Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes

On the performance from Johnny Russell…

It's what the captain is supposed to do. At the end of the day, that's why he's the captain and I don't mean that comically. He's the captain. He's the leader. That's why the guys respect him. He wins all the time. He wins in practice. He brings it to the game week in and week out and that's why the team follows him. He brings a level of energy and a level of competitiveness that is a great example for every guy on our team and it's infectious. Don't get me wrong, the other guys are working, they're trying, they're fighting, but at the end he finds a way. It's apropos.

On the play of Cam Duke…

We had to change kind of the formation up front in the first half. It just wasn't hitting the way it should have, but I think that was because of a couple of other things. We made those moves. I really think the big move was in the second half, pushing him back to right back, pushing Remi (Walter) to defensive midfielder, bring Roger on, Khiry (Shelton) goes in the middle and now a lot of guys are in their normal spots. I think it helped the team immensely. I think the energy is one but I also think there was a level of confidence and just familiarity for the group. So I think that changed it a lot. I think we were on the front foot and now all of a sudden that made them have to make decisions. Between the relentlessness in and around the box, which led to the first goal, and then the second goal again we're forcing the issue. Daniel (Salloi) is coming in the box and he gets the foul. So again that relentlessness in and around there is what I think caused all of that and it's a credit to the guys because the energy was high and they were not letting them out. We pushed them back so deep that when they won it, they couldn't even play out to anybody. It just kept coming back to us.

On Daniel Salloi playing at center forward…

It's not his fault. I don't think that worked until we change things around. I was probably a little hesitant in doing it anyway because I think that sometimes when you have got guys that are playing as well as both Daniel and Johnny are in their spots, that sometimes you don't want to mess with that. You don't want to take them out of their rhythm. But because of the team and the way the team is at the moment with so many guys being out, we had to rotate some guys around. In some respects, it actually worked pretty well because I don't think that they were ready for it.

On the mentality of the team…

When you go through tough moments in sports, and I'm not talking about in life because there's two different things here, but this is our profession, this is what we do. So when you go through those tough moments, those tough moments are when you're not finding the success that you maybe normally are accustomed to. I think sometimes you can start doubting yourself. You can start doubting each other. You can start doubting everyone around you. But one of the things that has happened with the guys is that they realize that the only people that are going to get us out of this is ourselves. We have to find ways. We can't blame all the other things out there. They are what they are for us and we have to find ways. And I think it's a credit to these guys because you can see their commitment, you can see their effort. They compete. They're trying everything they have inside them. And so from that point of view, I'm incredibly proud to be a part of the group just because you don't get around a lot of people that will fight when it gets tough. The last thing is that you never become a master of something unless you actually experience it. I'm not telling you I'd like to experience this every year like this, but you don't know until you start doing it. And you have to come up and you have to be adaptable. You have to be flexible. It's not just us as a staff, but it's also the players. And like I said, Johnny tonight played right wing, he played center forward and then he's back out on the right wing. He had to do that last week. I'm putting guys in positions that I would say that they're not accustomed to, but they're finding a way. I really appreciate and I'm extremely proud to be a part of the group.

On the quick turnaround to Saturday…

We have a great training facility with a lot of modalities. We got to use all of them as many times a day as we have to to get ourselves recovered. We have got to recharge the battery and we have got to get ready for the weekend and then they'll have some time off after that because it's a break. That'll be their light at the end of the tunnel.

On playing Union Omaha next in the U.S. Open Cup…

They got this far for a reason, obviously. They're playing well. We have to get ourselves prepared, at least for this weekend. When that game comes around, believe me, we will do everything that we have to try to put our best group out there and we will fight with everything we have because we know that's going to be an incredibly difficult game.

Sporting KC captain Johnny Russell

On the message to the team at halftime…

I think we created the chances first half. There was just a couple of little tactical things that we had worked on that we weren’t doing on the field. So we tweaked a couple of things. I think we stepped higher as a team. When we've got the energy and the guys that can press the way that we can, we won a lot of balls up the field and that equates to chances and we took them. We created a few more. We could have had a couple more goals as well. Obviously, it was a disappointing first half to go in down, but it's pretty similar to the last Cup game as well. We came from behind and it's a good win at the end of the day and into the next round and at home as well.

On being patient to find the goals…

It was just not to get frustrated. We were getting in behind. We had a few chances, so it was all just about that final execution. I think we did that a lot better in second half, obviously getting the goals. There wasn't a lot of things we had to change. Just a couple of tactical things that we should have done in the first half that we didn't. We changed it and we made the (substitutions) as well, which brought a bit more energy in as well. It’s a great result. Now we rest and get ready to go again at the weekend.

On the schedule congestion and playing through injuries…

I've been struggling with a couple of things, but I'm not the only guy struggling at the minute. There's a lot of guys pushing through things. It's not just me. I'm never going to use that as an excuse. I've made myself available for my team and I'm going to continue to do that until it's physically impossible.

Sporting Kansas City defender Andreu Fontas

On the team’s toughness…

We're fighting through it right now. It's a mentality. We need to be tough. We know that we are suffering this season and that things are not as we expected at the beginning of the season. No excuses. We have to fight through it and get results. We are going in the right direction. Everybody is fighting, everybody is giving everything that they have. We probably are not doing our best the whole game, but everybody is pushing together in the same direction and it's huge. We need to keep doing what we are doing. Obviously getting results always helps, but there's a lot of positives. Going forward in this competition, it's huge for us. The game that we came back against Dallas was really good. Again, today we conceded a goal in the first half and did not play well, but then in the second we had a good reaction. Again, we have to keep having good games, good performances, especially good results and then we will get there.

On Sporting KC captain Johnny Russell…

He's special. His first goal was unbelievable. Everything he does is amazing. He's a great player, but also outside the field, he's a great captain. He’s our leader and we all follow him. When he leads with the tempo, he fights through everything. With small injuries, other players probably would not play, but he plays. He goes through everything and plays lots of minutes. He is an example, and again, having leaders like that is huge for the rest of the team because we cannot be less than him. We have to try to be at his level.