SKCvCHI Quotes: "A good win and hopefully we take some momentum from this game"

Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes

On the fight of this team…

I know that over the course of many months now we have struggled, no doubt about it. For the most part, it hasn’t been a lack of effort. It hasn’t been a lack of want or will. Sometimes there’s a perfect storm and certain things happen to a team. The interesting thing is that what doesn’t happen is some fairy doesn’t come down and sprinkle magic dust all over the team and all your problems are gone. You have to find a way as a team to work your way out of the situation you’re in. We’re in a situation that, as a player or as a coach, I have never experienced before with as many guys out and with the long term injures that we've had. It’s put a lot of pressure on a lot of guys that have not really had the ability to prepare or be ready to step up and carry the water for the team.

What I will say is that what I am extremely proud of is that, week after week and game after game, I have to come to the guys and explained to them where we’re at, what we have to do, all of those things. For the most part, the guys have responded each time in trying to get back to who we are. I have to say, if you look at the last two games, we played very well against LAFC. When we were in that game, there were situations that occurred that once again were our fault. We had unbelievable chances that we created, and we could’ve scored many goals.

Tonight, was a little bit like that. The difference is we scored and we defended and we didn’t give anything away and we kept our concentration. That’s who Sporting Kansas City is. I’m proud because the guys have fought and fought and fought and worked and worked and worked to try to get back to this. I also don’t think that you can minimize the four league games that we had to play on the road. We tied two and won one and lost one. If all things being equal and we’re in the middle of the pack and in a playoff spot, most people would say that was a hell of a road stand. It’s really important for me to keep things in perspective for the team at times. As much as this was a good result tonight and we deserve the three points by far, it’s just one step in the right direction. I don’t want us to think that all of the sudden everything is okay and that everything is great because that is not the case. We have a lot of work to do and we realize that’s in front of us and we’re going to keep doing it.

On not converting chances…

I would say in this game, their goalkeeper had some great saves. First and foremost, he had some great saves so that’s one. The second thing is it’s one of those things that’s just not going your way. You’re not in form. It’s easy to say that we’ve lacked confidence for some time. A lot of guys that put the ball in the back of the net have lacked confidence because they miss some chances. The difference is they keep fighting to get in those places and keep fighting to get those chances. The worry is when the guys don’t want to run into those places, don’t want those chances because they’re afraid to miss again. Now all of a sudden that becomes a really big thing that you have a hard time trying to come up with a solution for. You can’t force somebody to get there, but the guys keep trying to get there. The team is built to create a lot of high-quality chances and we’re creating a lot of high-quality chances. I have no doubt that we’ll start finishing them.

On the backline’s performance…

It’s a little more steady Eddy if you will. If you look at three of the four, they’ve been with the team for a long time and they understand what that job is that you have to do to get those results. You can’t forget that the front six have done a really good job of pressing the game and making it difficult for the other team. The back four was good today and they did the things you have to do to close the game out. They made plays and that was the difference. We made plays tonight.

On Gerso Fernandes' performance...

He’s been great all year long even though he’s been out the last 4-5 weeks with a broken arm. He found his way back on the team and I can’t say enough about his work ethic on the field. He’s a team player. Tonight he hit the post -- might have been a little unlucky but we were there.

On Felipe Gutierrez helping finish Yohan Croizet's goal...

It’s an excellent action because you have to have a sense and recognition of where the other team is, and in that situation Yohan had the recognition to take off. Gutierrez had good weight on the ball and I was surprised he hit it from the distance that he did, but obviously he saw something much different than I did. He finished it very well and put it away.

On Yohan Croizet’s work ethic and performance...

I thought last game he played really well. He gave a really good effort and worked really hard in the game. Since we are so close to the next game, I thought it would be good to get someone else in there, but for 60 minutes he was a monster. He had very good energy and he did what we needed him to do and that was to score. The other thing we did tonight is what this team has been built on for years is to put a goal in the net and close up shop and we finally did that tonight.

On Gedion Zelalem’s performance...

I knew coming into this game that I was going to play him. I thought he played well in our game against Toronto, but I knew we had to be careful because he hasn’t played many 90 minute games. I had to take him out tonight because climate wise it was a tough game to play. I thought our guys were very good mentally tonight and they held up really well. Zelalem is coming along. What I really like about his game is that he’s mature and has become more physical. His progression has been very good.

On bringing in Johnny Russell...

I had to be careful because I wasn’t sure about the heat. There hasn’t been a lot of heat here this year as much as we normally have. He’s also been out for 10-12 days, so I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t putting him out into the fire.

On Daniel Salloi getting more time...

I think he’s playing well and getting in to great spots. He got a little lucky on a couple of his actions. They were right there and their defender did a good job. He keeps getting those spots but just needs to break through. He’s getting closer and he has been working hard. The good thing is he’s doing all the other things right now and a goal will come his way.

Thoughts on the match...

We played well, like we did last game, and we were good with the ball. (Our) possession was excellent. We scored. That was a big thing. We created a bunch of chances. We probably should have had four or five goals. That part is still something that we've got to finish our chances. But we found a way to get a clean sheet tonight. We worked hard. The guys were locked in. I think that was the difference in the game.

On the team getting closer to full strength...

As long as everybody stays healthy, it's nice to be able to have some continuity with some guys. We'll see as each week goes on.

On the team's upcoming road match at Vancouver...

It will be great to get a week of training. We've had three games here in eight days. For us to be able to get a good week of training and get back in the rhythm, I think that part will be really good for us.

Sporting Kansas City forward Yohan Croizet

On his goal...

It was a really good ball from Felipe (Gutierrez). I saw the goalkeeper really high off his line, so I tried to shoot on his opposite side. It's 1-0 so it's good for me and it was good for the team.

On bouncing back from the loss against LAFC...

Everybody knows Wednesday was a bad game for everybody. But when you see the first 25-30 minutes on Wednesday, it was a good half for everybody. Of course, we lost the game. Now we have another game next Saturday. Tonight we have the victory so it's really important for the confidence. We have to come back with the same spirit and go there to get the points.

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Felipe Gutierrez

Thoughts on the match...

It's too many feelings today. It's about the situation where we are living right now. I think how we played tonight and three days ago against LAFC was in the same way with the same intensity. It was a pity against LAFC we could not take any points. I think in the first half and the majority of the minutes was in a really good way. Tonight, I feel the same. I believe in this team and how we play. I think it's the beginning of a good thing for now. I think how we have been working in the last week and I think we changed the mentality and are prepared for the playoff run to try to be there. We keep going.

On his assist...

When I turned, it was really fast. I saw two options. I had Gerso (Fernandes) on the right side and also I had Yohan (Croizet). Yohan was a little bit complicated because the two central defenders were really close. I tried to play behind the leg of the central defender on the left side and luckily he kind of stopped the ball and Yohan had a really good finish after that.

Sporting Kansas City defender Seth Sinovic

Thoughts on the team's performance...

I thought it was solid from start to finish. The only opportunities they got were pretty limited and it was because of us turning over the ball in bad spots. I thought the backline was good. I thought the pressure up top was good. And I thought the midfield controlled the game. All around, it was a good performance. We probably should have had three or four goals but it wasn't from a lack of trying. We hit the post and all over the goal but it just didn't go in. It was a great result.

On keeping the clean sheet...

It's a team effort on the defensive side of the ball. Everything starts with the pressure up top and I thought that was great and I thought our midfield was good at pressuring and very balanced in the way they pressured. That makes it predictable for us in the back. All around, a good performance I thought.

On bouncing back from the LAFC loss...

I think we got punished for our mistakes (on Wednesday), turning the ball over in bad spots. I think we were a little bit more clinical on the ball. We still had some turnovers but we kept ourselves fairly balanced when we did lose the ball. We got big plays when we needed them. Tim (Melia) had a couple of big saves, punching it out there at the end. All around team effort - it was a good win and hopefully we can take some momentum from this game. 

Chicago Fire Head Coach Veljko Paunovic

On his overall thoughts of the result…
I think it was a hard game. I take full responsibility for this loss because I think that I didn’t do a good job in recovering the guys from the last game and definitely we could feel the tiredness in some of the guys. It’s on me and we definitely have to do a better job in the future.

On the other side, I think the second half was better. I think we showed some character and some spirit. We fought, we had a couple of good opportunities and I think we created. We showed a better face in the second half. We fought much more in the second half. Now we have a stretch of two home games, which are very important for the whole Club, for our team, for our fans. Both games ahead of us are must wins and this time we are going to do a better job in recovering and preparing and hopefully win both games.

Chicago Fire forward C.J. Sapong

On tonight’s match…

I think there are positives to take out of it. But we have to continue our willingness to fight to the end of the game. We feel like we left a little bit on the field. We’ll regroup. We get a week of much needed rest and we’ll come back against Cincinnati.

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