CLBvSKC Quotes: "We came up with big plays when we needed to"

Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes

On what was key to Sporting Kansas City’s victory...

I think for the most part we managed the second half really well. We played a lot more direct which I think caused them some problems and we finished one of the chances that we created. We created a lot them. We should've put the game away. We should’ve scored more goals, but I’m glad we were able to get a shutout. We defended really well today.

On what was important for Sporting Kansas City to protect its lead...

Managing the game and understanding what you have to do in different moments -- and we were pretty good in most.

On Felipe Gutierrez’s contribution from midfield...

He probably should’ve scored it earlier but we kept after the ball and we didn’t give up on the play. Gerso cuts back on the guy and he finds Felipe right inside the box, which wasn’t an easy play just because it was so close, so fast, but credit to both those guys for getting it done.

Sporting Kansas City Goalkeeper Tim Melia 

On what it took for Sporting Kansas City to get all three points...

Just a gritty performance. We didn’t start well, that was evident. But I thought the way we came together, we battled, we competed, we put our bodies on the line, and we figured out how to get a result. It is something we haven’t been doing this year. I hope this is a step in the right direction.

On Sporting Kansas City’s defensive performance...

Like I said, the guys were just putting their bodies on the line. Our centerbacks, our fullbacks and the way our wingers were getting tucked back in supporting defensively, was good. These are the type of performances that I hope lift us and get us moving in the right direction.

On what he saw on Felipe Gutierrez’s goal...

I thought it was a really good play from Gerso to spring out and then kind of find space in the box and make an opportunity for Felipe. Those are type of goals we've got to score right now. We’re just trying to figure out a way to make small steps and have little improvements every game. We need as many points as we can.

Sporting Kansas City Defender Seth Sinovic

On what was key to Sporting Kansas City getting all three points...

I think it was just fight. It definitely wasn’t perfect. It wasn’t pretty at all at times, but we got a good goal there. We came up with big plays when we needed to. Tim [Melia] made some big saves. [Botond Barath] made some incredible blocks in there. Sometimes it takes an ugly win. Hopefully we’ll take this moment to win the next game and go on forward in the season.

On closing out the match including six minutes of added time...

That’s something that we need to improve on. In the last three road games, excluding the Open Cup, we’ve had the 1-0 lead and let that slip away. We’re up a man here and I think that we could've done a better job closing out the game but we ended up doing it. There’s always things that we can learn from, always things that we can improve on and we’re happy to take the three points on the road and hopefully build momentum going forward.

Columbus Crew SC Head Coach Caleb Porter

On the chances created by Crew SC...

We’ve got to score in the first half guys. We played well enough, we had enough chances I counted five or six clear chance – few of them were tap ins. We got to score, we got to score in the first half. You don’t score, you put pressure on yourselves. I think the biggest thing is we gave up an early goal second half and it's not a great play. They [Sporting Kansas City] run behind, they get a cross in, we lose a tackle and it’s a goal in the back of the net. Happens but we have to have a better reaction after that. I thought we lost our way a little bit after the goal.

On Crew SC’s second-half performance...

Goals change games and for sure the goal they [Sporting Kansas City] scored impacted the rest of the half. Obviously, the red car did as well – late, those are things that factor. There's a lot of factors, we have five guys out up the spine. I’m talking massive players for us. There are six banners out in the stadium and we only have one guy actually playing out of the six banners. That tells you little bit, we have really important guys and then we lose David Accam, who has been our primary chance creator along with Pedro [Santos] for the last several games but I still thought we were good enough in that first half to score a goal and that’s the disappointment and we give up a goal. Again, that’s kind of the way it has gone but for me I wanted to see a better reaction after we gave up the goal. I thought it changed our mindset.

On whether Crew SC can improve as a team to finish off the chances it creates...

Yeah, of course. No mystery there, when you’re not winning games you have to improve the team. This is where we're at right now. I like that group there in the locker room, they’re good guys. They come to training; they give all they have. They fight and work. Today after giving up the goal, I wanted more, so obviously that was disappointing, but I think we come into most games - you see we’re organized, you see we're up for and we were definitely up for today. I thought everything went as planned. They [Sporting Kansas City] didn’t have much other than a few direct balls, a couple counter attacks off our set-pieces. The goals, the goals are right. We’re just not taking them. The three points was there for the taking today, we just didn’t take it. Not winning games, so we’ve got to figure out how we can win games. I look at it really from the standpoint of – you can do a lot right but if you don’t get the boxes right, you’re going to fall short and that’s where we’re falling short.

On Crew SC’s response when going down to 10 men...

Yeah, I thought – interestingly enough – we probably played better down a man. [It] Took us about 20 minutes to recover after giving up the goal and I hadn’t seen that out of the group. I think part of it is, you don’t get results and you’re right on that edge and you’re wanting it to come, when you give up a goal the other way and you feel like it’s against the run, it can rock you a little bit and I think it did [to] this group. I think they lost a little bit of confidence after that goal.

 On guys seizing the opportunities during the Gold Cup, injuries, etc...

I think again the attitude, the energy and the fight, I would say just the work ethic and the spirit in the group the last three weeks has been good but I think that first half sums up a little bit where we're at because we do everything right but we don’t end up getting the goal. Again, that comes down to the player in the moment and we have to find those goals, we have to finish those goals, the same thing on the other end we can't give up a goal like that. Seems like most of our recent games that’s been the story. You say we play pretty well and I know every meeting I've had after the game with the team and usually it's we executed this and we did this well and we were organized and we’re creating the chance, just got to score the goal. They didn't create many chances and one or two they score a goal. That's for me it comes down to the defenders in those moments making plays and the attackers in those moments making plays. We’re not getting enough of those plays being made.

On the positive takeaways from tonight’s result...

Again, I think we’re doing mostly what we are training to do and preparing to do and its leading to us getting more chances than the opponent. But at the end of the day you got to finish, and you got to make the plays defensively or you lose games.

On David Accam’s injury...

Yeah, hamstring. They’ll scan it so we’ll know what the timeline is and what the grade of the strain is. Obviously, you know you see him go down and then I’m not going to rattle the names, but I mean when you have guys up the spine that are massive for you. You know it's been a weird season in that regard because we start the year, we have everybody, and we get results. Then we lose the outside backs, so we’re not quite as effective on the flanks with the outside backs gone. And then we finally get the outside backs back and then now we lose everybody up the spine. So there will be a time here in the next several weeks where we get everybody back and I think we’ll start to get more plays being made, but the tough thing is that we knew this window was going to be difficult with the Gold Cup and we didn’t get enough points leading into this window, so now we’re in a difficult period where it's in the balance.

On Harrison Afful and Waylon Francis returning to action...

[They] helped us a lot. You can see right off the bat with Harry [Harrison Afful] getting behind [Sporting Kansas City’s line], giving them a lot of problems on both sides, both flanks and we created good chances I was really pleased with the first half, you know minus not scoring. And again, there were three or four where I’m going how is that not a goal. But I can accept good play without the finish, you know what I was disappointed in was I think the play after we gave up the goal for about 20 minutes. I just thought we lost our way and we didn’t do the things that we wanted to do after that, but I think it’s what happens when you haven’t gotten results. You lose confidence, hang your head a bit, and it’s a tough psychology, but you have to be stronger, guys have to be stronger because we have 40 minutes still to play. I didn’t think they were really all that good today, Kansas City, and I thought the three points was there for the taking.

Columbus Crew SC Defender Waylon Francis

On his overall thoughts on the match against Sporting Kansas City...=

I mean, the fitness is okay for me. That’s not a problem. I just need to train more because I haven’t trained that much time, but when I have opportunity, I just have to be focused because this season is not over. There are 17 games left, so we have to stay focused and stay positive – plus hard work.

On how much he and Harrison Afful can contribute the remainder of the season...

It’s going to help our group a lot because we’ve been playing together since 2015, so we know each other. We understand each other very well so our role is going to be very important.

On the challenge of coming back from a one-goal deficit in matches...

I mean, it’s something mental. It’s something mental that I think we have to work [on] every single day in training. [So] that every time they score, we have to figure a way how to fix the problems.

Columbus Crew SC Midfielder Hector Jimenez

On whether Crew SC played better after Harrison Afful’s red card than it did after conceding a goal...

Yes, I agree. I felt like, unfortunately, it’s always difficult when you lose a player, but it spices it up a little bit. We started going a little bit more direct and somehow JJ [Williams] came in and he was a handful and we created two-three good opportunities there where we could’ve scored, but it just didn’t bounce our way there at the end.

On whether there is added pressure when playing in “must-win” matches...

I wouldn’t say so much, but I mean you definitely feel like we have to come out and especially these last eight, maybe seven, home games now. Especially at home, where we didn’t want to drop any points. It’s tough, definitely, when you know the other team wasn’t much better than you on the day, so I mean we just have to get back to the drawing board and be ready for Orlando.

On the challenge of coming back from a one-goal deficit in matches...

It’s tough man and I don’t know. You’re right – and Caleb brought it up – it has been those close games. We just have to grind it out and mentally be stronger and make some big-time plays. Everyone’s got to be up for the moment and get back to winning ways because we have a great group of guys here. And I think we can make a run, and you just never know in MLS. You put two-three games together and you get back in the mix, so we’ll learn from this game. We’ll watch video and get ready for Orlando [City SC].

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