quotes - thumbnail - 8.20.20

POST-MATCH QUOTES | Columbus Crew SC vs. Chicago Fire FC - Aug. 20, 2020

Head Coach Caleb Porter

Opening statement

It’s great to get the three points, especially at home. This is the third time we’ve re-started. It’s great to come back in with no real games and get back in kind of the season and get that rhythm, keeping at the top of the table and keep getting points. I’m glad we scored three goals. I’m really pleased with our defending and the clean sheet, and all this makes me happy. We’re not pleased with our overall control and rhythm, I thought there were times where we could’ve looked sharper in possession but it’s always good when you can be getting three points and win 3-0 when you feel like maybe it wasn’t your best day.

On Darlington Nagbe’s goal and his impact on the team

I mean, what do you say? It’s a world class goal. It’s hard for me to not get excited talking about Darlington. I’m very close with him – obviously – off the field as well because I’ve known him for so long. We have a lot of history together. He’s a top, top player. I mean, he showed today that he can score goals. I think one year [at Portland] he scored nine goals there. He’s played the ten, he can play anywhere. Wherever he plays, he’s going to be good. But [he has] that bit of quality, you need on your team. You need players that are going to kind of pull a rabbit out of a hat, and that was definitely an example of that. [Nagbe’s goal] was a special special goal from a special player.

On Derrick Etienne Jr.

He’s a very interesting player. We were really surprised that we could get him. I was surprised that he was moved from New York [Red Bulls], I know he played a big role there. Then when he went to Cincinnati and became available, we thought about two seconds about it. We said ‘lets get him’ because he’s an interesting player. You don’t get a chance to get a player like him for basically not much. With his profile, he’s quick, he’s honest defensively, he was in the Red Bulls system, so obviously he’s well-drilled in terms of pressing. He’s got a little creativity to him as well. Which we like, so it was a pretty easy decision.

It’s great for him to get a start and to get a goal. He’s been a nice addition. And he’s a good kid too. A really good kid, works hard, he’s a neat young man. We’ve got a great locker room and we’ve got guys from all different places and cultures and backgrounds, and I love that. I honestly love that in my teams. That adds a really good blend in our locker room.

Midfielder Darlington Nagbe

On his 81st-minute goal

It was a kind of 50/50 ball, so I have to get it over the defender. I just got it up and it sat nicely, and then I took a chance on the shot and luckily it went it.

On avoiding turnovers under pressure

I think with the turnovers, it’s just up to us as players. Maybe our movement wasn’t as good as it should’ve been in terms of supporting each other and the angles to support each other, but I think some of them were simple mistakes as well. Those simple mistakes and those loss of possessions led to their chances, so that’s something we can clean up.

On the performance of Gyasi Zardes

He as a striker — and not just as a striker but as a player — has one of the best mentalities I’ve ever seen. He’s a hard worker and a great teammate, so you know, when moments like that happen, we’re all there for him — coaches and players — and we trust him. Next chance he gets he puts it away. So, he misses that chance, you know, he’s upset. But I know he’s going to get another chance; I know he’s going to put it away. And the team, we count on him, we rely on him to get those goals, and he knows that. So, we’re all there with him through everything.

Defender Jonathan Mensah

On the team’s defensive performance tonight

I think these kinds of games actually show a different side of our character. We have a strong team, and we always find a way to win. We’re creating a culture that we do whatever we can to win games. Sometimes, the team is going to disrupt our buildup. They always go man-to-man with our midfielders, our best players, and we need to find a way to just play along to our striker. And most importantly, we need to win the game. I told Coach that’s the culture we’re trying to create. Myself, Josh [Williams], the whole back line, and even the whole team, we scoot ahead. We didn’t concede today, and whatever happens, we’re going to be strong and that will be it.

On the match atmosphere

I think we are always confident initially. We stay compact, we don’t want to take any risk on the ball. I mean, we are always good on the ball, and also, we listen to what the coaches have for us, then we deliver on the pitch. I think that is keeping us going. We learn and we improve. And Jonathan as our leader, as our captain, we always try to help each other and encourage each other. I think that is keeping us going.

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