Coach Jim CurtinOpening Remarks:Important bounce back from what was an awful performance in LA. I think the guys put a lot into the game, were we perfect on the night, absolutely not, but the guys stuck with it you know, Sheanon puts a good ball in and C J makes a big plan at a time where we needed one. It looked like, um, they had a lot of young guys on the field and the biggest thing when another team is playing young players is you have to kind of early on play a speed that they’re not used to, I don’t think we did that and it gave them confidence.
They have some really good young players and it’s a team that has a culture of winning, ok so they have winners, Obafemi and Clint aren’t here but the whole group that they have is used to winning so it’s going to be tough to break them down because they expect to win every time they step on the field, you know something we’re striving to build here. I thought we closed the game out poorly in the last ten minutes, decisions of when to go to the corner and try and kill a little bit or time verses going for the glory of a second goal.
Percentage wise I don’t think we made a lot of smart plays at the end of the game, again I’ll take responsibility for that but there still is moments on the field where guys need to know the role, I can only scream it so loud sometimes to run to the corner but again, happy for the guys to bounce back. Tired legs they put a lot into it and uh you know, smiling faces. While it wasn’t a perfect game, nobody remembers at the end of the year what the three points looked like in the end of June so again, a big three points for us, a much needed three points and climbed up a little bit in the points.
On CJ’s four straight goals/playingYeah, I mean again he’s doing a lot of the things we brought him here to do. He had the little setback; I think he learned a lot from that. His ability in his athleticism is… you can tell center backs can’t stand playing against him, he’s a handful, he’s a guy that is just tough to deal with, you can see that he can jump off two feet, he can jump off in ways that most people can’t and elevate and then kind of hang and decide and he does a great job of holding the bar up for us, a lot of the little things that don’t show up in the stats sheet. Letting us breathe as a team and when we finally do get the ball up to him instead of a quick turn over now straight back down their throats, he’ll have a way of spinning out and making a little pass backwards to an outside back that I think a lot of people don’t realize how much that helps the team.
Again, obviously great to score goals, I love that he’s a striker, he's scoring goals but a lot of the little things and the work he does, to see him running in the 90th minute there to close guys down and fight and get a piece of guys was exceptional. Really happy for him, he’s been through a lot this year and I think he is on pace to have a very good year in terms of goal op that I think he’ll probably, if he maintains his form break his past record in that regard.
On playing CJ being sustainable without getting the runs from wingers
Right now health wise we don’t have a ton of guys to go to that are natural wide guys so you say tonight, I tried to switch Andrew to the right, put Chaco out left to start, thought our pressure wasn’t great it was a little disjointed. Newest roles, there was spots that the guys have all played but you know wind up starting the second half back to the original way we did it last week with Pfeffer on the right, Chaco underneath where he is more comfortable and Andrew out on the left and we have the occasional glimmer of a good instance where we get to the end line and it’s a good cross but they’re 20 minutes apart, you know what I mean, you want more consistency from out attacking guys and from out whole team to be honest.
We’ve been a very inconsistent team. A lot of stretches where you go; “wow, this team can play” and a lot of stretches where you go; “I don’t know what going on out there”, again it’s the getting some more consistency, its late in the year now injuries have played a role but every team is injured. Look at Seattle they’re an injured team as well but getting the service with the right runs has been a challenge for sure.
On the importance of a win after Saturday’s match
We talked it out, the result in LA and if you look at the last six games now that we’ve played we’ve actually performed well outside of that one so I’m hoping that that was a one off, obviously it’s a shorthanded Seattle team but they’re professionals and it’s tough to get three points in this league no matter what it’s very, very difficult and to their credit they did a good job all night and we didn’t conceive a shot on goal till pretty late which I was happy with, again that’s what it should look like in our home building but we’re trying to get on a little bit of a rate, get some confidence and I think wins in any way that you can get them are important and if it’s an ugly 1-0 like tonight we’ll take it and we’ll move on.
On where the team would be if CJ wasn’t able to come back early/at the time when Fernando was hurt
I think if you go back it starts at what was maybe our best win and maybe best performance of the year in New York, when he comes off the bench there and gives us a holy cow moment where he just takes over the game, scores a goal but is just a handful and it sounds cheesy but he does have a different look in his eye, when I put him in that game, he’s usually a pretty laid back smiley kind of happy-go-lucky guy but there was and a desire that was uh, you took note is what I would say and I think he’s carried that now in every game. To put his face on the line, go back to the first game of the year he breaks his face I mean he’s literally a guy that will put his body on the line for the team. Happy for him but again I think that that process changed him and without him right now we would be in trouble, without him you know Conor being injured is a factor. We just don’t have a lot of depth there, Fernando with all the injuries he’s had its been a struggle and CJ has stepped up and given us big goals which is huge.
On the impact of traveling. How to handle Montreal and DC
It’s brutal; I wish we had a lot of healthy bodies. The one spot where we have healthy bodies that have played MLS games and contributed is outside backs. We have had, you’ve seen a little bit of a rotation between Ray, Fabi and Shea, three guys that I think are very capable of kind of very seamlessly going into any moment of the game and stepping up. Because of injuries we don’t have a lot of guys with a lot of experience maybe on the bench that have been in those battles so it’s not as easy to substitute, just because there’s multiple injuries at specific positions so it’s a challenge but the one thing I’ll add is that the rest of all these teams, you know Montreal is playing Toronto right now in what’s they’re biggest rivalry game or whatever you want to call it of the year and now they’re on the same rest as us and you look ahead.
Seattle obviously with tonight they have a game in Portland so you saw the definitely had some guys out and then when you look to DC, you look ahead at these schedules and it’s crazy because DC we were supposed to play on Wednesday in the Open Cup, if you look two days later they travel to Seattle to play the Sounders so again, these variables for me are the biggest ones and if someone could come up with an algorithm of the teams that plays teams when guys are maybe on international duty and suspension it dictates a lot of points for the year.
I can remember maybe a couple years ago we got a lot of breaks where a lot of top players are either suspended, it's a little bit lucky and quirky but if you do look at the games that are the next games so again, DC playing us on a Tuesday having to go to Seattle which game Benny handles or maybe treats to rest guys I don’t know. I’m hoping it’s against us, you hope you get those little breaks that maybe put the strain, maybe makes it a little bit more manageable because yes, tonight would be a lot harder if Osvaldo Alonso, Clint and Obafemi are running around out there and Chad Marshall so we got a break for sure but we took advantage of it and we got three points and that kind of all you can do. You can only play the team that’s here and if they still have good players.
On CJ form affecting Fernando’s status with the team
No, it doesn’t affect much. You need multiple forwards in this league. It’s a spot that we’ve been thin at because Conor had that injury after he gave us two good games so I would say you need to stable of good forwards with Sebastian being out too he’s kind of a guy that you could throw up there and I could get away with letting him get a few minutes up there but to not have him has been an issue too but you look across the league and you need multiple strikers to get you through the 34 games so it doesn’t affect anything in the negotiations with Fernando, CJ’s form so you need multiple strikes and CJ gives you the versatility to play on either side, the right or the left if we do play with three up there.
On expecting players to return from injury
I hope so. It’s going to be close with a couple of guys, Seb is a quick healer. Conor is close he’s got kind of the final push but it would be nice to have those guys even if it was for 15 or 20 minutes because even if you think of you know I’m not going to pick on Ayuk but I put him in a game where it’s tough, he’s an 18/19 year old kid and it’s a hard moment and he’s never been in these situations of how to close out a 1-0 game whereas Fred who is up there in years but has the wisdom to take a foul, to slow things down, to be slow on a restart, to keep the ball when you should keep it, to put it in the corner. All of those things add up so to have a Conor or a Seba for the last 15 minutes to help close is a huge option to have.
Defender Sheanon Williams
On what a shutout meant for the backline
Yeah one of the key points before the game was to keep a shutout. Obviously it was disappointing to give up 5 goals in a game. It’s not good enough from us, so we wanted to rectify that and I think we did a good job of it tonight.
On his assist to CJ Sapong
The amount of headballs that CJ wins is somewhat incredible. He’s a monster so you just loft it up and let him go get it.
On the team’s preparations for Saturday
Yeah we’ll turn it around tomorrow and be back in getting ready for Saturday. Nothing’s going to come easy to us after we put ourselves in a position that we need to get out of so we don’t have the luxury of taking breaks and taking games off. Every game from here to the end is as important as the next one.
On Seattle fielding a weak lineup
It didn’t excite me since we needed three points and that’s what we got. If they want to put that out then go for it.
On his added comfort in playing on the right side
Well I’m right footed. I mean that’s as comfortable as it gets I guess. I’ll do whatever this team needs me to do to help win games.
Midfielder Brian Carroll
On his leadership in preparing the team after the defeat to LA
It’s good that we had a game so quickly so we could move on from it. Some things like that just happen and there’s no explanation. You move on and you try to win the next one which we did. Obviously it wasn’t perfect but it’s a win and we’ll move on and try to get a win on Saturday.
On how his body’s holding up with an increased minutes load
I feel good. I like the heat and I like the humidity. I like playing a lot of games in quick succession, and I know that our guys can rise to the challenge and whoever’s name is called will do the job against Montreal.
On how this run of games feels to him after his early season struggles
It feels really good. It feels good to enjoy my time on the field and it’s even better when the team gets a win.
On how far he’s come since his DUI
Honestly it’s been one where I’ve been aware of every moment and appreciated every moment. Honestly I have no regrets. Things happen in life that put reflectionary moments in front of you. It’s about how you respond to the adversity and right now I’m enjoying life off the field and enjoying it on the field as well.
On the run of form he’s on
I can’t really remember if I had quite a stretch in Kansas City, but what I really the most is enjoying it and having fun on the field. So for me that’s all I can ask for.
On whether being the only healthy forward added pressure
Not really. I think on this team everyone has the ability to provide an impact which is why they’re on the roster. When the guys get injured, we don’t really think about it until you guys bring it up honestly but for me I know I’m going to be counted on and get those minutes and I just want to be out there helping my team.
On his energy and health with a heavy minutes load
I feel really good. When you’re tapping into an energy that’s just an all-appreciative and in the moment type of energy it’s very different. I was probably fitter in the beginning of the season but I don’t think I could have gone this stretch of minutes without feeling heavy in the legs. I’m just riding the wave right now.
On the synergy between him and Sheanon Williams on his goal
Actually I had a headset on and he kind of buzzed me and told me to make that run. No man that’s playing together enough and finally getting the timing right. I think we’ve been looking for it all season and it finally clicked.