Chicago Fire FC fell 1-0 to NYCFC on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium via a Valentín Castellanos penalty kick finish in the 51st minute. Following the match, interim head coach Frank Klopas and defenders Miguel Navarro and Jonathan Bornstein delivered their thoughts on the performance. Read their thoughts in full below.
Chicago Fire FC Quotes
Chicago Fire FC Interim Head Coach Frank Klopas
On how he evaluates the team's performance tonight…
“Look, I think overall, I felt I was proud of the guys because I think they left everything on the field. You know, we competed hard all the way to the end, and I was extremely proud that we did not give up a second goal. I mean, that was huge.
You know, look, we didn't create enough opportunities. You can tell I think from the emotions from the last game, quick turnaround, I think you can tell that the guys were not as sharp. I felt when we needed to in that final third, you needed to be a little bit more dynamic, more explosive. I could tell that the guys were a little bit fatigued from the emotional high from the last game at home; they left everything on the field and I wanted to reward the guys that had put in that great performance.
But look, I'm extremely proud of the guys. You know, extremely proud of the way they competed. And like I said, not giving up the second goal, you're always in the game, and we had some opportunities in the end, maybe not crystal clear opportunities because in the final third we weren't as sharp, but I think we're making tremendous progress as a group and as a team.”
On the health of the team following the match…
“He's (Luka Stojanovic) getting checked, concussion protocol right now. Obviously he's got the big kind of lump on the side of his head. So you know, I think that's an area of concern. I think Federico (Navarro) had a little bit of a hamstring tightness in the end. So I couldn't tell you right now what it is. He has to get checked and see, you know, how he feels tomorrow.
But overall, I know Gastón had an issue with his ankle. He got stepped on or kicked or something. His foot rolled. So we'll see how that reacts, also, but other than that, pretty much other than those three guys that I mentioned, I think everybody else is fine.”
On his thoughts on Jonathan Bornstein and if there should be a role for Bornstein next season…
“I remember him as a player, also, when he came up into the league. I feel Johnny hasn't changed. He's ageless. I feel he's gotten better over time. He's a tremendous pro. For me, age really doesn't matter. It's about performance. The guy takes care of himself. I feel he can still play and contribute at this level. We have one more game left, but you know, for me, you see the way he performs. You see how he competes every day, how he takes care of his body. It's amazing.
For me, I'm not surprised at all. So Johnny yeah, look, we have one more game left and I think we can as a Club, you know, if they ask my opinion, I have my opinion, but I think he's a tremendous asset to any organization.”
On if he has thought about the next game being the last one he is in charge of for the Club…
“No. I haven't thought about that. I mean, I came in to help the Club, and you know, we don't know what the next steps are for anyone. You know, I would do anything for the Club, and I've said that. I stepped in as an assistant coach -- well, I was asked, and then I did it because I felt that, okay, if the Club needs me to do this in this role, I will do it.
I never think about that. I hope that I have a long future with the Club in some capacity. I feel like I have a lot to offer, that's for sure.
And like I said, and I've always said it, as someone who grew up in the Chicago area and played, started my career and finished my career with the Fire, I feel like I have a lot to offer. I just hope -- I've been very thankful to be involved in this Club and I hope I continue. I don't think about it as a last game because -- maybe the last game as interim coach, but I want to be involved with the Club in some capacity, and I feel that I have a lot to offer. And so I don't think about it.
I think the sad thing is, I think about the players, you know, because at the end of the day, for some of us, that will be the last time that we will be together as a group. This sport has brought us together from different countries from all over the world, and even though that might be the last game that we play together, the friendships will last forever and I think that's the important thing.
So my message would be to the guys: If that is the last time that that group will be together, let's make it a memorable one. Let's make it a memorable one. We are going to go prepare to go out there and get three points, and if we don't get the three points, I know, and this will be my message; and the guys know where I come from, is that we will put everything into it to try to get the three points. That's all that's on my mind. Not about me; I think about the players. I think about the relationships, and I think about all the hard work that we put in from the beginning, and obviously you know, the disappointment of not achieving the goals and moving forward, and the disappointment that we will not be together because that's the reality.
You know, well, let's make it a memorable last game, that's for sure, and one to remember.
But in the end, all those guys, whether they are playing or not, they will always be a part of the Fire family. That's the most important thing that they have to know. But let's make the fans proud and the Club proud of the way we compete up to the last game because we're professionals and we owe that every time we put this jersey on, every time, this badge, you've got to kiss it, you've got to wear it with honor, you've got to represent the Club and the city and the fans the right way by the work ethic. That's the most important thing, and the values that I transmit to the players and what the Club has .”
Chicago Fire FC Defender Miguel Navarro
On how he evaluates the team's performance tonight…
“Good evening. I think that we played a very correct game tonight in every line. It was a mistake, an error that cost us the game but when we played out there, we played a good game. We played all together. We left everything out on the field. We didn't leave anything behind. We didn't hold back at all. So now we continue to prepare so we can give our everything in the last game.”
On playing on the small pitch at Yankee Stadium and also what it was like to play on the field at Yankee Stadium as a baseball fan…
“For me it was a very nice sensation, a good feeling. It's a very historic stadium. But yeah, there was a little bit difficult as the field was a little bit small. But I mean, we can't have any excuses. We held the ball a lot and there are no excuses. I think the field was in as good condition, playing condition, as it could be for a soccer game.”
On how he would evaluate his 2021 season…
“I think that at first it was a little bit difficult for us to adapt to everything but I think what I've learned from this league is that you really need to kick off the season well and start off on the right foot so that you're not trying to row from behind and go forward.
So I evaluate, I think I've done well. I evaluate our performance as good. We are on our way up at the end of the season and we never let our guard down. We never let our arms down. We never stopped going and we always have tried and we will continue to try to do our best until the very end and we are just going to give it everything we have.”
Chicago Fire FC Defender Jonathan Bornstein
On how he evaluates the team's performance tonight and how he is feeling…
“First and foremost, I feel physically good. I just took a little hit to the head a little. But you know, normal -- normal stuff.
To be honest I'm extremely proud of the group. I think although we gave up a PK that leads to a loss, 1-0, I think the team has been progressively doing a lot better, and a really positive feeling within the group over the last few games.
And I think tonight, guys left it all out on the field going down 1-0, we still tried to push the game and come back into it. Have that late, late header with Luka (Stojanovic) that maybe if it goes in one of the sides, it's a goal. But extremely proud of the group. I think we've been fighting, battling, and you know, we never put our arms down and we never give up. Trying to finish the season off strong. That's the most important thing.”
On playing on the small pitch at Yankee Stadium and where it ranks in weirdest places he has played…
“Honestly the field was pretty good out there. You take away kind of the shape of the stadium, the shape of the field on the stadium, I think it was a very good surface which leads to good football. I thought overall you saw a very attractive style of soccer from both teams. I try not to even notice that the field is a little bit different. I think both teams have to deal with the same conditions. But you know, I try not to think about it.”
On how he would assess the growth of Gabriel Slonina...
“Yeah, I think the kid's an animal out there. He's extremely professional. Every single game, he leaves everything on the line. He's doing all the things right in training and in the games, also, you can see his confidence is extremely high. And I think that just comes with being disciplined and doing what you need to get yourself better and ready for each game. And so I've been extremely proud of him the way he's not only reacted but the way he's responded every single game, getting better, and I can only talk well of the guy.
I'm proud of the way he's been able to come on and contribute so much to the team, and there's no doubt that if he stays on this path, he's going to have a huge career in front of him.”
On if he hopes to be back next season…
“Hoping to. You know, within that, trying to just see where that leads when it -- when there's something there signed and ready, then we'll know. I'm hoping to, yes.”
On if he wants to continue on and to play next season as a professional…
“Yeah, easily I want to continue to keep my career going. I think physically I feel very good. I'm going to be 37 on November 7, which is the last game of the season. I think physically, I can still go. And so I would love for my career to keep going. I want to play as long as I can. In the past I've said I want to play until I'm 40. That's still my goal. Be the new Tom Brady of soccer/football. That's my goal.
We'll see how it goes. Obviously as a professional player, you consistently need to be taking care of your body, resting, eating well, doing all the things right off the field and then preparing yourself on the field as well.
That's my goal. If it's here in Chicago, I'd love that. I love the city. I love this team. I think this team has so much potential, and I love the fans and would love to continue with this Club for time to come.”