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Quote Sheet: Chicago Fire 1 – 0 Philadelphia Union

Chicago Fire 1 – 0 Philadelphia Union
Toyota Park – March 24, 2012
Chicago Fire head coach Frank Klopas
Thoughts on the match:
“Obviously great, great to be back home after a long off season.  I know we opened in Montreal last week but there’s no place like home.
Great to set the tone early with the energy we brought on the field.  From the start, I thought we pressed very high, we had a very good forty-five minutes.  I thought the second half we started a little bit slow, we were slow moving the ball through the midfield.  In the end, I give a lot of credit to my players.
We got a great win, not only was it a point for us to start the season in front of our fans, but today, our assistant coach Leo, his wife is giving birth to his third child.  So we said give a win for our fans, and for him.  We can all celebrate tonight.”
Paolo’s game tonight:
“Paolo was super, but I think it was the whole team.  For me, I was happy because there was a big improvement from the things we worked on in training and from the last game. Our rotation was good.  I think that our ball movement was very good. 
Paolo’s game was super, but it’s important that the rest of the team helped.  The victory is the team’s.”
Knowing that Philly has had some defensive struggles:
“We talked about that, we worked on both scenarios. At home they played 3-5-2 but they had Williams, who was missing.  I think he has more of the ability now to push forward a lot and recover.  But also with Gomez, he’s the deep guy that drops in the middle and becomes the fourth player for them.  We talked about the opportunities to play more direct to the forwards, but also we did a good job with Gomez.  The team worked extremely hard to play forward, but also defensively.”
Dictate throughout the game:
“I felt that the first half we came out and we had the rhythm in the game, I felt it changed the second half and we came out sluggish and our ball movement wasn’t that sharp.  We were a little casual and had some turnovers, and they are a good team with transition.  But I think that the momentum changed again.
The important thing is that we were disciplined, the backline played really well.  You talk about Paolo, but also Cory in the back… but it was a team effort.  You set certain goals, but you need to keep a clean sheet to create chances with the team and you need have an opportunity to create goals throughout the game.”
Cory in the last ten minutes:
“They push numbers forward and we knew that. We had a couple opportunities to put the game away, and when you don’t, you take a risk.  It wasn’t there to put the game away.  But Cory was tremendous.  His experience was huge tonight.”
Dominic’s evolution:
“At times in the game, he drifts off wide and he comes deep to get the ball.  We work on this all the time in training.  I think that his opportunity on the break, but now also when we do get wide now, that we work a lot on playing balls behind the defender.
It was great that he was able to finish a play like that in the air.  Normally that’s not one of his strengths, but it was great to see his timing, the jump the way he headed the ball was perfect.”
Keys to playing well:
“We have to continue to work.  This is early in the season.  It’s a long season, so if we want to get better and continue to win, it’s the sacrifices we make, the work that we put in training, the price that we pay, the little things that we do.” 
We need to work harder and harder every day.  It’s early on.  It’s fantastic that we won at home, and we’ve got four points now, one on the road and three tonight, but the road is long.  We need to reach the objectives that we set before, but we’re not going to do that without hard work.  We need to stay focused and keep working because it’s one game.” 


Dominic Oduro, Chicago Fire forward
On the result:
“Our confidence is really high.  I’m very proud of the team; I thought we stuck to our guns throughout the game and fought really hard.  The most important thing is that at the end of the day we got three points.  I thought we played really well and I’m looking forward to the next game. “
On his goal:
“We’ve been working on crossing and finishing during training, hoping it was something we would see in the game, (Marco) Pappa delivered a great ball and I was in the right spot to put it in. “
On picking up from last season:
“I’m pretty much right where I left off last season.  I want to keep it going with my teammates behind me, stay positive and work hard. “
On scoring on a header:
“As a forward, it’s my job to score wherever the ball is, in the air or on the ground,  I need to get to it.  Pappa made a great delivery and I was right there to put it in.  As to whether I’m working on headers or not, once the ball gets there I’ll use any part of my body, besides my hands, to score.”
Cory Gibbs, Chicago Fire defender
On the defense:
“I couldn’t be more proud of the backline, especially the goalie.  Paolo (Tornaghi) has had a rough road coming from overseas, regardless of the position he was in he stepped right in and played a spectacular game.  The backline kept it strong and we got the shutout. “
On the improvements of the backline over last season:
“We have a lot more organization this season.  Like any team that takes time, we’re a year plus into this with all of us together and the understanding has been great.  We work on it every day and it’s improving every day. “
On communicating with a new goalkeeper:
“That was his first game last week in Montreal, and the more we train together the better it’s getting.  He had to make some big save today, but outside of that we’re trying to make his job as easy as possible and fit him into the team.  He’s a great shot stopper and his composure is spectacular for his age, which comes from him playing for a big club in Europe.  We could ask for more from him – his composure everyday in training is so laid back, he’s not nervous and that’s huge for us.”
Logan Pause, Chicago Fire midfielder:
On picking up from last season:
“What’s carried over is that we have a strong core of players back, we have Frank coming back and there’s a lot of familiarity amongst the group and that’s positive.  We have really built on that during preseason.   We saw a glimpse of what this team is capable of last season, but we also know that last season is last season. “
On the result:
“We know that we got off to a rough start last season, and it’s important to get off to a strong start to this season.  I think tonight we played really well.  In the first half we clicked really well and were dangerous – they really didn’t have anything.  As the game went on they put numbers forward – they needed to fight, claw and look for set pieces in anything they can – but from our top back we did a good job defending.  I thought Paolo was fantastic in goal, making some big time saves again.  The backline was phenomenal again also. 
 Paola Tornaghi, Chicago Fire goalkeeper
On the Fire using an international roster spot to sign him:
“I’m glad that I was able to come here and help.  I knew when I had the opportunity to play that wanted to help the team win the games.”
On the defense:
“We were under a lot of pressure, but everyone did a great job on defense. “
On his comfort level starting the home opener:
“I felt pretty comfortable.  I’ve played in preseason and I played last week with the guys – we are a team and I feel like I’m a part of the team now.  I know my job on the field and as a team we are there to help each other. “
Philadelphia Union Head Coach Peter Nowak
On the team’s effort:
“It’s never easy to be in this situation like we are right now after three games.  I think from last week, we played much better.  We need to be more opportunistic.  It’s not very easy for the guys in the locker room but life goes on.  We have to make our best effort to overcome this and we are going to stay positive as a group.  We’ve already been in this situation and I think from the majority of the group they know that if you put a good effort into the field, and you look study the game afterwards, the hard work will pay off sooner or later.  It’s never easy to look at the standings after the game, it’s not easy for the guys in the locker room, and it’s not easy for the guys on the coaching staff.  That’s our job to give them a little confidence.  They are pushing very hard.  I can’t say one bad thing about the effort.  They did a good job with that, trying from different angles to score the tying goal.  What we need to do now is believe it.  We are a very good team, young but very good.  We have the quality to win the games.  That’s my job right now to inject the confidence and the security that they are still a good team.”
On the team’s progress:
“The little change with Sheanon Williams and he always gives us a little stretch and speed on the wing; maybe we played a little too narrow and shallow today but like I said the effort was there. I can’t say one bad thing about the team’s effort tonight.”
Philadelphia Union Goalkeeper Zac MacMath
On Oduro’s goal:
“I thought I had a pretty good arm for it, I am pretty disappointed that I didn’t get a full hand to it and push it wide.”
On his saves:
“It was a full 90 that I think I didn’t make any big mistakes like the previous games so I was happy about that.  It’s still very disappointing with the result.”
On playing a mistake-free game:
“It definitely builds my confidence going forward.  You want to get stronger and more confident every game.  I think this game really helps me do that going into Saturday.”
On the team’s takeaways from today:
“We showed a lot of heart tonight and we were very unfortunate not to come away with a tie or even a win.  But I think everyone in the locker room--we looked at each other and we can fight for each other and we’re ready to take that attitude to Vancouver.”
Philadelphia Union Midfielder Gabriel Farfan
On today’s match:
“It was a tough loss.  We couldn’t finish our chances.  We had a lot of possession.  We did well getting forward in the second half I thought, and we had a couple looks.  Luck just wasn’t on our side today.”
On the positives of today’s match:
“It was nice to see the field.  Obviously we want to work off of this.  We want to do work off every single game we play.  We did have a lot of possession, a lot of plays going forward.  We need to build on that, we need to work hard during the week and improve next week.”
On the possible pressure to get the first win:
“Yes, of course there is always anxiousness.  We always want to get three points and right now we need three points more than ever.  But right now we don’t feel the pressure too much.  Obviously there is but I think all the guys in the locker room can handle it.”