Quote Sheet | Klopas and Navarro on Wednesday's Loss against Charlotte FC

Screenshot 2023-05-17 at 10.32.53 PM

Chicago Fire FC travelled to North Carolina to face Charlotte FC on Wednesday at Bank of America Stadium. Despite Kacper Przybylko scoring his third goal of the season, the Fire to Charlotte, 2-1. Following the match, Head Coach Frank Klopas and midfielder Federico Navarro offered their thoughts on the road loss. Read their quotes in full below.

Chicago Fire FC Head Coach Frank Klopas
On what changed after playing well on the road for about 60 minutes…

“I think that they were trying to pull us apart with their movement, and then for the most part, I think we handled it well. It's just a couple actions, those two actions in the end, where we let crosses come in. I think we over-slide in the box, and then we get caught, pretty similar goals, I think both of them, both situations.

But you're right, I felt like the first half, I felt that there were really good moments that we had, maybe not as sharp, certain moments with our passing ability, I think there were quite a few passes that I think that we would have made and connected but I think that the turf, being wet, I think in moments, the weight of the passes, I think the adjustment took a little bit longer and we weren't as sharp.

But we adjusted a couple things at halftime defensively to try to stay more compact and not get pulled out with their movement, because they had a lot of rotations that wanted to pull you out but still be very direct and go in the middle. And then in the end, it's just two plays that I think we need to look at and address and learn from so they don't happen again.

The thing is, like I told the guys, it hurts, obviously, but we have to start preparing now for the game Saturday from now and we have an opportunity pretty quickly to get back at home and get the three points.”

On whether he draws a connection between the loss today and some of the previous times this season the team has given up a lead…

“No, I don't -- I think for me, every game is different. I don't think the guys go into the game and they feel like, oh, here is the 60th-minute mark. I think goals and momentum in the game changes a lot of things. They got the one goal. They had momentum. Those are moments where, you know, then we need to hold the ball at times a little bit better and take some pressure off, and you know, there were moments where I know that we weren't as sharp when we had the ball and in position, and then you're defending a lot. So I don't think, for me, that there's a connection from the past. I just I feel like there are moments in the game where momentum changes and goals do change momentum, and they had it. And you know, we have to look again and try to correct things. That's why you play the game. I think we'll address a couple things, learn from it and move on.”

On what broke down in the second half and what can be done to fix it…

“Yeah, I think our ability to, when you're defending at times, and then you get the ball, you still need the ability and movement off the ball to be able to connect passes. You know, we tried, and then some of those passes, our ability to hold the ball in certain moments could have been better. So and then you're defending again. So it's not so easy from being in the mid block now to winning the ball and getting into the final third. It's about movement and it's about being sharp with the ball. I think those are areas we could have been better late into the game. You try to freshen up the team with the subs. I felt that the subs were right because we wanted to bring some fresh legs in, and guys now that can look to get behind and hold the ball and be fresh, and that's why we did that. In the end, you give up the goals, and it obviously changed the game, definitely.”

On whether there is a mental block within the team that has to just power through when it comes to holding late leads…

“I think it's just things that, you know, if you bring it up all the time, I think maybe it's in the players’ mind and stuff like that, and things occur. I think the most important thing you can do is get doubt out of your mind. When you do stuff in training and you're well-prepared. I think that's the thing. I think obviously the guys get fatigued. You rely on the team. You bring certain guys in and you can just see in certain moments, some guys need more under their legs to maintain that sharpness.

But overall, I don't think that there's a mental block within the players because I think the most important thing is that we go through situations in training where they are able to get confidence, but then the ability in the game when things are going fast, things are moving, these are the moments where they have to stick together. We definitely have a lot of leaders out there where they can communicate. It's not always easy from the bench to address certain things. I think that's why the preparation is the key and training. Once they do that, I think that's what gives the players confidence.”

Chicago Fire FC Midfielder Federico Navarro

On what changed after 60 minutes…

“I think the regularity and the consistency, both on the defensive end and on the offensive end of things, I think that we need to continue to improve, and I think we could have given a lot more and played a lot more throughout the game, but well, we are going to keep moving forward. We are going to go and try and correct everything we noticed and spoke about, and face the game again on Saturday.

On why the team continues to give up leads…

“Well, as you mentioned, it could be something with the regularity, a little bit of the focus and concentration throughout the game. We have to go out there and try to be consistent from the first minute all the way to the 90th minute.

But in the short time that we have to turn things around, we are going to work on the errors and fixing the mistakes that we made, and well, I mean, mentally, I think during the game, we do try to remain consistent, remain focused throughout the whole 90 minutes.

On how he feels after playing so many games after coming back from injury and how he feels playing alongside Gastón Giménez…

“Yeah, the truth is I feel really good and I feel really good playing alongside Gastón. He make things really easy. He makes playing really easy when you're alongside him. I think that the good relationship that we have both off and on the field really helps our chemistry and that makes it a lot easier to play alongside him.

And thankfully, thanks to God, I feel very good after the injury. I feel like I've been well prepared and I am well prepared to continue playing in this long stretch where we have so many games.I feel still like I have more to give and I'm going to continue to prepare, but I have been thankfully really, really happy to be able to play in all of these games back-to-back, and I'm going to keep going, and I'm just really happy to continue playing in these games, especially after a month and a half off due to injury.”