Daniel Salloi goal - Sporting KC vs Portland Timbers - July 1, 2017
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Quotes: Sporting KC 1-1 Portland Timbers - July 1, 2017

Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes

Initial thoughts on game…
“They were the better team in the first half. I think we were just sluggish, I don’t know if it was (because of) Wednesday’s match or not. Obviously we spent energy there but we just weren’t sharp enough there in the first half. We had to change our mentality in the second half and I actually thought we were a better team there in the second half. We moved the ball a little bit, we had good movement off the ball, that’s where Daniel’s goal comes from. We had very good movement and we were just better in possession in the second half. If we were a little more patient, I think, we probably could have had a game winner. But unfortunately we stayed tied.

On play of Daniel Salloi…
“He knows, and we’ve been talking about this, his progression has been very good. There’s always aspects that a player needs to continue to get better at, but if there’s one thing that I’ve said about him, and I’ll keep repeating it, is that anytime he’s in or around the box, he’s deadly. He has a good goalscorer’s mentality, he wants to score. But not at the detriment to the team. Not where he’s selfish at times but he picks and chooses the right moments. But the movement that he had off the ball for that goal was world class. It was an excellent finish.”

On Gerso’s status…
“I think he dislocated his shoulder. He seems to be okay, I saw him in the locker room since then. So I’m sure they had to put it back in, and we’ll see. I’m sure they’ll probably have to do an MRI and all that kind of stuff and see where he’s at from there.”

On how Gerso’s injury affected game…
“It changes your team, but obviously, and I say this all the time, the most important part of our job is coaching. It’s to make sure that all the players on the roster are prepared, and I know that Daniel was. We were talking about who we were going to put in and it became a very quick and easy choice. Just because he’s been training very well and working hard. There’s a reason that we’ve been sending him, when there’s a chance that doesn’t affect us, to Swope Park Rangers to make sure he keeps getting fit so he can play. That wasn’t even a question in regards to the game. It’s not like ‘is he going to be okay to play all these minutes,’ but he was great. He understands everything we’re trying to do, it’s just repetition for him.”

On Portland’s penalty kick…
“I haven’t seen the replay, I just know that when I saw it, it didn’t look like Tim [Melia] had any effect on the play at all. He just dove, just like there was quite a few other dives on the field from their guys. Which at some point those situations require cards. It’s sad that week after week the disciplinary committee hasn’t come in and basically be the Monday quarterback on Monday and decide that wasn’t a foul or that wasn’t a red card or that wasn’t a yellow or we have to give this guy a yellow for embellishment, we have to fine him. I don’t understand why it can’t be taken care of in the game. Same thing with the pace of the game. It was slow. Every ball that went out of bounds, it was slow. I just don’t understand the management of the game. The great thing about Tim is that he’s very concentrated, he’s not easy to get past. Whether it’s through the run of play or a penalty kick, and he did a tremendous job. I love the fact that he stood up and basically read the whole thing from the very beginning. It was good. It was something that we needed in the moment. We always talk about how the goalkeeper every once in awhile is going to make a big save in the game and he did that today and he kept us with a point which is huge.”

On clearance of ball after penalty kick…
“It’s something that we talk about a lot. Whether it’s set pieces, like free kicks going into the box, or penalty kicks, we have to be alert in that moment. Because if the goalkeeper makes the save and the guy follows up and is first to the ball, his work is for nothing. So it was a good response to the ball by our guys, it was a good reaction to be there to clear the ball. Although I think we weren’t as concentrated as we needed to be there on the corner kick after, but we weathered the storm there.”

If absence of USMNT members had effect on play style...
“Not at all. I think physically in the first half, and maybe mentally, we were a little bit tired. I think a lot had to do with our mentality. But the mentality changed in the second half and I think we were a little bit of a different team there.”

Sporting KC forward Daniel Salloi

On pressure to step up going forward…
“I don’t feel like it is a pressure, I feel like it is a great opportunity. Since so many players are gone, unfortunately Gerso got hurt, I feel bad for him, but it’s an opportunity for me to show myself and play well and score goals and be a part of the team. So I don’t feel pressure. I’m happy that I could score and that we got the point and we’ll keep working.”

On coming in early…
“I wanted to come in as quick as I could and warm up real quick, but mostly just to find my spot on the field, get the first touches right and get comfortable real quick. I was just trying to be patient and wait for halftime, but I knew I was going to be warm and ready for the second half. But it worked out.”

Sporting KC goalkeeper Tim Melia

On the penalty kick save…
“[Our Performance Analyst] Ashely Wallace, our goalkeeper coach [Alec Dufty] and the rest of our staff do a really good job preparing us for these types of situations. Fortunately enough, it was the correct call in that moment and I was able to make the save.”

On the emotions following the save…
“It was a pivotal point in the game for that call to be made. I would have to go back and look at it. I can’t put myself in that situation to even give the ref that opportunity to make that call because if that goes in and we lose 2-1, we are dropping points at home.”

Sporting KC midfielder Roger Espinoza

On Daniel Salloi’s goal…
“It was huge. It was good for him and his confidence. He is a guy that has been fighting and he’s been playing well in practice. It’s great for him that he is able to that for us.”

On Tim Melia’s save…
“We are confident the is going to stop it. Tim has saved us many times this year and in the past few years. It’s great that he is able to do that. We have all the confidence that he is going to do make plays like this one. He definitely played with [Diego] Valeri’s mind I feel like. It’s great for us and he kept it 1-1.”

Thoughts on the match…
“First half I thought it was very tough for us. They play a little better than us. We couldn’t connect passes. Second half, we figured it out, started fighting and played with heart. We were very tired, but we played with heart and we were able to come back at the end.”

Thoughts on the game…
“I thought it was a good performance. Obviously disappointed not to get the three points, if we scored the PK or the tap on the cross, we get out of here with three points but I thought the performance was very good and it’s something we can build on because we wanted to come in this game and execute – I thought we did. With the exception of a few moments, I thought it was a very played match against a very good team in a difficult place to play. So, like I said, we can build on this and clean up a few things still, but overall performance, mentality, even the unity and mental toughness that we showed was all there.”

On scoring against Sporting KC’s stingy defense…
“We wanted to play a combination of high pressure and low pressure and I thought we gave them a lot of problems early in the game by pressing high, disrupting their build-up, and once they broke it, we let them come forward and we were going to look to play on the counter. The goal that happened came on a quick transition where we won the ball, broke the lines, and obviously Valeri scored a great strike on that goal. Like I said, we should’ve scored a couple others but in any match like this where you have two evenly matched teams, it became a bit of a chess match. The chances were few and far between, they only really had three clear chances: the goal, Ike Opara header off the set piece and then you’d say Espinoza’s shot from distance – so the only three real chances that they had on the day. We defended really well and I thought we picked our moments to keep the ball and press, if it wasn’t for a bit better on the PK we would’ve gotten out of here with three points.”

On his side’s defensive play without key players…
“We wanted to come together in this game and we knew our backs were against the wall a bit and we knew we had some guys out and we knew we were coming into a difficult place against a team that’s at the top of the table and I thought our guys really responded and they showed that they have it in them to be a team that can grind and in this league you have to grind and we came on the road and those guys gave everything on the pitch today. Like I said, cut out a few mistakes – obviously the goal was a mistake – and finish our chance on the PK or the cross and we get three points. We told Valeri in there that he can’t think twice about that PK because we’re not even in the position we’re in unless he scores the goal. It was unlucky and obviously he’ll score that nine out of 10 times.

Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri

On getting a draw at a difficult place to play…
“We are satisfied about the performance, but not about the result. We had our chances to get three points, it was important for us but the point is okay. We have a game on Wednesday where if we win, this point will be good.”

On managing the emotions of the game after scoring then missing a penalty…
“I’m thinking about the next ball, always, until the last whistle. It’s hard, I’m responsible about that, I made a decision in the PK, the ‘keeper got my attention and that’s it. It’s a moment, you have to think of the next moment.”

On handling Sporting KC’s momentum…
“I think we managed it really well, with the ball, with a good position on the field and even the last minutes, we could score another goal. I’m glad about the performance because we’re playing the way we want and it’s a good one if we play a good game on Wednesday against Chicago and we win the three points.”

Portland Timbers defender Lawrence Olum

Thoughts on the game…
“It was a good game between both teams, it just came down to chances and it was 1-1 so not a bad game at all.”

On denying Sporting KC goalscoring chances…
“We had to absorb the pressure at times, we depended on everybody making good plays in some instances and the team defending together. I think we did that, it’s unlucky we gave up a chance and they scored. It happens.”

On if the result feels like a point gained or two points dropped…
“A point on the road is a point, you can’t take off what guys did – they did a good job just to get us that point – so we cannot say it’s two points lost or anything. It shows that we’re doing all the right things and the results will start coming.”