Ned Grabavoy v. Sporting Kansas City - 04.05.14
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Quote Sheet: RSL 0-0 Sporting Kansas City

Real Salt Lake
Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jeff Cassar
Thoughts on the match:
“We knew it was going to be a tough game no matter what. This is a tough place to play. They are the reigning MLS champions, but we feel really good coming in here and playing a solid game, putting out a solid performance and coming away with one point and getting a shutout.”
On the performance by GK Jeff Attinella:
“It was fantastic. He commanded his box. We have a ton of confidence in Jeff and he has been training extremely well this year, playing extremely well. We talked earlier in the week about opportunities and taking your opportunities and running with them. Jeff did that tonight.”
On learning about the injuries to Rimando and Beltran:
“I had gotten some phone calls Wednesday night from some of the players and they were just talking about some of the knocks they picked up, but we didn’t know to what extent. We had to wait until Thursday after they got MRIs. Then after talking to the team doctors and team trainers, we decided rather than risking further injury to just give them this weekend off and we’ll re-evaluate them on Monday.”
On the toll of international duty:
“It’s something you try and not worry about too much. These guys take care of their bodies. On Nick’s injury, he didn’t take a tackle or anything. Tony just took a little knock and he should be back next weekend. We don’t prepare for those things and representing your country is an unbelievable honor. We would never want to hold them back from that.”
On the play of DF Rich Balchan and MF Luke Mulholland:
“Rich has been training fantastic all year long. He really came in fit, taking care of his body. He’s confident and today was a perfect time to get him into a game. He deserves it and when you haven’t played many games and you’re doing well in practice, it’s a great time to get them into the lineup. I’m really happy for Rich. Luke brought a lot of energy. He’s provided either a spark as a sub or solid starting minutes every time that he’s entered the field. What he’s bringing to our team is invaluable right now. Luis [Gil] looked like his energy was a little off tonight. His touch was a little off tonight, but hey it’s one of those nights. The great thing is that Luke came in and gave us a spark.”
On Sporting KC disrupting the team’s tempo:
“Their pressure is all over the field. I think there were a few times that we could have played out and got at them, but we didn’t. And also, I think that our touch, our passing, our first touch was just a little bit off tonight. But that’s a credit to Kansas City for their pressure.”
On the mentality entering the MLS Cup rematch:
“This isn’t a replay of the final. This is a game that’s going to help us get back to the final. And I think with this kind of result that just builds our confidence to be a solid confident team, both defensively and on the road in a tough place. It felt like a playoff game but these are the kind of games that get you back to the playoffs.”
Real Salt Lake GK Jeff Attinella
On stepping into the starting role:
“I was a bit nervous going into it. We play so late in the day that you have all day just to sit around and think about it. I was trying to keep my mind on anything but the game to be honest. But once we got out here and I got a warm-up in, it felt good to just be out there again. I knew it was a good opportunity for me to get a chance to play, which you have to take advantage of, and I feel like I did a pretty decent job of that tonight.”
On saving Dwyer’s breakaway:
“I just saw him coming. I wasn’t sure if he was offside or not, but everyone kept running and I was able to close him down. Then he opened up his hips a little bit, so I had a good feeling he was going to my left and I was just able to get a hand on it. I think it was still rolling to the goal, but we had three guys there ready to clear it as well so they did a good job of following the play. It was just good to get a save out of the way and then everything kind of calmed down and it was just playing soccer again.”
On the importance of an early first save:
“Nerves start to calm down once you get to touch the ball and it just feels like training or like a basic thing again, like second instinct. Once you get the first save in, it’s like alright, go time. Then you have other chances to make saves and I was lucky enough to get my hand on a few of them and help our team get a point. “
On advice from Nick Rimando leading into the match:
“I was hanging out with Nick [Rimando] on Thursday night and he’s always giving me advice. It’s just a simple, ‘you got this and stay confident.’ That’s all the advice I needed really. During trainings, he’s always helping me and I learn a lot from him as well.”

On the surprise that an opportunity came so early in the season:
“That was something I was a little concerned about. Was I going to get a game until Nick left? It’s hard to stay sharp. But like I said, the opportunity presented itself and I had been joking that my preseason started in a week because I’d have a month to get ready for when Nick leaves. It just felt great to get a game in. To be able to help the team is something that I really enjoyed.”
Real Salt Lake MF Ned Grabavoy
On the team’s effort despite numerous injuries:

“I’m extremely proud of the team’s effort. We feel confident sliding guys into certain spots and we’ve shown that last year and we are prepared to show that again this year. We have had a couple freak little injuries and some guys have had to step up and they played well. And without question, our energy and commitment level was great because the soccer wasn’t there for the most part on the night, and we dug in and battled for it.”
On dealing with Sporting KC’s pressure:
“I think that they do a good job of pressing. They play with a lone forward but the kid does a good job of chasing people down to not really give our backline time and space to play. I think we did the same thing a little bit. I thought we stepped up and pressed them as well and our two forwards worked extremely hard again. The last two games they’ve done that and we’ve gotten results so credit to them because they probably didn’t touch the ball or get into the greatest spots that they wanted to but they battled for us and helped us out there.”
On the effect of Attinella’s first big save on the team’s confidence:
“Obviously goals change games, so if he puts that away I don’t know how that game plays out. But without question, we train with Jeff every day and we know he’s a great goalkeeper and a very capable backup to the best goalie in the League. So, I think that’s great for him as well. To get an early save like that one, I thought he was sharp the rest of the night. He had to make a few more saves and deal with some 50/50’s in there and crosses as well. He played great tonight.”

On getting a tie given the circumstances of not playing with a full lineup:
“It’s a tie. A point is a point whether you are tying KC or tying Chivas USA, it’s a point. I know there was a lot of stuff going back and forth on how this was the biggest game ever, but it’s just another road game for us. Like I said, we didn’t have our best soccer tonight but credit to our team. We showed we could get a result in a different way. I think that’s a positive to build on going forward throughout the season.”

On the added emotion when remembering the last time RSL was at Sporting Park in MLS Cup:
“You have memories. I stepped out there for warm-up and literally it felt like we had just played here two weeks ago. In your head, you think we had just played here in the final. But in saying that, they are obviously a very good team. They are very confident in what they do here. You have to give them credit. They are confident in the way they play in the system that they want to play and I think tonight for us to come here, it’s two really good teams. Sometimes these games turn into a bit of a grudge match and a battle. We certainly saw that tonight with the amount of challenges and tackles all over the field and so as much as we love to play soccer, it’s good to show that we can do that as well. Last week, we showed when the games on we can play the soccer, this week we showed that we could get a result in a different way.”
Sporting Kansas City
Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes
On his overall thoughts on the match:
“I would first say that sometimes a game isn’t fair. We had a tremendous performance tonight. Prior to the red card, the possession was 62 percent for us and 38 percent for them. As far as the game plan and the way the guys executed, it was tremendous. The only thing that we were missing was the goal. We created great opportunities. Dom had the breakaway early on and we were in and around their box I don’t know how many times in the first half; second half as well. I think we had 20 shots, a tremendous performance by the guys. I think that we were very difficult to play against defensively. The only thing that I can say is we didn’t score. Outside of that, it was a great performance. If we continue to play like we did tonight on a regular basis, we are going to win a lot of games.”
On where the performance ranks in 2014:
“It was a good one. I thought that we were really good here at home when we played Cruz Azul. I thought that we had a great game that day, and the guys were really locked in. I’d say today it was very similar to that type of performance. The difference is we didn’t get the one that we needed, but very good all around. I thought some individuals were excellent. I thought that Matt Besler today was just absolutely top class when it came to being on the ball and coming out of the back. I thought he was big time. I thought that Chance [Myers] didn’t really miss a step coming back and having been out for quite some time. A great engine on Seth [Sinovic] to get up and down; I could go on and on. I thought [Eric] Kronberg did a great job, especially on some crucial set piece situations and balls knocked into the box. I think all around the team was excellent.”
On the play of the backline:
“I thought it was good. There were a few things that we need to go back and rehearse a little bit, but it’s just because they haven’t been together. Different guys have been away or out because of injury, but I thought that we were good. And like I said, I think the thing I’m most pleased with is we had a game plan going into this game and I think they executed it extremely well. We had patience within the way that we played, and most of the game I don’t think Salt Lake had a solution to some of the things that were going on during the game.”
On the debut of Antonio Dovale:
“I think when he came on, he was excellent with the ball. He played a tremendous ball into [Aurelien] Collin at the top of the box. I think Collin was extremely surprised when he got it. He’s not use to getting the ball like that on top of the box. And then he played in a couple of other guys; he played a little one-two with Chance, putting him behind the defense. He’s a guy that can open up a defense really well from a place. He’s good on the ball. He keeps the possession, he’s got great service and is a very good addition. I thought he was good.”
On Oriol Rosell’s ejection:
“I haven’t seen the replay yet so I’ll have to take a look at it and go from there. I thought we did a good job to keep the game organized and we actually got forward a few times within that ten minute span and created some really good action  still being a man down. I thought we were disciplined and again, it’s not easy to do that especially when you’re at home and trying to go for the win.”
On utilizing the flanks:
“I thought that we were excellent in the wide channels. Both sides did a great job. We found a lot of space in two-versus-one situations and created a lot of good service into the box. The good thing too is that after a while it wasn’t just us trying to knock the ball in the box. We actually were playing the ball and building up, getting into the wide channel, and -- like I said -- excellent actions towards the goal.”
On the importance of Matt Besler:
“For any team at a high level, including the way that we want to play here, you have to be able to play with the ball. When I talk about especially defenders, I always talk about the first thing is you have to be able to defend. We all know that. But the other side is with the ball. If you want to be a team that wants to play, you have to have what’s called a good entry ball and he is so clean with that. I really think he is probably the best central defender in the league on the ball and tonight he was top class.”
On the play of RSL GK Jeff Attinella:
“He had some great saves, I think the one Benny tattooed, he came back with a tremendous save there. We were in and around their goal. Again, I thought that we could have done better in a couple of situations. They did a good job to make sure we didn’t get one in on him. At the same time, I do think that we could have been a little cleaner but we have to understand that teams are always going to bring their A game when they come and play us. And we have to be prepared for that and I think our guys are. Like I said, I think we played well tonight. We just missed that final goal.”
Sporting Kansas City MF Benny Feilhaber
Thoughts on the match:
“I thought we played well. We dictated the pace of the game, which is what we want to do at home, regardless of who it is against. I thought we did well. We created a lot of really good chances, as supposed to some days when we possess a lot of the ball, don't score and don't create too many chances. Today, we didn't score, but we had tons of chances. That's probably the one negative. But at the same time, it's early in the season; you want to play well. You want to start playing well and you want to do the little things right and we did pretty much everything right except the hardest part of the game, which is to score.”
On Attinella's save on his volley:
“Everyone once in a while it goes in and every once in a while a goalkeeper makes a good save; a big save on his part. When I hit it, I thought it was going in, but he got to the spot and made a good save. That's all there is to it.”
On opposing goalkeepers playing well at Sporting Park:
“If we are going to out-possess a team, create that many more chances, have that many more shots and not win, somebody is going to have to play well on the other team and it's probably their goalkeeper. It happens every once in a while. Even though it's tough to not have gotten three points, it's a point in the sense that we are happy with the way we played. We can look at this game and know we can build off this, and continue to improve as a team. It was a good performance, just two points short.”
On the team's play after the man down:
“I thought after we went down a man, we played smart and didn't give them too many chances. I don't remember any chances that they had. I thought we finished out the game well.”
Sporting Kansas City DF Matt Besler
On the team's performance:
“I feel like there were a number of guys on the field that were feeling it tonight. The way that we were able to move the ball, especially in the first half, we were able to find the open man. Guys were running off the ball and as a defender that makes it easy, when there are two or three guys running. That means there are two or three options. For me, when the ball is at my feet, that just makes it easier.”
On having the team at full strength:
“It's great. The more options we have, the better team we are. We are starting to get everyone back and that is pushing guys at different spots. That is the first time Chance [Myers] was out there, and that's been our normal back line. I thought we performed well.”
On the team's performance after going down a man:
“We are still disappointed that we weren't able to win the game, but I don't really know what you can say about how we played. There were so many good things in so many different areas. It's tough to assess the game, but once we went down a man, I think everyone did a good job keeping their shape and I don't want to say holding on to the tie, but making sure we got the shutout.”
Sporting Kansas City FW Dom Dwyer
On the shot that hit the post:
“There was no angle on that one, but I thought it was in. I was ready to wheel away and then it bounced off the post. It is what it is and I thought we played really well. We played better than we did in the final last year and that's for sure. We dominated the game, looked comfortable and we just couldn't buy a goal today.”
On the team's improved movement off the ball:
“We worked on it a lot at training. The movement was there tonight and we played well. Like I said, we are pleased, there are just chances we could have, would have, should have put away, but that's how it goes sometimes. That's football.”
Thoughts on Real Salt Lake GK Jeff Attinella:
“We are good friends. We support each other. I would have gotten his jersey tonight, but I got it last time we played them. He played really well tonight and deserves all the credit he gets.​”