SPRvPIT Quotes: "There are a lot of positive accomplishments from this game"

Swope Park Rangers head coach Paulo Nagamura

Thoughts on the match…

I think, in the first half, we struggled. We were poor with the ball offensively. In the second half, we tried to adjust a couple things that we saw in the first half. The guys did a little better. We played in their half a little more in the second half. Pittsburgh did well defensively. They were dropping a line of five which made it a little difficult for us to break. Even considering their formation, I think we were too slow, we were losing too many balls and giving away too many bad passes – that kind of gave a little bit of life for Pittsburgh. To be honest, I was pleased with the way that we came back and made it 2-1 in a game that we didn’t create too many opportunities. We found a way there to create to chances and Rodney and Kelyn score. I try to always be positive. This was a great experience – the first time for Mo, second game for Tyler. Gedion (Zelalem) got his minutes; Kelyn and Rodney got their minutes. There are a lot of positive accomplishments from this game.

On the players becoming familiar with one another on the field…

It’s difficult in that aspect to be honest because you don’t train with them every day. But, they should know what to do. They understand how we want to approach every game. Of course, if we had guys training every day together and playing every weekend together, I think I could demand a little more from them. With that being said, it’s just the way it is. This is one of the reasons we have SPR.

On conceding the late equalizer…

I felt that we should have done much better there on the first ball when the ball was played. Defensively, we should have done much better with that play. It is what it is. We play. We’re going to reassess it tomorrow and we’re going to correct the mistakes that we made and try to get better every day.

Swope Park Rangers midfielder Gedion Zelalem

On making his Children’s Mercy Park debut…

It was fun to finally play a game. It was fun getting on the ball and moving the ball. I wish we could have had a bit more of an edge attacking today, but overall, we’re satisfied with the first game.

On how he felt playing his first competitive game in Kansas City…

There were a lot of guys playing from the first team today, so it was kind of hard to gel. But in those circumstances I think we’ve done quite well, and I think we should have actually won that game. Playing in the stadium was great today. I got an idea of how the pitch was. The pitch was really good. I can’t wait to play in more games and get my fitness (up).

On playing in the No. 6 position as a holding midfielder…

Naturally I like coming to the ball, so I think that suits me a lot. As long as I’m on the ball, I’m quite happy. I like to be able to create chances, and I almost did that in the second half a few times.

Swope Park Rangers midfielder Kelyn Rowe

On playing the full 90 minutes…

It was good to get minutes. That’s always a positive. I haven’t played 90 minutes since preseason, so it was good to get a runout and get the body used to that extra 20 minutes. A player can kind of push through 65-70 minutes, but getting through that extra 20 is tough, so it was good to get that.

On his experience playing with the Rangers…

I think it’s great. (Sporting KC Manager) Peter Vermes said it best: we aren’t doing this as a punishment. We want to get guys minutes because we have a lot of games coming up, especially with us advancing in the Champions League and the U.S. Open Cup coming in June and July. You have to be smart about getting as many players as you can the ability to get their fitness and game time, because you can’t replicate it in practice as much as you try. It’s very positive that we’re actually playing home games here at Children’s Mercy Park (with the Rangers).

On the similar playing styles of SPR and Sporting KC…

There is a Sporting way, and it doesn’t just stop at Swope. It goes all the way down to the Academy in the way that they’re playing. It’s good soccer, and for us to be able to go from the first team and drop down to Swope and then watch the Academy play, we have that one system. When you’re able to go up and down like that, you’re playing the same way, and that’s what’s so important. We aren’t just playing a 4-4-2 or a 4-3-3, we’re actually gaining the same outcomes and finding the same spaces in both teams.

On his goal in the 88th minute…

I think we were good at getting guys wide and getting good service, and I think we had a few of those moments today. Two of them went in today. Like I said, you can’t replicate this in practice. You can’t replicate a real game, and to get good minutes builds confidence that hopefully I can bring to the first team next week.

Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC head coach Bob Lilley

Thoughts on the match…

I’m happy to get something at the end after giving up two goals. I think we played pretty well and created some real clear cut chances. I think there was some give and take or back and forth. They certainly had some good moments in the game, as well. I guess I’m split a little bit. You get a lead that late, you want to be able to make it stand up for three points. We weren’t able to do it. They deserve credit for that. Fortunately, we were able to get in behind them one more time and get the penalty. We have stuff to work on. It’s early. I think we were a little bit better this week than last week at Tampa. It’s not easy going and playing everyone’s home opener but we’ve got two more road games and hopefully we’ll continue to get better. Obviously, I was impressed with some of the quality and young talent with SPR. It’s a good team and I’m sure they’ll get a lot better as the season goes, as well.

On his team battling back for a late equalizer…

It says something. Obviously, letting a lead slip away – the one goal is a great finish, but we’ve got to be able to respond at that point and at least get a point. We almost came out of here with nothing. We just have to get better playing the full 90 minutes. I think we had less concentration lapses today than last week so there was improvement but we still have a long way to go.

Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC midfielder Kenardo Forbes

Thoughts on the match…

It was a good game for us, coming off a loss last weekend. We played well for the first 75 minutes. Because of a lack of concentration, we give up two goals. We’re lucky to get a PK to get a point. That’s the only positive today. We got a point.

On his assist…

I knew we had some big guys in the box. All I have to do is put it in the right area and they’ll go get it.

On the team’s takeaways from the draw…

It was a good performance for the first 75 minutes. Unlucky that we lapsed and we gave up our lead and they get two goals in the last 15 minutes. There’s positives and there’s things we have to work on for next week. We’ll go to Bethlehem and try to get our first win of the season.

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