SPORTING DIRECTOR AND HEAD COACH GREGG BERHALTER
On what he saw in his team to make him feel like a comeback was possible
I think a large part was the fact that they shouldn’t have been down 2-1. Give Kansas City a lot of credit for a well-executed counter attack. It kind of shook us a little bit but the attitude, the spirit was there from the beginning. At least after the first five minutes, we were in the game. We were aggressive; we were putting together a solid game.
On what does it do for the team to make a comeback without Kei Kamara
Part of the message to the guys in the locker room is that we’re in this together. It’s everyone and we need contributions from everyone. It’s not easy to get into the 18, it’s not easy to get into the starting 11, but their job is to just keep going and they have been doing a fantastic job of that. Really positive attitudes, kept working hard and then when guys get the opportunity to step up it’s really nice to see. I think our three reserves today did a fantastic job coming into the game.
On bringing in Cedrick and taking out Kamara, instead of taking out another player
What we wanted to do was we wanted to get speed wide and then the idea was to keep Ethan in, speed and one-v-one ability. We had Ethan in on one side, Cedrick in on the other side and you see the impact that they have. They draw attention, they draw two guys every single time and what I felt it did was open the field up. It gave us some more space to operate in.
On how well Cedrick Mabwati and Jack McInerney have taken to the system
Jack is a goal scorer. He’s a forward and he picks up on it very easily. Cedrick has been working really hard and we’ve been patient with him and he’s been patient with his whole process. I mean this kid works every single day. He works on learning the movements and learning how he can fit into our system. We’ve seen him progress daily. It’s a pretty nice thing and we’re not surprised he’s making this impact right now.
On if tonight’s match had that killer instinct that Columbus was missing on Wednesday against New York City FC
Whatever instinct it was, it was great because the guys were powerful. They were going after everything and they were aggressive. We held Kansas City to 59% passing percentage, which is extremely low. They were fatigued of course with their rough schedule but you still have to go out there and execute and I think we did a really good job of getting after the ball and pressuring the ball.
On Federico Higuaín’s play tonight
It’s funny because he was special tonight. In my eyes, he did it in so many different ways and that’s why it was good. He was back in build up controlling the tempo of the game, he was winning tackles, he was up in the box creating chances and he was shooting. It was a very complete performance by Federico and it was great to see.
On if he felt any extra emotion after the game
I did a little bit. I would say that the effort that they put in on the field, to get rewarded for [that effort] was a joy, because they put so much effort in on every single play. That’s what we talked about before the game, really committing to every single play and they did that. When you put that in and get the result, it’s gratifying.
On if tonight’s match is the “blueprint” for future matches
Soccer is a funny game. The opponent on this night had something to do with [Crew SC’s performance]. Sometimes opponents play us differently here at home, but what I would say is, I look at the game and it was a very complete performance by all 14 guys that were on the field and we are certainly happy with it.
On what was changed to give Crew SC the edge in the second half
We made some adjustments, I don’t know if it would make sense for me to tell you what we did, but we made some adjustments that we felt would be more effective on the way that they were defending and I will leave it at that.
On being able to get through to Sporting Kansas City in the second half
What I would say is give Peter and his staff a lot of credit because they have been pushing hard with these guys and the guys have been responding. I think it was a case where they just ran out of gas. Once we increased the tempo, it became very difficult for them to hang with it. A lot of that is due to their schedule.
On the importance of getting four points out of matches against New York City FC and Sporting Kansas City
We want to make this place a fortress, and we have had a good home record this season. There is nothing better – ask the guys – when the stadium is filled and the people are loud and the atmosphere is great; there is nothing better than playing here. It is fantastic. I think tonight was a great example of that, so it was an important win for us no question.
On tonight’s bench
Before the game, I think we are looking at the bench and saying a lot of these guys can be starters in the League, and that’s a good feeling. It is one thing to talk about it, but the next step is to go out there and actually perform and they did that as well. We are really happy. It is not just the guys on the bench, it was the guys who were doing fitness at 12 o’clock this afternoon at [the EAS Training Center at] Obetz, pushing these guys. You need competition, and we have been saying that. It is healthy competition and no one is giving up, everyone is pushing and that creates a competitive environment.
On tonight’s comeback after conceding the first goal
We have had experience doing it. I think if you look at New York, New England and Colorado, we have done that before. I think the key is remaining calm and sticking to the game plan and executing and we certainly did that.
DEFENDER HARRISON AFFUL
On the keys to tonight’s match
I think we did a really good job. We always keep fighting and keep the determination going, so that is the most important. The fans were also very happy and we were able to win and put smiles on their faces.
On how it felt to go more than 60 minutes in tonight’s match
Yeah I’m getting better, I think my fitness level is coming up, so I’m just hoping I’ll get to 100%.
On adapting to the playing style of MLS
I always listen to the coach cause that is my style of play. It’s been great so far, so far so good, it’s been great and I’m just really happy to be here.
DEFENDER MICHAEL PARKHURST
On the win after being behind
It’s a massive victory for us; it’s a great attitude from the team. It feels good to win one in the late stages of a game because a few times this year we have given up the lead late. There were not too many times we have come back and done this late or equalized it late in the game. It was a great attitude from the team and it was a huge win for us. It puts us in a good position moving forward.
On what the coach had told them about Kansas City before and at halftime of the game
We talked about having high energy, pushing the pace of the game. Really putting them under pressure as much as we could, pressing as soon as we lost the ball and they were struggling to play at a press and just playing long, so we felt like we could keep them pinned in a little bit and get good pressure. The second half we did that very well and I thought we controlled most of the second half outside of the one counter attack. It was a good performance.
On getting ahead in the game with the pressure
Yea, I thought so. We kept pushing and I think the second half we played the game in their half of the field, we kept really good pressure and really good possession. Its tough to give up a goal like that but it was a fantastic finish. It was a good fight and we had a good mentality from the team to keep pushing. Jack came in and made a big difference for us and Cedrick the same thing, so it was a really good win for us.
DEFENDER GASTON SAURO (at his pre-match introduction, through a club translator)
On finally arriving in Columbus
I’m very happy to finally arrive in Columbus. I talked to [Sporting Director and Head Coach} Gregg [Berhalter], and he convinced me to come here.
On his greatest strength as a player
I don’t like to talk much about myself, I would you guys to evaluate me, the media and the fans, what I can tell you is that I am ready to work and I am really excited to work here as a player.
On why he decided to join Columbus Crew SC
Basically, I talked to the coach and that was the main reason why I decided to come. It is really nice when a coach really wants you and I look forward to playing in a league that is growing.
On if Gregg Berhalter has explained on how he will fit into the system
Gregg likes my characteristics as a defender. Also, he analyzed FC Basel and he noticed that it was a similar system as the one being used in Columbus and that is one of the main reasons.
On if he has been to the United States before
I came here with Boca Juniors and played three friendly matches against LA [Galaxy], Portland [Timbers] and Seattle [Sounders FC].
On if he feels he can make an immediate impact with Crew SC
Gregg has a lot of confidence in me and I really feel like I can come in and help the team out and play well.
On if he has been able to watch any Major League Soccer games
Yes, I have watched some games. I know that there are some pretty good players here. I know that the league is growing and I know that some of the forwards are really good in this league. Also, this league is very physical.
On if he was familiar with Crew SC before speaking with Gregg Berhalter
Of course, I knew of Guillermo Barros Schelotto and I knew that he was a champion with the club here. In Argentina, Columbus Crew Soccer Club is a known club.
On if he personally knows Guillermo Barros Schelotto
I don’t have a direct relationship with him, he was not on the club when I joined the first team, so I don’t have a relationship with him.
On if he feels Major League Soccer is more of an appealing league to players in their prime than in prior years
Yeah, the league is growing a lot. I feel that the US can definitely have one of the best levels internationally and I’m very happy to be here.
On if he is anxious to get on the field and start playing
Yes, I am really anxious. I was training by myself while I was waiting for the visa to come and I think the last part is to start training with the rest of my teammates and get going.
On his initial impressions of Columbus and MAPFRE Stadium
Yes, the stadium is beautiful, they have talked to me a lot about the pitch and that it is one of the best and I am very happy to be here.