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Post-match quotes: Sporting Kansas City 2 - D.C. United 1

Saturday, August 11, 2012 - Kansas City, KC

D.C.United manager Ben Olsen



Generalthoughts on the match..

They were morephysical and better on the ball. We had an off night. I will have to search forthe reasons why we had an off night. I didn't like much about the way weplayed.

Onmissing several key players out with injuries…

We missed a coupleguys today, Daniel Woolard and Robbie Russell, the listgoes on and on. But it's still not an excuse for our performance. We didn't cutit. My concern is the way this group played.

Onthe upcoming stretch of games and how the team will work to improve...
"We have importantgames coming up. They all mean a lot down the stretch. We need to work on everyarea. Not one area today was very good. We need to get ahold of the ball alittle bit better. They were better than us in every aspect. We will look at itand figure out the reasons why and look to fix our problems.

OnNick DeLeon's rookie season…

Nick has had a goodseason. He did a good job on the goal tonight.  But we all needed to play better.Bill Hamid played well, but everyone else- there was more they could have done.There was more I could have done. But we are in this together and we will chalkit up.

OnSporting Kansas City's strengths…

Kei Kamara gets inbehind, which is not something you want to let happen. We weren't veryorganized back there. But it was the whole build-up. We were fortunate enoughto not have gone down more. It wasn't one play that cost us the whole game.They outplayed us.



D.C.United midfielder Nick DeLeon



Onhis goal…

Andy [Najar] took onetwo or three guys and I saw him making his run. He played in a beautiful ballto me. The chance was created by him and it was well done. It is what itis.  Andy brings adifferent dynamic to the outside. He's a good playergoing one-on-one.
 

OnD.C. United's faults tonight…

We were sitting backtoo much and not possessing the ball. We tried to go long. It's fine to do thatevery once in a while but every time you don't always get possession and theywere coming right back at us.



Onhis successful rookie season…

I am working andtrying to get better and not be complacent at where I'm at. I'm trying to getbetter at every game and practice- that's my mentality.

D.C.United goalkeeper Bill Hamid



Onthe loss...
"It's kind of a hardhit to the gut. We were in it for good portions of the game butunfortunately one small breakdown and we are walking away with no points. 

On his performance in goal...
"My job is to keep us in the game and right now that doesn'tmatter because I didn't make that best save that could have given us points. Iwas one save away from getting us points.

On the upcoming stretch of games...
"We just have to stay focused. We are playing good soccer andwe have been getting good results here and there. We just have to keep pushingup that ladder and taking games one at a time. 

Sporting Kansas CityManager Peter Vermes

On his team's performance...
"I'll start and say thatafter Wednesday night's win, this was a mature performance for us tonight. It'seasy to be a little complacent and maybe still have a little bit of a hangoverfrom that game, but the commitment by the team tonight was incredible. For me,the win Wednesday was great, it was a championship and everything, but theperformance tonight says so much about this group of guys when they step on thefield. So I'm extremely proud of their performance, their commitment and thenever stop desire to be in front of the goal and challenge everything. It wastremendous and at some point I just think there was no way that they couldwithstand all the pressure that we had on them. The goal was going to come at somepoint. I commend the guys for their commitment for the 90-plus minutes, becauseit was a tremendous effort.

On the opposition...
"I credit D.C. United forsomething and that is, they didn't come just to pack it in. They came and triedto play tonight, and that's rare when we play teams at home. So I commend themfor coming in and playing and keeping the game entertaining and one in whichthey tried to do as well as they could do against us, and that's appreciatedfor sure.

On the style of soccer...
"In a way, I'm notsurprised because it's one of the things that they prepared on as well.Throughout the League, they play games where teams drop off and they just packit in, so I liked the fact that they stuck to it here as well. I know when wewent there the first game of the season, we didn't sit back and drop it in. Wewent after the game as well, so like I said, I commend them for that. It's goodto see another team in the League doing it.

On being in first place with 10 games to play...
"It's just a good step inthe right direction in pursuit of our goals in front of us. Next week, we keepplaying a bunch of Eastern Conference teams and it's going to be important forus to continue on this same vein. We'll get after the next one but we're in agood position now to keep the pressure on everyone else.

On having a full week's rest ahead...
"We'll get a couple daysoff, but we'll have good training. It'll be great for everybody to have just asolid week of training, which we have not had in a while. So I'm looking forwardto it because we still have things we need to work on. We all know that, andwe're going to keep trying to be better.

On finding a groove late in the season...
"The season is very longin MLS, and sometimes it happens that you can ride away for a while, you canfall off the wave, but the big thing is how fast you get back on again. I thinkthat, if anything, we never lost any confidence in ourselves. It's just thatsometimes things happen, the great thing is that we've figured it out, we'vegrinded out some results along the way. Even though we've lost here or there,we came back and got back into the form a little bit. But at the end, I thinkthere's a strong belief in the locker room with the guys that they know theycan play and that they can be very competitive with any team in this League.And it's about them being confident. It's a confident group, but also you can'ttake away the commitment to want to go and do it. A lot of teams want it, butthey sit back and wait for it. These guys, they want it but they go after it.

On taking the front foot in the match...
"You actually can go backto quite a few games, even here at home where we've either tied or lost, butwe've actually crossed and outshot that team by double-digits. Sometimes thisgame is hard on you from that perspective because maybe you hit the post, maybeyou miss the line by a little bit, but it doesn't necessarily reflect whatexactly your performance was. At the end, these guys have stayed committed towhat we've been doing, and it's really scary when you're not creating chances,but we're creating chances and we know that as we create them, eventuallythey're going to go in.

On having Aurelien Collin back in defense...
"He was a little out ofrhythm to start out with. He started getting into it more. The one place he wasreally good with was set pieces. It was really good for us. We missed that. Hewas very good on attacking set pieces especially. It's a lot for guys to handleand so he was solid there and I thought that he was solid in the air – him andBesler, very good in the back.

On the play of Neven Markovic...
"I thought he was good,actually. I think he still needs to find his rhythm within the way we play, butathletically up and down the sideline, he's hard, he's connected to the game, he'snever going to walk off that field and give you less than 100 percent. Sothat's a big step into this team, because all of our guys, when they're outthere, they play and give it their all. So for him to come out and give theperformance that he did tonight is a great effort for sure.

Sporting Kansas City forward Teal Bunbury 

On the team's responding to Wednesday's win...
"I feel like we wanted tocome out there, coming off a big win Wednesday, and we didn't want to have thatletdown coming in after a big win and winning the championship. So we wereconfident going in that we were going to put the same pressure that we knewthat we were capable of doing and we went out there and got it done. When theytied the game back up we didn't put our heads down, we knew we'd get a secondgoal, and we got the win.

On scoring for the second straight game...
"Zusi tries to whip it innear post and I'm always the one usually who tries to make the first post run.I was just trying to lose my guy and it's pretty rare when I score with myhead, so I was pretty happy about that. It's my job to put balls in the back ofthe net and the guys, we all worked for this, so tonight I'm really excitedabout that.

On the team sending multiple shots off the post...
"I feel like the past fewgames we've been pretty unlucky with shots hitting the posts. We're outshootingteams and the ball just isn't going into the back of the net for some reason.But we got two in there tonight and we got the win, so it's huge.

On Sporting Kansas City's second goal...
"I thought (Kei Kamara)was playing me. I didn't even know Zusi was behind me, so I was mad after theball went by me. But then I saw Zusi there and he made a great first touch andjust kept it low and it went in. 

SportingKansas City defender Matt Besler

OnSporting KC's 2-1 win over D.C. United, three days after their U.S. Open Cuptriumph...
"Good teams find a wayto win every game. I think it was a tough challenge coming back fromWednesday's emotional win, but tonight's performance shows that we're old andmature, and we're right there with the best. Tonight didn't feel like alet-down at all. We're playing for first place. After New York won (last night)they jumped ahead of us, but we came into tonight knowing first place was inour hands if we took care of business. We came out, played really well anddidn't let them have a lot of space. We were all over them and it was a verycomplete performance from each of us.

Onlimiting D.C. United to very few chances throughout the game...
"Our style of playleads to that kind of domination. We press teams hard, and although sometimesit's not all the way up the field, we always make the other team uncomfortable.Whenever they come into our zones, we love to close and make a play on the ballas defenders.

Onconceding a goal against the run of play in the 23rd minute...
"It was a weird play.(Nick) DeLeon made a good run and (Andy) Nahar hit a great ball. I think wecould have got better pressure on him, if you're looking at what we could havedone better there. In 90 minutes, that's one of the few chances we gave up. Itwas kind of an ugly goal, but we got the win.

SportingKansas City defender Aurelien Collin

OnSporting KC's 2-1 win over D.C. United...
"It meant a lot for meto be back tonight. The team did a good job getting the win. What more can youask? We could have scored a lot of goals, but in the end we won. It's 100percent deserved, and I am very proud of the team.

Ondecided to take off his protective mask just 10 minutes into the match...
"A big part of my gameis the header. So when I was making headers, the mask was going to the side (ofmy face). It was very uncomfortable. Basketball players can wear them butsoccer players can't, especially if you are a defender where you use your headso much. It hurts when you head the ball so I said ‘(Forget) it,' and I took itoff. 

Onreturning to the starting XI...
"My job tonight was tomake the team more fresh. I was fresh because I didn't play 120 minutes onWednesday. Some players were more tired than I was, so I had to play well. Weknew we had to make the most of our attacks, and if we ever looked tired, wewanted to just keep the ball and pass around between me and (Matt Besler).

SportingKansas City forward Kei Kamara

OnSporting KC's 2-1 win over D.C. United...
"It's always great tocome back after a huge win at home and get another huge win. There were momentsin the game tonight where we lost focus a little bit, and those things couldcome back and hurt you if you play against a team that can make you pay andtake chances. But overall, it was just good to get the three points and gofirst place. 

Onnarrowly missing several goal scoring opportunities throughout the match...
"When you're getting alot of chances and hitting the post, you're definitely creating a lot.Sometimes a close miss motivates you even more, and it really gets the crowdmaking a lot of noise. That gets you going as a player. We knew we would keepgoing at DC United throughout the game, and we had the right attitudethroughout.

Onquickly recovering from an emotional U.S. Open Cup victory and earning anotherwin...
"What we've done hasbeen great, but that's in the past. As a team, as players, and as anorganization, you have to focus forward and have the desire to celebrate likethat again in the future. Obviously we've enjoyed this, but it's alsomotivation to keep pushing and keep pushing. If we do that, we could haveanother celebration ahead of us. Everyone's a professional on this team. Usveterans are there to motivate the younger guys and keep pushing them andmaking sure their heads are right. We just need to continue to get wins.

OnGraham Zusi's game-winning goal in the 63rd minute...
"It was a great teamplay. Besler played me a great long ball and I tried to swing it into the middle.That's straight off the practice field. Plays like that should be coming moreoften. It was great vision by Zusi to take that first touch and he smashed itin the back of the net. Big players like him need to step up at big times, andthat's what he did today.