Peter Vermes post-match press conference at FC Dallas | Oct. 9, 2022

Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes

On the team’s mentality…

The guys have had a really good attitude, honestly, all throughout the season. They really have. There’s a difference between having a bad attitude and losing your confidence. Unfortunately. there was a period where we lost our confidence. We've had a lot of guys off the field for a lot of different reasons. Sometimes it’s the way it gets you. It is what it is. But I will say the attitude and the mentality of the guys has been great. They've given a tremendous effort and for that I'm incredibly thankful. It shows that we have a very strong belief in our core values and our culture. The guys did a great job demonstrating that all the way to the end of the season. We're obviously very disappointed with not being in the playoffs. It's not a normal thing for us as an organization, but sometimes you suffer because maybe some good things are ahead. I believe that we have got a good group. I believe that they have proven to themselves that they can play because I think for a while they thought they couldn't anymore. And I think the other part of it is that they regained their confidence. With some guys coming back next year and some time off and everything else, I believe that we will be in a different place a year from now. But we have got a lot of work to do between now and then.

On how his team played against FC Dallas… 

I think we're a great team with the ball. I think we played very well. I think teams have a hard time when we are in possession. Our guys are very disciplined on the field. I also think that we do a tremendous job of sometimes being able to change up our game. At halftime, we talked to the guys that it would be very difficult to score goal off a cross in the air because their two central defenders did a very good job of basically just planting themselves basically at each of the posts. Anything that came in the box, they just tried to get their head to it and it was going to be hard to beat them that way. We talked about at halftime that we’re going to have to get the ball on the floor and we're going to have to do it through some kind of combination inside the box. That's how we scored our goal. I thought that we could have been a little more patient in the second half and circulated the ball around in and around their box in the final third. We just could have been a little bit more patient at times. They're obviously in the playoffs for a reason and they've been consistent on both sides of the ball this year.

On the competitiveness of this game compared to the season finale at Dallas in 2019… 

I think we've been in a lot of games, especially in the second half of the season. I mean in games from a perspective that we could have gotten more out of games and points. I think today is another game like that. I think back then, we never recovered in that year whereas in this year we recovered a long time ago. Really, it was just about getting some players and also getting some guys that we have, getting them fit again. We just never recovered in that year.

On giving the start to Kendall McIntosh in goal…

John (Pulskamp) has done very well. Kendall got his first start at our home game. It was the first time he's ever played an MLS game. I thought it would be good for him to get a game away from home and see how he responds and reacts to that situation as well. I thought he played very well tonight. He couldn't have done anything on both goals. He made some very good saves and was very in tune to the game. His distribution was very good. He's definitely represented himself extremely well.

Graham Zusi post-match press conference at FC Dallas | Oct. 9, 2022

Sporting Kansas City defender Graham Zusi

On carrying the team’s run of form at the end of this year into next season…

I think we can take a lot of positives from the last couple months of the season. One, the results. That speaks for itself. I think the dedication and the willingness to really play the way that we want and like. When we're doing that together and on the same page, then good things can happen. So I think that's something we certainly need to take into next year and start the year with. It's kind of a strange feeling to finish the season the way we did and still be on the outside looking in, but that's kind of what we dug ourselves into in the first bit of the season. We'll have to make sure that doesn't happen next year.

On his mindset heading into the offseason…

I kind of think back to 2019, the last time we missed the playoffs. I think everyone went into the offseason with a pretty massive chip on their shoulder. I know for a fact that each and every guy went out and really put the work in during that time off just to make sure that the feeling we had at the end of the season wouldn't happen again the next year. So immediately, that's where my mind goes to. There's no doubt in my mind that my offseason is going to be extremely intense to put myself in the best position to help the team. As an old guy in the team and a vet, it's part of my job to make sure that everyone else is doing the same.

Ben Sweat post-match press conference at FC Dallas | Oct. 9, 2022

Sporting Kansas City defender Ben Sweat

On how the team finished the season in the past two months…

I'm super proud of the group. We could have rolled over and died after losing that semifinal in Sacramento, but we didn't. We're probably the best team, if not one of the best teams in the league over the past two and a half months. We’ve been scoring a crap ton of goals, defending really well. Everything switched on. We went out there with nothing to lose every game and we were rewarded for it. We pushed. Tonight, guys were tired at the end of the season and the game kind of got spread out a little bit. We played really well tonight, especially the first half We had our chances and it's something we can really carry into the offseason and be ready for 2023.

On his return from a torn ACL last year… 

Coming off an ACL is never easy. The plan was to build me up through preseason and build me up through the first few weeks of the season. I got a few games here, a few games there. To really push myself and get as many games as I have in the past few months is tremendous. I feel super, super grateful. My knee feels awesome. I can truly push that injury and everything behind me. I can really start to focus on and worry about 2023 and be here for this club and this organization and keep giving it my all.