Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter
On having three Crew SC coaches in the locker room at the same time
It was great. It was great for the players to understand the amount of hard work it takes and dedication to win a championship and I think Sigi [Schmid] conveyed that well to the group. For them to see the players and see the camaraderie that they still have, that group, was nice.
On what the Philadelphia Union did to challenge Crew SC’s offense
I think there’s a couple ways to look at it. I think the first thing is that we had moments of transition, particularly in the first half, that were very close. There was a lot of space to transition, but we fell into the trap of transitioning too often. And then we had too many unforced errors. We gave too many balls away that brought them back into the game, stretched the field, made the field too big. Our focus at halftime was trying to compact the field and we knew they would still be difficult to break down, but we’d have more control of the match. I think in the first half I didn’t like that type of game at all. I didn’t think it was going to suit us if we kept going like that.
On his second-half substitutions
I think it was a little bit of trying to push and still get the goal. We knew there was a goal to be had. I think in the last 10 minutes of the game we did pick up the tempo, we did create some chances, were close to scoring, so we weren’t happy with the tie. I mean we’re not in there celebrating. If you look at the guys they’re all disappointed and they’re all wanting to win the game.
On his team’s defensive performance . . .
It was a focus of ours. We focused on it in the week in training and I think we did reasonably well controlling their transition, but I think when you give away unexpected balls, when a guy has a ball under control and we give it away, then you’re in trouble. I think there were a couple of those instances in the game where we just lost the ball too easily and it made it difficult for us. Overall, I think we controlled the transition pretty well and it’s nice to see that when you focus on something it pays off in the game.
On if he saw anything new from the Philadelphia Union tonight
They were more physical than they have been in the past. When you look at the guys up top with [Cory] Burke and [C.J.] Sapong and then [Fabrice-Jean] Picault on the left, they have speed with all three and then they have tremendous physicality with two of them. It causes problems. The first balls – we weren’t winning enough – and we got in some issues with the second ball. So overall, they were more physical than they have been in the past and give them a lot of credit. Give Jim Curtin a lot of credit. They lost an Open Cup final, they were devastated, and he got his team to respond and to come out and play a good game.
On what he saw from Crew SC’s offense.
I think we had two problems. The first one was that we were nice and spread out in the first half. I think our fullbacks, at least one of them was really high, and then we lost the connection between the wide attack and midfielders in the midfield line. At times it looked like a 3-1-6 and we weren’t under much pressure, but then you lose balls and them coming at you. We were spread out, we were trying to work the diagonal ball to get behind them and then the second half we had to adjust because I felt that one of their transitions was going to get us. We adjusted to a more compact 2-3 in build-up and then it becomes much more about the small moments, much more about the detail, the body shape when you’re receiving balls, playing between lines and that’s just, it wasn’t on tonight. We weren’t sharp. A couple of times, a couple of occasions, break lines, find another guy, get it wide, but not enough.
On how Crew SC can maintain its intensity
I just think we can raise it. I didn’t think our intensity was where it needed to be. That’s being a little bit critical on the group, but I think they demonstrated more intensity than we did. I know when our group is flying and today wasn’t what we needed.
On if he saw a lack of execution in training this week
That’s a good question. I have to go back and analyze that. I think that at times it was really sharp during the week and we saw things that we really liked. We’ll go back and take a look at that, but I think every game is different, every surface is different, every preparation is different and for some reason we lacked a little bit of that sharpness that we needed.
On if the possibility of clinching a playoff spot affected his team
No because we, I don’t think we were completely dependent upon our result. We didn’t even focus on that. Right, didn’t we need another result to go our way? And they did, but you can’t go into a game projecting that. There wasn’t any focus on that. Our focus is still to get third spot. Anyone know what New York [City FC] did today? Ok so we’re five points back, we have a game in hand. It’s possible. This game, it was a big one, but it’s still possible.
On how his team prepares for the Montreal Impact
We’ll analyze them and we’ll get a game plan and we’ll train the game plan. Hopefully we’ll go there and have a good result.
Goalkeeper Zack Steffen
On earning another shutout in tonight’s match against the Philadelphia Union
There have been a lot of games like this this year, where I have not had to make a save. That goes out to the guys in front of me working hard, so it is also kudos to them. I just have to stay in the game and wait for me chance.
On playing Philadelphia Union for the third time this season
They were more confident and that is what happens as you go through the season, you get more reps in more games.
On setting a new personal single-season career-high in shutouts
It’s great to get those small accolades. Since I’m a goalie, I guess I get them, but I would pass it to the back four as well. But it’s a good accomplishment and you strive for more.
Midfielder Wil Trapp
On his thoughts on today’s match against the Philadelphia Union
It’s an opponent that makes the game difficult. They’re physical. They like to play for second balls. They like it to be a back and forth game, and I think in the first half, particularly, we played into their hands a little bit. In the second half, our structure changed, and I think we found better options moving the ball forward in a controlled manner. Look, we got the ball to Justin [Meram] in good spots. We got “G” [Gyasi Zardes] running into the box. I think it’s just one of those nights that sometimes it doesn’t fly your way, and we weren’t good enough on the day.
On whether Crew SC knew the Philadelphia Union would make it difficult to produce shots
Yeah. They sat back in terms of their low pressure, medium pressure, which made it more difficult for us to play balls behind. Then we found that as we moved up they were always cheating guys high with [Fafa] Picault with pace, [Cory] Burke, and [CJ] Sapong. You kind of split the group, and they made it difficult on us by almost separating our front half and our back half.
On Crew SC’s defensive performance
I think we did a good job in transition. We knew ahead of time that when they went, they want to go fast. For us, it was a test of getting a line, and dropping to the middle of the field to force play wide. So I think we did a pretty good job of that, but in saying that we would’ve liked it to be a little less back and forth.