Chicago Fire FC head coach Raphael Wicky, midfielder Fabian Herbers, and defender Miguel Navarro react to the Fire's 1-0 defeat on the road against D.C. United on Thursday night at Audi Field.
The Fire return home May 22 for a first-ever meeting with Inter Miami CF at Soldier Field.
Chicago Fire FC Head Coach Raphael Wicky
On Brian Gutiérrez’s performance in his first start for the Chicago Fire...
“I think he did really well. I think he was courageous. He wasn't scared. He showed his talent. He showed his quality on the ball. That's the Guti I saw for a long time last year, especially after the second half of the year. Unfortunately, he didn't get that many minutes. That's the Guti I didn't really see in preseason. That's the reason why he didn't get more minutes so far. That's the Guti I saw the last three weeks in training, getting better and better and more confident, and I think he did well.”
He worked hard. He created two big chances, and yeah, he showed his talent. I think if he keeps working hard, that's what I told him, as well. That was the first start of many in his career, and that's what I believe, but he has to keep working hard.”
On the thought process behind substituting Gastón Giménez to start the second half...
“The reason was that he was a little bit hurt. I don't know exactly what he has. He wasn't 100 percent fit anymore and that's the reason why I changed him.”
And then Javi Casas trained really, really well. He had a good preseason. He showed in the preseason that he's at a good level. He trained really well in the last week, as well, and that's the reason why I chose to bring in Javi.
Javi, as well, struggled coming in the first five, ten minutes, which is normal for the first time playing in a competitive game. But he actually became much better and better, and again, if he keeps working hard, I think that was the first minutes of many for him, but again, they are young. They have to keep working. But also Javi's game was promising.”
On when Giménez suffered the injury…
“No, that happened in the middle of the game. That happened in the middle of the first half somewhere where he started to feel his glute, gluten muscle, and so I don't know. I haven't seen him now, I don't know exactly what it is, but I know at halftime he wasn't fully fit anymore and that's the reason why I changed him.”
On the D.C. goal…
“I haven't seen it on video. I have to see it again. My first thought is that was a mistake on the right side. I don't know if we were in possession, have to see it again, but then obviously our center back Wyatt Omsberg had to get out to the channel. He tried to defend there and then there was a cross in the middle where someone lost Flores. I don't know if it was Francisco or if it was Miguel. I don't know. I have to watch it again.
Obviously when you concede a goal, there (are) a lot of mistakes, always. We have to see not only the last mistake, who was not with the player; we have to see how do we prevent the first one.”
On when the team will consider drastic changes…
“Yeah, I have no argument against that. It's very frustrating to lose again, but I think tonight we should have walked away with a point. This game, right now, immediately after the game, and I will watch it again, gives me a lot of hope. There were a lot of promising things, obviously offensively, we created a lot. I think we played some good football and from that we build. From that, I'm a hundred percent sure we can build.
Now, are we going to do drastic changes? Look, players are coming back. Fabi Herbers coming back. Elliot is coming back. I think Carlos is coming back and hopefully there will be competition and like in every team, I will pick the guys who I think deserve it or are the best mix together. So that's how we will proceed in the upcoming weeks.”
On why Luka Stojanovic didn’t make an appearance…
“Luka (came) back from a long, long injury. He didn't play for a long time. He had a good preseason. He started every game and I felt he was a bit tired in the last game and that's the reason why I didn’t start him today.
Again we have players coming back which brings competition but I don't lose trust in Luka. He's a quality player. I just had other subs in mind for today but I don't doubt Luka. I know that when he will play that he's always able to create and today I choose for other players.”
On having extra rest before the home game against Inter Miami…
“There is a good and a bad. Look, after a loss, you usually would like to play as quick as possible. To have a schedule, for example, like Philly has where you play every three days is for players sometimes really nice. You have to go really quickly and have the possibility again, the new chance in another game. We now have about nine days. So the positive is okay. We can recover and we have a full week of training next week to work on certain things, and that's what we'll do.
So I wouldn't mind playing on this weekend because I think, again, I have a feeling immediately after this game that we can build from this but it is what it is. We can't change that. We will take the full week of training and we will prepare.”
Chicago Fire FC Midfielder Fabian Herbers
On coming into the game when the team is going through a difficult moment…
“Yeah, not much to lose. You just come in, we’re down 1-0 with 30 minutes to go, so you just try to give it your everything and try to put up a good fight, help the team create chances, making runs, try to suffer for the team a little bit because they have been running for 60 minutes already. Yeah, coming in, just bring some energy and just try to turn the loss around, you know, because we were down 1-0 obviously.”
On how it felt to get his first minutes after coming back from injury…
“Yeah, I feel good. I mean, yeah, it's been awhile since I've played a game. My last one was in preseason, so personally it feels good to be back out there again and try to help the team on the field. It was my first game in a long time, so personally I feel good. I feel happy to be back.
But the overall mood is obviously frustrating because we're struggling to win games right now. We have one point after five games, which is a tough situation to be in. But (I) still believe in the group. Still believe that we can turn it around and I think we really showed a good fight tonight in the game.
Yeah, I think we created a lot of chances and once you're not winning games, also in addition, it comes that you don't have like a little bit of luck. The header at the end, I think Guti hit the post in the first half and we had a couple chances where we didn't get the second ball. If you have a little bit of momentum, you know, those chances might go in and you might win a game like this 3-1.
But obviously those little details don't fall with us either right now, and it's just tough and you don't have many arguments.”
On how important it is for the team to stay positive…
“What else is there to do? We cannot put our hands and our heads in the sand and just be frustrated and not keep going anymore. You know, what else do we have right now? We have to stay positive. We have to keep going. The season is still long. We're five games in out of 34, so we still have 29 games left.
I mean, it's tough mentally, obviously, because we do feel like we have put it out there. You know, we gave a good fight today in D.C. The first 30 minutes, I think D.C. deserved to win the game but I feel like after that we really started playing. Second half again, we created a lot of chances. So I think there's still positives to take away from this game. We have to keep building off of that and just keep going and what else is there to do than be positive? Being negative doesn't help anybody at all.”
On if the team is still buying into the coaching staff’s vision…
“Yeah, definitely. I think last year we showed some good stretches of how we want to play.
This year we haven’t shown it too much but the style is still the same. We want to play out of the back and we want to be a team that has a lot of possession and up front we want to press and attack and win the ball in the opposing half. Does it always work that way? No, because the opponent knows how to play soccer as well, obviously.
But I feel like in stretches we do show it and I don't have a doubt that anybody in the team is not buying into Rapha’s strategy, so I fully trust him and fully believe in what he's trying to implement here in the club.”
Chicago Fire FC Defender Miguel Navarro
On how he feels, physically, after playing in tonight’s game...
“Good evening. Yeah, I felt good. I’m coming back from an injury so I did spend some time out, but I feel good. I feel comfortable being back out on the field.”
On his perspective regarding D.C. United’s seventh-minute goal...
“Yeah, those are things that happen during a game. We weren't paying attention defensively for a moment, and unfortunately they were able to capitalize on that. We know that going into a game, you always have to go in fully concentrated, especially as a visitor. You have to be fully focused for the whole 90 minutes.
Unfortunately they were able to score pretty early and the game kind of got a little topsy-turvy for us, and we couldn't score the goal that would have tied us up or even be able to come back, to get ahead.
Now we are looking ahead. There is another game coming up, a home game, and we just have to keep looking ahead and thinking about the next game that's coming up.”
On whether making the playoffs is still a realistic goal for this group...
“Yes, the desire is intact, and I think we continue with that same desire of reaching the playoffs. It's definitely not the start that we wanted to the season where we haven't been able to come away with a victory but we know that we are going to keep working together and keep working hard, and at some point the victories are going to open up and they are going to come for us.”
We just have to keep working hard day-to-day, moving ahead, which is the most important thing, just putting in the work during the week and showing it on the weekends and moving forward game by game.”