Fire and brimstone don’t always snap sports teams out of losing skids. Indeed, such tactics sometimes backfire.
But it was clear to everyone who watched the Union’s 2-0 home loss to Orlando City on Friday that a lot of things didn’t work right. Veteran midfielder Haris Medunjanin wasn’t afraid to say so, taking up most of his postgame press conference with criticism of his team’s performance.
Medunjanin isn’t known as a shouter, or even a verbal rallier of the troops. The philosophical approach that guides his pinpoint passing extends to his manner off the field as well.
But while his tone wasn’t forceful on Friday night, his words came through loud and clear. Here’s a transcript of what he had to say to the media, the fan base, and perhaps also the locker room.
It’s difficult when you don’t score. It’s difficult to win games. But I think we went into the game too comfortable, because the last performance we thought that everything was okay. But we didn’t win the last game. Today was a game we needed to win. And I mentioned it a lot of times last year: If we don’t play as a team, everybody can beat us.
You saw today the lines were too far [apart]: from the defense to the midfield, from the midfield to the offense. Everything was not right, everything was not how we spoke [of] in this week.
And then you lose against Orlando, that is not a better team than us, but we gave them two goals in the first half. From nowhere, we gave them two goals. And then we need to chase the game, and then it can go anywhere you know. I think we had a couple of chances, but like I said, if you don’t score, then it’s difficult to win.
We need to take more responsibility [the central midfield trio of Medunjanin, Borek Dockal and Alejandro Bedoya], I think. But we can’t give away goals that easy. If they beat us, you know, with a nice attack and a fantastic shot, we say it’s unbelievable, we congratulate them. But to give them that kind of easy goals, on this kind of level, it’s deadly.
Most of the time in the midfield, we are our most experienced players, and we need to keep the ball more. We want to attack every attack. That’s impossible. You can’t attack every attack. If the ball goes on the side, we cannot attack all the time. Sometimes we need to have patience.
We need to get the ball back, change [to the] other side, be patient, let them run. But we played everything at their feet, we played everything how they wanted. They played compact, they just waited [for us] to lose the ball, and then they played a long ball to [Dom] Dwyer and he hauled in every ball today.
I think that was our problem today: we were not patient. We want to attack too quick, and in football, you need to have patience. Because you play 90, 95 minutes. So I think we need to learn from that. We need to play as a team. That’s the main key for this team.
It’s about scoring goals, you know? If we have just one chance and we score one goal, it’s 1-0, that’s enough, man. It’s about winning games, you know. The last game, we played so good, we dominated, but we didn’t win. In this game, we need to win, and this is what it’s all about. It’s not about how many chances you create, it’s about that you score the goals, and that you play as a team.
If we attack, everybody needs to step. We need to play as short as possible from defense to midfield, from midfield to offense, and we didn’t do that today. And that’s why you get in trouble against Orlando. That’s frustrating, because we are a better team than that but we played poorly today.
The crowd is here, they came here, they want to enjoy a good soccer match. I think if you score the first chance with David [Accam] there, I think it can be another game. But we don’t score that opportunity, and then we get these two silly goals.
And then you’re chasing the game, there’s a lot of mistakes. You’re making bad mistakes. Because normally we don’t do that. But because you’re chasing the game, you want to do everything at a high level, and that’s why the mistakes come.
But at that moment, we need to be more patient. Because even if you are chasing the game, you need to wait for the right moment to give the ball to maybe give the ball to Borek [Dockal], to C.J. [Sapong]. But we want to do it so fast, and then we make a lot of mistakes. That’s what killed us today.
Watch Medunjanin after that Accam miss: pic.twitter.com/2Osl7ywGYv
— Kevin Kinkead (@Kevin_Kinkead) April 14, 2018