Quotes

Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes 

Thoughts on the match…

First off, to play at a high level with great work ethic and then also to play and keep the ball like we do, it's difficult. It's a hard thing to do. The guys work tirelessly at all of those things and I know that there has been a lot of difficulties throughout the season. But at the same time, as I said before, the effort has always been there. At times, maybe we lost some concentration. But the fact of the matter is that when we got a lot of guys healthy - a lot, not all - and we added a few pieces that we actually really needed which were out because of injury and have been out the whole time, it's very reassuring to see how the team can perform. Seattle is a very good team. We know that. They know that. But it's not easy to play the way that we do and be able to control a game the way that we do. The guys do it against the best. They won the Champions League this year so this was a big match. And I'll be honest with you, we didn't really give up crazy chances today. They had some shots here or there and some opportunities, but nothing over the top. The guys did a really good job. Other than the one that Ben (Sweat) saved in the first half kind of in front of the goal, outside of that everything else was pretty standard. I thought we were very dangerous in the game and I think it was difficult for them to manage us at times.

On seeing out the game as Seattle pushed forward…

Make note, we changed the formation just a little bit. We went to five in the back, four in the midfield and one up top. I thought we actually handled it pretty good. We could have been better at certain things but I I think it actually threw them off. The second that we changed it around, it kind of threw them off because they were finding the game a little bit in between the lines. Once we changed that up, I think it just changed them. I thought that Kortne (Ford) coming in, he does a good job man marking and he's also good in the air. He didn't get tested a ton but he also can close guys down so that helped immensely. Then just getting some fresh bodies on to help the team because that's what you need sometimes. It's a long season. You need guys to be able to close out games. It was a hotter day today. The final thing and you said it, I actually think that their goalkeeper made a couple of really good saves. He really did. He kept them in the game. When (Willy Agada) got that kind of header - maybe off his shoulder, I don't know where it came -- but that was a great save.

On the team keeping four clean sheets in the past six games…

The first thing you have to really take into consideration is consistency. We've been able to play a very similar lineup the last month and a half if you will. We haven't able to do that all season long. Prior to that, we were changing the lineup. I was playing guys at all different positions that had never played in those positions. It doesn't help them. It doesn't help the team. But we had to do what we had to do. There were times where we got a result, but there were a lot of times we didn’t and I really think it's because of inconsistency. We've always been a team that -- and I'm a big believer -- when you start finding your form, there's a group of guys that you're working with on a regular basis. They're the ones who are driving the ship. And then every once in a while you can throw somebody into that mix. Even though you don't expect them to come in and carry the load, the players actually help him reach another level. At times we've had to rely way too much on very inexperienced guys that just don't have a lot of time under their belt. So what's changed is that and I think the other is that we've been very consistent about a lot of our training. The final piece is I think we just have gotten confidence based on the way we played and also with the results that have come in. Once you start getting confident, things change. If we had a couple of games left and we got into the playoffs, I think we'd be a pretty interesting team to play against.

On the importance of a win in the home finale…

It's always good to leave a last impression to start the next year. So the win, the shutout, the way we played, it's all very important to how we finish here but more importantly, to how we go into next year.

Sporting Kansas City captain Johnny Russell

On if there was any motivation to eliminate Seattle from playoff contention…

No. I feel we went into the game knowing exactly what they needed. We know they needed to win. The season for us is over in terms of playoffs, but that doesn't change the way we go about our business. We're not going to let someone come here and get points. That's just not in us. It's not the way we're built. It's not the way we've been disciplined to play. We knew they were going to come out and they had to win, but it was going to work to our favor because like the manager said, we are so good at keeping the ball at times and we can frustrate teams. Eventually they're going to switch off and that's when we cause them some serious problems. You've seen it today. Obviously getting the goal as well. It's a great build up goal – the sort of goal that you would expect us to score. So no I don't think them coming here and knowing what they needed to do, it didn’t give us any added incentive. We knew exactly what we had to do to finish a season strong, finish it at home strong, and that's what we've done.

On not finishing more of the team’s chances…

We want to win games by as many goals as we can. Obviously sometimes it's nice to win it by one but I feel for the way we played and the amount of chances created and the quality chances we created, we probably deserved to win it by a couple more.

On the team’s recent run of form…

That's what people are used to us being like. We haven't been at that quality for so much of the season and we just left it too late. But I think teams know, everyone knows this is an off year for us. We continue to play like the way we have in the last month and a half or two months next season and teams are going to start fearing us again. I think they have recently. We're back to feeling good about ourselves, confident and what we're capable of. We've got one game left, so approach that the exact same way. We're going to Dallas to win it. We want to finish the season on a high and then that carries into next year and we're looking forward to putting things right.

Peter Vermes and Johnny Russell post-match press conference vs. Seattle Sounders | Oct. 2, 2022

Sporting Kansas City defender Graham Zusi

On his return from injury…

Unfortunately, I dealt with some muscle injuries this year. So understandably they want to be careful getting me back in the mix. We had a conversation yesterday about revisiting at halftime to see how I was feeling. I was feeling good. And he said, we'll go 15 more minutes. I don't even know what it turned into, but everything held up really well so I’m happy with that.

On finishing the season strong…

This season obviously didn't pan out the way we would have liked it to or expected and our expectations of how this organization does things so I think we can be very proud and happy with the way that we finished the season - not just this last game, but really the last stretch of games in the last month or two months. I think that says a lot about the mentality of the group. It was a never die attitude towards the end of the season and hopefully that's kind of a sign of what's to come next year.

On the crowd’s ovation as he exited the field…

These fans, through thick and thin, have always been there. I can't show enough appreciation for them. I feel like I just have a special bond with the city so just a thank you on my side and hopefully the way I play and I guess the effort I give shows my appreciation for them and they can see that through that work. Not done though, that's for sure. As much as this year has been a little bit frustrating for us, we're going to use all that as energy in this offseason to put in the work and make sure that we're not in that same situation.

On what he’s seen from the team while recovering from injury…

I saw us. That’s about all I can say. You saw what we are, what makes this team as good as we are. I kind of said it before, but the fact that we are finishing this season the way we are, even being eliminated, shows a huge sign of a great mentality and a group that is playing for and with each other. That's what needs to happen from day one of the season. I think if the guys looked to these last couple of months, it shows what is necessary to be successful.