Quote Sheets

Quote Sheet | Klopas and Torres Speak To Media Following 2-0 Victory Over Austin FC in the U.S. Open Cup Round of 16

kacper goal usoc

CHICAGO (May 24, 2023) – In the first-ever matchup between the two teams, Chicago Fire FC defeated Austin FC 2-0 in the Round of 16 of the 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas. Chicago Fire FC Head Coach Frank Klopas and Young Designated Player Jairo Torres spoke to the media after advancing to the Quarterfinals of the tournament. 

Chicago Fire FC Head Coach Frank Klopas

On what the 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup means to the team…

“Yeah, I mean, it's special. But we go into every game – and I told the team, every time we step on the field – we go in with the confidence to win. We set a goal early in the year that we were going to do whatever it takes to try to be the first team to reach five – MLS team.

So one game at a time. And this was a difficult place to come and play against a really good team, a very good team. The guys did an amazing job, and you know, great performance by the group. Great individual performance, but the collective group was amazing today, and you know, enjoy the moment, and then our mind shifts now already because obviously there's a lot of games coming and we have a big game Saturday.

So we're on to the next game already. But let's have a safe trip back, enjoy this moment and then regroup tomorrow and start planning for New England. But just an amazing performance from the group.”

On the play of Xherdan Shaqiri in the match…

“Amazing. (Shaqiri) is, for me, just an incredible player. He needed games to find his rhythm. You know, it doesn't matter who you are. If you don't get games, just training -- the game gives you the sharpness and the rhythm, and I said after last game, he's just going to be getting sharper and better with every game, and he's just an incredible player that can make a difference in every match and he's shown that tonight. He was brilliant and it was wonderful to watch.”

On changing formation to a 3-4-3 for the game…

“Yeah, we just felt that it was the best way for us to be good without the ball and in our defensive shape but also be in a position where now we can really hurt them with the ball. We worked on a couple things that you saw tonight. We had a really good game plan (that) we presented to the players. We were very clear and detailed about everyone's role, and the guys did an amazing job. It all comes down to putting players in spots where they can be successful. Everyone, I mean, there were a lot of great performances, but from a collective group, it was incredible. When you come on the road against a really good team, you know, they put their best foot forward and so did we because both teams wanted to advance. We scored two goals, we created some great opportunities. We got a clean sheet. I think (Spencer) Richey played incredible. The back line played incredible. But the whole team was just superb tonight. And that's what kind of performances you need to win games like this, and we had it tonight.”

On how comfortable he is playing Jairo Torres as he continues to come back from injury…

“Yeah, even after the last game, he's training now, which is a plus and he's just getting fitter and sharper.

You saw today, his run. I mean, the first opportunity he had, it's really special, the way he bent the ball and it hits the post and it goes out. But then he gives another pass on the outside of the foot, a perfect weight on the ball, to strike.

He's a very quality player, and he gives us different options, you know, depending how we want to play. He can play out wide and he can play, also, in the middle and he can play, in a 4-3-3, he can play an eight and he can play a ten. He's a quality player. It's great that he's playing now and getting sharper and fitter and getting more confidence. You can see the impact he had in the time he played tonight.”

Chicago Fire Midfielder Jairo Torres

On the importance of tonight’s victory…

“I think as far as our statement and the group's emotional well being, it's very, very important. It's a plus for the team. It's a happiness for everyone that's involved. We know that each one of these games is like a final. It's a direct pass, direct advancement to the next round.

So we face each game as if it was a final. We know that each game, each tournament, each Cup is important, and we take this as seriously as we do League play.” 

On his performance and coming on as a bench player…

“Physically, I am feeling really good but I do think that I need to be better. I need to get better so that I can help the team more and be more prepared for these matches. I'm also really happy. I'm really happy with Coach and the opportunities that he's been giving me. I know that I need to really play this role well coming off the bench because it was a long time that I was out, and I know that actually I'm fighting for a spot. I need to earn my spot on the team in order for it to be a healthy competition within the group and I'm just grateful for the minutes that he's been giving me, and I knew I needed to take advantage of them at the max. I also know that I need to give my all for the betterment of the team.”