Quotes: Postgame reaction from 3-1 win

"We really wanted to come out at home and win another game," says Zusi

Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes

Thoughts on the match…
I thought from the opening whistle we looked solid.  One of our goals was to try to get not only the first shot but get the first couple attacks on them quickly to put them under pressure and to make them feel us.  I thought we were pretty dangerous.  

On the first two goals…
The other thing for us was to try and get the first goal and get it early so that we would open up some other opportunities especially early because I think they would get anxious especially playing away from home and having the last result where they were down as well. I watched the game and they really started sending numbers forward and I thought if they did that we could really get a second one.  It didn’t come through the run of play it came off of a set piece which was great again.  I thought Teal [Bunbury] did a great job to get the ball on frame and I thought Zusi was in the right place to get the second one.   His first goal was an absolute bomb, fantastic goal.  

On correcting mental mistakes…
I really think we did good job of closing that aspect out.  We learned and that’s what I’ve been saying all along with this season.  It’s one thing to make a mistake and it’s another thing that when you step on the field the next time you don’t make the same mistake twice and we’ve been pretty good at that so far.

On giving the captain’s armband to Roger Espinoza…
In regards to the captain, I just like to have a captain on the field.  It’s hard when the goalkeeper is far away.  When there is an action down on the other side of the field it is hard for the goalkeeper.  You are allowed to designate someone to talk to the referee but it is not the same when he doesn’t have the armband on. My experience tells me that.  I just felt that Roger was the right man for the game, nothing against Jimmy [Nielsen].

On the performance of Soony Saad…
In regards to Soony,  I think from day one when he showed up, he’s been solid.  Each day he’s getting indoctrinated into the team, and the way we play and we are finding those spots where we think we can put him in.  I think that I have shown over time that I don’t like to rush guys because I like to give them opportunities to be successful.  I think tonight was a great opportunity for him to step out on the field. A credit to him that he understands where he is in the pecking order.  I think that you’ll see more and more of him as time goes on because he’s been doing a very good job not only with himself but with the way he fits in with the team.

Sporting Kansas City forward Soony Saad

Thoughts on the match…
I thought we played well as a team.  It was very good to get two goals in the first half and after that it took a little wind out of them and then as the second half came it looked like we had to get a third goal.  Once I came on I knew I had to work on both sides of the ball, offensively and defensively.  

On his goal… 
When the through ball went I kept putting pressure on the guy and I just tried to block the clearance.  Luckily, it went in.  But, after that I thought that we weathered a couple storms after they got the goal I thought that they could have pushed for another one.  But, we did well defensively.  We just closed out the game well.

On scoring on his birthday…
You know it was in the back of my mind.  I’m a forward so scoring goals is always something on my mind.  But, this is amazing to get a goal on my birthday and on my debut so I’m just happy that I came in and was able to help the team.  

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi

On avoiding slow starts the last two games…
The first step was recognizing the problem, basically. We took it upon each other to just not come out slow, especially at home. It makes such a difference that we can come out and make the pace for the game. So, that’s what we did tonight and what we’ve done the last few games.

On the long break…
Well, we didn’t change much. We kept it sharp, and we worked on the little details that we sometime let slide. You know, a week and a half is really big for us. Other teams are turning around and playing again only after a few days, but tonight we were able to kind of let loose a little bit. After a week roles around, you’re really itching to play again. We really wanted to come out at home and win another game. 

On his two goals… 
The first goal was a switch played by Milos [Stojcev], I believe, and Chance [Myers]. It popped out to me, and my first touch was not the best, it kind of took me sideways. The way I saw it, I didn’t have much time to either cross the ball or keep it, so I decided to go and it connected well.

The second one came off of [Matt] Besler’s throw in, and we’ve really been benefitting from those the last few weeks. Teal [Bunbury] did an awesome job of controlling the ball; it took kind of a tough bounce. I thought his was going to go in, and then I was on the goal line and just had to tap it in.

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Milos Stojcev

Thoughts on the match…
We needed this game. We need wins now, and we are playing well as a team. Everyone has been playing very well, and most of all, we believe in each other. But now, we need more wins so we can go to the playoffs.

On the playoff race…
We need to keep playing like a team and a compact unit. When we play like a team, the wins come and then we can get some momentum.

Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler

Thoughts on the match…
I thought it was a great performance by us. It’s good to get the first goal.  At the end, Soony’s goal pretty much wrapped it up. But looking at the whole game, it’s three points and we bounced back from last game.

On the team having success with his long throw-ins…
I don’t know, I think maybe people should start looking to pick me up in their fantasy football drafts. I’ll just fly under the radar; so if anyone is in a fantasy football league, pick me up.

But actually, it’s a dangerous play. Right now, we feel like it’s just like a corner kick. With Kei [Kamara] and C.J. [Sapong] up there, I pretty much just have to throw it within five feet of them and they’ll go up and get it. We’re going to continue to use it, and hopefully we can get more goals off of it.

On coming out with more energy tonight…
Well, it’s something we talked about because we did have that long break. We wanted to make sure we didn’t come out flat. We’ve come out flat a couple times this year after a bye-weekend, so I think we did a good job of coming out with more energy. 

Portland Timbers Manager John Spencer 

On the game’s first goal...
I think it was a super strike.  The kid [Graham Zusi] strikes a tremendous ball.  We’ve seen him do it in Dallas.  We’ve seen him do it today.  Quite a talent to be honest with you but, don’t deny the service into the box and head it down can we take a touch and volley away but Rodney [Wallace] decides to head it down into the path.  When you’re heading balls down on the top of the 18, you’re asking for problems especially when it lands to one of the best strikers of the ball in Major League Soccer possibly.  He smashes it in the back of the net.

On the game’s second goal…
I cannot fathom in the professional game why attacking players always react quicker in the box than defenders. It is absolutely incredible.  The ball goes over someone’s head and there’s a little bit of a shot and save in the box.  Why defenders are always standing with their mouths open like ‘Oh my god, I should have got there.’  The forwards are always gambling.  

On Bright Dike getting a goal…
I think the kid individually will take the positive from it.  For me, and most coaches do, after defeats there’s not many positives you take.  At times I think the game at Houston was a different game I think we had opportunities to score goals.  Tonight I don’t think we were anywhere near good enough to get a few points.

On trying to climb up the ladder of the Western Conference…
I think that the window of opportunity for us to make playoffs is closing rapidly and obviously getting two games back to back at home [will help].  We’re a different team at home.  We’re going to have to be better on the road to pick up a couple of wins for us to try and make playoffs.  I don’t think we can just rely on winning at home.  It’s a tough week. I keep telling the players that it’s not an easy league to bring foreign players into and adapt right away.  It’s a very physical league and a very underrated league so we need to get back we need to win games we want to make the playoffs the same as any other team in the country.  But, the windows slipping quickly.

On the play of Jack Jewsbury…
I think he’s been a great [player] here. Peter Vermes didn’t want to loose him.  It took us six months, we tried to get him and then at the expansion draft we tried to do a deal again and Peter did not want to let him go because obviously he means a lot to the franchise and he means a lot to the community.  We were delighted to get him.  It’s a trade that at the end of the year it was one of the best trade pickups in the league this year in 2011. 

On LIVESTRONG Sporting Park…
I thought the facility was absolutely spectacular.  I’ve played at Arrowhead a number of times.  It was actually a place I used to like coming to play here in KC it’s a good setting for soccer and its fantastic that the ownership spent a lot of money with the franchise and the rebranding of the club.  I think it’s a truly spectacular place.  One of the nicest venues I’ve been in for soccer.

Portland Timbers forward Bright Dike

On his first goal of the season…
It’s good to build my confidence back up, but it was a good ball by Rodney [Wallace]. I just tried to get a foot onto it, but I really didn’t enjoy it that much. Really, to be honest, I enjoyed the goal for a good five seconds. I’m just thinking about Vancouver now. 

On the confidence boost after first goal…
We felt if we could get that second one right after, who knows. We know Seattle, not too long ago, got two goals in the last two minutes of the game and we were trying to replicate that, but it just didn’t happen.

The team’s focus going forward…
It just comes to desire, how much we want it for the rest of the season, keep going at it. We’re not by any stretch out of the playoffs, we have to know that and take that in for the rest of the games.

Portland Timbers midfielder Jack Jewsbury

Thoughts on the game…
It was a tough game, in the first half we came out flat. Zusi hits the ball, a great shot by him, but obviously we could have played the ball in a better spot, but at the end of the day, a great strike.

On going down 2-0…
The reaction wasn’t good enough. We were in the same spot and for whatever reason [Zusi] was reacting quicker than we were and gets his foot on the end of it, and it was off a throw-in. We kind of feel that we shot ourselves in the foot in that first half. We weathered the storm a little bit and for us to make those mistakes is frustrating. 

On returning to Kansas City and LIVESTRONG Sporting Park…
I was excited, it was the first time I’ve come back to play in the new stadium so I was excited to see the final product because I’ve been here so long playing at different venues. 

At the beginning of last year, I thought I would have been opening the stadium, but whatever, it’s part of the business that we’re in. The spot here in Portland is totally different, in that it’s an old stadium and it’s got some history to it and our supporters are unbelievable. But it’s good to see the stadium up and the support they’ve gotten in these first couple months. It’s truly an amazing stadium.