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Chicago Fire FC head coach Raphael Wicky, goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina, and defender/midfielder Mauricio Pineda deliver their thoughts on the team's performance following a 0-0 draw with New York City FC at Soldier Field on Wednesday. With his start, Slonina became the youngest player in MLS history (17 years, 81 days) to start a match at the position.

Next up, the Fire's three-match homestand continues with a visit from the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, Aug. 8, at 5 p.m. CT.

Chicago Fire FC Quotes

Chicago Fire FC Head Coach Raphael Wicky

On where the team stands being halfway through the season…
“So where we stand obviously is we are obviously not happy with the amount of points we have, that’s for sure. That’s for sure we expected more. We have higher expectations so with that we aren’t happy. I still think this team is developing. I still think there is a curve, we see a curve that is going upwards, that the team is growing together. I think now about the players, we spoke with the team, we are trying to really take it game-by-game. Always take it game-by-game but always the team goals and stuff, we’re just saying the next game is the most important, it’s this one. Let’s try to take three points here and see what happens; Red Bulls, Columbus, that’s what we are trying to do and see where that gets us.

With the development of the team, like I said, I am quite happy right now. Guys are coming back, guys are getting more minutes. Carlos Teran returned today, so yeah, I have to look at it in different ways. So of course with the points, I can’t lie, we’re not happy with that.”

The latest on Przemysław Frankowski…
“Yeah, I hope you understand that I can’t say more than what you already know. There’s negotiations, transfer negotiations and yeah that’s all I can say for now. Let’s see what happens; what will happen.”

On the team’s performance on keeping NYCFC shutout…
“Yeah, I think at some point we are very happy, obviously we are very very happy with Gaga’s (Gabriel Slonina) performance. The team tried to protect and help Gaga and support and Gaga did a really great job in having a zero for his first game in his career, in his professional career is obviously amazing. I am happy with the defensive performance, even there are always things we can do better, but I am happy with the performance. And like you said, New York City is a very, very good team. They’re playing very, very good football, attacking football for many years and creating a lot. So, I think as a team we’ve done a great job. I also think we grew into the game, with the ball better, we struggled a little bit in the first half in keeping possession, creating clear moments or finding the clear spaces but I think we cleaned that up a little bit at halftime and came out better. We had some good moments, so I think the performance is again a performance that we can build and take this point. Obviously, the feeling you have the last 15-18 minutes a man up, you hope you can take more advantage of that. I think that’s where we weren’t the cleanest, the clearest as well in our ideas, but overall I think this a good point and we take that.”

On Gabriel Slonina’s reaction to learning he would get the start…
“So Gaga knew already yesterday that he was going to start, so he had a good amount of time to prepare and obviously he has a really, really good relationship with Adin Brown, the goalkeeper coach, who does a great job with all the goalkeepers. They were speaking together and I think as a Club and as a coaching staff, especially Adin, was preparing him and also Chris Brady, who’s also 17, who was on the bench. He was preparing them for a long time to be ready for this moment. And with Gaga, we see, or both young goalkeepers honestly, they're both 17 years, it’s fantastic what they do in training. We’re very, very happy with them.

And talking Gaga, we obviously know what he is capable of, he shows it everyday in training. Yeah, he didn’t seem too nervous, at least towards the outside. And in the game he looked very, very clear and good, so you probably already asked him how he felt. I don’t know, I didn’t ask him if he’s nervous, maybe some butterflies, hopefully he had some butterflies.”

On if he views the second part of the season as an opportunity for Homegrowns…
“That is not something I can give you the answer (to) now. We obviously have Bobby (Shuttleworth), a goalkeeper who has a great season, who is doing a great job for us. He is right now the number one. He has done really, really great games for us. Right now, we will see how Bobby’s knee reacts, how the season goes; there are a lot of games coming. We have all these away trips and we will see what minutes Gaga will get and decide that game-by-game and week-by-week. But yeah, that is what we will do.”

On Chinonso Offor’s performance…
“Yeah, with Cheeno starting these games he has done well. He has given the team a lot with his quality which you all see - it’s holding the ball, it’s winning duels. I am happy with his performance he has made. We also know, and we talk with him a lot and work with him a lot, there (are) things he has to improve. He’s young and I am pretty sure he will approve in certain aspects of the game - being more calm on the ball and actually finishing. But that is something he has to improve and we work with him. Overall, I am very pleased with what I saw from him.”

Chicago Fire FC Goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina

On what was going through his mind during his professional debut…
“Yeah, I'm super, super thankful for the tie first and foremost. Sorry my mind's all over the place right now. But super emotional, a lot of hard work went into this moment but I'm proud of the team for fighting and keeping this a tie and getting a point. Because you know every point is important in the season and yeah I'm super grateful and thankful for the team and just feeling great right now.”

On when he learned he was getting the start tonight…
“I knew I was getting the first start during training. Bobby was just recovering, he needed a game off and I knew at training before that I was going to be starting this game and, you know, Rapha (Wicky), and the entire coaching staff was super confident, super positive towards my start. They believed in me and gave me the confidence I needed for this game.”

On his evaluation of how he played in his debut...
“Yeah, right now it's a little bit difficult because you know I'm still going through the emotions of just being thankful for getting that opportunity out there. But I thought the entire team's performance was great. We were confident, we were pushing in the attacking half, and we were playing good out the back. Super confident. I felt super good with the team. And you know, it was just being focused on every single ball, being in the current moment, and just staying positive, staying focused through the entirety of the whole game.”

On sharing a moment postgame with Sean Johnson…
“Yeah, that was so awesome. I was looking forward to that at the beginning of the game. He probably doesn't see much of it but for me like that's huge. Him being here and with the national team, it's just awesome to even play against a goalkeeper like that because I think he has so much talent and I just think he's an awesome goalkeeper.”

On the defense’s play all night and their importance in keeping him calm throughout the match…
“Yeah, those guys man, they're awesome. They keep me so confident, At the beginning of the game, before we went out on the field, they told me that they're super confident in me to play my game and just I'm so confident in the backline and the chemistry we have together and I think they're great teammates and great people, overall.”

His message to aspiring players in the Chicago area that want to play professionally…
“I think if I had a message to tell all the kids that are aspiring to be professional soccer players, it’s to just never give up, you know. Just keep doing you, keep giving all every single day to be the best person and teammate you can be for each other. And the hard work will pay off because everything pays off in the end. It's just about patience, positivity, discipline, consistency. So much goes into a good performance and I think it's just about having huge ambitions and never letting anyone tell you that you can't do what you want to set out to do. Because I was a kid just like them, you know, and I had dreams to play at Soldier Field. I have dreams of becoming the best goalkeeper in the world, and it's just to never give up and never let anyone tell you what you can do and what you can't do.”

Chicago Fire FC Defender Mauricio Pineda

On Gabriel Slonina’s professional debut…
“Yeah it was great. I think everyone's proud of him. He's been training really well, he's always preparing and getting ready for every day. And that showed today, when he is behind me on the field I feel like there's a 30-year-old man behind me. His voice is heard, he's always loud, he's communicating so I don't feel like there's a 17-year-old goalkeeper playing behind me when he's there. So that gives off a lot of confidence for himself and for us and as a backline, so really happy for him.”

On if the team is turning towards 2022…
“No, not at all. I think we're still focused on this year, only focused on Sunday's game that's coming up and try to approach that in the best possible way and prepare for that game and try to get three points at home. I think that's the only thing we're focused on right now.”

On if he believes tonight’s result is one point earned, or two points lost…
“Yeah, for sure. I think being at home of course, being a man up for the last part of the game, I think it is disappointing to only come out of that game with a point, but at the same time I think we knew that they were dangerous on the counter, even if they were down a man so I think we had to remain focused in that aspect of the game. And I think we did, so I think we’re proud of that but yeah, I think we did feel a little slow, a little lacking in sharpness in the final third and just in general I think today. So a little bit disappointed with not coming out with the three points.”

On what it means to have a 17-year-old homegrown make his debut for the club…
“Yeah, I think it makes the Club really proud for what the type of players that they're bringing up from the Academy. And to show that at that age that they're that prepared, and that experienced, that feels like to be out on that field and that relaxed, to not only have a solid performance but have a shutout in your first start, so of course everyone's proud of him like I said, and he's making the Club proud as well.”