Frank Klopas

Quote Sheet: Fire vs. Whitecaps

Quote Sheet
Chicago Fire 1  - 0  Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Toyota Park - July 14, 2012
Frank Klopas - Chicago Fire Head Coach
Comments on the match...
“Lot of credit to the players. Fantastic win. Great to rebound like this after the setback we had against LA. I thought we played an excellent first half. Very smart in possession. Good in our decision making. Scored a very nice goal, Pavel [Pardo] had a fantastic free kick. I felt that we had a couple other opportunities to put the game away in the first half. We started the second half the same way. You get a red card, and it’s amazing how it changes the game. The guys worked very hard in the end. Credit to the whole team to come away with the three points. Every game is important so it’s a huge win for the team.”
On the play of Arne Friedrich up until the red card...
“I thought the whole team was playing fantastic. We addressed the situation with them and [Darren] Mattocks and his pace and his athletic ability, especially when [Barry] Robson was getting the ball. We didn’t give them a lot of space and we stayed compact. Arne [Friedrich] was fantastic and so was the rest of the team. But it’s amazing some of the calls that are called against us.”
On the team relying on Pavel Pardo and Logan Pause to generate offense...
“For sure, Alex needs a little more time to get his rhythm. They played three defensive midfielders. Vancouver came out and played very defensively, which gave Pavel [Pardo] and Logan [Pause] the ability to find space. Especially with the way they dropped, every time Alex had the ball we were able to combine. When our outside backs pushed forward in the final third, then the forwards could come inside. That was our whole game plan-to beat them with pace and combination play in the final third. They are big on defense and we didn’t want to be in the situation where we were hitting long balls.”
On the configuration with Alex in the middle and Chris on the outside...
“They interchange. They are dynamic players with pace that are good on the ball. Now they have the freedom to interchange with diagonal runs. They have more freedom when we have two holding guys behind them. Those guys can be creative and express themselves in the final third.”
On tonight’s win tying the total wins from last season...
“I think it is important that we have had a good start to the season. We have a long way to go and we have to keep going. It’s one win. You enjoy this one but we have to look and see how we can get better as a team. Everyone knows what the goal is and that’s what we’re shooting for. We’re not happy with nine wins. It’s about game after game after game. You can’t get too high or too low after games. We have a difficult match in New York and then we have to keep going. We have to reach our goal in the end.”
Arne Friedrich, Chicago Fire defender
On the second yellow card:
“In my eyes, first it was a bad mistake in the midfield. We lost the ball so easy. I thought – I didn’t see it again – I thought that me and Austin [Berry] were running, and the striker was in between us, and we were running altogether at the same speed. For me… everybody was a little bit [using] their arms, so for me it was not a yellow card. But it’s the referee’s decision, and I have to take it.”
On his wrapped hand:
“Oh it’s ok. I don’t need my hands for playing soccer.”
On the match:
“We did a great job today. We were playing very organized and the opponent didn’t have any chances to score. We had patience and we let the ball flow. In my eyes, it was a good game, we deserved to win, and just for me it’s sad that I miss they next game. But this is soccer, and we have enough good players that can play the next game.”
On marking Darren Mattocks, and dealing with his physicality and speed:
“We knew before the game… what we had to do. If they face our goal, the midfielders just have to drop. We did a good job. He’s very fast, and we knew that before, but in my eyes he didn’t have chances today to score. In my eyes, it was not just the back four. That’s what I tell the guys all the time. It’s not about [only] the back line, it’s everybody. And when you see in the midfield, how we got the ball today, it was pretty good. Our shape was good, and this is the key to play successful soccer.”
On if he saw video of Mattocks’ flying header last week:
“Yeah he can jump high. But we [can] too.
He’s an athletic guy, and you just need to know what kind of strengths he has.”
Pavel Pardo, Chicago Fire midfielder
On the match:
“I know the last game here, at home against the Galaxy, we didn’t play good, and we knew it. Today we had to be better. The last day was an off-day for us, and today we had to bring more on the field. We brought a lot of energy in the first half. It was very, very important to win today, because it’s three points, and we’re tied [for] third place, so it’s good for us to stay tied with the teams that are at the top.”
On his free kick:
“You know, in the last game, also it was a great save from the goalkeeper in the same spot. But today it was really good. When I kicked the ball I knew it. You know when sometimes you kick [the ball] very well you know it’s going to be on the net. So I was really happy, but more happy for three points. And more happy because today the team brought… a lot of energy. Defensively we were good. Width with the ball, that’s the most important.”
On if he’s feeling any fatigue from logging the most minutes on the Fire so far this season:
“No… today you can see it. I run a lot, and I put a lot of energy [into the match.] And of course sometimes you’re tired, but today I felt really good. The last time also, you know it’s different, because it was hot, it was warmer. It was a game at 2 o’clock, [whereas] today the game was in the evening. It’s different… I feel good.”
Alex, Chicago Fire midfielder (via translator)
On his fitness after playing 72 minutes:
“I’m still trying to get to my ideal fitness. I’m trying to get rhythm and soon I want to be at 100%. The minutes are really useful for my fitness.”
On getting used to his new teammates:
“I’m getting used to the players around me, especially [Dominic] Oduro. My pass goes directly to him and his speed.
On his mindset with starting versus coming off the bench:
“I’m always ready for both options. It doesn’t matter, as long as I play.”
Logan Pause, Chicago Fire midfielder
On Alex’s contribution to the attack:
“I think he’s an incredibly talented player. And you saw, when he got the ball tonight, he made things happen. We still haven’t had him very long, so it’s gonna take time. But he’s a bright star for us, and we’re really thrilled to have him.”
On the attack’s improvement from the Galaxy match:
“I think part of it is tactics. You know, we were really disappointed with our performance last weekend, and we knew that we needed to come out with some more bite, and some more energy. And I think the fans really lifted us and stuck behind us. I think Rolfie is starting to get really into form, and now that we’re plugging Alex in, I think he’s been a great addition and really added to our creativity.”
Sean Johnson, Chicago Fire Goalkeeper
On his point-blank save from Eric Hassli:
“It was a situation where, in the dying minutes of the game… you have to make saves. That’s my job. But more importantly, the guys in front of me made my job easier. They were in a good spot, they made it difficult for Hassli to get in a good spot and get something on it. So I was able to see it and react and make the save.”
On the importance of keeping a clean sheet, especially with ten men:
“It’s important, especially having the 1-0 lead. Most importantly you just want to win games. It’s a plus to get shutouts, but the first thing is getting three points… being able to do both, given the fact we had ten men, shows that we have character as a team, and we were able to fight. Those ten guys in front of me battled for 90 minutes and we were able to come away with the result.”
Vancouver Whitecaps Head Coach Martin Rennie
Thoughts on the match:
“I think we started the game a little bit slow, we had a little slip there, then they had a free kick, and it was executed very well by Chicago.  They started the game brightly, they started the game well but I felt like after maybe twenty minutes we started to come into the game and did well.  I thought in the second half we were very strong, we were on top, we were pressing them back.  It’s just disappointing to not get more from the game tonight.  I am really proud of my players, the effort they put into it after four games on the road in really quick succession.  It could have been easier for them to throw the towel in after we went down a goal in the first [ten] minutes.  Nobody did that. The belief was certainly there, the effort was certainly there.  So it’s disappointing not to get a little more; I feel like we deserve something out of the game tonight.  Sometimes that happens, we have to make sure we take the positives from the determination and the effort we showed throughout the game.”
On what he wants to see out of his team in the final twenty minutes:
“We were pinning them back.  We put the ball wide, which is what you want to do, and you want to get balls in the box, which is what we did.  Obviously we want to see that more, but they defended well with ten men.  I think maybe with a little more energy we might have more chances but as I say, coming off the back of all the games we’ve had, we didn’t quite have the energy we would have liked to get that final pass or that final shot.  So that part of it was frustrating, I think we did the right things, we did get it in the right areas, we did pin them back and made changes to add more attacking players.  So I don’t think there’s that much more we can do.  There’s just some nights it just doesn’t go in.”
On the effects of the recent lineup and roster changes:
“Obviously, getting on the training field always helps to improve that but there’s really only two players that have been playing if that makes any difference.  Actually to be fair, the Dane [Richards] was fantastic and I thought Barry Robson drove the game on, always wanting the ball.  His final pass and his shot will come but his overall play and determination and drive was fantastic for us tonight.”
On returning home:
“It’ll be nice. It’s hard going on the road for that many games. The league’s tough and to play so many games in quick succession, two Saturday’s in a row we’ve played a team that didn’t play during the week.  They have that advantage over you.  But that’s a part of what happens in MLS.  We really want to make sure tonight that we were able to match their intensity and their energy and their drive.  Really pleased we did that.  I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t get something out of it in terms of the scoreline.  I’m really proud of the players tonight.  It’s one of the nights where I questioned after giving up such an early goal, how would we respond, what would our character be like, and we passed that part of it with flying colors.  The quality can improve, we know we got that.  That’s what determination, desire, effort, that was definitely there.  Actually I can take a lot more from this game than you think.  I’m not despondent about it.  I look forward to the next few games at home and getting back in front of the Whitecaps fans.  One of the things I said at the start of the season I talked about, I wanted to make sure we were a team fans can be proud of and absolutely we have a group of guys who will work until the very end no matter what the situation.”
Vancouver Whitecaps Midfielder Dane Richards
On wanting to make an impact on the field:
“Yes, definitely.  I was just waiting for the chance to get on the field and the coach told me at halftime that I would be going into the game.”
On the match:
“The players had to increase their intensity more and more but in the second half, we stepped it up definitely and I am looking forward to the next game so we can rebound at home.”
Vancouver Whitecaps Forward Darren Mattocks
On what they need to do more of to score more goals:
“I think we needed to get the crosses in a bit earlier but we couldn’t find our finishing touch.  That’s the way it goes sometimes.”
On his assessment of the road trip:
“I think we did pretty well.  We traveled back and forth [across the country]but now we are home for a couple of games.”
On the difference between the first half and second half:
“In the first half we didn’t find a rhythm; things were off.  Everything wasn’t going well in the first half.  Second half we had 45 minutes to put everything into the game.  It’s very unfortunate we didn’t get a goal and we lost one.”
Vancouver Whitecaps Midfielder Michael Nanchoff
On the match:
“Obviously not the result we wanted.  But in a positive night, like Martin said at the end of the game, to fight like that, the whole time, especially on the road and our legs being heavy, that was a good sign, especially at the end of a long road trip.
It’s difficult.  I’m proud of the team.”
On the team’s effort to get the equalizer after the red card:
“We definitely picked up the energy, that’s for sure.  We kept pushing on, we kept getting wide, we kept getting crosses in and we had a couple of really good chances but their keeper made some really good saves.”
On his first start:
“It’s tough to have a first start on the year and come away with a loss, it’s never fun.  There’s always next time, we have to push for the win.”
On returning home:
“I think we are all definitely looking forward to it because we are heading back home, finally.  It should be a packed house and we are looking forward to being with our fans again.”