Post-match quotes: Crew at Sporting Kansas City

Josh Williams

Photo Credit: 
USA Today Sports Images

Columbus Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter

On Columbus’ improved performance in the second half…

I thought we came out with more aggressiveness in the second half. In all honesty, Kansas City is a better team right now. We’re not there yet. But I think it’s the way that we presented ourselves in the first half that I’m disappointed with. In the second half, we played how we know how to play, and it was a lot better. For that, I am proud of the guys. I think they worked hard in the second half and we had them on the ropes for a little bit. Unfortunately we didn’t get that tying goal.

On the current strength of his team… 

At this stage, we’re looking at the performance. That’s what is most important to us. I think our performances have been (good) for the most part. We’re still developing our team. When I say Kansas City’s the better team—that’s right now. We expect to get there, so we’re going to keep working and keep developing the squad.

On playing at Houston Dynamo three days after this match…

We need to get guys recovered from this game. Obviously it’s been warm, so we have to recover and get prepared for the next game. We’re going to focus, right from the beginning, on playing our game. That’s our focus. We want our guys to look at this game and see what they could have done better. We’ll give them feedback about what they could have done better and we’re going to move forward.

On missing Wil Trapp due to red card suspension for the next game…

I don’t think there is a like-for-like replacement in our whole league for Wil Trapp. I think he’s a good player. For his age, I think he’s one of the better midfielders in the league. So the short answer is no, there isn’t a like-for-like replacement. We’ll have to find someone who can perform.

Columbus Crew forward Dominic Oduro 

On the team's play after going down a goal

We came back really strong. I want to say we had them pretty much the whole half; we just couldn't put anything on target. We have to play [the whole game] like we did in the second half. We don't have to wait all the way until we are down until we start playing. We have to put pressure on them and start like that and then hopefully we can get good results. We know we can play and that we are a good team. They are also a good team. I think today they just outworked us a little bit. We just have to go back and figure things out. 

On the difference between the first and second half

In the second half, we put pressure on them. We didn't wait for them to pressure us.  That's what we were doing in the first half. Second half we just had to dictate the game and that's what we did and we were able to find a little result out of it. We just have to play hard again and put pressure on them. 

On what needs to change heading into the next game

Nothing. Regardless of how the first half went, I don't think we played that bad. We are a good team and we believe that. We are just going to keep doing what we are doing which is keep the ball and just try and find the ball in the net. It's as simple as that.  

Columbus Crew midfielder Bernardo Anor 

Thoughts on the match

It was a tough loss against a very good opponent. We just have to keep working harder and harder. Just keep doing what we have been doing since the beginning of the season and hope for the best. 

On the difference between the first and second half

We came out in the second half with a better attitude; more hunger. We wanted to tie the game, come back and get a good result. I think the energy was what got us motivated we knew we that we were capable of doing it. We just have to do a better job in the beginning of the first half and we'll be better off. 

On replacing Wil Trapp in the next match

We have a lot of guys that can step in and do the same job. Obviously, he's an important player for us but anybody who steps up is going to be ready. 

On rebounding ahead of Wednesday's match in Houston

We are just going to stay positive and leave that in the past. The heat is a factor that influences both teams so we cannot let it affect us. We are just going to come out with all that we have and do our best.

Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes

Thoughts on the match...

Start to finish, an excellent performance by us. I think it's the best performance of the year for us. One of the most difficult things in the game today was the weather. We haven't had a chance to play in this kind of weather. All you guys know that are around here, the weather has been pretty cold. And having to come out here with it going into the 80's, it was very difficult. These guys left everything on the field.

On driving the game...

I thought our organization to press them and not allowing them to play, especially when we were high up the field, was excellent. And then we weathered the storm a little bit in the second half, maybe for about 10-15 minutes when they had a little bit of the ball. But we really didn't give too much and we made sure we dropped our line well and cleared everything out of the box. Kronberg made a big save in the first half, which we need him to do and he does it. And we scored two goals. The only criticism I have is we should have scored two more, easily. Outside of that, we were big time today.

On the play of Eric Kronberg...

The big thing is, we don't give up a lot. And it's very difficult for a goalkeeper to keep himself in the game and make the saves that he needs to at the right time. In the first half, the one save that he made on the header from 6-8 yards out was a great save. That keeps us in the game from a perspective of, we're still driving. Scoring early helped us as well, but his performance was good. I thought he was good with his feet. All around, he had a good performance.

On getting goals from Peterson and Bieler...

First off, Jake hasn't necessarily had a ton of starts. I always know that Jake's going to give us everything he has. He's always going to be busy and around the box. He found himself in a good place. It was a good action for us going forward. And then at the end, Zusi could probably have been a little selfish and maybe hit that thing but he played a great ball over to Claudio and builds his confidence as well. I think that's the great team spirit of the guys. We really don't care who scores, we just want to make sure that we get the three points.

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi

Thoughts on the game...

I thought we executed the game plan to near perfection today, especially the first half. They didn't have a sniff really. And I think we could have had a few more. I thought we did very well today to take them out of their game and not let them get into a rhythm where they could be good.

On disrupting the Columbus possession...

They're a team who is extremely confident coming out of the back. We knew that. Even if we had a guy five yards from one of their players, they have no problem with getting that guy the goal. I thought our initial pressure on that guy was great. And then the follow-up stuff around him, that's the ball-winning guy. It's not necessarily the first guy's job to win the ball. It's the two guys behind him. The reason our high pressure worked today wasn't just one or two guys. It was 11 guys behind the ball stepping up to cause them trouble.

On receiving his MLS Cup ring...

The ring ceremony was fantastic. It's a really special occasion and I thought the best part of it was to be able to do it with the fans. They deserve that kind of recognition just as much as we do. To share that moment with them was pretty cool.  I think it can boost you a bit. The fans were fantastic again today. In tough conditions, we definitely use them to push us through the 90 minutes.

On the similar styles of play…

We've been building what we have now for 3-4 years. It doesn't come overnight. It takes years and years of buying into to make it all work and connect. Columbus is a team who seems to be trying to play a similar system to us. It takes some time obviously and it's not going to happen overnight. They're a great team, a solid team. I think since we've been doing it for so long now, that can come to our advantage.

Sporting KC goalkeeper Eric Kronberg

On making two impressive saves, one in both halves, to earn his MLS-leading fourth shutout…

The save in the first half was just a quick, reaction save. It was a good cross and a good header, but luckily I was able to get my hand down to it and (Matt) Besler cleared it out. The second one was a shot that was moving at me. I didn’t really (punch) it where I wanted to—I wanted to punch it wide of goal. And then I saved the rebound, but that was offside anyway. So I’m happy to get the clean sheet, and I thought it was a fantastic result for us.

On the warmer playing conditions…

Today was a change in weather, for sure. It’s something we’re not quite used to, but we will get used to it. I thought both teams were very good in possession and both teams high-pressed each other. That makes for a lot of running. Because both teams pushed hard in the first half, you could kind of see the game slow down and get stretched out in the second half. Luckily we kept our shape pretty well and kept them from scoring.

On the pre-game MLS Championship ring ceremony…

That was incredible. I was curious to see what the rings were going to look like. I’ve heard stories that they looked great, and I’d say the ring definitely lives up to those stories. It’s a fantastic looking ring—the owners held nothing back.

Sporting KC forward Jacob Peterson

On scoring his first MLS goal since October 2012…

It felt really good. Going into the game, we ultimately knew (Columbus was) on a really good run of form. They’ve made some big improvements this year. The most important things for us, coming off a lost last week, was to test ourselves against a good team. Fortunately we came out on top today.

On the pre-game MLS Championship ring ceremony…

It was a lot of fun. It was a good culmination to last year’s hard work. The rings are absolutely unbelievable. The ownership did a great job putting those together. So pre-game was definitely a little different. But if anything, it really motivated us. We obviously started the game really well and got an early goal.

On the warmer playing conditions…

Going from playing in the 60s to the 80s is definitely a transition. The first hot game of the year is always difficult for both teams. In the second half, I think you saw the game get stretched out because of that. The field was a little dry because the sun dried up all the water, which slowed down the game. I think it was a good test fitness-wise for us, and ultimately we sealed it by drawing a red card and getting a goal late. I think it was a good performance, but there are definitely things that we can work on. As we all know, Kansas City summers aren’t the most pleasant, especially during the day, so we’ll have to be ready for that.