2009 Jul 18

Chelsea FC open their preseason with win at Seattle Sounders FC

Seattle Sounders FC  0 - 2  Chelsea FC

Qwest Field, Seattle, WA

12' CHE: Sturridge (Florent Malouda)
35' CHE: Lampard (Nicolas Anelka)

Seattle: Kasey Keller (Terry Boss 46'); Tyson Wahl (Zach Scott 46'), Tyrone Marshall, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (Lamar Neagle 71'), James Riley (Evan Brown 71'); Steve Zakuani (Sanna Nyassi 63'), Peter Vagenas (Stephen King 46'), Osvaldo Alonso (Nathan Sturgis 46'), Freddie Ljungberg (Michael Fucito 74'); Fredy Montero (Roger Levesque 63'), Nate Jaqua (Sebastien Le Toux 46'). Substitutes Not Used: Patrick Ianni, Chris Eylander, Taylor Graham.

Chelsea: Peter Cech (Henrique Hilario 46'); Ashley Cole (Sam Hutchinson 46'), John Terry (Ricardo Carvalho 46'), Alex (Juliano Belletti 46'), Jose Bosingwa (Branislav Ivanovic 46'); Deco (Claudio Pizarro 46'), Frank Lampard, Michael Ballack (Mikel 63'), Florent Malouda (Scott Sinclair 46'); Nicolas Anelka (Andriy Shevchenko 46'), Daniel Sturridge (Franco Di Santo 46'). Substitutes Not Used: Ross Turnbill, Michael Essien, Didier Drogba, Yuri Zhirkov, Salomon Kalou, Michael Mancienne.

Match report by Ron Stickney:

Chelsea FC played the first match of their preseason at the Seattle Sounders FC and came away with a 2-0 win. Chelsea had the better finishing with their chances, the goals coming from Daniel Sturridge and Frank Lampard. Seattle had their chances but the finishing was off.

Seattle looked better in the opening minutes until the 9th minute, when defender Tyrone Marshall sent a square pass to goalkeeper Kasey Keller and Keller stumbled over the ball and had to work hard to keep Sturridge from getting a shot from a ball that Keller could not pick up. Seattle had an early corner kick and a good chance when Freddie Ljungberg's short pass into the area nearly gave Steve Zakuani a shot. The first shot of the match came at 11' when Freddy Montero tried a long one just to break the ice.

12' CHE: Sturridge (Malouda). Florent Malouda's pass ahead found Sturridge on the left, marked by Marshall with nobody else nearby. Marshall almost got the ball but Sturridge took it back and was open for a shot that beat Keller low to the far corner. 1-0 Chelsea. It was Sturridge's first goal for Chelsea after being acquired from Manchester City.

Five minutes later Nicolas Anelka received a pass and got a half step ahead of Marshall on the left, but with Keller charging out Marshall slid down to block Anelka's shot. Then it was Sturridge beating Jhon Kennedy Hurtado on the left for a shot that missed by a half yard. At 27' Malouda shot up the middle from 25 yards, forcing the first save of the match.

Seattle's first good shot came from Ljungberg's 25-yard free kick at 33'. The shot was trying to dive under the bar but Peter Cech did well to touch it over.

35' CHE: Lampard (Anelka). From the middle, Sturridge found Anelka open on the front line at the right. Anelka took the ball to the end line close to the right post before rolling a diagonal pass in front of goal. Lampard just beat Hurtado to the ball and fired it into the ceiling of the goal. 2-0 Chelsea.

The 44th minute gave Seattle two chances, first a 20-yarder up the middle by Ljungberg that was saved by Cech with his foot, then a put-back shot by Osvaldo Alonso that was deflected wide for a corner.

Halftime: Seattle 0 - 2 Chelsea

Chelsea replaced nearly their entire eleven at the break, and Seattle replaced five. Later in the match Seattle would send in everyone left who was healthy. Only Seattle center back Marshall and Chelsea center midfielder Lampard played 90 minutes.

Chelsea had the first good chance of the half at 55' when Michael Ballack won a corner kick and passed to Franco Di Santo at the far post for a shot. New Sounders goalkeeper Terry Boss got down for an excellent save.

Then Seattle had golden opportunities. Ljungberg's corner kick found Zach Scott's head, but he flashed the shot just wide of the far post. Sebastien Le Toux beat the defenders to earn a shot from 15 yards but shot weakly to substitute goalkeeper Henrique Hilario. Stephen King was served by Roger Levesque for a shot from the right, but a defender stabbed out a leg to block it wide for a corner.

At 72' Hilario committed the match's second goalkeeper blunder as his attempted clearance caromed hard off the charging Le Toux and Hilario was lucky that it went wide of goal. A minute later Seattle had another good chance when Sanna Nyassi beat his marker to enter the penalty area all alone from the left. With Hilario charging out, Nyassi's chip was too strong and missed the top far corner by inches.

The last ten minutes produced good chances for Chelsea. When Boss left his penalty area and failed to win the ball, the battle was down to Di Santo versus Scott and at the penalty spot Scott just managed to clear the ball sideways before Di Santo could shoot at the open goal. Then it was Di Santo again with a shot from the left that was saved by the charging Boss, but the loose ball settled at the post and was cleared by a defender just before two blue shirts got to it. Mikel tried a late shot from distance, and Boss touched it over the bar.

Final: Seattle 0 - 2 Chelsea

          SEA  CHE
Shots:     10   13
Saves:      6    3
Corners:   11    3
Fouls:      5   10
Offsides:   0    4

90' CHE: Lampard cautioned

Referees: Alex Prus; Jeff Hosking, Ian Anderson; Mike Rottersman

Attendance: 65,289 (Sounders FC record)

Seattle Sounders FC Postmatch Quotes

Head Coach Sigi Schmid

General Comments: "I think it was just tremendous from the stand point of our fan support the day of the game. It definitely was a Seattle Sounders home game. Fans were there to see Chelsea as well, but people were there to support our team and that's tremendous because you don't get that all the time here in the States when a team comes to visit. The hoopla, the atmosphere, the crowd support, that was brilliant. Obviously the result is something that we would have liked to have turned out a little better, but I was proud of the way we played and proud of the support we got."

On giving everyone a chance to play: "I wanted to get guys in to play in this game for sure because it's a unique opportunity for a lot of our players. Also we have a very important match on Tuesday because we play in Open Cup semifinal, so it was good to get some guys out to rest."

On rhythm of game: "I was proud of what our guys did. I was proud that we played soccer and we came to play. We didn't sit back. The big difference is the change of rhythm and pace in the European game because it slows down, it speeds up, all of a sudden there’s explosion and things happen. The pace and rhythm of MLS is sometimes higher, but the pace doesn't change much. That's something that our players still need to learn. I think some guys today getting exposed to that, it's a lot easier than me telling them about it, going through the exercise makes it easier to learn."

On defensive breakdown: "It happened a bit more in the first half than the second and it's something we addressed at halftime. I felt our center backs got split a bit and it opened up a lane down the middle of the field. We needed to play in closer connection to each other and our outside backs needed to come in a little bit as well. What happened is one center back would step up, the other would stay and they would make runs from a little deeper. That was something that they exposed us on in the first half, but I thought we did better in the second half after we talked about it."

On reserves taking advantage of playing opportunity: "Every time you get a guy on the field it's an opportunity to show what he can do and it's an opportunity he can take advantage of. Lamar Neagle as an example. It was his first time ever out there on the field and he’s coming out with 65,000 fans where the most he played in front of at UNLV was 65. It's a big difference. It's a good experience for them."

On Fredy Montero rumors: "You read things in the paper and you're not quite sure how they get there. Fredy Montero is with us right now. There have been no official inquiries that we are aware at this stage. He's a very important player to our team. He's the second leading scorer in our league and he has a bright future. I'm sure one day that opportunity, whether it's a day soon or later, will present itself, but right now he has a very important game to prepare for."

On players moving up: "From my perspective as a coach, you don't want to lose players for sure, but the way I was taught early on was the measure of a coach was how many players can you produce for the next level, not how many titles can you win. Any time a player gets an opportunity to play at a higher level, myself and this club is never going to stand in the way. We’re going to help advise and make sure it's the right opportunity. It also says worlds about what we're doing if guys are getting the chance to move to the next level. Then we have to find the next guy and help him get to that level. Right now we're focused on our team and we want to be successful."

On fans: "I got up this morning at eight-o-clock in the morning and as I went to get my dry cleaning. As I was walking from my apartment to pick it up around the corner comes a guy in full Sounders regalia with his Emerald City scarf around his neck and he was already ready for the game. I don't think you're going to find that in any other city in America that is something unique to Seattle."

Goalkeeper Kasey Keller

General Comments: "I was really impressed with the way the guys played. They had a world all-star team out there, and I think until they scored the goal, I kind of felt that we were probably the more dangerous team. Obviously we didn't sit back and try to defend. We wanted to attack and make it entertaining for everybody here. And I thought we did a very, very good job and we were unlucky not to get a goal or two in the game. Guys came on as we started making changes, and I thought they stepped up to the occasion extremely well, as well. I think that's showing that we have a good, solid team. That's a lot of credit to everybody at the club."

On what Sounders FC are doing in MLS: "I personally am more excited about what we are doing in the league, and the way that we are being supported for every game. Let's be honest, America loves an occasion. And there's no problem to come and support that. And the fans came out and had a great time in today's game. But what's so important that I'm so proud of is that it's every day. It's everyday in the press. It's everyday for training. It's everyday when we come to a home game there’s 30-35 thousand, and the support is tremendous. For me that's the biggest message that's sent out from this club. The occasion, great, fantastic. Everyone had a great time. The players responded well and we saw some world all stars in Chelsea, and they played well. But I'm just so proud of everything that the fans have done from every time we step on the field."

Midfielder Freddie Ljungberg

General Comments: "I think there is a lesson to be learned. There's a lot of players that have never played a team like Chelsea before. They did very well. They can take that with them. There’s still some things that we can do better, and I think they'll learn from that… Chelsea finishes their goals. They go 110% and they really concentrate in finishing…Apart from that, I think we showed we play well. Even some of the Chelsea boys told us after the game that we played good football, and they were impressed how we played."

On what playing well against Chelsea from a European point of view: "From a European point of view, I think it definitely sends a message out that we can play good against Chelsea. When I speak to my friends back home it's a lot of questions of 'what is the level? And how would you play against great teams?' And I think that message was sent today. And I think it was very important for a European club to see that."

Midfielder Steve Zakuani

On what game vs. Chelsea meant to him: "I think it was great. We had 65,000 people there today – made themselves heard – so it was real special. And then, playing some of the best players in the world I think we did pretty well. I don't think it was a thing where they overran us, we had some good chances and opportunity to put in a score so overall as an event it was great. I think our fans were superb and everything went well."

On if he was expecting the Seattle soccer experience when he was drafted: "No, no. I've watched the MLS in the past and it's nothing like what this has been, this has been special. I think on a day like today, open up the stadium and we still fill it up – I don't think another team could do that. So it speaks volumes for the Seattle fans. They were great again today like I said."

On how the Sounders did against Chelsea: "I think we should've scored. We had some chances (in the) first half, second half. But at the same time I don't think that was the best Chelsea (team) out there. They're still starting preseason so I think that shows how good they are, that they still managed to score two goals. We're happy with that we competed well and we'll take that."

Forward Roger Levesque

On game vs. Chelsea: "I wish we could've gotten a goal – a little better result. But at the same time playing in front of that atmosphere against a team of that quality is a great experience, great experience for us going forward in the rest of the season."

On if today could still be a confidence booster: "Absolutely, I think so. You can't read too much into it. They're still at the start of their preseason, looking to get fit. At the same time, to go out there and compete…I thought we did alright."

On how the team will get motivated after a crowd of at Qwest, for a crowd of 4,000 at Starfire on Tuesday vs. Houston in Open Cup semifinal: "Starfire – that's motivation enough right there. Completely different feel to it, fans right on top of the field. It'll probably be just as loud on Tuesday."

Defender Tyrone Marshall:

On chance to play Chelsea FC: "This type of opportunity is one that you cherish for a long time. Keep a record of this to show your kids or your grandkids when you get old. Tell them, 'Listen I played in a big game in front of 65,000 fans,' a great experience. So it's something the younger boys take away from this learning experience. Know that we played with those boys as well and we gave a good account of ourselves. It's something we can take as a confidence builder for young players going into our MLS games and our Open Cup game on Tuesday."

On if he thought it would be long afternoon after Chelsea’s two goals: "No I never thought it was going to be a long afternoon. The thing with them is they got two chances and they finished them, or three chances and they finished two of the three. They get paid the big bucks and that's why. We had opportunities to at least get one on the board, I thought. We got a couple clear chances and that's the difference – they finished their chances and that's why they're in the big leagues and we just need to get better. And there you see the difference between the Premier League and where we need to be. We keep working and eventually we get there. If we can put our chances away like they did today and go about our business we should be fine because I thought we played well. We held our own and we got up and down (the pitch) and we put some pressure on them as well. So we can take some positive out of this game."

Chelsea Postgame Quotes:

Carlo Ancelotti- Head Coach:

On what he learned about his team after today’s match: "I learned that on one hand a very good team that works very well. Sometimes we can make a mistake but not all the time. The players were concentrated. I like this because normally in the first game we can't make a mistake, it is important to work hard and want to improve. We want to improve and we will improve for the next game. For the first game I am happy. Sometimes the team will not be as prepared."

On areas he wants to improve in for the next’s game: "Today we put a diamond in the midfield. Lampard was in a new position. We did some nice things."

On having an emerging star player in Daniel Sturridge: "He is a very good player, and he has to improve with some hard work. I liked his game because he scored one goal, also he worked hard for the team."

On having some easy opportunities to score in the first half: "No, the game was not easy. The game is difficult but we put ourselves in good position. We are not in very good condition, that is why these matches are useful to improve physical condition."

On the atmosphere of the game and the play of Seattle Sounders FC: "It was fantastic. It was a pleasure to play this game in this situation and this facility and with these people. The fans were enthusiastic to see the game, and it was a pleasure for the players to play. It was a pleasure for the staff to come here and stay and be in this moment."

On his assessment of the play of John Terry: "John Terry is a great man, a quiet man and he is a symbol of this team. There is no pressure on him to play. He is a very, very good man."

On his opinion about soccer in the United States: "It has improved very quickly. The players with good quality, Freddie Ljungberg is a great player, he has been a great player in the past and is still a great player. David Beckham who plays for the Galaxy is a great player."

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard

On what he knew about the Sounders: "I knew they had the biggest crowds in the MLS. That's what I heard. I knew they had Freddie Ljungberg, who's been a top player in world football. I hadn't heard too much about them but today I think we all saw a little bit. The buzz in this city has been very good since we've been here. They are going to do very well."

On of level of play: "The game was pretty even really. Except for the two goals we scored, which might be the slight difference in quality from the Premier League to here. Seattle tried to play good football and created some good chances. They were unlucky not to score."

On the image of US Soccer: "More and more players are coming here, maybe not always at the top of their game. There's a good understanding of what they are trying to do here. The quality is going up."

Would you consider playing here in the future: "I wouldn't mind actually, yeah. Every time I come to the States, we always get a great reception, people are always very friendly. I come here on holidays nearly every year. Who knows one day when Chelsea don't want me anymore?"

Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge

On scoring in his first game with Chelsea: "It's very different for me being at Chelsea Football Club. It's a great place to be at, a great team. It's a beautiful stadium today, a great fan base. It was just good to score my first goal for the club. I'm very happy."

On the Sounders' performance: "I think Seattle is a very good side. It was quite hard out there because their defense was very strong. It was difficult to find space at the start but as the game went on, we gained a little bit of space, and it was positive in the midfield. And we capitalized at the end."

On his goal: "Someone played a great ball through. I just made a run behind the defender. The defender came close by, he almost tackled me. I nicked it back off of him. I looked at the keeper and took a shot with my right foot."

On playing in Seattle: "The US is a great place to play, the fans were amazing. There were a lot of fans out there today. They were screaming as loud as they could."

Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack

On the Seattle crowd: "Five or six years ago the stadium was not full when we came to the US. It looks like soccer became more popular and closed the gap on the big sports, like football and baseball."

On possibly playing in the MLS someday: "Maybe. I can't say now. As you know there are a lot of football players, who for them, it's very attractive to play in a league like this. As you see the stadium was full, the level is improving a lot. It's interesting for European football players of course."

On the Sounders' play: "They were in good shape. You see that from the US National Team as well. They are always well-prepared, and this team was a well. I suppose they are in the middle of the season so they are fit. Even then, the level is difficult to beat."

On playing American Football with some of the Seahawks yesterday: "I couldn't catch the ball You probably saw that. It was impressive to see the facility. It was amazing. It was a different sport but it seemed very, very professional. For us it was really impressive to see all the facilities. It's a different world, even for us."

Other match reports: