Chicago Fire 2 – 1 Toronto FC
Toyota Park – Aug. 4,2012
Frank Klopas, Chicago Fire Head Coach
On the result:
“It’s a good feeling at this point to get three points. I thought we had a good start to the game. The team started off well, created some good opportunities and sometimes mistakes happen – like when we gave up that goal. At that point we lost a little momentum, but we had a strong second half. The team played well and pushed the game. Sean [Johnson] made a key save at the end of the first half to keep us only down by one goal, which was a huge save. The guys came out in the second half with a belief in the team and pushed to create chances which lead to two very nice goals. It was a great win against a good team.”
On Fernandez and MacDonald’s performance:
“Alvaro [Fernandez] is just such a good player – he has the ability to move and find space on the field. Technically he is a very good player and very composed on the ball, and I think he gives us the opportunity to now to have depth on the line with Patrick [Nyarko] and Marco [Pappa]. It’s just unfortunate that he rolled his ankle, but he’s just a very composed player and smart how he moves, his ability to make good decisions on the ball and I thought he did very well.
As for Mac [Sherjill MacDonald] we’ve been talking about his fitness, which he can get from games. He came into the game, was quick on the ball, made good decisions and on runs was strong and was very dangerous. They both gave us what we expected, but they can give us a lot more.”
On Austin Berry’s performance:
“I think the whole back line played well, but Austin is so committed to defending, but at times he wants to do everything on the field, which is a good thing, but he’s just so competitive and he’s gotten so much better with the ball. His defensive instincts are very good and on set pieces he’s just so dangerous creating service.”
On the physical play of the game:
“There’s a belief and mentality amongst the group that this is our home, we have a good fan base and we need to defend it and push and never give up until the end. I think this is our fifth game we’ve come from behind to win. We have a lot of leadership on the field to motivate and push the guys, but everyone is committed. We put ourselves in a good spot and these are must win games for us at home and it would have been very difficult for us to drop points at home against a much improved team. Paul Mariner has done a great job with Toronto and they’re a very tough team, much better than the first game we played them. They’re very organized, they have a lot of pace from the younger players and now with Hassli and Johnson on top they are a force, it was a difficult match especially falling behind but there’s a belief within the group to never give up and play to the end.”
Arne Friedrich, Chicago Fire Defender
On the result:
“It was one of my goals to push the team a little bit, which we had to do I the second half because we were down by a goal. In the end we did very well, were very smart – we held possession and created chances. In my eyes it was a very good win for the team because we were down by a goal and showed very good character to come back.”
Austin Berry, Chicago Fire Defender
On the win:
“This is big time, we needed this win especially in this second half stretch of games all being against Eastern Conference teams to make this push to make the playoffs, so this is pretty big.”
On his role in set pieces:
“I pride myself on being good in the air and I want to be dangerous on every attacking set piece, and I have to take care of all of my opportunities. There are so few chances for me to score and I was able to do that tonight. “
On scoring a game winning goal:
“It was important for us to get three points , especially in a game that I thought that we were the better team , so it was good to get the goal but the important thing is that we won the game.”
Marco Pappa, Chicago Fire Midfielder
On his goal:
“It always feels good when you score, but the most important thing is the team. I made a big mistake for the team, I apologized to the guys but we kept pushing knowing we could earn three points at home. I want to thank the team because they supported me after the mistake, but this is for everybody and we are feeling good. Now we need to focus on the next game.”
Paul Mariner - Toronto FC Head Coach
Comments on the match...
There were a couple of turning points, and you try to look at it as balanced as you possibly can. I think it is plain to see that we gifted them two goals. You can’t do that to a very decent Chicago Fire team. I think if Eric Hassli’s ball goes in, and it’s two-nil at halftime, it’s a different game. There were a few turning points. I took Eric off because we couldn’t get any more out of him. He hasn’t played for a while. That was a bit of a difference maker. You can’t really legislate for Logan deciding to get himself sent off. The play was going nowhere-just ridiculous. You can’t legislate for Jeremy [Hall] getting hurt. What was striking to me was that my player hobbles off with an ankle injury and they get the free kick. It’s rather puzzling.
On some of the players wanting to stay on the field...
Milos [Kocic] probably broke his nose but said he was fine. He’s a tough kid. What you don’t want to do with Jeremy [Hall] is that he just came back from a hamstring [injury] so you don’t want to leave him out there and really damage himself. It was the most sensible thing to do.
On Eric Hassli’s play tonight...
Terrific. His holdup play was terrific. He’s going to be great for us. People can’t handle him-he’s too strong.
On the difference in play between the two halves...
It was a catalogue of factors. I thought we were looking pretty comfortable to be honest. We kept the ball in front of us. I thought that Frank would make a couple changes and he did. It didn’t really turn the game. You’ve got to hold your hand up and say that you can’t give decent teams opportunities like we gave them. Other than that, we’re fine. I genuinely thought we were going to win the game tonight. I was very confident at half time.
Eric Hassli - Toronto FC Forward
Comments on his debut for Toronto...
It was a very tough game for me after the month and a half. Everybody is disappointed in the locker room. I thought we did great in the first half. We just gave up set pieces and we have to learn, that’s it. Everybody is disappointed. We are looking forward to the next game against Columbus. We have to win there. We need to win. I hate to lose the game. Looking forward to the next game.
On recovering from his ankle injury...
The ankle held up pretty good. I need to work on my fitness because I have not played in a long time. The ankle is pretty good-I thank the medical and technical staff.
On being comfortable in Toronto’s system...
Yes, it’s great. Everybody is working hard and communicating. It’s easy for me. I feel great in this system.
Milos Kocic - Toronto FC Goalkeeper
On the physicality of the game...
I tried to come out and cut the angle and collided with the guy. As long as I’m not unconscious, I’m good to go.
On his nose injury...
Yeah, I think it was broken in the first half. We set it up though so now I think it is okay. We will see when we get back to Toronto. But I mean, it looks pretty sweet.
On the match result...
We were unlucky with the subs and the way everything ended up. Our play against set pieces was not good. One, that clearance in the first goal. The second goal was a set piece too. We need to learn as quick as possible. We lost too many points this year on set pieces. I think we need to do better on that part of the game.