Quotes: Sporting KC 2-1 Houston Dynamo

Reaction from players and coaches

Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes

Thoughts on the win...

It seems like it always come down to not a battle but a war. I think as far as this series, we deserved it. We played smart and I think we showed real maturity. Three years ago, I think we were very new to this when we played them in the same situation. We were very new, in everything. I even think our fans were new to it. There was a lot of apprehension that year, but I think this year was very different. I think the players understood the task at hand. Even though they scored early, we never panicked.

On what an MLS Cup berth means to club...

I'm extremely pleased that we're able to provide this to our ownership group and to our fans. I say that because our ownership has committed not only significant funds to make sure that we're successful, but they've bought into this in every single way possible. They're all here at the game. They're at everything and it shows the players how committed they are. Also, when you look at the fans tonight, we have another record. They keep coming and now the opportunity to have the MLS Cup here is tremendous.

On overcoming Houston and making it to the MLS Cup Final...

Everybody has talked about how Houston has been that thorn in our side, and I didn't necessarily buy into that. You could say the same thing for L.A. if you wanted. Everybody has that hurdle that they have to get over and we're a very young team. And to accomplish this with such a young maturity level on our team is fantastic.

On Benny Feilhaber's performance and his assist...

I said to him that that was why we brought him here. His ability to open up a defense is exactly what we were looking for. It was a great ball and at the same time it was very intuitive for Dom to be able to read the situation and the have the calmness to just slip it in. It was a big time final pass, but at the same time the finish was excellent.

On beating the Dynamo...

It was great that we were able to finish them off here. It wasn't a happy situation two years ago when they hoisted the Eastern Conference Championship here. That's something that has stuck with all of our team, but as I said, we have the utmost respect for them as an opponent.

On the strategy of protecting a lead late...

We are normally not a bunker in team. We're a team that just goes and tries to play and manage the game not necessarily what the result is, but what's in front of us. But I think our recognition of the game has become much better in when we should try to counter quickly and when we should try to keep the ball in possession.

On the team's success when C.J. Sapong scores...

I didn't know that stat (Sporting KC is 17-0-2 when C.J. Sapong scores) but I'm going to tell him to score in the next game so that we can win that one as well. The thing I would say about C.J. is that he has not figured out how dominant he is. He doesn't realize how strong, how powerful he is. But when he's making the kind of runs he was tonight in the box, it's the reason why he can score. When he's busy like that, that's when he's dangerous.

On the importance of the second goal...

I think it was very important and the great thing is that we had two other chances that were really good after that. Whenever you get into halftime and you're even or ahead, it's a very good place to be as a team so it was great. It was just great to see that we were hungry for more and we kept creating chances after.

Sporting KC forward Dom Dwyer

General thoughts on the game...

First, credit to Houston.  They played a good series of games. It wasn't the ideal start for us today, letting up a goal in the first couple of minutes. But we're mostly pleased with the result. We battled back, we didn't panic. We kept playing, we kept doing what we do, and we got the result we wanted. So we're happy right now, but I think we're very much focused on two week's time. We're going to enjoy it. Obviously it's extra motivation today to have the MLS Cup at home if we won. Obviously that helped, the crowd was unbelievable tonight. Another stadium record -- they were fantastic, we're really pleased.

On how he felt right after the game...

It's been a crazy season. It hasn't really sunk in yet. I'm just pleased, and I'm excited, but we've got two week's time so I'm trying to calm down right now.

On scoring on an assist from Benny Feilhaber...

Benny's a class player. When he arrived, Peter told me that Benny was capable of doing stuff like that. Obviously, he's been providing service for everyone all year long, so I knew he was capable of playing that ball. He's very positive on his through balls, so I took a little risk and tried to anticipate it. He nicked it through the smallest little gap and I finished it off, so it was good.

On his recollection of the goal...

It was one of those ones where it just happens so quick, you don't really think about it. Benny just chipped the ball through and I don't know if I just didn't want to shoot with my right or what it was, but I kind of just didn't think about it and touched it across. Recently, the last couple years, a problem with me has been I've been a bit too excitable in front of goal and I tried to be more calm and I've had a lot more opportunities now. I've kind of calmed it down and I think that obviously helped -- something I've been trying to concentrate on. Peter said to me on Friday that you don't have to hit the top corner, just hit the net. Obviously, that's in the back of my head and I just finished it off.

On proving himself on this stage...

I'm a very, very stubborn individual. My parents will tell you that. I just want to win, that's the main thing. I just want to win.

On his movement between Orlando City and Sporting KC...

Obviously, it's a different level. But I enjoyed my time in Orlando. That final was crazy. I mean, 7-4 is a crazy game. But obviously (that experience) helps. Me and Teal always used to say to each other before the games that big players step up in big games. We have an unbelievable team, and we just we all want to win. You can see it in the guys everyday at training. There's been arguments this week because everyone wants the same thing. Everyone just wants to win.

On how the team reacted after Houston went up 1-0 early...

It was a good reaction from everyone. Obviously, it's not ideal to go 1-0 down that early. But you could just see it in the guys that we didn't panic at all. We wanted it  and we were focused on what we had to do. Getting one back early was important. They were playing every throw-in slow. That's the game, that's how you play it. When we're 2-1 up we slow it down a bit and that's how it goes.

On the weather...

I'm from England, so I'm kind of used to it. Both teams had to deal with it so it was no different on us. We prefer it a little bit warmer, but we're not going to complain especially after winning 2-1 and we've got the MLS final in two weeks.

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi

Thoughts on the match...

We came out and we might have been caught up in the moment a little bit. They got an early one on us but I thought we responded very well and settled into the game. From then on, I thought we controlled the game. I thought we played a good full 90 minutes. I thought we definitely deserved the result we got.

On responding to the early goal...

It definitely can be difficult. I thought we showed quite a bit of character tonight to keep playing and not get desperate for a goal. We just played our game and we knew that the chances were going to come. And they did.

On moving past Houston...

We're a team that's grown in the past three years, learning from our past. I think we've grown to be a better team.

Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler

Thoughts on the match...

I'm really excited for the guys and the team that we were able to win. At times tonight, it wasn't pretty because of the weather but at the end of the day we did enough to win and we get the final at home.

On conceding the opening goal...

I think we responded well. It was definitely a weird feeling giving up a goal that early. We weren't expecting that one. Again, we battled back from that and that's why the game is 90 minutes. We didn't panic and we stuck to our gameplan. It ended up working.

On the home support...

It was one of the best crowds of my career, which is saying something because of the weather conditions. We give the crowd credit and we thank them for getting us to the final. But now we've all got one more game together and we've got to win that one.

Sporting Kansas City forward C.J. Sapong

Thoughts on the match...

Obviously, a very exciting win. There was a little adversity going down early but couldn't write it up any better. It makes it all the more beautiful in the end.

On overcoming the early deficit...

Honestly, if anything, it's easier when it's in our stadium. When they scored that goal - not to say we weren't awake - but it kind of put things in perspective for us. We knew we had to go get the game. I think we responded well. It was good for us and at the end of the day, it gave the fans a really good show.

On scoring the game-tying goal...

It was great because of the type of goal it was. It was one of those goals where focusing on staying alert and following the play, the ball finally took a bounce in my direction and I was able to put it in.

On the crowd at Sporting Park...

I said last game was the loudest I have ever heard it. This game, by far, was definitely the loudest this stadium has ever been. It's amazing just looking into the crowd and seeing everybody's faces. It brings you an extra bit of energy and motivation.

Houston Dynamo manager Dominic Kinnear

General thoughts on the game...

It was a tough game. We knew it was going to be close. It was a tough one, but congratulations to Kansas City. They'll host the final which I think is a good thing for the MLS.

On how hard the loss is considering Houston's past in the playoffs...

It's hard. A lot of things kind of went against us this last month or so I think. We knew it was going to be tough, but I think it's a better question for the players who put their heart and soul into this. But from a coaching staff point of view, I'm very proud of the team and what we've done this year. Walking of the field the last time as a competitive group is awfully hard, but I don't think they can second guess their effort or determination.

On how the game changed after Sporting KC equalized...

It really didn't. It was 1-1 at halftime so it was a fair game for everybody involved. Obviously the complexion of the game changed because it went from us winning to being tied so that's the obvious answer. I don't think it was that huge of a swing in momentum. They did have chances. Sapong had a chance and Cam Weaver had a good chance as well so I think this had a one-goal game written all over it and Kansas City was the one that got that second goal.

Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall

On Houston's 2-1 loss to Sporting KC...

Our first goal was obviously big, but unfortunately we couldn't keep that lead for longer. I thought we were creating chances here and there. It's always tough to play here. (Sporting KC is) a good team and they are hard to break down. We have to give them credit for what they did today.

On the home crowd and cold temperatures...

Even with all the different challenges, I don't think we played bad. Both teams fought hard and it was a tough playing environment. Their crowd was great and it was really cold. At the end of the day they scored more goals than us.

On Dom Dwyer's game-winning goal in the 63rd minute...

That was one of the classier goals you'll see. His cut and finish made for one of the better goals I've seen this year.

Houston midfielder Brad Davis

On Houston's 2-1 loss to Sporting KC...

It's very difficult. I'm unbelievably proud to be a part of this team. I feel like people were counting us out a long time ago and we kept plugging away. That's what this team does. We came here, started well and got that first goal. We knew they would be pressuring. Then we got kind of an unlucky bounce off Bobby (Boswell) that led to their goal. After that, there were chances on both sides. It's tough, but as I said, we've had good battles with Sporting Kansas City. You have to give them credit-they played well and got the result.

On Houston's approach to the match...

One of the things we talked about was playing under pressure. They pressure high and fast, so we had to break their first level of pressure. When we did that we had a few chances.

On the players' fatigue during the game...

Of course everyone's going to be more tired at this time of year. It's been a long season. Everyone's given their all and there were tired bodies on both sides. That's why the action opened up in the second half. They were looking tired-they had two of their midfielders just sitting at midfield at times and the ball just went to them, to be honest. We still pushed and put guys into the box, but you've got to give (Sporting KC) credit. They're a good team and they defended well.

On the difficult playing environment...

This is always one of the better places to come and play. It's a great stadium with great fans. You can tell that this team feeds off this crowd. And it was definitely cold. That's something both teams have to battle through. It wasn't ideal playing conditions, but that's the situation we were in. When the game is going on, the temperature isn't really something you think about.