:

“I don’t want to use that as an excuse.  The turnover, I think we have good players and I think that management expected us to get to the playoffs and to do just as well, or they wouldn’t have made those changes.  So, I don’t want to make that excuse.  By now we’ve played with each other enough games that this is the team.  I’m not surprised we made the playoffs.  I think there needs to be a lot of improvement if we want to win a championship.  I think one thing that was different from team from 2008 was that they did all the little things right.  They pulled out wins here in Chicago that were difficult games.  I don’t know if this team yet is mature enough, or maybe naïve on the mistakes we’ve made.  So there’s improvement that we need to make but overall I think this season so far has been pretty successful.  Anything can happen in the playoffs.”


Frank Klopas, interim head coach, Chicago Fire

Thoughts on the match:

“The focus all week from the staff standpoint was that for us there was still a lot on the line as we continue to build this group and not to have a letdown after that emotional win in DC. We wanted to finish strong. With this group every time we step on the field it’s about improving. I think the guys responded great. We played at home in front of a tremendous atmosphere. I knew the guys were looking forward to it because we knew it was going to be a sellout. And they played well. Give credit to them: they scored a tremendous goal on the first one, and we failed to clear the ball and we made it exciting again. It was great to finish on a positive note. There’s not much to say other than that. Obviously we’re disappointed not to be in the playoffs because that was our goal from the beginning. There is a lot to build from this. Next year at this point we want to be getting ready for the playoffs and trying to win a championship, not watching the other groups. It was a great effort from our guys, from our players. They never gave up. They worked hard throughout the season.  It’s great to finish on a very positive note. “

On upcoming season:

“Last year at this point we had to replace a lot of players on this team. With this group right now there’s a very good core of players. Most of the players have trained and played together all season. Everything takes time. We’re disappointed for sure, because we’re not where we want to be. I think that there’s a lot of positives with this group. There’s a strong core for sure. We need to evaluate everything over the next couple of weeks. Theres a lot of positives with this group, especially with a very good core and a lot of games behind us and players that have developed a good understanding.”

On coaching next season:

“I’ll be back somewhere. I don’t know where, exactly. When I stepped in, we said that we’re going to do this until the end of the season and then sit down as an organization when the season is done. In the next couple weeks we’ll sit down and make the best decision going forward for the Fire. I’ve enjoyed every second of my professional job, especially what I’ve done here as interim coach with this group of guys. I’ve always believed in this group. We’re going to evaluate, take a break, go to Greek Islands, have a bottle of wine, then next week we’re back to work.”

On coach selection process:

“We do it as a group.  A lot of people are involved. We’re going to evaluate. But right now, its all about all of the positives with this group. Definitely we can build on this. There’s a lot of work to be done, the league is getting competitive. And here in Chicago the way we want to move forward, we want to compete for a championship every year. As good as this feels now, tomorrow morning or next week when we turn on the TV and watch the other teams compete for a championship we are not going to be happy.”

On returning players:

“All of our players are talented. You can see how they changed our team during the second half of the season. The player decision will happen in the next couple of weeks when we sit down and make the right decisions for this organization.”

On Diego Chaves’ performance:

“Diego is more like a second striker. It was very important when we played with him and Dominic today. Dominic always has to stay high and get a look to get behind and play in depth. When he doesn’t, they both drop back then, you saw Columbus get compact in the middle. I felt with the two center backs Diego has two good feet and the ability to combine with Marco he’d have the ability to connect with Oduro for some through passes. He’s more of a second striker, he likes to come deep and get the ball for sure. When you play like that, you always have to have someone that’s going to stay high and provide depth for you.”

“Before you guys leave, I know we won’t see eachother ‘til next season. I just wanted to thank you all for your support, for helping the Fire out, for writing about the team – good and bad – it doesn’t matter. It’s always important when we’re trying to push the sport of soccer to grow in this country. I just wanted to say a big thank you for your help.”

Logan Pause, Chicago Fire midfielder

On how the team finished the season:

“The win tonight is bittersweet.  It would be nice to be playing next weekend, but we sure made a push which is exciting.  I’m proud of this group, the staff and this organization for the amount of effort they all put in has been fantastic.

I don’t think in the middle part of the season the results were any indication of what we were like as a team.  We had to continue to buy in and get everyone on board to get the ship to move forward.  The guys did it and continued to work hard every day and we started to win games.  We knew that our playoffs started months ago; that’s how it was presented to us and how we had to take every single game.  We made a great push at the end, obviously falling a little short, it was almost as good as we could have hoped it would be.”

On tonight’s result:

“It was an exciting game in front of a sellout crowd.  Going up two goals, be controlling the game, then give up two goals and coming back with a late game winning goal even had our hearts racing, but it’s really great for the fans.  We just wanted to finish on a high note.  We’ve put so much work into the season and we wanted to give our fans something happy to end on.  When you don’t make the playoffs it’s hard to be upbeat, that’s the business we’re in.  I think this group has shown a lot of character over the last couple of months and hopefully we can hang on and push that forward into next season.”

On playing for Frank Klopas:

“I think Flank [Klopas] has done a job above and beyond what he’s been asked.  I think he’s been fantastic with the group.  He’s a guy that knows the league, he knows this group, he’s had his hand in most if not all of them here, so he put a lot into it and you saw it.  As a player, those are the type of guys that you want to play for.  I think he’s done fantastic.  I don’t know what the situation is going to be moving forward – I don’t know if coaching is something he wants or if he wants to move back into a front office position.  I’m sure that’s all stuff that he’s working through with management and his wife.  But in terms of coaching – I’ve enjoyed playing for him. Like I said before, he knows the league well, the players and he’s a guy that you really want to play for.”

Cory Gibbs, Chicago Fire defender

On the result:

“The important thing is that we had a lot of new players coming in and out of the team – it was a rebuilding process, but I think we learned each others’ strengths and weaknesses, but unfortunately it was a little too late in the season.  The core of this group is just amazing from top to bottom and the technical staff is great and has trained us very well.  Going into pre-season we have a lot of confidence that this group could go to the playoffs.”

On the Anibaba:

“I’m really proud of this team, the way we finished tonight.  I’m especially proud of Jalil [Anibab] whose rookie season ended with two goals.  I don’t think you could ask anymore the kid.  When he was asked to step-up he did it and made the most of the opportunities and did exceptionally well.”

On his role as a leader:

“When Frank [Klopas] first signed me, I accepted that role.  Logan is our captain, but I’m second to him to help guide this team – win, lose or draw.  I’m so confident and happy to be here.  A lot of people don’t look forward to pre-seasons, but I can’t wait to get back to the boys and get this rolling again.  We have a good group and I think the core will be back.”

Jalil Anibaba Chicago Fire defender:

On the result:

“I expected the group to come out and leave everything on the field. Collectively, we did that tonight.

Every game means a lot to us, the organization and the technical staff. We tried to leave everything on the field every game.”

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