Erik Palmer-Brown - Sporting KC vs. Philadelphia - July 6, 2017

Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes

Initial thoughts on match…
"We should have had three tonight. This is a game where we should’ve had three points. We were the better team. Whatever statistics say, it doesn’t really matter. You can just watch the game and know that. We had a five-minute lapse in the second half where after we scored, we kind of took our foot off the gas. I can’t tell you if it was because of the penalty or not, I couldn’t really even see it, there were too many people in front of us. I’ll see it later. Regardless of that, we did not step it up in that moment when we needed to. There’s minutes after you score when you have to be on top of everything -- your concentration has to be very high in that moment. And it wasn’t. And we let them back in the game. A lot of times, the chances aren’t very good. We had three or four really good chances, and they have got to be goals. We could’ve scored three goals easily tonight. And we should’ve. Whether it’s young guys out there or not - to me it doesn’t matter - tonight we should have got three points. It’s not a night that we should have gotten one. And I’m disappointed in that regard."


On play of Jimmy Medranda…
"It was much better than he’s played in the last couple of games, much better. And he got his second wind in the second half and he was actually pretty good. He was much better for sure. I thought Latif [Blessing], I thought [Diego] Rubio and I thought [Daniel] Salloi were very good up front. They were very mobile, their movement up front caused a lot of problems for Philly. They were extremely conservative in the way they approached those guys. But we made some great chances, obviously a great goal by Rubio. Fantastic goal. I’m very happy for him and the fact that he was coming back from injury. And the fact that he was able to go 15 minutes longer than I thought he would have is a good sign as well. So now it’s about getting recovered, but yeah, good performance. EPB (Erik Palmer-Brown) as well."


On Erik Palmer-Brown earning the start tonight…
"It was just a coaching decision. I feel like he’s getting back and ready to go. I thought he had a good game all in all for it being his first time back with us in a long time for many, many reasons -- injuries, international duty, whatever. But he was good and hard to get around. He dealt with some athletic guys, especially in C.J. (Sapong.) I mean C.J. is a very, very difficult guy to mark, and I thought we did a good job of keeping him at bay today."


On disparity between penalty kicks given up and penalty kicks taken for Sporting KC…
"This seems very familiar to me. When I played here in 2000, we didn’t get our first PK until the conference final. And it was the second leg against LA here at home. So I can’t tell you why that is, I can’t tell you why there are four or five games where guys get thrown out after the game and we have 250 minutes of play that we should have man up. The next closest team is like 50 or 60 minutes, comparatively speaking. I don’t know what to tell you, but we’ve got to keep working, keep playing and take care of our own business."


On depth of club…
"Depth is one thing, but when those guys (Rubio, Blessing and Salloi) put in performances like that, they make a serious claim to be starters. And that’s what you want on your team. They played very well. I’ll say it again, the movement they had off the ball was excellent. It caused a lot of problems for Philly. The only thing that was lacking was some finishing opportunities. We put some of those goals away, the game is totally different."


Sporting KC defender Erik Palmer-Brown

Thoughts on making his first start of the year…
"It was awesome. Playing in front of those fans is unbelievable. It’s an amazing environment and it’s really fun to be out there."


On trying to break into the lineup...
"You want to play games. That’s the most important part of being on a team. But when you are on a team with a guy on the national team and the leading goalscorer in the month of June, it’s not easy. Every day you have to come in and work and when you get the opportunity, you have to come in and take advantage of it."


Thoughts on the match…
"It’s tough. You always want to get three points. I think we did a good job, especially in the first half going at them. In the second half, we kind of took our foot off the pedal, but we still stayed compact as we pushed for our second goal. We are happy about that, but we are not happy about not getting three points."


Sporting KC midfielder Benny Feilhaber…

Thoughts on the penalty decision…
"It looked like it was offside first of all. CJ [Sapong] is coming from an offside position trying to get back behind Ike [Opara] and I’m pretty sure he was offside on the entry pass. On the penalty call, I think at best it’s a soft call where I’m trying to toe-poke the ball around CJ, but trying to put as minimal amount of contact as I possibly can and I think CJ is the one that almost initiates it by putting his body in a good position by backing in to me a little bit and feeling the pressure. He does what he has to do and the ref gives it to him. It’a penalty call that we haven’t gotten called for us over the 20 games of the season. We have five penalties given against us and zero for. We are one of the best teams in the league and create one of the most amount of shots in the league with the most possession. It doesn’t make any sense that we don’t have any penalties for us and five against. So whether that one was a penalty or whether that was a soft penalty or whether it wasn’t, the law of averages are not evening out for us right now."


On other players stepping into lineup tonight…
"I think a lot of the guys that stepped in positions for normal starters did exceptionally well. I think Erik [Palmer-Brown] did well. I think Daniel [Salloi] played well, Diego [Rubio] was very good and it was great for him to get that goal. Saad [Abdul-Salaam], obviously we know what he can do when he is playing and he played well. Those guys played their part and did what we needed them to do and it’s frustrating only getting a point."


Sporting KC striker Diego Rubio

Thoughts on the goal..
"It just happened. You don’t think too much. I saw the space and tried to shoot it far away from the keeper."


On getting a goal after recovering from a torn ACL…
"I think it was what I dreamed about every day since I tore my ACL, but more I think about winning. The most important thing for me is to win all the time. So today, my goal gave me a lot of confidence but I just think that we should have scored more goals. I should have scored the goal in the first half, but everything is coming so we just need to keep going forward."


On how his knee felt…
"I think the knee is in perfect condition. The thing is the body and this is coming. Of course, I played today with a lot of motivation. Of course, you play for the fans. They are there all the time. They have a good atmosphere. They give you more energy to come. Everything is coming and I need to keep working hard."


Philadelphia Union Head Coach Jim Curtain

On getting the road point…
“Listen, Kansas City came at us in the first half. They were the better team, for sure, the whole night. But our guys, they stuck with it. They fought hard. But again, there’s no coincidence that they’re unbeaten in 19 games now. As crazy as it sounds, at the end we had a couple chances to maybe steal all three with some of the breaks that we had with them pushing numbers forward. But overall, on a night when we didn’t play some of our best soccer, we rolled up our sleeves and did fight and got a point.”


On these types of games…
“Every point is huge. You look at the Eastern Conference right now and it is tight. Every team is still in it. Usually, you can’t say that at this stage of the year. Usually, there have been some teams that have trailed off, but every point is going to matter and it’s very tight in both conferences right now. So yeah, any points on the road are big points especially in MLS when it’s so difficult on the road. There’s some things to take away, it wasn’t our best soccer so it’s not like we’re going to get a lot out of the film session. Maybe some things we could have done better defensively, but a lot of it was just sloppy. We were sloppy with the ball. We’ve become a pretty good possession team in the recent weeks and we weren’t tonight. Part of that is credit to Kansas City and the pressure they put on you. It is ramped up high and the game was a little too fast for some of our guys in the first half and credit to Kansas City, no matter who they put in their lineup, they are like cyborgs. They all play their position, they know their system very well and you can plug a guy in, take a guy out, it doesn’t make much difference. They’re going to put a good 90 minutes in.”


On goalkeeper John McCarthy’s performance…

"John was excellent. John bailed us out, especially in that first half. I think we gave up nine corner kicks to a team that has the most dangerous guy in restarts in Ike Opara. John made some big saves and you need that. You need your goalkeeper to bail you out in the big spots. I’m really happy with his performance and again, he’s the reason we got a point tonight."


Philadelphia Union forward C.J. Sapong

On getting a road point against an SKC team that’s doing so well right now…
"It’s very big. Personally, I’m very proud of my teammates. A game where I felt like I didn’t provide my team with things that I usually do. Even when we were getting battered, we stayed true, we stayed with each other and got out of the first half even. When we went down a goal we picked it up even more. I think it’s a good sign for us and a standard that we’ve now set. So moving forward, I’m very excited about what we can accomplish in this League. Even missing some guys, we’ve had a tough stretch of games in the last couple weeks to the last month. Traveling here and playing in a stadium like this against arguably the best team in the league right now, it speaks volumes to what we’re made of. So like I said, I think the bar has been set and if we could emulate that moving forward I think we’ll be serious contenders."


On if people counted the team out early in the season…
"It doesn’t really matter who counted us out because we never did. I think a lot of guys on our team have been in this League before and know how it goes. It’s all about the ebbs and the flows and just like that we’re back in the mix and that time for us is long forgotten."


Philadelphia Union goalkeeper John McCarthy

On replacing Andre Blake in goal and dealing with Sporting KC’s attack…
"It was a tough game in the first half. I don’t think anyone played their best. It wasn’t our best team game by any means so we knew we had to come out and take advantage of the second half cause we got through a lucky first half at 0-0. It was a fresh start coming into the second half and we did a lot better."


On his thoughts when he’s getting peppered with shots…
"Just to stay calm and not try to get ahead of myself because it’s real easy to get all excited and hyped up in those situations so I tried to just stay as calm as possible and keep the guys in front of me calm."


On the importance of the result heading into the Gold Cup break…
"That’s a big point, like I said we knew that when we came back in at the second half it was a fresh slate for us, 0-0, so we knew we had to change our mindset and change the way we were playing and I think we did better than the first half and it’s a big time point."


On his potential injury scare in the first half…
"So I just came down on my knee when I came out for the save and I felt something pop in my lower back. I don’t think it’s anything too serious, it was just a tightness real quick. I just wanted to take a second and make sure it was all right before I moved on."

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