Post-match quotes: Crew vs. Sporting Kansas City
COLUMBUS CREW SPORTING DIRECTOR AND HEAD COACH GREGG BERHALTER
On the tough result:
We’re not victims in this whole thing. The way we perform we didn’t deserve to win that game and it wasn’t a pretty soccer game all around. The whole thing wasn’t pretty. Our job is to come out here and entertain the fans and play attractive soccer and we didn’t do that we didn’t live up to our end of the bargain tonight. It was hesitancy, it was guys not moving and it’s too bad because especially when they got the red card we could have gotten more out of that and we didn’t.
On how to address the players:
It’s still mixed. We’re not saying we need to win the championship. We expect a certain level of performance. When we have that level of performance we get a result and a night like tonight as the tide turned and they get the red card we should get a result. We’re disappointed but like I said, we’re not the victims here. We didn’t play well enough to win that game and that’s a shame because it’s a home game, it’s against an Eastern Conference rival and we want to put ourselves in position to win that game.
On the starting line-up:
What we wanted to do was use our wide guys a little bit higher and draw Pipa [Higuain] more in the middle and created an advantage in the middle. Through the lack of movement we weren’t successful in doing that. When you’re standing you aren’t successful in creating space. I didn’t think that was successful and we needed to change things up so we brought Adam [Bedell] in. I think he had a good effect in the game. There was a lot more urgency in the second half and I was much more pleased with the performance in the second half than in the first.
On backline’s performance:
I thought they did a good job on Dwyer. He is a handful and I thought they did a good job. Most of their chances came from dead ball situations. They took their time and set it up. I’m not sure how much effective playing time was in this game but it wasn’t pretty. That’s a tactic; they won the game so I’m not going to complain about it. It wasn’t an overall attractive game. To answer your question I think the backline did well. They hadn’t been playing together in two months. I think a little bit of rust in their communications and build-up but that’s fine. I think they did a good job.
On timing of goals:
It got hectic towards the end of the game with Wil being sent off. That play, not clearing the ball, getting beat on the side there’s a lot of things to look at I’m not sure it’s lack of focus in this case.
On quick turnaround:
I don’t know if it is a good or bad thing. I think we need to get our confidence back as a group. You could see in the first half that guys weren’t confident and that’s what needs to improve. When they are playing their best they can be a very competitive team. I think we just need to get the guys confident and that’s part of our job. We need to build them up and get them to where they need to be for Saturday.
He’s doing good. He was out for a while and he’s putting two 90 minute shifts in. If there is one guy you can’t fault it’s him. He’s out there pounding away and he’s not 100% fit and he’s still going after it.
COLUMBUS CREW GOALKEEPER STEVE CLARK
On feeling in locker room after loss:
Coach told us and I think it is true, we don't have to feel sorry for ourselves. We put ourselves in that situation today.
On learning from tonight’s game:
We need to take a look at ourselves in the mirror, start playing with confidence and start sticking together as a team. Like I said, we don't have anyone to blame but ourselves. We played a very good time but obviously we didn't show that tonight.
On bring confidence to the field:
I think you just play one ball at a time. They press really well so they can make it difficult at there for everyone. You have to play one ball at a time and I think that it is most important, as Greg said, not to feel bad for ourselves, it’s time to more on and we need to continue to work together.
On what he saw of Sporting KC’s winning goal:
Not much, he smashed it. I saw it hit the post and go in.
COLUMBUS CREW MIDFIELDER ETHAN FINLAY
On tonight’s match:
It is incredibly frustrating, obviously with the late goal and losing the two points. I don't think that we would have been satisfied with a tie tonight but we definitely didn't earn the win. It is a very frustrating performance.
On focus on the field:
The first half was one of our poorest of the year. And that is tough to say coming off of a bad performance in New York. Second half I thought we came on and worked hard and tried to get back in the game. We kind of bit the bullet in the last minute of the game with the late goal.
On looking forward to next game:
Yeah, you can dwell on this game too much. You had two bad results. Obviously, we didn't learn from the first result but we are going to win on Saturday. We are going to come and put a good step forward and start winning some games.
SPORTING KANSAS CITY MANAGER PETER VERMES
On the impact the red cards had:
Well, they always change games. Especially ones that are not deserved. They change games all the time. That’s why when you pull the card out you have to be sure that it is a red card.
On if the Crew was in position to score before the red card was issued:
They weren’t. I thought we did a great job in the first half to shut everything down. They were having a difficult time playing out of the back, which I think we frustrated them and caused a lot of turnovers, especially in their half of the field. In the second half, we started the same way. The red card changed things. I thought we were doing a good job of still staying organized and not giving too much away. They got their goal. Which I could say if you go look at it, it could be a foul on Higuain for pushing a guy from behind, but he doesn't call it. The game changes then obviously we are pretty aggressive, in that moment when we win the ball and there was a second yellow to their guy and he’s out. We stepped the aggressiveness back up again to go after them to try to get the goal. It was a really heads up play and the way we scored the goal with all of the guys running up to the box and the ball being dropped to the top of the box.
On stoppage time:
Stoppage time is a very difficult discussion. I think it would be very easy to just attribute 30 seconds to certain things that occur in a game. Then when the number comes out the fans will have an idea as to why they came up with that number. I would be a huge proponent of that moving that way. It’s arbitrary. On the field you are wondering how they came up with that number. For me, I don't like the way it is calculated currently.
On Dom Dwyer’s performance:
Sometimes he can make stuff on his own and other times he needs some help. I think he's still a difficult player to play against. He puts the other team under a lot of pressure defensively. He's not always going to get goal scoring opportunities. He did a really good job. He was very good defensively and forced the game some ways, which helped us defensively.
SPORTING KANSAS CITY GOALKEEPER ANDY GRUENEBAUM
On playing in Columbus:
Weirdest feeling. The first half started and I just wanted that first shot to come and it never really did in the first half. I just wanted something to happen to get me into the game and get some confidence. We did a great job defensively; limiting anything they did in the first half. I had to wait until the second to get something moving. The fans were unbelievable to welcome me back. It means a lot, it really does.
On the late win:
We’ve been doing it, a few times. Last game we pulled out one late. It just feels good not giving up until the end and to be able to string something together out of nothing sometimes. We’ve been very successful as of late.
On the Columbus Crew:
The Crew is playing a very exciting brand of soccer. You see them pushing the game. They are always going to be dangerous, obviously. I was definitely extra motivated tonight, and I’m really upset that Pipa made that run and it got in.
SPORTING KANSAS CITY MIDFIELDER BENNY FEILHABER
On late goal:
Well, Igor made a really good play down the line as soon as he was able to turn his guy and make a run towards the end line. Me and Jake [Jacob Peterson] and a couple other guys started making our way to the top of the box. I was calling for it in Portuguese for him. I think he heard me as well, he chopped it back perfectly for me. I don’t think Jake knew it was coming but luckily he even cushioned it for me. I just tried to make good contact and aim towards that back post.
On playing a man down:
They are a good team playing out of the back and I thought we did a good job in the first half disrupting that. Obviously, with a man down, it makes it extremely difficult to continue playing like that. So our style had to change. We had to give them more space in the back and they were able to really dictate the pace of the game.
This might be my best consistent form I have been in, probably my whole career. I think I have had a lot of high moments and low moments in my career. I’ve worked really hard since I’ve gotten to Kansas City. It’s not really about me wanting it; it’s about it being forced upon me because you’re not going to play if you’re not doing the things that Peter asks of you here. It’s really important and it’s helped me get that consistency.