Chicago Fire FC came away with a point from Wednesday night's 0-0 draw against the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium. Following the match, Head Coach Ezra Hendrickson and defender Jonathan Bornstein gave their thoughts on the match. Read their postmatch quotes in full below:
Chicago Fire FC Head Coach Ezra Hendrickson
On if tonight’s result feels like a point gained or two points lost…
“Definitely two points lost. Just for the fact that we had the PK, which is an opportunity to go up 1-0 there. But I thought it was a hard-fought game, and we're in a position now that we need to get maximum points when we have the opportunity.
So we put ourselves in a situation to get maximum points, and we expect that. So we see it as two points lost.”
On when Jairo Torres suffered his injury, and what went into the decision to play Xherdan Shaqiri tonight…
“Well, with Jairo, that happened a few weeks back in training. He took a knock to the leg and he played through it. He wants to be on the pitch, so he was playing through some issues but he got to a point where he needed a break, you know.
As far as Shaq, he felt a little tightness in the last game, and you know, we have some great guys, some trainers and High Performance people that did really well to get him in a position to give us some minutes tonight. We wanted to keep him on the bench because we knew he could play some minutes but we were able to use him if needed and we felt like that last 10-15 minutes he was needed and we tried to go for the three points because like I said, getting maximum points is what our focus is right now.
But he's a guy that we want on the pitch as much as we can get him on the pitch, taking into account how he is as far as fitness-wise. So that was the decision behind putting him on the pitch trying to get the three points.”
On managing Shaq knowing how important he is but also balancing the fact that he does have a history of being injured…
“Well, it's not very difficult at all because he's the type of player that if he can go at all, he wants to be on the pitch and we want him on the pitch. Tonight we tested him up to about 2:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m. today to see how many minutes he could get, and the decision was made that it wouldn't be more than 45.
What we didn't want to do was start him and have to bring him off before 45 minutes, use a moment. Because when he had three moments -- we felt the decision was to keep him on the bench and if needed, we'll bring him on. We were hoping we would be up 2-0, 3-0 in the game and we could save him for Saturday, give him a couple of days rest but that wasn't the case.
At about the 75th minute, I thought this was time to bring him in, give him 15 minutes to see maybe if he can spring Durán in on a through pass or a free kick or a corner or something. He's a special type of the player, and you want guys like that on the pitch in crucial moments in the game like that.
Where we are right now, three points is what we need. We weren't just going to settle. Had this game been back in May or April, Shaq would not have played tonight. It's a situation that we need to get our best players on the pitch, if possible. If it's physically possible.”
On Chris Mueller’s performance and if there is a concern that he's maybe tiring considering that he played over the MLS off-season…
“We're monitoring that. He has logged a lot of minutes for us but we've tried in games to get him out when we see that he's tired to avoid injury.
But I think tonight, you know, Chris, he wears his heart on his sleeve. He's a guy that's going to go out and fight for you and put in the effort game-in and game-out.
I think what happened tonight, after missing the penalty, he looked a little deflated. He never got back into the game. You know, he never was into the game again after that. And that's something I know that you know he's going to be upset about. But you know, we win as a team and we lose as a team. We didn't draw this game tonight because of Chris. Chris is a very important player for us.
But I sense that, you know, he was just a little deflated by missing the PK. I gave him some minutes. You know, my intention at about the 50th minute was maybe it's just not going to be there for him because he seemed mentally out of it. He's a special player and he was hoping he could give us something, you never know. Maybe he gets on a 1v1 or does something special, he's scored some big goals for us. After awhile, it didn't look like he was going to snap out of it, and he seemed to start to get a little tired and that's why we made the switch when we did.
But he's a big part of our team, and you know, we do have to be careful that, like you said, playing two seasons, basically that, we don't cause injuries there because we've lost a lot of key players now and we have to be careful we have enough players to finish the season.”
Defender Jonathan Bornstein
On if tonight’s result feels like a point gained or two points lost…
“You know, at this point in the season, I think we've got to take as many points as we can get. You know, it would have been nice to have taken all three.
We created some chances in the game. You know, it's nice to get the point but we do leave with a little bit of disappointment just in the -- not getting the full result but overall, I mean, the guys fought extremely hard tonight, and it wasn't an easy game. But I thought as a team, everyone put in the effort and you can't ask for anything other than that.
Unfortunately we couldn't get the goal, and we'll work on those things this week and in the few days we have to get into Columbus and try to pick up a result there.”
On how important Chris Mueller has been to this team…
“Yeah, since the moment Chris arrived, both in the locker room, on the field, in the games, he's just been a blessing to the team. You know, I really enjoy playing with the guy. We get along really well off the field. Ever since he's come into the group, we’ve had another element in the team we didn't have before.
Unfortunately he missed that penalty tonight. I tried to console him and let him know, just next play, because he definitely is feeling, you know, a little sad for that. But it's soccer, right. You've got a goalie, a rival there who is trying to keep the ball out of the net. Overall Chris has been extremely good for us. Amazing; he's scored some really good goals this year.
Maybe the missed penalty got a little to his head but he'll bounce back. I'm not doubting at all that he's going to be ready for the game coming up on Saturday against Columbus and ready to show well for the team.”
On if Chris Mueller is playing like he has something to prove after his time in Scotland…
“You know, I had the opportunity of playing against Chris when he was in Orlando, and the way you put it that he has something to prove is exactly how I always thought he played.
I don't think anything has changed in terms of his mentality that he continually wants to prove to everyone, to himself, to his family, to everyone that he deserves to be here and without a doubt, he deserves it. I think he continually wants to get better and strives to be the best he can be, and I think you see that; you say it, like he has something to prove but you see his mentality come out in that every single game.
As long as he doesn't lose that, he'll have a long and illustrious career and he'll continue to get better throughout his career.”
On how the team responds knowing Shaq is limited and big pieces such as Czichos, Gaston and Jairo are not available…
“If you analyze the game tonight, everyone who you spoke about didn't play, and guys have to step up and I think they did. That's why I'm extremely proud of everybody who had to come in and maybe has not gotten a lot of minutes lately, and they did a really good job.
I think New England is not an easy team. It was definitely a hard-fought match and everyone who stepped on that field tonight left it all out there. They ran for the team and put the crest first.
It is unfortunate. It's a long season. Injuries happen. Guys take knocks, especially guys who have been playing consistent minutes, and so that is why you have guys ready to step up and who work hard every week and that's why it's so important to keep yourself ready for any opportunity.
And so I would say that guys have shown that you can depend on them and even further, they just need to continue to step up and need to continue to do the things right to get ready for every single game and hopefully we get the guys who are injured right now, hopefully they can recover quickly and get back into the squad to help us even more.”