Quote Sheet | Klopas, Herbers Discuss Chicago Fire FC's Match against Columbus Crew

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Columbus, Ohio (March 9, 2024) Chicago Fire FC (0-2-1, 1 point) fell 2-1 to the Columbus Crew (2-0-1, 7 points) on Saturday night at Field. Following the loss, Head Coach Frank Klopas and forward Fabian Herbers spoke to the media.

Chicago Fire FC Head Coach Frank Klopas

On the team’s start through three games…

“Yeah, right now, just emotional that – yeah, it's a tough loss, obviously. Because I felt we deserved to come out of here with points. The expected goals were 1.73, 1.77, almost double theirs; we created enough opportunities. And you have to finish your changes. If you don't finish your chances on the road against a good team, you know, and then you put yourself in difficult moments. 

I thought the team played really well. The changes came in, performed well, and we brought good energy. In the end, I think that's just, whether it's 12 minutes, 15 minutes, you stop thinking that the ball is ours and they play a quick throw in and we give up the second goal. So managing the game late in the games, we have to improve that. 

And obviously it's really frustrating because again, this is a game that we should walk away with points. But it was a good performance from the team. So I'm really happy about that. It really hurts because we walk away, again, empty handed. So that's a tough one, especially with the performance we put there tonight.”

On being competitive in three of the toughest fixtures of the season…

“We're heading in the right direction, I can say that, but it's easy for me to say. But it's all about the results. When you look at all three games, I think all three games we should have walked away with points. I go back to the Philly game. Should have walked away possibly with three. The Cincy game was tough given the late goal from a set piece. We didn't create enough opportunities like we did tonight on the road. 

So this is really a tough one. So there's no easy games. You know, obviously I said, I think playing some of the better teams, I think it's going to make us better. But we need to get results and we need to get points because also that does count for us within the group. Performances like this, it does, but in the end, there's disappointment. I think the guys in there, I think it's a disappointment because they understand, again, that we left points on the table. 

So that's a tough one. I think we are growing as a team. Like I said before, with seven new players, you know, I think it takes time to, I think, get everyone on the second page on the team. But the way they competed, the way they played, yes, of course we can be better at times. But we created enough today to put the game away and get points. 

So in the end of three games, to have one point, of course we're not happy, I don't care who we play. So you know, we've got to continue to have this kind of mentality and attitude, and now we've got to get results. There's nothing else you can say. I can say all the right things, but in the end, it's about W's.” 

On Tobias Salquist’s MLS debut…

“He was good. I think he was good. I think there are moments you can see his composure on the ball, especially we needed that today against a [good] team. We needed to be good with the ball. I think he's been working extremely hard. We took our time with him obviously because I think he's only going to get stronger and better within every game, and I thought he had a good performance.” 

On Hugo Cuypers’s performance tonight…

“Yeah, we need to give our striker chances. Tonight we did. They didn't go in but I think he's got the mentality, the next opportunity. He works extremely hard. So we needed at points, the changes we made, we needed to bring fresh legs. And I rely on the team. That's the most important thing. It could be an off-night for guys and not everyone is going to play, you know, super every game. That's why you rely on the team. 

I felt the guys that came in, you know, obviously Chris, he came in and you could tell, you know, that I think he needs games to get his sharpness. But I have no problem putting them in. 

And I think Hugo, we've got to continue, today he did have his chances and I'm sure he's going to be thinking he should have put one in the back of the net because that's the mentality he has. I think if we give him enough opportunities like that, he's going to find the back of the net.” 

On the 12 minutes of extra time…

“I thought there was a lot of time, I always keep time on my watch to see when there's an injury, when they come in. I know the goals, normally it's 30 seconds. But for me, I felt that 12 minutes was long, you know. I would have thought 10 minutes was long. You know, if you would have put eight minutes, I would have said, okay, six to eight minutes. But 12 minutes, for me, was long. 

I'm not going to argue. They call it. I keep my own time. At the end of the day, we have to manage the game better. It was in our hands to get a result and then we stopped on one play. They make a quick throw-in and we pay the price. At the end of the day, we have to manage games better late in the game, and it's two games now with Philly and this one that we dropped points, and I would say all three.”

Chicago Fire FC Midfielder Fabian Herbers

On the team’s performance through the first three matches…

“Yeah, like you said, it was not the easiest start to the season. You know, playing at Philly, at home against Cincy and now at Columbus. You know, obviously standing out there with one point, another disappointing result today.

But I thought, yeah, we could have come out with more today. We at least deserved a point. It's tough to come away with yet another overtime goal. Yeah, it's just frustrating because like you said, we can't put our head in the sand right now. We had a very, very difficult three games and we have to keep our head up, keep fighting, keep going and the season is still long.

But I'm proud of the group, the way we thought not only here but also in Philly. Yeah, I think since Cincy was okay, but the two away games, we played head-to-head with two of the best teams in the League and the Eastern Conference. But still we have to know that the pressure is on when we have to start getting points.

On how it felt to get his goal tonight…

“Yeah, in the moment, it felt good. It was the tying goal. I think after going down 1-0, I think the group showed character. We kept pushing. Created some chances. If you look at the quality of chances, I thought we had even better chances than Columbus for a stretch of the game. Yeah, just happy to get on the score sheet. But yeah, unfortunately it's not enough. So I'd rather have taken a point or three points than scoring.”

On the development of his relationship with Hugo Cuypers…

“Yeah, I was able to steal the ball once or twice off their defensive six. Yeah, it was good to create chances. I think he makes good runs. Now it's just about obviously getting the finishing touch. Over time that will come as he gets adjusted to the League, and I think, yeah, understanding what's good overall.

But I think he's putting in the work. He's fighting for the group and he's a good teammate. So hopefully he can get on the score sheet as well.”

On how he feels about playing different positions to start the season…

“Yeah, like you said, I just try to, no matter what position the coach puts me in, I try to do the best to help the team. Fortunately, I was able to do that over the first couple games. I try to play my best and help the team in the best way possible, and, yeah, try to help the team win. I feel like we still have come short with that.

Disappointing, obviously, but you know, happy to be on the field, and yeah, the more minutes I can get, the happier I am. But you know, hopefully I would like to see this team winning and hopefully we can get some more points and then everybody would be happier as well.”

On the reaction he’d like to see from the team heading into next weekend…

“Yeah, I think, keep up the braveness with the ball. Keep up the confidence. I thought we had some really good moments. Obviously, Columbus was putting the pressure on us with the possession. But I think if we have our moments and if we can find more moments of those where we keep the ball and put them under pressure, against Montréal I want to see that. And I want to still see the fight that we brought today, but then be better with the ball, and yeah, keep moving it more and create even more chances and finishing those chances.”