Hackworth: 'We didn't play our regular brand of soccer early'

With head coach Peter Nowak out of action due to back surgery, assistant coach John Hackworth oversaw the Union's 1-1 draw against Chicago at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill.

The Union's media relations staff was kind enough to send along audio clips of Hackworth's press conference, and remarks from goalscorer Veljko Paunović.

Hackworth's comments about the use of Paunović tactically during the first half are particularly interesting, I think.

John Hackworth

Opening remarks

I know you guys want Peter Nowak to be sitting here. I don't look like Peter, do I - I'm much better looking, aren't I? Just kidding. Don't tell him I said that.

His overall perspective on the game

First off, I would like to give a little bit of credit to Chicago, because I thoguht they were very good tonight. Wiht the new additions, they're obviously an improved team, and they made it very hard for us - particularly in those first 30 minutes.

I think we did a good job of trying to lock it down. We made a couple of adjustments and got a great goal, probably agains the run of play, but then I thought we found ourselves a little bit.

We thought coming out of halftime that we could establish some more ball possession, and we did. I felt like we had a little better control of the game, and yet Chicago scores, kind of against the run of play. At that point, I think both teams had some good chances, with everybody fighting really hard until the end.

It's a point on the road, and again, against I think a much-improved Chicago team, and I have to give them credit.

On Veljko Paunović's performance

I think Paunović stepped up, and we asked him to play a different role tonight. We started him up high, alone, but with attacking players joining him. He wasn't really finding the game early, so we moved him a litle farther wide, and switched him with Séba [Le Toux].

That allowed him some freedom to come find the ball underneath. It was better for him once we did that. He had a good game, obviously a fantastic goal, but then, again, through the second half, he put the ball on the floor, tried to control things, gave us some composure. So that was really good.

On what the team could have done better

We didn't play our regular brand of soccer early. We're usually a much better ball possession team. We have better mobility, we try to get our backs into attack, we try to get numbers forward. We were a little bit hesitant in doing so tonight. But that being said, I think we got it going at points in that game.

It's a credit to Chicago that they did a decent job and came out with a tremendous amount of energy, really battled for everything, made it difficult for us to find, in particular, our midfielders - Roger Torres, Brian Carroll, Stefani Miglioranzi.

And then we got it going, then, like I said, gave one up.

Velkjo Paunović

Opening remarks

I think the game was very tight until we scored the goal, and then we opened up a little bit more. They tried to push it harder after we scored, and I think the game was very equal between us.

We were doing fine, we went to halftime with the score 1-0, and it was very important for us to finish the first half like that. Then in the second half, to be honest I think we were unfortunate in the goal that tied the game. They scored very early, and maybe we could have handled it a little more with the score 1-0.

In the end, I think we have to be satisfied with the game. We got one point. This was a very hard game for us, a very hard place for us to win. They showed they are a solid squad, and they pushed very hard all game. So I think one point is not bad.

On why the Union came out flat

We knew that they needed to win. They were going to push very hard today. So we were prepared for that. We were trying to be a very solid block against them, then we had an opportunity to score, and we did. So it was our game. We were managing the game as we wanted, we just didn't want the goal that drew the game.

It was unfortunate, as I said, but in the end, I think we are satisfied with this.

If you didn't get to watch the game, here's a video clip of Paunović's goal. 

WWhile the Union were playing Chicago, Spanish superpower FC Barcelona and Mexican superpower Chivas de Guadalajara were playing a friendly match at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.

If it's possible for there to be an upset in a friendly, this was one, as Chivas routed Barcelona by a 4-1 margin. Marco Fabian scored two spectacular goals for Chivas, especially the second one:

Fabian's bicycle kick was so good, that surely you're going to want to watch it again. So here's Jorge Perez-Navarro's call of the play on Galavisión: