Quote Sheet: RSL 1-1 (6-7) Sporting Kansas City

Real Salt Lake

Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jason Kreis

On the entire 2013 season:

“I’d be really, really pleased with all that the group did this year. Their work ethic, what they achieved. I think they proved me wrong and it’s just been an incredible, incredible year.”

On the mood of the locker room:

“It’s bad. It’s real bad. Not just to lose the game in the fashion we did, but that it’s the last game of the season and that there’s inevitable changes and that the team as it is won’t be the same next year. There will always be guys that leave and guys that come in.”

On if he thinks this is a core group that will be in MLS Cup contention again next year:

“I believe so. I don’t think this team is going to be changed in any large way. Again you have gotten too successful to really do anything else. There’s a ton of really young, talented players with this group.”

On if not winning finals is becoming a legacy for RSL:

“It’s remarkable that this group has put themselves in so many positions to win things and unfortunately things, one thing or another, just haven’t gone our way. It’s easy to look at that in a negative way, but I don’t think we should because I thought we played outstanding tonight. It wasn’t like we came here to defend or bunker in. I’m really proud of this group and I think it’s a fantastic team.”

On the playing conditions:

“I did think it was a little bit unplayable. It was frozen on the opposite side of the field from our bench and the goalkeeper’s area to the right of our bench, the closest one to the Kansas City bench was completely frozen. Nick [Rimando] said he was slipping every time he tried to push off so those circumstances aren’t ideal for soccer at all. I’m glad we didn’t see any injuries tonight. But I think it’s something that all clubs, in the future, should know that we need to have better heating systems.”

Real Salt Lake Captain Kyle Beckerman

On the game:

“The bounces didn't go our way. We hit the post three times. I haven't seen the replay of Sabo's second goal, I hope it was offside. Of course it's heartbreaking to lose in the final but a lot to be proud of.”

On similarities between the 2009 and 2013 finals:

“The way that the goals went, yes. But you hope that it ends the same way that 2009 did.”

On whether the team overachieved:

“We came up one short. It was there for us. We missed out. It was there for the win. It's just tough to take.”

On the road support for the RSL fans:

“For me, it was about saying thanks to them. For traveling and staying in the cold for 120 minutes plus even more in the shootout. Not just the people that came but the fans that watched us at home and supported us all year long. The support they give us is huge. We really appreciate it.”

On the Velasquez’s missed penalty at the end:

“It's every kid's dream and for it not to happen the way you see it finishing, it's always tough. I'm sure he'll learn from it. It's real surreal. It's happening so fast. You take the kick thinking that it's going to go in and when it doesn't it turns a dream into a nightmare.”

On entering the penalty shootout:

“We feel we've got the best goalkeeper in the league in regular time and even more so in the penalties. It was there for us. He did his job. And we just didn't finish it for him.”

Real Salt Lake GK Nick Rimando

On being underdogs:

Today, we had the confidence. We can't go in here thinking that we're going to lose because we're not supposed to be here. Having some finals and losing them is in the back of your mind a little bit, but we lost on penalty kicks to a very good Kansas City team.”

On the way the season ends:

“It's tough losing in PKs, especially for a goalkeeper because me personally I think I can save them and I want to save them. It didn't happen this time. PKs is a very bad way to lose but it's also a good way to win for those guys.”

On the perception of the team from the public:

“Since 2009, we've really gotten popular in Salt Lake City. It's showed through the years with the stadium and then us always competing at a consistent level, and being at the top of our conference. I think when you're doing well, fans loving a winning team and a team that's consistent. Salt Lake City embraced us in that way.”

On feeling hard done by the result:

“That's soccer for you. We had a chance that went off the post and came back to Nielsen. They get a corner kick and Collin did well scoring that goal. Again, we could have iced it with a PK. That's soccer. You love winning but you've got to learn how to lose too and tonight I think we're a very mature team that is going to take that loss into next season.”

Real Salt Lake DF Nat Borchers

On what he'll remember most:

“That we lost, really. You play big games like this and there's only going to be one winner. When you're on the other side of it, it's tough. I think that's going to be what I'll remember most.”

On the season:

“It's a special group. I've never been part of a group that's been more together than this group here. We really have a lot to build on, a lot of positive things I think given the performance we put in. We've got a lot of good, young players that have stepped up in the playoffs. They stepped up at the end of the game which is fantastic to see. Like I said, I bring a lot of positives out of this.”

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City Head Coach Peter Vermes

On the match:

“The first thing I’d like to say is congratulations to (Real) Salt Lake. They are a very good team, and it was obviously a difficult match. I congratulate them for having as successful of a year as they had. They made it to both finals—U.S. Open Cup and MLS Cup—and that’s not easy to do.”

On the building of Sporting KC:

“Years ago when the new ownership decided to buy this team, I had the pleasure of meeting them very early on to discuss some things that would take place in the future at this club. What’s extremely amazing to me is how everything they have talked about has come to fruition. Back then, we talked about bringing special events to this new stadium to be built. If you look at the past year, we’ve hosted the U.S. Open Cup, we have brought countless teams here to play exhibition games, we won the Eastern Conference championship here, and now MLS Cup. It’s incredible when you have owners that have such a connection to your team. It’s not just money—they’re involved in the community and all of these things. I’m extremely happy for them, our staff, and then the team. I can’t tell you how happy I am for the guys. It’s great to win MLS Cup as a player. It’s such a special moment, and no one can take that away from you. I know the trials and tribulations you go through as a player. These guys are committed and they love this club. And, of course, the final piece is the fans. The environment out there is just absolutely incredible. I want thank them so much for their commitment out there in this weather.”

On winning MLS Cup in Kansas City:

“This is definitely a big cherry on top at the moment. When the rule came out to give MLS Cup to the team with the most points, I think that was one of the best things this league has done. It’s tremendous to be able to bring this home to our city.”

On rewarding Sporting KC supporters with an MLS Cup:

“This is an incredible sports town. The fans have had their downs for many years but they keep supporting their teams. From our perspective, we’re happy to reward them for the support they have continued to show through thick and thin. It’s an exciting time for the city and an exciting time for Sporting.”

On what this victory means to him:

“I’m so glad the game is over with because the last two weeks haven’t been easy. This was so important to me because the nucleus of players that has been here the last three or four years has wanted this. It’s something they’ve worked extremely hard for, and they’ve stayed focused to it. It’s also great for the owners and fans. I’m so glad that everyone can be rewarded for what they have been trying to do.”

On the weather conditions:

“That’s the great thing about sports: everyone’s got to play in it. It’s not like one team had an advantage in the game. The weather was tough, the south end of the field was frozen, but the players on both sides managed it pretty well. Jimmy (Nielsen) actually had to change his shoes each half because of the pitch—he couldn’t get his footing. It was difficult, and penalty kicks obviously aren’t the best way to end a game. It was a pretty even match in a lot of ways.”

On Aurelien Collin’s converted penalty kick in the shootout:

“That was the best penalty he’s hit since he’s been with us, even in training. That was an unbelievable penalty kick. He saved it for the right time.”

On losing Oriol Rosell early in the game through injury:

“It’s difficult in any game, let alone a final, to lose a player three minutes into the game and make a substitution. Rosell has been a very good player for us all season long. He’s a big part of the way we play. But when Lawrence (Olum) came into the game, he did a very good job. There wasn’t any hesitation on our part to bring him in, and I thought the rest of our team handled it well over the course of the game. Sometimes you can get a little nervous when you lose in important guy like Rosell.”

Sporting Kansas City DF Aurelien Collin

On why he came to Sporting Kansas City in 2011:

“They showed me something I never had in Europe. I would be working hard and have the best training facilities. For the first time in my life, I had the best facilities, the best environment, the best infrastructure. I know I am a better player now than I was three years ago. I know that if I stay here, I will be a better player in three years than I am now. I wasn’t expecting all of this but I feel very blessed and happy to be a part of it.”

On the victory:

“Today was a very complicated game. We had a lot of opportunities and they did also. When we were one goal down, we kept our composure and tried even harder. We kept playing good soccer and tried to move forward. We were patient with the ball and had a lot of opportunities. I feel very happy that in the end we won that game. Over the whole season, we deserve it.”

On his equalizing goal in the 76th minute:

“The second half was pretty hard for me because I had a small kick in the head. I couldn’t see that well, so that’s why I scored. I was very lucky that (Graham) Zusi put the ball exactly where I wanted it. I put my head up and it went through, so I’m happy. I don’t know what I was thinking when I scored—I’m just happy I scored.”

Sporting Kansas City DF Seth Sinovic

On his goal save early in the match:

“I stayed inside because I didn’t want the ball to be slipped behind me. I had enough time to recover and get down a block it. Thankfully I was there. It was difficult.”

On Sporting’s pressure on RSL throughout the match:

“When we’re at home, I feel like we put a lot of pressure on teams and sometimes that forces them to foul. I don’t think RSL played their best game. I think they’re an incredible team, they’re a very possession dominant team, but I think the elements and our pressure hindered that a little bit, but that’s a testament to the work that we put in defensively.”

On the resiliency of the team in the playoffs:

“I don’t know. You never want to be down in games, but the timing that we go down gives us plenty of time to go back. We don’t want to be in that position, but we’re a resilient group.”

On if the game was as physical as he expected:

“It was physical. I don’t think it was dirty by any means, but it was definitely a physical game. From the experience that I’ve had in the finals with the U.S. Open Cup, the final’s not always going to be the prettiest. Both teams want it and are trying not to make mistakes, so it’s not always the prettiest game.”

Sporting Kansas City MF Benny Feilhaber

On how tight the season was:

“That’s what MLS is all about. You rarely see a team dominate from the beginning to finish and end up winning the cup. You learn from the times that you’re not doing too well, and you strive in the moments that you’re playing with confidence and playing well. I think we had a really good run at the end of the season and a really good run in the playoffs and we were timely. We did what we needed to do at the moments we need to do them, so full credit to the resilience of the team.”

On SKC coming back in each match of the playoffs:

“I think we could make it easier on ourselves by scoring first, but I also think it shows that if we’re down, we’re never out. I think it shows the kind of confidence that Peter’s instilled in us. He’s always said we have 90 minutes to do it, maybe 120 minutes and today maybe even more than 120 minutes. But we were able to get it done in the 10th penalty after 120 minutes. So don’t count us out until the game’s over and I think that’s what we showed.”

Sporting Kansas City DF Matt Besler

On winning after the past five years:

“There’s not one thing that we’ve learned, but it’s just experience. Last two seasons before this, we’ve won the Eastern Conference, but have gotten knocked out in the playoffs. This year, we get second in the Easter Conference and second in the Supporters’ Shield and then we end up winning. So looking back on it, I think it is experience. I wouldn’t say we were hungrier this year. We were hungry the past three season. I think it’s just learning how to manage the playoffs. It’s just a different season and the result I look at is that we go down one against New England and we come back home and we get the job done. Against Houston we manage the first game 0-0 and at home we take care of business.”

On bringing a championship to his hometown:

“It’s hard to explain really. It’s an amazing feeling, it’s overwhelming. There’s a lot of people that deserve a championship and I honestly feel like I’m part of the fans. I’m a Kansas City guy and I’m proud that we get to bring the MLS Cup home back to Kansas City.”

Sporting Kansas City GK Jimmy Nielsen

On the game ending in a 10-round penalty kick shootout:

“I probably could understand the people on our side of the field and how nervous they would get. Because when I was not a part of it, I was pretty nervous when we had to shoot. But when I was in the goal, I didn’t feel nervous at all. It’s a proud moment.”

On if this is the biggest day of his career:

“This trophy here means a lot to me. It’s a proud moment. I came here four years ago with the goal of being a champion. Now I’m standing with this, it’s a very proud moment. I told my teammates before the game that you want to bring everything you have. You want to give everything you have. You don’t want to sit back after a final like this and have the feeling that you could’ve given a little bit more. They gave everything they had. We were standing in the huddle before the PKs, and I told them no matter what the result is going end up, I’m very, very proud of you.”

On if he wanted to take a penalty kick himself:

“I was ready. I was ready to take a PK, but all that doesn’t matter now. It was a good moment and it ended the way we wanted it.”

On what the new ceiling is for Sporting KC:

“I’ll take you through a little bit. When I first came here to Kansas City, they showed me the stadium, I thought that was our practice facility. And now today, four years later, we are in this environment here. And now it’s unbelievable fans and an unbelievable organization. I’ve been reading a few billboards that Kansas City is the soccer capital of America. You know what, no matter where you go, no matter where you’re driving, you see people with Sporting KC markers and jerseys and it’s those people that deserve this trophy today.”