SKCvHOU Quotes: "We’ve stepped it up a notch"

Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes

On the team’s performance…

I think we deserved the win for sure. I would say that we obviously scored our goal. We had some very, very good chances. I thought that their goalkeeper also did well. I thought we were organized defensively, and we were really good offensively in tonight’s game. We didn’t give anything silly away which was great.

On keeping a clean sheet…

We were very organized and concentrated knowing that we needed to buckle down and not give anything away. I thought we were pretty good at that tonight.

On the three-game winning streak…

We’ve been very disciplined, for sure, defensively and we’ve stepped it up a notch because we have a team that can attack with a lot of weapons. We’re starting to do that.

Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Tim Melia

On the keys to tonight’s victory…

Same as last week – the effort and giving nothing away defensively. We still have a long way to go but we’re on the right track. We’re winning at home. We’re being really difficult to break down. And now we have a really important and really difficult task coming up against Portland.

On keeping a clean sheet…

I thought Graham Smith tonight was phenomenal with the amount of shots he blocked. I thought the way that we were sitting in a little bit of a lower block, they weren’t stepped up very high but when they did, they were trying to play the ball over the top to (Alberth) Elis when he transitioned in the middle. We did a good job being in front and being behind him. The big difference is that we just have more confidence. It was never a doubt if we were good or if the team was talented. But right now, we’re in a good mind space and we need to keep going because we need to win quite a few more games to get into the playoffs.

On next week’s match at Portland…

Portland is a really difficult place. It’s a place we’ve had a little bit of success when we’ve gone there, but they’re in the same position as us. They’re trying to get above the last place in the playoffs. We’ve got to grind. It’s going to be an absolute grind. It’s going to be a great environment with the new addition to their stadium. Those are the type of atmospheres we want to play in and we’re looking forward to it.

Sporting Kansas City forward Johnny Russell

On his takeaway from the match…

I think just the consistency we’ve been showing recently. It’s not been pretty at times, but we’re back to our old selves – keeping the ball and creating chances. We need to take a lot more than we’re taking right now but that’s down to us. We’re solid defensively. We’re working hard for each other. I said it a few weeks back – we’re not going to give up without a fight. I think we’re showing that. We’ve let everyone down for so long this season with the way we’ve played. We’re showing everyone we want to be here. We want to win. I think the last few weeks and last few results have shown that.

On Tim Melia becoming the team’s all-time shutouts leader…

It’s a tunnel for him in practice. When you’re breaking records, you’re getting tunnels. For as long as I’ve been here and before that, Tim has been so big for us. He makes some incredible saves. The guys along the backline have been great in front of him, as well to limit their chances – still a few more than we would like, but when you’ve got a goalkeeper like Tim back there you always feel a little bit safe even if someone is one-on-one with him.

On his goal…

It was a great ball in from Felipe (Gutierrez) to begin with and Graham does well to keep his run onside. It was great composure and it was difficult the way he caught it to loop it over the back post. I wanted to get myself into an area that I could maybe get in and luckily for me he put it right on my head and I managed to tuck it away. I’m delighted to get a goal and obviously for it to go toward a victory as well.

On celebrating with the fans…

(Matt) Besler invited me. He’s been getting half beers. I got like a two liter of Bud Light. It’s good fun. When you get wins, it’s nice to celebrate a little bit with the fans. They’ve been here week in and week out and they’ve stuck by us through some tough times this year. It’s nice to give a little back to them.

Houston Dynamo head coach Davy Arnaud

Thoughts on the match…

I told them before the game, we wanted a performance that was worthy of a result and regardless of the result we needed to do the things we talked about all week. They did everything we asked of them. They poured everything they had into the game. Obviously, the result is not what we want but I think if we consistently have performances like that in a very tough place to play, if you can consistently perform like that, the results are going to come. I take a lot of positives from it and the character and the way they went about it. They did enough to deserve a result and unfortunately, they didn’t get it. On another night, they probably do.

On leaving Mauro Manotas on the bench…

Christian (Ramirez) is a great addition for us. We felt going into this game that Christian provided something a little different. If we were going to be defending a little bit deeper, Christian holds the ball well. He brings other players into the play. We feel like we have two good options there with Mauro and Christian. Tonight, we felt like Christian fit this game a little better for us and would put us in a better position to win the game.

On if Mauro Manotas and Christian Ramirez can be in the same lineup…

We can integrate both. We’ve played a 4-4-2 tonight even though we didn’t start that way necessarily. Yeah, there’s definitely a possibility to have both on the field at the same time and it’s something we’ll continue to evaluate, and we’ll assess that as we go.

On returning to Kansas City…

I love coming back here. Obviously, I’m disappointed with the result but it’s a great stadium and a great city. I loved my time here. Any time I get to come back and be a part of a game at the stadium here, it brings back great memories for me.

Houston Dynamo defender Adam Lundkvist

On the team’s performance…

It was obviously not the result and the outcome that we wanted. I think the performance was much better and we took a really big step forward compared to last week, but we’re never happy when we lose. You want to win every game. I feel like we have to be honest. We put in a good performance. Sometimes where we are right now, that’s a good thing. We need to keep building on that. It was a tough game against a good team. They were at home and I think we stood up pretty well. We deserved at least a point from this game. We have to continue building and growing from this and let this be our standard from now on to continue developing and get better every game.

On the upcoming FIFA break…

It’s been a rough stretch and a rough couple of weeks with everything happening within the club. This last performance, we can really take this and bring it with us and feel a little bit better about ourselves. I think we did a lot of good stuff tonight. We’ll rest up and refocus and come back stronger. We have some guys going away and playing for their countries. It’s a really good opportunity for them. We have to stay here and we have to work and keep on growing. We have a really good chance to put together a good stretch of games for the last part of the season. We have to keep growing. It’s a good time to take a bit of rest and refocus and come back stronger.

On the team’s traveling support…

It means a lot. That’s why we play the game for the supporters and for the atmosphere. Seeing that our fans are always there. We know we’re struggling right now and we’re doing everything we can to make it up to them. They show their support every game. This country is pretty big, I’ll tell you that. We have fans everywhere. This club is big and it’s huge. The fans deserve more. We work every day to get better. We feel like the talent and the potential is there. We just need to have a little bit better efficiency and keep growing. We’re almost there. We just have to work harder.

Houston Dynamo forward Christian Ramirez

On his takeaway from the match…

We made it difficult for them. We stuck to what we talked about all week. You have to build off of that. If we were sharper in some areas, we come away with a result and maybe we win this game. It was a proud effort. That’s something to build off. Obviously, it’s disappointing not to walk away with anything but at some point you have to take a positive out of a negative. I think that’s something that we need to look at and be proud of.

On getting a break during the FIFA window…

It’ll be good. I know some of the guys, it’s a tough moment professionally to be in a situation like this with so many results and bounces not going your way. That will be a refreshing moment for some guys. For myself personally, I get to move into my apartment tomorrow. So, I’ll try to settle in and build some furniture.

On if he’s faced this kind of adversity before…

I’ve come from nothing. I’m not supposed to be in this situation. I’m not supposed to be playing in this league. Everything has been earned. Nothing has been given. I want to win. That’s something that I’ve carried with myself wherever I’ve gone - sacrificing to put the team in the best situation to win. I hate losing. I hope everyone saw the performance that the guys left out on the field. If we can play in that manner and sacrifice for each other – being that selfless, you can go to battles with guys like that and know that you’re going to end up with results more times than not.