Sporting KC vs. FC Dallas - May 29, 2015
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Quotes: Sporting KC 4-0 FC Dallas - May 29, 2015

Sporting Kansas City manager Peter Vermes

On Sporting KC's 4-0 win over FC Dallas...
The guys are in good form, and I think more importantly we are defending very  well.  We didn’t give away anything big, and I think it all resulted in the way we started to counter. We had great movement of the ball.  We had four goals, and we probably should have had six or seven, but we’ll take it

On Sporting KC scoring four goals for the third time in six games...
As I said to the guys at halftime, I think that you always get concerned when you’re up a man, especially when you come in at halftime. All of a sudden you start to relax and you take your foot off the gas pedal a little bit, and mentally you can sort of figure that everything is gonna be okay and the difference is we talked about it at halftime is that our mentally has to even go up a notch because the whole point is you gotta try to get that second, and if you can get that, you can bury them. We got the second and the third and the floodgates opened. Credit to the guys, because it’s not easy the fact that we're playing a lot of different players in the field. Guys are coming back from injury, they’re not fully fit, and when I say that I mean full-game fitness, and we're getting great efforts from everybody so credit to the guys.

On the performance of Krisztian Nemeth...
In regard to Krisztian, there are two things. For one, his positioning was very good, but the balls that we were finding him with into the seams were great. It’s one thing when you play a ball into a guy with his back to the goal. It’s another to have have runs off of him, because it can draw attention or it provides options for him. So I think the two things were really good. We were very good at finding him, his movement was good, and the runs off of him were good as well, and that’s why we were able to see the opportunities that he was able to make or even score. I can’t remember which goal was Benny’s goal, but it was a great ball by Jalil.  He could’ve just stuck it in the box but he found him. Good movement by him and Benny to run off that play, and we have a lot of different players in the box, so it was good build-up by the guys.

On the performance of Kevin Ellis...
I told Kevin, forget about his goal, that was probably his best game so far since he has been with us. He was in tune, he was very good in the air, his tackling was good, and he was really locked into the game. Sometimes he has a tendency to lose his concentration but tonight he was in the game the whole time. He did a very good job of covering for Besler when he would step out, so it was a very good game for him.

On Connor Hallisey making his first professional start...
He has got some really interesting qualities as a player. Everytime he’s in training, or now as he is coming into the games, he continues to impress more and more. You just start to see more things that you haven’t seen before. He’s deceptively fast and he’s got a good engine as I said earlier on this week. But at the same time, he sees the game really well and he’s got a great left foot. For that kid, and his mentality, which is a really good one, he’s very coachable. He’s got a excellent career ahead of him.

On different players stepping up amidst several injuries...
It’s hard to predict anything. All I know is that right now we have a bunch of guys that are bought in to what we’re doing. We have an incredible work ethic within the group. At the same time, there’s a level of intelligence, soccer IQ, if you will, between the lines in which the guys are displaying and we’re growing very quickly and evolving as a team. Those are the positive aspects of us at this point in the season and we’ve discussed this many times; we want to just remain competitive within our group because we know how the season can go and there are going to be little ups and downs and you have to make sure you stay focused on what you're doing and right now the guys are locked in. We also have to be smart as a team to make sure the guys we’re bringing back from injury are smart about that, too. We can’t rush those guys back, we have to bring them back when it’s appropriate. If you rush them back then you waste all that time and they wind up getting injured again. So we’ll do the right thing there and as we go, we’ll get results hopefully. 

On finishing the month of May unbeaten...
It’s great. The games that we’ve played here recently, we’ve gotten good results. Going out to Seattle the way we did last week with Dom having to pull out right before the game; it was getting ready to begin and having to make a change and bring other players on and just us being able to get a result there like we did. At one point there we actually had a chance if Krisztian could have stuck that throw-in early. We had that bounced right to him and he hit over the net. Maybe if he hits the back of the net it makes the game a little different. Being able to play the way we did against New England, who was in very good form at that time, Dallas same thing, they’re great results for us. But we have to keep getting better, because we still have a lot of places where we can do some damage, and I think the guys would agree, and that’s one of the great things about them, they’ll continue to keep working. 

On Kevin Ellis's development at thecenterback position...
Last year it was great that he had a lot of opportunities to play there, so it kind of set the stage for him this year. Him having been a forward when he was growing up, especially when he was in our Academy, when he played up front, to move to the back where it’s a lot easier to see the game. He also is a very athletic kid for his size: how he gets up in the air on a regular basis is a big positive and he’s getting better with his 1-v-1 defending. It’s evolution for him as well, and every game he’s hopefully going to get more experience which he leads to better performances, as well. 

On Sporting KC's improvement over the last month...
At the end of the day, we’re just playing well and we’re hitting the back of the net. So, that part is good. But you have to echo what Graham said. At the end of day, as a player, when you have the opportunity to come out and play in front of a sold out stadium 60-times in a row, and they’re into the game. I’ve always said, especially now, the thing has become, now, the fans, as we’re on the move, if you will,  during the build-up, they understand what’s coming. You can hear the level of the crowd sort of advance as we move up the field. They grow stronger as we go up the field. It’s exciting. It’s good that we could reward them tonight with this. They deserved it, we needed it for us as well. The three points continue to come as we just need to continue to get results here at home and be tough to play against on the road. Since 2011, we’re the best team on the road in the league. We have to continue to keep being a hard team to play.

Sporting Kansas City winger Graham Zusi

On Sporting KC's 4-0 win over FC Dallas...
I thought we did well to get that first goal in the first half, and then the second one was so important. If they get a goal, most likely they just pile it in and it becomes very difficult for us to get a second, third or fourth. We came out just as strong in the second half, got the second goal, and kind of broke their back. From then the third and fourth were just icing on the cake.

On coming back from injury to score a goal and two assists...
I felt great this week. We had a great week of training and it’s probably the best I’ve felt all season so far. It's good to get on the score sheet but I’m most impressed with the team performance and most of all the shutout. That’s two shutouts in a row and if they don’t score, we’ve got a good chance to win.

On Connor Hallisey's backheel assist to Zusi in the second half...
The kid has got a great head on his shoulders. He’s very smart, beyond his years, and I think you’ve seen, not just in this game, but past games as well, his decision-making was beyond his years.  For him to see that run is pretty special.

On staying undefeated (4-0-3) at Sporting Park...
It was a special night for me because it has been a while since I played in front of this fanbase and it felt incredible to get back out there. I mean, what else can you say? It’s the best atmosphere in the league and we’re so lucky to have them. They push us to do what we did tonight. I get speechless just thinking about. It’s incredible. The support is always there for 90 minutes. 60 sellouts in a row.

On former Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen leading the "I Believe" chant just before kickoff...
When the White Puma got up there on the screen it was great. Actually, I noticed that the referee let him finish before he blew the whistle, which was pretty cool. It gave me chills. It was good to have him back. 

Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler

On turning in a dominant performance in front of the home crowd…
It’s fun for everybody right now when we control a game like that and when we score goals like that.

On Graham Zusi coming back from limited action and making an impact…
He looked like his normal self, and that’s a really good soccer player. Graham makes our team better because he’s a really good player who makes things happen on the offensive side of the field.

On the defensive performance…
I don’t want to get too carried away with it, but it’s nice to see guys who are stepping up right now and guys who are taking hold of their opportunities. I feel like with how well the attacking players are playing right now, it’s almost like we’re feeding off of each other. They’re challenging us. We’re challenging them. The team is just gelling right now.

On Kevin Ellis’ performance on both sides of the ball…
He had one of his better games, and that’s exactly what I told him on the final whistle. I thought he was very good tonight.

On the importance of climbing toward the top of the Western Conference standings…
It’s huge. It’s taking advantage of our home games. We want to try and get as many points from every game as possible. We feel like we’re in a decent spot right now. We’re not quite as focused on the table; we’re focused on ourselves and continuing to improve.

On Krisztian Nemeth dominating the game at striker…
It was a pleasure to watch him tonight. I don’t know what he had for his pregame meal, but he’s got to stick to it because he was feeling it. His balance is so good, and that allows him to change direction on a dime and go both ways. That makes it unpredictable for a defender and hard.

FC Dallas manager Oscar Pareja

On FC Dallas's 4-0 defeat to Sporting KC...
The game became a lot more difficult [after Zach Loyd's red card]. We didn't play well defensively, and I thought we made a lot of mistakes. We take responsibility for that and we move on. Kansas City was obviously better than us tonight.

On Sporting KC's performance at home...
Kansas City is an intense team. When we faced them at home we experienced that. So we know what we face when we come here. In part of the first half, we matched their intensity well until we got the red card. And then the concentration defensively just went downwards. We gave away a lot of options that we don’t normally do, but we have to be mature. Games like this are difficult to swallow. As the leader of this group, I take the responsibility and we move on.

On the key to bouncing back with three straight road games still to play...
We need more. We have had good stages where we are winning games and we have had stages where we aren’t getting results. That’s how it goes; it happens. It’s a long journey, we say it all the time. We have to keep the calm. We have a good team and a good group, and we will stick to our plan. Today unfortunately we didn’t play well at all. We had to play with 10 [men] again which is something we’re trying to correct. All those things will be analyzed. But we are sticking to the plan. We believe in these guys.

On the competitiveness of MLS...
This league is very competitive. Both conferences are tough, and obviously the Western Conference became [tougher] this year. That’s the beauty of our league. I think the competitiveness in every game shows.

FC Dallas defender Matt Hedges

On FC Dallas's 4-0 defeat to Sporting KC...
We just didn’t have a good game tonight. I personally had a really poor game, and we gave up four goals. That’s unacceptable. Kansas City moved the ball well. They moved off the ball well. It’s tough playing with 10 men when you’ve got an extra guy attacking you.

On the key to bouncing back with three straight road games still to play...
We need more energy and more intensity. We need to get a result. When this kind of thing is happening, you just need to bounce back and get a win. We got out to a good start this season, lost 4-0 at home [to Colorado] and then we had a good string of performances. So we know we can bounce back.

On FC Dallas's position in the standings...
We’re still in second place [in the West], so we’re definitely not in panic mode. But it’s another bad performance from us—two games in a row. We need to find an answer.

FC Dallas midfielder Ryan Hollingshead

On FC Dallas's 4-0 defeat to Sporting KC...
It’s always tough going down to 10 men. It takes a lot out of us, but we should have performed better and we should have been more organized in the back. We’re still in good position [in the standings], but at least two of their goals in the second half looked preventable. No matter how many men you have on the field, you have to be disciplined and more organized. We’re not happy with it.

We just came out slow. We turned the ball over in midfield a couple times, which hurt us. If you asked anybody on our team, we’d take our chances against them nine out of 10 times. We’re obviously not happy about today.

On the key to bouncing back with three straight road games still to play...
Next game is at San Jose, and we have a good history playing in San Jose. I think we feel confident going there. But even looking past the away trip, we feel like we can beat anyone at any time at any stadium. We just need to put some things together and work on our organization because anywhere we’re playing, we shouldn’t get scored on four times. That’s happened twice to us this year, so we have to sort that out. We’re not afraid of playing people on the road, so we’re looking forward to San Jose.

On FC Dallas's confidence level moving forward...
We know we still have the pieces we need to win every game we play in. We definitely have to focus on where we are at [in the standings] and not get down on losing one or two games in a row. We’re going to think back through about what got us there and go back to doing what we were doing. We’re confident—the season’s so long and we have a lot of conference games to turn it around.

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