Peter Vermes post-match press conference vs. Salt Lake | March 26, 2022

Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes

Thoughts on the match…

I think the first half was kind of a stalemate. They had a good chance. We had a good chance. We probably had a little bit more of the ball. Second half, we were a little bit more direct and we picked up second balls. That's why Johnny got a couple of chances that he actually got before he scored. I'm always interested when a team gets into a situation where we were. We had a lot of injuries and how the reaction of the guys winds up being and how some people panic and then others keep their head. Just because you're losing doesn't mean you're lost. We weren't lost at all. We were just trying to get a routine and trying to get a bunch of guys still indoctrinated that still need time. And then also, you have got to give a big credit to both Daniel (Salloi) and Johnny. Johnny for playing as long as he did. And then Daniel being able to play the full 90. And then Khiry has fought hard to try to get back. He really has. And so the fact that he's able to give us 30 minutes at the end of the game was excellent, but all the substitutions came in and gave us an impact and that's what you hope. That's what you're working towards. And some of those guys got experience while those other guys were out. Unfortunately, maybe the results weren't what they were supposed to be, but they definitely helped in getting this result.

On the play of Ben Sweat…

Ben was good. As I told him after the game, Ben's a smart player. He's got a lot of experience in this League. He's still obviously trying to get back into his routine after his injury. He's getting there. I wouldn't say that he's at top form yet but the fact that he's getting the experience, getting back on the field, getting the minutes. He had 70 against Chicago and now he gets these minutes here. It's great. It's great for him. It's great for our team. And I always say, it's when you play and you get your chance, the most important thing is that the team gets the result and that's the icing on the cake tonight.

On the play of Tim Melia…

He made a really good save in the first half. Tim has been a very steady goalkeeper here for the last number of years. He came in as someone who was, in a lot of people's eyes, he was way beyond his career. And in the latter parts of his career, he's made it a career. So credit to him and he works hard. He’s a humble guy and he cares about the team. Those are all reasons why he's been good and consistently good.

On the play of Nicolas Isimat-Mirin…

The fact that he is capable physically to basically roll out each week and use what he has and what he has is he has an incredible athleticism that goes with very, very high quality in his skill. I didn't see this that much last year, but for sure this year I've seen it from day one, he really cares about the 1v1 match up that he has with the defender he's playing against and then also about not giving up goals. He cares about it much more than I really knew. It's not that before he didn't care. It's just that I didn't realize how much he cared. You can see it on the field when he plays.

Johnny Russell post-match press conference vs. Salt Lake | March 26, 2022

Sporting Kansas City forward Johnny Russell

On his goal and the feeling to get all three points…

It’s massive. When you play the game, scoring is the best feeling for your team and obviously winning games. So to do both tonight was massive. We got a bit of luck. I tried to play a through ball to Khiry (Shelton) and a little bit of a ricochet straight back to me, but it's about time we get a goal like that. I feel like a lot of teams get goals like that against us and we always seem to have to carve a team open to get a goal like that. So from that point of view, it was nice. It fell perfectly for me and that's just nice to get the first goal and get it out of the way and kick on from here. Most importantly, three points. It's been a bit of a difficult period for us, so to get a win and build on that is massive.

On converting the chance for the game-winning goal…

The one before that where I cut inside, I was going to take it a little bit early on the defender so I blocked the low shot. I tried to bend it around him and just caught it wrong. SoI was frustrated with myself with that. That should be a goal for me 10 times out of 10, so frustrated with that. But I don't let it get to me. I know that I'm going to get more chances. The team are going to either find me or I'll find them and there will be more chances in the game and it's just about keeping your head when it comes again. And like I said, it fell perfectly for me. I just managed to send the goalkeeper the wrong way. Good finish and great three points. So all in all, delighted.

On his return from injury…

I had a little problem in my left hamstring that's been going on for a while and then I don’t know if I've been overcompensating in the way that I've been training and running, but I got more of a problem in my right one in the Colorado game. I had to take a bit of time out and make sure everything was okay. I’m still not 100% yet; building towards it though. It's just good to be back out there helping the team. That's the most frustrating part, especially like I said, we've been struggling a little bit recently. Not the start that we would like. So especially for me, being out and not being able to help the guys is the worst part. So you just push yourself through it a little bit. A lot of guys are dealing with stuff right now so we just have to come together as a team, get around each other, push each other through it, and that's it. The team comes first at the end of the day. So whatever's best for them, that's what we do.

On the team’s mentality…

We've all been in the sport long enough. We've lost games. You're going to go through tough periods in a season. Ours came early. A difficult start, not the start that we would like. Obviously, we would like to start the season flying and sort of build from there, but it's not happened like that. We have had a lot of guys out, a lot of new guys coming in as well. So it took a little bit more time than we had hoped but I feel we're definitely taking steps in the right direction. A couple of difficult road games and losses in recent weeks, but when we come back here the main focus is taking maximum points here. We have to make this place a fortress where, I said it before the game, where teams fear coming in and get back to that. I feel we're definitely taking strides towards that. Real Salt Lake, they've started well up at the top of the table and we've just shown tonight that we are more than capable of taking it to any team. I felt we controlled the game, take away probably the last 10 minutes of the first half where we got a little bit scrappy and let them in it. I felt we controlled the game and deserved the victory to be honest.

On his family being in attendance…

It was amazing. I always seem to score goals when they're here so maybe I’ll bring them out more or the club can fly them out. It's been a while since they've been out here, obviously the pandemic hitting. So it's been difficult to have people out so definitely making the most of it this year. Mom, dad and two brothers are out here. Hopefully, I get some more family out as well. It's my daughter's birthday today as well. She's five today and she left at halftime so she's in trouble when I get back. She missed the goal. Playing in front of your family, for me, is the best part about playing professionally. You get to do it in front of them so it's amazing to have them here.

Nicolas Isimat-Mirin post-match press conference vs. Salt Lake | March 26, 2022

Sporting Kansas City defender Nicolas Isimat-Mirin

Thoughts on the match…

It's very nice to get the victory at home. We do that for everybody. Everybody worked very hard to get the result. Of course it's always nice to have the full group. We still have some injuries so we're happy to see a lot of guys like Johnny (Russell) and Daniel (Salloi) back here, even Khiry (Shelton) when he comes on. It's very important. The group is going to help everything for the season. We will get better and better every game.

On back-to-back 1-0 wins at home…

It's always a bonus to get a clean sheet and to keep the goal at zero. But we have the spirit of being very attacking and everybody should be dangerous on the way to win the game. We start the game for the win, not to keep the score 0-0. The mentality is very offensive and everybody is focused on the defensive part and it's nice. Everybody follows the rules and gives their best on the field.

On the play of Tim Melia…

As you can see, he's kind of a legend of the club. He helps every time. The number of saves and what he has done since he's here is unbelievable. He’s the kind of keeper at the level of Europe. I’ve played with so many keepers and I put this guy on top three of my best goalkeeper. He’s good for leading, he’s good for communication and always a positive spirit. He’s a great guy. It's a pleasure to play with this guy and the full line too.