MLS Playoffs – (Wild card 4 v.5) – New York Red Bulls 2-1 Sporting Kansas

Postgame quotes from coaches and players:

New York Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke

On tonight’s game:

The guys showed resiliency and guts, which is perhaps something I’m more proud of than any goals, any tactics… Kansas City is a great team, they really are. Peter Vermes is someone that I admire, being older, having played against him in the league when he was going out of the league, and now seeing what he’s done with Kansas City… they’re a great team. They threw me for a loop, coming in and sitting the way they did, but it was effective. They did a great job with it, we really couldn’t break them down, as deep as they were. They’re a quality side, they got a goal and the guts that we showed, I’m very proud of. Now we’ve got what, three days, two and a half days left? Three days maximum to get ready for D.C. I’m proud of my guys.

On feelings during the game:

There was a point late in the second half where I was questioning if this team was scared of the playoffs. Over the last couple of years, I’ve been saying I don’t believe in any curses, or jinxes or anything like that, but I thought maybe we were just scared of the playoffs. But they proved that wrong, and now they’re happy in the locker room, exhausted, and now it’s on to D.C.

New York Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips (who scored his 28th and 29th goals of the season)

On second goal:

Initially the ball was quite high, wasn’t it? I thought I couldn’t get much of it, I just tried to get it on target.

On thoughts when down a goal:

At the time, obviously it makes your job harder, but I thought it worked in our favor. They sat back because they had the lead, what you normally do, and it gave us a bit more possession, and we took our time and we got our two goals.

On feeling after KC scored:

Yeah, at the time obviously I didn’t think ‘right, let’s go,’ but it just worked out. When I thought about it after the game… they sat back a bit and just wanted to see the game out, but obviously it worked in our favor.

On pressure of not having won playoff game at Red Bull Arena:

No, those kinds of things don’t come into a players mind, I don’t think. It surely doesn’t come in mine. You go out there are do what the manager says, you don’t really think about the history and so on.

On previous success against Kansas City:

No, because each game is different. That was the regular season, and that’s done. They obviously came here with a game plan and it worked, it worked for a long period of time. We had to deal with that, and we did, we showed great character and we got the win.

New York Red Bulls forward Thierry Henry

On the challenge of beating a good team two times in a row:

It was a task. I think it was one of the first MLS – playing in front of their box, they wanted to make it difficult. [Doing] Exactly what we did today, four days ago and it was difficult. As you saw, we created some chances. They were clear, but it’s not like we were dominating too much. We had the ball a lot, if I can say they tried to hit us on the break. They had a plan, and it looked like it was going to work because they got to go back from the mistake from our side and hit us on the break and it looked like it was going to be one of those night’s where we’ve had a couple times – more than a couple of times. We never gave up, we came back into the game and won it.

On the difficulty of a short break before D.C. United on Sunday:

We did that during the season, sometimes you do Saturday [to] Saturday and sometimes you do Saturday [to] Wednesday [to] Saturday, and we did manage it – not that bad – during the season this year so hopefully we can do that, but it’s playoff time. [I’m] going to try to rest before playing D.C. on Sunday and you guys all know how difficult it is every time we play those guys, but we’re going to enjoy tonight and tomorrow is another day.

Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes

On tonight’s result:

Yeah look I thought we played very well today and I thought tactically they were sound, I thought they found it very difficult to play through us for the majority of the game you know. The second goal especially, I mean it was a miss kick by the guy and it wound up going to the same guy that has been scoring a lot of their goals, in the right place at the right time. Obviously it’s tough, I’m disappointed for the guys, I thought they did real well today, but you know credit to them they scored two goals and we scored one.

On the mentality of the team after their last game against New York:

I thought it was great. I thought we were locked into the game, like I said, I think the way we played it was very evident that they were finding it very difficult to play through us. I thought we countered really well quite a few times and you know obviously we caught them on the one, I thought we should have caught them on one or two others, we could’ve been a little more clinical, but I thought game plan, execution, and determination by the guys, work ethic, all that stuff was there. It was just a couple of chances you know that didn’t go our way.

On the physical first-half and why it was effective for his team and how the Red Bulls didn’t appear prepared for it

I didn’t think they would be. We play pretty high all the time against teams, but when you take all the different problems we have with the group and so many injuries and all the other things that it only made sense in how many games we played over a short period of time here leading up to this game and how many guys we had injured it just made sense to play a little differently and I think it would serve us well and I thought for a majority of the game it did. It was a shame we gave up the one – the first one – when we did, I thought were in a good position at that point, and I was feeling pretty good and I just threw a fresh guy on, but again, they found a way.

On the Red Bulls and if they can make a playoff run

I mean I think they have just as good a chance as anybody in this league. I’m a big believer that this league has a lot of parody and I truly believe that there are teams that can beat anybody on any day in this league, I just think that. I believe it, a lot of it has to do with confidence, a lot of it has to do with mentality, but it also has to do with whether or not the team’s willing to put in the work and fight for every ball, and I think both teams actually did that today, but they scored two and we had one.

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi

Thoughts on the game:

I thought we played pretty well actually, we played exactly how we set up the game and I think it was obvious what our game plan was by the way we came out. We got our goal on the counter and I think kind of two unlucky instances on their goals and I mean it’s a tough one because we played the way we wanted to and their two goals were just two mistakes on our part.


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