Quotes: Sporting KC 1-0 Seattle Sounders FC - June 6, 2015

Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes

On the foul that Dom Dwyer suffered to earn Benny Feilhaber’s penalty kick…
I didn’t get a chance to see the replay. I don’t know what to tell you other than the fact that I actually think that throughout the course of the game the referees had a very good game tonight. So the only thing I can say is that, having not seen it, I don’t know if there are complaints about whether it was a PK or not. You just hope at the end of the season everything evens itself out over the course of time, so I don’t know what to tell you. I haven’t seen it yet. All I know is that I watched Benny shoot it and score and it was a good PK. I will tell you, one thing I did see live is the courage of Dom to go after that ball. That’s what resulted in the play for sure.

On Sporting KC’s defensive form with Tim Melia in goal…
I would first say that it is based on two things. One is that there is a strong-value buy-in from the team to defend, and the other is that Tim is playing extremely well. He has added another dimension to our team that we have been looking for. I can only speak having played in a situation like that, with a goalkeeper, when Tony Meola was here. I was in front of him and we were the backline and we had a bunch of clean sheets. We won as well, and you just know that there is a confidence between the backline and the goalkeeper, and vice-versa. And when that’s going on, that is a very good culture to be wielding over the course of the season.

On defensive midfielder Soni Mustivar’s performances over the past month…
I think he’s kind of an unsung hero. It’s a good observation from you. I think in the last five games, four of them he has covered the most ground out of anybody on the field from both teams. He definitely puts the work in. He is a good front screen to the backline. He’s got a great timing for tackles and his conscience on the field is getting better and better each game. He has to sort of be the balance guy if we’re building up on the right and too many guys are going forward, he needs to make sure he’s watching out for that area. So it’s one thing to have an incredible work ethic; it’s another to have his soccer IQ for the team over the course of the game, and he is getting better game-to-game.

On pressure being on the goalkeeper or the kicker during a penalty kick…
A lot of pressure is on the kicker. When you’re the guy taking it, everybody is thinking that you should score. At the same time, the goalkeepers are extremely athletic, and extremely explosive. If they guess right way and you don’t hit it just right, there is a very good chance they make the save. So it’s definitely not an easy thing
to do, and Benny has been pretty good thus far.

On Sporting KC playing well despite shuffling lineups…
A lot of the credit should go to Besler, because he is the captain of the team and he has really stepped up his leadership within the group. It’s not easy when things are changing a lot and you have to deal with a lot of different guys and trying to get guys bought in to what is going on. As much as you don’t want to say it publicly, he is an extension of the coaching staff and he’s got to help us try to get guys to perform when they haven’t had a lot of games and to get them to buy in because they’re pissed because they haven’t played for awhile and now they have to step up. So his leadership has been a big part of our success right now when we’re struggling with some guys injured and some guys out on international duty. Hopefully as those guys continue to come back it is going to galvanize us even more.

On Soni Mustivar’s current form…
The great thing is that when he left his team, he came having just played a game the week before. So it wasn’t as if he missed any rhythm or any fitness so from that point he is very good. Where we have to be careful is over the course of the season, because normally he would have a break now. We’re going to continue playing him because obviously he is playing here so we’re going to monitor that. It has a lot to do with him coming have just played a season and just finishing a game. The other thing is the guy has an incredible engine. What’s interesting is I think six months into his time with his team after he got there, he was made captain of the team. That has to do with his incredible work rate. I think that is something that was valued by the team very highly and that is something we think here as well. 

From the coaching staff’s point of view, he is extremely level-headed. He’s not seeking the limelight, he’s a lot like most of the guys on our team and he understands that the team is first and that he has to do whatever he can to help us win.

On receiving some time off before an Open Cup match on June 16…
The great thing is everybody is getting quite a few days off here, and I’m hoping that most of the guys are getting away. It’s one thing to be away physically, but it’s another to be away mentally. I hope all the guys are getting away from Kansas City, you know, go some place for a few days and just relax and come back with a clear head because of this next push we have to get through. The summertime is not an easy place to play in this league, that’s for sure.

Sporting KC defender Matt Besler

On beating Seattle in MLS play for the first time since 2009…
The way that we approach things, we really do take it one game at a time. We really look at every point as just as important as the other points. At the same time, it’s nice to beat these guys because in the past there have been some calls that haven’t gone our way, some plays haven’t gone our way. We haven’t played well, so it’s nice to win this game. The biggest thing for us is that it is a conference rival game. They were sitting in first place. It’s a six-point game and we took care of business at home.

On Sporting KC’s defensive form with Tim Melia in goal…
I just feel like defensively we are in a good rhythm right now. There is confidence behind us with Tim and I just feel like guys are making plays when they need to. As a team we are defending well, but individually there are players that are stepping up in the right moments. Whether it’s Kevin Ellis covering or (Amadou Dia) winning a head ball, and of course Tim tonight. Tim probably had to make more saves in this game than he had to in the past couple of games. Tonight was Tim’s night to really step up, and he did. The last couple of games have been like that where there have been a number of guys who stepped up and made plays.

On Soni Mustivar playing well in the defensive midfield position…
It’s nice. We have a number of different guys who can fill that role, but right now Soni is playing very well. For me it is a really important position on the team with the way that we want to play and build out of the back. We need a guy that wants the ball but we need a guy that runs a lot. Soni has done a good job of picking up balls, and like Peter said, he’s been our screen. It allows me and Kevin to be more aggressive if someone is in front of us playing well like that.


On Sporting KC playing well despite shuffling lineups…
We have a lot of talks on and off the field and we have a really good relationship this year. I think we are working very well together. I would have to give a lot of the credit to the other guys too. I know that I’m the one that wears the armband, but it’s not just me.  It makes it so much easier to step up and lead when other guys are doing it with you. The guys that have been here for a couple of years—Graham Zusi, Seth Sinovic, Benny Feilhaber, and even Roger Espinoza coming back—they’ve been right by my side and we’re all kind of ready to take this team together.

Sporting KC midfielder Benny Feilhaber

On Sporting KC’s 1-0 win over Seattle…
It’s great to reverse the fortune for us. We definitely didn’t want to give up anything late. That has been a problem when we’ve played against them and it was nice to get one late for ourselves. Like I keep saying, the most important thing for us is that we keep getting three points and we are very happy with that. We are happy to get that in front of our fans and I think that goes a long way in the standings.

On his decision to take the penalty kicks…
Last year, Dom [Dwyer] and I both wanted to take them. We made an agreement that Dom would take them and if he ever missed two in a row they would come to me. He missed one at the end of last year and the beginning of this year so it went to me. But if I miss two in a row then it’s back to him.

On the team’s recent form amid roster shuffling…
It’s great for more than the reason of us putting ourselves in a good position in the standings. More so, we are getting so many guys experience that is valuable in a tough MLS season. I think a lot of guys have contributed in these last 6 or 7 games that we’ve been doing well in. Tim has been fantastic. He’s been fantastic since preseason. I thought he was very good last year when he was training with us. To me, it’s not surprise that he’s done as well as he have. I’m happy for him because he’s worked his way to where he is now and he’s reaping the benefits and taking care of his opportunities.

Sporting KC goalkeeper Tim Melia

On Sporting KC’s performance in a 1-0 win…
I’d say it wasn’t our cleanest game, but at the end of the day, we’ll take 1-0 and move on. Obviously we have a lot of injuries right now and a bunch of games in a short time, so the fact that we’re getting results in the fashion that we are is really going to be huge for the rest of the season when we’re at full strength.

On the crowd chanting his name…
It was awesome. It was exhilarating. It pumps you up a little bit. It’s awesome that they’re so behind us. It’s good.

On being the only goalkeeper in club history to be unbeaten in his first six starts…
It’s cool but the personal accolades aren’t as important to me. I’m more concerned about the results for the team.

Sporting KC midfielder Roger Espinoza

On beating Seattle for the first time since 2012…
It feels really good. I personally didn’t feel like we played our best game but it’s good. We won the most important game against Seattle here a long time ago, but this game was very important too. The game went our way and we’ll take that because sometimes it doesn’t go our way.

On pressing on despite injuries and call-ups…
We have a style we play. I think once you have a style you play, it doesn’t matter what player you put in there. I left for two years and not much has changed — it’s still the same. Our identity has still stayed the same. Usually when you leave a club, identity goes away but not for Sporting KC. I think Peter (Vermes) and the older players know the style, and if we stay true to that we’ll win a lot of games.”

On Melia not allowing a goal and coming up with a career-high six saves…
That’s why we have Tim there. Our defense cannot always be perfect and he’s there to make the saves. He’s done it ever since he came into the lineup. He’s been unbelievable. Tonight, there were a couple shots on goal that easily could have been goals, but he was ready, alert, and that’s gives you a lot of confidence as a player — even if you lose the ball you got a guy back there who can help you.

Seattle manager Sigi Schmid

On Seattle’s 1-0 loss to Sporting KC…
I’m disappointed. I thought we deserved to get something out of the game tonight.  I don't think we deserved to win but I think we deserved at least a tie. We scored a goal that was perfectly onside and got taken away, and that’s never a penalty. I’m sorry, but when the goalkeeper comes out to punch the ball, it’s never a penalty. But those are the way things go. I’m proud of my team. I thought we had some really good looks, some really good chances.

On Seattle’s offensive approach to the game…
We were looking to counter-attack. We got some good counters early. We had that ball that Marco Pappa played into Neagle and Neagle was in on Melia. We knew we could get something on set pieces. We were dangerous on our corner kicks and our free kicks all game. So we had some opportunities there as well.

On what he expected of the match from Sporting KC…
We expected they weren’t going to change very much. They played Zusi up front but he ended up dropping in a little bit more, so they didn’t have a traditional high player. Nemeth was obviously missing for them; he’s played very well. It was not unexpected.

On what his plan for the match was with a depleted roster and new formation…
Based on the personnel we have, we thought we were better off playing a 4-2-3-1 because that fit our personnel better. We weren’t trying to match up with KC or anything like that. We were just trying to play a better formation for the guys that we had on the field. At the very end we went back to a 4-4-2, with Darwin Jones up front.

On Tim Melia’s performance for SKC tonight…
He made some good saves. He played well for them. 

Seattle midfielder Andy Rose

On Seattle’s 1-0 loss to Sporting KC…
It’s a tough pill to swallow, for sure. We got robbed from what I saw and what all the guys are saying. Sounded like Lamar (Neagle)’s goal was onside, which is the first big decision of the match, a little bit contentious. And then obviously from our point of view—we haven’t seen it—but (Stefan Frei) gets the ball. In a match like that with two good teams at nil-nil, you feel like you have to be really sure to make a big decision like that. So there’s obviously a lot of frustration in the dressing room.

On Seattle playing shorthanded…
Right now the guys are frustrated, but we’ll look back on it and look at the positives. Obviously we had a lot of key players missing and had guys who had to play in different position and put in a good shift against a really good team. I feel like we had some good chances in the first half. I don’t think they had too many opportunities. We defended well, and we’re pretty proud of that, but obviously it’s all about the result.

On the competitiveness of the match…
It was certainly going to be a night of [tough] mentality and just going out there and doing the job for the team. It was tough; there was a lot of running and obviously they’re a good possession-based team. They had guys in the midfield who were very talented on the ball, so there was a lot of running—a lot of tireless work from a lot of the guys. And again, after an effort like that, it’s disappointing.

On attacking midfielder Thomas Jaguaribe making his Seattle debut…
He’s a top player. He obviously has a great amount of experience for a young guy. He’s technically very gifted—calm and composed on the ball. With guys missing and guys going away for the Gold Cup and whatnot, it’s fortunate that we have guys who can step in and do the job.

Seattle defender Dylan Remick

On the post-game atmosphere in Seattle’s locker room…
A lot of it is just stunned silence. We played a pretty good game defensively. Offensively, we had a goal that got taken back—we’ll have to see a replay on that. And then the (penalty kick)—we’ll have to see a replay on that. It looked like (Stefan Frei) made a clean save on that. It’s unfortunate and a little heartbreaking. I felt like we deserved a point.

On Stefan Frei’s penalty kick call…
I saw (Frei) hit the ball and then Dom [Dwyer] ran into him. Obviously it happened so fast. From my point of view, when the ball was played inside the box, Stef made contact to it.
 

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