quotes - thumb - 09.02.20

POST-MATCH QUOTES | Columbus Crew SC 1 - 0 Philadelphia Union - Sept. 2, 2020

Head Coach Caleb Porter

Opening statement

Great result, obviously playing a very good team in Philadelphia and you can see why they’ve done so well. They’re in a lot of ways built for MLS. They’re extremely athletic, they’re organized, they’re good at disrupting teams with pressure, they don’t mind going direct if they need to, they’re dangerous on set pieces… so you can see why they’ve been successful. We knew it would be a tight game, we knew it would be a tough game, and I’m really proud of my group. I thought we were patient today. Similar to Cincinnati we could have let the game fizzle out but we weren’t going to let that happen and we talked about that at halftime and I thought that was the difference at the start of the second half. I thought we took the game over, put them on the back foot and I thought the second half, every single guy across the board played well including the substitutions, the subs that came into the game, and you need that to win against a team like Philly. You know, in these types of games it’s going to be tight, and often times two good teams, it’s going to be one goal either way, and I’m real proud of our guys that we were able to find that bit of quality from Lucas Zelarayan. [It’s] obviously great having him back, great for him to get another goal and another clean sheet as well for our group. So, real proud of that as well.

On patience making a difference

Two reasons you want to be patient is against a team like Philadelphia, they’re good at transitions. So, if we’re not patient, we’re giving them counter attacks. And the second reason is to open up a team that plays very narrow, similar to [FC] Cincinnati – although Cincinnati plays a different system but same idea - they try to take away the center channel, and a lot of teams can’t beat you wide, so that’s what they bank on, and I thought we were very good at shifting their diamond side-to-side using our outside backs to circulate the ball and pull their midfielders out to then play through the lines. So if you saw second half, I thought actually Youness Mokhtar did a really good job of finding spaces and then cycling it to Lucas in between the lines, and that’s how we were able to score the goal. And I thought we found Darlington and Artur a lot more today, which is something we worked on in training making sure that teams can’t just sit deep and compress the space around Lucas and Pedro and Youness, and I felt we found the right balance of playing through Darlington and Artur to kind of pull the midfield out and then at the right times, playing the layers through Lucas and Pedro. We had some other really good chances that should’ve been goals, and I thought we had more than one goal in there, but sometimes you don’t score more than one, and we’ll take it.

On the Philadelphia Union being the biggest test so far for Crew SC

Yeah. This was the best team we’ve played. We’re a very good passing team. We pride ourselves on that. That’s a part of our DNA. We want to be good with the ball, we want to disorganize the opponent with the ball, and we want to have control with the ball. Philadelphia is extremely athletic and there were times in the first half when we let them get tight to us and they’re very good at one-v-one duels and close space quick and they’re strong, and there were times we just needed to play quicker and move the ball. But I thought we still had a lot of control in the match. I didn’t think they pressed us and disrupt our passing game all too much, which is a credit to our spacing and the fact that basically we’ve got 11 guys that can keep the ball. 11 guys, you know, there’s not a player in our group that isn’t good with the ball including the goalkeeper all the way up through our team, so if you use 11 guys to keep the ball and spread the pitch it’s difficult, as you saw, try to keep us off the ball, so you have to make sure that we break lines and penetrate and create chances as well. And I thought today we found right balance of possession and penetration. I thought there were a couple of crosses we should’ve scored on. Pedro had a great chance, just missed. Lucas had one he almost got off where he cut back to the left and then first half obviously, Lucas had one top of the box. Lucas should always be in moments to score if we’re playing the game we should be playing, and he was. He’ll be able to score goals in our system, as you’ve seen.

Midfielder Darlington Nagbe

On Crew SC adjusting defensively

We tried to stay compact. That’s something we talked about at halftime as well: staying compact defensively, making sure that we doubled down when we could. We rotated well as a team. I thought we did that and limited their chances. And, of course, the back four again, helping out with the goalkeeper. They’ve been doing a great job, and hopefully the midfield can help the back four do their job.

On Crew SC’s defensive performance

I think we knew that was a big moment for them; set pieces. They have some big goal scorers. We talked about it at halftime about buckling down on those set pieces. I thought we did a better job of that.

On the team’s reactions to the Starting XI announced by the players’ families

We didn’t know that was going to happen. That was pretty cool to see. Someone told me that our families were on there, so it was cool to see them on there. I appreciate it, I’m sure a lot of the guys will appreciate it, and hopefully that’s something they’ll keep doing.

Midfielder Lucas Zelarayan

On how he felt in the match against the Philadelphia Union

I feel very good! Physically I feel good. I’m happy to get the win at home against a very good rival. I’m happy to return, I’m happy to be feeling at 100 per again, and now I’m going to continue to train and get better.

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