Quotes: Sporting KC 1-0 FC Tucson

Reaction from players and coaches after the first match of pre-season

Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes

Thoughts on the first preseason game

“It’s exactly what we hoped to get out of it. I always say the first phase of preseason is about getting guys their minutes and about increasing their minutes game after game. The other is an evaluation phase, especially for a lot of the new guys coming in. As much as it’s hard to go in and do a strong evaluation of each guy, the good part is we’ve given them some ingredients on how we want to play. We haven’t given all of it to them and we’ve allowed them to freelance a little bit today and see what their soccer intelligence is. And I would say for the most part that all the guys did a decent job.”

On high expectations after winning MLS Cup

“It doesn’t even resonate at this moment. It’s more a matter of how do we build our team to try and find success in the upcoming year because things happen so fast and the year starts to progress with Champions League coming four days after our home opener. It’s really all about that and that’s what we are working toward.”

Comparing Eric Kronberg and Andy Gruenebaum

“They are different and I say that in a good way. They give us a different way of playing. They are both very good with their feet. Great stops from [Eric] Kronberg early on. The one thing that both of them have is incredible distribution, they read the game well and are both good on coming out on situations that are going to lead to good counterattacks for us. I think it will help us play a little differently as we move through the year.”

On the goalkeepers developing strong communication skills

“I think it comes with the position. Jimmy was excellent with that. But I also think [Eric] Kronberg has been around long enough, that he’s been around a couple goalkeepers that have been good mentors for him. He has those communications skills because he’s played many games for us in the past and Andy [Gruenebaum] has done it as well with Columbus.”

On loaning players to USL PRO affiliates

“We go through preseason with everybody and as we go along the way, we make our assessments of what we think may happen. Especially now that we have two affiliates, in both Oklahoma City and Orlando, we’ll be very calculated, as we were last year, on who those guys will be. We’ll definitely loan guys out to make sure they get the games in they need.”

Sporting KC goalkeeper Eric Kronberg

Thoughts on the match

“It went well. Obviously there were a couple little things here and there where we weren’t quite sharp and in game-form. But overall, we moved the ball pretty well. It was good to finally get out here and play some 11v11 against another team and get some minutes under our belt.”

On the weather conditions

“This is perfect for everyone. It’s definitely a change from what Kansas City is right now. It’s nice to get out here in the sun, enjoy some nice green grass and beautiful weather.”

On the first season without Jimmy Nielsen

“My role within the team is changing. I’m evolving into more of a leader and obviously getting more time under my belt and I’m really excited about that. I think the team knows me and I know the team really well and it’s going to be a good fit for everyone. I’m looking forward to it, my teammates are looking forward to it and I think the coaching staff is excited about it, too.”

On expectations from Manager Peter Vermes

“There are a couple things. Obviously a big part of my game is the transition game. I think Peter really likes the pace at which we transition from defense to offense in the back. He really likes that pace to be fast so we can catch teams on the counter. Play smart, play my game and don’t try to be someone I’m not. Be myself and play with confidence is what I have been told. Everything has been good and I think I started off the season sharp.”

Sporting KC Goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum

On his performance today

“It was mostly crosses, but it was fun to get out there. I’ve been dying to put on the Sporting blue in a real game and it was fun to get out there for a little bit. I just worked on a few things and I’m just trying to get better every day. Preseason is a long grind.”

On starting new with Sporting KC

“It’s a different team, different atmosphere and different environment. They’ve done a great job easing me into the system and I’m very familiar with the way we play. I just look forward to gelling each day and doing whatever I need to do to get better.”

On being the new guy

"[Eric] Kronberg and I were in the same draft class and have been around the same number of years. It’s weird being the new guy when you have put in that many years in the league and played a lot of games, but I’ve really enjoyed it. There is no other place I would rather have ended up. I’m happy to be here. It’s a great group of goalkeepers that we have. It’s a lot of fun to work with them and to get to know them better."

Sporting KC Defender Seth Sinovic

On joining back up with Sporting KC

“It’s exciting. I’ve missed these guys in the offseason and am looking forward to getting back to playing and hopefully getting another MLS Cup.”

On his first experience with the USMNT

“It was good; high paced and intense. Everybody’s trying to prove something out there, but it’s a good group of guys and was a fun couple weeks.”