Dax McCarty

Quote Sheet: Fire react to 1-0 loss vs. LA Galaxy

Veljko Paunovic, Chicago Fire Head Coach
On the change in tactics:
“I think it was a pretty good game and very good execution of the plan that all our guys did. I'm proud of the effort. I'm proud of the mentality. A small mistake decided the game and obviously they have quality and they converted that opportunity. But for me, most importantly, the team is growing. The team is getting better. I think we have more game now. We have more fluidity in our possession. We also create opportunities. I would like to see more and I would like to see more goals but I think we're getting closer. Going back to your question, our plan was actually built on first, doing our job well and doing it better than them. With good organization and building good momentum in the game where we can take the ball off them and away from them and then we start to implement our style again and I think we considered that late in the second half and that's the step forward. But obviously nobody is happy with the result and nobody is happy with some mistakes we made that we will fix and are fixing. But I'm very positive. I'm very grateful to the crowd that came here and supported us and made this day a special day for the league because I think this was the record in attendance in Toyota Park if I'm not wrong. I know it's tough. Nobody wants to lose but I'm proud of my team.”

More on #CHIvLA: MLS Matchcenter

On conceding a goal late in the first half and how it affected the plan for the second half:
“The hardest thing is doing an almost perfect job, defensively, in the first half, it's normal that people will hang their heads. So the first thing you have to do is motivate and rebuild the confidence of the players. I think the most important thing was to say that there are only two scenarios. First, which was unacceptable, to come out and make fools of ourselves in the second half or second, do what we've done in the past which is to come back, 0-1 not a problem. We've come back against different teams and we've been able to turn the game around this season. This is the Chicago Fire that we wanted to see in the second half and I think that's what happened. The players understood the message well, adjusting a few things in our defensive shape. I think in the second half, not including chances we conceded due to individual or technical errors, all we were missing was scoring a goal. The players showed character, they showed that like always, we play until the end and that we have pride. We were lacking a goal.”

On the decision to start Tony Tchani and Alan Gordon:
“We wanted to suffocate their midfield with two players, Tchani and Elliot in this case. A midfield who can bring a lot of energy to the team and can execute very well the defensive plan. Then obviously Alan is somebody that you have to complement Niko. Somebody that can hold the ball, that can win aerial duels because our plan was a little bit different from what we have seen in us before and we just need to adjust some pieces that can fit together. I think we did a good job in the first half except that goal that we conceded. This was actually a very competitive game and it reminds me of my time when I was a player in Europe. You have two teams that are playing good soccer. They are two teams that are executing their plan and then one mistake decides everything. That's why on one side I'm happy because these performances are not usual here and not usual for us. But that shows that we made a step forward in maturity and understanding the importance of the tactical organization, execution, discipline, character, and then adjustments. Adjustments that we did in the second half.”

On Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring the lone goal and the team’s first half struggles:
“Of course, Zlatan has an amazing talent that he was able to display today and he was, undoubtedly, decisive. The result shows that. But for us, the first half was not bad. For us, this is how we wanted to play to be able to get to the second half with options where we could execute a distinct game plan that we had to modify a bit. But we wanted to counterattack. We wanted to make the game difficult for them. We wanted to be very organized and it worked for us except for that one occasion and that was decisive. As I said before, this was a very tactical game from both sides who were playing a game of chess. I think in the end the individual quality decided the game where both teams were organized and clear with the plan they were following.”

On the potential additions before the window closes in two weeks:
“What we expect is to work with the team we have and as I said, I see progress. That makes me feel very, very happy. I see important progress, in tactical understanding and maturity even when we had a lot of young players today, it was a very mature approach. All I expect is to build on top of that. The window closes in two weeks, or a little bit more, everything's possible and we're active until we have the possibility but we'll see what happens.”

On keeping Bastian Schweinsteiger in the backline for the time being:
“It depends on the game. Second half, as you could see, in one moment we moved Bastian to midfield and he brought a different dimension to the game with his capacity, understanding of the game, execution, everything. The talent that Bastian has is amazing. One day we should build a statue here in front of Bridgeview just like Michael Jordan has. So definitely he is, as I said in the past, very important for us and we appreciate a lot how much talent he has and can apply to different roles in our team.”

Dax McCarty, Chicago Fire Midfielder
On the atmosphere of the match:
“I thought we handled it okay. Obviously the weather played a factor a little bit more than the actual atmosphere. It was a great atmosphere, fans were loud, it’s nice to see the stadium being that full, let’s try to do that more often.”

On how to continue to draw large crowds:
“You gotta win games, you gotta play better, you gotta score goals and you gotta entertain them. You have to be a team that’s easy to root for and right now we’re struggling a little bit. I don’t blame them, I don’t blame the fans for not coming out because if you don’t win games, maybe you don’t deserve to play in front of a packed stadium. It’s on us to improve and get better and try to fill this place up more.”

On the fans' patience:
“Fandom is a funny thing. It’s easy to root for a team when everything is going right and everything is easy, it’s tough to root for a team when things are not going well and the product on the field is below average right now. That’s what we are, we’re below average right now and the results speak to that. All I can do is just ask our loyal fans to stick with us. We have to turn it around, and I promise we will do anything we can to turn it around. It’s not easy times right now, we’re just lacking a little bit of quality all over the field. That’s the brutal honest truth. You have to be honest with yourself. When you reflect on teams and on games, you have to be honest and say that we’ve been second-best most of the season. We all have to stick together, we have to stay positive, there’s no magic solution, there’s no magic potion. I’m pretty sure Lionel Messi is not walking through that door, so we have to make sure that we stick together as a group and we’re going to have to win games as a team. If all 11 players play well, that’s the way we’re going to win games. If one or two guys have off days and don’t play too well, then it’s going to be a struggle for us to win games. That’s the key, just trying to stick together and stay positive.”

Jon Bakero, Chicago Fire Forward
On making his professional debut:
“Obviously, a dream come true making my debut for a club like Chicago Fire and MLS, it’s very nice. But obviously, not the result we wanted and we’ve got to continue working and get ready for next week.”

On the direction he was given before entering the match:
“I think like everything, just carry anything I can, try to get forward and try to create a goal, the assist or score.”

On the performance:
“I think we were better than them in the second half, as I said, we have to continue working, continue in this dynamic that we’ve had in these couple weeks, getting better and better, and I think we’ll be ready for next week.”

 

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