Rajko Lekic and Benny Feilhaber

Postgame Quotes: Revolution 3, Sporting KC 2

New England Revolution head coach Steve Nicol

“Obviously we’d all like to play silky soccer and get results, but sometimes it doesn’t happen. But I think one of the positive things that we can take from tonight is that we made chances. We spoke about it all week – we haven’t made chances and we haven’t scored goals. So we should be pleased that we got three (pointes) and I think that if we can be better with the ball, that we’ll make more chances.”

“The timing of the (second) goal was huge for us, just as the timing when we lost the first goal was huge for them. Having gone one up, we felt as though we could then go on and dominate. But to lose a goal so quickly, it really took the wind out of our sails and the crowd and everything. Both that one and then the other one picked us back up again. And the guy getting sent off – I’m not sure what the guy was thinking, but from where I’m sitting, it looked like he deserved to get sent off.”

“We wanted to keep putting pressure on Kansas. We wanted to get the ball wide and put the ball in the box and push them back. We thought that if we could do that, then we could start passing the ball. It didn’t quite work that way, but that was the plan.”

On Benny Feilhaber’s impact …
“You see the quality that he has and that affects our position as well, because they don’t know whether to stand off or to close him down. And obviously with his teammates, it’s good knowing that you’re giving a guy the ball who 99 times of out of 100, he ain’t losing it. So he made a big impact tonight … his fitness wasn’t really a concern, it was just his sharpness. He hadn’t really trained all week. I spoke with him and had a good conversation with him on Friday and he had said he hadn’t really trained all week, which kind of takes the edge off of you. But at the same time, when you have the qualities that he’s got, if he blew a gasket, then we could always take him off. He’s smart, he’s experienced, he uses the ball and saves his legs by making the ball do all the work. So it was obvious that he was cruising and there was no way that he was coming off.”

On Rajko Lekic’s first MLS goal …
“I think you saw, his header was fantastic – it’s just a pure striker’s finish. And let’s hope there’s many more of them.”

On Marko Perovic’s injury …
“The doctors said that they don’t think it’s too bad – they think it’s just a mild strain. So we don’t expect it to be any more than that.”

New England Revolution midfielder Benny Feilhaber

On his fitness level…
“I felt surprisingly okay. I definitely got tired in the second half at a certain point, but the fact that we (were) a man up in the last 15 minutes helped. The first half felt really good. Middle of the second half, (I) started tiring a little bit, but to be honest, it was better than I thought. I hung in there for 90 minutes, and the most important thing is that we got three points. I’m really satisfied with my performance and the team’s, and I think for me it’ll only get better. I’ll get more fit and I’ll start playing better and better.”

On the difference between his former league and MLS…
“It’s different. (MLS has) a higher pace. I think it’s more physical, a lot of fouls, a lot of cards. At the same time, once I get to the speed of the game and more used to it, I think I’ll be more effective, as well, here. Because of the speed of the game, you tend to have more options to find those little seams and play the ball to our forwards. I’ll keep getting better at that.”

“I was joining the attack a lot in the first half and I had the opportunity to get close to the box on that (play). The rebound came right to me. I took a touch, I was ready to shoot, but it didn’t set up perfect for me. I had to take a step, the defender drew towards me and I saw Marko (Perovic) sitting at the top of the box so I slipped it to him and he banged it in. He did the rest.”

“More and more, I think people will know what I’m about and I’ll know what they’re about. Rajko (Lekic) was one of the guys I found a lot behind the defense. I think he was offside a couple of times and maybe took one or two bad steps a couple of times. I think I missed Shalrie (Joseph) a couple of times behind the defense. The more I get to know the guys, and the more they get to know me, I’m sure we’ll combine a little bit more and be able to find those scoring chances.”

On the importance of getting the start tonight for help his integration to the team…
“One hundred percent. I think it’s awesome. In the end, I think it’s tough to say that I was ready to play, but it all worked out for the best. I don’t know if I would have started had Pat Phelan not had a little trouble. He’s a little banged up. It the end (getting the start) helped me out a lot because now I’ve played a solid 90 minutes, and my fitness is only going to go up from there. Obviously, I’m going to get more used to the style of play in MLS and the style of play of our team.”

New England Revolution forward Rajko Lekic

“I felt like I was in heaven when I saw that goal (go in). It was like a dream. I didn’t play my best match. I had some bad touches, but when I saw the goal, I was very happy.”

“Benny’s (Feilhaber) a great player. He likes to play on the ground and with passes. He tried to find me sometimes. He’s a really good player, so it was nice to play with him. I know him from Denmark.”

On team chemistry improving in the near future…
“It will, for sure. It was my second game and Benny’s first game. It still takes maybe two or three games to know each other, so it will get better.”

“(My) first game, we didn’t have the ball, and tonight we had the ball a lot. It was a big difference, that’s for sure, but it was also a different match.”

On the team’s three goals…
“It was beautiful. We had many chances today. We had maybe two, three, four big chances and we scored three goals. It was a big match for us.”

Description of his goal in the 83rd minute…
“It was a great cross, and I just had to go in front of the defense and just put (my) head on it. Then I saw it go in the goal.”

Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes

“We lost 3-2. There’s nothing else to say, other than that.”

“It’s not good to give up goals late. We just have to get back to practice this week and try to work on cutting down some of that stuff. We scored two good goals on the road and it is what it is.”

“I thought we played well. I thought we had some good spells in the game, not only offensively in the first half, but I think also defensively we were pretty solid, especially when we had 11 men on the field. That’s kind of been our story all season – 11 men on the field, we had good results. Ten men on the field – we don’t. That’s just kind of the way it’s been going so far.”

On the last goal …
“What I lost was the last piece of it because of the way the fourth official was standing, but it looked like (Zak Boggs) had time to serve the ball. But again, we’re in the box marked up, so that part I’d have to see on the replay.”

“The unfortunate thing is that this is the third game that we have lost and in all three games we have not been able to finish the game with [11] men. So that’s frustrating, but we’ll have to keep working with it as a team because it’s part of what we do.”

On Shalrie Joseph playing so high …
“Not really. I’ve seen him do it before, where he’s played as a second forward. We were kind of prepared that it might go that way, especially with Benny (Feilhaber) coming into the midfield. When (Pat) Phelan was out, it kind of solidified that it might happen. It really didn’t cause us too many problems; I thought we handled it quite well. (Aurelien) Collin, his performance was very, very good tonight. He’s taylor-made for this league.”

On looking forward to getting home …
“I can’t wait, but it’s still a long way off. It’s June 9. It doesn’t get any easier for us at this point, but I do know that we’ll just keep pushing towards trying to solidify some points on the road, but it would be nice to get one here at some point in the season.”

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Kei Kamara

“My goals, they were just goals. What I’ m really concerned about is me letting Shalrie (Joseph) score. I’ve just got to be more cautious on set plays like that. Since I’ve been in the league it’s the second time someone’s ever scored when I’m marking them on set plays. Goals are goals, I’m always happy to score goals, but the more important is me letting someone score a goal when I’m marking them to get their team back into the game … I want to mark the best guy in the air on every set play. That’s how I compete. So I know into every team I go to or every game we’re going to play, I always put it in my head who am I going to mark. It’s usually their beast header or their tallest guy.”

On the change in the momentum after the red card …
“It’s part of the game. It’s a game where people get one red card, sometimes two. We know when we get that, we’re all together. We know when that happens, we just want to fight as a team to get a point from the game. Unfortunately we didn’t, and it didn’t go our way tonight.”