Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes

On the road result…

A massive, massive point. We kind of invoked the game plan that played itself out. We were trying to steal one in the second half but, honestly, we didn’t have the legs to be able to do it. Alan (Pulido) almost put that one away. It was actually a very inventive and creative play with the shot that he got off. It’s a massive point for us. I think everybody who came on the field left their heart on the field and gave everything they had. From that perspective, it’s great. That’s a big point for us on the road. It’s not easy to get points on the road and that’s another good point on the road.

On the team’s formation…

I think the guys, even for them, it was a little tough just because we didn’t even get a chance to train it. I just implemented it this afternoon because I was taking inventory still on who was going to be ready to play and who wasn’t. It was a decision that we made. I’d been thinking about it yesterday with the staff. We confirmed it this afternoon. The guys did well with it. It was difficult for Colorado to break us down in that first half. I also think that we were running on fumes there at the end. I had some other ideas but when (Nicolas Isimat-Mirin) went down, it kind of changed us around a little bit more than I expected.

On the play of Grayson Barber…

I thought he did really well (especially) for his first outing and having to play with a lot of different guys on the field. It’s one thing if you have a semblance of a lot of the same guys that have been playing a lot of the games lately and then you throw him in; a lot of times they can assist a player who’s being added to the team that doesn’t play a lot and they can help them along. I actually thought he did a really good job not having played any games and also being thrust into us playing a different way and him having a responsibility within that. I thought he did a really good job.

On the late change to insert Graham Zusi…

With (Nicolas Isimat-Mirin) going out and (Kaveh) Rad coming in, it only made sense at that point because we felt that we were probably going to have to go back to five (defenders) at times. Jaylin (Lindsey) could drop back and help (Graham Zusi) on that right side and it actually worked out pretty well. I thought we minimized the chances for them. We took away the wide service on that side. We did a pretty good job of that. Zusi and Lindsey did a pretty good job. That was the reason for that.

On the team’s defensive performance….

Timmy was awesome. Timmy made some (great saves), which you hope that your goalkeeper can do in a game like this where we were banged up and not necessarily on in different aspects of our game. Timmy came up with some incredible saves to really keep us in the game. It’s one of those things where sometimes we play at home and the goalkeeper on the other team is just on fire. Timmy was on fire. That was huge for us. I thought the guys fought for every ball in the box. They really did. They were alert. They were throwing their bodies. They were throwing whatever they could in front of it. And if it didn’t happen, Timmy was there to make the save.

On the team selection…

It really wasn’t focused on anything other than this game. We expended a lot of energy in our mid-week game and travel and really no time to train. It was really just rest and recovery. We flew back after the game. So the guys were depleted. Roster rotation sounds great. It sounds great to say, ‘We’ve got five games coming up over this amount of time and this is how I’m going to do it’ but as soon as you play your first game, things happen. People get hurt, something happens, a player is out of form or whatever it might be. You have to be able to adjust and adapt from there. For me, it was just looking at this game. How could we get through this game with using the roster and minimizing injuries as well? Not putting people in dangerous positions (was key). I actually was looking to take (Nicolas Isimat-Mirin) out possibly and what I’m hoping is he’s more got a cramp than anything else.

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Roger Espinoza

On the play of Wilson Harris and Grayson Barber…

Great. These guys, they’ve prepared. Wilson has been training with us for a couple years and Grayson this year but he was in the academy for a while. It was just a matter of them getting the chance. They’ve been in our system and our model and our tactics. Today we changed it up a little bit but they were able to get the task done. It wasn’t an easy game for them, especially here in Colorado with the altitude and the fires going on right now so it was a very tough game.

On the team’s tactical adjustment…

We don’t do it often. There are games where there are teams that throw different types of styles at us. We have our model of play. Once we get the ball, we play our way. Defensively, sometimes teams try to throw different lineups out there for us. We’ve been training all along, all these years. We’ve been doing really well and reacting really well. We don’t practice this usually but each team is different and gets treated differently.

On the team sitting in first place and starting Leagues Cup…

It’s always difficult to go on the road and get points. This year, we’ve done pretty well. Coming here into altitude, and especially coming after the game in LA where the weather is a little bit hotter than here, and the fires are going out here in Colorado so you can feel the smoke, it’s not easy. With a different lineup, we were able to grind a point out and now we’ve got to go play in the Leagues Cup which is not easy either. The expectation here at Sporting Kansas City is to win everything that is in front of us. Now this game is over. We have to worry about Tuesday and get ready and get prepared and get healthy going back home.

Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Tim Melia

On the team’s tactical shift…

There’s a congestion feel to it. I think the other team has a little bit more willingness to step guys higher because they know we have that many guys in the backline and there is a little bit more space in the midfield. Credit to our guys for stepping in with all the guys out with injuries and suspension to come into a really a difficult place to play in a different style and adapt to it quickly and, more importantly, get out of here with a result.

On how he sees the game so quickly to make reaction saves…

It comes down to the guys in front of me. When we’re aggressive and we’re stepping and we’re willing to block shots and put pressure on people like we have the last two games, my job becomes a lot easier because the shots and the angles that the ball is coming from are a little bit more readable. It becomes a little bit more predictable. Huge, huge credit to the performance in the last two games and how aggressive and eager we were to just fight all over the field.

On the play of Grayson Barber…

You can see moments of clarity on the field. You can see he’s quick, especially when he turns. It’s a difficult formation to come into. The guys up front were very, very isolated so it’s really difficult to judge someone off a game like this because he’s getting balls with two guys on his back and no support anywhere because we’re playing such a deep line with more guys on the backline. He competed. He fought. I wish he put that ball away on the opportunity but that will come. He just needs to play more games. This is a big time experience for him and I’m happy he got the opportunity to come out and play and we got a result.

On the team’s approach heading into Leagues Cup…

It’s a tournament. It’s an opportunity. We want to go out and win. I think all of us, after our Concacaf (Champions League) performance, are really looking forward to getting back out against these Mexican teams and putting a good performance in at home. We haven’t talked about it a whole lot because we’ve had a ton of games, but my mentality going in is we want to do everything we can to perform at home. It’s an opportunity for a trophy and that’s the way I’m approaching it.

Colorado Rapids head coach Robin Fraser 

On the team’s performance...

Our pressure got a little bit better in the second half when we were able to really wrestle control of the game. We felt like we created enough chances to win. Obviously we feel a little disappointed that we didn’t get more out of the game, especially on a night when a team that good is resting that many players. We certainly wanted to get more out of the game, but credit to them, they were very tough and resolute in how they played and certainly made things difficult for us. Really proud of how we grew into the game and were able to create a number of really dangerous chances on the night. Tim [Melia] is a hell of a goalkeeper. I’ve been watching him do that for—I don’t know, probably 12 years now at least—and he’s certainly made a huge, huge difference for them tonight. But like I said, overall, really proud of how we grew into the game and how we were able to wrestle control and create a number of chances. 

On Braian Galván’s play on the night...

Little by little, as he got healthy, we started thinking about him potentially as a wingback in a back five. He really is an attacking player with a very good eye for a final pass, but we’ve asked him to do something different and it’s something that the team needs and we’ve watched him over the last probably six weeks get more and more familiar with the position in training. Had a few opportunities to play a few minutes early on as he was getting healthy and certainly last week was his first start as a wingback and did quite well at Austin and created some dangerous opportunities. So then created another opportunity for himself tonight and once again I thought he did quite well. For someone who it’s not necessarily his most natural position, he’s really adapted well and has gotten better. He’s better at the end of this game than he was at the beginning of Austin, so he’s just one who can learn and grow. He has a very good soccer mind and once he understands the position, or once he has come to understand the position, he’s just gotten better and better at it.

Colorado Rapids midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye 

On making his Rapids debut...

Obviously on a positive note, it’s good to get my debut with the club, play 90 minutes. I think for the most part we controlled the game and what we wanted to do. We created a lot of opportunities to score. It’s unfortunate the ball didn’t go in the back of the net tonight but there are some positives to take from this in that we pushed the tempo of the game and put it on our terms. We obviously look forward to the next game but I’m very happy with how the team played tonight. Unfortunate not to win.

On playing in midfield with Cole Bassett, Collen Warner and Jack Price...

I think I worked my way into the game. Obviously learning a new system takes time so I was just trying to go with the flow of it and kind of go off of the other midfielders. I think once I started to move inside, I found some good pockets to get turned and play some balls forward. We have quality players and when everyone is in the right position it makes it easy for the guy on the ball. I think as the game progressed you start to see the fluidity much better even when we rotated into different positions. It’s good stuff and like I said, I look forward to continuing to build on the rest of the season with the team.

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