Quotes: NY Red Bulls 0-1 Sporting KC

Reaction from players and coaches on Sporting KC's 1-0 victory

SPORTING KANSAS CITY HEAD COACH PETER VERMES

On remembering the last time the team gave up a goal:
I don’t but it only means one thing. It means that if we score and we don’t give anything up we got three points and at the end of the day that’s the most important aspect of it.

On Jimmy Nielsen during the shutout streak:
(He reminds me of) Tony (Meola). I played with him. I always considered Tony (Meola) to be the best big game guy, extremely consistent, would do the business all the time. Jimmy (Nielsen) has the same qualities and sometimes is not easy too, playing for us; when in certain games you don’t give up many chances and then all of the sudden he has to be ready in the 88th minute, that’s a tough way for a keeper to play over a course of the game… for some guys you’re getting all game long, so you’re in the game and you’re in the flow of it and you have the tempo of it, but for him it’s very difficult. I would also add that not only keep yourself in the game but also make other players like those (marking Thierry) Henry… Look Henry is a world-class player, great finisher but what he does is he makes guy have to be a little bit more accurate which then it winds up shooting a little too accurate and maybe it hits the post or it goes wide, whatever… You have to be concentrated, you have to be strong, you have to keep yourself mentally in the game as opposed to letting yourself… and next thing you know you’re sort of falling asleep and (Jimmy Nielsen) doesn’t do that at all. He’s very, very connected to what’s going on.

On the importance on earning three points on the road:
Well it was important for two reasons: one it was in conference and the other one is that because of this road trip we have; we now have to go and leave for (Los Angeles) tomorrow and play there Saturday, that’s not going to be an easy trip and to get these points early and not go out there with not as much pressure to try and do that out there was huge. The in conference game is huge because it’s a six point swing as we look at it.

On New York’s frustration at the end of the game:
Look we were trying to get the ball on the corner and we’re trying to slow the game down obviously at the very end. We know… because we have to play again Saturday, we have to keep our legs as much as possible, so I think from that perspective they did get a little frustrated but that’s part of the game.

SPORTING KANSAS CITY AURELIEN COLLIN:

On scoring the winning goal:
I was very happy, but I think that if I score or somebody else scores, at the end we won and everybody is very happy.

On marking and playing against Thierry Henry:
This is not the first time we play against Thierry (Henry) so we are beginning to know him, but like I said sometimes he’s a very unexpected player so it’s very hard to defend against him. We have to stay very focused, he had a couple of opportunities he could have scored so we are kind of blessed or lucky but we are very happy with the result… It’s always a big challenge to play against him, he has become a friend too so it’s very hard to put everything apart, like the respect and the friendship and go one on one but at the end is a striker against a defender. Again I’m always happy to play against him, it’s a big challenge and I always have to prove myself.

SPORTING KANSAS CITY GOALKEEPER JIMMY NIELSEN

On the shutout streak:
I think we have to pay attention to having a solid defense, you know just not so much about the shutout but it gives us the opportunity to win games with only scoring one goal or at least get a point. In my opinion I don’t care if we win 1-0 or 2-1. The guys in front of me are doing an unbelievable job, they take pride in everything they do and we play with such a big focus and that’s the result, five shutouts.

On staying focused throughout the game:
I had to change the ways to prepare myself for the game in the last two seasons. Last year it was very similar, I didn’t face a lot of shots but you got to stay mentally ready all the time and you know, I’ll be honest with you, it’s a lot easier to be a goalkeeper when you’re facing shots all the time and there’s a lot of action because you’re in the game but you got to find another way to keep yourself in the game and it starts.

On Thierry Henry’s near misses:
He has such an unbelievable touch on the ball. He puts himself in great opportunities and he converts nine out of 10 times but today it was just our luck that he didn’t.

On the red card incident with New York Red Bulls Midfielder Juninho:
He got frustrated and kicked the ball after me, it’s part of the game to be frustrated. I understand him, you’re playing at home and you’re playing a pretty good game as well, of course you get frustrated when you don’t get result.

NEW YORK RED BULLS HEAD COACH MIKE PETKE

On tonight’s game:
That’s a good team we played. Kansas City’s a very good team, on both ends of the ball. We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy game. I wasn’t happy with the first half. I thought we were stepping too late to almost every play defensively, and I thought we were trying to do way too much offensively when we were on the ball. Trying to make that perfect pass every time we went, trying to slide it through two players and then it’d get picked off and we’d be right back on the defensive again. Second half I thought it was a good response. We had some tired guys out there that fought till the end. We had some opportunities to go up. Overall it’s an uneasy feeling for me.

On the team appearing out of sync in the first half:
Like I said, I thought that obviously they’re a good team. They move the ball well. I think they had us chasing the ball a bit and when we did win it we were not in the proper positions to build out. I don’t know I’ll have to go back and look at the tape a little more.

On the frustrations caused by Kansas City:
I mean, they’ve done a good job putting together a team over there: a consistent team over the last couple years. They have a system they play and they have everybody on board, every single person, which makes it a tough team to play. I mean you’re looking at a guy like Graham Zusi in the 88th minute chase 30 yards back, try to chase Roy Miller down 30 yards back. That’s commitment you know. They do well. But, I think it was a game that if we cleaned up a couple things, if we capitalized on a couple opportunities you know, it could’ve been a different outcome. But at the end of the day, you know, I’m not happy. We lost to a good team, at home, I’m not happy at all.

On Juninho:
I mean listen, he’s a competitive person and I certainly know that sometimes emotions get the most of you. I would…That’s all, I’ll leave it at that. Of course I’m going to speak to him, but he is a total team player and perhaps a little bit out of his character. But, like I said, he’s an emotional person. He wants to win and he let his emotions get the best of him. It’s happened to me hundreds of times, happened to many of these players. It has nothing to do with the result to be honest with you.

On the decision to bring in Marius Obekop for MLS debut:
I mean he’s an exciting player. Tactically he has a ways to go, he’s a young kid. But as you saw he had a nice shot within probably a minute and a half or so after he came on. You know Tim Cahill does so much work for us and he’s so invaluable as far as I’m concerned.  He’ll never admit it, but I just…I mean he’s done so much work for us these past couple games. I mean I wanted to get him off and give him a bit of a rest and have him ready for New England. But again, Marius [Obekop] is a young kid. He’s earned a spot to get on in that situation to go hopefully be a spark and get forward. I thought he was okay in his debut.

NEW YORK RED BULLS MIDFIELDER ERIC ALEXANDER

On whether Sporting played well or New York played poorly:
A little bit of both I think. Their defending is pretty tenacious and affected us a little more than we thought it would. And we kind of hurt ourselves a little bit.

NEW YORK RED BULLS MIDFIELDER JUNINHO

On the match:
The team played well. We had three opportunities to score but we weren’t able to score. They had one good chance which was on the set play and they were able to score.

On his red card:
The communication (I) have had with the refs has been a little bit difficult because of the language barrier. (I) feel the refs have been a little bit tougher on the players that have a little bit more name just trying to impose themselves on certain players. (I) was very frustrated with the goalkeeper who was delaying the game a lot and (I) tried to rush him a little bit but(I) also feel that the goalkeeper exaggerated a lot and the ball didn’t hit near his face.

On Sporting Kansas City’s defense:
There are very quick to get behind the ball when they lose the ball. (I) feel that they are probably one of the better teams we have faced until now. It’s the team effort; they are collectively going behind the ball and moving as a unit offensively and defensively.

NEW YORK RED BULLS DEFENDER BRANDON BARKLAGE

On the match:
I think we played the same way we have been all year. They’re just a very well-coached, organized team. They’re tough to break down and I think we had a problem with that today. It’s disappointing; the result isn’t what we were looking for. The first half we came out a little bit sluggish. The second half we picked it up a little bit but you got to score goals to win games and they did a good job of closing us down and not conceding the goal.

On moving on to the next match
You’ve got to move on from this result. New England is also not a bad team but we’ve got to come away with these victories at home. We’re all very disappointed so we just have to be hungrier on Saturday.

NEW YORK RED BULLS FORWARD THIERRY HENRY

On Sporting Kansas City’s success:
They’re a team. It’s as simple as that. You have to give them credit – they played really well, came with a game plan and scored on a set piece. We could have done better on that but great header from (Aurelien) Collin. They missed a one against one in the second half that Luis (Robles) actually made a great save. Then I had one, I think that was the only opportunity in the game, but overall, that wasn’t enough. I thought today that the best team won.