SKCvNTX 7.2.22-84

Sporting KC II Manager Benny Feilhaber

Thoughts on the match as a whole...

One of the biggest differences, and contrasts that we saw today as opposed to some of the losses that we've had this year is that we were the team that was opportunistic. In the moments where North Texas made the mistakes, we were there to poach. We created some really good stuff on our own as well. Conversely, defensively they got into dangerous areas but we were able to protect our goal. John {Pulskamp} made the big saves when we need him to. That's a big, big win against a team that was at the top of the conference. For the guys, I'm really proud of them. We wanted to make a statement in this game against the top team, and play a little more proactive than we have in the last few weeks. I think we did that and I'm really happy for the guys.

On Rauf Salifu's play...

You see it every day in training since he's been here. He has some special things and it hasn't quite come out in a lot of the games. It's normal with strikers that confidence comes and goes. He started building on the confidence about a month ago and it peaked today. We saw what he can really provide and man, it wasn't just the four goals it was the ability to hold the ball up, spring other attacks and to defend. He's really starting to put it all together, it all came out today and I'm really happy for him.

On the defensive play tonight...

The three guys that played in the back together, Esai {Easley}, Cole {McLagan} and Joseph {Addo Tetteh}, played very well. With Spencer {Glass} and Julian {Vazquez} replacing Bakary Bagayoko played really well together. They defended as a unit. We knew that with the three guys North Texas play with, we were going to have to defend man-on-man at times, and they did a really good job. As much as North Texas was dangerous in spots, those three guys had excellent matches.

On John Pulskamp's eight-save win...

We know what kind of goalie he is. We've had some really good performances from goalkeepers this year whether it be from John, Kenall McIntosh or Ethan Bandre, and it was almost what we've come to expect. He's a guy that is going in the right direction. He's played games with the first-team and when he's come down here he's had an incredible mentality and put together some really good performances that have given us an opportunity to win every week.

Sporting KC II forward Rauf Salifu

On scoring four goals in a match...

I'm very excited and very happy to have my first four-goal experience in this league. Today I was my best and I want to make sure I keep on playing well. If in the next game I score a hat trick again, I'll be very happy.

On his first two goals...

The first one was all about practice. On the training ground, we practice set-pieces so I know that Collin {Fernandez} is going to play the ball. I was ready for it and they were all standing and waiting for the offside line and I took my space for the first goal. On the second one, Guy {Michaeli} came inside so I told them that if somebody comes for the ball I'll be away if they flick the ball. I ran onto it and scored.

Sporting KC II defender Cole McLagan

Thoughts on the match...

It was a great match from the boys. We talked in training about keeping the ball a lot more this week and wanting to take the game to the opponents. We got caught up sitting back and defending a little too much and so it was great to come out and take control of the match and really take it to them especially after going down one-nil.

On the entire defense's performance...

You cannot ask for more from Pulskkamp. He's been absolutely brilliant every time he's been with us. Easley was absolutely immense tonight. The man got his foot on absolutely everything. He put his body in the way of everything, whether it was his head if he had to put his face in there so hats off to him. That was another point of emphasis this week. We had to be together, we had to stay talking and we had to make sure that everyone knew exactly where to be in certain moments. It wasn't perfect but the boys really figured out how to come together and how to cover those spaces.

On Rauf Salifu's performance...

What can't I say about Saifu? That's what we brought him here for, he does it in training and we've talked about him doing it in games. He's absolutely done it today. We cannot complain at all about that. He was absolutely brilliant and did everything right. Brought us back from down one. When we conceded to make it 3-2 the game got a bit hairy. It was only for about 30 seconds before Salifu decided he wanted to take the game to them again. My god, he's done it, absolutely great from him.