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2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Post-Game Quote Sheet

The 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup champion Sporting Kansas City and runner-up Seattle Sounders FC players and coaches discuss Wednesday’s title match, where Sporting prevailed 3-2 in a penalty kick shootout at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.

Sporting Kansas City Head Coach PETER VERMES
On the significance of the winning the tournament:
“I’m extremely excited for the ownership group, for the club and the staff, the players and the fans, and more importantly, Kansas City. We really set out on a mission to make soccer a major sport in this community and this city. I think that when you look at the event tonight, it just demonstrates the commitment that this organization and this ownership has and that our fans do, as well. It's an incredible reward for the great job that everyone did.”

On the importance of the home crowd:
“It was fantastic. Staying through the bad weather early on and continuing to keep the noise up and supporting us throughout the whole entire game. It was fantastic. Just putting a lot of pressure on Seattle, especially on the penalty kicks, a big credit to them.”

On the penalty shootout:
“We knew going in who our guys were going to be. But we had to make a change because Teal [Bunbury] was one of them. He wasn’t out there because we had made a sub. All-in-all, I thought the guys did a good job. They stayed focused. They got the job done at the end of the day. They committed to what we need to do.”

On the importance of the berth in the CONCACAF Champions League:
“It’s what we set out do as a club, first of all, to be in competitions like that. This made is a straight berth into it for us. Bringing that kind of competition to this facility and to this club is the next step in the direction that we want to go in.”

Sporting Kansas City Goalkeeper JIMMY NIELSEN
On Sporting’s penalty shootout victory over Seattle:
“I’m so happy right now, just extremely happy. It’s well deserved for this whole organization and this whole city. There are a lot of hard-working people in this organization, and they’re doing an excellent job to promote the soccer team. This is not only Sporting Kansas City’s victory and night, it’s the whole city’s night. It’s unbelievable how this team has grown in the last year-and-a-half. It’s unreal. I’m happy for so many people on and around this team.”

On his strategy in defending the Seattle penalty kicks:
“I had a plan A and a plan B for the shootout. I didn’t’ really feel like plan A was working, so I changed a little bit. I tried to mess around with them a little bit and get into their head.”

Sporting Kansas City Midfielder PAULO NAGAMURA
On preparing for the penalty kick shootout:
“We trained for penalty kicks during the whole week and Peter [Vermes] made his selection right before the shootout. We are just glad to bring this Cup home to our fans. They have done so much for us, so it is good to give them something in return. We were confident we could do this tonight. We are a good team. Seattle is a good team, too, but we thought we could do this. It was a very hard game and it has ended very well for us.”

On the victory:
“This win ranks pretty high in my career. I’ve won this trophy once with Los Angeles but this one is pretty special because of the home crowd and this stage. This win is for Sporting KC, and it’s very big.”

On the injury he suffered to his face in the first half:
“I think I’m going to have to have three stitches. But there was no chance of me leaving the game. I knew I had to be on the field to help my team win.”

On retaking his penalty kick during the shootout:
“The second time I took the shot, I was pretty confident. I knew he was off his line the first time, and I didn’t think he could stop me two times. I trained really well this week, so I knew I just needed composure. I thought he came off his line more than once. But I’m glad it worked out for us. We’re the winners, and we’re very happy with that.”

Sporting Kansas City Forward KEI KAMARA
On the win against Seattle:
“This is a dream come true. We wanted to do this for the fans. They’ve been fantastic for us for the longest time. Things didn’t come easy, Seattle’s a tough team. They’re organized and hard to beat, but we came out tonight knowing we had to win. There wasn’t really a choice. We had to do this for SKC Nation.”

On making two penalties, one in the 84th minute and one in the shootout:
“I’m comfortable taking penalties. It’s my job on the team, so when Peter [Vermes] decided I would go first, I knew I had to deliver just like I did earlier. Jimmy [Nielsen’s] save was the momentum swinger in the shootout. Once he made that save, you kind of felt like we were going to do it.”

On where this win ranks in his MLS career:
“This is about as good as it gets. Winning a major trophy in front of the best fans in the League, you couldn’t ask for more than this. Everyone on the team deserves this moment. Everyone out in the crowd deserves this moment. I’m so happy for everyone.”

Seattle Sounders FC Head Coach SIGI SCHMID
On his team’s performance in the U.S. Open Cup title match:
“Even when we went down 1-0 tonight, we came back right away and got the equalizer. Obviously, there were guys out there playing on fumes because of the fact that they have played so many minutes over the last 10 days. It is what it is, but I am very proud of what we accomplished. I think we had a good chance to get four in a row. We missed our last three penalty kicks so that is something that doesn’t help. And certainly if he doesn’t call the one back, we’re still taking penalty kicks right now.”

On Zach Scott’s equalizer during regulation:
“It showed the character of the team. We went down 1-0 and we got one back. It was a little bit of fate, as well, because I thought theirs was undeserved and we ended up getting it right back and equalizing the game. Obviously Zach did well, and it was a great free kick from Mauro [Rosales].”

Seattle Sounders FC Defender ZACH SCOTT
On this year’s U.S. Open Cup:
“Obviously it was a great run. It didn’t end like we hoped it would, but we’re still very proud. The quality we put into this game, we gave ourselves a good chance to win. The circumstances just didn’t work in our favor. But now our focus has to be quickly back to league play and on our game on Saturday versus San Jose. That is the most important thing at this point.”

On scoring the team’s equalizer:
“I knew their marking wasn’t as tight as they wanted it to be and we have so many guys who are good in the air. As long as Mauro [Rosales] put it into a good spot, which he always does, we knew we would have a chance. Fortunately, I was the guy in the right place at the right time and I was able to get just enough on it to tuck it into the corner.”

On conceding a penalty kick:
“I have a ton of respect for the refs in our league, Ricardo [Salazar] in particular. I think he’s a great ref. I think you guys saw the game. I think you guys saw the replays. I am not going to comment any further on that. Sigi [Schmid] can comment on the refs all he wants. But as for me, I will be the first guy to put my hand up when I make a mistake, and I hope the refs do the same.”

Seattle Sounders FC Forward EDDIE JOHNSON:
On his penalty kick that went over the crossbar:
“It’s those moments that you dream of as a soccer player, being able to make those moments, wanting to contribute to the team in pressure situations. But I wouldn’t change anything about my approach to that. I was confident taking it, I sent the keeper the wrong way. Maybe from a psychological standpoint, he probably got in my head a little bit, because he was reading a piece of paper. But for me, I didn’t want to change anything. I was comfortable going that way and I just hit it a little too hard. But, I wouldn’t change anything about the approach. I wouldn’t change anything about the way we played as a team.”

On the team’s performance:
“I thought we came out and we showcased ourselves well and played them well with them having the home-field advantage and having the fans behind them. I think we still created chances and gave ourselves a chance to still get something out of the game.”

On the penalty kick shootout:
“On a perfect day, the save that [goalkeeper Michael] Gspurning made that got retaken goes our way. But it didn’t go our way this time. If you ask me, or the other four guys that took penalty kicks, we’re all confident. But it didn’t go our way.”