Quote Sheet | Klopas and Herbers Speak to the Media Following Road Victory over New York Red Bulls


Harrison, N.J. (Sept. 30, 2023) - Chicago Fire FC (9-12-10, 37 points) defeated the New York Red Bulls (8-13-10, 34 points) 1-0 at Red Bull Arena on Saturday night. Following the victory, Head Coach Frank Klopas and midfielder Fabian Herbers spoke to the media to discuss the road victory over the Red Bulls.

Chicago Fire FC Head Coach Frank Klopas

On his thoughts on the match and the feeling of getting the win…
“I think we are all happy because it was a very good performance and we deserve to get a win. I just think that it was important, we talked before, as far as just really not giving anything away from a defensive standpoint. Just really being compact and making it really difficult and trying to keep a clean sheet. If we do that, I know we were going to get opportunities, and you know, when you're on the road, I mean, obviously everybody has to step up big. As a team we did. [We had] really good individual performances but in a collective standpoint there was a huge belief within the group and huge commitment.

They left everything on the field. They fought extremely hard. Well-deserved win when everybody was counting us out, but we didn't. You know, we believe in this group and we work extremely hard, and we just needed to get a result and it came at a really difficult place against a team that, like us, is fighting to get into a playoff spot.

Massive, massive win. The important thing now, I told the guys, enjoy this, but we've got to move forward. It's an opportunity now in front of us with the next game being at home Wednesday and the next one, Saturday, really to take the big step. You know, when you go on the road and you win like this, I think it's important to follow it up with another solid performance, and we are looking forward to coming back home against a very good team. It's going to be an incredible atmosphere and we are looking forward to it.”

On what he will tell the team to keep the momentum going for the next match and what he saw from the New York Red Bulls after halftime…
“I think it's a big confidence booster. You come on the road, we know the implications on both sides. We prepared extremely well for the Red Bulls. We knew that it's a team that's going to play really direct. Second balls become really important.

I think when they get it out wide, they have really two fullbacks that are really dangerous to mark, with (Jonathan) Tolkin and Duncan on either side, not easy matchups for any player. Once they get down to the side, it's not a lot of crosses. Once they get to the byline, there's a lot of runners cut back on the top of the box. We were ready for that, and we knew in moments of transition, it's a team that gives up a lot of opportunities in transition.

We could have been a little bit better. We had a lot of opportunities especially as they were pushing the game late in the game and we didn't convert. We could have put the game away but in the end, everybody just left everything on the field and you know from that standpoint, it's a huge, huge win.

And to take away, I think for Wednesday, it's just confidence, to believe that, you know, we have really good players, we have a really good team. We can play, we can keep clean sheets, which gives us always an opportunity to be in the game, and obviously it was good to see Guti [Brian Gutiérrez] get some minutes and to get his rhythm. Rafa [Czichos] came in a little bit late in the game. Unfortunately we lost, maybe, Jairo Torres. It doesn't get any easier, but like I told the players, nothing that comes easy in life is good. Nothing that comes easy in the soccer field that really comes, is good. You have to earn everything. You have to fight for everything.

It's going to be another battle Wednesday. There are moments when you have to suffer but only good things happen when you suffer and you come ahead. You become a lot stronger and that's what we did tonight. We have to take that kind of confidence into Wednesday at home.”

On Georgios Koutsias’s growth since his arrival in the spring and what scoring will do for his confidence…
“He’s been working extremely hard. He's a young player that doesn't lack confidence and he brings a lot of energy onto the pitch every time he steps on there. It was a team that we knew, I wanted someone that could really stretch the back line, that's more vertical and he brings that energy and makes those runs. It's massive. As a forward, any time you can get a goal, I think it's huge for your confidence.

You know, difficult for us to score goals of late. I know the last game we got two but, from our strikers, I think that we needed to try something different, and I felt that his energy was going to be huge tonight. What can I say? He rewards us for the opportunity that we gave him and good performance, really good performance from him but even more important that the team got the three points.”

On the play of goalkeeper Chris Brady…
“Oh, yeah, look, Chris has been growing within every game. He's been growing, like I said, Zach Thornton, our goalkeeping coach, has done an incredible job with him. He's a super athletic goalkeeper that can make the incredible saves. He's more commanding in the box and he's growing and maturing, he's a very mature young player.

He's got incredible upside. The sky is the limit for him, and again, clean sheets, it's a team effort. But he made some incredible saves tonight which we needed.

Look, he's gotten better within every game, but he's got so much more room to develop, I think he can be an incredible goalkeeper, I really believe that, and he's really humble and works extremely hard which is really good qualities to have.”

Chicago Fire Midfielder Fabian Herbers

On whether it’s a relief to get a win…
“Yeah, it's a relief, of course. I mean, if you don't win for a long time, you want to always step on the field to get three points. I think in Leagues Cup we actually did get the win. When was that, late July maybe?

It feels good, because it's been a rough stretch after the Leagues Cup, getting started again and not getting the win, only two points out of the last six games, so yeah, finally the ball bounced our way. I think we were lucky today, again, at the end but on the other hand we could have also put the game away early, 2 or 3-0 when we had those big chances.

Overall we're relieved and happy with the win and to see that we are very much in it, now with two home games coming up, I think it's exciting for us and it's exciting for the city and now we can really prove and make a playoff push.”

On the message Coach Frank Klopas gave to the team at halftime…
“I'm trying to remember what exactly he said at halftime but yeah, he gave some tactical adjustment on how to put more pressure on Red Bull.

I think, you know, that we did really well in the second half where, you know, that we may have put a little bit more pressure on them that, yeah, they cannot have those easy lofted balls into the box, and then offensively with the ball, he told us just to be better, to move for each other, to show up and to move the ball better. You know, to make Red Bull run a little bit more, and I think that seeing where we connected, I played Johnny through and they needed to foul him there to get the second yellow card, that showed what Coach told us at halftime, as well.

That's kind of representative of that, where we actually do move the ball and you know try to get into their offensive third, and you know, they need to make a foul and then they make a poor play and now all of a sudden we are a man up and we get a goal out of it. So I think those adjustments were really good.”

On the feeling of getting three points in league play…
“It feels good. Obviously getting the win always feels great. It's very hard to do. Wins don't come easy for us. We're not a team like Cincinnati, Nashville, Columbus, that beat teams like 4-1, 5-1 at times. We always have to put everything into it, every game, 90 minutes, we have to fight hard.

And even now, even today being a man up, we still have to fight to the very last second, so wins don't come that easy and we don't have that flow. But I think the guys really fought hard for it and we have to keep fighting for those wins because we know how hard we have to suffer and we have to fight for it. So it feels even better when you do get that win and get on the other side of it.”

On how the team can carry the momentum from closing out the win against the Red Bulls into the match against Inter Miami on Wednesday…“Yeah, of course, Miami, since the arrival of Messi, they have gained a lot of momentum. You know, playing really well, but it's not only Messi, they have got like six guys that are all high-quality players that know how to play that are really talented guys, obviously, and you know, they are a really dangerous team now in the League. You know, whereas they were just in last place before they all arrived. So they have momentum but I just hope that we can feed off that win that we just got now and hopefully we can just get that curve now in the final stretch of the season with the last three games, two of them being at home.

Hopefully, yeah, we just got away with a tough stretch at the right time and now getting that curve and you know making a 180 turn and picking up hopefully a few more points now with the next two home games and then we go into NYCFC for the very last game.”