Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes

Thoughts on the match…

We left too many chances on the field. We had so many clear cut chances. We could have at some point probably scored, and I’m being conservative, six to eight goals and it would have been over. And then we can’t let them score like they did. It was too easy, especially the second one. The second one was way too easy. What’s always hard about these games, for me at least in my experience, in these games right before an international break, you’ve got players who are leaving and they’re thinking – and it’s not a criticism to them, it’s just there’s a lot of unknown – and then you’ve got two weeks off. That’s the other part. You’ve got guys thinking about having two weeks off and we don’t have a game. So there’s just a lot of different things. You’re trying to keep the guys focused. I thought in the first half we did a very good job. I said that this was going to be a dangerous game and I knew it would be. We did our job in the first half. In the second half, we let them in a little bit but we finally closed it out. A great solo effort by Johnny (Russell) to kind of take everybody off the edge of their seat.

On Johnny Russell matching Preki’s record with goals in five straight games…

You see what (Johnny) does on the field, but he’s an incredible leader with the group. He has a great personality. He’s one of those guys that in the big moments, he doesn’t break. He bends, but he always comes back. He’s got more than just what you see him do on the field. He’s got a big presence in our team. We’re lucky to have him on our team and in our club.

On the team’s focus over the next two weeks…

The bottom line is there are certain things that we need to, the best way to say it is you’ve got to tighten the jar down on a couple things. We’ll do that. First, we’ll get a little bit of a break mentally and physically. Physically, not having to play a game. Mentally, there will be a couple days off here or there for certain guys. Other guys will continue to train and we’ve got to keep building their fitness up. We also want to get some of the guys that haven’t been playing a lot or haven’t been playing at all, we can to continue to keep working toward getting them ready for this end-of-the-season push. We’ve still got a lot of work to do. We’ve got to keep working. We’ve got to keep getting better from that point of view. The final piece is to try and do the best we can to try and stay in some type of form so that when we come back and play that game, we’re not just starting from ground zero.

On the form of Gadi Kinda…

I said to him that we need production. I wouldn’t say that to him if he didn’t have the quality for that. He has the quality for that. We need production. He needs to get assists. He needs to get goals. He needs to set things up on the field. He did that today. He had a couple chances. He had a great chance for a goal there at the start of the second half. We need production from him because we count on him for that. I wouldn’t make that demand if he wasn’t capable of doing it. He is and he takes it the right way. He was really getting into form and then he kind of fell off a little bit so hopefully this is a good step in that direction again, especially as we go into the push at the end of the season.

On Daniel Salloi being underestimated nationally…

I would say that’s probably par for the course with our club. The simple way to put it is, pundits criticize us as if we’re a super club. We’re not a super club. I’m here to admit that. We’re a small market. We don’t spend the kind of money that people do on players in this league so that’s fair. They criticize us like we’re a super club but they don’t give the credit to the players when they play well. I’m not here crying about it by any means. At the end of the day, I really don’t care. If Daniel gets the MVP, great. At the end, what we all want is we want to win a trophy. We’ll just keep working toward that. The rest of it is what it is. It’s not a complaint. It’s just the way it is. It’s been like that, by the way, since I played here.

On Alan Pulido’s form and fitness…

Last game he played 15 minutes. This game he played 30. We’re going to keep trying to push the envelope on that. That’s really what it comes down to. We’ve got to get him to where he’s ready to go. Each game, hopefully we can keep adding minutes more and more and more. When he plays and he’s out on the field, he does great things. It’s just he doesn’t have the capacity from a physical perspective to do it for 90 yet. And that’s what we’ve got to build him up towards doing.

On closing out the match..

I think we were really good in the first half. I think we controlled the game. I think we just took our foot off the gas pedal and we made some bad decisions at times. I can tell you right now, you could have watched any game yesterday or the rest of them today and you’ll see situations like that. If I’m going to be a part of a team that makes bad decisions up 3-1 and then winning 4-2, I’ll take that any day of the week.

Sporting Kansas City forward Johnny Russell

On scoring in five straight games…

I actually had no idea about that until like a minute ago. Everyone knows how much a legend Preki is at this club. To have your name up there with him in any stat is obviously something that you need to be proud of, especially the goals and assists that he got here. It’s a nice little bit of history. The main thing is continuing to help the team win games. As long as I’m doing that, I’m happy.

On finding his form…

I was coming back from an injury, but even with that, I wasn’t happy with the way I was playing. I wasn’t really contributing in that sort of way which is what my job is. If you’re not doing that, you obviously feel that you’re not doing enough for the team. It was never a case of getting my head down. I’ve said plenty of times that when the first one came, there would be more. I’ve shown that throughout my career. They usually come in bunches. I’m in good form right now. It’s all about contributing towards the team and what we’re trying to achieve. At the end of the day, that’s my job and that’s what I’m here to do. Hopefully I can continue to do that in the last few games heading towards the playoffs.

On his 90th minute goal…

It’s something that has always been part of my game. I try to eliminate players from the game or the play. If I can drive at one or two players and get by them, that means that we’re going to have numbers up somewhere. If I can do that and give it to a guy that gets a chance at goal or I can get a chance at goal myself, it’s always something that has been a big part of my game. It’s something that I try and do. I practice a lot of it in training. Whenever I get the opportunity to take someone on, then I do it. It’s down to confidence as well. It’s not always going to pay off. There’s not always going to be something at the end of it. It’s something that I’m going to try and do to create things for my team.

On the play of Daniel Salloi…

It’s incredible. I’ve said to him many times this year, he’s by far for me the MVP this year. The fact that he’s getting left out of the conversation is, to me, beyond baffling. His combined goals and assists, and even if you look at game-tying goals and game-winning goals, he’s been invaluable for us this year. His confidence is on a completely different level. He’s been amazing for us this year. He’s been such a breath of fresh air. He’s been like a new signing this year. He’s been incredible. The form he’s been on, obviously as his teammate but more as his friend, I’m delighted for the year that he’s having and he doesn’t show any signs of stopping at the minute.

On the team’s dangerous players on the wings…

I think you’ve seen how difficult it can be when we’re all in form and we’re all connecting together and the team’s moving together. I think we’ve shown time and time again this season that we’re going to be hard to stop. It’s up to us to do it in a more consistent basis, not just spells of the game but throughout the whole game. That’s something that we’re striving towards. When we’ve got this many dangerous guys, and not even just the front guys but the guys behind us as well, when you’ve got people there who can chip in with the goals as well then it makes us a very dangerous side. There’s a few things that we need to sort out but for the most part, there are a lot of positives today.

Sporting Kansas City forward Daniel Salloi

On tying the club record for most non-penalty goals in a season…

It’s amazing, honestly. You don’t get many years where you get to challenge these records. This is why I want to keep pushing and break the records you can. It’s been amazing and I don’t want to slow down at this point.

On being in the Golden Boot race without taking penalties…

It’s a proud moment but at the same time, it’s one of those that no one is going to care how many penalties you scored if you win the Golden Boot. I hope that my goals can take me as far as possible in the Golden Boot race and MVP race. I have a chance for it. I think this is the year when I can challenge for those awards. It’s amazing. This is why I’m kind of mad. I could have had a hat trick today, honestly, but (on to the) next one.

On his goal…

I love playing with Gadi (Kinda). I think he’s an amazing player. I’m so glad he’s playing on my side. He’s been unbelievable. The passes he gives me and the combination we played together, we always find each other in great spots. This is why making runs for Gadi is good because you are already planning your next move. You know he’s the type of player who can put the ball on your feet. It’s funny because I actually make this mistake many times that I get these balls and I don’t take a good first touch. Tonight I took a perfect touch and placed it in the corner. Zoran (Savic), our assistant coach, and I were looking at situations like that after the Dallas game because there was one in that. I’m just trying to focus on the next situation. I’m glad I can fix my mistakes from my games before. That’s why I get more and more goals.

On his assist to Gadi Kinda…

It was such an open pass. I have to pass it. I’m happy he scored. I’ve given him many passes in the past games and he’s been missing them. I was telling him this needs to stop and he needs to start putting them away. I’m happy he did. I still love watching his celebration. I think it’s awesome.

On his drive to be better…

You don’t get many games where you can push for more and more goals. I felt like in Dallas I could have had a hat trick and today I could have had a hat trick. Those are the games when you can not rest because, as you saw, until the last second you can get a chance and you can have the chance to score. I just need to put them away. This is why I focus on the next one and the next one. I have to score as many as I can. This time, I’ll just say I saved it for the national team a little bit.