Team celebrates vs New York Red Bulls
Getty Images

Quotes: Postgame reaction from 2-0 victory over Red Bulls

 

Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes…

General thoughts on the match…
From the opening whistle I thought we were very good tactically.  We established the first shot on goal extremely early and then there was just a barrage of chances going just wide or just going over the top.  But, when you are creating that many chances, you feel very confident especially early on.   When we came in the second half it wasn’t about the chances it was about us not giving anything away to them.  I think we locked the game down very well. 

On the team having a resilient mentality…
You have to credit the players.  When you look at them and how hard they work and the perseverance of the group, it’s tremendous and its happening right before your eyes on a daily basis. That’s a great thing.  Most people only see the game on the weekend.  What goes on throughout the week and the amount of effort these guys put in on a regular basis is tremendous.

From the staff’s perspective, I think we stayed very resolute to what we believed in.  We knew we had a good team.  We knew we could play a certain way, unfortunately it took some time and we knew that it would do that as well. 

On the goals…
We stuck to our tactical plan.  Even when they had eleven men on the field I thought we were very good as well and then I thought getting the two goals was tremendous.  I credit Teal though because when I talked to him at halftime I said “Listen, the chances are going to keep coming, you just have to stay focused and know that when it comes you’re going to get one to bury” and he did a good job at that.  And then C.J. off the corner had a great opportunistic goal on his part. 

On the impact of captain Davy Arnaud entering the match as a substitute…
What I will add, the guy whose sitting next to me, who is our captain, I brought him on around the fifty-five minute mark and the one thing that we get when he comes on the field is that he has a fantastic winning mentality.  He knows what the game needs.  He was tremendous for us tonight.

Sporting Kansas City captain Davy Arnaud…

On clinching a playoff spot…
I couldn’t be more happy or excited. First of all that we clinched the playoffs but second of all that we did it at home in front of our fans.  It was an amazing atmosphere.  We had opening night here and we walked away with a tie, we were disappointed about that.  I think today, not only to reward ourselves for our hard work but to reward the fans and the ownership group and everybody involved to get to celebrate today in our beautiful stadium, we couldn’t be happier.  That locker room back there is a good place to be right now.

On younger players stepping up…
I think we have some younger players who have grown a ton this year and played in some big games and really have come into their own now.  We have guys like Matt Besler who has really stepped up this year and been an absolute rock for us in the back.  Graham Zusi and Chance Myers and Roger [Espinoza] and Seth [Sinovic].  We have a lot of young guys who have really stepped up and assumed a big role within the team and it is really important to have that.  Guys have to make that transition and they have in a big way. 

On the play of Rookie of the Year candidate C.J. Sapong…
In my mind I don’t think there’s any question who the Rookie of the Year is because C.J. has been tremendous.  You see today he comes on at the very end of the game and he scores.  C.J. is not just a great player.  He is a great guy and he works hard and he buys into the team concept.  He’s got it all, man. 

On captaining a playoff team…
It is a huge honor just wearing the armband game-in and game-out and you don’t take lightly.  I don’t think it makes the feeling any different.  At the end of the day I am happy for myself and the staff and the team but I am happy for the whole organization because what they have done for this city and soccer here, you can’t say enough about it so for us to kind of repay that and to be in the playoffs now, it feels great.

 

Sporting Kansas City forward Teal Bunbury..

On his ninth goal of the season…
It was off the corner kick, I guess one of the defenders tried to clear it, the ball went to Julio, Julio popped it back to me and I just wanted to get good contact on the ball, keep it low and fortunately it went in. 

General thoughts on the team performance…
In the first half, we were impatient and composure wasn't there, but overall great performance from all the guys, our hard work in training is coming through in each of these games, we knew it was going to be a playoff-type game and the guys came through, we did a great job. Credit to the fans, they helped a lot.

On making the playoffs…
I am so excited, we still have work to do, but today we are going to enjoy it, and get back to work on monday. 

Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen

On the match...
We started off real well, we created some good chances in the beginning of the game, then Henry got sent off and after that we dropped the tempo a little bit and we went down to New York's tempo and the tempo they wanted to play and that play was too slow. That was the main point at half time, we need to play quicker and if we do that we will start creating more chances. We score to make it 1-0 we are all over them and thank God we scored that second goal. I think there was solid performance in second half.

On the atmosphere at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park…
It's great, you know those fans, they mean everything to us. They have created an unbelievable environment here at the stadium. I've said it before when you step on that field, you are so proud.

Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler

On qualifying for the playoffs...
It's a great feeling. A feeling I have never had in my professional career, so we deserve it. We played well today.

General thoughts on the performance….
I mean the red card, they will say that was a big component to the game but stuff happens and we have had our fair share of red cards this season, too. We dealt with it well and we pressed the game and did a good job.

On his assist on the second goal…
My goal today on set pieces was the back post, so any ball that gets played too far, I'm the guy who cleans it up and gets it back into the goal, and C.J was there and he kicked it in.

On how far the team has come to qualify for a playoff spot…
I thought it was always possible, we never lost belief but we were pretty down, confidence was pretty low. We went from 9 pts to 48, so its a pretty special group.

 

New York Red Bulls Manager Hans Backe…

General thoughts on the match…
I think after the first 15 minutes we defended quite well.  It was a little frustrating that we concede two goals from set plays even if it is after two or three rebounds.  But, as I expected tough game and of course being one guy down, it is difficult.  I said to the players after the game the conditions are clear for the last game, it’s a must win and hopefully 46 points is enough to get a wild card.

On the red card given to Thierry Henry…
I haven’t seen the replay.  The referee was very quick to give the red card.  It is difficult to comment anything without seeing the replay and talking to Henry after the game.  It is definitely a blow and that is why we also subbed Luke Rodgers because he’s on four yellows and if he had picked up his fifth we would be without both strikers for the last game.  

On how Sporting Kansas City has changed since the first meeting…
They have been on a phenomenal run.  I remember when they had played the 10 away games they didn’t have many points but after that they have been having a phenomenal run.  They are a hardworking, physical team.  They have three front guys and all three of them can score goals and set up goals.

On LIVESTRONG Sporting Park…
I hope every team in the U.S. gets this kind of facility. This is what it should be to improve [American soccer] definitely. More and more teams are building but this is quite the stadium.  I think the average in MLS can be around 20,000 or 25,000 every game and then you compete with the biggest countries in Europe.  It is only Germany and England that probably has a higher average.

New York Red Bulls Midfielder Dane Richards

Thoughts on the match…
We knew coming here was going to be tough because we played them at home. And losing (Thierry) Henry in the 28th minute, it was even tougher. We managed to hold on, but then we gave up two goals from the set piece, so disappointed about that, but we just have to look forward from here on.

On the final game being a must-win…
I think they have the toughest defense in the league now in Philadelphia. We have a must-win game against them, it’s going to be a tough task but we have to do it.  We’re going to approach the game the same way. We just have to put the ball to the strikers, and the strikers are going to try and step up and score goals. 

New York Red Bulls Defender Stephen Keel

Thoughts on the match…
It’s disappointing, coming here, looking to get a good result, we’re on a good run and to lose 2-nil, it’s not what we were after at all.

On losing a player early in the match…
If you look at the entire game, both of their goals came off set pieces. Since we were a man down we should have had everyone marked up. When you’re a man down, they’re going to get chances, but I think we did a decent job to keep everything compact with the back four, organizing and forcing them wide to deal with the crosses. It’s tough, but it’s not something we shouldn’t be able to handle.

On the final game being a must-win…
Absolutely, 100%. Today was a must-win. It’s the last game of the season, we have to have three points, anything else is not do-able. I know we say it all the time, but if there ever was a definition of a must-win, it’s Thursday night. 

On losing Thierry Henry for the next game…
He’s our captain, our leader. He makes things go, so we’re definitely going to miss him. But it’s going to give a chance to other guys on our team. Whoever coach wants to bring in, he’ll be more than capable when you look at our team from top to bottom. There are other guys that will be able to step in. We’ll miss Henry, absolutely, he’s a leader out there, he makes thing happen, but someone else will step in and contribute 100%.

Thoughts on LIVESTRONG Sporting Park…
When you walk out there in the stadium, there’s a great atmosphere, a packed house, it’s very nice, it’s awesome. The locker room, facility, everything is top notch, absolute top class. 

 

Post-Match comments from match referee Kevin Stott

What did you see on the play resulting in Thierry Henry’s ejection?
Player #14 (Henry) from New York Red Bulls was shown a red card and sent off for violent conduct.”

Intent? Was that what constituted the red card?
Player #14 (Henry) from New York intentionally kicked an opposing player on the ground and the ball was not in playing distance.”

In your opinion, Thierry Henry intentionally sought out Espinoza and kick was intentional to cause harm?
In my opinion, player #14 (Henry) did intentionally move to make contact with Espinoza. I can only state that in my opinion the act was intentional. I cannot decide on whether harm was intended.