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June 28, 2019

Chris Armas

Harrison, New Jersey

NY Red Bulls - 3, Chicago Fire - 1

Q. I guess it can be looked at two different ways. One, your team is clinical in the attack. They are a team that enjoyed possession and you knew that coming in, so those numbers maybe didn't surprise you as much. Maybe you had a lot of opportunities to score, they had some mosts -- we made some saves. Is it a fortunate win in that sense or is it --
CHRIS ARMAS: Well, we scored three good goals I would say. We were a good pressing team. Kaku presses forces a mistake, two goals in transition which we said was one of the ways we thought we could get them tonight. We scored three.

So we score three, maybe there's one or two more out there for us and they have some good chances and which is no surprise because their strength is their attackers. Their front four, of course you throw Dax into that mix; and Schweinsteiger, what a quality player our league has in Chicago with him and they create some good chances and of course Luis Robles came up big on a bunch of occasions.

So you know, I've said before, does he get the credit he deserves, whether it's all-star nominations and nods, and every year, he seems to just be so constant and steady. On a night like tonight, he shows a big -- he keeps us in it. But I thought in the second half, we created some good transition.

Q. For the team's psyche, how big was it to come out and get a win like this?
CHRIS ARMAS: You know, when you win, it's always good for the psyche. It's always good for the team. It starts with the points. You win at home, you win, it's three points, you score first. There's so many positives in there, when things get tight, Chicago is right behind us in the standings, a couple of slots down, you separate there, separate from the rest of the pack a little bit, for so many reasons. Coming off the Philadelphia game, we're up 2-0. That one hurts. New England, should have put that one away. That one hurts. That's not easy to rebound from.

There was a little bit of a layoff, it's in everyone's mind, but it's important to win games like that. They have a lot of shots. I mean, the shots on goal, I'm not sure, might have been 8-5 or 8-6 even. They took a lot of shots.

Important for a team, and good teams win games like that, and I think we're a good team.

Q. How happy were you to finally put Brad out there after the long layoff he had with the injury?
CHRIS ARMAS: Yeah, look, the game demanded what Brad could give and we didn't think too much about the emotion of it. You know, before the game, you acknowledge it's great to have Brad back, so in that moment, it's less close the game out. It's less give the game -- but it's great to have him back. It was a big lift in the locker room before the game. At halftime he's talking to the guys, even the staff a little bit.

It's great to have him healthy and training with the team. He's one of the main leaders of this group. It's great to see him healthy back in the dressing room.

Q. Wonder if you have an update on Tim Parker?
CHRIS ARMAS: Yeah, hurt his ankle a little bit. Doesn't seem to be too serious which is good news. Have to act swiftly on that one, because he was in pain, and Sean Nealis I thought stepped in in a big way. We've thrown Sean Nealis some big moments and it's a lot for center backs on our team and in this league against players like Chicago has.

He came in -- different games he's come in and done really well, and it's not easy, because we're fast-forwarding, speeding the process up for him. But yeah, Tim will be fine. Just day-to-day.

Q. Do you think about the way that Bradley Wright-Phillips -- the third goal?
CHRIS ARMAS: Yeah, look, we needed more of that. We needed more of guys keeping plays alive, doing what they can to make the extra pass. Keep the ball in tough moments.

You know, we need a little bit more of what he brought in the end there, and even Kyle Duncan, they stepped in, and we need more of them. Yeah, Brad got close to a few attacking plays, did a few good things, overall contribution, look, it was a big demand -- the one towards the end there, I thought he met the demand.

Q. A lot of people might look at the shots for Chicago and the advantage that they had, and they obviously didn't have, especially in the first half, a lot of control there. From your perspective, you're missing a lot of players to international duty. Is this one of those games that you guys had to grind out and get an ugly win or is it something different for you?
CHRIS ARMAS: Well, there's a few things there. We are missing some players, and it always ends up being about who we have. But we never -- I mean, I wouldn't even mention it if you didn't, right, but it's noteworthy, right. But look at the minutes -- those minutes will be important for this team that Kyle Duncan still a young pro, Kyle, and the play he makes, incredible.

And when you go around, yeah, it's Aaron Long. We're missing a few. Guys get opportunity, and we stick together. Our philosophy many times as a play maker, we're hard to play against, we score first.

And then you can talk about Chicago and the difficult game they put us in. We know it's going to be a version of long balls, right. We think it's going to be. But at the same time, if you start dropping off -- like the second half, they could put some soccer together, but it was definitely better we were more compact.

It's easier to see what's going on and you game plan a bit for it, but they still can execute it because the quality is there, and we got a little bit stressed and it plays into their strength and you can see their attackers, just dynamic. You know, some of the players, Frankowski, Katai; they are very, very good. And our guys stood tall. A big three points against a good team.

The dialogue when you see Chicago in these games, they are among the highest in the league in chances created. You get to see, it's not unlucky that they have some talent. It's not easy for guys to deal with, and they dealt with it and they break through. Luis Robles standing really tall tonight, once again.

Q. With Bradley Wright-Phillips coming back tonight, can you talk about what Brian White's emergence meant to the team?
CHRIS ARMAS: Yeah, I think we can all see it and feel the value of having him and when his number was called, all along you can see that. We talked about him, even when Brad was playing, he's a version of Brad. He's scored goals at all levels and now can he score them at this level.

We think he can, but you know, and now you see that he can. He runs well in the box at times. He can hurt you in different ways, and at a time when Brad got injured, had I guy that was hungry. Brian is fast. He's clever. He gives a lot to the team. I think it speaks for itself; he's producing goals and he also understands our style of play against the ball.

So the beauty is that we are getting goals from many different players this season, 16 guys, which is unheard of. Two seasons worth of contributors we're getting in half a year, that shows a lot about that locker room. They stick together.

It was a thing of beauty, yes, that Brian can -- take Brad out, Brian is in, and Brad becomes Brian's biggest fan and mentor, still coaching him along the way. It's really nice to see on the inside the relationship with those two.

Q. Talking about Brian, five goals in this stretch of games that he's had, where have you seen him improve the most? How have you seen him involve? Sounds like you were confident he would be able to do something with the opportunity, but has he exceeded what you expected?
CHRIS ARMAS: Nothing he's doing surprising me or any of us because we've seen it. We've seen it at every level, and all of last year when he's training with us, he's scoring in training. The question was, yeah, when you take him out a step up, give him speed of play and less space to deal with and better defenders, can it still happen.

I think one of his best qualities, he runs off the ball well. His timing of when to arrive, he's got that feel for things inside the box, kind of like Brad does, right. They show up just in the right moment, in the right space and the right time.

But in terms of where he's evolved, I think that the way he's connected to the game in all ways and all moments. The goals are not surprising; we're thrilled. But his hold-up play, the connected; the little things that end up -- I think around the world, the best leagues and the best teams where fans are clapping 60 yards for goal and a striker could get his body in bring somebody in -- the pressure, he shows maturity with the little things that we've also compared him to Brad with, right. And what a humble kid. So happy for him and the team that we can benefit and just seeing a guy grow with us.

Q. When Amir went down and you subbed in Sean for Tim, were you worried because you had no center backs to sub him in if he wasn't going to be able to continue, or did you feel like adding Casseres into the defense?
CHRIS ARMAS: Yeah, when I saw that he went down, there's a moment, just, okay, and just looking at him, I didn't think there was much -- no real worry. If you had to make shift it a little bit or find a way to do it, we did need to adjust the structure a little bit, five in the back. At halftime, I knew we might go to that structure. We were on the board right now, thinking, all right, where is Sean Nealis best suited at five. It's not easy to get the five in the back, and we knew for sure he had experience in that and played center back in college. You're constantly thinking of little tweaks you might have to make, and then we'd have figured it out.

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