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In front of 31,308 fans at Soldier Field, Chicago Fire FC were 1-0 victors over Real Salt Lake in their home finale of the 2021 MLS season. Read thoughts below from interim head coach Frank Klopas, goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina, and midfielder Federico Navarro following the win:

Chicago Fire FC Interim Head Coach Frank Klopas

On the atmosphere at Soldier Field tonight and winning in front of over 30,000 supporters…
“That was a special night, and I think one that left a really good image for the fans. Unfortunately, we're not a team that's going to be going to the playoffs but I think finishing the way we did tonight, it’s not just about winning the game. I just felt like the way the guys competed, the mentality. Great personality, great fight, great grit. And then we played some very good football, what they put into the field, I think that that was something that the fans would respect and appreciate and something that we expect here in Chicago. You know guys that are with integrity, hard working guys, and I think they put that jersey on today and I think they left everything on the field and that's what I'm most proud of, and it was great to give the fans something really to to be excited about for the future of the club, because the future is bright. Unfortunately we didn't hit our goals this year, but a lot to build on and if we continue with this same mentality and spirit, I think next year will be a team that will be talking about the postseason and being in a place to play.”

On building off of a night like tonight, and things the team can improve on…
“I mean, I think you have to evaluate the whole season. It's not just, you know, you look at the way we kind of finished and I think even though I think it's important to finish strong. I think you have to evaluate everything, and see how we can improve in all aspects from the soccer standpoint. We have to obviously look and make some tough decisions, obviously the club has to make a decision on a coach. I think that's the most important thing. And some tough decisions with players. And I think when you look at the players I think it's important, the way they finish, you have to evaluate the whole season and make some tough decisions and then obviously, look how we can improve with the players that do come in.”

On the performance of Gabriel Slonina and his play over the last few games…
“Listen, he played great. I mean he had a great game tonight but I mean he's a young goalkeeper by age but he really, for me, it really doesn't matter. Young, if you have the quality to play, you will play. Age doesn't really matter, I mean you can just see how good. He has had minutes. I think other guys would have had more minutes if they weren't due to injury. So what I liked a lot was his composure and his work ethic and he's for a 17 year old kid, not even 17 he’s very mature. Adin Brown, our goaltending coach has done an unbelievable job with him. Bobby Shuttleworth was the older goalkeeper, you know, has really helped him also with his experience and it's valuable. To have someone like Bobby there who has been there, done that, and he's done a great job and I just think his maturity, his willingness to learn, he works extremely hard. He's almost always the first one to train and the last one to leave. He constantly works with Adin all the time whether it's on the pitch or with video analysis and stuff like that, so more than anything for me it's that he's got a tremendous future. This was just the beginning. But he knows it's all about the hard work and, and I just like his maturity level and and obviously, his ability, you know, he stepped up big tonight when he had to.”

On the new homegrown signings and his expectations to win the final games of the season…
“Yeah, look, I think in Chicago, we are very fortunate because I believe we have a lot of talented players here. I really do. When you look at the homegrown players we've signed, a lot of them were very young, you know, a couple were announced today, but even Brian Gutierrez, he’s 17. But he's got the quality to play. So it's important that you know to bring these guys in the right environment but they still have to earn it. I mean just because they signed a contract with the homegrown, I think the work really begins now. We will help them in any way we can. And I believe, at least what I believe, from the club standpoint if we can build a majority of our team, with our local talent that's here. I think we're very fortunate. Look how big this city is, not just within the city, just the surrounding areas where we have so many excellent players, so many kids that deserve an opportunity. I came through that system, I came from a different country when I was eight, nine years old back then soccer, it's not what it is now, I didn't have the opportunities, but I had a dream and I was able to fulfill my dream here and finish it here, and I know the club and we want to provide the same opportunities for all the kids. I think we have a tremendous talent pool. I think our academies have done a great job identifying players, signing them, but it's up to them to continue to work and develop and it’s our responsibility. But at the end of the day it's all about their quality. So they have to earn that right, Brian Gutierrez got on the field, Gaga, they've earned the right to do that. So I think our goal is that it's not going to be easy, and some of these homegrown players we signed might not even, you know. I wish everyone would make it but the reality is they're not, you know, they're not. It's a tough road ahead, but we are there to help them all the way. Yes, I think that if we can sign the majority of the players on the first team coming from Chicago, I think the fans would be there to support it. Then the remainder of the games, Yes, every time we step on the field we want to win. I mean that's a given. That's the responsibility we have, and the players have that we have to treat every game. We're professionals, regardless of what happens. If we're in, we're not. We got to play to win every game we got to play with the same intensity and mentality and that's what the club expects. That's what I expect, and they got to represent the club and the city of Chicago, and our fans in the way that they did tonight. By the way they compete, I will expect nothing less.”

A message to Mike Magee regarding the new crest…
“Yeah, the other thing I was gonna say, Oh, I totally forgot to do it. I remember when we announced the new logo. Mike McGee loved the logo, Mike McGee said this was a perfect logo. And the only thing he needed was for me to give it a kiss after a win. So again, Mike McGee, the legend, and I wish we could find some more Mike Magee’s. Mikey, I love the logo because it represents Chicago, and also a little bit from the past. So here's to you. Alright, here's a kiss to make it perfect. On a victory. Vamos!”

Chicago Fire FC Midfielder Federico Navarro

On what has changed within the team over the last few games...
"I think maybe three or four games ago we started moving and working. Things have been going well for us. We’ve been working more dynamically. Things have been coming together. We’ve been pushing forward in a style of play that is much more dynamic with us. We’ve been pushing ourselves to the limit and leaving everything out on the field and I think it’s been going well for us, things have been building up very well, and we’re going to keep moving forward and building on that.

On the atmosphere tonight in front of over 31,000 fans…
"In truth it had been a while that I hadn’t felt the sensation of playing in front of fans or in front of a crowd that was almost full, a stadium that was almost full. I think for everyone, we came through a pandemic and I think the most part of my previous games had been in the pandemic so it had been a while since I felt the stadium so full. Today we were able to play in front of a full crowd and I leave very satisfied because we had been feeling their support from previous matches, but today was a great day."

On his thoughts for the 2022 season…
"Yeah, first of all, we still have a couple of games left and they are equally as important as beginning to think about next season. I think during this time and from a couple games back, we’ve been playing well, we’ve been giving a different attitude, we’ve been coming in with a good attitude and I think that is going to carry over into next season. We are going to come in, we’re going to be more plugged in, we’re going to have a better attitude and we’re going to have a good role."

On the youth coming up through the Chicago Fire Academy...
"Everything came together tonight. It was a great victory. The crowd deserved a good win and it was a great game. Everything was very dynamic. Above all there was a lot of youth. There were youth signings, the goalkeeper is young, I think we are happy to see all the youth around the Club and we hope to see them all finish the season with the same attitude in the same way.

Yes, it was a great day, it was a great victory for the youth, the environment that is created when you have games like this and situations like this. There is a lot of talent as you mentioned in the Academy, the Fire Academy, and the second team. The truth is, I think that it’s great they now have a chance to show themselves and to demonstrate their talent and I wish them the best."

On the leadership within the team…
Yes, I think we have many good leaders. We have people who are very good reference points for us, starting with Johnny (Bornstein) our captain, he is a player with a lot of experience, he is very dynamic and his energy really helps the whole team out. Gaston (Gimenez) is also a reference, a leader, he’s a National Team player. And we have great players like Alvaro (Medran), who is also a leader, he goes out on the field and shows what he can do. And I think that as we all work together, we’re working to see -- we are all trying to do our best out on the field, going out there and working our hardest, so really everyone is just focused on what they have to do well out on the field. In reality, we are eight leaders who go out there and try to do our best and work hardest and get better every day."

On a message to the fans for this season…
Well, most of all, I want to give thanks for everything they have done for us, for all of their support, constant in the good times and the bad times. I want to say that next season we’re going to come out, we’re going to start from zero, and go out there and give everything we have.

Goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina

On his three saves during the match…
“Oh yeah, I think I think first and foremost, it was a great team performance, you know. I think we used that energy from Cincinnati to push us in this game and you know, it's the end of the season but I think we're still finishing strong and fighting every single game, which I love. It's awesome to play with a team that fights every single minute of the game and I think it's more about a team performance that really pushed us and helped every individual be better.”

On the team’s performance over the past few games…
“Yeah, you know, overall it was a difficult season but I think it's all about this moment and how can we improve and get ready for next season because the playoffs are not in the picture anymore. But I think every individual has his strengths and I think using those strengths in the game is what will keep us performing well.”

On what has been the catalyst for the change within the team during the past several games…
“I think, I think we always had that winning mentality in us, you know, it was always there every single game. Just, things weren't clicking at times and I think, you know, we're starting to find how each other play, we have good chemistry in the midfield, up top and the back. I think we're all starting to work together and work to each other's strengths to push us and get those wins.”

On being named Man of the Match after several other good performances…
“Yeah, I don't mind when I don't get Man of the Match or anything but it's a good accomplishment. I think first and foremost it's always about the team so whoever gets Man of the Match, of course, it's a great thing for him. But, yeah, it's an amazing feeling, an unreal feeling to be a Man of the Match and yeah, I'm going to continue to improve and work moving forward. Questions that are perfect go celebrate guys you.”