CINvSKC Quotes: "Those three points are massive for us and keep us in the hunt"

Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes

Thoughts on the match…

Both teams had to deal with it, but I think the field was tough to play on. Obviously you have to have a style of play to win games and you have to also work and fight and all those things. But sometimes you have to be able to stick your nose on the end of a ball to block it for a goal not to be scored and vice versa, you’ve got to stick your nose on the end of the ball to score. You’re going to have to scrape and scrap and fight and bite for everything in the game today. At the end, we got a really good result on the road. Those three points are massive for us at the moment and keep us in the hunt. We’ve just got to keep working to gain points. I thought that the subs we made in the second half really had an impact in the game. That was probably the difference in the game. We really didn’t give much away. The other thing too is there was no one here. They don’t have any fans here and it was incredibly stale. You could hear everything in the stadium. It’s not what you’re used to playing in so I think the guys did a really good job based on the fact it was that kind of an environment.

On clinching a playoff berth…

I think every team’s goal in this league is to make the playoffs. That’s the standard. And then the next thing is obviously you want to try to get a home playoff game and try to get home field advantage if you can then through the playoffs. Those are all the things you’re fighting for week after week and that’s what we’re fighting for. It’s a job well done by the guys in accomplishing that aspect but now we’ve got to keep fighting here with the last couple games of the season and get ourselves to a place where we have a home playoff game and maybe some home field advantage if we can keep going on.

On the play of Tim Melia…

Tim has one of those careers that you could write a short little film around. He came into the league and bounced between two teams and was a league pool goalkeeper. He’s become one of the best goalkeepers in this league. He’s had obviously a great career thus far – and he still has a lot ahead of him. He’s done well here and he has to continue to keep doing that and we’ve got a lot of games to play. We haven’t won anything yet. We’ve accomplished getting to the playoffs which again I think is a big goal you want to accomplish each year but the bottom line is we’ve still got a lot of work to do.

On Alan Pulido setting up the goal…

He reminds me a lot of a player that used to play in the league when I played. That’s Jaime Moreno. Jaime could do what the game needed. He was an attacking player. He could score. He could come up with the assist. He could play as a playmaker. He could play in the wide channels. He could do it all. He could hit free kicks. Alan can do the same. He’s also incredibly intelligent. He has great street smarts for the game. He knows the tricks of the trades on the field – just a really, really intelligent player and a huge, huge addition to our club.

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Ilie Sanchez

On playing on turf against Cincinnati…

We’ve trained during the week in our facility and I guess our turf is too good. We felt pretty good in training even when it was turf. You all know we have a great facility, it’s a brand new one. This is a good setting too, but the field was very, very difficult for us to be able to play our regular game and I think that we realized that in the first half. We adjusted some things after half time and that’s how we got the win in the end. I’m happy for the three points. It was a really tough game against a really good opponent. I think they needed to win tonight in order to stay alive for the postseason. Fortunately for us, we got the win and we’re all happy. We should be happy.

On Cincinnati’s style of play…

Right now, we are at a point of the season and also as a team where we are trying to find a way to win the games no matter what we have in front, no matter if we have our A game or our B game or our C game, we have to find a way to win. That’s what we’re doing -- keeping a really strong mentality from the defense starting with Tim [Melia] and building from that. I think it’s the right time to do it and the team looks ready for what’s coming.

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Roger Espinoza

On coming off the bench…

When you’re on the bench, you get to see a little bit of how the other team is playing, the way your teammates are located on the field and the other team too so I think it gives me an advantage when I come off the bench. Obviously, I have a little more energy too. Whatever my role is, that’s what I try to incorporate into my game and this time is was coming on as a sub and helping out the team.

On playing on turf…

On turf, things can be difficult. It slows the game down because the ball takes different bounces, so you have second guesses in the game. Once we scored the goal, first of all we started to press a little more and I think we were trying to manage the game just because it was very difficult. Them playing here all the time is an advantage to them. It’s not the way we wanted to play but I think the conditions of the field made us play that way a little bit.

On his goal…

I saw the play develop a little bit and I was trying to get them to switch it earlier. Cincinnati’s entire team was shifting the opposite way so once I saw the ball go through from Gadi (Kinda) to Alan, I knew there was a lot of space at the top of the box. Usually I hit those way far out there to the moon but today for some reason I tried to concentrate and thought ‘I’m going to hit it low’ and I over-concentrated because it was turf, just trying to place it more than trying to overpower it. It went in and I’m happy for that.

FC Cincinnati head coach Jaap Stam

On tonight’s performance...

I can only say that it’s unbelievable that we’ve played many games and it’s unfortunate that you don’t get the results that you deserve. Do we deserve them? Because we missed the opportunities ourselves. You give away a game. They come out once and they score a goal. We get several, several opportunities and we can’t finish them off, so that’s a pity. Nothing to the players because they’ve worked hard, and they’ve played well. Second half is always different from the first half – it’s a bit more open, you can see, and we spoke about it at halftime. They tried to press a little bit, be more and more aggressive going forward. We found it hard in the beginning to play away from there, but that one ball over the top - that makes a difference at times. Sometimes you need to use it, you get a penalty, you need to finish that. We can’t, and after that, you control the game. You get opportunities after that, as well; but for some reason we can’t get it in the back of the net. That’s unfortunate, because we can say a lot and we complain about things, of course, but we need to look at ourselves because in a lot of home games we gave it away ourselves. We couldn’t finish the games, and that’s why we are where we are now, to be honest.

On giving Jimmy McLaughlin an appearance in Nippert Stadium’s finale...

You do, and it’s not because of Jimmy (McLaughlin) and doing favors for Jimmy. He’s been out. He’s a guy who’s always ready for the club. He’s working hard. He came back from injuries. He’s been out for a long time. We needed to make an extra sub, bring an extra forward in, and you can make a choice between Rashawn (Dally) and Jimmy. Rashawn had his opportunities, as well. Jimmy came back and you hope that when he comes in, he can bring the extra sparkle to get dangerous and get them forward. Although, it is a couple of minutes. For him, it’s special to finish his last game over here... I think for everybody it’s been great to play here. We spoke about it a little bit yesterday, as well. There’s been history made over here, and going to a new ground. I think everybody is thankful for what we could do over here, and what the club has been doing over here for me. It’s unfortunate that you can’t see the stadium, Nippert, with fans, but it is how it is. We need to keep on going. There are only two games to go and hopefully we can finish them well and give us a little bit of a better feeling to finish the season, but it’s unfortunate, again, going back to this game. You get nothing from this game. Especially if you see where the opposition is standing in the ranking and where we are.

On Siem de Jong playing as striker and Jürgen Locadia as a winger...

That went very well up top, because Siem (de Jong) is very good and he played up top in the past, and Jürgen (Locadia) played in his previous clubs on the left side a lot, and playing from the left. He was a goal scorer, as well, in the league where he played. So, they are very familiar in their position how to play, and you can see by Siem dropping into areas, the opposition didn’t know how to respond or how to deal with that, which brought us more possession and opportunities to go forward, so I think it was a very good conclusion to do that.

FC Cincinnati defender Tom Pettersson

On tonight’s match...

I don’t know. I felt like we had the ball a lot, and got a lot of guys to keep the ball in possession, and say go forward and create some chances. Wish we did, but their keeper (Tim Melia) made some really good saves. Unfortunately, they scored on one chance and we couldn’t score today. We lost. I don’t know what to say really. I’m so disappointed.

On how frustrating the recents results are...

Of course, it’s frustrating. At one point in the season, we didn’t create enough chances to be honest. Right now, we are creating chances, but of course it’s about confidence. If we score a first goal or if we equalize, it’ll boost up this team. Now we don’t get that, so we struggle. We keep on fighting and try to score. Of course, goals change games. So, it’s tough, but we have to build ourselves. We haven’t done enough to score, obviously. We miss the chances, and they don’t. We have to do it better. Of course, there’s a lot of confidence. It is what it is.

On how Jürgen Locadia’s performance...

I have no idea how he is. You would have to ask him or the physical team. He is fighting like everyone else, and of course he wants to score more goals and all that. It’s not easy. We have to give him more chances as well. We all know as a striker and the goal scoring, if you score one goal, you get more. He just needs to score a goal and we will score a lot. He is a really good player. We’re all struggling right now with our confidence. Soccer is a lot about your head and it’s a lot about confidence. We also have to earn the result. If you win the game and get a few goals from playing well, then you feel like you’re heading somewhere, and it’s so much easier on you. But right now, we’re struggling. It’s tougher for us.

FC Cincinnati goalkeeper Spencer Richey

On tonight’s match...

Man, just feels like that summarizes our season pretty accurately. I thought we played well for large portions of the game. we dictated the game especially early on, we created some chances, and they created a couple. They ended up scoring that goal. But if it did not deflect off Tom (Pettersson), I probably end up making that save. (Tim) Melia makes a couple great saves for them and then we hit the post. I thought it accurately summarized how this year has gone for us. You can’t fault guys for their effort, I know eventually effort is not enough and results need to start coming. Unfortunately, we didn't get it done tonight.

On the message from head coach Jaap Stam...

He said similar things. Tonight, is another example where it’s like what do we have to do to get the ball to go in the net. We are getting good chances. We hit the post twice. (Tim) Melia makes a great save on Jürgen (Locadia), closes the angle well. If I knew, I certainly would have something a long time ago, whenever I found that out. For whatever reason, we are not able to put the ball in the back of the net over this last stretch of games. If you can’t do that, and even give up one goal, the result is not going to look good for you. Hopefully these next two games we can play with a lot of pride and find the back of the net. That would be fitting how these series have gone, if we have a goal-fest these next two. We’ll see.

On his last match at Nippert Stadium...

100%. It (not having fans) certainly takes away what makes Nippert what it is, the people that fill it and the atmosphere they create. Obviously, this year we haven’t gotten to experience that. It’s been interesting. Some guys from the team have been asking me. Brandon (Vazquez), for example, only got to experience Nippert when he came with Atlanta (United FC) last year. You guys have no idea. It’s insane. It’s been some of the most fun games that I have ever played in. That’s due, 100%, to the supporters and the atmosphere they create. That’s to Jeff (Berding) and the rest of the guys that started this club. They always say they don’t really know what it is that they did, but they put a group of people together and delivered it to a city that was hungry for soccer. I hope, from the bottom of my heart, that next year, going into the West End Stadium, the supporters can start to get some of the results they deserve. They’ve been patient. They’ve been supportive. They could have easily been smashing us these past two years for a team that has largely underperformed, and that’s myself included. Hopefully, looking into the future there are brighter days ahead.

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