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Chicago Fire FC were 1-0 victors against D.C. United on Saturday in front of nearly 18,000 fans at Soldier Field. Following the match, Head Coach Ezra Hendrickson, defender Jonathan Bornstein, midfielder Federico Navarro, and goalscorer Fabian Herbers assessed the performance with members of the media. Read their thoughts in full below:

Chicago Fire FC Quotes

Chicago Fire FC Head Coach Ezra Hendrickson

On the team's emotions on getting their first win in 90 days…
“Well it’s a relief, But you know, the past couple of games now we've really played some good soccer. And the Toronto game was unfortunate, but we put that past us. We worked really hard the last couple of weeks. This week, especially, the boys really, put it in, and we give them a challenge tonight that you know, we need to have a mentality when we step on the pitch. And an attitude that, you know, we don't just want to dominate games, you know, we don't want to just play better than teams we want to beat teams. And they went out today from the start and really showed that mentality, showed that attitude, every man to a tee. That first half was one of our better halves, you know. We let them back in the game a little bit in the second half. But we're building something and that consistency is not quite there yet, but it's coming. And so we're just happy that, you know, we've kind of stopped the bleeding so to speak. And we’re looking forward now to our next opponent, and go to Houston, and do the same thing. You know, just playing hard, playing with the mentality that we're not going to lose, right, we're not going to lose and so this was good for the team tonight. And I'm very, very proud of the boys tonight.

On the substitutions that made an impact on the game…
“Well, yeah, we noticed that Guti was getting a little tired, getting a little fatigued. So my thoughts were that maybe we take him out, put Chris in the middle and put Fabi on the left and get Espinoza on the right wing. Also they were coming down our right a lot. I thought Stani was also a little tired. So we have to make a change to kind of stop what was going on over there. And, you know, the guys came on and you know, did the job. Every player, though. The guys who started, the guys who came on, put it in tonight. And that's what we asked of them. That's why we train so hard. We work so hard week in and week out to get results, you know, and we haven't been getting them. Some games we played really well and You don't get the results and were just making a point to try to stop that now and change that. We're still growing as a team. We're not quite there yet. I mean, we were missing two big pieces tonight in Shaq and Torres. That always helps when we have those guys but the guys who played tonight stepped up and that's good to see. It means that when you're missing some key guys, you have guys on the bench that you can count on to come in and start and then other guys to come in and follow them up off the bench. So good, comprehensive victory by the team tonight. And so I'm very proud of them.”

On how the team can get out of the hole that has been dug without victories in the previous 10 games…
“Well, what I said to them after the game is to remember this feeling. Remember this feeling, remember how good it feels to walk off a pitch when you've played well knowing that you didn't give the game away or you didn’t lose the game. There were a lot of times there were games that we tied like Red Bull, for instance, that we should have won. There are games that we lost that we probably should have tied, let’s say Cincinnati for instance. And hopefully we could stop that and we can change the narrative about this team, that there is a team that can close out games. Because we showed tonight that we have what it takes. We played a couple of practice games in the past couple of weeks and we did scenarios where one team was up a goal with five minutes to go, and then we'll do it when you're down a goal. And then we do when a match is tied and you have to go for it. So we put them in scenarios that will get them ready for a situation like this because we've been giving away too many points in the first 14 minutes. And I think that showed tonight because they were not going to give up a goal. They were going to fight and fight and secure that one nothing lead so I'm very happy that, you know, we're learning. Like I said it's not quite all there yet. The consistency is a part that we have to work on. Because if you look at the first half and the second half, you'd say we need more games like the first half. But that being said, we ended up with a victory. That's all you can ask for, all anyone cares about and at the end of the game it’s not how much possession you had. It's did you win or lose you lose and hopefully this sits with them and enjoy this then we continue this.”

On updates on Xherdan Shaqiri’s return…
"Yeah, we were hoping to get him back next week for Houston. We think it's a 10-to-14 day thing but you know, we'll have to see how that goes. Hamstrings are a funny thing. You think it's there but you try to do a sprint and it's not quite there yet. So we will definitely take our time with that. But, hopefully for Houston he's back.”

On how it is to deal with Switzerland with Shaqiri’s injuries coming from international duty and any updates on Omsberg...
“Yeah, with Shaq once he goes with the national team, we keep updated on what's going on in training, his training loads and stuff like that. But when you play four games in 12 days, it's difficult. He's not 20 years old anymore. But you know, once he’s there, it's really out of our control. As far as what he does, we can advise him or give advice to them. But at the end of the day, he's a big part of their team and if they need to play him they’re going to pay him. And then once he's here, we just got to make sure that we monitor how we train with him. As far as Wyatt, I'm not sure yet. Something in his foot, maybe he turned his ankle or something. I'm not sure what it is quite yet but hopefully it's nothing too serious because you know, he had another good game again tonight and he's become a big part of this team. So we'll wait and see but injuries always happen and we just got to do the best we can with what we have and I think in a situation even like tonight Carlos had to come in at the end of the game and had one key clearance because they were pumping balls in the box. So again, I just want to commend the players, everyone that stepped on the pitch tonight and what they did to secure the victory and make sure that we walked away with three points tonight and not walking away with our heads down again. And hopefully, they enjoy this moment and it continues like this for some time.”

Chicago Fire FC Defender Jonathan Bornstein

On using the break to the benefit of the team...
"Obviously, it's always good when you get a little bit of time away from games, especially when we were kind of having a little bit of a bad streak there. It was a chance where we could reevaluate things. I think the training, more than anything, was the best part of it. I think every day in training, everyone came with a good mentality, with a good energy and it definitely paid off tonight. I think the group in general was fired up, came out with intensity, we tried to play. Obviously, we created some chances, only got one goal, but I thought the team defense was really good tonight. And so you know, that's how we need to play every week, and we need to prepare like that every week as well."

On building on the momentum of a victory...
"YeaI think we have to build on it, I think we have to use that momentum going forward. We have another good week of preparation before the game in Houston. We go on the road, so for us, we have to win every single game that we have in front of us to get ourselves back in the race for playoffs and so I think everyone is prepared for that. Obviously, we're going to have to do that in training and then show up for the games as well. 

I'm extremely proud of the group, proud of everyone who played tonight. We had some inner squads during the week, and those games are tougher sometimes than the real games. So, I think that showed in the way we performed tonight and that's the way it has to be every single day."

Chicago Fire FC Midfielder Fabian Herbers

On his thoughts of the match...
“Yeah, I mean, I thought we were overall the better team. I think we outplayed them the bulk of the possession, and had the majority of the chances, I think. But I mean, we did struggle to get the final touch in there. Luckily, I got the goal at the end, so I was happy to help the team. I think it's a huge push for us in the right direction. And, yeah, hopefully we can continue on that path and keep going.”

On coming off the bench to score the winning goal...
“I mean, you just try to help the team, you just try to give everything in order to get the win and do it for the home crowd, obviously, all the people that came out. Finally, we have some good weather in Chicago so people enjoy being out here. I'm just happy we got them the win and got away with three points.”

On specific indication from the coach...
“The coach puts you in, obviously, he wants some fresh legs on the field. I thought the other guys had all played pretty well so far. But obviously, when you put somebody in, you give them a different look. And I just tried to bring energy in order to give their defense more problems. And yeah, luckily, I did have the goal this time and I'm just happy about it.”

Chicago Fire FC Midfielder Federico Navarro

On his relationship with Gastón Giménez and what it’s like playing next to him…
“Yes, I think any player can play well next to Gastón. So, whoever plays, we are always going to try to do our best for the team because at the end of the day, you see, this is always a collective effort.” 

On the team only being six points away from a playoff position despite its recent run…
“Yeah, we’re going day-by-day, step-by-step. We earned a victory today and we’re going to go for another one next weekend so, step-by-step, and God-willing, it will happen.”

On the team having gone several weeks without playing, giving players a chance to talk to each other…
“Yes, totally, and it also served to be able to reflect on our mistakes and work on them. We had some time and today you saw the reflection of that.”