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A Philadelphia Union blog hosted by Christopher A. Vito and Matthew De George

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

John Hackworth presser May 7: Sorry if you've heard this before

Simple answers, not to mention win No. 2, continue to elude John Hackworth and his Union side. Here's what he had to say Wednesday about his team's loss to Seattle last week and its pivotal visit from D.C. United this week.

On the building pressure:
I think there’s always pressure, in particular you have the string of results that we’ve had. It builds. There’s no getting around that. But at the same time, when you have a team that you believe in and that you think is capable of scoring goals and you look at some of the stats of how many chances we’re creating, ti gives me some hope that we’re going to get out of that. And once we do, I think there’s a string of good performance and a lot more goals that will follow.

On Zac MacMath's performance in Seattle:
We just need to build off performances like Zac’s. He kept us in a game, a really high-level game on Saturday night. It was an excellent save, and he’s had a very good year. We need other guys to feed off him and have those kinds of performances so that collectively as a team we are more consistent and we’re playing from the first whistle to the last whistle.

On preparing for D.C. and Eddie Johnson:
You look at D.C.’s front four, and Eddie, while he has not gotten on the scoresheet yet, he is a major influence on that team and them having a successful early part to the season. So we know that for the second consecutive week that we’re going to face a pair of forwards in Fabian Espindola and Eddie that are in really great form. They’re combining well. It’s going to be a really tough task for us, but I think we’re up to the challenge. Hopefully we can do as good a job containing them as we did Dempsey and Martins for the most part.

On the confidence level in misfiring forwards:
I don’t want to put that pressure on the forwards specifically. I think it’s our entire team. We look at a lot of the positions we’ve got in game-in and game-out, and it could be something that the services wasn’t to the right foot. It could be that a guy didn’t execute when he had a chance. And there’s a lot of guys that have had those opportunities, we walked about it last week, that eventually the guys have to finish those chances. I thought for the most part playing in Seattle, getting the number of opportunities that we got, getting a good goal of a restart, those were all positives. And we felt like we should’ve scored a second on in the first half that would’ve changed that game dramatically. But it’s not just the forwards. I think our midfielders and our backs making overlapping runs and their service in the box, all of those things come together.

On the possibility of summer transfers in:
Anytime you’re having the results that we’ve had, you can look at both ends of the field and think, ‘it would be great if I had the best central defender in the world. It would be great if I had a forward.’ But at the same time, we have to realize what we are and who we are and the kind of league we’re in. There’s only so many things we can do. Right now, while we have scouts that are looking all over the world and we’ll never not do that, at the same time, we have to be focused on the guys in that room right now, in particular in the windows that we have opportunities to bring those kinds of players in. 

Opining on Maurice Edu's national team chances:
That’s not really a question for me to answer. I would give you my opinion though: If there are soccer people out there, in particular Jurgen and his staff, I think they’re pleased with the way Mo is playing. I think they’re pleased with the way we are playing because it bodes well for a player that comes from this level and goes into the national team, that the skillsets they are bringing are important. So in that regard, I can’t answer the question, but I think that there’s a very positive feeling about what Mo has done so far this year and what he’s capable of doing for the national team.

On preparing for the upcoming fixture crunch:
You always have to consider all of those scenarios: How many games you’re playing, whether an individual matchup is right for a certain game, if you’re going to have to deploy different tactics in a match. And this stretch is going to test this for sure. But we’ve already gone through it once this year and had good performances for the most part. So we’ve had a little practice already. We’re really just concentrating on D.C. at this point because that’s all we can do right now and we know how important that game is for all of us.

On the chance of Austin Berry getting back into the team:
I don’t think there’s anything that Austin has to do except be ready and prepared for his opportunity when his name gets called. We’ve had good competition. I’ve mentioned that before. Clearly, no matter what, when you give up two goals, there’s always going to be situation where you at where you think you might make some chances, and we’re certainly considering that for this weekend. And Austin gives us a really good choice if we choose to do that.

Evaluating Aaron Wheeler:
I think he’s done very well, and yet without sugar-coating anything, he’s had some moments and some plays that he hasn’t made and been difficult. That being said, you look at his body of work, and it’s impressive that he’s been able to make the transition from a forward to a center back and play at the level that he has. He made some really good plays on Saturday night against Seattle, and he had a couple that we all miss – and he and I have already talked about a couple that he wishes he had back. But those are really great learning experiences for a guy like Aaron who has so much potential. He’s clearly going to be an important piece to our team going forward. And while there has to be some growing pains that are at least understood by our staff, so far he’s played well at those moments.

On the prospect of Zach Pfeffer seeing MLS minutes:
The direct answer to your question, yes, Pfeffer is certainly is a guy that is a possibility. But he has to put himself in a position to be consistently brought into the 18, one, and to be considered to have his name listed in the XI or be one of the three substitutions we bring off the bench. I think with a guy like Pfeffer, we all need to be aware of the level and the age that he’s at and what our team is facing right now. I’ve been pleased with Zach and how he’s approached every part of our season of far. I’ve seen a lot of good things out of Zach. I hope that translates into him playing some valuable minutes for this team this season.

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