Quotes: Sporting KC 2-1 Real Salt Lake

"We fought until the end," says 97th minute goal scorer Ike Opara

Peter Vermes vs. Real Salt Lake

Photo Credit: 
USA Today Sports Images

Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes

Thoughts on leaving with 3 points:
“A goal on the road in this League is always difficult to do I think against any team. These guys are a good team. It was a hard fought match and they’re three points for us which we needed to get, so we’re happy to go home that way.”
 
On the persistency of his team:
“I thought we had better chances in the first half. I thought we were in and around their goal quite a bit in the first half and had a couple of good looks, but we didn’t finish those off. In the second half it was a lot of broken plays that we kind of got around. The one thing I will say is that I don’t think in the second half that we were maybe the best on the ball, but I would agree with you that it was the persistence. And the other thing is that we didn’t give up until the end, and that’s why we got the free kick; the corner kick goal.”
 
On the key to the win:
“For us I think it was just the fact that we knew coming in here it was going to be a difficult match. We needed to just keep going and going. We tried not to let them play that much, and I thought we did a pretty good job at that. There’s always a lot of teams that go on the road and try to press high up the field like we did tonight, and I thought that was a really good quality that took them out of their flow a little bit which helped us I think over the course of the game.”
 
On his guys responding to the physical match:
“I thought that we kept our cool really well, and I thought that paid off in the end, because obviously they got their red card and we didn’t. That was a good thing.”
 
Sporting Kansas City DF Ike Opara

Thoughts on his winning goal:                                            
“It was just a great ball by Zusi. We had a bunch of guys attacking it and I had to go up and get it. I was due for one.”
 
On thoughts of confidence as stoppage time went on:
“Well we go chance after chance in terms of set pieces along the way. You have to have that confidence, because you’re going to get one opportunity. Benny had a shot that was saved, that was a second ball off of a set piece as well. I think the more and more we got them, I think the more confidence we got, and [Zusi] was putting great balls in all game. It was just our job to go up and attack it.”
 
Thoughts on getting the three points:
“In terms of the Supporters Shield race it’s big, but we’ve got to keep pace and overtake it and run off with it. For us, this is not an easy place to play by any means. This is a good team that is very in form right now. You could see out there that they’re a very talented team as well. I think a part of our guys, we fought until the end. It took literally minute one through minute 90 to get this job done, so I’m happy.”
 
On the physicality of the match:
“I think we were all really happy about how we all didn’t really react to the physicality. I think a lot of early blows were actually from them. I think our reactions were good as to keep our minds and our attitude and stay focused on the job. As you see, they went down a man, and from there we pretty much got set up for the win.”

Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jason Kreis

On the result:
“I think this is just a situation where we’ve got to keep focused and move on from decisions that are tough, getting fouled a lot. We need to maintain our focus in the game.”

On Chris Wingert’s red card:
“I just watched the replay and I wanted to come in with facts not opinions of what I saw or what I think I saw - I needed to watch it again. It’s a poor decision, an extremely poor decision against us. He [Wingert] barely touches the player, and he [Soony Saad] falls down. Now we’re picking up a second yellow card when there were multiple players on their team and weren’t picking up yellow cards for the same exact actions - pulling shirts, stopping counter attacks in the first half. The level of consistency was the lowest I’ve seen from a referee in MLS. And again, I don’t want to belabor the point about the referee being poor. He is going to be poor. It’s his 14th match of his entire career. The referee in a sold out stadium, in a first place versus second place matchup - it’s the wrong game for him to make his 14th MLS game.”

On the message to the team after the loss:
“We have to move on quickly. We’ve had a lot of really good runs and again tonight, they battled really hard. We have to move on quickly and hopefully in the majority of the games, the referee will get the decisions right. And hopefully referees will know to not give seven minutes of extra time when he puts out [five]. These are difficult things to keep track of, I guess.”

On whether RSL’s missing players factored in on the result:
“Not for me, not for me. This one the referee owns. In my opinion, the referees own this game.”

Real Salt Lake GK Jeff Attinella

Feelings after match:
“We fought hard, I thought we deserved a point definitely. The team put in a great effort tonight. Obviously we’re frustrated by not getting at least a point out of that game. But we gotta shake it off and we’re going to come out and do our best to get points next Saturday against New York.”

On personal performance:
“I feel like I played pretty well. I felt like I was pretty comfortable back there. Obviously you never want to give up two goals, especially a goal in the 97th minute. It’s kind of mixed emotions because you don’t want to give up two goals, especially in the last minute. But overall I thought I did alright. But obviously it wasn’t enough to keep the point.”

On if he could prevent either of those goals:
“I’ll have to watch the replays. Everything’s kind of running through my head so I’ll go back and watch the replays and I’ll figure that out with [RSL Goalkeeper Coach Jeff Cassar].”

On going a man down:
“Anytime you go a man down it’s going to affect a team a little bit. But I personally felt we fought really hard and I think those two goals came off set pieces, so it’s not like they were breaking us down in the run of play or anything. I think they scored their first goal after the red card – emotions were high. But anytime you go down a man, it’s going to be tough.”

On save at the beginning of the second half:
“Yeah, I saw it at the last second. I think Aaron was doing a good job of making him hit a tough shot. He didn’t put too much pace on it but, like you said, I saw it a little bit late and I was able to get over and get a touch to it. Fortunately for us he didn’t hit it too hard.”

Real Salt Lake MF Ned Grabavoy

Emotions after the match:
“It just takes any air out of you. We’re in a position to at least get a point under some tough circumstances. Basically the last play of the game off a set piece. So it’s obviously frustrating.”

On the physicality affecting the tone of the match:
“I don’t know, it’s tough to say. I think both teams were physical. But in saying that, I don’t necessarily know if it affected the match. I don’t know how it would look if it wasn’t physical.”

On if it made things harder on offense:
“I don’t know. I thought we were in a good spot there until the red card. We were up 1-0 and thought we were playing really well, for the most part. Things were tight in the back. We were in a good position until that point. Obviously it was under tough circumstances. On a different night we probably walk out of here with a point, but we don’t. So we need a reaction next week.”

How to bounce back:
“It is what it is. Next week there’s probably a game and the week after that, and the week after that. The easiest way is to get back out there, if anything. It would be great to have a game Wednesday night – somewhere – to get that taste out of your mouth. It won’t be a problem for this group, I know that.”

On animosity between the teams:
“I think both teams are very good teams, obviously this was kind of a marquee matchup for some folks given the position in the tables for both teams. I don’t know, it doesn’t really matter at the end of the day.”

Real Salt Lake FW Robbie Findley

On his overall reaction to the game:
“It was good to score, but it’s a disappointing result.  It is what it is, so we’ll move on and get ready for next week.”

On his goal:
“I think it was on a free kick.  Javi [Morales] hit the ball, it slipped out of the ‘keeper’s hands, and I was on the other side of it, and was able to get my head on it.”

Real Salt Lake DF Aaron Maund

On his pairing with DF Nat Borchers:
“Every time we get out there, I think we’re progressing a lot.  It’s the middle of the season right now, and we’re really happy with our progress.”

Thoughts on the team’s last-second loss:
“It’s just a blip – we’ve got to come back.  We’ve got to keep it going; obviously we had a good streak going, and so we’ll just keep going.”

Real Salt Lake DF Nat Borchers

On how Real Salt Lake and Sporting KC match up against each other:
“I think that that’s what happens when you have two good soccer teams – two teams that have come so far.  We have very similar histories, in terms of being in newer stadiums, smaller markets, with big chips on our shoulder because we don’t have the kind of payroll that other teams do.  Their brand of soccer is different from ours, we play soccer and they like to make it a bit more physical, pumping the ball into the box.  They’re pretty good at it.”

On Sporting KC’s final goal:
“I’m not sure who scored.  I’m not sure who missed their mark, but we’ve got to close games out much better than that.  We got a man sent off, and then to concede right after that – we can do better than that.  At the end of the game, on that last kick, everyone has got to be better with their marks, and step up and say ‘my guy is not going to score.’”