Quote Sheet: RSL 2-0 SKC


Real Salt Lake 2-0 Sporting Kansas City

Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Real Salt Lake

Head Coach Mike Petke

Overall thoughts on the game:

“It was a great three points. Great result for us. Taking advantage of a home game against a team that's undefeated I believe in its last three road games. Thought It started off a little timid from us and then there were also some moments throughout the rest of the game, after the first 15 minutes that were timid at times. But, when I look at little things like our shape defensively, our press, how we’ve been working a little bit differently on it, forcing them to the outside which to be quite honest with you, they are a very good team and even when you're forcing the outside, they have such good interchanging that they still have opportunities. But I thought we controlled that pretty well. I thought we were clinical on the two goals. And we had a number of other opportunities that we could have put the game away. At the end of the day against a team like Kansas City, which is always a chippy affair I thought we handled ourselves well and we got a great result.”

Thoughts on the first half with the attacking standpoint:

“We worked this week and last week on two specific things. Attacking wise: overload to draw in and then play out of it and have space and looking to get behind the defense. Whereas in previous games, I think we were a bit hesitant for whatever reason to get behind defenses, it was more of possession to change the point of attack. Again, I think that our spacing was decent in the first half that's why we were able to have those moments. I thought that Kyle dropping back to the left at certain times was a good thing because Everton created the balance on the opposite side. We found him quite a bit when we drew them over to the left side. Players have to continue to have confidence when they have the ball at their feet to play these balls, to break lines. I think we want 2-0 tonight but there's a lot of things I think we can do a hell of a lot better. And that’s a good thing you win and you think we could have played better. That's a very good thing.”

On Sam Johnson:

“Is Sam getting more comfortable? I think so. I've worked with a number of strikers over my five years as a head coach and seven years as a somewhat of an assistant coach/head coach in this league. I've encountered a number of players that come from different countries, different cultures, different philosophies, different playing styles, different everything. And for the most part, it takes a while for the adjustment period is set in. So if you ask me if he is getting more comfortable? I think so. It looks like he is. But I think that the more comfortable he gets, the better that we're going to play as a team. And we're constantly pushing that not just to Sam, but to the players around him. A big key was getting the defense tonight. I think from the first five minutes, I think it was Kyle, it was maybe Justen that you can see that they were sending balls behind the back line to set the tone and to stretch them a little bit. Sam did a good job with his work rate, getting on the end of a lot of it. Also for me his defensive work tonight was better than I've seen so far this season.”

On exploiting Kansas City’s high back line:

“That’s a key thing for them and that’s something that we obviously identified and talked about and that’s all the more reason that we wanted to play behind, and when I say ‘play behind,’ I don’t mean just lofting balls behind the back four, which sometimes we did tonight because space was so big, but I’m talking about Sam (Johnson), his runs between the centerbacks, I’m talking about Bofo (Saucedo) and Albert (Rusnak), diagonal runs between the outside back and the center back. That’s something that we talked about this week and we worked on in drills the whole week. I didn’t see it as much as I would have liked to, but I saw it more than I had previously, so that’s a good sign.”

On the team’s midfield defense:

“Like I said, even the first 15 minutes when I thought that we were very timid with the ball, we did a lot of denying centrally. They found (Krisztian) Nemeth quite a bit early on, it’s because (Felipe) Gutierrez and (Gedion) Zelalem were dragging out Kyle (Beckerman) and Everton (Luiz) and creating that central thing for Nemeth to check In. Aside from that, we did a pretty good job of containing the central midfield. For me, the one positive tonight is not only the shutout, but the gritty work that we did, the positioning, recognizing when we could step up and break lines and put pressure versus when we have to get into a shape and just deny the central and look to trap on the sideline. In that aspect — again, I have to go back and look at the video tape — but in that aspect right now, I’m pretty happy about it.”   

Midfielders Albert Rusnak and Damir Kreilach

On the team’s performance:

Kreilach: “I think we did the most important job and that was to win. I think the first half was better than the second. In the second, the wind was quite strong and it affected both sides. We were going with the wind and we already had a couple of passes. Overall, we gave ourselves a 2-0 lead in the first half, so it doesn't matter that we didn't score in the second. Overall, a perfect game.”

On team synergy:

Kreilach: “For us, before the game the first goal was to keep zero in the back. Overall, we did  a great job defensively. We could have put the game down a little bit earlier, but then we missed a couple chances. Overall, it was a great performance.”

On executing the corner kick:

Kreilach: “That's what we practice on. We worked on it this week, and for every game, we have a set piece that we want to put in place. But, the kick isn’t always perfect for the movement. Sometimes the opposition reads it, but today it worked. It actually worked yesterday in the training session, we scored as well. Not in the same way, but that’s not important for players.”

On the defensive performance:

Kreilach: “Overall, we were so compact, our shape was graceful. They had a couple great set pieces, but we defended very well. We just have to keep going and to concentrate for the next game against Columbus on Wednesday.”  

On the team’s set pieces:

Rusnák: “I don't think answering that question is going to be helpful for us moving forward for the next games. It's something that we worked on. It's not set on which corner in the game it is. But he had asked me, with the players that are involved in a play, they have to make eye contact or give a signal. We have to put in place, but it also depends on the shape of the other team. There could be a guy there and then we cannot do it. I don't want to give up too much.”

On Sam Johnson’s second goal:

Kreilach: “To be honest, I didn't see him. I just wanted to take my first touch and shoot it but overall the most important thing is that he scored it and everyone of us should be happy.”

On trying to build momentum:

Rusnak: “Last season, in the second half of the season, I think we were the best home team in our conference, and overall, maybe the third team in MLS. That's really what we're looking to do this season as well. I know we reached the halfway point today, I think we’ve played 17 matches so far. The home games are going to be crucial for us. We know we're a strong team at home, and I think everybody who comes here knows that as well. So we're looking to win another game on Wednesday.”

Kreilach: “From 11 games, we play 8 games at home, and that is a big advantage for us. We proved last year that we are one of the best home teams in the league. We have to keep this momentum to keep going, to push us, and in this part of the season, the most important thing is to collect the points.”

On counter attacking play:

Rusnak: “I don't know how the ball went away from Besler and I stole it, but they're a good side. They're very good at building from the back and they weren't as sharp today and we took advantage of it. It's not something that you work on, that maybe they take a bad touch or they misplace a pass, but you have to be in a position to react. That’s what we did but as I said they're a very good team and we were prepared for them to keep the ball, to try and play out from the back and every time we won it, we try to go forward and that's how we got the second goal.”

Forward Sam Johnson

On getting the brace and the win:

“First of all, give a round of applause to my teammates for the good work, especially Albert Rusnák, Sebastian Saucedo and Damir Kreilach for the assist. Scoring goals is really good and getting the win is very good.”

On the satisfaction of a goal coming off a corner kick:

 “In practice yesterday, we did that. Practice makes perfect, so I think it came to pass.”

On “stealing” the goal from Damir Kreilach:

“I think I stole it from him. I think I stole it from him. When he did a first touch and the goalkeeper followed the play.”

Sporting Kansas City

Head Coach Peter Vermes

Thoughts on the goals:

“The corner kick is easy to talk about. They play a long ball across the field over the group, they play a ball back in, their guy wins the header, the guy on the back post is kept onside and they score. It’s simple and routine. The ball goes out as much as it does, everybody should be coming off the back line. We didn’t come off the back line like we should, kept their guys onside and didn’t win the ball. They won the first ball in. The second and third ball, we never got to either one. The other goal, we make a mistake on the ball and we just give up a counter-attacking goal and the game is over. We’re trying to chase a game 2-0 from the first half. Actually when the game started, neither team had much life or spirit in them. We gave them spirit on the two goals, and that gave them life. They took the rest of the game.”

Reason for the halftime sub:

“There was work to be done there, so we wanted to bring somebody else in that was going to give us the work.”

Barath injury:

“I’m not sure. I think he’ll be fine for Wednesday though.”

On the performance:

“We played poorly. We didn’t have life and we didn’t have spirit. A couple guys that came on brought us a little bit more, but it wasn’t enough. We didn’t deserve the 3 points.”

Forward Yohan Croizet

On the demands of a five away game swing:

“First two games, we should’ve gotten wins. We gave up points at the end and gave up goals late in the game. It was great to get the victory we got last game. I thought we took a step but tonight we came out and played, especially in the first half but put ourselves in a hole. It’s hard to recover in games when you’re down 2-0, especially in the first half.”

On the upcoming home games:

“There are 17 games left, there’s a lot to play for. At the same time, if you don’t have players available because they’re injured, and other players that are available, other players have to step up and start playing. It’s got to be consistent and right now, It’s not.”

Goalkeeper Tim Melia

On the match:

“I think we took a couple steps back in the game. It wasn’t our best game from any standpoint. We have to just keep going and come together to put together better performances.”

On a demanding month:

“I think we’ve gotten quite a few points on the road, but we still need to do better.”

On the next match:

“We’re excited to be back home in front of our fans who give us a lot of energy. We’re going to have to be on our game. LAFC is a team that is in very good form right now. We have to make sure we’re on our game because they’re a team that can hurt us. We just have to be ourselves.”