VANvSKC Quotes: "An excellent performance from front to back and start to finish"

Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes

On tonight’s match...

I always think it’s really difficult when you have to go away from home and sort of control the game. The fact that they bunkered in at home doesn’t make for an easy game, because it’s very easy to get a little overzealous and open yourself up for a counter. I thought there were two things. I thought, one, we were really good in possession. We didn’t lose the ball in critical areas of the field that found us unbalanced and at the same time, when we did go forward, we were really conscientious of defending from behind. If they won the ball, we were really quick to snuff a lot of things out and I think that was the difference in the game.

On the early goal...

Especially against a team that really bunkers in, to score a goal early is big because now, all of a sudden, they have to try and play and they open themselves up. Even though in the second half I thought we started out okay and then we kind of had a little lull, we found our footing really quickly right after that and then it was getting the second goal that took a lot of life out of them. The third was just a consolation.

On controlling the match...

The fact that our possession was what it was and to be able to do that in somebody else’s place and to do it in the fashion that we did was very mature on our part, on the players’ part. And then the other is, the early goal is a big thing when you’re in a situation like this.

On getting above the ‘Caps in the standing...

I think the most important thing for us is gaining three points. That’s the biggest thing. I tell the guys all the time, we can't worry about what everybody else is doing. We just have to focus on ourselves. You can sit at home and hope that everybody loses but that’s not reality. If we’re just taking care of our business, then we have a good shot.

Sporting Kansas City forward Johnny Russell

On his hamstring...

It’s been fine. I got back before the game last week, so I’m just sort of taking it easy, trying to get myself back in, and obviously get as many minutes as I need to get myself back fit.

On starting to turn the corner as a team...

It’s still the same team that finished on top of the conference last year. We know how good we can be, and we haven’t performed anywhere near what we’re capable of, what we were showing last year. And that’s been the most disappointing part. Everyone in that locker room knows that we have to do better, and I think over the last couple of games we’ve shown that.

On what’s been behind the turnaround...

I mean [when] you lose the amount of guys we’ve lost, especially key players – and it’s not as if we lose one here, one there, we lost them all pretty much at the same time – when you miss that many key players it’s always going to hurt the team. Saying that, there’s a lot of games that we should have seen out. We were leading in probably four or five games and teams have equalized in the last minute. That’s down to us. That’s nothing to do with injuries. That’s concentration of the players that are on the pitch. So the injuries have hurt us, but at times the guys that have been playing, we’ve hurt ourselves as well.

On a tight Western Conference and anyone having a chance in the playoffs...

That’s the thing. We need to be there, obviously as high up as possible. But being there is the most important thing. This club’s been on such a great run of making the playoffs. I don’t want to be involved where a group of players who break that tradition. It’s important for the club, for the players, and for the fans as well.

Sporting Kansas City forward Gerso Fernandes

On the offense...

The whole team helps for that. As an offensive player, I try to do the best that I can with the chances that I get so I just try to do my best with the chances that I get.

On the own goal...

It helped a lot of course. When we are winning, we play with more confidence and try to look for the second one.

On the game plan...

We know where we want to be and to be there we have to play every game to win. So it doesn’t matter if we’re playing at home or away, you have got to start the game, pass and try to score it as soon as we can.

On Tim Melia’s performance...

It’s not the first time [to get a clean sheet]. We are very lucky to have him. He’s a great keeper and it’s not the first time that he’s shown how good he is.

On the push to the post season:

I think if we keep playing like this, I have no doubt in my mind that we’ll make it.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC head Coach Marc Dos Santos

On tonight’s loss...

At this stage right now, we’re a little bit fragile. We’re in a position that every time the opponent scores, it looks heavy. We need to have a different type of mental toughness and react in a better way. When that happens, it’s hard. I have to apologize to the fans for the first half. That’s where the game happened. It was very sloppy, lack of intensity, lack of willingness mentally, not in the game for a game that’s so important for us.

On the chances in the second half...

The second half, it became an exaggerated result. We had some good chances. Tim makes a good save, the other one hits the post. Ali gets in a good area in a dangerous play, Theo has a shot that comes very close. I think there we deserved a goal. Then when we don’t score, 2-0, and then the result got a little bit exaggerated. I think the first half was key to our performance today. We didn’t deserve to win due to our first half for sure.

On Theo Bair...

We’re trying everything. Today the positive of the game was Theo Bair. It was positive to have him there. It was positive to see what he tried to bring to the team. That’s great, that’s a positive sign. At this point, we’re trying everything to create. We’re trying everything to find the best solution possible and hopefully we’ll be able to grow.

On challenging the team...

Now, we have to think game-by-game. We have to think about what we want to look like. We still have the Canadian Championship to play for. We still have a lot to play for and I believe that inside. I’m challenging everybody in our locker room to show that we have that mental side that we can react to things. It’s not going to be a group that’s going to be blaming each other. It’s going to be a group that fights to grow to become a better team.

On the decision to start Zac MacMath...

The 15 games that we’ve had since LA. From LA until the end of August, we have the possibility of 15 games and we were looking at what’s the best time to rotate before Max gets a big stretch. This was the time for us in our cycle. It’s tough for a goalkeeper to play 15 games in two months. We don’t have to get anybody injured. Zac showed in other games that he can do the job. I trust Zac, he has the abilities to do well in this league.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC defender Doneil Henry 

On how to start getting more clean sheets again...

It’s tough, because the defence has done really well. It’s a lot of pressure. It’s tough, I don’t know. I don’t want to make any excuses for why or what’s going on. But when you’re playing in a team that’s not doing as well as we want to be doing, it’s really easy to point the finger. But as a club, we’re not doing well. I think it’s kind of harsh to just say that the defense as of late has been doing poorly; as a team we’ve been doing poorly, and that needs to change.

On if this team is a playoff calibre team...

Yes, with everybody on the same page.

On how to right the ship going to New England...

The same way we go into every single game, with the mentality to win.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC forward Theo Bair

On his first MLS start...

Lots of adrenaline, felt good, I think that it was unfortunate, not to get the lead but it’s a progress, we have a good group of players, good team and I think that as long as we believe in each other, the season will go well from here.

On managing his size on the field...

It’s been that way my whole life, every time that I touch someone, they usually fall so it is just something I need to adjust to, maybe pull up a little bit.

On New England match...

We just need to take it game by game, New England is a good opponent but I think that as long as we get together, get our heads straight, we can beat them.

On MLS Homegrown match...

I’m trying not to think about it too much because obviously I just played my first 90 minutes with the team, so I just want to focus on New England and help [the team] as much as I can, and once that game comes, I’ll take the time to enjoy it and have fun and play well.

On being a part of the first team...

It’s a completely different level, it demands a lot more, the guys are more serious it’s still a lot of fun but this is a job so we have to take it seriously as well so it’s just different for sure but I really like it.

On Marc Dos Santos’ trust in him...

It feels great, obviously when your coach is behind you, that’s the best feeling in the world so it felt good.

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