Post-Match Quote Sheet
Swope Park Rangers vs. Bethlehem Steel FC | April 6, 2019 – Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, Kan.
Swope Park Rangers
Head Coach Paulo Nagamura
On surrendering a 3-1 lead late in the match . . .
That’s what happens when you don’t defend for 90-plus minutes. For 60-70 minutes we defended and stuck to the plan and gave them a hard time. But like I said, when you don’t’ defend for 90 minutes, it’s going to cost you in the end. A lot of things came together at the end that cost us the three points.
On giving professional debuts to midfielder Jake Davis and goalkeeper Maximiliano Trejo . . .
For his first start, Jake [Davis] did well. He’s young, just 17, and it was good to see him have composure under pressure. It’s only going to get better for him in the future. Max [Trejo] is just 16 and he’s going to learn from today’s game, too. We have games to give to players who we believe have a future in the club. This hurts right now because we all wanted to win the game, but I think there are a lot of lessons that we can take from here that will hopefully make a good impact in the future.
On the performance of Jerome Ngom-Mbekeli, who scored twice . . .
He was active on the wing and made it difficult for their defense. He scored two goals and the second one was a very good goal. He was busy today. He’s coming from a different country in Africa, so he’s learning a new culture and learning how we play.
On his takeaways from the game . . .
It’s a process, and hopefully we learn from our mistakes today. It’s disappointing and frustrating because we were winning 3-1 and had control of the game. We had chances to score more and we were that close to winning. To lose at the end is disappointing because we are all competitors and at the end of the day we want to win. It’s a lesson we can learn from. We put our heads up, assess, correct it and get better for the next one.
Forward Ethan Vanacore-Decker
On his overall thoughts of the match . . .
To let up three goals at the end is inexcusable. I really don’t know what else to say. We’re up 3-1 and lose 4-3. This is only the second game of the season, so we’ve got to bounce back. There’s a lot of time left to make it right. On a personal level, it’s nice to get a goal, but this isn’t tennis. It’s not just about me. This is a team game and I could have done better—everyone could have done better.
On his first-half goal . . .
The ball got out wide, Killian [Colombie] got to the line and crossed it. The ball actually hit off one of the defenders and I was right there to touch it with the outside of my foot and it just happened to go in. We do a lot of that stuff in training.
Midfielder Jake Davis…
On his first professional appearance . . .
I was really nervous before the game, but in the first half I came out pretty well. I lost a few balls but I played a couple good ones, too. My head was right and I thought I did pretty well for my first game. The first half was better than the second and I don’t think the final score reflects how the game went.
On the messages from his coaches and teammates before the game . . .
A lot of them told me to just play simple and get into the rhythm of the game. I’m a pretty aggressive player, so [Paulo Nagamura] just said for me to go out there, play my game and be aggressive.
On progressing from the Academy to the Rangers . . .
The entire coaching staff does a really good job keeping the intensity high in Academy trainings. Whether you’re with the Academy, Swope [Park Rangers] or the first team, you have to be on your game and be consistent at each staff. All the coaches at each level do a really good job making sure you’re on your toes and always ready to make the next step.
Bethlehem Steel FC
Head Coach Brendan Burke
On his overall thoughts on the match . . .
It was a wild one. I think anyone would tell you that. Swope [Park Rangers] were really good. They moved the ball better than we anticipated. We warned our team coming in that they were an excellent technical team, well coached in building out of the back and they ripped us apart twice in the first half for those goals. They were well-deserved goals; I take nothing away from them. Then in the second half, the game got a little bit chippy, a little bit stretched and turned into a track meet. Obviously happy to finish it the way we did.
On his team winning the game late . . .
Great resiliency. I think we regressed at one point when the game got a little chippy. I would like to go on the record; we should have put the ball out when one of their players went down. We had probably just missed a penalty on the other end and then things got a little hot from there. Outside of that, I was just so proud of the energy and the fight. There were guys with no legs left at the end of the game still pushing to make themselves part of the attack. If we have that sort of commitment, we will dig out ugly games because that turned into a very ugly game.
Midfielder James Chambers
On his thoughts on the match . . .
I think it was entertaining for the neutral to be honest. I don’t think we were great; I think we were pretty poor to be honest, but to come on the road and have a comeback like that is pretty good. We’ve been known to do that in the past. We have that never-say-die attitude and it’s great to see these lads coming in and adopting that approach.
On what it says about his team to get the late game-winner . . .
Character. There’s nothing else to say other than character. You can’t give someone character, you can’t get it. You have to build it and that’s hopefully what we have now this year and going forward.