Quote Sheets

Quote Sheet | Hendrickson, Bornstein and Omsberg on 2-0 Fire win at D.C. United

Photo Mar 12, 9 13 03 PM

Following the Chicago Fire's 2-0 win over D.C. United on Saturday, Head Coach Ezra Hendrickson and defenders Jonathan Bornstein and Wyatt Omsberg delivered their thoughts on the team's performance in the victory.

Read the full transcription of their postmatch press conferences below.

Chicago Fire FC Quotes

Chicago Fire FC Head Coach Ezra Hendrickson

On the team’s performance against D.C. United in the challenging conditions…
“One of the things we talked to them about before the game started was that there’s some games where the elements are such that you have to roll up your sleeves and just battle. We may not be able to get the opportunity to play the football that we like to play, you know, keeping the ball on the ground, nice passing, possession-type of football because of the wind and the cold, but if we have to battle, we have to battle. I thought the guys battled from the first whistle until the last.

It was good to see that we are a team that can battle when we need to, and we're not just a nice, pretty soccer-playing team. We're a team that if it calls for it, we can fight. So that was good to see from the guys tonight.”

On his decision to substitute Jonathan Bornstein into the midfield and if it was discussed prior to the match…
“No, not at all. He's going to be playing center back or left back. You know, I don't think at his age he's a winger, but I thought at the moment at the time of the game being up 1-0 on the road, it was the right move for the team because they were starting to get control of the game, especially coming down our left side, their right side.

I know Jonathan is a very good defender, so I thought he would come in and help shore it up on that side for a little bit. And he got the opportunity to get forward, and he put it away and, you know, basically put the game out of reach. It was good to see that he could come in and help us like that. He's still a big part of this team. He's not a week-in, week-out starter, but as you see tonight, he's going to have very, very important minutes on this team.”

On if he plans to play Bornstein in a more advanced role now…
“It's going to be a game-to-game basis. There will be games where he'll start for us at left back or center back. Like I said he's a very important part of this team still. He's a veteran player and he's still a good soccer player. He'll be used accordingly as the season goes on.”

On how he prepares players to be ready to play in roles they aren’t accustomed to…
“Well, just, you know, we always preach that this is going to be a team effort with this team. Every man, from man 1 to man 30 is going to be very important. Even the guys who don't make the trip, you know what they do in training to get us ready to play the game is very important. So from game-to-game, your role might change and it's good to have players who are flexible, players who are versatile who could come in and do a job like JB (Bornstein) did for us tonight.

As a coach, as the game is going along, you kind of assess the situation and see what is it that you need and you look on your bench and you say, okay, what can give me the best boost right now. At times, we are down and we need someone to come off -- come on and get forward and help us in the attack. Jonathan, even though he did score tonight, he was put into the game more to help sure us up defensively on the left side. But from game-to-game, player to player, you be called upon to do a certain tasks, and I'm very confident in these players that whatever task you ask of them, they will come in and do.”

On the play of Gaston Gimenez and the team in the first half versus the second half…
“Well, we spoke about that at halftime, not just Gastón. I thought a lot of the players -- we're a team that we like to possess but when we lose it, we have to have that immediate chase and we felt like a lot of times in the first half, we lost the ball and we just didn't put in the effort to win it back right away, which gives them momentum going forward and puts us out of position.

So we talked about that at halftime and we addressed it. I thought, you know, we did well with that in the second half where we may have lost a ball but we fought right away to get it back. That immediate chase is so important because when we play and when we possess it, we are so opened up, if we don't try to win it back right away, it could be a difficult next 30 seconds or so for us as far as our recovery. That immediate chase is something that we adjust at halftime and it was good to see the guys went out and really put in the effort for that last 45.”

Chicago Fire FC Defender Wyatt Omsberg

On three straight shutouts for the Fire and building an identity that the team is hard to score on…
Yeah, I think so. It's something we talked about a lot in preseason with C.J. (Brown) and Ezra, just they have talked about the past couple years we haven't gotten enough clean sheets. So we've worked a lot on it. I feel like, yeah, we've done a really good job so far, but it’s just the start, it's three games. We have to keep this going and we have to keep this up defensively. Goals are going to come, we know that but as long as we stay strong defensively, we'll have a chance to win every game.”

On the impact of C.J. Brown as a coach to Omsberg…
Yeah, so I think you have to give credit to all the coaching staff but C.J. in particular works a lot with the back four. We're with him every single day and he's kind of giving us little tips, pointers and specifically focusing on us. You can tell how much it means to him to be in this position, and as a former defender for this Club, you kind of have to respect it.

So it means a lot to him, and it's been awesome for all of us learning from him. He's been really, really great to work with. Has taught me a lot and I think has improved our back four a ton, obviously, so far. But again, it's just a start, so we'll have to keep going.”

On the partnership between him and Rafael Czichos…
Working with Rafa has been great. He has so much experience in Europe and Germany. So I think when he came, he immediately kind of shifted the mentality of the defense.

Yeah, I feel really comfortable next to him. I feel like we communicate really well together. We kind of understand each other and work well with one another. That's been great for both of us and yeah, three clean sheets is an awesome start but again it's just a start so we'll have to keep going.”

On the weather conditions and if it was a factor in the match…
Yeah, I think we just knew we had to be careful because one ball in behind and you misjudge it, it could lead to a breakaway for them.

So but I think, yeah, the field wasn't great. You saw ice and snow on it a little bit. It was really cold and the wind. So not the greatest conditions for soccer but we knew it was going to be a battle and we knew we had to roll up our sleeves and work hard for 90 minutes and I think we did that.”

Chicago Fire FC Defender Jonathan Bornstein

On whether there is a different mentality this season than previous seasons…
*Yes, I would say there's definitely a different mentality within the group. I think in general, something we wanted to do as a club, make it part of our culture, is to not receive goals, and whether that's at home or it's on the road, that's just something we are trying to define ourselves by. To get those clean sheets over the last three games, those are very important for us, and obviously two of those come on the road and this time we were able to get some goals to get a big road win for us, first win of the season. I think it's something that we talked about during preseason, we continue to talk about, and it's something we want to continue to build on and continue to keep doing as we go along. So kind of a culture thing that we want to build into the group is that even on the road, we can get points even though in the past it's been tough for us.”

On whether the players have to be ready for what head coach Ezra Hendrickson might try and whether the team is still getting to know some of his tendencies and philosophies as a new coach…
“I think any time you get a new coach, it's always a learning process, a learning process from the coaching side to the player's side as well as from the players to the coaches. But I think the transition in this period that we've all been together has been very smooth. A lot of trust has been gained from both sides as we've been through preseason, as we've been through the first couple games. Obviously the team is playing well. We have great defensive shape. Something that was lacking was the goals and we all knew that and tonight we were able to get two goals, and so I think it's just one of those things that it takes a little bit of time but I think we do have a good connection already, and obviously five points from our first three games is a great start for us. We can continue to build on all of that.

In terms of the versatility thing, I think every player needs to be able to be versatile. Obviously I can't speak for all the other guys but throughout my career, I wasn't always a left fullback growing up and I played forward my entire youth career, college career, and so my first actual professional game was at left fullback.

Then throughout my career, I've been able to kind of play different positions, a little bit of left mid, right mid, up top. It might not have happened over the last, I don't know, five, seven years that I've gone up top or even on the wing but it's something that I've done before. I think as players we need to be ready for anything and not just this team but any team we could ever go to in our careers.”

On his mindset and mentality around his role on the team his season…
“I mean, first, I always take it from my personal view. My personal goals are to play as long as I can and play at a level as high as I can, so in order for me to be able to do that, I need to be training harder than anybody. I need to be working out harder than anyone and any time I do get the opportunity I need to be making the most of it. I am aware of the fact that I might not be starting all the games like you mentioned but I don't feel like that's the only way you can lead on a team. There's a lot of guys in the locker room at all times. We're actually on the field very little minutes compared to how often we are all together.

So I try to be that presence within the group, always pushing guys to be better than what they are. I think this team has a great, great energy, great attitude, a great mentality in general terms, and I think I can always try and add to that and build on that, and you know, obviously when you step on the field, you've got to perform. So that's how I take my role and the conversations I have with Ezra are always basically very simple, okay, you might not be starting today but be ready. So I try to keep myself ready.”

On what it can do for a team emotionally to have momentum coming out of the first few games…
Emotionally, it is a huge driver in a positive direction. I think I've always spoken about it every season that we start in preseason, the importance of starting well in this MLS season. I think it is a long season and a lot of people kind of think about it that way, but I mean, the earlier you can get points and especially on the road, at home keep your points, and you know, if you get off to a good start, you definitely set yourself up for success at least to try and make the playoffs at a much higher level. So yeah, not easy when you don't start well. In the past we haven't, at least while I've been here at Chicago Fire but this year feels great. It feels good to have five points, no losses, no goals received. I think we can continue to build on everything we haven't been doing well and then also just keep going with what we're doing well. I don't want to jinx it but feels good. The group is happy, everyone has good energy, and we've got to keep going.”

On Rafael Czichos as a center back on the field and a leader off the field…
“Yeah, I think the acquisition of Rafa was great for the club. I think he's been able to step in, not only at that center back role and do an extremely good job but like you said, he came in and he's our captain right now. He's doing an amazing job.

He's a very motivating guy. He's very quiet, like away from the pitch, but once you get him on there, he has got this fight in him, and I really, really like that. I feed off of that, and you know, we've had conversations, him and I, about what this team really needs to succeed, and we're always on the same page about most of that stuff. So I think we're good complements for one another. He's got a lot of experience in a very big league in Germany, third division, second division, first division. Obviously, it's not easy to fight in those leagues. Third division in Germany can teach you a lot of things about who you are, especially when your dream is to play in the Bundesliga and you're not there.

And so to have that perseverance, to have that passion and fight is great. I love having him here, and now let's continue to keep moving forward together and let's do great things here at the Chicago Fire.”