Thursday, September 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

For Philadelphia Union manager John Hackworth, 'one of the most frustrating games of my coaching career'

A few highlights from what various people had to say after the Union's 1-1 draw with Toronto FC on Saturday afternoon.

For Philadelphia Union manager John Hackworth, 'one of the most frustrating games of my coaching career'

A few highlights from what various people had to say after the Union's 1-1 draw with Toronto FC on Saturday afternoon...

Philadelphia Union manager John Hackworth

Opening remarks:

That has to be one of the most frustrating games of my coaching career, for sure. A lot of reasons for that, but at the end of the day, we weren't good enough to overcome the difficulties that Toronto presented us, and other factors in the game.

I do want to make sure that I acknowledge Joe Bendik for Toronto. He was ridiculous in goal today. He kept them in it on so many occasions. I didn't even see it until I just looked at the stat sheet, but he had nine saves. Good day for him, and we've got to do a better job.

On whether it's any consolation that the Union at least got a point from the day:

This is one of those games where a draw feels like a loss. I definitely feel like we scored a goal there [that was disallowed for a foul on the goal line]. I know what I was told on the sidelines. What I saw live and what I saw on the replay were completely opposite.

But you can't do anything about that. It is what it is, and at the end of the day you've got to take your chances and finish them. We didn't do a good enough job of that.

On opening up the team's playing style over the course of the game:

We're not a long-ball team. That game - at halftime the stats were much more possession-oriented. In the first half, we had the ball 66 percent of the time. So I don't know what to tell you, but I think we had it more than they did. It was just a terrible, ugly game. It was a restart game, between some tactics by Toronto and some interesting management by somebody else on the field.

It was just a game that was stopping and starting the whole time. It continued to do that the whole game, so that's one of the reasons why - and I know the players feel it too, they're very frustrated by the way the tempo and the rhythm of the game unfolded.

On the slip by the back line that led to Toronto's goal:

We talked about it all week, that it's what this team does, and they do it well. You can be all over them and they've had this situation again and again throughout the season, where they're under siege a little bit and then they get this opportunity, and they hurt you. That's why they are doing as well as they are right now.

They are certainly playing to their strengths, and you've got to give them full credit for that. We knew that was a possibility the whole time. That's a crazy situation for our back line to deal with - you've got a guy that's probably 15-20 yards offside, so when you're a defender, you take the first look and see that the guy is offside. But he walks away and a guy runs from onside.

I know that's the rule. Our players know it's the rule. But when you're in a game situation, there's no question that it's extremely difficult to deal with.

On the Union's struggles to build momentum during the game with so many whistles:

It's a tactic [by Toronto], to be very blunt about it, and it was used very effectively today. I'm not attacking that tactic - I understand it. But when you're trying to get a game going and you're trying to establish things, it stops and starts. It's little things. All of a sudden you're not playing because there's a player down, or a ball on the field, or the referee blows his whistle and stops things.

It's very disruptive, and personally I don't like that. I'm not a fan of it.

On Kléberson's debut:

Kléberson is one of the best pros I've been around, in the short time I've been around him. He understands that you come to work every day and you do everything you can as a player to put yourself in a position to be selected. He never once has said, "Hey, coach, I'm ready." He just said, "Whenever you're ready to put me in, I'm ready."

That's what you want out of any pro.

On Conor Casey's assertiveness:

I would think he needs a little bit of help - not from our guys, but I thought he was fouled several times very early in the game. He was fouled twice, in my opinion, so early in that game that the management may have switched a little bit. That's frustrating.

But he's certainly that presence out there, as you can see. And he's sneaky, too, because he's a good soccer player. He can do it not only with his physicality, but with his technical and tactical ability.

Philadelphia Union forward Antoine Hoppenot

On his missed chance at the end of the game:

I just got the ball and looked up and [Joe Bendik] was coming hard, so I just tried to put it by him. He made a pretty decent save, but I should never have put the ball anywhere near where he could have made a save.

At the end of the day, it's a chance that I need to put in the back of the net. I just looked at it again, and it seems obvious that I should have just gone by him. A touch to the left or a touch to the right and he has no chance.

Philadelphia Union forward Conor Casey

On having created so many chances in the game:

It's good to be creating chances, but obviously it's disappointing to not put them away.

On playing with Jack McInerney and Sébastien Le Toux:

The first half was just rough for everybody. We didn't do a good job. But we're starting to build those relationships, which is good. They've played together before, and now I'm starting to build relationships with those guys. So it's coming along.

Obviously today wasn't ideal for us, but we did have our chances. We just have to finish them.

On the confidence he has gained from being back at full health and playing regularly:

It's growing. It's good to have had a couple of weeks to play, and to have had minutes on the field. But goals are the main thing for a forward, so you try to do everything to get to that point. At the end of the day it's what we get paid for. That's something that has got to be improved.

On whether it's better to have a game in which everything gets called or a game in which nothing gets called:

Nothing. It just kills the tempo of the game. There's no fluidity to it.

Philadelphia Union defender Amobi Okugo

On what he saw during the disallowed goal:

It was a great free kick by Keon [Daniel] and I knew I wasn't going to get there, so I just tried to disrupt the goalkeeper. I put my head and hands in the way, then dropped them right before [the ball] came to me. I guess that distracted Bendik enough to make him drop it. Jack put it away like he usually does, and I guess the ref got confused.

On when he thought the foul was called:

I turned around and I fell in the goal, and the next thing I knew I saw the ball in the goal and the whistle blew. I don't know if the foul was on me or on Jack. I tried to ask the referee but he wasn't having any of it.

On the defensive lapse that led to Robert Earnshaw's goal:

It was a weird play - it was off our own goal kick. The next thing you know, [Ashtone] Morgan hit it. I was even with Jeff, and I saw [Justin] Braun behind me. It went past me and Braun acted like he wasn't in the play. The next thing you know, Earnshaw - I guess he was even with Ray, Jeff or me - and he ended up taking advantage of his chance.

It's pretty tough, because it was kind of scrappy. Morgan clears it and you think you have Braun offside, the assistant ref stalls and then you have Earnshaw running on.

On whether the frequent whistles and nine yellow cards handed out made him change his playing style:

No, we knew Toronto was going to try to make it ugly, especially being away. They did a good job frustrating us in the first half, but we did a good job settling down and knocking the ball around. You could see that when they felt us coming, they were trying to stall in any way possible, whether kicking free kicks away or acting like they got hit when the wind blew on them.

It was tough, but we've got to stick to our game plan and not let outside influences affect us.

On whether this was the type of game the Union would have lost last year:

Oh, I thought we were going to lose it this year. But we fought back and continued to stick to the game plan. We knew we had chances. Their goalkeeper did some great job making some saves, but it shows our perseverance and that we've come a long way since last year.

Toronto FC manager Ryan Nelsen

On Joe Bendik's performance:

We haven't asked Joe to do much in the past five games. When you're away from home, your 'keeper has to do that. I thought the whole defense was very good, very strong. We probably couldn't get a lot of our rhythm going, but at least we defended well.

And it was a ridiculous decision [Ashtone Morgan's sending off] that cost us three points.

On Toronto establishing a reputation as a difficult team to beat:

That's where we've got to build our foundation. We're not going to come out and be the greatest team ever in MLS overnight - it's going to take time. And first of all, we've got to build a foundation. The guys made it very difficult for a very good Philadelphia team. They're very well-coached and they play some very nice football.

On Robert Earnshaw's ability to teach Toronto's younger players:

He's been fantastic since he walked in the door. When you have young players and they see Rob week in and week out, training and playing like that, you can only learn. He's great around the locker room as well.

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
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Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
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