Postgame Quotes: Revs 2, Fire 0
New England Revolution head coach Jay Heaps
I thought it was a good game from us. From the opening whistle, we did possess it well. It’s like ebbs and flows. Chicago’s a good team; they do well on the road. We knew that that were going to come at us, and they did. They came in waves and numbers. You could see they were waiting to counter and when they did, it was difficult to defend. When you’re trying to win the game, you have to make sure you take those chances. And I thought we took our chances well. And our backline did an excellent job of keeping them out.
(Kelyn Rowe’s) been pushing hard lately. I think you saw when he came into the game, there was a different buzz about him. He almost scored the first time. It was a great run - go back and look. We saw it right in front of us. Good save. Sean Johnson made a huge save. And then the first and second goals were beautiful from Kelyn. He’s smart, he’s played quickly. We like getting him in those situations where he can be dynamic attacker for us.
Kelyn (Rowe) wanted to play the next day and the next day and the next day (after Tuesday’s U.S. Open Cup game). Kelyn is all go and you love about him that because there’s no governor around him … Fernando (Cardenas) played a lot of minutes, too, as well. He played a lot of minutes in D.C. and lot of minutes on Tuesday night, so unfortunately Fernando had a great game but he started running out of steam. I knew that when Kelyn went in, he would add a spark.
(Tonight) was big for Benny (Feilhaber). Obviously Benny (has been involved) a lot more on the wide play and today we focused on him being more in the middle, attacking. He’s comfortable there. I thought that Benny did everything right tonight: he defended when we needed him to defend and when he had his chances to change the game, he did. It was really important he went out there and played that way. Credit Shalrie Joseph. Shalrie had to drop in a little bit more and do a lot more defending. We held him back a little bit, allowing Benny to be a bit more offensive.
Benny’s going to drift to the middle no matter where you put him on the (team) sheet. I joke about changing his number to #10 and playing him anywhere we want, but I think that it’s good. Benny forces your coach to make decisions and you love that when you’re a coach – when you have to make sure a guy goes out there and performs when he plays a position when he’s comfortable. And certainly, Benny showed he wants to be in the mix (for a central midfield spot).
It was a good balance (between Benny Feilhaber and Shalrie Joseph). We asked a lot of (Shalrie Joseph) defensively. It’s a position in the last couple of years, Shalrie has done a lot of forward and back, forward and back and tonight we wanted more side-to-side, moving and plugging the holes. It was good. It was a good balance. Offensively, sometimes they were a little tight to each other, and that was one of the corrections we made at halftime. We wanted their spacing a little better offensively. And in the second half, Benny was a little more free and Shalrie was a little more deep, and that’s what allowed Benny and Kelyn (Rowe) to find those pockets and channels.
I think there’s games when you’re trying to plug away. I wish if I could draw it up to score in the first 10 minutes every game, I would. I love the resiliency. Chicago’s a good team. They’ve gone out and beaten teams on the road. One of the best games of the year was Chicago and Chivas, for me, the way Chicago came back. They’re an experienced team, they’ve got good players. I think that that was one of the things we said, they’re going to come in here and play well, we just have to make sure that we don’t give them anything. Make sure that when we can break down them down, we do - maybe in the third minute, maybe in the 90th minute. But we have to continue to press and find those little pockets and that’s what we did.
It feels good (to hold onto a game late). It felt good to be able to have a guy like Kelyn (Rowe) on the bench, who’s a guy who can impact the game. And a guy like Fernando (Cardenas) who can go 60-plus minute … it’s good that our guys, when given the chance, took it. And that’s what we’re real proud of. And I thought A.J. (Soares) and Steve McCarthy were flawless tonight. They really were. If you go back and watch the way they communicated, the way they drop – the entire back line – but A.J. and Stephen were really good tonight.
New England Revolution midfielder Benny Feilhaber
I saw Kelyn (Rowe) get in behind their left back. I just put it in to him and he really did the rest. He took a good first touch - it wasn’t an easy situation - it was probably a lot harder than the breakaway he had right when he got it in and he just finished it really nicely with a kind of a toe poke with his right foot. The second one, I got a ball with just a ton of space on the right side, Kelyn was running through the middle and I just put him through and followed up with my run. He just put me in perfectly. I looked up to see if I could get it in to a forward and I think Saer (Sene) was covered by one or two guys and I just thought aim for the five hole and put it in, and thankfully it went in.
It was nice to get a goal and an assist, I haven’t had any of those this year so hopefully that will propel me to some more.
In the first half, I don’t think we were really able to do some of the things we wanted to. I think we were fighting in there, it wasn’t really the best conditions. The ball was definitely slipping off your feet a little bit. We stayed together as a team and it came through in the 60th minute with Kelyn (Rowe’s) opportunity, and then obviously my goal, and we were able to put them away. It took awhile for us to break through, but it finally came.
It was really nice to get that Open Cup game out of my head because that was a nightmare for all the guys that went there. It wasn’t good enough and it was depressing and it was everything that you could possibly think it was. So it was really good to be able to get that lead and not relinquish it and it’s really important. That’s three points against a team that was five points ahead of us, and now we cut the gap down to two to be in the playoff top five, so it’s exactly what we wanted.
I think (Kelyn Rowe) gave us a little something different. Fernando (Cardenas) gave us a great 60 minutes. Kelyn came in with a new energy and was able to right off the bat get in behind. I think he made those two great runs that allowed us to get those opportunities. He probably should have scored the first one, but then he made up for it with a much tougher one on the second one and got us on the board. And obviously was able to get the assist on the second goal. He was huge for us tonight.
I think they’re a really good team on the counter attack. They’re a team that when they have the lead, it’s tough to get in behind them and they have a great counter attack with (Patrick) Nyarko and (Dominic) Oduro. They have so much speed to get in behind and they get crosses in and they’re good at scoring and (Sebastian) Grazzini just picking the pieces in there and finding them. When they’re able to sit back and play out of the counter, they’re a really dangerous team. It was really important that we got that first goal. Once we got that first goal, I thought we really were able to connect passes and we maybe could have a few more opportunities later on but it was vital to get that first goal.
It’s great to have a break to go in with these three points, but at the same time you want to keep it going. So we have to have a good balance in getting our legs back and taking it easy and staying mentally prepared and not getting turned off. It will be good for us but I’m sure Jay (Heaps) will have everybody back in here for about four or five days this week and then maybe have a couple days off on the bye weekend and then will be rearing to go in a week’s time.
I thought it was good, I haven’t been in [central midfield] in awhile. It’s my most comfortable spot and me and Shalrie (Joseph) have played plenty together with last year and all, so I think we fell into it pretty quickly. I know where he wants to get the ball, he knows where I want to get the ball and he gets me the ball where I want it. It’s really nice playing with him and it didn’t take that much time to get back into it.
New England Revolution midfielder Kelyn Rowe
It was great. Jay (Heaps) told me to come in, make an impact and give the game some energy. First touch of the ball and it was almost a goal, and the second was a goal, so it was pretty fun.
I was definitely tired, but Jay and his staff have been great this week. We had a long bus ride home on [Tuesday]. Thursday, Friday, they took it real light and made sure we got massages, ice baths and we took care of our bodies.
(Tuesday’s result) was huge. That comeback wasn’t something that you see every day, and it was something that was definitely disappointing to the team and the club. We wanted to get back and make sure that we won today.
(On my first goal) I thought that with my first touch, I had to take it inside and beat the first defender. Second touch, put it away. You’ve got to put it away, and this one you’ve got to score, because the last one you missed.
Benny (Feilhaber’s) a great guy and he played me the first ball, so I had to give him another one. He made a great run after I played him the first ball, and I had to give it back to him.
We’ve only won by one here, and one or two there. To put this one away – with the shutout – it’s a good stepping-stone for the next game.
I’m happy. I’m getting on the field, and that’s what matters. We’ve got great guys: Lee Nguyen, Benny Feilhaber, Fernando Cardenas and Shalrie Joseph, of course, and when Clyde (Simms) comes back we’ve got him as well. We’ve got so many midfielders it’s unreal, so it’s a battle every day and every practice to get in.
Chicago Fire head coach Frank Klopas
Obviously we're disappointed. I felt that the first half, it was okay, but I thought we came out good the second half and we pushed. Clearly we had four or five good opportunities, hit the post twice and we didn't capitalize. And then we fall asleep on one play. Not one, on both plays. Just silly goals on our part - just lack of focus and concentration on the road. When you're on the road and you don't score, you miss opportunities. The mentality is don't give anything away, but then we fall asleep and give up two silly goals. So it's disappointing.
Well it hurts because our next game is a couple weeks away. So we need to obviously work with our back line and in front of the goal creating opportunities to score, our focus and mentality and all that other stuff, concentration.
Chicago Fire forward Patrick Nyarko
Not really. It’s just I think we’ve been hanging tough on the road. We were hang in there well in the first half. We came out in the second half and I think we lost a little bit of our concentration and we gave up two goals. Two goals towards the end. I think we threw the game away. They didn’t go win the game. We made some mental errors and it cost us the game.
I think we had a decent amount of chances created and we just couldn’t finish them. I think the balance of play was 50-50. In the balance of play, they created chances, we created chances and we couldn’t finish them just as they had finished theirs.
It’s tough, but right now we have a two-week break we are going to have to cross before our next game. It’s going to be hard to deal with the two weeks. But I think mentally it’s good for our team right now because we are going through a tough patch right now. So mentally we are going to go ahead and regroup and come back strong.
Chicago Fire defender Jalil Anibaba
The first half went pretty well for us. Obviously, we kept a clean sheet and kept them in front of us for the most part. We had a pretty good chance, so the first half was good.
It’s a bit disappointing, but that’s soccer. Even when we can’t find the back of the net, we should be able to keep a clean sheet. That’s the disappointing thing about tonight.
Not at all (did the weather affect the teams’ play). Both teams have to play out there, and it’s part of the game. To be honest, it really wasn’t raining that hard.
(The team’s second-half strategy was) Exactly the opposite of what we did. Our goal was to keep things out of our net and get one in. Like I said, the exact opposite.
I think (the Revs’ two goals) was just a lack of concentration from all of us. The first one came off a throw-in, and we were a bit slow to react, so ‘boom’ they put both goals in the back of the net. We just need to be a little sharper on that end.
We’re normally a much tougher team to play against, and I don’t think that was true today. I don’t think the competitive aspect was there, and that’s very disappointing from my standpoint.