SPORTING DIRECTOR AND HEAD COACH GREGG BERHALTER
On Philadelphia scoring the first goal late in the first half
I think looking back at the first half we would have like to have scored a goal. It didn’t come, and at the end of the day, it’s not the worst half if you don’t give up that goal. I think giving up that goal, it hurt because I didn’t feel like we should have been a goal down. But, to me, it’s a concentration issue. That’s disappointing, at the forty-five plus one [minute mark], to give up a goal on a long throw is disappointing.
On the club’s current record
It’s two losses in a row and that’s not good. In these two games there was some good football, we played over 180 minutes. But, by and large, we came up short in these two games. We’re going to look to improve and get better, to raise individual levels, and focus on our performance.
On complacency as a factor towards the loss
I don’t think so. This is a tough League, and you guys see the results today, and you see what’s happening with this League. You can’t predict any results right now. Part of our job is to play our game and what’s most disappointing is that in the second half we didn’t do that, at all. You’re down a goal, but you stick to the program. You keep the ball moving fast, you focus on your spacing and we will get chances. Unfortunately, it went haywire a little bit in the second half. But, give Philadelphia Union a lot of credit. I think Jim Curtin deserves a lot of credit. They did an excellent job on Wil Trapp, they did an excellent job in the midfield. They talked about trying to sneak a goal and they did exactly that. Jimmy [Curtin] did a good job preparing his team for this game.
On what to improve
I don’t think our movement was good enough off the ball. We let them press us a little bit and lock us to one side, and just due to lack of movement – that’s the worst part about it, because we know what we should do and we got all on the same line and opened up very few passing lanes. I think that when you play like that, you don’t deserve to win.
On the club’s defense
I think that when you look at it, it wasn’t a terrible defensive performance. We limited them to a few amount of chances. But having conceded these goals, four goals in two games, and the way that we’ve conceded them, we’re not happy about it. That’s going to be what we need to focus a little more on to see if we can improve some of that.
On cutting down on opposing goal chances
We have triggers that we want to avoid, and that will help us prevent some of these opportunities. One of them is straight passes into the midfield; we always want to put angles on passes. The second goal is a great example, it’s very difficult for the guy on the ball to a: maintain possession, and then b: do something about it defensively if he loses that battle after the straight ball. So we want to avoid that and I think we got caught in that situation. The defensive set piece is something that we need to improve on, there’s no question. We’re going to look to do that.
On Cedrick Mabwati continuing to come off the bench instead of starting
I wouldn’t necessarily say that. You have 11 guys that can start the game and then you have seven substitutes you can choose from, and he was one of them. I thought he came in and made a good impact. Part of his ability is obviously one-v-one and I think when we got to utilize him he was very effective.
On Sauro wearing a cast and its effect on his defensive play
Gastón is an interesting case because he’s a guy who had an operation on his finger on Tuesday, and is playing on Saturday. I think it shows you what type of guy he is and what he’s made of. He put a cast on it and got on with it. He was able to do it fine, and I think it says a lot that he prepared to play.
MIDFIELDER ETHAN FINLAY
On what didn’t click
I think it just starts with us wanting to compete and that comes from within and that’s where it has to start. We obviously all know what our responsibilities are and our job, but first and foremost we have to be willing to do the work. And like Gregg [Berhalter] said, movement off the ball is work that you don’t always get recognized for, but I think throughout the game, as the game went on in the second half before they scored their second [goal] it got a little stagnant. That’s something that we usually pride ourselves in, is our movement off the ball and our ball movement, and that just wasn’t there tonight.
On Andre Blake’s performance
I thought he had a nice game. On the other side, we have to do better to pick guys out in the box. We talked about the cut-back space. I thought there were too many balls that he was catching free without a challenge. We need to make him compete for those a little bit more. I didn’t think the runs were awful in the box, but we have to work on our service and getting on the same page.
On if the team isn’t quite on the same page due to it being early in the season
Yes and no. This group is very familiar with each other, we know where guys want to be and we identify open spaces. Like tonight, the cut-back ball, we know Kei loves to get to the back post. That being said, it’s just execution to me. When we get in those positions, making sure we’re trying to pick a guy out.
MIDFIELDER WIL TRAPP
On losing the home opener
It’s definitely disappointing. I think giving up the goal right before halftime was disappointing, but those are fixable things. On set pieces it’s just competing. We have to correct those things.
On dealing with and improving against the press/high pressure
I think they did a decent job of turning us over in bad spots and part of that is our decision making. Those second chance opportunities once the ball gets turned over is when you’re almost more susceptible to losing it again, so those quick transition passes at times I didn’t think we passed the ball particularly well. So losing the ball in bad spots, just like we talked about last week, it can hurt us.
On the positives from his team’s performance
There were plenty of opportunities for us to score. I thought in the first half we did a pretty good job, actually, getting the ball wide, getting crosses in. Still, just getting the sharpness back in that final third, but that’ll come. I think getting Kei on the board, even though it was late, was important for us, but it’s a competing aspect of the game that we just need to raise that level.
On Philadelphia’s long throw-in ability
We knew, yeah. It’s just one of those plays where, like I said, it’s competing, and right before halftime is the worst time to concede. You just have to do your best to clear the ball and get it as far away when you know a guy has a long throw-in and I didn’t think we did a good job of that.
On the mood in the locker room at halftime
Coming in to halftime, you just try to refocus and realign, knowing that going in to that second half we have to get a goal and there were good things in the first half, so just trying to build off of those things.