Quote Sheet: Fire vs. SKC

Quotes from Friday's loss to SKC

Frank Klopas

Photo Credit: 
Brian Kersey Chicago Fire

Quote Sheet:
Chicago Fire 0 – 2 Sporting Kansas City
LIVESTRONG Sporting Park – Sept. 28, 2012

 
Chicago Fire manager Frank Klopas
 
On the Fire’s change in strategy following the first goal…

We wanted to create more space to get behind them. I felt that we started the game well and we had one very good opportunity with Chris Rolfe. Giving up that goal gave Sporting KC a lot more energy, and I just didn’t feel that we got into any rhythm in the first half. They pressed us really well. The second half was a different story. I think that we were the better team the second half. We created opportunities and that is how the game goes. We will move on. I’m proud of my team and how they competed. You’re not going to win every game, but we came out and put a lot into the game. Now we refocus on our next game.
 
On the pressure to clench first in the East with a win tonight…
Of course, it was an important game. They all are, but we don’t want to think ahead of ourselves. We take one game at a time. Yes, this was an important game, but it’s over now and we obviously need to learn from it. We have got to make sure that what we feel right now stays with us tonight, but tomorrow is a new day and there is a new team coming. We need to refocus, regroup, and get ready for the next match.
 
On not scoring a goal tonight…

Sporting KC are a good team. They defend well as a group. You’re playing on the road and it’s never easy. I think the opportunities at this point in the season are few. Obviously, we had that one great opportunity at the start, and if we had put that in, it could have changed the game. They are pushing up and now they’re chasing the game instead of the other way around. It’s difficult when you’re on the road and you’re chasing the game. You have to push to get open and take risks to move forward.
 
 
Chicago Fire defender Austin Berry
 
General thoughts on the match…
We played better in the second half. We gave them way too much respect in the first half. It’s a good lesson for us going into the playoffs. We need to put the pressure on them sooner.

On the team chemistry going in to the playoffs..
It’s been good. It’s deep in the season and we are clicking and the play is really fluid.  We were unfortunate today, we sat back and they were able to get that early goal and dictate the first half. We just have to move on and learn from it.
 
On their flaws in the game…
We weren’t good on the ball. We were playing way too deep. We stepped up in the second half and got a lot more chances and put them under pressure.  We just didn’t do that well enough this time.
 
On their plan going into the playoffs…
We aren’t going to change anything too drastic. We have to be focused and play a better full 90, get better composure in the first 15 minutes so we don’t give up an early goal.  We’ve shown enough character that we can come back from it.
 
Chicago Fire defender Arne Friedrich
 
General thoughts on the match..
I guess it was our mistake that we lost. We dropped too deep as a team in the first half and we had too much respect for them. I don’t know why- we played well the past few weeks and we are a very good team.  In the second half we changed our attitude and strategy.  We were more offensive and our play was completely different. In my eyes the problem today was the first half and it was too late in the second half. We have to learn from this game but it’s ok to lose sometimes.   We shouldn’t be scared going into the playoffs. We have to be confident.
 
On losing to Sporting Kansas City after defeating them twice already this year…

The last two times we played Kansas City it was a little different game. We didn’t play that well today. They put us under pressure and we have nothing to complain about for the second half.  We were creating chances and stepping it up.  For me, we missed it in the first half and we were scared.
 
On the roster changes coming together…
We had some changes in our squad and now today we are working for the team. We have good character- it’s still a long road to go but I’m not scared anymore. We learned from this game and we will get better.
 
Chicago Fire midfielder Patrick Nyarko
 
On the Fire’s impressive turnaround season…
We’ve been playing very well, and we’ve got a bunch of guys committed to the cause of getting the Fire back to where it belongs. We missed the playoffs the last couple of years and we know we belong in the playoffs. We will come back from this loss.

On the loss tonight…
It’s a very tough environment to come in and attack and get a result. Kansas City is a high-intensity team and we gave them too much in the first half by sitting back and trying to contain the pressure. We made a big mistake doing that and giving them the early goal.  We learned a lot from this game and going forward we aren’t going to give as much respect to other teams.  We are going to attack and play our game next time.  We know we can score goals. We are going to take it to our opponents.
 
On their upcoming game against Philadelphia…

We’ve got a chance to get right back on track and it’s in front of our home fans and we’ve done really well at home this year. It’s a tough one but we are going to put this loss behind us. We’ve got a game in hand- we can catch up to Kansas City.

Chicago Fire midfielder and captain Logan Pause
 
On Graham Zusi…
He is a talented player. He has been a big piece for this team this year and over the last couple of years. There is no secret to that. Whether he is playing out wide or inside, you know that he is a threat.
 
On how the loss will effect the team…

It doesn’t change anything. As coach said, we take one game at a time. We know that we control our own destiny in terms of getting into the play-offs. From there, anything can happen. Of course, we want to be top of the table. Tonight was an opportunity. Sporting Kansas City got the best of us but we have game on Wednesday and we are looking forward to that opportunity.”
 
On the atmosphere tonight…
These are fun games to play in, whether it’s home or away. I think that this city has really embraced this club and they have a beautiful new stadium. It’s fantastic to play in, but we have a similar venue in Chicago. It was just a fun game to play in.

Sporting Kansas City manager Peter Vermes

General thoughts on the match…
Scoring within the first ten minutes was a real big part of this game, we talked about getting the first goal and the fact that we did changed the game for them, they couldn’t just sit back, sit back, sit back. So it opened the game up for us, our objective was to try to win each half, and we did that.Obviously two great goals by Graham, the first one was world class, the second one was a nail in the coffin at a great time.  We were committed. I commend our players from the opening minute all the way through the 95 and a half of minutes to playing, the commitment on both sides of the ball was fantastic.
 
On clinching a playoff spot…
It absolutely was a goal, it’s another one we check off at the bottom of our list; we’re making our way up. The next thing would be to win the division so we have home field advantage through the playoffs if we’re still fortunate to keep moving forward so if we’re still in that position hopefully we can continue to keep the Supporter’s Shield in our grasp.
 
On the team’s movement off the ball…
The movement off the ball for us was excellent today, I think that’s why in the first half we scored so early because every time we had service into the box we had a minimum of three guys in the box and the runs were defiant, near post, far post, the penalty spot, and so when you have that allocation of space in the box you’re going to find something.
 
On Lawrence’s Olum’s performance…
His biggest contribution to the game for us all the time is his reading of the game defensively and his ability to plug the holes, and then he has the other added benefit which is he’s fantastic on the field, whether it’s in the middle of the field or on set pieces and he was very good defensively for us for sure. LO had a good performance in Montreal, I like the way he played so we continued with the same thing, and obviously another shutout, so he’s doing well.
 
On moving forward…
I think the big thing for us is that we needed to clinch the playoff spot, and we’ve done that. Obviously everybody’s going to keep fighting because everybody wants to keep their playoff spot as well, so it’s not like we’re going to take our foot off the gas pedal, we still have other things that we want to accomplish here before the regular season is over, so it’s not as if we’re going to think any different at this point.
 
On Sporting Kansas City’s defense…
I can’t say enough about the way that we defend, it’s been tremendous, I mean, we have the least amount of goals scored against us in the league and that’s a commitment to the way that the guys will compete for every role on the field. You can say that, but it’s another thing to do that, and you can watch the guys, they really do that. It’s not just at home, but it’s also away and that’s a great attribute for a team to have, especially when you’re going into the end of the season and into playoffs. he string of performances that we’ve had now have been extremely solid, and if we take a guy out and put a guy in, that level does not drop so it’s very good.
 
Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi
 
General thoughts on the match…
I thought the first half, especially, the defensive effort was very good from the guys up top to the guys in the back and it really didn’t allow them to do anything offensively in the first half. The second half, obviously, we had to push the game a bit, and we were able to create some chances, but nothing really spectacular, so just a very good defensive game all around from us.
 
On the teams’ goals this season…
We made some goals in the beginning of the season, not just in August, and we’re slowly getting those done and tonight we were able to check one of those goals off the list, but in no way are we satisfied with just what we’ve done so far, we want to win the Eastern Conference, possibly make a shot at the Supporter’s Shield and then make a run at the Cup as well.
 
On the record-breaking crowd tonight…
I think tonight the fans were at their absolute best, probably the best I’ve seen them and there’s no doubt in my mind that we can continue that throughout the playoffs. It was unbelievable tonight.
 
Sporting Kansas City forward Kei Kamara
 
On Graham Zusi’s two-goal performance…
The great thing about this team is anyone can take the spotlight at any time. We took the pressure off each other tonight. With Zusi being known as somebody who usually sets things up for us, (the other team) doesn’t always expect him to score goals. But he’s a great finisher.
 
On assisting Sporting KC’s first goal in the 11th minute…
Chance and I had a great one-two, and right when I turned I told myself to just run toward goal. We say this a lot, but that goal is straight out of the practice field. It’s like when the coach tells you to take it down the sideline and cut the ball back. I did that, and Zusi had a great finish. When the team is gelling and playing well, those things just happen without us thinking about it.
 
On Sporting KC’s 2-0 win over Chicago…
This was definitely a must-win game for us. I didn’t know the history we had against Chicago at home and not beating them here in five years. That’s some history right there. But that’s what this team is all about—changing history. It’s great because we’ve put ourselves in a good position now for the playoffs. There’s a bit of relief and sense of accomplishment, and now we just have to push for the Supporters’ Shield.
 
On Sporting KC’s race for the Supporters Shield…
We haven’t given it up yet. At the beginning of the season we highlighted some goals. The U.S. Open Cup was one of them, and the Supporters’ Shield is one of them. We’ve still got a couple games to go.
 
 
Sporting Kansas City defender Lawrence Olum
 
On earning another start in a pivotal match…
This isn’t the first time I’ve played in an important game. The butterflies aren’t really there for me anymore. Once the whistle blew, we started playing well and all was good. I don’t feel like I have anything to prove. The confidence the coaches have in me really helps. They feel like they can trust me.
 
On Sporting KC’s 2-0 win over Chicago…

It was an extremely exciting game. The fans were always behind us, and that is what we live for—playing for something really important. Tonight was one of those nights where we had to play well and we did.  It is great to clinch the playoffs, but now we can’t take the foot off the pedal. Home field advantage is our goal
 
On scoring an early goal to get Chicago out of its defensive shell…
Getting an early goal was huge. Defenders like to have something to defend from the beginning.  We’ve played Chicago a lot, so we know their strengths. Tonight we were able to create more opportunities. It helped playing with the lead because they had to attack more. At the same time, they had to watch their own back.
 
Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen
 
On Sporting KC’s 2-0 win over Chicago…
This is one of those games again where I absolutely cannot take any credit for the shutout. We did an awesome job defensively, and I thought we were very smart with the ball. Chicago got a little dangerous in the second half but we recovered quickly and got it sorted out.
 
On Lawrence Olum’s performance in defense…
He’s very calm on the ball, never panics, and plays well from the back. He’s also very good in the air. It’s a very good situation for our coach to have three extremely good center backs. Lawrence has proven this season that he can handle his load easily.