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The Chicago Fire came away with their second win at Soldier Field in four days after a 1-0 finish against the Seattle Sounders, courtesy of a Rafael Czichos first half header. After the match, Head Coach Ezra Hendrickson, Czichos, defender Jonathan Bornstein, and goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina gave their takeaways on the result. Read their quotes in full below:

Chicago Fire FC Quotes

Chicago Fire FC Head Coach Ezra Hendrickson

On how to rally the team to two wins after a loss...
"Our back were against the wall, so to speak. And what I told them is, when your backs are against the wall like that, you got to come out fighting, you know, you have no choice. And we came out really, really well against that Columbus team, which is a good team. But we floundered a bit in the second half, you know, we let them get three goals against us. But we weren't going to let down and give up on the season. We knew that we played well, but we didn't play well enough. And we didn't play well enough consistently within that game. So we just made sure that we sat down, we had a long 45-minute, hour meeting and we just talked about the points we've thrown away this year and how we could be 12, 15 points ahead of where we are right now, if we don't throw away some of those games. And they weren't going to stop fighting.

And we came out Wednesday, we got up early on Toronto, which gave us some confidence. And before the game, we talked about three C's: being courageous, being confident and being consistent. And that's what we had to have against Toronto. And it's not easy to ask that of a team when they’ve just lost such an emotional game three or four days before that. But we came out, got up two goals on them and we weren't gonna let that happen to us, what happened again Saturday.

And then now you're facing the CONCACAF Champions League winner. That's not an easy task. So, you've got to now, two, three days later, repeat what you did on Wednesday. And that's another big ask of them; they came out tonight, played well. We still, at times, let them get hold of the game, but they're a good team, so we expected that. The key for us was, when they had the better of the play, we didn't concede. And Gaga came up with a big save at the end there to protect the lead, because we didn't want to tie this game. You know, we had worked too hard up until then to let this game go. They're a good team. They gave us everything and we fought, we fought and we just did not want to lose this game tonight. And I'm so proud of the players because it's so easy throughout this year in these first six, seven months to just give up, but they never did. They never, ever gave up. And as a staff, we just challenge them every time, even after a loss, we challenge them. ‘We lost this game but we shouldn't have; we should have tied this game.' Sometimes it's not easy to get guys to believe in what you're trying to do when the results are not going your way. So that in itself was a hard task for us as a staff. But I'm proud of them, they stuck with it. 

Now, the consistency part is something that we have to now continue. We have to be a team that's gonna have to go on the road and win. We showed that we could do it in DC, but we have to do it once, maybe a couple more times this year, if we want to get to where we want to be, and that's in the playoffs. You know, once the regular season is done, we want to be one of the teams that's still playing. And now we put ourselves in a position, based on what happened tonight with other teams that we’re just three, maybe four points off that line. Within two games, you could be there. Once we get there though, we have to stay there. And I told them tonight after the game, the hard part is to get there, but it's even harder to stay there once you get there; and now we're there, within striking distance. Once we get over that line, which I think we will, we just have to maintain this type of performance. Stick within the game plan and we'll be fine, we'll be successful. And they believe in that. They believe when we talk to them and when we tell them, and they believe in what it is that we're doing. So, when that happens and you get that consistency, good things will happen. And I'm just happy for them right now.”

On the performance of the defense against a team like Seattle...
“Yeah, you know, we had to be very good defensively. How we defend as a team, it's a big part of what we do. The guys up front, they have to put into work because of how we defend; what they do depends a lot on how well the guys in the back do, because everything is predictable for the guys in the back. When the guys up top do their jobs, the guys in the back know where to be, know their positioning and everything. And that makes it easy for us as a team to keep teams from breaking us down. And it's very good for us to get a shutout against that team because, you know, that's a very good team. That's a well-coached team and that's a very good team. And to come away with a victory like that, not giving up a goal, speaks a lot about this team and what the potential is there with us.”

On the lack of second half goals...
"Well, we're going to continue working on our attack. It's something that we know has to get better because it's not every game that you're going to get a shutout. But if we're gonna get shutouts, it doesn't matter when we score, right? So, the key part is to go back to the beginning of the year when we were getting a lot of shutouts and keeping teams from breaking us down and scoring. We seem to have turned that corner back to those days. So, if we continue to do that and improve on our attack, we put ourselves in good positions in every game. Because it doesn't matter if we score two in the first, two in the second; as long as the other team doesn't score, once we score, we win the game. So that's the most important thing that we have to talk about: rather than scoring equally in the first and second half, it's scoring and not letting teams score against us. And we will continue working on the attack. There are some things that we can improve on. But right now, we just want to enjoy this. But we know we have a tough one coming up on the road in Vancouver, they’re a team that has been playing well as of late, so it's not an easy task for us. But if we go out to the West and pick up three points, it really, really helps us out in the Eastern standings. So, the focus is, continue to play good defense and improve offensively.”

On the performance of Jairo Torres...
"Well, he's getting fitter physically and I think he's getting over the injury, so that's good to see. But, you know, he came in at a point where we needed more defense than we did his attacking abilities. And he showed that when called upon, he can defend. I don’t know if you remember one instance, they got behind us and Chú, I think it was, was about to cross and he was the one who followed him and was able to block the cross. They got a corner out of it, but that cross comes across, it's dangerous. For an attacking player to put in that kind of effort, to run back 50, 60 yards to make that tackle, that's what we ask of everyone on the pitch. Him coming in, you know, not having played much and being able to do that, and being willing to do that, speaks volume. We all know what he can do offensively so once he gets back into rhythm, he'll be a very good player for us." 

On working on execution in the attack...
“Yeah, well, it's a part of our game that we've been struggling with, that we're trying to improve on constantly. In a week like this, when you have three in seven, three in eight, you don't really get to do much work on the field, because most of the physical load you get in during the game so you're not able to do much. But we were still able on Tuesday and on Thursday, to get in Friday, to get some shooting in. And we just tried to get them comfortable around the goal. When guys feel comfortable, increase their confidence when they're around (the) goal. Sometimes, we're missing passes, too. Sometimes, even tonight on breakaways, we missed passes and it's a counter the other way. 

So, it's not always sometimes the finishing part of it, why we're not scoring; sometimes it's getting into the final third, and maybe it's the wrong decision made by the guy on the ball and we don't complete the pass or we don't make the right pass. A lot has to improve in the final third and we'll continue to work on it and get better at it.”

On the health of Jhon Durán and Gaston Giménez...
“So, Durán took a knock in the game on Wednesday, ankle. For the past 48 hours, we worked on him. Lots of treatment, trying to get him ready for tonight but he just wasn't able to go. But we hope to have him back next week. And then Gastón tweaked his hamstring a little bit, so he had to come out in the first half.”

Chicago Fire FC Defender Rafael Czichos

On the team’s victory tonight…
“I think this is the best part of the two wins we got now because the loss in San Jose was very tough and then, at home, two-zero up and you still lose the game, the days after were really hard for us. We were so disappointed. So I think these two wins are huge for us. We are back in the middle of the table and still have a chance to get what we want at the end of this season so we are really, really happy right now.” 

On what was discussed during the team meeting that took place earlier this week…
“Yeah, it was after the loss against Columbus. Like I said, we were so disappointed, and we knew we had to change something. I think we have enough quality to play good soccer. I think we’ve been showing it a lot this year already, that we have a good team. It was mentally really, really difficult for us and I think we got together as a team and I think the last two games show that we are learning.”

On his game-winning goal tonight…
“Good question, I think it was a corner or something, that’s why I was in the offense because normally I stay a little bit deeper. I stayed there and then I saw Fede (Navarro), that he has a lot of space and I’m really happy that he saw me. Nice cross and, yeah, the rest is history.” 

On the way the defense has stayed together and everyone helps out…
“We have nine clean sheets already this season. I think that’s really not so bad. Of course we have a brilliant goalkeeper and we work hard against the ball. We had games (where) we didn’t play well defensively, but I think in most of the games it’s really hard to get a goal against us and that’s the key factor for us. If we keep the zero, it’s easier to win games.”

On the fans’ support in the stadium the past couple games…
“It was crazy tonight, really, a nice atmosphere. And especially after the home game last weekend, it was not normal that they came back and support us. So we are really happy. The crowd was amazing and I hope that people will come more this season.” 

Chicago Fire FC Defender Jonathan Bornstein

On how the team feels after the win…
“Obviously I always like to say in the highs you can't get too high and in the lows you can't get too low. So we have to stay humble and keep putting in the work. This week we have a complete week to work on things and prepare ourselves for the next match we have on next Saturday. You know obviously, each game is very difficult and we got to be getting points whenever we can.”

On if he is concerned about the team losing a 2-0 lead against arch rivals Columbus Crew and what it says about the group that they didn’t put their arms down…
“It can go two ways. You can put your arms down and say we’ve had a tough season. Things haven't gone our way, we gave a game away. Or you can go the opposite and say, look, we played 45 minutes of great soccer and 45 minutes of bad soccer. We need to have some more consistency and then the group will be a lot better. So I think as a group, we came out thinking the positive way. And it showed within last game to go up 2-0 very similar to the Columbus game but then to close it out showed a lot of character. And showed that we learned from our mistakes. And in this game also to go up 1-0 against a very good team in CONCACAF Champions. For them to come in here and we go up early and to be able to hold on to it the entire game. It shows a lot of fight, a lot of grit from the group. And I’m really proud of every single player who played tonight and everyone who prepared for it tonight as well.”

Chicago Fire FC Goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina

On the result tonight …
“It’s a big win but obviously we want to keep building off of it, so it’s good to get the win but I think the focus is going to be on using the next couple days to recover and throughout the week, preparing for Vancouver. And I mean obviously we are right there now and we can make it. I believe in this team, I believe in the coaching staff and the belief they instill in us. So I think if we just keep plugging away in training and believing and having that confidence in how we play, we should be in good shape for Vancouver this weekend.” 

On his wrist injury…
“Yeah I'm pretty sure you guys saw in the first half, Fede stepped on it, it was a complete accident. But it's fine, that's just the game.” 

On mentality coming into tonight's game after victory over Toronto and a short turn around…
“I think we all knew how important it was. I think this was a massive three points for us this season. It shows we can play with one of the top teams in the league. It shows we have the ability and confidence and talent on the field to be able to come away with wins from these games. So I think the mentality was that we need these three, and we weren’t going to leave Soldier Field tonight without these three points.” 

On mentality going into Vancouver next week after back-to-back wins…
“I think it's going to be the same approach as always. We always want to come out on the road and come away with three points, so I think we are going to use the week to prepare for Vancouver as much as possible. So I think that as long as we stay healthy and do all the right things, we should be in good shape for Vancouver, as well.”

On how the team recovered after the Columbus game …
“I think it's just that we are fighters. We didn't want our season to be over. So I think that coming and losing 3-2 versus Columbus at home, that hurt a lot. It meant a lot and I think but we added it as fuel to our fire. We didn’t sit back and let it hurt us. We used it as an advantage so I think that's how we bounced back.”

Two matches. One day.

Two matches. One day.

Join us July 30 for a Soldier Field doubleheader with the Chicago Red Stars!