paunovic toronto

Quote Sheet | Chicago Fire 2:2 Toronto FC

Chicago Fire 2:2 Toronto FC

Veljko Paunović, Chicago Fire Head Coach
On if Schweinsteiger has been effective playing center back this year:
“Absolutely, I think he had a fantastic performance today against a very tough opponent. A lot of 1v1 challenges with (Jozy) Altidore and helping also the runners from the middle line. I think he handled it very well and the leadership and experience he brings to the table is also great.”

On the Fire’s start to the 2019 MLS season:
“I think we are achieving our consistency right now. In these last two games we had very good performances. Today I think the second half was pretty good. I think we came back against a good team and we were close to getting the whole three points. Very happy with the performance of the guys. I think they deserve huge credit for the -- especially in the second half -- for the effort and for the game plan. We move forward.”

Nemanja Nikolić, Chicago Fire Forward 
On today’s result:
“I think we deserved this one point. We worked really hard for that. First half, we struggled a little bit. They kept the ball really well. They changed places really good in the midfield. They always overload. It looks like they have one man, so we need to run a little bit more. We struggled a little bit but last second CJ (Sapong) scored an amazing goal, which was key for us. So we go into halftime with a good result. Then after that, in the second half, we start to play better. We create chances and we score that second goal. We were really close to bringing all three points back to Chicago. I think with this one point we need to be happy, and we are happy, and, of course, the next two games we play at home against Vancouver and Colorado. So it will be really important for us, and this one point will be really big, if we can win that game against Vancouver.”

On the team’s next match versus Vancouver:
“From the beginning of this season we’ve played really good. We play good games. We create opportunities, we score nice goals, it’s totally different than last year. Just the game against Seattle, that first 10-15 minutes at the beginning of the game, we made some mistakes but all other games I think we showed character, personality and attitude. We want to build on that. Of course, against Vancouver it will be a hard game. They also struggle. The last two games we have four points and we played against two great opponents so against Vancouver we need to do the same thing. We need to believe in ourselves to build our confidence and home games we need to win, all of them.”

CJ Sapong, Chicago Fire Forward
On today’s result:
“I think we still feel like we left some points on the field. We worked hard to come back into the game. We allowed them to tie the game up in the end and we get a point out of it. I think we showed a lot as far as grit. So it’s a positive there, but we also gotta be a little hungrier and want to come away with the full points when we can.”

On his goal in the first half:
“Jerry (Jeremiah Gutjahr) played an amazing ball and my first thought was just to get a good first touch and the goalie was kind of in no-mans-land. I thought just chip it and place it, put it on frame, and fortunately it went in and got us back into the game late in the half and I think we built off of that.”

On the team’s next match versus Vancouver:
“Gotta keep grinding, gotta keep fighting, gotta keep working for the person next to you. This league is very interesting. Things can go any which way, depending on where the wind is blowing so staying true, staying focused, being happy and having some joy on the field will definitely get us to where we need to be.”