SKCvORL Quotes: "We have to keep this anger that we have inside for next game"

Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes

On the two goals conceded…

Unfortunately, they’re two goals that again I think were routine in that they easily should have been dealt with. At the end, we gave them two goals in the first half and put ourselves in a hole to try to comeback. I think the mentality and the work ethic and everything from the guys was tremendous to try to fight to get back into it. It was great to get the first goal. It felt like the second goal was coming. I actually feel a lot better after this game than I did the last one, even though we lost by a goal and we put ourselves into a hole. I feel better just because I think our approach and our mentality was much different in this game. I can’t do anything about the decisions that were made on the action but we definitely were in that game and I think the changes that we made as well really made a difference in the game. The guys were good, very good.

On bringing on Winston Reid at halftime…

I believe (Matt Besler) does have an injury, I just don’t know what that is yet.

On the defensive corrections needed to address the goals conceded…

It’s decision making. When you look at the things that we work on in training, these are all the things that are repetition of situation that we do on a regular basis – just very poor decisions. I think the second half was a completely different mindset with the group. That was a positive thing. Is there a common theme? Yes, the goals that are scored are because of really, really poor decisions. That can’t continue. It puts the team in a hole. The team can’t come back from being down 1-0 or 2-0 every single time. In both of the last two games, we’ve done more than enough to be in the game and leave both games with at least a point if not more. I still believe in the last game we scored more than enough goals to win but we gave up three just absolute terrible goals. And we did that again tonight. I’ve already told the guys that that has got to change. Unfortunately, it’s some of the decisions that we’ve made and hopefully that’s going to get better here quickly.

On the return of Alan Pulido…

We did something a little different in the game and he made an impact, for sure. He’s somebody that we need on the field and it’s good to see him back out there. It was 30 minutes but I’ll look to see him getting more and more. It was a good introduction for him today.

Sporting Kansas City forward Johnny Russell

On having to come from behind…

Frustrating is one way to put it. We’re doing it to ourselves. For whatever reason, we’re giving teams unnecessary leads. We’re constantly fighting, trying to get back in games and you’re not going to be able to do that in a game in this league. The positions we’re putting ourselves in, it’s just not good enough. If we play the way we did in the second half throughout the game, I doubt we lose. We’re just not piecing it all together and we don’t have the consistency. It’s just frustrating to get ourselves in the position we’re in.

On the roster rotation due to injuries, schedule congestion and suspensions…

It doesn’t help when you don’t have consistency but we’re professionals. We’re all good enough players to deal with it. We all train with each other every day. Obviously, you want a consistent lineup with your strongest players out there at all times, but you’re not going to get that this season. It’s up to us to figure that out and deal with that. I’m not one for making excuses and that’s definitely not what we’re going to do.

On his three-game scoring streak…

For me personally, I’m getting goals which is my job for the team. It’s just frustrating when we play so well at times and just silly errors and mistakes we make leave us clawing back into games. From a personal point of view, I want to score goals but if we’re not winning games that means absolutely nothing to me.

On the disrupted flow of the game…

We’re a team that wants to play a high tempo, keep the ball, keep teams pressured so games get like that. They get a little choppy, fouls here and there. It can break the game up, break the tempo and allows the other team to take their time and get back in shape and just kill the game. From that point of view, it’s frustrating when we know the way we want to play and to say we can’t is just part of the game. When you’re on the receiving end, it’s just so frustrating.

On occasionally dropping back on defense…

Every team causes a different challenge. Me and Gerso’s job is to go out and score goals but at the same time we’ve got a defensive responsibility. We looked at the way Orlando played, and we felt it was best for us to drop. They have players who are quality players and like to cheat (forward) a little bit and don’t like to come back. We had to be aware of them. Just the way they come out with goal kicks and the way they like to come out was just different so we just made a couple of minor adjustments.

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Ilie Sanchez

Thoughts on the match…

It was pretty simple. We played fantastic, especially in the second half. We made a couple of mistakes as a group. In the first half, they took advantage, I think too much for what we deserved, but we have to keep this anger that we have inside for next game. I’m sure that we will be able to get the win and if not, we will be very close to get it.

On Orlando’s two goals…

On the first one, we lost the ball in transition and their right side was open, so we tried to slide to our left side, but they guy with the ball didn’t have enough pressure, so he could play the ball through our midfield and defensive line. Their forward finished the action pretty well. For the second goal, the right winger stepped behind our defensive line. We tried to play the offside line, but he was on so we were a little bit slow to react and he scored. That’s why I said they were two group mistakes and we can be better on those. Believe me, we are working on all of those situations. It seems that every game something new pops up, but this is what we have to keep doing - try to correct those mistakes because we have all the other parts of our game. We will be even more serious and strong in that part of the game.

On the team’s recent defensive struggles…

It’s not about pointing (the blame) at our defensive line. Our back four react to all the other plays in front of them and what we do. We try to protect them and we have to protect them even more to make them feel comfortable and to give them the possibility to anticipate those plays. It’s a group thing and I think if the six players in front of the backline work a little but more together and collectively, that will take pressure off our back four.

Orlando City SC Head Coach Oscar Pareja 

On the message to the team after the win...

We’re very proud of the three points. The reason for the happiness that we have is that I think tonight we beat one of the best teams in the West. We know how hard it is to come here and beat Kansas [City] and get points. The first half just gave us a lot of optimism about winning the points and the game. Second half, Kansas City came out strong and I think it’s one of the things that we like the most. The effort that we had in order to have that presence in these last games and make the [inaudible], they deserve it and I’m very happy for them.

On the adjustments to Kansas City after halftime...

I think Peter [Vermes] moved well, his team. The subs gave them energy there, we had some substitutions that came in and helped a lot. The game changed because Kansas City came strong and put a lot of people outside and they’re fast there. They have people with a lot of talent and they started having a lot of volume of sequences, especially on the left. We knew it, they are very strong on the left side and our [inaudible] was very difficult to sustain that volume of attack. They scored that first goal and obviously you’re away in a place like this one with a team like Kansas City, it’s difficult to sustain the way we wanted. That [inaudible] the players because at the end, they got the points and you see the game and the first half and what we did and those sequences when we created the goals. Obviously we want to keep fighting up top, but we need to be more consistent the whole game. The second half was different, but we absorb it and we’re aware.

On the players rotation...

I am very happy because this is helping us to maintain a very tough rhythm from playing on wednesday and saturday, they have been able to keep this level even when we don’t have the ball. The player rotation has been great, I believe that Tesho [Akindele], Daryl [Dyke], Chris [Mueller], Mauricio [Pereyra], Luis [Nani], they all understand that this is a collective effort, a team game. This makes me happy because the soul of this group is strong and this makes me proud.

On Benji Michel’s performance as of late...

Benji [Michel] is very docile to coach. He’s very similar to Chris [Mueller], Kamal [Miller] and Daryl [Dike], the young ones, and Jordan [Bender]. They’re always trying to absorb the system and get better and understand and take more from the game and use what they’re good at to help the team. He’s growing, I think he’s understanding and interpreting much better the spaces. He’s understanding much better with Nani and the other ones what are the moments that we can do to hurt and get the best out of that explosion that he has. Benji is young, but he’s good with the ball in front of the goal. You saw last year, Benji scored goals and he’s helping us a lot. The best thing is that they love to scrap, they want to keep doing it. The passion that they have to go today, to coach and play that team for more and more, and I love that. I respect this group a lot.

On being undefeated for seven consecutive matches...

The truth is that this is very important because we want to keep going and qualify the team for the playoffs. Secondly, we know that’s a long road that we started well but we also have to end it well. Tonight we didn’t focus on anything else besides getting the three points. We knew that we could do it and we have our objective of qualifying the team. We are very happy because we are playing with personality, the other team also put some pressure on us so we need to be better at defending if we want to keep up with this rhythm. It’s hard [inaudible] but we are improving a lot.

On the second half adjustments by Sporting Kansas City...

Peter [Vermes] is a great coach with a lot of experience, a person that I respect a lot in the game. I think the way he moved his team in the second half, it really made things difficult. He adjusted well to the advantage that we had with the 2-0, and as I said at the beginning, he has a lot of volume of sequences on the side and I know that he knows how to do that. It’s difficult to control, it’s difficult to sustain that volume and we wanted to keep it low and try to counter them and try to use those spaces. It was difficultbut that probably highlights much more the effort and the passion that our players had in the game and I think they deserved the victory today.

On the efficiency in the scoring tonight...

It’s important the efficiency with the forwards. The quality of the finishing when they have the chances, just put the ball into the back of the net and if you can create chances, take a lot of those. There are many games so far where we had many chances to score, but we hadn’t scored many goals. Then there are some games where you may not create many or you may not have many and in the case of those big derbys or big games against big rivals, you have to have efficiency there. The boys understood that and their responsibility today for Tesho [Akindele], Benji [Michel] and Nani, it was just to put the game away as soon as we can because we knew it was going to be hard to beat them and they did a good job tonight.

Orlando City SC defender Robin Jansson

On the team’s performance...

We were very happy with the three points. The first half, we played very well and the second half was completely Sporting so we’re a little disappointed in the second half, but we came here to get three points and in playing soccer sometimes we need to do it in different ways to get three points. I think we came here to get three points and that’s the most important and we were very happy.

On Rodrigo Schlegel’s performance...

He did well as usual when he’s playing, he’s a good player. He’s training very hard and is always ready when he gets the chance. He’s doing great and it’s good to have that confidence in the team with a lot of players that can play the way we want and then do it very good. I’m happy for Rodrigo and everybody else.

On the relief of the final whistle...

It was very nice because they made it very hard for us. They put a lot of players up in front and tried to force their way through and I think we managed it well. We got Alex De John in there to help us out a little bit because they were forcing it a lot, so I think we managed it well and as I said before we came here to get three points and that’s all that matters in this game.

On the meaning of the seven-game unbeaten streak...

Of course we have very high confidence in the team. The trainings are very hard, high level and we’re putting that into the games. In the locker room we feel like we can beat every team in the league and we are ready to do it. We need to keep our momentum going and keep pushing forward and training hard to get even better than we are and that’s what we do every week in and out. We’re working hard, we’re very happy, but we’re not getting relaxed. We need to get even more three points and we’re going to have hard games like this again and we still need to continue to grow together as a team.

On the second half adjustments by Kansas City...

They put a lot of strikers and attacking players in the second half and I think that they occupied the middle very overloaded. Then through there and then played it out to the wings to try and cross it. There were a lot of people up front there and that was their goal to try and get it in the box and then try to score goals. I think we could’ve been better, but we did okay and we still need to improve in those kinds of situations and just keep going.

On the performance of the backline despite all speaking different languages...

I think a lot is that we’re improving in training. My English is not the best and the other guys is not the best either, so sometimes you can show with your body or some smaller words maybe in Portuguese or Spanish and then of course they understand a little bit of English as well. Just some words so we try to know each other as good as we can with the language barrier. I have good players around me so it’s easy to play and when we get to this when we’re playing a lot together, then you start to build relationships on the field and you can almost feel like this player is going to do this, then I can be here. A little bit like that, but of course we need to talk as well and sometimes it’s some words in Portuguese, Spanish or English. We’re working it out well and trying to improve everyday.

On holding the result in the final minutes...

I think we were a little bit extra focused even though they created some chances. Pedro [Gallese] made some good saves and we had people in the way sometimes, so that’s very important. Otherwise, maybe we should have been a little bit higher, kept the volume a bit more, but we keep them away from our goal as good as we can and we got the three points and that’s very good.

Orlando City SC forward Tesho Akindele

On his goal tonight...

First of all, it’s something that we talked about before the game. We have a fast line up there, especially with me and Benji [Michel], so we knew that we should be looking for the balls in behind. On my goal, I saw Ruan just taking it in, Benji did a great  job of making the first run and he brought two defenders with him. I saw a gap that opened up and Ruan made a great pass, I honestly thought that I was offside because I had so much space, but I just relaxed, waited for the spot to open and finished it.

On winning a road game...

It was huge for sure, we are obviously fighting for a playoff spot and fighting for home field advantage in the playoffs so every single point matters. This was a really good team [Sporting Kansas City], and to beat this team away from home is huge for us in terms of getting the points and for our confidence

On capitalizing during the first half...

It’s definitely huge for sure and I feel like the great teams, they just find a way to win. I thought we played well in the first half, we didn’t have too many chances, but I thought that we played really well in the first half and we finished our chances. In the second half there was more grind but that’s a sign of a good team, sometimes you get the tiki-taka, pass the ball around, and sometimes you have to grind it out and just clear everything. We’ve shown that we can do both. 

On how Sporting Kansas City played during the second half...

I think that they were just throwing numbers forward. I thought their center backs did well at winning the long balls that we were trying to hit out, so you know as a forward I think we could have done a better job at holding the ball up in the second half. That might have eased some pressure, but there were still guys who were winning the ball and they just had a lot of guys forward and they have quality players. They have [Johnny] Russell, Gerso, guys that are going at our players 1v1 every single time and it’s hard to defend. To our credit, our outside backs did really good when defending in 1v1 situations and our center backs did great at clearing the ball, our midfielders were everywhere. To go back to your question, they were just throwing a lot of numbers and winning the initial ball when we tried to clear it.

On his first start since the MLS is Back Tournament...

Like you said, Oscar [Pareja] knows who I am so I don’t know if I necessarily have to prove anything but I am just showing that I can play, I can score goals, I can hold the ball up and we have good options which is a good problem for a coach to have. Daryl [Dike] has been playing so good, he deserved to start all of these games, this game they gave him a break and I started and I thought I played well so it’s a good problem for the coach to have three, four different people to play one position where they can all score goals and play good.

On the difference in the team from that of years’ past...

I think there’s just a lot of things. We have a few new players that have added a lot of good things to our team. Obviously Oscar [Pareja] and his coaching staff have added a lot of quality to our team, but honestly in this league a lot of it is about momentum. We’ve just been playing good from the beginning and we’ve been riding that momentum and I think that’s been a really good thing. We’ve had the momentum which has given us confidence and then we go to places like Kansas City and we’re not afraid to try and play our game and try to press them and pass the ball out of the back. It’s that momentum and that confidence that have been huge for us.

On Benji Michel’s growth in the last year...

I think a little bit of maturity for sure. I think he’s matured, he’s thinking about the game more than he was. Before maybe he was just reacting, just going out and using his athleticism, but I really see him thinking about the game. Another thing is Benji has been to practice before everyone and he’s working on his own and that’s something nobody sees. Benji is the type of player that everyday he’s hitting the gym, he’s passing the ball up a wall, he’s been doing a lot of work on his own this year really trying to improve himself as a player. That’s something that nobody sees, he hasn’t been talking about it but it’s happening and I think everybody is seeing the results of that right now.

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