Chicago Fire FC's Frank Klopas, Jonathan Bornstein, and Miguel Navarro deliver their takeaways from Saturday night's 2-1 defeat to Toronto FC at Soldier Field.
The Fire hit the road next week to take on Philadelphia Union on Sunday at 5 pm CT.
Chicago Fire FC Assistant Coach Frank Klopas
On how the team feels after generating 31 shots but still coming away with a 2-1 loss...
“I've been saying the same thing inside the locker room with the staff. I’ve been saying the same thing with everyone here and been saying the same thing with my mentor evaluating for my pro course I'm doing, I don't know, that's the game sometimes.
I think the tough one for us is coming out and giving a bad goal right away, so you're under the gun already but I felt it was a tremendous response from the team. We pushed and we never lost confidence.
When you look at stats, 14 shots on target, 23 shots inside the box, 23 shots to two, so we definitely created enough opportunities. It's just, you know, just lacking now that ball going in the back of the net. You always think if you continue to do this, you know, that we will put it away. It is a tough one but at the end of the day, we cannot give up the second goal. We cannot give up the second goal.
You push the game plan in the right way and then you keep it at 1-0. With the chances we created, you just felt that at any moment we were going to score, and you know, then you give the second goal and then again, the guys, there was a belief. We pushed the game in the right way, we took some risks also, and you had to at the moment, but the guys really stepped up and I think they did everything right (except) finding the back of the net.”
On not playing Stanislav Ivanov and if he was given a night to rest...
“No, there’s really no rest. It's not like last game I put him in and I felt like okay, this guy, he's been training now, he needs to get in. With any player, they have to earn the right to step on the field and that's dictated by the way they play and the way they train.
This is our philosophy from day one when Rapha spoke to the players. It's about performance. Performance in games and performance in training and that's where we evaluate every day with the guys. Rapha is not here but he does always an excellent job. We go over video with the players. We show them expectations are high, very demanding and that's how it should be.
With Ivanov, he’s training, he has to earn the right to step on the field and look, every game is a little bit different and might demand something else. That's why you rely on the team. We have different characteristics, different individuals that can bring something different and then based on what we need at the moment, I think we have options to bring it, and so no, if he doesn't deserve to be on the field, he won't.”
On head coach Raphael Wicky’s involvement while being away with his family...
“One thing I've learned (about) how things have changed is that technology is amazing. We learned this through this COVID situation with zoom calls and everything, so look, like any other club, all training sessions are videotaped. They’re all uploaded and he watches every training session and he's able to watch games. We're in touch every day, two, three phone calls, so he's very, very involved. But also there is a level of respect and trust in the staff that he has, not only myself (but) Adin Brown, and we had the ability to bring our U-23 coach, Ludo, and they are all quality people.
So that's the thing; there's a level of trust based on confidence and based on working together. So yeah, he's very involved but at the end of the day there is a level of trust when the game starts, you know, I can't pick up the phone and call. I have to make decisions based on what the game needs.”
On why the team couldn’t convert more of its chances...
“That's a really good question, you know. That's a really good question. I think when the goalie makes all those saves, you have to say lucky goalie for the night. That's the thing. I mean, but the positive thing is that you create those chances and then also we have quality but also sometimes you need a little bit of luck, also, to go your way to get some level of confidence with the guys.
But the thing is that luck goes your way when you keep pushing and you keep trying, and that's what I felt today. The guys really, even though they missed one chance, two chances, when you're a forward and a player on the field, you're always thinking the next opportunity. You know, the next opportunity. That's the kind of mentality the guys have. You have to have a killer instinct and you can miss 10 but maybe it's the next one that's going to come.
Unfortunately it didn't tonight but in my opinion, I give a lot of credit to my players. I know we lost the game and it's disappointing always when you're home in front of our fans but our fans very supportive, but if we go in every game with confidence like we did today for 90 minutes and push the game, and not be scared and play with confidence and create this many opportunities, we'll get a lot more wins. That's just my belief.”
Chicago Fire FC Defender Jonathan Bornstein
\On how it feels to come away with a loss after 31 total shots... \
“You have to always look at the positive, right. We created a lot of chances. We played well. We had a majority of the game in their half. You know, always got to also work on the things that you don't do right, so can't be losing a game where we do get 31 shots, so try and build on that always. Obviously, the team has given it all, and you can see that we're right there. Just a little bit to go so we can win.
Their goalie, you also have to give him credit, he had a great game. That's soccer, football, and I think we have to keep pushing. We're on a good path in the last six games, 2-2-2. Should be better but we've got to turn this thing around, as well. But yeah, 31 shots, it's really good to see; only one goal, not so good to see with 31 shots but it will get there.”
On the defense for the Fire…
“Yeah, I mean, obviously we had our -- they had their chances as well. First half I think we came out, you know, we gave them that goal. You know, defensively I thought in a game where we're controlling the ball a lot and the majority of the time we have possession of the ball in their side of the half, creating those chances, the defense has to be ready to step and when the ball comes out we have to win it back. I think we can do a little better on that just being more aware in the counter press, and counter -- sorry, the counter prevention.
I thought overall, we've got to be better on those goals. Little bit bad positioning, I got to watch it again, but I think in general terms we have to be tuned in everyone, all the defense. It takes a whole team to win and so everyone's got to be doing their job.
On the early goal allowed...
"It is disheartening to receive a goal so early, I think second minute of the game, any time you concede a goal that early, their team especially is going to drop off a little bit but I was really proud of the way that our guys responded immediately.
We didn't put our heads down and kept fighting and created a lot of opportunities and it was indicative of the 31 shots, constantly on top of them. I thought -- I was proud of the way we fought. We didn't give up. That's been a very positive theme of our team this year is don't ever give up. Never easy to go down so early but, you know, got to fix those type of things.”
On the morale in the locker room…
“Obviously it's going to be a little disheartening and disappointed in the result, but you know, I think that guys have a lot to be proud of, as well. I think if you take -- if you compare it to other games in the past where there's not as much energy, not as much intensity, not as much heart, you can really tell all the guys are giving it their all, you can't ask much more than that from a team, any team. And I think the more opportunities we play, the way we played tonight we're going to give ourselves a better chance to win.
The morale should be, you know, kind of like where you take a look at performance, you analyze what the game was about, take the positives and you keep working. You keep going forward. I think there were a lot of positive moments and obviously things to work on, as well. But I don't think that the morale should be very low. I think we've just got to keep moving forward and take advantage of the games that are in front of us.”
Chicago Fire FC Defender Miguel Navarro
\On how it feels to come away with a loss after all the chances created... \
“Yeah, we did create a lot of opportunities. We created a lot of chances. I think there were more than 30 if I'm not wrong. But this is the feeling that you walk away with knowing that there are some things that you're doing right and that there are things that we're working on, that we're generating chances and we're working hard and we know that it's these types of games where we shouldn't be dropping points at home and we shouldn't be losing at home. It gives us the feeling that we just need to be working hard and keep working and trusting in the players and the staff.”
On what the team could have done better tonight…
“I think what we were missing were goals. We just lacked goals. From the very beginning we went out and were playing our game and working hard. Yeah, they had their chances here and there but I think from the very beginning, we were marking our own pace and playing our own game and we're just going to keep working hard and keep having confidence in our team.”
On the team’s attack and the adjustments that were made towards the end…
“Yeah, I think there were moments where we were creating a lot of chances with crossing balls in the air from the side, so we were continuing to work on that and try that because we were creating chances and it was working for us in the moment.
But yeah, those are the small details that you have to fix during the game while you're playing and I think that now we just have to keep working on it, keep trusting ourselves and keep working hard.”