Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes

On the keys to the match…

A really good start to the game. We had courage in the way we came out and played. Our pressure on the ball was excellent. It’s not easy because this team is very good with the ball, as you could see at the end. They create a lot of chances but that’s part of the game when you’re playing away from home. When you’re up like we were, at some point we’re going to not expose ourselves. In the first half, we played with a lot of courage and we were also excellent when we turned the ball over. I thought Alan (Pulido) was great in between the lines. He brought a lot of guys into the game and gave us a pause to get people forward. At the end, I think it was a really good team performance.

On scoring four goals on the road…

Good movement off the ball. That was it. You’re playing with instincts at that moment so everybody is moving off the ball and their movement created a lot of great opportunities. (Graham) Zusi could have had one coming from right back. It was good.

On withstanding LAFC’s pressure late…

We did a couple things that we tried to tactically. They’re a good team. You’ve seen us at our place many a time late in a game and we’re down. We have the ball a lot. We’re getting chances. Tonight, the guys hung in there. They didn’t lose themselves. That was a good thing. We also compacted the middle of the park because that’s where they’re really dangerous.

On if this is a statement victory…

No. It’s a good bounce back game from last week at home. I think (LAFC) is a very, very good team. They have so many different ways that they can threaten you and hurt you. At the same time, we came here to play. We didn’t come here to sit back. We had a really good first half. We were very intelligent in our recognition in the game of when to go on the counter and when to keep possession. To be able to play and possess the ball, whether you’re at home or away but especially away, it’s a really difficult thing to do. Credit to our guys for having the courage and the bravery in the game to play that way and to keep the ball. This is a very good team that we played against. I’m not big on statements games. I’ve never been that way. I don’t know what that means to be honest with you. Every time we step on the field, we try and win. I have a lot of respect for other teams in this league because everybody is good. Anybody can beat anybody on any given day. You’ve got to be ready for that. When you get just a little bit full of yourself is when the game of soccer comes back and the Gods get you. It was a good performance by our group. They worked hard. They deserved the game. The second half was what it should have been. They’re at home. We’re up 4-0. They’re trying to get back into the game. They’re going to be all over us. We’re going to be a lot more conservative. We’re not going to try to waste ourselves and open ourselves up so that they can find chances. Even though they’re good and they broke us down and created some chances, we found a way what other teams do to us at our place when we’re trying to put it on. We found a way to defend well. Tim Melia was really good in the game. He was good in managing the game. All in all, it was a great performance for us.

On the two assists from Graham Zusi…

I thought both our outside backs were tremendous in the game today. I thought our backline was great. They have a tough job because Luis (Martins) is dealing with (Carlos) Vela. Zusi is dealing with either (Brian) Rodriguez or (Diego) Rossi. They’re very, very good on the outside as wingers. I thought both of them did a great job. I thought Luis was, in a lot of respects, a man possessed. He won a lot of open field tackles. He was so good on winning them and then pushing the game forward and getting into the attack. He was excellent. Nicolas Isimat-Mirin is coming into his own. He’s really starting to get a routine down. (Andreu) Fontas is rock solid. He’s been incredibly consistent. I was happy for him because a couple of years ago this is where his injury occurred and put him out for quite a long time. It was nice to see him kind of resurrect what happened here last time.

On bouncing back from a loss and the play of Alan Pulido…

I had said to the guys, ‘Over the course of a season, things happen. Good things happen and sometimes bad things happen.’ When things are going well and something bad happens, it’s easy to push it away and act like that was just one time. I don’t believe that. I think that when things happen, you have to address them. You have to look at them straight in the eye and you have to talk about them. You have to learn from what occurred. Because if you don’t use those mistakes as learning lessons to be better, then I don’t think that you evolve as a team over the course of a season in the correct way. With all of that being said, I think the team has a lot of pride. I said to them, ‘We can’t start a first half like we did at home last week. We have to learn from that game. We have to understand that it’s important for us that when the whistle is played, it’s going to be a fight. And we have to be ready for it.’ Credit to the players because they’re the ones who do it. It’s not me or the rest of the coaching staff. We don’t do it. It’s them. Credit to them for following through on that and learning from last week’s lesson.

I think the world of Alan. I think he’s a fantastic player. He’s a great pro. He has a great mentality for the game. He’s a humble guy. He’s a competitor and he’s let down because he didn’t play a lot for the national team. I understand that, too. He also knows that this is his home and he’s a part of the family here. We count on him a lot. The players have a lot of respect for his game and they know that he cares about the team. For him to just jump right in today and be as good as he was without playing for us for a month says so much about him. He doesn’t get enough credit. I don’t know why that is. I don’t know if it’s because he’s in Kansas City and we’re a small market. He does not get enough credit for what he does on a consistent basis for our team. He is a very, very good player and somebody that helps us immensely with the way that we play.

On the play of Khiry Shelton…

It’s all these things that Khiry does when he’s on the field that help the team and helps the rest of the players around him. He does a lot of work that people don’t necessarily think is the exciting stuff: scoring goals, giving a final pass, hitting the long ball or whatever. The work that he does and the fight that he gives on every play and his record when he’s on the field with our team, it’s incredible. He’s an unsung hero.

I’d have to see it again but I have a little question around the tackle that he took on top of the box from the goalkeeper because the goalkeeper never played the ball. There was a play in the 1982 World Cup, France against Germany. The German goalkeeper, (Harald) Schumacher, came out on a very similar play – similar, not exact – but came out and took the player out. It put the player out for months. I’d have to see it again but for me it might be a red card.   

On the play of Gadi Kinda…

He’s illusive on the field. That’s the best word for me to describe him. He’s got incredible creativity. He gets himself out of and he gets the team out of really difficult situations. He’s excellent in and around the final third. He’s played very well and he gives us something different in the midfield. I also thought that Remi (Walter), it’s one of his better games. I thought that in the first half, not only was he really good with the ball but he was a pit bull. He was a terrier, winning the ball back and getting stuck in on tackles and just being aggressive in those moments. Maybe he didn’t win the ball but he rushed them to maybe not make as many accurate passes and we won the second or third ball after that. He was really good, as well.

Sporting Kansas City defender Luis Martins

Thoughts on the match…

It was amazing. After the last game, we felt bad. Tonight, the team was excellent. A great job by everyone. Congratulations to all.

On his first MLS goal…

It was fast. I recovered the ball. I passed to (Daniel) Salloi. I found the space inside and I made the run. He gave the pass back and I scored with my right foot. I’m happy for that.

On a message to his family…

It’s for them, the goal. They are with me always. I’m very happy for that.

Sporting Kansas City forward Alan Pulido

On scoring in his return to the team…

I am very happy. I am very excited to come back with all the guys. This was the perfect match. We won. We get three points. This is very good. I’m so happy.

On moving into first place…

This is the mentality of the team that we need to prepare for all of the matches. We are so happy to be in first place but the season is not finished. We need to continue to work hard for these opportunities and these moments.

On playing in Los Angeles…

LA has many Mexican fans. I’m so happy to say hi to all of the people. Everything is good. For me, I am very happy tonight for my goal and for the team to win.

Sporting Kansas City forward Daniel Salloi

On if he got a chance to talk to Bob Bradley after the LAFC coach selected him to the MLS All-Star game…

Yes I did! I talked to him for like two seconds after the game. He said congratulations. He said I’m having a great season and it’s well deserved. I told him I’m really looking forward to working with him. It’s nice to be recognized by other coaches in the league.

On playing with Alan Pulido for the first time since late June…

It’s good to have him. Obviously, he’s a great player so we missed him. I think the team did well when he wasn’t here, but obviously he adds to the team so it’s nice to have him back and I’m happy he could score. Hopefully he’s going to score many, many more this season for our team because he’s a great player.

On putting the loss to FC Dallas behind them…

We were very frustrated after that game. It’s never nice to lose but to lose at home… I think we should have beat FC Dallas but how you bounce back is what matters. It’s amazing coming to a difficult place to play and putting on a performance like this. It shows our team’s strength and it’s super nice. I’m very happy for everyone’s performance. Everyone played their top game.

On exploiting some of LAFC’s defensive absences…

I think we were very dangerous on the counterattack. The way we defended in the midfield and transitioned from there and just ran at them, I think they couldn’t handle that and that was the key. Obviously, they were missing players. We are missing players too. It’s never easy in this league. There are so many games but that’s a huge three points for us on the road.

On what makes the team so good on the road…

I think it just shows our strength as a team. It shows the character of the team if you can win away. These places are not easy. We are always well prepared. We go in with a game plan and we do it well. I hope it’s going to stay like that because you never know what points you’re going to miss at the end or if you get to the playoffs, where you will have to play. So it’s very important to be good at home and on the road so that’s why we’re in first place in the West.

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gadi Kinda

On the importance of starting well after conceding early in their last game…

It was important for us to go back and win because we lost points last week and against San Jose too. We get the three points. We started strong tonight. It’s very good and I’m happy for the three points.

On what makes the team so good on the road…

We work hard. We have a good team. Every game is hard in this league. It was very important for us to come and play against a very good team. It was an important game; important points for us and I’m very happy about this.