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Postgame: SKC-POR highlights & quotes

02 February 8:39 am

Postgame: SKC-POR highlights & quotes

By Kurt Austin

Sporting Kansas City will return home from Tucson, Arizona today following a 1-0 win over the Portland Timbers last night in a pre-season exhibition. Check out the full recap here with postgame reaction below and hit play on the video for footage of Jerome Mechack's match-winner...

Sporting KC assistant coach Kerry Zavagnin

Thoughts on the match…
I think it was an improvement from our first performances against New England and then FC Tucson the other night. We're heading in the right direction. Physically, we got a good 60 minutes out of our first group. And I think individually there were a lot of good performances. Obviously, we understand not everything is going to be perfect this time of year but we move on to our next phase in Orlando.

On positives in the match…
I think we broke pressure fairly well at times. We were committed to trying to build out of the back. And with a team that was pressuring us a little bit further up the field, it was an outstanding exercise to try to break that. I think we did it on a number of occasions which is a positive sign. I think the addition of Claudio Bieler, seeing his first action with the group, certainly gave us a reference point up top. He was able to hold the ball and bring guys into the game, which is also encouraging.

Some of the things that we lacked tonight, certainly our transitional moments when we could have gotten at them a little bit quicker on the defensive side of things. But to be fair, it hasn't been a point of emphasis up to this point in the pre-season. So the expectations, despite the fact that we have a lot of our group here, we have a lot of new guys as well so we're going to have to get on the same page there. Overall, it was a decent performance and something we can take away with and be happy about.

On the team's first phase of pre-season in Arizona...
I give the credit to the guys that have been here, they came into the pre-season extremely fit as is the expectation. So we didn't have to spend a tremendous amount of time on our fitness. I think we incorporated some of the new guys into the group and gave them a glimpse of how we want to play as a team.

As we move into Orlando, the addition of the guys that we've missed with Zusi, Besler and Feilhaber will certainly be a spark to the existing group. Hopefully we fine-tune a few things from our transitional moments to our set pieces and prepare ourselves for the opening day on March 2.

Sporting KC captain Jimmy Nielsen

Thoughts on the match…
I think there was a lot of progress from the last game against FC Tucson. I think we did very well today. We were very organized. We didn't give any chances away so again, solid defense. I think we played very smart. And it looks very good. We're early on right now, but I think it looks very good right now. It's very promising.

On his performance in the match...
I am where I have to be. We had some good training sessions here with the team and with the goalkeeper coach. I think I am where I should be and I'm looking forward to the start of the season.

On the team's next leg of pre-season...
We are definitely looking forward to Orlando. There will be a lot of focus on the games in Orlando. There will be a lot of games in Orlando, so we're definitely looking forward to that. Everybody will get their opportunities and the coaching staff can find their starting eleven for March 2.