#SKCvLA Quotes: "There’s so much to play for still"

Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes

Thoughts on the match…

Our guys were great. We did everything we had to in the game. Today, very simply put, there was a guy on the field that was against us. Every call along the game, unfortunately it changed the game in so many ways. And thank God nobody got injured in the game.

On the team rallying for a result…

We were very good in the second half. We created a lot of great chances – crossbar, post, post. We were all over the place. We were good. Unfortunately, somebody stopped us tonight.

On securing a playoff berth…

Our whole idea is being consistent and competitive every year. We are right now. The unfortunate thing is that sometimes you get things taken away from you. I think tonight, we got something taken away from us.

On the penalty decision…

Terrible decision – 100 percent terrible decision. I’ll say it this way. When you have a live game, at the speed at which the game is being played, there is absolutely chances for making mistakes. But when you have a replay to look at, that tells you the incompetence of the people that are actually viewing it. One hundred percent the person is already jumping and diving over, and he calls the penalty. 

At the end of the game, the penalty kick where our guy gets punched in the head – where the guy misses the ball completely and our guy headed the ball beforehand – that’s 100 percent a penalty kick. No player on the field, I don’t care if it’s a goalkeeper or anybody, has the ability to punch somebody in the head in a game. It doesn’t matter. That is reckless. The goalkeeper gets protected when he goes up to get a ball. In this situation, he came and he attacked our guy and he hit him.

There is a difference in the game tonight. I will say that LA played a good game. They were a good team tonight, for sure. The difference is that we were better. Unfortunately, we were playing against not only the team but also the referees on the field. I’m here saying that because that kind of performance by them is unacceptable at this stage in the League – at this stage in how long the League has been in existence number one, and number two, when you play at these types of level of games where the stadium is full like it is, you have two teams playing at the kind of quality that they are on the field, that is unacceptable that performance. Thank goodness that no player on the field got injured tonight. 

The tackle on Rubio that he said the guy got all ball, it blows me away. Everybody in the stadium saw it except for him. He’s not smarter than everybody else. An absolutely unacceptable performance. That should be unacceptable not just by Sporting Kansas City and LA Galaxy, but that should be unacceptable by the League and PRO and they should do something about it. 

On settling for a draw…

What I am disappointed about is the fact that when I look at our team, I look at the work our guys put in, the way that we played, to have the points taken away from them based on their performance is what I have a problem with. I will stand up and defend that every single day, every game that we have for this club as long as I am here. I will not stand for that. We expect high standards of our players. We expect a high standard of play. We expect the same thing from the League and PRO. Right now, that’s not happening. That didn’t happen tonight.

On the team’s attitude to attack…

It’s an unbelievable mentality from our team. Post, crossbar, post. You name it, we had it. It was all over the place. Their goalkeeper made a few very good saves. But we were there. We were all over it. I can’t say one bad thing about our team at all. They did everything. They would have won the game 1-0. If you don’t call the penalty that’s not a penalty then we’re all fine. If you go and actually watch VAR, then you see it. But he never did. He blew it off.

On the intensity of the game…

This 100 percent was a playoff game tonight, the way that both teams played. I think LA played very well. I’ve always had a tremendous amount of respect for Dominic. He did a great job with the team. They were prepared and they came into play. They’re fighting for their lives. They want to get into the playoffs. At the same time, the mentality of our team was tremendous. We understood what’s at stake. We understand that sometimes things are going to happen in games. Unfortunately, the game was taken from us tonight.

Sporting Kansas City forward Johnny Russell

Thoughts on the match…

Frustration from the whole game. We were all just trying to make something happen. It’s always nice to help the team get back in the game. It’s a frustrating result for us.

On battling back for a point…

We’ve shown that time and time again that we’re more than capable of doing that. We don’t want to be in that position. I don’t think that we should have been in that position. 

On battling against the adversity…

It’s one of those things. Decisions go against you and you just need to get on with it. It was great character to come back and fight and get a point in the end. We feel that it’s another two dropped. 

On the team’s remaining schedule…

The focus was to finish in those playoff places. We want to finish as high as we can. We all know how much the home advantage can work as well. There’s so much to play for still. We’ve got a few important games left that we need to take points.

Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Tim Melia

On the penalty called against Sporting KC…

It was a called penalty and I didn’t save it. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter.

On the team’s performance…

I couldn’t be more proud of the way we played tonight. Our fight, our energy, the amount of opportunities we created, the environment tonight was incredible from Children’s Mercy Park. I can’t think of a bad thing to say about this game other than just the complete inconsistency of things out of our control.

On the drive to secure a home playoff game…

It’s huge. It’s been obviously our back breaking thing throughout the last four years. I haven’t seen the other results but we don’t really need to focus on them.  We have to focus on Vancouver next week and make sure we’re going there to get three points.

On the team’s ability to come back from deficits…

I could not be more proud of the way that we played. I think everyone had a really good game – the energy, the commitment in tackles, the commitment getting back on defense and going forward. At times, they had stretches of possession – how we got into our block and defended against it. They didn’t really have many opportunities and this is a team that creates a ton of opportunities through shots from distance and slipping balls. They have a lot of good players. If we maintain this level, there’s only good things coming forward.

On the team’s outlook…

I think we just have so many talented guys on this team that can single handedly take the game by the scruff of the neck like Johnny did tonight and make it happen. We have multiple players that can do that. If we maintain ourselves defensively and play the game that we want to play, we’re going to yield good results. 

LA Galaxy interim head coach Dominic Kinnear

Thoughts on the match…

We gutted it out. We got a little bit of luck. But then on the other side of it, we had some good moments where we could have been 2-0 at halftime. I didn’t see the VAR. I won’t speak about that. But even in the second half, we were breaking. We were just misconnecting our passes and it put more pressure on us and we couldn’t really get out. At times when we did, we looked pretty comfortable. Give credit to them, they were kind of putting their foot on the gas. Give credit to us, we defended for everything.

On the team’s defensive performance…

I thought it was good. I thought David played well tonight, made some real good saves. I thought we made some key interceptions. We defended the box pretty well. We rode our luck a couple times. And saying that, if we have a little bit better possession in their half of the field then we don’t have to defend as much. So there were some times we kind of put ourselves under pressure. Defensively, we tried to fight for everything. I don’t how many corners they got, but we defended set pieces very well. A very gritty performance by the guys.

On the intensity of the match…

I expected it. It’s always that way when you come to this place. I think there were some moments in the game when the referee could have calmed the situation down, and let play go on and tempers flared a little bit. Nothing out of control but you could understand the reasoning for the players getting a little bit frustrated and the tempers flaring a little bit.

On the playoff push by both teams…

We’re fighting for everything. They’re looking to get one of the top two spots. I know Peter very well. I know the way he likes his teams to play. There were some things outside the 11 guys on each team that really kind of added to the intensity and I think those things could have been avoided.

On securing a point on the road…

We feel good. I would have loved to have been 2-0 at halftime. We had the chance with Ashley and then the goal got called back so a little bit of misfortune our way. A one-goal lead is always a little bit touchy in this place, especially with the way they kind of pressure you and get after you. We have two games to go. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily in our hands but we’ll see what happens and it could be. 

LA Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Thoughts on the match…

It was a good game. We played against a good opponent.  We had great chances. I feel good. I think we did good. We were unlucky there with the goal but at the same time we could consider also too when they hit the post – two times I think. It was a good game. We get one point and I think we are satisfied.

On the match-up with Sporting KC…

They were strong. Their whole team defended well. They did a good job. It was not easy. Playing against a good team, we played our way. It’s a good draw.

On the team’s attack…

I think we didn’t do what we are able to do. We didn’t use all the utilities we have for the offense. Still, we get a goal and we did a good job.

On the playoff push ahead…

You get confidence from the point. We are happy. We keep going. Two games left, let’s see what happens. We have to win. We have to take points. 

LA Galaxy Goalkeeper David Bingham

On the intensity of the game…

We knew going into it this was basically a playoff game for us. We had to win, we had to come away with some points. It’s unfortunate we weren’t able to finish off the game with 10 minutes left. Coming away with one point here is disappointing but we’re going to have to take it and look forward to the next two weeks. 

On the defensive performance… 

I think we really dug down. We knew we had to get a result. Obviously, we weren’t at our best tonight but 1-1 here, we’re just going to have to take it. 

On what his performance means moving forward…

We only got one point tonight. At the end of the day, I’d rather play bad and get three points than play good and only get one. Is it nice to play well? Yeah, it’s nice to play well, but at the end of the day we all want to win. We don’t care if we play well, we want to come away with the three points, and we didn’t tonight. 

On the upcoming matches…

We have to win them. That’s the bottom line. We have to go in to Minnesota and we have to come out with three points. That’s the only thing we’re going to be looking forward to this next week and a half. 

On the coaching transition…

I think Dom is a great coach. Obviously, I’m a little biased, I’ve played with him before. I think he’s done a great job. Going forward I’m looking at these two games as must wins and with him as our boss I think we’ve got a real good chance to do that. 

LA Galaxy Defender Daniel Steres

On the defensive performance…

We battled the whole game. It wasn’t an easy game. They threw everything at us in the second half and we buckled down a little. There was an unlucky, well not unlucky, it was a good goal. We were battling in the box. I think everyone’s giving everything they can and playing well defensively. We’ll take the point here, but, of course we wish we had performances like this all year. We’re just going to take it forward from here.

On Real Salt Lake losing to Portland…

We have to go win these next two games either way. I think that does help us. Any dropped points from those guys helps us. We still have to go and get six points out of these next two games.

On the physicality of the game…

We know that they’re a good team. But, a game in the rain like that, in those conditions, it can get that way. We’re both fighting for different things. We’re fighting to get into the playoffs. They’re fighting for seeds. A lot is on the line and I think that’s what happens when you get two good teams going at it. I think it did get a little out of control. I think it could have been controlled a little by some of the calls on the field both ways to be honest.

On his disallowed goal… 

I looked at it. It’s a tough angle. I don’t know what angles they had. They called it a goal. Personally, I think it’s not enough to be clear and obvious to change it. But, that’s what he saw, and that’s what he went with. As far as I know it’s supposed to be clear and obvious, but that’s what he saw I guess.

PRO referee Jair Marrufo (via pool reporter Daniel Sperry and fourth official Sorin Stoica)

What was the foul you saw that led to the penalty kick call in the 23rdminute?

Tripping.

Who was the foul/infraction on?

#5 Besler.

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