The Chicago Fire picked up a crucial three points on the road on Saturday night, beating the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1 at BC Place and winning their third straight match in the process. Following the match, Head Coach Ezra Hendrickson as well as midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri and forward Chris Mueller gave their thoughts on the outcome. Read their quotes in full below:
Chicago Fire FC Quotes
Chicago Fire FC Head Coach Ezra Hendrickson
Overall thoughts on the performance…
“Well, it's a very big win for us, probably one of the bigger wins that we've had this year. We just wanted to be consistent and continue with this momentum that we built at home, and the boys came out tonight and did just that.
Even when the game was tied 1-1 in the second half, I had no doubt that we were going to win the game. Just because we were playing so well, and I knew that eventually we'll get the goals that we needed.
And you know, wow, two good goals, Rafa again, scoring on a header; and then Chris, that awesome goal.
So I'm very happy for the guys. I'm very proud of the way the team is playing, and it's just good to be back in that playoff hunt. That's where we wanted to be all along the entire year and we're happy we're here. As I told them just now, we have to continue to do this. Don't become complacent. You know, don't think that we have reached because there's a lot of season to play. But we are happy right now and we are going to enjoy this one.”
On which win has been the most important from the last three games…
“Probably the Toronto one. Because what happened in the game prior to that could have been devastating to us for the rest of the season.
But the boys dug deep. We met together as a team the next day in practice and we just talked about what's going on, what are we doing wrong, how are we not able to close out games. There was a coming together. A lot of guys spoke up and we went out against that Toronto team and scored early, fourth minute.
Yeah, we made some changes in the lineup but I think the team as a whole, coming together like that, after such a devastating loss at home against Columbus was big for us, and I think that gave us renewed belief that we are doing the right things, and if we continue to play the way we've been playing, we'll win more games than we lose. And that's what it's about right now for us.
We know we have to win our home games and we have to come like this and pick up games on the road. That game right there gave us some renewed hope, renewed belief, and we've stretched it to three games now in a row. Hopefully we continue on this load.”
On Rafa Czichos’ importance to the team…
“Yeah, he's our leader. He's our captain. He leads by example, and.
I'm telling you right now, I don't know how that guy is not an All-Star in this league. Maybe we'll get voted in or something or added by the Commissioner, I don't know, but he deserves it. We are talking about a center back leading his team in scoring and leading his team on a resurgence, so to speak.
Big time for him. I'm happy for him. He's a very good player, very strong player. Tonight him, Shaq, Chris, all the guys that we need to play well for us, even John Duran, he don't score tonight but he played well. He was a handful for that team, and going forward, we just need to continue to play like that. Rafa has had a great season, and hopefully he gets added on to that All-Star Team because it's well deserved and he's our leading scorer. He's our center back. That speaks for itself.”
On the play of Carlos Terán…
“Yeah, Carlos, both center backs have been playing well. Carlos, has come in, he's stepped up big time. You know, Wyatt going down with an injury like that, stepping in like that and playing so well, it's been good for us.
I think him and Rafa are forming a very, very formidable partnership back there, and we like to see that. When you have two guys that strong with enough pace back there, it's going to be difficult for teams to score against us, and then you have Gaga behind them.
It's good to see how well Carlos is playing. I'm very happy for him. He's still learning. He's still a young guy. I think he's 21, maybe 22 but he's done well, really well for us.”
On Brian Gutierrez injury status…
“I don't have any immediate update right now but I think he should be fine. So nothing too seriously I hope.”
Chicago Fire FC Midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri
Overall thoughts on the performance…
“I think it was important to start playing well because we know, and we had a long trip here, and we knew that we going to play on turf and it's not always simple to play on turf.
Yeah, the guys did very well. We have now three games in a row we won, so yeah, it was a perfect day for us.”
On the playing surface…
“Yeah, I played for sure in better turfs. Yeah, the ball was not bouncing.
Yeah, sometimes it was slipping, you know. Some players slip. Me, too, the first half. So yeah, it was not best turf but we managed very good and yeah, we scored three goals. The guys played a good game. We won three games in a row, so yeah, we have to keep going.”
On what has caused this turnaround for the team…
“Man, it's all about belief in yourself and every player belief has to stay confident and to try to work hard, first of all in, training, and to learn from mistakes, the most what I want from these guys because they are still young, and they need to learn from mistakes.
Yeah, they get more mature in the game and yeah, we also like the game, how we played. The players, their understanding is much better than before.
So we have a game plan, and everybody stick to it more. So yeah, this is I think the key at the moment because everybody knows what is his work, and everybody has to do that good to bring that into this team.
And then I think you can have success and win games, and that's exactly what we did in the last three games. So we have to believe, we have to stay confident and to stay consistent what is the most important in football, and this is what the team at the moment is.”
Chicago Fire FC Midfielder Chris Mueller
Overall thoughts on the performance…
“I think that's a great result for us obviously. Three points on the road after a long road trip, second away win of the year.
So the guys are buzzing, man. It feels great. It was a really, really good team performance from start to finish. Had a bit of a lapse in the beginning of the second half which is something we need to work out moving forward, but we bounced back really well, responded, and obviously got a really, really big win, so I'm thrilled.”
On the importance of tonight’s win…
“It's obviously a massive win for us and a big step in the right direction. We should have way more wins in a row when you look at Columbus last week. And then we responded again, kept believing, kept doing the process, and we are right where we want to be. We want to continue to push and keep pushing and keep pushing ourselves up the table. We know what we can do and what we're capable of. It's a big one, big step in the right direction. We have a big week ahead, but we'll enjoy it now and get back to work.”
On the Fire battling to pick up a win on the road…
“I think it's just a testament to the character of the guys. We just continue to do what we do. We had an amazing first half. We really played them off the pitch. I felt like we were dominating. We created a ton of opportunities, hit the post. Obviously they got that goal, but as long as we continue to do what we were doing; it was just a matter of taking them and finishing off the game.
Like I said, we responded really well. That's what good teams do, what playoff teams do. You have to respond to adversity well and we've definitely shown that in the past couple of games that we are able to do that and that's why we are continuing to get good results.”
On his goal…
“Yeah, just made a hard run up the pitch on the left side kind of in a transition moment where they had put some numbers forward because obviously they were trying to get back into the game. And Shaq drove with the ball, and he just kind of laid me in and from there it was a 1v1 that I just took the guy inside and did a pretty classic finish to the back post for a winger on that side.
Feels good. I've been working on that shot for God knows how long. Feels good to do it at a good time for the team and help seal the win.”