New England Revolution head coach Jay Heaps
I thought it was a hard-fought battle between two teams fighting for everything. Certainly, it wasn’t a pretty game, but you know two teams pushing hard and two teams trying to get ahead in playoffs.
I think [this result is] a step forward, but at the same time it’s a very difficult road ahead. If we’re talking three or four goals, then maybe this is a big step forward. But it’s a battle … we have a one-goal lead. It’s halftime and we have a big, big battle going to Kansas City.
It’s a huge save (by Matt Reis at the end of the game). It’s a long ball, bounces around and we have enough guys around it, but it seems to bounce to their guy, who makes a great move – Dom Dwyer does – great hit and Matt Reis, his reflexes are pretty amazing. I don’t think there’s been a better goalie in the league that has reflexes like that.
It’s really difficult to play against Kansas City. They’ve got good pressure, they’re tactical in how they manage the game in terms of spacing, in terms of pressure and fouls, all the above. So it’s very difficult to play. They’re the best in the league at it. So we felt that we could get something. We felt we needed to find a little bit of space at the right time, but it was a really good team effort. It was stuff where guys made good plays. I thought Kelyn (Rowe) created the ball to Diego (Fagundez). Diego took it down on the first goal, and then it was kind of a mashpit for the goal but that’s what you need to do – you need to kind of shoot it on goal. And the second goal I thought was just excellent from Lee (Nguyen) and Kelyn. Great run from Kelyn, he was strong and he found the back corner.
… We knew they would be strong (on set pieces). They’ve scored a lot of their goals from set pieces. They scored last week against Philly on a set piece – a long throw – and they got some chances tonight so we have to be smart in what we’re doing.
It was a good ball in from them. I’ve got to be honest, I’ve got to look at the film to see who headed it, but I saw Lee (Nguyen) make a good play on the back post. Some games we put two players on the post, sometimes we put one player on the post. But tonight we made the right call and put two players on the post.
Coming into this game, we knew that we were in a different place, they’re in a different place – we’re two different teams. I think that at this point in the season, that we were last year when we played them certainly and then this year when we played them twice. I really don’t think we were thinking about them being able to stop us, I think we were just thinking about how we needed to play. We needed to step our game up and fortunately we got two tonight. It would have been nicer to have a two-goal advantage but credit them for a great goal and a great finish on their end.
New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis
In this series, it’s like we’re at halftime. So we are up 2-1 at halftime and the more goals we have, the more pressure we can put on them. It’s great for us. It’s going to be a tough task going in there and getting a result but I like our chances.
It’s a big chess game. We match up. We’re playing the same formations, we’re matching up out there. So there are a lot of little things we have to move around and change. We had a chance to come in (at halftime) and talk about it and go back out there and do the things that we talked about.
It’s just a tough game. There is so much on the line and so much pressure. Nobody wants to make a mistake so you need that little bit of a break. You need that little bit of luck. I thought we did a great job on both goals. Credit to our guys that put the work in on both sides of the ball. Defensively, we played a great game and offensively we got two goals.
(Graham) Zusi plays great balls in on free kicks and corners. Their guy got free and just put one down into the turf and it skipped up, and that’s why we have guys on the post.
(The turf) was just fast. We wet it down and it gets really fast. That’s just the way it is.
New England Revolution midfielder Kelyn Rowe
I know Lee (Nguyen) can play that ball so I just made the run. I got a little tug so I didn’t know if I could get there with my left foot. I decided to slide it down and hit it with the outside of my right. I was a little worried. I was looking the whole way. I thought it was going to hit the post and go out. I was happy it went in.
We like to get down and play a little bit. The first half was hard. I think that both teams were kind of just dumping it in and hoping for second balls. You saw the game open up as the second half went through and I think we found some good chances.
Put the ball in the back of the net. It sounds funny but it’s as simple as that. We’re finishing our chances. I thought we created a lot of chances and I think Matt (Reis) came up big to save us.
Big momentum (carrying into the second leg). I mean obviously we know we need to get a result there to get to the next round and we’re looking to go get another win.
It’s nice (heading to KC with a lead) but we still want to go for a win. You never shoot for anything less. For us, it’s going in to get a result like we did today. Fight and then play.
I don’t know what it is, man. Maybe I just get up for tournament games. I don’t know what it is. I’m lucky to get the goal and happy to help.
Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes
It’s big time for us to have that goal. Getting that goal back is big. It’s a one-goal game. We’ll take that going home, for sure.
It’s a big goal. It’s a big goal. It’s a big goal for us to lessen the gap. It’s good. You don’t always necessarily know if you’re always going to win when you go away from home, but to keep the score line the way we did is great.
It wasn’t frustrating at all. I thought we were really good playing away from home – the great chance that Teal (Bunbury) had. I thought we were in and around their box. We didn’t really give anything away to them. That first half, I thought we were really good.
Did you see the replay? When all three guys – when the shot’s taken – all three guys are offside. They can’t get an unfair advantage on that situation. It’s an easy call. It obviously doesn’t go that way, but we haven’t gotten any of those calls all year long, and we can’t ask for them now. Just like C.J. (Sapong) in the box, when he’s manhandled, taken and pulled down; it’s right in front of the referee, and he doesn’t want to call it. Those things are going to happen, and we’ve got to get on with it. We’ve got to get ready for the next game.
I’m not worried about them. We’re going back to our place, and it’s going to be a fun atmosphere for us. That’s what I know.
Just tactical reasons (why Claudio Bieler didn’t travel tonight).
Sporting Kansas City defender Seth Sinovic
To be honest, I thought we had a lot better chances this year than we did last year. I thought (Matt) Reis made some big saves, but getting that goal back was big for us. Not that 2-0 isn’t something we can come back from, but 2-1 is much more manageable. We’ve got home field advantage now so we’ve got to take advantage of it.
We’re organized. I think Lo (Lawrence Olum) and Ori (Oriol Rosell) do a really good job of deciding who goes forward and who’s holding. I think we’re balanced in the back, and going forward I thought Teal (Bunbury) made some great runs tonight, same with the outside guys C.J. (Sapong) and Jacob (Peterson). Like I said, we had some chances. They made some good saves, and they put away a couple chances that they had. Credit to them for that, but we’ll be ready for Wednesday.
We’re expecting an unbelievable crowd like we always have. Playoffs make it even that much better for our home crowd. We’re going to have to put on a show for them, and looking to get the result.
I think it was just the one play. I think they had a free kick, a few balls that they put in the box, we didn’t quite clear the lines quite deep enough, we were pinned in a little bit. They served the ball in, overloaded that back side and Diego (Fagundez) hit a good ball in. We were unfortunate that they put that one away. I think we were putting a few more numbers forward trying to get that equalizing goal and got caught on a counter. It is what it is. I thought we played well defensively. I thought we were pretty unfortunate to come away with a loss in this game, but like I said, one goal is not an insurmountable task. We’ve got an unbelievable fan base to come home to.
Sporting Kansas City midfielder Lawrence Olum
I don’t remember exactly what happened (on New England’s first goal), but it’s a bad way to give a goal… I think it bounces off one of the players and the referee didn’t call it, so I can’t say anything about that.
(Aurelien Collin’s) goal is very huge for us. It keeps us in the game. 2-0 is a steep hill, but 1-0 is at least something that, as a team we are able to get over.
I’m sure the boys will be ready (Wednesday night). We’ve done it before and this is just another day that we should do it: show up and get a win.