Quotes: Sporting KC 0-0 FC Dallas - March 11, 2017

Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes

Overall thoughts on match...
“I thought we were good. It’s the second week in a row that we’ve played a team that kind of drops off and bunkers in. It winds up being a challenge I think for any team that has to deal with that. I thought we actually had some very good looks at the goal - Dom in the first half with that one where his back was to the goal. We just had a few very good chances and obviously we didn’t convert those, but there’s a lot of very good play. I think we gave up the one chance in the first half and nothing else for the rest of the half or the rest of the game. So those are all good things. We have two clean sheets in two games. The big thing is that, like any team, you want to get better going in and around the box, and that’s something that we’re going to have to continue to work on. But the good thing is that I think we have a lot of solutions for that.”

On “hiccups” in scoring...
“I don’t think it’s hiccups at all. I don’t think that’s the right word. I think you have to realize how difficult it is when a team drops back within 40 or 50 yards of their goal and compacts the space, there’s not a lot of places to go in there. We even at times tried to drop off a little bit to let them come out a little bit, but they were very quick to get numbers behind the ball. But again, it’s something that, this early on in the season, you don’t expect to be firing on all cylinders when it comes to the attack side. As I said, the good thing for me is the fact that we have two clean sheets in a row and we really haven’t given away a lot, so we’ve got to keep building off that.”

If there will be a change in style of play...
“I’ve been here now for going on 11 years, and we’re not changing who we are. We’ve had a lot of success with who we are. That’s not the issue. At the end of the day, everybody wants to score goals. If you would tell me that starting off the season we would have two clean sheets and were moving ahead the way we are with the kind of talent we have, I think we’re in a great position.”

On Latif Blessing’s MLS debut...
“Should’ve scored. He should’ve taken that ball down. If he had that ball down with a touch and then shot, it’s a totally different situation. It was good to get him out on the field. He needed to feel what it was like to be here. He’s got a lot of qualities. But it’s going to take him a little time to understand all of the different things we’re looking for when he comes on. What I do think is great is he really tries to find his way into the box quite often. Which you’re going to get on the end, and that’s how he got on the end of that one ball. Just because of his excitement to get in the goal. Don’t get me wrong, before that we were playing really well. And Jimmy [Medranda] was playing really well, he just had a little knock that he took in the first half, and it kind of tightened up on him. We weren’t sure if he was going to be able to go the whole time. But it was good to get him in the game.”

On pace of play to open the match...
“I thought we were moving the ball well. In the first half, there was some combination play that was just fantastic. The whole play that built up to Dom’s, the ball that he got where he slipped and got in behind the defense, that was a fantastic combination going through and is probably somewhere like 10 total passes that eventually got to that. So yeah is it anticipation, sure. But there’s a high quality out there right now in regards to the way that the guys are moving the ball. All of the players on the field feel very comfortable. There’s nobody out there that is saying ‘I don’t want it, I don’t want to touch it’ type of thing. It’s good to see. And that’s only going to lead to more.”

On wingers being able to keep possession...
“I don’t know if it’s the secret [to Sporting’s success]. I think we’ve made an upgrade in that are of the field. It’s helping us keep the ball more, which is good. It’s taking away opportunities from the other team. One of the great things about Dallas is normally they are a very good counter-attack team. But tonight they only had one in the first half. After that, everything else was taken away from them because I think we never really gave up the ball in bad situations. That’s very important over the course of a 34 game season. The linchpin to that is also Ilie [Sanchez]. Ilie in the middle, he’s very smart. He reads the game well. He knows that if he gets the ball to the left, he plays to the right and vice versa. He just sees the game very well. That’s going to be very big for us going forward. I think Ilie is a very very good player. I think he has qualities that fit what we want to do. And he has a very good understanding of what to do at the right time in the game with the ball and without the ball. So he fits very well in our module of play.”

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Benny Feilhaber

Thoughts on the match…
"I thought the first half was pretty encouraging with the way we played. We had some good moments and we had some opportunities. We built off some good touching and some good passing, but in the second half we could have done more of that and it was a little bit frustrating for some of our players. It’s still early in the season. It’s always going to be frustrating to not get three points at home. It’s early in the season and we can still fix some of the things that I think we didn’t do as well in the second half."

Thoughts on the Cauldron’s pregame tifo…
"Bes actually mentioned it to me, I hadn’t seen it right away. It was pretty cool. I’m sure the fans took a lot of time to make that. I’m honored by it and it’s pretty special to have the fans make something of you in the home opener."

On playing against a defensive team at home…
"We knew that we controlled the game - the tempo - but that’s gonna be the case most times when we play at home. Most teams are gonna give us that possession and try to make it tough for us to break them down and they did a pretty good job of that. I thought in the first half we did a pretty good job of creating chances, even with guys behind the ball but in the second half I didn’t think it was as good. Of course, we still had some chances and I think we needed to be a little more clinical. But that’s the hardest part of the game and we’ll focus on it a little bit more to make sure those chances turn into goals."

Sporting Kansas City forward Dom Dwyer

On tactical changes coming after seeing Dallas looking to play more defensive…
"We kinda expected it coming in so we didn’t make too many changes. Obviously there were certain things that were working and certain things that weren’t. We need to be a bit more patient with our build up. We are still a bit antsy. But that’s just early season MLS. I was pleased with our side tonight. There are certain things we need to do better. We should have kept our tempo up a little bit more and kept them moving. I thought we had the better of them at one point, but it wasn’t to be."

FC Dallas Head Coach Oscar Pareja

On what he told the younger players heading into today's match...
"First thing for them was to have personality in the game. This is one of the harder atmospheres in Major League Soccer and against a team that has a lot of intensity. I told them they needed to come out today and play big. We're really proud of the job they did."

On if the referee strike in Mexico impacted his lineup...
"No, we had a strategy to rest a majority of the players. Not because of a lack of respect for Kansas City. Against Kansas City we always want to play the regular team. But obviously for us we also have a big game coming up on Wednesday and what happened in Mexico is obviously something we can't control. What we can control, is that we have a rotation in the group and we could do it today."

On the younger players stepping up to get the road result...
"It's great for the whole club, for the Homegrowns, for the youngsters, for the people who see this club and believe they can come and develop well. So coaches and the whole club, we're proud and they sent a big message today."

FC Dallas midfielder Paxton Pomykal

On the result...
"Obviously, this is a hard stadium to come to and get points. We have not done so well in the past [at Children's Mercy Park], so for us to get the point is – it's a huge thing, especially because we have a big semifinal Champions League game on Wednesday against Pachuca. So we rested some of our guys. I got the opportunity to start as well as some of our other young guys made their debut, and we got a point out of it. So good work by the boys."

On the team's performance...
"It says a lot about our depth. We have a lot of guys on the bench ready to come in, and we're competing every day for the starters' spots, so for us to start today and get the result, that just shows the coaching staff that we can compete."

On the biggest challenge...
"The toughest part was the fans, for sure, because it was my first time in a big stadium like that. Taking corner kicks, they're in your ear. But you get your first couple of passes in, zone them out and just play your game."

On the confidence this gives the young guys...
"For sure, it gives us loads of confidence. There's guys back home that are Homegrowns like me, my age, and for them to see us go out there, us young guys, and do well, that gives them confidence as well. So the guys are just happy with the result, and now we're looking forward to Wednesday."

FC Dallas midfielder Jacori Hayes

On his debut:
"It was special. It was a special moment for me. It was my debut. First time out there for myself. “A lot of nerves. It’s a hostile place to play, a tough place to have your first game, but I thought the team did well. We got the result. We’ll take that point and now we’ll prepare for Wednesday against Pachuca.”

On the confidence this gives the young guys in the club…
“It was huge. It shows that we can play and that we can get results for the club. We do our part for the team. We rested a few key guys ahead of the game on Wednesday and I thought the guys that don’t normally start that started today did really well and for the team as a whole to get four points out of an LA and Sporting Kansas City trip is pretty good.”

On the environment...
“There were a few nerves in the beginning. I tried to settle myself down but I also tried to take it all in while playing as natural as possible. But, it is tough.”

At what point did it settle in that things were going well and the team might get the result...
“I felt good the whole time to be honest. I thought we had one or two chances that we could have scored and they had the same. But, all in all, I thought it was a good performance by us.”