Gerso - Sporting KC vs Minnesota United FC - June 14, 2017
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Quotes: Sporting KC 4-0 Minnesota United FC - June 14, 2017

Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes

Initial thoughts on game…
“It was good what they did for us. I thought that they came out and they pressed us high. I think it was very good for us to have to deal with that. They did a really good job early on with that. We were getting back a couple of times, we broke it, they won the ball back and we broke it. But we kept trying to find solutions which was great for us I think in the long run because we’ve got to be able to play under pressure like that. For us to have to do that tonight was great. They put us under pressure quite a few times, and it was hard for us to get in a rhythm in the beginning, but then we started to get it. I think keeping the ball was good for us, I think it wore them out over the course of the game. After we got that first (goal) I think their guard was let down because I think their objective was to get to halftime 0-0. Maybe they would try to sneak one in, but at least 0-0 and then maybe try to bring on some of their players, maybe some fresh legs. But it didn’t really work out that way, we got two before halftime. The guys came out with some really good energy in the second half right from the get-go. We got two chances, and then our third and our fourth, which was really good, but to get the shutout was even better.”

On starting a strong lineup...
“I don’t know why I wouldn’t put the best group of guys out there that I could to win the game. That’s what I did. I don’t look at it as first team guys, second team guys, whatever. This is a very important tournament, it’s an opportunity to win another trophy. We want to do the best we can. We want to play to try and win every game. To do that, you’ve got to constantly put teams out there that can get the job done. Tonight, obviously, we made a few changes, but it was to put a group out there to get the job done, and they did.”

On Daniel Salloi's first career goal…
“I’m not surprised. I’m really not. I just think it’s funny because Latif went in there and switched sides with him, and said ‘do you want me to come over and play on the right?’ And I go ‘why? You can’t play on the right?’ Then when he scored, I go ‘not bad on the right, is it?’ But it was good for him. He’s a great finisher. He has a real knack in and around the box. He really does. He’s a really good finisher, and the fact that he did does not surprise me. The thing I’m really happy about is the movement of those guys up front today. They were very, very good. Even Dom’s goal. The movement he makes, the ball gets slipped in to him and the way he finished it was big time.”

On having players with U.S. Open Cup experience
“The only way you (win the tournament) is by being there. We have quite a few guys on the team that have been there before, And they understand the importance. Every game is important, whether it’s the league, or it’s Open Cup or anything else we play in. So the guys get it. The other thing is, even more than experience, is being able to play multiple games in a week and having to get results. That’s an important aspect that this group has, and this group has been through that. That’s the type of experience that will come in handy over the course of the season.”

On message to team during Minnesota’s injury break…
“It was the same message that we had at halftime, and that was that we were breaking their lines, but we just needed to run into their defense a little more. Be a little more direct, which I thought would put them under pressure, and I thought we did that. I think that put them in a position where they really had to almost be more conservative. As you saw, there really wasn’t much in the second half that they gained off of it. They played long balls to the players in front, and he’s playing against two guys so it’s very difficult. It was more of the movement upfront and our directness and going to goal.”

On Gerso’s game…
“He’s done very well thus far, I wouldn’t say it’s just this game. His progression has been very good, I could say that about any of the guys we’ve added to the team. I always say, that the part you guys don’t know, and probably the most important part, is that they’re great people. Adding really, really great people to the organization is part of our core values. So when you add people like that, you’re always going to have opportunity to find success in many different ways. So it’s always going to be a main characteristic that we’re going to look for.”

Sporting KC forward Gerso

On getting his first assist…
"I’m so happy for that. I hope the other guys keep scoring and I get assists."

On how he feels with Sporting KC right now…
"So far, this season has been the best season of my life. I’m going to keep working to do the best I can."

On being a complete player with Sporting KC…
"Maybe the way we play gives me more opportunity to score and even to assist my teammates. It’s probably the way we work. It’s different from the way I used to work in Portugal."

Sporting KC forward Daniel Salloi

On the goal…
"Latif [Blessing] came in well from the left side. He played a ball to Roger [Espinoza]. I just made the movement off the defender so he could find me and I could turn. I just tried to place it smartly in the corner so it worked out. I’m very happy and I’m glad we got the win, too, so I’m glad everything worked out well."

On getting his first goal with Sporting KC…
"It’s amazing. It’s a big day because it’s also my first start, too. I’m happy that everything worked out and I hope I can score in MLS and play in as many games as I can. I’m just looking forward to the next game."

On making the most of an opportunity with other players on national team duty…
"That’s why I’m happy because when you get your start, you have to show everything that you can and I think I did that today. Obviously, it can always be better, but I think I showed that Peter [Vermes] can trust me and when he needs a backup, I’m there for him and for the team."

Sporting KC defender Matt Besler

On playing a strong lineup tonight vs. Minnesota…
"We have had past success in the tournament. There are a number of guys on our roster that have experienced the feeling of winning this tournament and we want that feeling again. People can say what they want about whether or not this is an important competition. We think it’s important and that’s all that matters to us. To us, winning this tournament is like winning a championship or a trophy and that’s one of our goals at the end of the season. Our coaches have that philosophy as well and that’s probably why you saw the lineup you did."

On Minnesota pressing early…
"Minnesota came out differently than a lot of teams come out when they come here. That was surprising but it was also refreshing. I think it was nice to be challenged like that. To be fair, they did a good job in the first half. We were sloppy with it and we didn’t have enough answers with the way we wanted to play out of the back. We came into halftime and we realized their front seven or eight players were really pressing high on our back guys and the space was actually farther up the field. Usually, when we play out of the back, the space is right with me, Ike [Opara] and lie, but they were coming toward us this game. There was a huge gap around the center circle. So we started playing more balls into Dom [Dwyer] in the second half and he did a good job holding them up. Then we had Roger [Espinoza] and Jimmy [Medranda] running off of him and we were able to find the ball and run at them."

Minnesota United FC head coach Adrian Heath

On if he knows the status of Joseph Greenspan…
“Not yet, he’s got a neck injury of some description. Obviously we’ll know a bit better when he’s had some x-rays probably tomorrow. When someone is out that long and gets taken off on a stretcher then obviously you’re a bit worried.”

On if he’ll find out more about the injury tonight…
“Hopefully tonight, if not certainly in the morning but obviously we just hope for the best, you never know when people are down for that long and go straight to hospital so we’ll see.”

On where the game got away from them after a strong opening 40 minutes…
“We started the game very well and I thought we changed the shape of the team and obviously we changed a lot of the players as well. I thought the shape worked very well for 40 minutes but we just couldn’t sustain the energy levels that we needed to curtail them. We gave a poor first goal away – it’s a free header from a set piece – and then the second one killed us a little bit, they had a bit of fortune when it came off the post. In the end, they ran out worthy winners as I said before. You’re talking about one of the better teams in MLS who are really well coached and just look at the strength in depth of their squad. Today, it was really apparent when they bring the likes of Benny (Feilhaber) on and Blessing and people like this, so it’s another lesson for us that we’ve got an awful long way to go but there was one or two encouraging moments in the first 40 minutes.”

On if the nature of the U.S. Open Cup differs when you have MLS matches coming up…
“It does for us, I’m not being disrespectful to this tournament but we’ve got a few internationals away as well and we needed to give some players some minutes and it was evident that they needed it because as the game wore on, we just couldn’t sustain the physicality that you need to do against a team of Kansas City’s ability."

Minnesota United FC midfielder Collin Martin...

On what went wrong after a strong performance through the first 30 minutes…
“To be honest, the set piece killed us. I thought coach set us up really well in the formation and we were doing really well. We had them in front of us and we were up in their end of the field in this game compared to last and I thought positionally we were set up really well. That one goal killed us and then for the second one, we can’t clear our lines and can’t get out of our box and they get a second one and it kills us. But, even then if we get one more back we’re in it, but we didn’t.”

On his chance in the 53rd minute that went off the post…
“That’s just my luck. I really want to score a goal and I looked up on the board and we had one shot in the first half. I wanted to at least do something to change that.

On [Joe] Greenspan going down…
“To be honest, I didn’t really see it. But I have seen guys go down with head stuff like that and I just hope he’s all right. I don’t really know what happened, but that stuff is scary no matter who it is or what happened. So I hope he’s all right. I know he put his thumbs up at the end so hopefully that’s a good sign.”