HEAD COACH CALEB PORTER
On the response from the team
I think it’s more of an evolution than a response. We’ve gone from mid-season where we were losing games by one goal to now we are not losing – we’re winning and drawing – and obviously we had given up some late leads that cost us points, and as I said cost us being in the post-season. But we can’t lose sight of the fact that we have 21 points in the last 12 games. That’s as good as anybody in the League during this stretch of games and yet, it should’ve been more. It should’ve been another six to eight points more, but I was really pleased with a lot of things. Obviously, our defending was excellent. That team’s [Philadelphia Union] given a lot of opponent’s problems in the attack and I thought we completely shut down their attack. They [Philadelphia Union] had two shots in the first half, none on goal. Our group looked organized, we had a good plan on how to limit their key attackers and the guys did an excellent job. I was really pleased that we were patient the second half. We’ve had a lot of good first halves and then it fizzles out the second half. I thought today we were patient, we kept doing the right things and obviously the first goal came and then we didn’t stop, we didn’t get nervy or didn’t get reactionary, we kept playing and the second goal came as well and I was really pleased with the last ten minutes the way we managed the game. We spent a lot of time this week talking about those situations and had to do a better job. Slowing tempo, killing the game and doing the right thing, keeping the ball, being patient and keeping our shape, and I thought all those things we did at the end of the game and that’s what good teams do. And lastly, I was just really pleased overall with the motivation of the group. I told them before the game that even though our post-season hopes were dead for this year, that if they were winners individually that they would bring the right stuff today, because if you’re a winner you show up no matter what the motivation is extrinsically, because intrinsically always the best players, they play to win no matter what. So that was good to see and I also told them that if they are all on board with our long-term purpose here, which is to be a champion, then again they would play like that today and I thought they did.
On Youness Mokhtar’s performance
Really pleased to see him come into the game and look lively, look like the player that we signed and thought he could be that type of guy. Scoring goals and setting up guys, and sharp on the ball - clever, busy, and I thought he showed specially the busy-ness. We have to give him time, he came mid-season, it’s a hard adjustment for a foreign player to come mid-season you see it all over the League in every team when those summer signings come in. So it was good to see him show that spark that we thought he could have. Because we need our wingers to score goals and we need them to chip in assists. It was great for him to produce today and obviously if we’re creating the right one-two in every position in our depth chart then there’s going to be some tough decisions moving forward and that’s what we want. So that was nice to see. Also, Eloy [Room] getting the shutout - a clean sheet for the first time, he did, he deserved that.
On Youness Mokhtar, Luis Diaz and Eloy Room’s impact since joining Crew SC
I think if you look at the season, I look at it in three, three basically – phases. It’s actually pretty normal if you look at kind of the stages of a team development. There was a stage at the start of the year, kind of forming and feeling things out and building off the past and we were 4-1-1 at the top of the table. Then, there was definitely a period of storming, where now we’ve made some moves and you’re always going to take steps back in that stage where you’re making moves getting rid of guys, adding guys, knowing what you want. There’s a period too of, I think, frustration as well in transition, from my end and their end, right? That’s very normal in the stages of team development and transition. The third phase is obviously now norming. We’re in that stage. The fourth is performing. I think we’re still entering that stage and I think today we made a statement that we’re starting to enter that performing stage, where now we’re going to be flying and I think if you look at the last stretch of games there have been a lot of positives. Some great results. Going on the road [at] New York Red Bulls, going on the road at Atlanta [United]. This result was certainly a big one. Those are three of the best teams in the league, so that shows that we are capable and we’re just the tip of the iceberg right now, guys. We’re just scratching the surface. We’re going to get better, we’re going to keep adding pieces. I’m going to keep grinding on the mentality – the winning mentality, which I always do over time. I thought the guys looked tough today. I was really pleased. You have to be tough mentally and physically to be consistently a winning team. I thought we showed those ingredients today.
GOALKEEPER ELOY ROOM
On the last ten minutes of the match and whether Crew SC prepared for that scenario
Yes, I think so. We talked about the last ten minutes of the games. We had a lot of games where in the last ten minutes we lost the ball. […] Now we saw the clips and we knew what to do so I think this last ten minutes is a perfect example of what we saw, and we did it well. We played the last ten minutes with our mind. I think this is a deserved win for us and we practice as a team and I’m happy for the team. A shutout is a shutout. Also, for the fans, I’m happy with the points.
On whether playing the Philadelphia Union, a team known for scoring in the second half, and winning gives Crew SC confidence
I think we have a lot of confidence. All the games we played well […]. Today we showed that, and we didn’t make any of the mistakes we made the last game. It was a shutout, so I think it’s really important for the team – and for the defense especially – and for me as a goalkeeper because I knew we could do it. Sometimes you have to play with your head. Some games you play with too much of your heart and sometimes you have to be smart and make the right decision which we did this game.
MIDFIELDER YOUNESS MOKHTAR
On transitioning into MLS and scoring his first goal
Yes of course. It’s a big change. I had some obstacles; coming from a different country for the first time with my family, different league, different season, coming in and getting out again and starting up. I had complications in between that didn’t help a lot. And I am happy to be here and being a part of the team today. It’s unlucky the season is ending here because I’m just getting started. It’s a little bit unlucky but I’m happy with my goal.
On providing a spark to Crew SC’s attack
As you said, we want to have assists or goals. I had a couple good moments. Unlucky we didn’t score, that doesn’t really help. So, it’s important for me to make the goals and assists, and I’m very happy to do something for the team today.
On facing the Philadelphia Union
I think we had the confidence to play them and we know what we can do. We’ve been a little bit unlucky this season on a lot of games losing the three points. I think it’s been tough for us to win and this was a very good response for us.