Quotes: Reaction from road win

"Great way to take a win back to open in our stadium again"

Starting XI vs D.C. United

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SPORTING KANSAS CITY MANAGER PETER VERMES

On the game:
It was good – definitely it was a long preseason. All the games in preseason really got us prepared for this game. We came in, we knew the game was going to be really fast. D.C. was going to bring it to us, and we just have to pick up from where we left off. We don’t want to just start from scratch anymore. It was good performance overall, and it’s a really great way to take a win back to open in our stadium again.

On the goal:
I just saw the ball in the back of the net, honestly. That guy [Sapong], you know, Rookie of the Year last year. That’s the perfect way to start the new season, in front of friends and family. I just saw the ball in the back of the net, and what’s the best time to get a goal? I’m sure it was electric back in Kansas City.

On the game plan:
Our idea was, we had five goals tonight. The first was to get a shutout; the second was to get a goal through the run of play; the third was to get a goal off a set piece; the fourth was to get points out of the game; and the fifth was to get our first road win. We got four out of five, so not too shabby.

On the team’s play:
I thought we were in very good positions. Our possession was very good throughout the game, number one. I thought our play, our buildup, our transition to win the ball back and go back on the attack, was very good. We got some very good looks in front of the goal. I thought [Bill] Hamid made a great save on Patty’s header right before halftime. It’s just a tremendous save, and then he made a couple other good saves. It was interesting because I said in the second half, the one time he bobbles the ball, we didn’t follow up. We were following everything up and he held onto it, and the last time he bobbled it, we didn’t follow up. The great thing is the commitment to the guys. We talked about the commitment to offense, to defense, to set plays and then to each other and the way we play. Don’t get discouraged, don’t get impatient; just have consistency in what we do and something’s going to come out right cause we’re going to find chances. Credit to the guys — good attitude, the fitness was tremendous by the guys. Our pace, our recovery, everything was excellent.

On who stood out:
I have to say, I don’t think there’s a guy I could speak poorly about. I think all the guys were very good in their roles and responsibilities within the game plan. Roger [Espinoza] was a monster for sure. His recovery to win the ball back, his anticipation, all that stuff was very good. I’ve got to tell you, from Jimmy [Nielsen] on out, it was excellent tonight.”

On the game:
I think our guys did a very good job of cutting down a lot of the channels, so a lot of balls they had to play were over the top. I thought we did a good job of winning the aerial duels and most of the second balls. I think in the second half, they won a couple of second balls to break through the midfield, but we did a good job to keep our line and caught them offsides a couple times. It seemed as if they were pressing the game a little bit higher up the field, and we started to get more and more space in behind, especially on the wide channels. C.J. [Sapong] was doing a good job — Teal [Bunbury] wore them down, for sure, and C.J. was able to come in and give us some energy to put them under pressure even more. I think it was tough for them to follow those guys for 90 minutes. Credit on the set piece for C.J. to get his head on it cause everyone’s crowding and pulling you, and he did a very good job to get there.

SPORTING KANSAS CITY DEFENDER MATT BESLER

On the game plan:
We had objectives before the game. One of them — well two of them — was a goal off a set piece and a road win. We were able to accomplish those. It just shows us that if we accomplish those goal objectives then we’ll reach all our goals.

SPORTING KANSAS CITY FORWARD KEI KAMARA

On the win:
It’s a great feeling [to win on the road]. I forgot how good this feels, just the winning aspect of it, but I think we definitely deserved it. It’s a great way to start the season.

On the team’s play:
There’s not a whole lot right now that I thought we did poorly. I think we came in with a game plan, we executed it really well and again, it’s just a great result.


 

D.C. UNITED HEAD COACH BEN OLSEN

On the disappointment of the loss:
I thought overall it wasn't the greatest night for us soccer-wise, but we kind of knew it wasn't going to be. It was the first time we stepped on the field for a 90-minute game because of last week. It's not an excuse it's just the reality, so we were a little rusty I thought, physically and mentally – they certainly were the better team.  But we defended our box pretty well all night long, and I thought Bill [Hamid] was very good.  We had a couple pretty good chances, as well. It's very disappointing to lose in the end like that after the guys put on a hell of an effort.

On how long it will take the team to build chemistry with so many new players:
I'm not sure. I'd love to give you an exact date. It'll be a work in progress but there was a lot of good stuff out there. We'll continue to figure each other out and get fitter, I thought we looked a little tired late in the game.  Look, KC is a good team they are as good as it comes in this league right now. I thought they did a good job tonight and credit to them.

On Hamdi Salihi’s first match:
We didn't help him out much.  It's our job to give him the right service to do his job. Andy {Najar] got in several times on his side and our final ball was a little lacking. That will get better, but overall I thought he [Salihi] put in a good shift.

On what was missing in the final third:
We needed the ball a little more. Our final ball wasn't good enough. I thought we were pretty one-dimensional as a whole. We wanted to go big early but we needed to find the forward's feet early and then come back and switch the point of attack and that part was lacking.

D.C. UNITED MIDFIELDER BRANKO BOSKOVIC

Overall thoughts on the match:
I don’t know what to say, it’s really painful for everybody. Losing in the last minute, after a 0-0 score that was good for us. [Sporting KC] is a good team, they play good soccer, but I think we deserved to take some points from this game. But football is like this; you need to play until the last minute. We must continue to work and prepare for the next game.

On where the team needs to improve:
We must think about our mistakes, what we were doing [wrong] and try to make it better next game. We need to be more concentrated and work harder. This is the key; to keep working hard and try to correct our mistakes.

On playing his first match after a season-ending injury last year:
It’s not easy to come back after an injury like that. Practice is one thing, but the game is something else. I’m happy because I played sixty minutes and I don’t feel any pain in my knee. I think next game I’ll be better physically and mentally.

D.C. UNITED FORWARD MAICON SANTOS

Overall thoughts on the match:
It was a hard match, for both sides. We had some very good chances and they created some great chances too. But at the end of the day, we need to focus until the last minute. Besides that late goal, I think it was a good first game. It was bad not to get three points, but we need to keep our heads up, we have a long way to go.

On the missed volley in the second half:
That play was kind of difficult, because I was thinking to do one thing but then I changed it in the last minute. I will hold that play to myself for a while, but I have to keep going and work hard.

D.C. UNITED GOALKEEPER BILL HAMID

On saving Kai Kamara’s header:
Hats off to [Daniel] Woolard for jumping into that play, because if he didn’t then Kai [Kamara] probably would’ve gotten more power into the header and probably would’ve buried it. So, hats off to Woolard for that.