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Pauno Chat: “We Have To Get Better”

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The Fire head coach reflects on a dismal season opener

MLS: Eastern Conference Knockout Round-New York Red Bulls at Chicago Fire Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

In the wake of the Chicago Fire’s 4-3 loss to Sporting Kansas City in their first game of the 2018 MLS Season, head coach Veljko Paunovic met with reporters to reflect on the game.

Pauno’s main takeaway from tonight: this team isn’t good enough yet.

“I think especially in the first half we weren’t ready to compete with a team that had the advantage that they had [by playing] a [league] game before we did. The adjustment in the second half was tremendous, and I think showing that we can score those kind of team goals that quickly and create more opportunities was a positive.”

“Obviously we’re disappointed with the final outcome after that huge effort in the second half. But what we learned today is that we have to get better, on every side of the game and in every aspect of the game.”

“We are not there. We didn’t have a good game, I think, overall. A lot of innocent and naive mistakes that led us to drop, not only a point, but three points. So we gotta get better.”

On the team’s defending:

“That’s something we need to work on. That was the main thing we worked on in preseason, but I think we have to improve. Four goals in the first game. Four goals in the last game, last year. It’s still the same. So we have to improve.”

What led to the defensive breakdowns:

“Concentration. Lack of awareness. That’s on the whole team. I’m not saying Polster, Johan, Dean, Brandon, but all of us. We all have to do a better job defending. If we’re not consistent, this is what’s going to happen. We can score a lot of goals, we’ve proved that in the past, and we did it today, but if we don’t defend well, if we commit those innocent mistakes, it’s just going to come back over and over again. So, like I said, we worked on this in preseason but we still have to keep working.”

An edited version of the press conference is available here:

Additional quotes courtesy of Fire Confidential.