Quote Sheet: Fire vs. Timbers

Quotes from Saturday's draw with Portland

Frank Klopas

Photo Credit: 
USA Today Sports Images
Quote Sheet
Chicago Fire 2 – 2 Portland Timbers
Toyota Park – June 8, 2013
 
Frank Klopas, Chicago Fire Head Coach
 
Thoughts on the match
 
“Lot of character from the group. We wanted to have a good start and we did it. We gave up some opportunities early from mistakes and that was a little disappointing but they’re a good team. They’re a team that possess the ball really well and I think the goal came out of nothing so it was a little disappointing. I felt that in the second half, we were a different team. With that mentality and that kind of attitude, we have to have that over 90 minutes. Because we have it in us and we have the quality, obviously, with the guys that we brought in, helped a lot and we pushed the game. Coming back against a good team and scoring goals. And obviously, we created a lot of opportunities to pull the game away. But I’m proud of the group, with our effort and the character and the attitude that they showed in the second half to comeback. And they left it all on the field.”
 
On the influence that Mike Magee has had on the team
 
“It’s fantastic. I think the two moves that we made, you can see the big difference on the field already. We’re not that far off. I do feel we need to add a couple more pieces but Mike [Magee] and Baky [Soumare], you can see the impact they’ve had on the group and the difference they’ve made on the field but overall tonight, from a team standpoint, the most important thing to me is the team and it was fantastic the second 45 minutes. Now we’ve got to have that kind of urgency and mentality the whole game.”
 
About what was said at halftime
 
”You’ve got to stay positive. The most important thing is motivation. We talked a little bit about, on the goal especially, Piquionne is a very tall guy and he’s a target guy, you can challenge, but the wide guys have to tuck in and be in a position to win second balls and more than anything, their rotation in the middle, not to get pulled out because they had a lot of movement and we didn’t want to get caught out of position because when one goes, the other guy was coming. Our ability with the centerbacks at times to get tight between our lines and make it difficult for them to play thorough us. We talked about staying positive, we made some adjustments as obviously we came out in the second half, and the game is not over until the 90th minute and I felt the team responded well and the subs that came in made a big difference. I also felt that Alex had a fantastic game. He was huge for us. And the most important thing is I think the guys left it all on the field and coming back from 2-0 is not easy.”
 
On the two comeback draws against Real Salt Lake and the Portland Timbers
 
”We always talk about the character of the team. We showed that last year. The Salt Lake game was a little different. Because I think the second half of this game we dominated the game with possession, going in hard, our movement off the ball, it was a little bit of a  different game because in the run of play in this game we created a lot of chances. In Salt Lake, we got one off a set piece. I mean that’s still part of the game but in this one, in the run of play, we played some good soccer. Our movement off the ball was good and there was a huge belief in the team. You felt it, the momentum being at home with the crowd, our ability to create a lot of chances in the final third was very positive.”
 
On if the struggles that the team had from a passing standpoint and trouble connecting was because of Portland’s pressure or  because Bakary Soumare is getting acclimated
 
“I think Baky’s ability to find passes and find players between the zones is pretty good. I think at times they pressed Austin a lot more and that’s the guy we worked a lot on and when you get the ball, there are moments when the players are wide open but that decision has to be made quicker and at the right time because if not things close down pretty quick. And obviously when you have the ball out wide, whether its Sega and Jalil, Patrick was coming inside when he was moving, our ability to find the forward and move the ball quicker because we talked about combination play to break them through , as they have big center backs and our strengths have not been playing high balls in the air so everything we wanted to keep on the ground, find the forwards, switching the point of attack because they push their numbers high especially the outside backs. We felt there was a lot of room in transition to get them.”
 
On if this is the best the team has been all year
 
“I just think the second half, it’s the way we came out we came out and it was just a different team. The things, they have it in them. We showed before that sometimes we give up a goal and we we respond but we talked about coming right from the start of the game and the second half, being a complete game over 90 minutes. Sometimes it doesn’t work out like that but the response was great and you can see with the group there’s a belief within the group that the team, the mentality is very good. The mentality is very good. There was a belief. They pushed the game and more than anything,  we played good soccer.”
 
On the impact of the substitutes in the game
 
“We talked about the guys a lot because with the last game, they weren’t ready. So we made a point all week and addressed it at halftime to say, ‘listen, just be prepared to go in right from the start. Or when you get called on in the second half, your ability now to come in and influence the game, you have to be ready.’ It’s more from a mental standpoint. Danny tonight was fantastic. He got the ball, he made good passes, and he has the ability. With him its just not forcing the ball at times and making some better decisions but he came in and kind of took the game over in the midfield.”
 
Patrick Nyarko, Chicago Fire midfielder
 
On the second half
 
“In the second half we got better, and they started panicking when we put pressure on them.  They started losing balls and we used that to our advantage.
 
We stayed patient, we pressured them in their half – that was the key to the game.  That’s what we did not do in the first half.”
 
On giving up the early goal and having to come back
 
“It’s good that we’re able to come back, but we shouldn’t put ourselves in that position in the first place.  Being two goals down and having to come back against a team like Portland takes a pretty huge effort.  In the future we need to make sure we don’t do this again.  We need to find a way, especially at home, not to go down and have to climb back.  As the game wore on, tactically we got it right and better, but it needs to be from the start.  If we had played well from the start we win this game.”
 
On the importance of this result
 
“It’s a huge confidence builder, especially the way we finished the game.  It makes us believe we can play with any team.  Portland is one of the best in the league and just looking at the second half the difference between putting pressure on and not putting pressure on them in the first half is all the difference.”
 
Mike Magee, Chicago Fire forward
 
On being the emotional leader
 
“Tonight I about lost my mind, I’ll admit it.  I was looking for something, even for myself.  I was having a hard time getting the ball.  I apologized to the ref like four times, I didn’t mean to yell at him. I was just yelling, showing emotion and trying to light a fire under whoever was looking.  Everyone was fighting and battling.  Something like this can turn your season around.”
 
On the draw
 
“This was best feeling tie I’ve had in a long time, which is kind of crazy to say getting a tie at home, but for some reason it just feels good just the way we fought and responded being down 2-0.”
 
Daniel Paladini, Chicago Fire midfielder
 
On his goal
 
“I walked up to it, because that’s the spot where I practice the most, but I told him [Magee] that he could have the assist.  When he backed up he told me to hit it. If you look at the film, I guarantee that he [the goalkeeper] looked down and to his left and I was already going and all I had to do is get it over his head.”
 
On his sub role
 
“It’s one of those things where you have to be ready when your name’s called upon – you either shy away from it or you step-up to the plate.  In my position I’ve done it a few times now, Alex and Jeff [Larentowicz] have played well together and we’ve won the last two games, so I just need to wait my turn.”
 
Portland Timbers Head Coach Caleb Porter
 
On what shifted the momentum in the second half that lead to two Chicago goals:
 
“Well, we went up two-zero, and to be honest with you, it looked like it was going to be three or four.  They caught us on a counter-attack.  Going into the game we talked about managing two things-the counter, because we knew we’d be up the field and have the ball, and control the game.  We have to manage that high line, which means all it takes is one moment.  We let our guard down.  We got flat, Magee got behind us, and I’m not sure what happened but maybe Baptiste pulled up thinking Milos [Kocic] was going to come.  In the end that turned the entire momentum of the game around.  The other was a questionable foul, to be honest.  But in the end he hit a great goal, and it is two-two.  We’re disappointed.  It’s a bit of a bitter pill but I think we will learn from it, we will be better from it.  We didn’t lose the game.  We still got a point; we’re still unbeaten on the road.  In fourteen games, there’s only been one team that’s beaten us.  So I think it’s a great thing.  We are still getting points but we’re a little bit ticked off leaving this game feeling like we left two points slip away.”
 
On whether it will provide fuel going into training since giving up a two-goal lead:
 
“I find it’s more like a lesson.  Again, you can’t let your guard down.  Even at two-zero, the game isn’t done.  With the way we were playing, there was absolutely no reason for that team to get a goal.  They got a goal out of nothing.  It wasn’t like they had a flow or anything.  It popped up in a moment, and we fell asleep.  What it does it keeps us focused for 90 minutes, and it makes us aware we aren’t invincible and even at two-zero; it’s a dangerous lead and we have to manage the game.  Again, the fact that we can learn a lesson without losing a game, I think it’s a very positive thing.  It’ll make us a better team.  Feels like a loss but it isn’t.  Which is great.  A lot of teams have to take losses to learn lessons and we are learning lessons while getting points.  So I think it’s a positive thing. We have a big week ahead.  We have an Open Cup game Wednesday, then we play Dallas at home, and then we go to L.A.  So, this isn’t the end of the world, getting a point on the road.  Although because our standards are so high because we are used to winning games, our expectations is to do that, so when it doesn’t happen, we’re disappointed.  That’s a good thing.  That means we have a very positive winning culture in our club right now.”
 
On whether the team was more defensive than they needed to be at 2-0 up:
 
“No, no, if you watched the game, we were pushing to get three.  Valeri had a shot over the goal, and that could have gone to three.  They hit us on a counter attack when we were up the field.  We weren’t defending deep when they got the two-one goal.  When they got two-one, and now obviously the whole momentum changed.  Now they are really gambling.  They need points.  So they were trying to go for three points, they were gambling at two-one, and pushing numbers forward.  There was nothing to lose for them.  In the end I thought we ended up dropping off deeper than we wanted.  But it was more because they were bombing numbers forward.  There’s no choice.  You have to drop off.  Five forwards, basically.  And they went for it.  In the end, like I said, I thought we managed it all right.  They got the goal on a free kick and I will have to watch the tape, but I thought that it was questionable.”
 
Portland Timbers Midfielder Ben Zemanski
 
On letting the two-zero lead slip away:
 
“Yes, we were really disappointed with that two-zero lead slip away when we felt like we had the game in hand.  I think the first goal, it was a big one to let in at the time and it let them back in the game obviously.  They did well to keep that pressure on us and find the second one, so credit to them to come back.  We are very disappointed.”
 
On his goal:
 
“I remember seeing [Piquionne] make a really good run down the right.  I saw him cut back a defender, and I just made a late run in and he found me and gave me a perfectly weighted ball so I could hit it first time.”
 
Portland Timbers Goalkeeper Milos Kocic
 
On Magee’s goal:
 
“First of all, I think I should have been a little bit better getting the ball but between two, three players I thought maybe one of them was going to touch me and my hands were ready for it.  I tried to push it away but unfortunately it hit Magee in the leg.  That’s Magee, you know.  It always bounces his way.  Unfortunately this time, he bounced the ball in and he scored a goal.  And then we are under a lot of pressure.  I tried to come off my line, and pick up the ball so it takes the pressure off the back guys.  I think I did well at the situation at the end of the game.  Overall, I think the first goal I can do better.”
 
Portland Timbers Forward Diego Valeri
 
On his goal:
 
“Kocic kicked a great goal kick, and Piquionne headed it to me, I made a run and just finished the play.”