Dallas Soccer: Sean Johnson

FC Dallas Head Coach Schellas Hyndman

On the team’s performance in the first half:

“I thought we seemed to have a bit more energy than they did, I know they played on Sunday, we played on Saturday and the trip, and playing on turf wears you down, so we wanted to come out really high and press and force their defense to make mistakes. I thought we were really doing some good things. I’m surprised it took us so long to score as it did because we were putting a lot of pressure on Anibaba and Berry in the back. But we did get a goal, we are disappointed we gave a goal up in the way we gave it up, and then of course the penalty kick, and then coming back and giving up a penalty kick. I really think the play was offside but it seems like that’s the kind of way the season has been going for us. The critical points of time, the ball’s not bouncing right and we’re not getting it done in critical times where we are making a mistake.”

On playing high pressure on defenders:

“We’re asking so much of our guys. We have nine injuries. We have four academy guys that are on the trip. We’re asking guys to help us with the one thing that they can do, and they have been doing, which is working. Our idea was to put pressure on the defense. We watched three games from Chicago, and we feel they do a great job defending, but they may not be as creative with the ball coming down the back. And without time and space, people have a tendency to make a mistake.”

On the sense of urgency or frustration that has set in to the team:

“Completely. Completely. On both levels. The urgency, you know, we played three more games than Chicago and they have more points than us. So that’s frustrating. And the other thing is the frustration. I think this is a game we could have won. But I can say this about a few of our games. I don’t know if we’re just having players getting tired, this is our third series of three games in a week, [the Fire] will feel it when they go to Columbus. You don’t get a chance to recover, and then when you get injuries, you don’t get a chance to treat things to recover. I thought the key for us was losing George John at halftime with a potential concussion. We wanted to keep it safe. That was his injury. So we’re hoping that he’ll be okay to jump back in to the game this weekend.”

On the second substitution at halftime with Guarda:

“That was a tactical substitution. We felt like we needed just a little more offensive play and Bruno Guarda came in and he’s the one that drew the penalty kick. I think tactically and with decision making we were pretty good, but I just think that there were key moments in the game where we didn’t get it done.”

On regrouping before the next match against Salt Lake:

“I’ll say this about our guys. I’m frustrated, I think the word we all use and we used it at halftime and at the end of the game, we should be pissed. Because we are giving everything we have, we’re in the game and we can’t overcome our own mistakes so we should be pissed. But we want to be and continue to be fighters. We want to show up and play good soccer. We want to put everything out there and not be victims where everything is going against us. So a lot of it is just mentality. Our injured players will come back and when they come back, we’ll be better.”

FC Dallas Defender Matt Hedges

On the importance of his goal:

“I think it was an important goal for us because we’ve been playing well all half and I think it should boost our confidence but in the end we gave up a goal a couple minutes later so it’s kind of disappointing. But the first goal, I was excited but it just wasn’t enough.”

On the team’s sense of urgency:

“Absolutely, we need to get points any way we can, a win, a tie, whatever. We have to keep working hard. We’ve been playing well but it’s not going our way. We have to start getting more points-we haven’t gotten too many points in the last seven or eight games.”

On building on the team’s play from the first half:

“We’ve had a lot of injuries and a lot of guys who don’t normally play are getting a lot of minutes so I think they’re getting good, quality experience. When we get the [starters] back, they’ll be able to help us a little more.

FC Dallas Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman

On the match:

“Obviously we are disappointed. We had our opportunity to go up in the second half. Sean Johnson made a great save on Perez’s penalty kick. It’s really disappointing. We have a game on Saturday we need to get ready for now. We have to really grab each other around the shoulders and give each other a hug and say that we have the guys and the talent and the opportunity against a really good Salt Lake team that we have a quick turn around again. We can’t really hang our heads. We have to deal with it like men and move on with it. Practices have been good and we’re just in the position now that we’re going to need someone to work a little harder and put their head in one of those 50/50 balls and maybe get a goal for us. And that might be something that will change the tide for us. I thought tonight when we had the penalty kick opportunity, I thought this is it, this is our opportunity and then Sean Johnson came up with a great save, so hats off to him.”

On the team’s performance in the first half:

“I was really content with it. I thought we didn’t give up too many opportunities, but you can’t give Grazzini a free kick from the 19 yard line. He’s just too good of a player. Maybe we were a little naÔve on that. We have some new guys on the park. Zach [Loyd] comes in and plays inside and plays in the center and I don’t think Zach’s played in the center for a while. Matt’s [Hedges] just out of college, I think he’s performed very admirably. But unfortunately I think there was a lesson there maybe tonight that we can take something from this game and hopefully add it to one of the experiences of 2012 and it’ll make us a better team.”

Frank Klopas – Chicago Fire Head Coach

Comments on the match…

“Obviously just a great win for our club. I thought it was important for us being at home and coming out with a lot of energy from the beginning. We pressed higher up the field instead of waiting and going a goal down, and then starting to play. I felt that in the beginning we were a little bit flat and tired, and Dallas did a good job of really stepping high and pressing us. I thought that they were the bigger team and winning most balls. We gave up that goal, but we had a good response from the group. It’s just a huge win. We scored from behind again which shows a lot of character for the group. It’s all about the group and the team. It was a great performance and we scored the two goals and then created some more opportunities to put the game away. In the last five minutes, you have to say a couple prayers. It was just a great win for us and now we have to move on to the next match.”

On the goal by Grazzini...

“We gave up that goal in the 41st minute of the game, which is never a good time to give up the goal before going into the locker room. SebastiŠn scored a fantastic goal-a world class goal. Those are the type of goals that he can score with his ability. I felt that the group was positive and that the goal lifted us going into halftime. We talked more about strategy at the half and they came out with good energy and pushed hard. Sometimes it is difficult with the road trips...we came back from the trip to Portland and we had a great response from the group tonight.”

On the tendency to give up goals and having to battle back...

“I don’t know if it is a tendency. We talked about about playing from the beginning until the end and being more consistent. I was worried to see how we would start off because of the short week. It took us a little bit of time, but their goal came from nothing. From set pieces we need to get better. The positive thing is that we never gave up. The trend in this league is that the team that gives up the first goal normally does not win. I’m proud of the guys because they believe in themselves."

On scoring from set pieces and the corner kick...

“I think it helped when they went with a smaller group in the second half. George John came off with an injury, then James Marcelin came off. Then we felt pretty good with the set pieces. I don’t think that we lost one aerial battle. The key was the second balls because we were getting a little bit stretched. It’s an area that we have to keep working on.”

On Sean Johnson stopping the penalty...

“It was huge for a morale standpoint and also for him. After that save, you saw a different Sean with more confidence and command in his box. It was also important in giving the whole team new energy. It was an important moment in the game.”

On playing at Columbus on Saturday...

“It’s great because last year it was my first win as interim coach and it was really something special because normally before the games I don’t go outside the locker rooms...I’m superstitious at times and do the same routine. I knew that when they came in from the warm ups that it was great because they came back and were in awe to see the amount of fans that we had there. There was a positive feeling in the room. There has been some special players and special teams at this club. I believe that then and now. It is time to write our own history and be remembered forever, like the team in ’98. That’s what it is all about. It was a great win and it was great to see so many of our fans there. It's a difficult match-its a very good team, it's a rivalry. We’re looking forward to it. We need to assess everyone tomorrow and if we need to make some adjustments, we will. Now we have a couple days and not that long of a trip. We look forward to the match.”

Sean Johnson, Chicago Fire goalkeeper

On his PK save:

“Most importantly the save was big for the team at that point in the game to help turn things around. There was a spell there where they were putting a lot of pressure on us – they got the ball into a deep spot and we gave up the foul, which was unfortunate. We needed that stop to keep sp in the game – it’s all about making crucial saves in the game when we need them. “

On the result:

“It was a team effort tonight and we were able to put one back on the other end of the field and come away with three points.”

On his confidence after the PK save:

“It’s always good to save a big save in the game like that to help turn things around and get the team going a bit. The second half was definitely better for me personally.”

On seeing the ball on the PK save:

“I was just trying to read it and get a good jump, and once the ball was out safely then you can regroup as a team and get things back in order and organized for the next play.”

Marco Pappa, Chicago Fire midfielder

On the slow start:

“After the first half when we came into the locker room we talked about how we needed to push ourselves more in the game. We knew we had to give a better effort in the second half of the game. We had some extra motivation after Sean’s [Johnson] penalty kick save.”

On his goal:

“I always said that before the ball goes into the net that I need to find the ball and stay with it. I made the sprint and the ball came to me, and it resulted in three points for the team so I’m happy with that. The best thing for me is that if I score the winner, everybody is a winner in the locker room, it’s good to get three points. “

Chicago’s Sebastian Grazzini:

On the result:

“It was definitely difficult today because they were definitely crowding the midfield. It seemed like they were playing with three defensive midfielders and it was difficult to break through, but we were able to create some space and score in a timely manner. It was definitely a wonderful victory to have here at home. “

On his goal:

“I thought it worked out really well. I’ve been connecting a lot more with Marco [Pappa] and Rafa [Robayo] a lot and it was an excellent wall for me to place it over and put it in. I’m just happy that it came at a good time to help tie the match.”
FC Dallas Manager Schellas Hyndman

On the team’s performance against the Fire:

“I think they had some trouble dealing with our pure speed and it’s not just them, a lot of teams have trouble dealing with that. I thought in the first half we really created some opportunities but gave too many balls away. It was frustrating. I thought the player we were most concerned about was Oduro because he knows us and he’s been really hot and I thought that he had a quiet night tonight. But a great goal by the Fire and for us, we’ve had a really difficult month in September with all the traveling and CONCACAF games, and cards and injuries, so for us to get the win here was huge. Now we know we are in the playoffs and maybe start to focus a little more on that.”

On the threat of the Fire getting another goal in the remaining minutes of the match:

“Of course, always. Always concerned. I thought some of the situations – we knew what the Fire were doing. They were trying to get it out wide and come back in the middle and hit shots and maybe get a second ball and then get the free kick. And those things were happening. We were very concerned. The funny thing about this team is we play better against eleven players than we do against ten. Sometimes people just let up a little bit. But again I give the Fire a lot of credit for fighting. It was a great goal and it was well earned.”

FC Dallas Defender Zach Loyd

On being satisfied with the road win:

“Yes, I think September was a rough month for us. I think fatigue caught up with us last month. But with international break, I think a lot of guys got their legs back, got some time off and mentally got their heads right. Today we came in here with the energy we were bringing in a couple months ago and I think it showed in the result.”

On having lots of shots on goal in the first half:

“It just shows the energy we brought. Earlier in the season, we had guys like Marvin [Chavez], Castillo, Jackson, Shea, all with their speed so we can just hit them and put the defenders on their heels. I think tonight it really showed with rest a lot of the guys have so much more energy.”

On how the team is looking to finish the rest of the season:

“We’re looking to get on a roll here. You always want to get on a little win streak before the playoffs, get your confidence up because anything can happen in the playoffs so hopefully we can go into this next week and qualify for Champions League and get a couple more wins in the league.”

FC Dallas Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman

On the match:

“I thought you could really tell we got a little bit of a rest. We’re a very athletic team and I think you can tell by the amount of speed that we have up top and the athleticism in the back. When you’re fatigued that’s really going to affect you quite a bit. Tonight, after a bit of a rest, and an international weekend, I thought that you could tell we were able to really win balls in more advantageous parts of the field. And when we did sit, I think that we could tell we were attacking with pace and certainly at halftime I felt that it could have been more than it was.”

On the team’s end of season focus:

“It wasn’t just a physical rest we got, we got a mental break. We’ve been playing two games a week since July 1st, so it’s been pretty fatiguing. We are not a group that really likes to make excuses and we get out there and do our best. I think you could tell as the games wore on and on, we were just not having as much success. We weren’t able to put the pressure up top that we wanted to, we weren’t able to win balls 30 yards from their goal; we were really kind of disjointed. I thought today we got back a little more to the FC Dallas that we are proud to be and get a victory. It’s something we are extremely proud of.”

Frank Klopas, Chicago Fire interim head coach

Thoughts on the match:

“We didn’t have the start that we wanted. We came out a little bit flat and that was a concern of mine. I wanted to put the U.S. Open Cup match behind us right away. I talked to the guys and told them that they needed to stay focused, that we still have a lot to play for ahead of us. We were flat from the beginning, we weren’t sharp. We were just one step behind everything. Give credit to Dallas. They made it difficult for us. But we pushed the game late and we got something going. In the end, we gave up two soft goals that hurt us. We’re disappointed. Not only to lose but to lose at home. Now our chances are very slim for the playoffs.”

On timing of his substitutions:

“We made a change during the game when I felt Dominic could help. We had a hard time keeping up with Dallas’ wing plays. When we gave up the second goal, we had to make changes. Because when you lose 2-0, 3-0 it doesn’t matter, you have to push the game and try to get a result.”

Dominic Oduro, Chicago Fire forward

On the remainder of the season:

“We’re not mathematically out of it right now, but I don’t think we helped our chances of making the playoffs at this point either.”

On the team’s performance:

“I’m very disappointed. We started out flat and we gave them momentum starting off and it was hard for us to fight back after going down 2-0. We just need to keep our heads up. We fight every game and that’s what we need to continue to do. We still have a small chance of making the playoffs and we have to give all that we’ve got in the two games left, then we’ll see what happens.”

On Dallas’ defense:

“It was really difficult for me to get behind the defense. They just dropped back the whole time, so we had to change tactics in the second half. I had to go play on the right and I think I was able to get to a few more balls on the right. Technically, they did well the whole time by just sitting back to try and stop a run from behind and they did great with that.”

Gonzalo Segares, Chicago Fire defender:

On how the team will approach the final two games:

“Like Frank [Klopas] said we need to regroup, go to D.C. and look for the win. We’ve been pushing pretty hard for the past couple of months and it got us pretty close to being in the position where we’re fighting to make the playoffs. With the result today, it’s really tough to swallow but we have two more games to play and we need to go out there and get wins.”

Pavel Pardo, Chicago Fire midfielder:

On his red card ejection:

“It was a play that I came in a little bit late and I know it was a foul. But I think sometimes this is a foul you make 10 or 20 times in a game, but this is the referee’s decision. That is no excuse, I got the red card and I apologize because when you have to play with 10 players it’s difficult to try to win.”

On his future with the Fire:

“Of course I’d like to come back. I was talking about this situation with the people from the Fire and they want me to here next year. And I want to be here also, but not for one year, I’d like to be here for more years. I’ve integrated with this team, the club and the fans. I’m very happy playing here with the Chicago Fire.”

Sean Johnson, Chicago Fire goalkeeper

On the result:

“I tried my best to keep the team in it, but unfortunately these things happen. I try and limit my mistakes, I pride myself on being consistent day in and day out. But it’s just one of those things, you do your best to try and save the ball. On this night they were the better team and deserved to win the game.”

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