Post-Game Quotes: Smith compliments talented KC side
Head Coach Gary Smith
On the match:
I think you saw in the way the guys attacked that they believed they could get something. It’s the first time in a long time that we’ve conceded dead ball goals. I think the changes do affect that, but we lost on two dead ball goals tonight. Two free kicks, the second one was a terrific header. But the other bodies that we had available certainly effect those situations. I thought they were actually spot on. It was always going to be a fiery and competitive game. Kansas City has shown that throughout these two games that they have a lot of spirit and they are very capable. And of course I wish them all the best in the next round.
We came here thinking the game would be tight, getting a dead ball goal for ourselves. But it wasn’t to be. The third goal (on aggregate) was a real body blow. I’m proud of the way the guys played in the second period. We weren’t a threat enough all night. Of course the addition of bodies to try and add some increment and sharpness wasn’t good enough, but we have to give Kansas City credit for that. They looked very assured in the back. They limited us to few opportunities, if any on goal. When the moments did come along, the choices were certainly awry.
We’ve taken a big body blow with injuries and suspensions. It certainly felt like we could get something out of this game, everybody believed it. And that leg up was always going to be the first goal.
On Sporting Kansas City:
I honestly thought the back four did a wonderful job tonight. This front trio, when you bring Omar Bravo into that as well. Look at it, when you bring in Kei (Kamara), Teal (Bunbury), and C.J. (Sapong) is a wonderful pickup. These guys have done great this year and they deserve to be where they are. I tip my hat to them, I hope they do well.
Their back line looked solid, they looked aggressive, they limited our guys to few opportunities. I thought the game across the two legs has been played in a really competitive fashion and while some of my comments may have suggested the Kansas City guys were a little over zealous in the first leg. But listen, I looked at the challenges again, I have no issues whatsoever. I thought the game was played in a very decent fashion, a competitive fashion, the sort of passion you might expect in a playoff game. Unfortunately for us, the bodies that we’re missing in the end we’re probably the difference for us in making it a tighter affair.
Midfielder / Defender Wells Thompson
On losing players in the previous game:
Yeah, it’s tough. We have guys capable enough to step in and play, but it’s hard, especially when you haven’t played that much. But we missed a lot of the leaders on our team, our captain, Kosuke (Kimura) who’s played every minute. You know, Drew Moor is a part of our back. We gave up two dead balls tonight and he’s key on those for us, so we definitely missed all those guys.
I think everyone in the room believed we could win. The first goal definitely took a little bit of the wind out of our sails. You hope to get on top and if you get a goal, they’re kind of thinking, “Oh crap, anything can happen from there”, and put them on their heels. It was tough to play good, pretty, soccer out there. I think we did some good things, we played well, we just didn’t create many offensive opportunities or scoring chances.
On the first goal scored:
I’m not sure, it was a dangerous ball just put in the mixture. When you put dangerous balls in the box like that, that’s why they’re dangerous because there’s no telling what’s going to happen: confusion, nicks, own goals, that type of thing. It was just a good goal in the box.
Goalkeeper Matt Pickens
On the game:
It was tough, because we didn’t want them scoring in the run of play. I commend everybody, trying to fight it out. We were trying to get some momentum, trying to get that first goal, and they scored on us on two set pieces.
The first one was a little strange. The ball almost looked like it lost a little air, and it just dropped, and (Aurelien) Colin was the only one following up on the ball and he kind of just bodied me off the ball and nicked it and scored, so hats off to him.
On missing key players…
It’s tough, we missed some guys tonight, that’s what it boils down to. Guys that have experience, guys that can grind out these wins on the road, and even at home. We definitely missed Pablo (Mastroeni), Drew (Moor), and Conor (Casey) especially because we haven’t been scoring many goals lately. We just miss all those guys and hopefully next year we’ll get them all back and this group will be refreshed.
Midfielder Jeff Larentowicz
On the turning point of the series:
Well, if you look at the point where the series turned, it had to be penalty and the red card. At that point, the game is 1-0, still with 11 men on the field…. That’s the turning point.
On the missing players:
You think about losing your leading scorer, your captain, your leader in the back, your central defender, Kosuke, who played every game. They are obviously starters, but they’re important players, so it’s difficult to regroup. Coming into the game we had a lot of energy, we had belief that we would win and that we could do it, because I still think that we’re a good team. But on the night, they scored two goals, and we didn’t score.
On the Sporting Kansas City goals:
I think they happened right where Drew usually is. He’s a player that organizes us, and he’s a player that, especially on set pieces, can do things on his own. They put two good balls in. The first one is a good ball because it’s dangerous and it pulls the goalkeeper out, and the second one is a header from the 18 and it’s a great header. It’s tough.