Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes

On Sporting’s 2-1 loss at Minnesota…

The game had a high level of intensity, for sure. In the first half, I don’t think we had the intensity that they did. They had much greater intensity in the first half, but we scored a great goal on a set piece that we worked on (in training). The difference in the game was that they were fighting for their lives and they wanted to win. I think they wanted it more than we did, unfortunately—especially in that first half. We gave away two poor situations that they capitalized on, so credit to them.

On Gadi Kinda winning the corner kick that led to Sporting’s early goal…

Gadi was playing the roll of the ball and trying to win back the ball. That was huge. He almost broke through on that play, but it was tremendous by him. The guys did a great job on the corner. We were working on it and it was great execution. It was a shame that it didn’t stand for something meaningful because we gave up two simple balls—one we lost in the attacking third and the other in our half of the field. We have to make better choices at times in those situations.

On the return of Daniel Salloi, who had missed the previous two matches through injury…

I’m not worried about his fitness. It’s just making sure he gets back into the game and starts to get his feel for it and get back into the rhythm. Ninety minutes for him isn’t going to be a difficult thing.

On Sporting’s three late-game substitutions…

Those guys came in at a difficult time. It was really just seeing if we could kind of move the game along, put some fresh guys in there and maybe catch them on something.

On Sporting’s lineup change for the match…

Cam Duke came on and we took off Nicolas Isimat-Mirin. The guys aren’t tired. Playing three games in a week is something you can do, especially in this weather.

Sporting Kansas City forward Khiry Shelton

On Sporting’s 2-1 loss at Minnesota…

We hurt ourselves in this match. We punished ourselves. We’ve got to go into these games like it’s a playoff game. All the teams are fighting for points to get into the playoffs. We didn’t do our job today but we’ll refocus, get together as a group and fix it.

On the orchestrated set piece that led to Shelton’s early goal…

We’ve been working on it for a while and just haven’t gotten the timing right with it. Today I was able to get the timing right. It was a great ball in, Johnny was able to pick me out and it was able to put it away.

On his versatility in attack…

I’m a versatile player and it’s been working for us with Gadi up top and me on the wing, but I can play any attacking position on the field. Peter gives me a job to do and I try to do it to my best ability. I think I’m good on the wing and up top, it’s just that we’ve been dealing with some injuries. Like I said, I’ve got to fill the role that Peter wants me to fill.

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Roger Espinoza

On Sporting’s 2-1 loss at Minnesota…

We defended the first ball well but it ended up landing to one of their players. It was unlucky for us but I think we could have done better on that first goal. That’s how the game started after we scored. They got the break right there, they were able to capitalize and then the game took off from there. I thought we needed to keep the ball well and we didn’t do that at times. Once they scored that second goal, it was tough for us to try and come back. They defended really well and it was a difficult place to come play.

On his physical condition with matches coming thick and fast…

I’m feeling fine. When the adrenaline is kicking, you just want to help your team. Against the Galaxy on Wednesday, I got a bit fatigued so I recovered and took care of myself to prepare for this game. It was why I went longer today because I felt better. We will try to recover for Wednesday because we’ve all been playing a lot of minutes.

On the physical play in the midfield…

Obviously that’s in the back of my mind, but if there’s a play on the field, you try to win the ball. Sometimes you get unlucky with tackles. That’s the game sometimes. I try to play every game and whatever happens, happens. I’m not trying to hurt anybody, I’m just trying to help my team and win the ball.