Post-Match Quotes: May 31, 2014

"It was a battle. [Kansas City], they’re a good team."

Ben Olsen and Perry Kitchen shake hands postgame - 2014

Photo Credit: 
USA Today Sports Images

D.C. United Coach Ben Olsen

On what Fabián Espíndola means to the team…
He is a warrior, man. What you guys didn’t know is that he was throwing up Wednesday, all day. He has been out for two days and shows up on Friday ready to go. We have had a bug with this team now for a good ten days. I think it has run its course through the team and I think physically you saw that a little bit in us tonight. I didn’t think we had as much juice as we needed, I think part of it was that, but again you go back to the character of these individuals in particular Fabián [Espíndola] he means a great deal to us. Fabián [Espíndola] has got a nice arrogance about him, and I’m glad he is on our side.

On Espíndola's season…
I think he has a good role for us. You know, I think he needs freedom and he needs to be able to offset defenses and not be constricted. I think we’ve given him that here. I certainly think he has been as good as anybody in this league up to this point, but no, it does not surprise me because he has been doing it for a long time in this league, and he is a guy you never wanted to play against as a coach or a player because how unpredictable he is, how ruthless he is and his mentality.

On the game overall…
I thought they were very good. I give them a lot of credit in having their identity even with some of the injuries that they have developed. It’s something really good over there in Kansas City. And, if you are not 100 percent against them and your not committed when you press, they’ll break you down. They are a very good passing team. I think Benny Feilhaber is playing his best stuff so they are not an easy team to deal with. It’s a team we’ve struggled with in particular. The way we’d line up against them, dealing with their three in the midfield with our two forwards, it was a tough task and they had a lot of the ball. They were dynamic, but I also think if we caught them a couple times on the break more it could have been two or three easily.

On looking forward to Columbus at FedExField…
It is kind of like a home-away game, you know, we will get a look at it Friday and make sure we get in there and see the specifics of the stadium. We’ve played there before several times it’s a little more narrow than RFK but that’s ok. I don’t see it too much of an issue and I am excited to be apart of this build up of the World Cup.

On initial thoughts on Chris Korb and also Sean Franklin coming back…
Yeah, it’s nice to look down the bench and have [Sean] Franklin coming in. It’s what we’ve tried to do in the offseason, build that depth if you get into trouble and you know tonight was good example of that. I think the injury seems minor, but I won’t know until a day or two. We are kind of banged up, so I think these guys have deserved a day or two to exhale and we’ll get back to work to prepare for Columbus.

D.C. United Goalkeeper Bill Hamid

On the hard fought win…
It was a battle. [Kansas City], they’re a good team. They’re kind of known now this year as the [Real] Salt Lake of the East Coast. They keep possession and they want to break teams down to tire them out. They tried to do that tonight but we stayed strong.

On Sporting Kansas City’s offense…
They pushed a lot of numbers forward, that’s why we had a lot of [counter-attacks]. We were able to open them up with a lot of long balls because they wanted to push numbers forward. They were searching for the ball, and that’s generally how they play so it was good that the backline stayed strong and the midfielders stayed strong. We defended the box really well and we came out with three points.

On winning close games consistently this season…
It shows a lot of character that we were able to stay strong and keep shutouts and get three points, or get points on the road. When we look back at this during the week we’re going to look in the mirror and say we could’ve been a little better with the ball, could’ve kept possession a little better and we could have been a bit more dangerous in attacking them. But like I said, it shows character that we’re able to keep zeros and get three points out of these matches. It’s a tough league to play in when it comes to teams pushing numbers forward, so we did really well today.

On beating Kansas City in his MLS debut on May 5, 2010, the last time United beat Sporting…
I was nervous as hell. I was shaking the whole time. I couldn’t hear the National Anthem at all because my head was just shaking, but my teammates helped me a lot and it was a memorable day. It was our first win of the season and we won 2–1 against Kansas City.

On playing in FedexField on Thursday against Columbus Crew…
It’s exciting. Especially with the crowd that we know is going to come for the Spain versus El Salvador game. It’s a chance for us to get into a nice venue and play a formidable team in front of a big crowd and do well. It’s a big game for Spain and El Salvador, and our heads are going to be wrapped around our game and getting three points.

On the possibility of being an MLS All-Star this season…
It would mean everything to me. At the end of the day, I’ve got a great bunch of guys around me that help me to defend the box well, that talk to me and motivate me and I try to motivate and encourage them. It would mean the world to me be an MLS All-Star. Some great players have been MLS All-Stars and that would be a great accomplishment for my career and I hope I get it. If not, I keep moving on, I keep on being a good teammate and I keep on moving up the ladder.

D.C. United Forward Fabián Espíndola

On the result…
I think they’re way better than us with the ball, especially in midfield. We ran a lot tonight. I think it was a very even game.

On overcoming illness this week to perform well… I’m very tired. I don’t know is it because of [the illness] or because of Kansas City and the way they moved the ball. I’m so tired right now. I wasn’t able to train much and I think that was a big deal.

On the injuries to KC’s defensive line…
Yeah, it was huge. [Defender Aurelien] Collin is really good. He is one of the main men [on Kansas City], so I think that was a part of the game, but after that they still played well. Like I said, it was a really tough game.

On how the win helped build character…
I think we are trying to keep the ball, but tonight I think it wasn’t our best night, or maybe they were better than us with the ball, and we did a really good job defending and keeping the shutout. I don’t know if we played very bad tonight or they’re so good.

On beating Kansas City for the first time in four years…
That’s great for us. Especially when they are the champions, so that’s good.

Sporting Kansas City Head Coach Peter Vermes

On update for Aurelien Collin…
Yeah, he just tweaked his hamstring again. Just re-injured it. I have no idea.

On depleted defense…
Yeah, we just need to keep moving guys around to get ourselves through this period. Obviously, we’ve got one more game before the break and we’ll do the best that we can with it at the moment, but I have nothing but praise for team. We drove the game here, 61 percent possession, against 39 for them. Their the home team so from that perspective and all the chances and everything that we did, you know, look we tried to drive the game and tried to play to high tempo and the second half was at many times at a snails pace in regards to the management of the game. There was too many things that was going on within the game that I think should have been managed by the referee crew, you know, especially when there are fouls and guys are kicking balls away those are things. That just needs to be taken care of.

On Kronberg conceding lone goal…
He made a mistake, you know. There is nothing around it. You know, it was his mistake, but you know that happens sometimes. But outside of that as a group we played very, very well. We had five guys on the field under 20 years old.

On failing to even the score…
Yeah, every time we went forward obviously they bunkered in and they tried to counter. That was their game, but we had some very good chances in and around the box. A couple unlucky ones, especially in the first half. We had a great ball inside the six-yard box that banged off a couple guys as opposed to getting a clean shot off, but that happens sometimes.

Sporting Kansas City Goalkeeper Eric Kronberg

On the D.C. United goal…
I saw that [Fabián] Espíndola had the ball out wide to my left, and out of the corner of my eye sight I saw [Eddie] Johnson coming across to the base of the goal. So, I took a step forward expecting him to cross it to him and Espíndola saw it and happened to chip it over my head. I don’t know if he was intending to do it, if he was great play by him and great vision by him, but you know, unlucky. I probably should have stayed on the line and let my defense handle that, but I will definitely learn from this one and move on.

On playing with less players …
I think the key to our success defensively is that we have to defend with all eleven guys, and that is kind of our style of play we defend from the top down. Everyone knows their role and everyone knows everyone else’s role. We can bring new guys in and they can not miss a beat. Obviously we have players that you know we want in there but, I am really happy with the way my defense played tonight and I think that goal was on me.