#SKCvDC Quotes: "Tonight, I thought we were locked in"

Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes

Thoughts on the match…

I thought we were very good in possession for most of the game. We thought they were going to try to counter quite often and I thought we dealt with those really well. I thought we created some great chances. Our counters were really good. I think we were really good. Other than not getting a second goal, we were great.

On the team’s attack…

We had great possession in the game. I think we moved the ball really well. Our positional allocation all over the field, both in keeping the ball to create chances and also being in great spots when we lost the ball to win it back quickly. It was very good. It takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of concentration by the guys. Also, looking around the field and consistently assessing what’s happening where and when on the field – where the ball is, where the opponent is, all those things are happening and you’re making those decisions. I thought the guys were very good at it.

On securing a clean sheet…

Our decision making was at a higher level today all throughout the game. In those other games, we made some really poor decisions that this group would not make those mistakes at this time anymore. We started getting into a place where we weren’t responding correctly to situations. Tonight, I thought we were locked in. We knew when it was time to step up, when to drop off, when to clear the ball, when to keep possession. It was smart by the group.

On Felipe Gutierrez’s fifth goal of the year…

I think he is a guy that has an aggressive mindset to go forward. Right now, he’s feeling it and he’s putting the ball away. It doesn’t hurt. I’m not going to say anything negative around it. It’s great. Let it keep going. 

On the early exit by Felipe Gutierrez…

He’ll be fine. He had a little bit of a knock that he just didn’t want to push. We have Easter Sunday and don’t play until next Sunday so we’ll have more than enough time. He’ll be fine.

On the team’s attack without Felipe Gutierrez on the field…

What always happens is individual players have different qualities. We have very specific role and responsibility in every position. So no doubt there’s going to be a difference in the individual that comes in, but we still expect a lot of the same stuff from the player that does play in that position.

On the team’s style of play in 2018…

I thought last year we were excellent at our possession of the ball and whether it was local or long distance, I think we were really good. I think one of the things that you’re seeing though is that there is a higher standard in the way that we’re playing at the moment than before. I think that’s all over the field. It’s early and that’s good. Because we still have a lot of work to do. I think we can be a lot better. We’re getting there.

On the play of Jimmy Medranda…

At certain times, he does certain things really well. But what always happens to a player when he first gets his start, he needs a string of games to get a rhythm of play. You get into a routine if you get a rhythm of games. I think he was good. I think there’s a lot of room for improvement on both sides of the ball, but he also did some really good things in the game as well. He’s probably a little unlucky on attempts at goal or services he made into the box.

On the play of Khiry Shelton…

I think he’s playing very well for us. For his size, he’s got great feet especially in really tight areas. He holds the ball up well. He also runs into the channel and can hold the ball up. He’s starting to now try to find a little bit more of his chances if you will…I think he’s coming along. He’s a little bit like Jimmy Medranda in not having many games over the last couple years. That always effects a player. It’s really centered around trying to give those guys games and build them up with a routine in the game. I like his progression…He’s very good with keeping the ball. He’s good with laying the ball off. He’s very alert and aware of the people around him. From that perspective, he’s much better than I thought he was. I didn’t think that was a big part of his game to be honest. I watched him when he was in college, as well. I don’t know if it’s something he always had or if it’s something that he’s developed, but he’s done very well. His progression has been good and I really like the qualities that he brings to our team.

On earning another home win…

Tonight was great for the fans to come out. We can send them home with a win and enjoy the day tomorrow.

Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Tim Melia

On the shutout…

I think more important than the clean sheet was the overall performance from start to finish. It was something we hadn’t done all season. We’d either had a good first half or had a good second half but never put the whole complete package together. We have to use this game to understand that we can defend. We’re a very good defensive team – we were just a little bit unlucky to start the season. We have to use this as something to build off.

On preparing for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the LA Galaxy next…

We’ve got to go there and play our game. It’s going to be a circus a little bit following him. There’s going to be a lot of attention to the game. He scored two amazing goals today. We’ve got to make sure we go in there, we focus, we play our game and we’ll be good.

Sporting Kansas City forward Khiry Shelton

On the early goal tonight…

It’s been a struggle getting that first goal. We’ve been going down so it was important for us to get that first goal tonight.

On the clean sheet…

It was a 100 percent effort from all the boys. We’ve been working on that in training and we displayed that tonight.

On the play of Felipe Gutierrez…

It’s amazing. He’s a fantastic player. He likes to be in and around the goal. You can see, he can score.

D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen

Thoughts on the match…

I was extremely disappointed in our start, but other than that, I thought we defended fairly well and the effort was there but some of the quality was not and we couldn’t get the goal.

On the team’s defensive performance…

We asked the guys to summon some grit and a little bit of a tougher mentality and I thought they did that. So it’s disappointing to have a deflected goal early but our mentality, there was a guy or two that didn’t start the game right that cost us not being able to weather that storm, which you always know is coming in a tough building. It’s a tough result but a gutsy performance.

On the bye week coming up…

We have a few injured guys that will come back and we’ll get them back into the mix and get their fitness where it needs to be. We’ll compete. We’ll tweak some things and we’ll work on some of our deficiencies. We’ll use the two weeks to get better.

D.C. United captain Steve Birnbaum

Thoughts on the match…

It’s tough to come back when you give up a goal in the first five minutes of the game. They’re a good team and obviously we were away so we can’t let that happen in the first couple minutes of the game because then we’re chasing. I thought we responded pretty well in the second half. We were unfortunate to not get a goal on the other side and sneak out of here with a point.

On the team’s defensive performance…

I was proud of not just our backline but the way the whole team came back and defended. We knew what we were getting into. It was a lot of work for us. I’m proud of the guys for putting in that work. It’s a tough place to play.

On the bye week and home match ahead…

We have a lot to work on. We have a home game which is going to be nice to not have to travel and we’ve got two weeks to focus on this game against the Crew so that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to put all our energy toward that game. 

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