With a road victory finally under their belts the Fire don't have much time to celebrate ending the record-setting winless streak away from home. Veljko Paunovic looked ahead to a match against the Los Angeles Galaxy on Wednesday, took stock of the Montreal game, and addressed the status of David Arshakyan during his weekly media conference call.
Arshakyan and David Accam have been called in by their respective national teams for upcoming games. Armenia has a friendly against Czech Republic on 8/31 and a World Cup Qualifier against Denmark on 9/4. Ghana plays Rwanda in an Africa Cup of Nations Qualifier on 9/1. Both are expected to miss the Fire's home match against the Union on 9/3.
Collin Fernandez was also called in by Peru's U20 side.
Here are the call highlights:
Paunovic on ending the streak and a possible turning point in the season
"I would like to explain that the feeling we have is not a sensation of relief. It's more something that we've been doing this year. It's a feeling of achievement and achieving something that was our goal. It was to win on the road. As I said before, and I'm going to stay with the same mindset, we can only get better. We are working hard to achieve our goals and it's a process. Part of the process was winning on the road. We are not looking back. We are just looking forward and we want to take advantage of this momentum. I think this is what we are looking for and working hard for it during the whole season. We want to use this as a catalyst and an important boost for us, so our guys now work harder and they are motivated like we all are from the staff and the club. I think this is fantastic momentum that we have at this point. Right away we have the best possible moment in the next game. Three days from today and only two days left to prepare for the (LA) game but that's great, actually. When you win, you want to play the next game and the next game you want to win. You want to prepare well. As I said, the locker room is very motivated and I want to to take advantage of this situation and reinforce everything that we've been doing so far and reinforce the hard work. Keep pounding the rock because we still haven't done anything yet. In order to do that, we've got take advantage of this momentum and this game with our fans, (which) we believe is going to be great. We are playing against one of the best teams in the league. When it was Sporting Kansas City, the Red Bulls, and other teams who are doing very good, we always did very good against those teams. What I see is a lot of positive things and a lot of positive situations where we can continue performing well and save the season."
On the prospect of a full strength LA line-up on Wednesday
"Our approach is always that we prepare one game at a time. We don't know about them. We always prepare with our best guys. We will see the adjustments they do but we will have to wait until before the game starts for the line-up. We will prepare for the best team that we will have in front. It doesn't matter because we know that they have a lot of good players and it's going to be tough. For us, every game is a final. We approach every game the same. We will do all necessary adjustments that we have to do in order to prepare well and win the game."
On Arshakyan's visa status
"We are also very excited. After the game, I got a message from David. He was very excited too that we won and the good performance that we had in the game. He was a little bit impatient to come but unfortunately we have to wait for him. He's still in the process of getting his visa so he can come and join us here. We don't have any updates on that. It's something that we don't control and we can't do anything about it except provide all necessary support and documents and whatever it takes to speed up the process. Hopefully we can have him this week. We'll see if that happens."
On call-ups for Accam and Arshakyan
"I believe it's going to be only the game against Philly. Of course, we have to see how they return from the national teams. Which is for us, great. Being in the situation we are and the season where we are standing right now, but it's a positive thing to have guys who are called to the national team. It means that they are doing good. It means that they are quality players because we all know how important it is playing for the national teams. In my experience, every time I played for the national team and the youth national teams and later coming back, it was a great experience first. It was a great environment. Coming back from those games always made me be a better player and a better person. That's what we also expect of the kind of experience they will have there. Performance for sure, and it will help overall for every side. In this case for the club, for the players, and for the national teams."
On the build-up leading to the win in Montreal
"Absolutely not surprised. We always do our best to prepare and play in the best possible way. We also know that in the last (few) games, we were getting better. We were getting closer. In some games we weren't on that level but most of our games on the road, we've played well. It was only the posture that we were missing and in this game we finally found it. We found it with guys who were really, really not only motivated but motivation and commitment, everything was there. Finally we found guys who grow up and (have) grown as a team and as teammates who were there to play the game complete. We (had) no other speculation but (to) win the game."
On team injuries
"Eric (Gehrig) and Nick (LaBrocca) were back today but partially back with the team. They did one part on the field but the other part they missed because they are still in the process of treatment and recovery. We'll see how they recover and how they do tomorrow (and) if they are available for the game on Wednesday. We will see for this Saturday."
On whether or not the team is turning the corner
"I see a great opportunity. The game against the LA Galaxy is going to be a confirmation or we will have to adjust again. I think it's a great momentum, and a great part of the season and we will have to take advantage of this chapter that is the game against Montreal. We have to understand that we have to give all. No stipulations. Just play and give everything we can in order to win the game on Wednesday against LA. It's going to be very tough. We have to understand that there's always an opponent in front of us who also wants to win. We always believe that they have the same desire as us so that means that we have to put more. We will do everything in our control to prepare for the game and when the game comes to (give) the best possible performance to win the game. I do see a great opportunity that we have now so that we turn the season in the direction that we all desire. There's still time."
On the play of Polster and Cocis v Montreal
"I believe that they had a very good game. They helped the team to win in the same (way) as the other guys did. At this point where we are, and I've said this before, we are a team that needs everyone to play his role and he has to play his role the best he can. In this case, I think both played the best they can. They were able to add the extra things that were important for the team in order to win. Like Razvan winning all the aerials duels against big guys like Camara and Drogba and then Polster even scoring goals, not only working hard in the midfield and helping Johan (Kappelhof) to play 2v1 against Piatti and Razvan on the other side helping Brandon Vincent to do the same. It's doing well in your job, your role and then putting more. Putting extra work and putting extra quality to your game in order to help the team to win. I wouldn't separate anyone from that approach and that attitude in the last game. I think everyone had a great game. We preach that we want our guys to do their job well, to give their best and then give that extra work to his teammates in support in order play well as a team."
On LA's similarity to Montreal
"The similarity would be for sure in the attitude and approach we had to win the game against Montreal. That's going to be similar. We could play again the same game against Montreal but it would be impossible to repeat. What I'm trying to say is that every game is different. Even if you're playing the same line-up. Even if you're playing against the same team. Everything is different. Even if there are similarities in their style in having experienced and quality guys in their team, it's going to be different. It's going to be for sure different and I think our situation changed but our mindset and approach will be the same."