2010 Apr 10

Sounders FC draw first road match of the year, giving up a goal in the final minute of added time

Real Salt Lake  2 - 2  Seattle Sounders FC

Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, UT

11' SEA: Steve Zakuani (Fredy Montero)

53' SL: Will Johnson (Robbie Russell)
71' SEA: Tyrone Marshall (Freddie Ljungberg)
90' SL: Álvaro Saborío (Nelson Gonzalez)

Salt Lake: Nick Rimando; Chris Wingert, Nat Borchers, Jamison Olave, Robbie Russell; Will Johnson, Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales (Andy Williams 36'), Ned Grabavoy (Nelson Gonzalez 46'); Fabian Espindola, Robbie Findley (Álvaro Saborío 78'). Substitutes not used: Kyle Reynish, Tony Beltran, Rauwshan McKenzie, Jean Alexandre.

Seattle: Kasey Keller; Leo Gonzalez (Tyson Wahl 48'), Tyrone Marshall, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, James Riley; Steve Zakuani (Roger Levesque 78'), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Freddie Ljungberg; Pat Noonan, Fredy Montero (Nathan Sturgis 73'). Substitutes not used: Terry Boss, Patrick Ianni, Peter Vagenas, Mike Fucito.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

The Seattle Sounders FC were closing in on a win, but settled for a 2-2 draw against Real Salt Lake after giving up a corner-kick goal in the final minute of added time. Steve Zakuani scored early for Seattle, then Salt Lake tied it up in the second half with a goal by Will Johnson. Seattle's go-ahead goal was ruled an own goal off Nat Borchers' head. Salt Lake's last-minute equalizer came off the head of substitute Álvaro Saborío.

Pat Noonan had his first start for Seattle, and Tyson Wahl came on as a substitute for his first minutes of the season.

Although Seattle were in the match the whole way, they were credited with only two shots, which produced a goal and a save.

First Half

Seattle had a shaky first ten minutes, giving the ball away early to let Salt Lake attack and find Robbie Findley open for the first shot on 3 minutes, with Keller at the near post for the save. Two minutes later Kyle Beckerman nearly had a shot, but Kasey Keller read it well and was out near the edge of the penalty area to snare the through ball.

11' SEA: Zakuani (Montero). James Riley thought he was fouled and should have earned the first free kick of the match, but he had to settle for a throw-in. He got it right back and passed ahead to Fredy Montero, who took two touches and fed a killer pass ahead for an open Zakuani. Zakuani's low shot from 18 was stabbed at by the charging Nick Rimando's left foot, but the ball went over the foot and into the center of the goal. 1-0 Seattle.

Salt Lake came right back with an attack off the kickoff play that finished with Findley shooting hard but over the bar. A few minutes later a Salt Lake corner kick rattled around in the box dangerously, but was finally cleared.

At 20' Seattle took their second and final shot of the match when Montero fired from 20 when everyone was expecting a cross. Rimando parried the hard shot and collected the leftovers.

The same minute, Javier Morales did well to earn a cross to Findley, whose header went wide of the far post. A minute later Salt Lake won a battle for the ball outside the Seattle penalty area and Johnson was open on the right for a fine shot from 18, and Keller made the foot save that Rimando could not.

Midway in the half Chris Wingert got around the left corner for a dangerous cross, but Keller dove out to win it.

At just 36 minutes Morales had to leave with some problem with his right leg, and Andy Williams came on. The physical play took a toll, as Ned Grabavoy limped off late in the half after being hit in the shin when Osvaldo Alonso challenged for a loose ball, then in the final minute Jamison Olave spent some time on the ground.

After an opening quarter that saw good chances each way, the second quarter saw no chances in spite of continued attacking each way.

Second Half

Grabavoy's injury late in the second half was terminal, so Nelson Gonzalez replaced him to open the second.

Just 3 minutes into the half the Sounders' Leo Gonzalez seemed hurt as he left, replaced by Tyson Wahl at left back.

53' SL: Johnson (Russell). From a throw-in by Robbie Russell, he got the ball back and served the perfect cross to the far post for a nice diving header by Johnson. 1-1.

71' SEA: Marshall (Ljungberg). Midway in the second half there were few chances, but Seattle capitolized on one when Freddie Ljungberg earned a free kick from the left and sent a nice ball towards the far post. The official scorer initially ruled it an own goal by Nat Borchers, but a few days later it was ruled a Marshall goal, assisted by Ljungberg. Both Borchers and Marshall had their heads in there. 2-1 Seattle.

At this point in a fiercely contested match, there were just two good chances in the third quarter, both resulting in goals. The Sounders failed to generate a shot the rest of the half, and Salt Lake did not get many.

Soon after the goal a Salt Lake free kick was sent well high by Johnson. At 80' substitute Saborío's header flashed just wide of the lower far corner. At 85' Russell's 23-yard shot from a clearance was fired hard on goal, and Keller made a fine save. Two corners in the 90th minute were well defended by Seattle.

90' SL: Saborío (Gonzalez). In the fourth and final minute of added time, substitute Nelson Gonzalez sent a corner kick to the middle, and substitute Saborío beat Brad Evans to the ball to head it nicely inside the far post for the tying goal. 2-2.

           SL  SEA
Shots:      9    2
Saves:      1    3
Corners:   12    2
Fouls:     14   10
Offsides:   3    1

56' SEA: Marshall cautioned for a tactical foul on Espindola
60' SL: Wingert cautioned for a tactical foul on Ljungberg

Referees: Abiodun Okulaja; Frank Anderson, Steven Taylor; Tyler Ploeger

Attendance: 19,970

Postmatch Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Sigi Schmid - Sounders FC Head Coach

On the result: "Obviously we were on top, 2-1. Giving up a goal in the last second like that, we're not happy with it. We could have walked away with three points. It was something we worked hard for and I don't think we played super well, but I think the guys put in a good effort. We found ourselves in the lead. It's a criminal mistake at the end of the game. We can't make a mistake like that."

Allowed both goals on crosses, concerned with that?: "The first one we got to get pressure to the ball. The ball gets thrown in and gets played back to a guy and we've got a guy in the vicinity but nobody puts pressure on the ball. And on the second goal, the corner kick goal, the guy who's marking doesn't mark his guy. At it's as simple as that. At that point in the game you got to be touch-tight to somebody. If you're a player you say, 'OK, if I get beat it's going to be a PK. But he ain't scoring on a header. I'll give away a PK but he ain't scoring on a header.' But obviously he didn't do it, we had 30 seconds to go."

On the draw feeling like a loss: "Getting a point on the road is still something. You're not coming away with nothing, but we had three points so we gave two away."

On offense getting a couple goals: "I was a good counterattack goal. We got that goal well. The second goal on the free kick, Freddie hit his corners and free kicks much better today, and it was a good driven ball and we got on the end of that. That put us up 2-1. We had some other opportunities where we were very close to breaking it open, but again, I know can do better on the possession side of things."

How did you get up 2-1 not playing your best?: "We worked hard. We fought and we worked hard. And we wanted to try and counter because we knew they were a team that's going to push things forward and allow themselves to be exposed a little bit. The first goal was exactly a result of that. But we worked hard. At the end of the game we tried to put people in places and shut it down and take it through time. But we didn't do it."

Tyrone Marshall - Defender

Does the finish make this feel like a loss?: "Yeah, it's disappointing. 30 seconds left, a minute left in the game. We just need to be a little bit more aggressive in terms of locking up and just closing shop. I thought we did a pretty good job of that last year. We're three games in but we just need to go back and fine tune a few things. Make sure we do the simple things properly, especially on the road. Especially in a hostile environment like this. We knew they were going to come out and keep pressing and pressing until the game's over. In that position we just need to latch on and we're up 2-1 and make sure we get the points. Unfortunate we didn't do that and we're stuck now with one point. It feels like a loss, but at the same time too it's good to get a result and move onto the next goal."

Talk about the goal that was originally credited to you, but changed to an own goal?: "Man, they gave that an own goal? That's my goal. We got to go back. It's a good ball in by Freddie, I'm making a hard run at the back post and it was either he (Borchers) heads it and it's going into to be in the goal and if he misses it's me, too. It's one of those things, I made the hard run. Unfortunately it hit him, it should have hit me, and it went in. It's one of those things, we'll take it. At the time it was the go-ahead goal for us, they came back and got the equalizer."

Why did you celebrate like you scored?: "Because you have to man. It's a goal for us. It doesn't matter whoever scores it. If he scores it, I score it, the go-ahead goal. And we're on top at the time. I was pretty excited and happy that I made that run and caused him to make that mistake."

Rewarding to convert a set pieces after previous games?: "It was rewarding. We've seen that in the last game, we had 12 corners and a lot of free kicks and I had a chance as well at the back. We worked on it all week in training. It paid dividends this game. Unfortunately we didn't get the result, but hey, we take the point with a little bitter taste in our mouth and we move on to try to get three points in the next game."

Key for the defense against a pressing offense?: "They were pressing obviously. Being on the road...we wanted to bend but not break. We know what they have, they're a pretty good team. So we just have to make sure we lock up things and keep organized. Especially on the road. You know that's going to happen. Just like last week, when New York came to our place. We were on them until minute 90. Unfortunately they (RSL) scored a goal tonight but hopefully we'll live with the result. We live to fight another day and try to get three points next time."

Steve Zakuani -- Midfielder

On his 11th minute goal: "It was just a counter-attack; Montero had the ball on the right. I had a lot of space on the left, so I made a run and my first touch was good. I saw Rimando coming out so I tried to just slide it past him. He got a bit lucky because he got a touch on it, but the ball went in the goal so I was happy with it."

On how the locker room feels after the finish: "It was bad. Obviously it's bad. We came to within 30 seconds of coming away with three points. I don't think many teams will come in here and win this season. So it would have been a huge win. It was disappointing, we still have a few things to work on. It feels almost like a loss. Just because we came that close. I think for the effort we gave, and the fight we gave, we worked hard for 90 minutes and we fell asleep twice and we got punished."

Kasey Keller -- Goalkeeper

On the result: "Anytime you're winning with 30 seconds left and you concede on a corner, we're frustrated with that. We figured out that we hadn't conceded a goal on a corner all of last year and now we've conceded in back-to-back games. And that's a little frustrating. We're disappointed. Maybe in the run of play we not necessarily should've been in the lead but we found ourselves in the lead and it's about finishing games off and making sure you get those points. And today we weren't able to do it. Give some credit to Salt Lake. They never quit. They kept fighting. They kept putting us under pressure. They had a bunch of corner kicks in the end, and on the late one they got their reward. So hats off to them, but at the same time we know we should've - shoulda, coulda, woulda - walked out of here with three points. And that's what's frustrating."

What needs to be better on the goals you allowed? "Defending set pieces, it's just a one on one battle against a guy you're marking. You just make sure that he is not going to beat me. And it's the same when you're attacking. When you're attacking set pieces it's the same thing. I'm going to get ahead of this guy and I'm going to win the ball. I think we've been a little bit unfortunate, especially with the last one, not this one so much. Like I said, give some credit. He got up and finished it well. But at the same time, fight, fight, fight. I think we're fairly happy with 93-and-a-half minutes. We took the lead twice. We held some pressure. We know we can be better. We know we should be better. But at the same time, we found ourselves with the lead in the last seconds of the game. And we need to be better to finish that off."

On only gaining one point from their last two contests: "It's a little frustrating knowing we could be comfortably at seven points right now and be very happy with that position. But we find ourselves at four and there's a long time to go. We're still trying to find the way that works best for us and we'll find it. It's early in the season. I'm very confident that in the next few weeks things will be clicking."

Some positives to take home: "Scoring two goals on the road. We're always happy with that. I'm not going to guarantee it, but we're not going to lose many games if we score two goals on the road. So on that side of it, I'm very happy. Steve got off the mark and we got a little fortunate with the own goal, but at the same time I think Tyrone would have tapped it in if Borchers hadn't been unfortunate enough to knock that in. Good delivery from Freddie and that puts teams under pressure. They also put some great balls in the box, put us under pressure and like I said got their reward twice for putting in good crosses. Good service in the box is going to cause teams loads of trouble. I think this year Man. U. has been a recipient of something like 12 own goals because of the pressure and the quality of ball the put in the box. You can't discredit that. Both sides found reward for doing that this game. And back to the drawing board on Monday."

Real Salt Lake

Jason Kreis - Real Salt Lake Head Coach

On the match: "I'm obviously pleased with our team, going down twice in a match and reacting the way we did. It's an extremely positive thing for us, and to get that goal, it felt like a just reward."

On giving up a pair of set-piece goals: "Both came off of dead ball situations - one of them off of a throw-in. That is very disappointing and we are going to have to hammer home on that."

On setting the bar higher for his squad: "I'm asking for better. When we win, I'm asking for better. When we lost in Houston, I'm asking for better possession. Tonight we have some fantastic things; to react the way we did and to get a draw is very good, but I'm asking for better again. So we'll continue to set the bar high and I know the players can live up to that."

Real Salt Lake Midfielder Will Johnson

On snagging a point in the final seconds: "Obviously we are happy to get a point but at the same time we are all pretty disappointed. I don't think we played very well, I don't think we played like us. We just made two amateur mistakes on goals and if you want to win games then you have to cut that stuff out. So that part is frustrating but 2-2 is probably a fair result if you look at the whole game and possession and the chances. It definitely gives us a boost to get a goal at the end and get a point."

On the addition of Alvaro Saborio: "He's been great. He's a level-headed guy and he came in here and mixed right in with the team - and you saw tonight that he is just fantastic. Absolutely world class, and he scored a ton of international goals in his career. I'd put my money on it that he scores a lot of goals this year for us."

Real Salt Lake Forward Alvaro Saborio

On gaining a point via the late tie: "We are a little disappointed because we wanted to win the match. So we lost two points and now we have to make that up. We have to defend better, we have to attack better, and we have to put more opportunities on goal."

Real Salt Lake Midfielder Kyle Beckerman

On Saborio's stoppage-time goal: "It was just pure effort and a great goal. Alvaro really rose up and got a head on it - it was big time."

On what it meant to gain the point from the draw: "It's great. I think we will look back at the end of this season and we'll remember this draw. We would have liked to win - you want to win every game - but teams are not going to just lay down for us. But to come back twice it was a good draw."

Real Salt Lake Defender Chris Wingert

On fighting back twice from deficits: "We weren't happy about putting ourselves in a hole twice obviously, but at the same time we showed some good character and we played a better match, especially in the second half. We just kept on fighting and came away with a point. We're not happy with a point at home, but we are relatively happy."