Sunday, April 20, 2014
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MacMath: Shutout 'gives me a lot of confidence'

Here are some postgame quotes from players on both teams after the Philadelphia Union and Vancouver Whitecaps played to a scoreless draw at PPL Park.

MacMath: Shutout 'gives me a lot of confidence'

As promised, there was a parade for Sébastien Le Toux's return to PPL Park. Sort of. (Jonathan Tannenwald/Philly.com)

Here are some postgame quotes from players on both teams after the Philadelphia Union and Vancouver Whitecaps played to a scoreless draw at PPL Park.


Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath

On the confidence he gained from finally getting a shutout:

It gives me a lot of confidence. I feel like last year, when I had that good run of games. I'm finally starting to continue to build confidence every game.

On Danny Califf's performance:

He looked refreshed, he looked confident. He worked really hard and got in some good tackles and made some big plays for us.

On the postgame atmosphere in the locker room:

Confident, but still disappointed. We know we should have won the game, and I think everyone really wishes we could have gotten a goal in there. But I think we understood that we deserved three points in the game, and I think we'll take that into Columbus [two weeks from now].

On whether the players hear it when the fans complain about the team not playing well:

There's always going to be people saying this and that when the team is down, but we know we're a team, we're a family in the locker room. We're going to just focus on going out and giving our best performance.

On the importance of having two weeks until the next game, and what the team can do in that time:

I think it's really good, just for everyone to refresh their batteries a little bit and take a couple of days off, really get our legs back under us. Hopefully it gives us plenty of time to prepare for the Columbus game.

Union defender Danny Califf

On how it felt to be back on the field:

It was great. It's amazing not only to be back out there, but to feel the outpouring of emotion and support that I got. It was awesome. I couldn't have asked for anything more.

On how it felt to not be playing in games:

It sucks. I think it is part of you. We live to compete, and when you're not able to compete every day, practice is great, but it doesn't bring that level of commitment and excitement. It doesn't bring all of that out of you like matches do.

So when you don't have that, I think part of you is missing.

On the importance of the shutout for Zac MacMath:

I think it was huge. I think he was fantastic tonight. It was great for his confidence, and it was great for the confidence of our defense as a whole. To get a clean sheet, to do it at home in front of our fans, and to do it against a potent attack.

On having everything about Sébastien Le Toux finally out of the way:

Yeah, absolutely. Sébastien is a good guy, and he was great for us. You wish him well, but it's tough to go back and dwell on things that are in the past. So it's nice to come here and pay him respect, but it's good that part's over and we can move on and accept the fact that he's not on the team anymore.

He's still a good guy, he's still a good player, but we can move on.

On the importance of having two weeks until the team's next game, and on what can be done during that time:

I think it's important in that we get more than 24 hours off. We've been pushing pretty hard, so it will be nice to get a few days where we can relax with our families and kind of recharge our batteries before a big stretch coming up.

We have three important games that we need to take close to maximum points from. So it will be a good stretch where I think we can concentrate on some things and be ready to go and amped come Columbus.

On whether one of the things that can happen over the next few weeks is further integrating the new players into the team:

Yeah. I think the more time that we have together, and the more time that we're put in game situations - not only in games, but also in training - the quicker the integration is going to be. When you have a longer stretch, you're able to do that, because you're not either recovering from a game or getting ready for a game.


Union forward Chandler Hoffman

On making his MLS debut:

It's definitely fast-paced, and there's not many chances. In training, you can get loads and loads of chances, but in the game they come few and far between. I definitely need to be more dangerous the next time I step on the field, and not play it so safe. But it was definitely a good experience.

On starting the game wide on the left side of the field:

We wanted to create some width, and give Lio [Lionard Pajoy] a chance to get behind their back line, or give a midfielder a chance to make a run. So I was just trying to keep the ball for us.

On whether that was hard to adjust to:

Yeah, it's definitely a different type of system than what I'm used to. But I want to be on the field and help the team get points, so moving forward I definitely want to create more goal opportunities. I thought I played it a little safe in the first half, but that's definitely something I feel I can build off of and improve on.

On what prompted the move to the forward line:

We felt that we needed to put more pressure on their back four. We were keeping the ball, but we weren't really creating that many chances. So pushing me a little bit higher was trying to create more chances and find more space.

On whether he was surprised when he found out he was starting:

I had been working really hard in preseason, and had been training with the starting 11 off and on. So I knew it was just a matter of time, that if I kept working and playing well, I would get a chance.

On what he has seen so far in making the transition from college soccer to professional soccer:

Every day is a grind. The practices are a lot more demanding mentally and physically. So just getting adjusted to that is the key.


Union midfielder/defender Gabriel Farfan

On the importance of getting a shutout:

It was important. Every week, we want to build on the last week, so I think shutting them out was extremely important to us to build confidence and momentum going into the next game.

On whether he was disappointed with the lack of offense:

I think we were fine. Like I said, we want to build momentum. I think as long as we get the defense strong, we'll be fine. I think the goals will come as long as we're working hard and working for each other.

On being in the starting lineup:

It was great. Obviously, like I've said before, you're always pushing to start. You always want to be on the field regardless of how long you've been on the bench. But it was great to see the full 90 minutes.


Union midfielder Michael Farfan

On what Peter Nowak told him when he came on as a halftime substitute:

Nothing much. Just to go in there and do what I do, kind of create and keep possession and give a spark to the team.

On whether it was frustrating to watch the team not be able to score:

Not too much. We know the goals are going to come, and we've just got to keep on working hard. We know that if we keep on working hard, good things will happen.

On the importance of getting a shutout:

It's definitely something we needed. It's something we've got to get used to, and we have to keep working defensively as hard as we have been. Hopefully the goals will come.


Union defender Sheanon Williams

On the importance of getting a shutout:

It's big. It's our first one of the year. It's something to get us kick started. I think that as a back line, we needed it, and as a team we needed it. Also, any time you get a zero it gives your team a chance to win. So I'm happy about that part.

I thought that even offensively, we looked good. We created good chances and limited their chances.

On Zac MacMath's improvement:

As Zac plays more games and I know he played a good amount last year - with more games you get to feel more comfortable. You get more situated. I think he played great tonight. He made a huge save on Sébastien in the first half. He was awesome, he did everything he was asked to.

On the importance of getting back on the field so soon after the United States Under-23 national team's disappointing performance at the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament:

It was tough. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to help out the team, but it was hard even for me to get back into the flow of things. I pretty much have been sitting around in a hotel for two weeks, almost, so it's good to be back with the guys. It's good to be back in the trenches, and it's time to go to work.

We've got a little bit of time off here. I know coach Nowak has some things for us to work on, and we're definitely going to get down to it.

On what can be done with two full weeks until the next game:

You can do a lot. We have some injuries, so those guys will have some time to get healed up. We can work on the tactical part of things, and just get everything going for a good push coming up.


Whitecaps forward Sébastien Le Toux

On the reception he received from Union fans:

It was bigger than I was expecting. People were fantastic. Lots of emotion before the game, and during the game, and after. It was great. I really appreciate all the support there for me, and what they did tonight was great.

On almost capping off the day with a goal:

Two big chances, and I should have scored. I'm very disappointed with myself. I wanted to help my team win here today, and unfortunately we didn't. I got the two biggest chances on the team, and I should have scored. I have to be better, and I'm a little bit disappointed right now.

On whether he was surprised by how open he was with his chance late in the second half:

No, I wasn't surprised. I know the quality of Davide Chiumiento, and I know he can give a fantastic ball. On the play, he found me perfectly. My touch was not so good, and the goalkeeper, Zac, did a pretty good job. I just wanted to poke it in, and unfortunately it went pretty wide.

So I'm disappointed in myself. I should have scored that one, I think.

On whether he was glad to get this game out of the way early in the season:

Yes. Maybe it was a big date in my calendar. But I really wanted to put the team [ahead] more, not the fact that I was playing here. It was huge for lots of people, and for me of course, but it was a new experience for me. I've never really had that before.

It's going to be good for my own experience, and I'm going to try to be better in the next game and score more goals.


Whitecaps defender Jordan Harvey

His overall thoughts on the game:

I thought we created some good chances, as did they, and once again we were sound defensively. We had to make some last-ditch efforts off the line, as we have every once in a while, but other than that I thought we played well.

They came hard in the second half, and I thought we withstood their wave. Then after, that, it was kind of back-and-forth. We are disappointed in the tie - I thought we could have had more - but overall, as long as we're continuing to get points and move forward, we're just looking forward to San Jose next week and hoping to get points there.

On playing in Philadelphia again:

It was great. I thought [the fans] were great. [There was] the occasional banter from the stands, but it was all good. I thought it was fun, and the atmosphere was great as usual. It was a good experience.

On watching Sébastien Le Toux miss an open net late in the game:

Yeah, usually when he's in behind the defense like that, he puts it away. So I think he's disappointed in that play. But like I said, I think we created chances. Hopefully we put those away in the future.

On the team's defensive solidity so far this season:

That was my first start this year, and I was good to keep that streak going with no goals. It's one of our goals as a back line to keep a zero, and I thought we did well tonight. We stayed organized and limited their chances.


Whitecaps defender Jay DeMerit

On the team's offensive struggles:

If we can't turn [chances] into goals at the other end, then a point's not really good enough. I think just need to keep working on it, we need to keep creating, and we need to be more accountable for how we finish in the final third.

On the team's defensive strength and whether he is surprised at how quickly it has come together:

In a way, yeah. That was one of our points from preseason: getting guys together and making sure we're all on the same page. The good thing is that both Martin [Bonjour] and Y.P. [Lee] have fantastic experience. So it's not going to take long for them to gel into a defense, because that's something they've done before.

I think we've used that to our advantage. But now, again, we've got to turn those clean sheets into three points.

On whether, given how well he has played so far this season, he has gotten any phone calls from from U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann:

Haha. I have no idea. Not as of now.

On whether he'd like to hear from Klinsmann:

That's up to him.

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
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The Goalkeeper is your home for the latest news about the Philadelphia Union, Major League Soccer, U.S. national teams and the rest of the world's most popular sport. It's also a place for fans to gather and celebrate the culture of soccer and its unique place on the sports landscape.

Reach Jonathan at jtannenwald@phillynews.com or 215-854-2330.

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
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