Chicago Fire FC's Frank Klopas, Wyatt Omsberg, and Gastón Giménez deliver their takeaways from Wednesday night's 2-2 draw with D.C. United at Soldier Field.
The Fire are right back at home this coming Saturday, when Toronto FC comes to town for a 7 p.m. CT kickoff.
Chicago Fire FC Assistant Coach Frank Klopas
Overall thoughts on the match…
“Yeah, look, there are games where you come out of moments like that and you feel, you know, you feel positive when you come back if you're down 2-0, not when you're up. At home, everything was going well, and then, you know, it's the next play, always, in a 2-0 lead.
And I think 2-0, 3-0, really doesn't matter, it's the next play. We had some opportunities to make the next play. I felt I made some subs late in the game and I think that we had an initial push and then we dropped a little bit too deep and we invited too much pressure on ourselves. Then we gave up the two goals. So definitely disappointed, you know, because again, I feel like we dropped some points at home and the way the game ended.”
On if tonight’s result was a missed opportunity to get three points…
“No, I think, look, I'm proud of the guys, at the effort that they put (in). It doesn't change. I think when we're playing at home and you drop points, it's always a missed opportunity because we know the amount of home games that we have in the front end of the season and we have to take advantage of that. And you know, we came into this game, I felt really good with the preparation with the guys after the setback in Nashville, and things were going great.
But you know, you have to play to the end, 90 minutes. So, there’s not much to say. We have to keep our heads up and we have to go back tomorrow and start focusing on Toronto coming in a couple days, and that's all you can do. You know, try to learn from this, and then move forward and obviously plan ahead and have a good game plan, select the right guys on the field and give them the confidence and hopefully go Saturday and get the three points.”
On his mentality having to fill in for Head Coach Raphael Wicky…
“Yeah, like you said, I've been in this situation before, but this doesn't happen in one or two days or three days. For me, it's the preparation that's taken place from when the season started.
Rapha, our head coach, has done an excellent job preparing the team, preparing different scenarios. We know exactly if we change something tactically, it's something that we do on the training pitch and the guys are prepared.
For me to step (into) this role, really, it's very easy. It's very easy in the sense that it's all in the preparation that the head coach has done beforehand. So you know, I've been there. I've done that before. Obviously we miss Rapha being here and our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family again.
But the team doesn't really miss a beat because we've been together. I've been together with Rapha now for a year and a half and with this group of guys. It's all in the preparation that you do, and you go, you prepare well, you go through "what if" scenarios, what might occur, and then you go out and you compete and you play.”
On if he has spoken to Raphael Wicky…
“Yeah, I talk to him every day. He just texted me even now after the game. They are watching the game.
Look in moments like this, the most important thing is family. Our thoughts and prayers; again, the game is finished, and we're disappointed, but looking at the bigger picture, nothing can compare. This is a game we all love to do and play, and tomorrow is another day and Saturday is another game.
Look, he's doing as well as he can. It's important that he's there with his family in these moments and things are improving and getting better with his dad, which is a positive, and that's the most important thing. He wishes that he was here, obviously. He texted before and called and wished the guys all the best. So he's with them even though he's not here physically.”
On the decision to play Stanislav Ivanov for 15 minutes…
“That's the thing, after the game I'm like the best analyst in the world; I make the best decisions (laughs). Yeah, going into the game, I thought that Stani has been training now for over a month, a month and a half with the team, and if there's a way to get him, you know, 15, 20 minutes, not stretching more would have been the goal to get it done.
Frankie, coming back since the Euros has been fantastic, no doubt about that. But now you're managing, also, three games in a week. He's traveled a lot, he's played a lot of games. So it's a decision where you feel you bring some fresh legs. You're in control of the game, but that's how quickly things can go. For me, those subs are totally on me, my responsibility. I take that.
But the plan all along for Stani was (at) most, no more than 20 minutes. If the opportunity was there to get minutes, in the end, it's all about doing what's best for the team to win the games.”
Chicago Fire FC Defender Wyatt Omsberg
On the level of frustration within the team after the result…
“It's certainly disappointing. (I) felt like we played a pretty good game. (We) gave ourselves a 2-0 lead and then (with) 10, 15 minutes to go we give up two goals. It’s something that can't happen, so we’re really disappointed.
If there is a positive, it's that we played well for 80 minutes and put ourselves in a position to win and then I think the last part is closing out the game. Certainly frustrated and disappointed with the result.
On having to stay prepared to play different positions along the backline…
“Yeah, I think it's a little bit of a challenge, but at the end of the day it's really the same position. You're kind of doing the same things. You're getting the ball in more or less the same places. On the left side you may be using your left foot a little bit more, but all in all, it's pretty similar.
And I think the guys around you, you know, we have a really solid defensive group and the defensive midfielders and with Bobby in the back, I think we're pretty comfortable with each other. So no matter who is in, I think everyone is comfortable and confident.”
On the back three and how it has benefited the team…
“Yeah, good question. I think I feel like we're more organized defensively with the three at the back and then I think it just gives guys a position to play maybe a little bit more their natural positions.
Then going forward with three at the back, we get our wingers, Boki and Miguel, who have been playing there mostly, do a good job getting forward. And I think offensively, it gives us more chances. I think we're pretty comfortable on both now. Depends on the team we're playing. Depends on what we're doing.
But I think we're comfortable in both and the back three, like you said, has been working pretty well. So I think we've just got to keep improving.”
On the difficulty of dropping points tonight with so many road games at the end of the season…
“Yeah, I mean, in MLS you know how important these home games are. A tie is okay but we need to win that game. I think we have some more home games coming up. We're back at home on Saturday.
But yeah, it's crucial to win games at home but now what this means is that we have to do better on the road as we go forward.”
Chicago Fire FC Midfielder Gastón Giménez
On adjusting to the team’s new formation and tactics…
“Well, yeah, the team changed tactically, but Rapha and the assistant coaches have done a great job explaining everything and made it really clear what the changes were going to be, and so they worked well with us and we were able to adapt quickly, and we had to actually play this way in Orlando last year at the tournament.
So we had already trained in this formation and it made it easier for us to adapt to the tactical changes more quickly.”
On scoring his first MLS goal…
“I'm very happy to score my first goal in MLS. Yes, I was looking for that spot. When I saw Boki, or (Boris) Sekulić, get the ball and aim and get ready to pass it, I was trying to anticipate the defender, and so I was trying to shoot it there, trying to send the ball there.
I'm happy on a personal level for having scored the goal but I'm sad because of the result. It's another game where we should have come out with a victory, and then ten minutes left in the game, we didn't close it out properly.
So it's another thing on which we have to improve. It's another thing we can grow on. But it's over and it's done with, and now we have a couple days to come back and get ready for a rematch here at home.”
On tonight’s result...
“Yeah, that's the way the results go. We know that in football, a difference of two goals is really nothing because you score one goal and you're back in the game, and, well, what happened out there.
So it was tough because we had been playing a great game until that moment. We were at home and we were ahead and doing well and it's something we really shouldn't have let happen. But as I mentioned before, it's over, it happened, and now we have another game coming up. We can't lose, so we have to prepare ourselves to win at home here in a couple days.”