Sebastian Grazzini
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Post-Game Quote Sheet vs. Sporting KC

Quote Sheet

Chicago Fire 2 – 1 Sporting Kansas City 
Toyota Park – May 12, 2012
Frank Klopas – Chicago Fire Head Coach
Thoughts on the match…
“Obviously in the end, it’s a great feeling.  I give a lot of credit to our players, coming back like that.  They showed a lot of character.  It was a great win against a very good team.  I think that games like this really show the character of the team.  We stick together as a team.  No one knows or understands the work that they put in.  We see it every day, and it’s about doing something special.  We have a good group of players.  Obviously it was a great win, and now we have a little bit of a break and then another busy schedule.  But fantastic win.  Four points in the last two games against two of the top teams… it was fantastic.”

WATCH: Grazzini equalizes from the penalty spot

How did the red card play into the win?
“Sometimes when a team gets a red card and play shorthanded, the team does better at times.  But I thought that we had a very good second half.  The red card helped a little bit, but our ability to be patient and move the ball was key.  They dropped back in their block of eight, with one on top, they were looking to hit us on the break, and we were very organized tactically.  We were very smart and patient against a very good defensive team.  Our ability to move the ball played not it and exposed the men down that they had.  We played as a team and not as individuals.  We took advantage of them being a man down, created chances, and then put the game away.  It was a great victory, but I give credit to the players.  Sometimes when you have that advantage, you play very individualistic and not as a team.  But I felt that we were very good with the ball.”  
Biggest difference between the two halves?
“We started well in the game and we lost momentum once Arne came out of the game.  It took us some time to adjust because anytime you bring in a new player, though Jalil is not new there, but the last couple of games Arne has played with Austin in that position.  He has leadership and control the backline.  When he came out we gave up that fast goal.  I thought we lost momentum.  The second half was an opportunity for our team to regroup and talk about how we wanted to approach the next half, we came out with a very good attitude from the start, and we pushed again for forty-five minutes and scored two goals against a very good defensive team.”
How much of the win came from taking advantage of Kansas City’s mistakes?
“That’s the key in any game.  One team makes mistake, and the key is the ability to capitalize.  We knew going into it that that this was going to be a difficult match.  We started the game well and created opportunities.  We did take advantage.  Obviously, a good team is going to capitalize on the other team’s mistakes.  You have to limit your mistakes and if you do, you put yourself in a position to win.  We took advantage of that today, but that’s in every game.  One team is going to make mistakes, now it is the quality and the ability for the other team to capitalize.  If you don’t, you have to keep a clean sheet.  Our focus in every game is to defend very well as a team and not give up any goals and when we do that, you always have an opportunity to win with the players that you have.”
Were there any offensive concerns going into halftime?
What statement does it make after tying one conference leader and beating another conference leader tonight?
“We knew that you cannot underestimate any opponent in our league.  Obviously the last two teams we played are two very good teams on a consistent basis.  Kansas City had a very good season last year and Salt Lake has been one of the top teams in the league the last few years.  They are up there in the top for a reason.  Our number one focus in training was to stay very compact as a team.  They are very direct in transitions and when they get you in the open space, they are able to get you in trouble.  We focused on our ability to transition and stay compact, in both offense and defense.   If we are compact in the offensive, we are able to move the ball as a team and possess the ball.  At times when we do that well, you can see the difference.  At times when we force the ball and have turnovers, you lose momentum.  It is still a long season.  We have to see where we are in the end.  Obviously, it is a very good feeling that we beat a team like this.  They’re first place in the Eastern Conference.  It gives a lot of confidence to the players, knowing that the work that you put in during the training and the effort that you put in during games gives results.  You get confidence from it, but in the end, you have to stay at an even keel.  We have to enjoy this moment, but regroup and get ready for the next match in Portland.” 
Dominic Oduro, Chicago Fire forward
On his goal:
“It was a great ball from Patrick [Nyarko] - he sent the ball into the box to me. Patrick always does a tremendous job of sending to the ball to me going forward – he’s a great guy up front.  I was just there at the right time, I connected with the ball, made contact and it went in.  The goal was a result of the hard work of Patrick, and I appreciate him for that. “

WATCH: Nyarko digs out ball for Oduro's game winner

On playing a man up:
“As soon as we went a man up we knew we had to go for it.  There was no way we were going to settle for a tie.  We did a great job coming from a goal behind to get three points.”
On earning four points in two games:
“We have a great team and we fought hard.  Hopefully can continue like this in games to come.”
Patrick Nyarko, Chicago Fire forward
On his play leading to Oduro’s goal:
“It was a broken play.  When they got into the back I started retreating because I had to go back into my defensive position, then I saw Kai ‘s[Kamara] back and thought he would clear it, but thought if he had a bad touch I would go for it and take a chance and capitalize on that.  Fortunately for me the chance I took paid off - he had a bad touch.  It was the perfect interception for me, and Dom [Oduro] was in a great spot and I just had to lay it over there. “
On defeating the conference leader:
“We always try and beat every team.  We played Seattle and Real Salt Lake which we think are top five teams in the league, and we did not come up with a win and we thought we played well in those games and unfortunately we didn’t win those games.  It was crucial for us to get this win and get our confidence up.  The first half was not pretty, we were really down on ourselves because we didn’t get a goal.  The second half we decided to come out and play our game.  We’re at home, there’s no need for us to sit back.  We put a little pressure on them and got a little fortunate with the red card, and after that we settled down and played our soccer.  It boosts our confidence beating the best team in the league, and hopefully we can carry that into the next game.”
On the confidence Oduro can gain from the goal:
“It’s huge for him.  As a striker every time the ball goes into the net it helps build confidence, it makes you feel like you can put the ball in anytime.  Dom [Oduro] doesn’t lack confidence as it is, but this moves it up to a higher level.  We need his, and everyone else’s, confidence high and to play the way we did in the second half every time and not wait 45 minutes .”
Sebastian Grazzini, Chicago Fire midfielder
On the result:
“We always step on the field to win.  The first half we were a disaster, but the second half we turned it around and did what we had to do to pull out the result.”
Sporting KC Head Coach Peter Vermes
On the team’s play up until the 60th minute:
“I thought we were very organized.  I thought we were disciplined in the way we executed our game plan up to that point.  The breakdown on their goal, I haven’t seen the penalty kick, so I can’t comment, but it was a breakdown on our part by not recognizing the situation.  One guy was out of position, somebody actually should have covered and they didn’t, and we just got overcommitted on the play and Oduro broke in.  But unfortunately I think what happened in the game, and again, I can’t comment on the penalty kick, but the red card is not a red card.  Two years now here, in a row, we come here and we have two red cards which aren’t red cards, which completely changes the outcome of the game.  So now we don’t only lose the player for this game, but we lose him for the next game, depending on whether MLS does and allows the appeal.  It’s frustrating when you go in and play I think as well as we did, and they didn’t have anything up until that point.  The referee is there to ref the game, not to be part of the show.  And today, that’s what he made himself.  He made himself part of the show.  And that’s disappointing, because players, they work hard, they are the ones who are the entertainers on the field, not him, and unfortunately that’s what the game was like today.  He changed the game.”


WATCH: Elbow leads to red card for Sporting's Espinoza

On whether they will appeal the red card:
“We’ll be watching it.  We’ll be watching what the angles are, what show it, because that’s a big part of the appeal and we’ll make a decision from there.  As of right now, it probably looks pretty darn good.  I saw it live.  Our guy clears the ball, and the other guy runs into him, it’s actually a foul on the other guy.  If there’s anything going on there.  Once a guy jumps, he can’t change his position, and he’s played the ball, not the other way around.  Just a first time referee in the MLS, makes a very, very poor decision.”
On how the team will regroup for the next game:
“I thought we played very well. The thing is, you have to be ready for everything.  When I say you have to be ready for everything, you have to be ready for playing against the other team, the referee and everything else.  You have to play against too many things at times.  You got to be ready for it, and aware of it.  Like I said, I think for the first 60 minutes we were an excellent team but obviously some things happened that changed the outcome game and we’ll be ready for the next one.  That’s what we have to do.”
On Bobby Convey’s goal:
“I thought that we had a good little one-two out wide, we broke the play, they had to leave their position.  I thought Bobby did a great job of coming in from left to right.  It was a great service to the top on the box as opposed to inside where the goalkeeper or defense can get to it or where all the players are recovering to.  He made the correct run, it was the right ball and I think it was a great finish, great timing.  He actually had another one that Sean Johnson actually played very well today, had two very good saves, one off of Kei [Kamara] and one off of Roger Espinoza that kept them in the game.  It really did.  It could have been two or three.  It was a good action that we work on quite a bit.”
On how the red card changed the game:
“It changed the game immensely.  Suddenly we are now trying to hold on and now down a man and more importantly we now lose a guy who is a solid player in our team.  It’s not a red card and unfortunately we now have to deal with that, not only now, but we have to see if there’s an appeal or whether he’s out for the next game or what have you.  It affects quite a few things right now.”
On the two goals:
“I can’t comment on the penalty kick, but on the second goal, mistake on Kei, should have cleared it and heads up to their player for making a quick play that we could have easily cleared it and we would have been out of there with no problem.”
Sporting KC Goalkeeper and Captain Jimmy Nielsen
On the match:
“I thought we played very well, I thought we played a very smart first half.  Good with the ball, we made some good decisions, scored a good goal until we had the penalty kick.  I think we played a perfect game, even with a man down we did pretty well.  We still worked for each other.  We’re still in the game.  And then they scored and we had to risk everything to get an equalizer but it didn’t happen.  We were probably too tired in the end to create something so unfortunately another defeat.  This is the moment where we stick together now, it’s easy to be a team when you’re winning seven games in a row; now we have to show how good a team we are and what we are made of.”
On rebounding past this loss:
“First of all, I think we played very well today.  We just have to continue to play the way we did today, except for the penalty kick and the red card, of course.  I think we were back on track today compared to last week where we were not very happy with our performance against Montreal.  We showed we are a good team again and we just have to build from that.  We played with discipline today and we talked about that before game.  It’s very important you are quick in your position and you play from there.  I think we were very well organized and we did a good job, and worked hard for each other.  And again with ten men, we worked hard for each other and we were fighting for every ball, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough today.”