SKCvATX Quotes: "Today is a good step forward for us to build confidence"

Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes

On the second half substitutions…

We actually were looking to get Khiry (Shelton) as a second forward. That’s what we were trying to do, and we wanted to go to three at the back. We decided to make the changes that we did. Daniel (Salloi) was incredibly dangerous. He had some great chances. I thought the goalkeeper made a tremendous save on the one late in the second half there where he tipped it over the bar when Daniel cut inside. It was a great strike. The goalkeeper made a great save. He was keeping them in the game. We wanted to apply pressure with another person in the middle to give us a reference point and I thought that having Khiry in there really helped us.

On the team creating so many chances…

What I really appreciate about the guys is that I said to them at halftime, ‘There’s no reason to come in at halftime and feel down.’ We created some really good chances. We’re still trying to find ourselves for a number of reasons. We’re still trying to get fit. We’re trying to just get bodies on the field. There’s a lot of different things that we’re trying to do right now. We’re just not fully there yet. What I really like is that the guys kept a good mentality going into the second half and really never gave up trying to get back into the game. They were purposeful about the decisions that they made in and around the box. Luis (Martins) today with his service was tremendous. He was really, really good with his service today. I think that made a big difference in the game.

On staying positive despite being down 1-0…

I was really proud of the fact that we came out to try to be more like us. I thought we were good with the ball. I thought we circulated the ball, especially down the left we were very strong. We were creating chances and that’s what I want to see from our team. I know sometimes the ball is going to go the other way and something is going to happen, like on the goal that they scored. That’s going to happen every once in a while. We kept ourselves in the game. That was the most important thing. That’s why I was so positive.

On Ilie’s performance…

He has a lot of assets that he provides us in the game. The fact that he could move around, play in the back. When we moved to three in the back, he went to the back in the middle. It helps us immensely to be able to make that shift and for him to do it in a really, really good way. It helps us a lot. That was a big change in the game which I thought put a lot of pressure on them.

On the play of John Pulskamp…

He’s getting better all the time. You can tell he’s getting more comfortable with his feet and he’s getting more comfortable in the management of the game. For a guy as young as he is, he’s doing a hell of a job.

On Austin FC going down a man…

I think he could have easily had a couple of yellows that would have led to a red. All the same I guess, it probably just could have happened a lot earlier. Sometimes there is an accumulation. What they did a really good job of is when we did break them a few times and started to get out on the run, they were doing the tactical fouls. I think those things need to be managed, and unfortunately neither the players nor the coaches can manage that. The referee has to. All in all, I thought those guys did a decent job in the game.

On the play of Andreu Fontas…

He’s a very, very experienced player. When we have the ball, he’s very good in those moments. We’re a team that wants to have the ball. We’re a team that wants to play out of the back. I thought that he was very good on the ball again today. He was very calm in situations. He made some timely tackles defending. That consistency continues to bear fruit for us and we’ve just got to keep riding that and he does, as well. Credit to him, because he takes care of himself. 

On Graham Zusi’s return…

He’s a monster. For him to go 55 minutes like he did today, I wasn’t sure if I was going to have to sub him 30 minutes into the game or 45. The fact that he went another 10 minutes after the break was tremendous. That’s a credit to him and the way he takes care of himself and the way he works. I was in preseason with him. When I was going and working out in the gym at 6 o’clock in the morning, he was there every morning doing therapy, staying strong, staying fit. He’s a consummate professional and a great example to a lot of guys on our team. Even when he came off and he was sitting on the bench – him and Roger both, two guys that have as much experience as they do and played so many games for this club – they were so motivated and cheering the guys on and into the game. It’s great to see their competitiveness and the way they go about their business. I’m very happy for Zusi. He’s put a lot of work into getting to where he is and he had a really good performance.

On the return of Matt Besler…

It’s not an easy thing. I have a special place for Besler. We spent a lot of years together.  We went through a lot of battles and a lot of wars and won a lot of them. I know what it’s like when you leave a team that you’ve been with and then you go someplace else. It’s always a tough thing as a player. I’ve got nothing but great ideas about him, great memories. He’s a class act. I wish him knowing but the best and it was good seeing him after the game.

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gadi Kinda

Thoughts on the game…

It was a good game. We had a lot of chances to score. We deserved to take the win and I’m happy for the three points.

On the team’s mentality…

We had a great mentality, even up against 11 players. I think we played very well. We could have scored before they got the red card. I hope the next game we will score our chances.

On the team’s chemistry…

We have a good relationship with all of the players. We understand each other very well. You can see it in the games.

On how he felt when he scored…

I like to score. It’s the best feeling to score and a last-minute goal is amazing. I am very happy with these three points.

On celebrating postgame…

It felt amazing. The fans are fantastic. It’s a great feeling.

Sporting Kansas City defender Graham Zusi

On returning to action and playing against Matt Besler..

I actually can’t describe in words what it felt to be back in front of the fans. It kind of caught me off guard, I was a bit emotional when I came out for warm-ups. It felt fantastic to be back and to cap it off with a win as well. Playing against Bes, we’ve been teammates for so long and we’ve had this very healthy competitiveness towards each other really our whole careers and I think that’s what’s pushed us to where we’ve been able to get to. So to compete against him in a match was fun. Bes was Bes on the field. He was smart, extremely good on the ball, soccer IQ is through the roof and just a tough guy to play against. When we were close to each other on the field we exchanged a couple of words and said our hellos. You always want to be on the same team as Bes but the next best thing is competing against a guy like that.

On becoming Sporting KC’s all-time regular-season appearance leader…

I was not aware of that, but that’s kind of cool I guess. This club means everything to me, it’s the only one I’ve played for and the only one I know and the only one I’d like to play for. You go throughout the years and the memories we’ve built here, the trophies we’ve won and the trophies we want to win in the coming years as well. I really have nothing but fond memories from my time here and I’d like to see that continue for as long as possible.

On the team’s confidence in being able to rally late in the game…

If you look at the game as a whole, I think we fully deserved to win the game with the amount of chances that we created. Some of them, from no fault of our own – goalkeeper made some fantastic saves against us, a couple of them I think we could’ve done a little bit better as well but we created some high, high quality chances in this game and I think we deserved the win. Fully took advantage of the red card as well, I think with stoppage time we probably had another 30 minutes left in the game once the red card happened. The guys were calm and collected, continued to play our game and we know that once we’re a man up it should give us ample time to get some more opportunities and a couple of our guys put away some good chances.

On goalkeeper John Pulskamp making big saves after the team had scored…

That’s inexcusable from us to score a goal and then give up a chance from the kickoff. That’s pretty poor and it’s lack of – we lost focus for five seconds and that should not happen off a kickoff but Pulskamp bailed us out on that one. I can’t say enough about some of the saves he made today but from a focus standpoint that’s inexcusable from us.

On surpassing Matt Besler as the club’s all-time regular-season appearance leader…

As far as I’m concerned, any record that myself or Matt holds, whether one of us jumps the other, we’ve done that all together so might as well tattoo both our names in the history books.

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Ilie Sanchez

Thoughts on the performance…

I think that today is a good step forward for us to build confidence. If we play the way that we tried to in the first half and that we did in the second half, for our next games it’s not going to be that difficult to get the three points. I’m happy because we got the result obviously but more happy because of the performance, especially in the second half.

On the team’s mentality to score two goals late in the game…

It’s not easy, it’s not easy. I know that we played with one man up for 20 minutes but probably they should’ve gotten the red card earlier so that doesn’t mean anything. We did our job, we took advantage of the circumstances in the game and very happy that we got the three points.

On scoring from a corner after creating several opportunities from set pieces…

The crosses are everything, Busio played me two similar crosses in the second half, Johnny was excellent in the one that we scored. The crosses are everything for us, we just have to be consistent in our runs and that’s what happened tonight and I’m happy for helping the team.

On how tonight’s result will help the team with two games next week…

Well we have to rest now. I think that going into two games, one in the middle of the week and one next weekend at home, for us it’s better if we’re happy with our win. It’s one more game, four in the season, 30 to go so let’s keep building, improving and now it’s time to rest and focus on Wednesday’s game tomorrow.

Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff

On how the red card changed the game...

I think the red card changes everything... The red changed the whole dynamic of the game. I think there was a big result there for us and I think our guys know that and I think the people that watched the game would know that as well.

On starting Gallagher...

I think we had some ideas on what we thought we could exploit versus Kansas City and I think it was really clear that it was working exactly how we planned on it... Jon deserved the opportunity. He's been playing well, he could have three or four goals already so [I'm] really excited for him to get on the board.

Austin FC defender Nick Lima

On bouncing back after a loss...

I think we take the things that we did good from this game and the things we did well in the first three [matches] and we [look at] all that optimistically. We're a good team. I think Kansas City got fortunate got to [play against] 10 men. I feel like we could have won.

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