2011 Apr 30

Brad Evans stars in a home win over Toronto FC

Seattle Sounders FC  3 - 0  Toronto FC
Qwest Field, Seattle, WA

9' SEA: Alvaro Fernandez (Brad Evans, James Riley)
52' SEA: Brad Evans (Fredy Montero, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado)
75' SEA: Brad Evans (PK)

Seattle: Kasey Keller; James Riley, Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyson Wahl; Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, Erik Friberg (Servando Carrasco 80'), Alvaro Fernandez; Fredy Montero (Mike Fucito 67'), Nate Jaqua (Roger Levesque 72').
Substitutes not used: Terry Boss, Jeff Parke, Leo Gonzalez, Lamar Neagle.

Toronto: Stefan Frei; Dan Gargan, Dicoy Williams, Adrian Cann, Danleigh Borman; Julian de Guzman (Nathan Sturgis 57'), Maicon Santos (Mikael Yourassowsky 46'), Jacob Peterson; Javier Martina, Alan Gordon, Alen Stevanovic (Matt Gold 62').
Substitutes not used: Milos Kocic, Nana Attakora, Ty Harden, Joao Plata.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

Brad Evans shined as the Sounders had their first three-goal match of the season. After assisting an early goal by Alvaro Fernandez, Evans finished the next two. Kasey Keller had little to do as the Sounders defense made his second consecutive shutout an easy one. Toronto never threatened to take a point.

Evans' first chance came early when goalkeeper Stefan Frei knocked down Erik Friberg's corner kick and the ball went to Evans for a shot that was blocked by a defender part way to goal.

9' SEA: Fernandez (Evans, Riley). On an attack up the right side, the ball went from Erik Friberg square to James Riley, then ahead to Evans for a long bending cross from the touch line. The ball came down just past the far post, where Fernandez had drifted away from his marker and was alone to head a shot inside the opposite post. 1-0 Seattle.

When the clock hit 11:00 the minute was dedicated Sterve Zakuani, who suffered a broken leg the previous match. Most fans held up a card with Zakuani's number 11 on it. For the whole minute the Emerald City Supporters led with "Steve" and the rest of the crowd answered with "Zakuani." Steve was probably watching the match with his mother, and we bet her eyes didn't stay dry.

Fernandez had two more chances from headers in the first half. Nate Jaqua's cross gave Fernandez a try from the same place he had recently scored from, but this time a defender pressured the shot high. Fredy Montero's nice pass to the penalty spot gave Fernandez a diving header that was well saved in the lower near corner by Frei.

Toronto had just one scoring chance in the first half. At 29' Javier Martina took a through pass up the middle into the penalty area, but Tyson Wahl got there just in time to deflect Martina's shot wide.

At 34' Evans had another chance to score when he was served the ball near the left post. He volleyed a shot off his chest trap, but skied it.

It was all Seattle to open the second half. Montero was served in the area for a quick shot at the far post and Frei made a good arm save. Evans was served in the area by Jaqua and had only Frei to beat, but Evans couldn't life the shot over the sliding Frei.

52' SEA: Evans (Montero, Hurtado). Osvaldo Alonso stole the ball at the center spot and Hurtado carried it forward on the attack. Hurtado gave it to Montero in the middle and he rolled a pass to the right for the open Evans. This time Evans beat Frei with a shot to the far side. Frei got only a slight touch on the ball and couldn't push it wide. 2-0 Seattle.

Just after entering the match for Montero at 66', Mike Fucito's first ball set him up in the penalty area for a low, square cross that gave an unmarked Jaqua a sliding shot that missed wide with plenty of target available. Evans' cross gave Jaqua another try that forced a save by Frei. Jaqua's short drop pass gave Fucito a good chance but he shot well over the bar and was dissapointed in himself.

75' SEA: Evans (PK). Toronto's Adrian Cann seemed to inadvertently raise his arm into the path of the ball while marking Evans on a corner kick. A penalty kick was awarded for handling, and Evans powered it to the right side of goal while Frei dove the other way. 3-0 Seattle.

Toronto's first shot of the half did not come until 77', when Dicoy Williams headed a long free kick high and wide. Then substitute Mikael Yourassowsky had a chance when served open on the left for a hard shot on goal -- Keller dove to parry it away. Toronto managed two more shots in the dying minutes but couldn't get them on goal.

The win gave Seattle their first two-match win streak this year.

          SEA  TOR
Shots:     19    6
Saves:      2    7
Corners:    5    4
Fouls:     13   12
Offsides:   2    2

45' SEA: Alonso cautioned for persistent infringement
54' SEA: de Guzman cautioned for taking Friberg down in the circle

Referees: Ricardo Salazar; Peter Manikowski, Jeff Muschik; Armando Villarreal

Attendance: 36,287

Postmatch Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Sigi Schmid - Head Coach

Opening statement: "First off I want to say to Steve Zakuani and O'Brian White that we miss you. We want you guys back with us as soon as possible, and the effort the guys put out tonight was a tribute to you as much as it was to our team. So, we really miss you guys and I want to start off the conference today with that. I thought we played well. I thought we were a little bit unfortunate to only be ahead by one at halftime. We got the second goal. We said the first 15-20 minutes of the second half would be important. We got that second goal early into the second half, so that established our rhythm and we came close a couple of other times. Obviously we had to change our formation a little bit, play a little bit differently, but I thought the guys responded really well. I thought we did a good job in the first half of disrupting the type of passing game that Toronto wants to establish. I was very pleased with how our team played. We made Kasey work for the shutout at the end. I guess they felt they didn't want to give him a free one."

Brad Evans moved to the right and had two goals and an assist, what went into moving him out wide and what did you think of his night?: "We wanted him on the right, but we also wanted him coming inside a little bit more. Same thing with Fernandez. We just wanted to get Friberg into the middle because we felt in this game that this is the way the formation would be best for us. Brad's played on the right before. He's comfortable out there. He's a good crosser of the ball as he showed on the first goal. And obviously he finished his goal. He was unlucky not to get a couple more. But I thought he and Fernandez, both of them as wide players tucking in at the right times, did a good job for us."

On the 11:00 tribute: "Pretty emotional. I sort of caught myself looking around and almost forgetting about the game for a moment. I'd been texting Steve back and forth last night -- nowadays you text guys, you don't talk to them -- and the one thing he kept reiterating is he didn't want the focus to be on him. He wanted the focus to be on the team. That's the kind of guy he is and so I was thinking, 'Steve don't be angry right now because we are focused on the game and on the win.'

On getting two shutouts in a row: "I think obviously it's something we got close to in the early games. We were a little bit unlucky, it seemed like. I think we had a couple of Goals of the Week against us, and things like that, so we were a little unfortunate that way. But right now, defensively, I think we're doing a good job. I think Patrick Ianni's played well the last two games he's been in there. I think Tyson Wahl's done well for us at left-back also, and Kennedy, and Riley's been solid for us defensively, Alonso as he always is. Defense is a good team effort. Kasey's come up with some good saves. We really put an emphasis on it a couple weeks ago, that we wanted to get shutouts, even before the Philly game, and we've been able to come up with some."

On shuffling the lineup to adjust for injured players: "We had to make some adjustments in the game, to begin the game. Those adjustments were playing Evans outside rather than inside and playing Friberg inside. And basically diamonding our midfield a little bit. Our game plan was the same first and second half. We wanted to pressure the two center backs once they came forward with the ball a little bit and create turnovers."

On the Jaqua-Montero combination: "Obviously, it's a combination that hasn't played a lot together since 2009. In 2009, they were pretty successful. Nate did a good job playing his role, flicking balls off. He works off the ball as well. Fredy, as a result, is able to drop in the hole a little bit more. That ball he lays off to Brad Evans is an example of what he can do when he drops to that hole. Fredy's still looking to regain his sharpness again after missing a couple of weeks because I think he could have pulled the trigger on a couple of shots. It's the classic target-guy, second forward. They make a classic pair in that regard."

On how tonight's performance matched up against the rest of the season: "I thought we played really well against Houston and when you look at Houston's results now, you'll see how nobody's really dominated them since. I thought we were all over them. I thought that was a very, very good game for us. I think this game was a solid game for us as well. If you had asked us before the game, we felt, 'Hey, this is one we think we can win.' We're at home and we think we can win it solidly, and we came through and did it. So it's good from the standpoint that the game fulfilled the expectations that we set for ourselves."

On the upcoming tough road week, with a Wednesday and Saturday game: "Sometimes with midweek games, you just try to stay in your rhythm and keep playing, because there's less practice. The guys are happy that there's no practice tomorrow, they fly on Monday. So it's a light practice on Monday, light practice Tuesday and then we go at it again. I think the team showed its depth today. It worked out well for us in terms of keeping Mauro out, so Mauro should be able to go on Wednesday. And if not on Wednesday, for sure he'll be able to go on Saturday. I think our depth showed through. Obviously we have to rely on our depth as we go into this week. We know we've got people - Jeff Parke, Leo Gonzalez, Mike Fucito, Roger, who came on, Lamar Neagle, Zach Scott. We've got a lot of different options and those guys will come through for us."

Seemed more energized tonight. Was it playing at home? Was it the hot streak?: "I think everything. I think playing at home. We really made a point before the game. We said that sometimes I felt that when we play at home, we look for our crowd to carry us into our energy. One of the things we talked about before the game today was that we wanted to bring the energy and have our crowd be the final nails in the coffin. So we wanted our crowd to feed off our energy and not for us to feed off the crowd's energy and then we would get that back-and-forth -- when we come out with that energy and then the crowd gets whipped up, then it's a tremendous thing. I thought the energy was good. Certainly there was a little bit of emotional-ness going into it. I think everybody thought a little bit about, 'Hey, we've got a pretty good job. It's a pretty great job and we're able to get out there and play every day.' You've got to appreciate every day because you don't know when that day is going to come when you can't play. So you hate missing games and I think everyone went out there and said 'Hey, let's make sure we enjoy ourselves.'"

Were you concerned there would be too much emotion?: "Not from me. We talked about it, but we didn't spend four days building up into it. I think everyone was aware of it. Sometimes things can go unsaid and you know they're there and you don't have to beat them to death for everybody to know it's there. I felt we were going to come with good emotion, but I didn't think we were going to be over-amped."

Brad Evans

On getting the victory: "It was good. I thought for the team overall, just a good push going forward. We have two tough road games coming up so it was vital to get the three points at home right now."

On if he felt that the team was more spirited in this match: "Yeah, we played players in different formations, different positions as well, so I think everybody had a good attitude from that standpoint and obviously, with Steve and O.B., you know, we talked about before the game kind of doing it for them so I think that was in the back of everybody's mind. But now we come together as a team and we push forward from here."

Alvaro Fernandez

On the goal it looked like you judged the cross much better than the defender: "It's a very tough play for defenders. You have to keep an eye on the ball and sometimes you forget about the player behind. For me it was a matter of jumping, heading it down and running in celebration."

Was this the best you guys have played?: "Yeah, obviously being able to win and score three goals. It has been a while since the last time (we did that). More than that the team really positioned well in all the lines."

Kasey Keller

Was there something extra put in for the missing guys today?: "I hope not. Honestly I hope that's just the way we come out and play every time. Whatever your motivation is, you're motivation really should be, 'I'm a pro and I go and do it the right way.' It was just a great night to be able to go and win 3-nil under the circumstances, but we also have a group of guys that realizes that their opportunity has come. It's always disappointing when it comes because of an injury to someone else, but as a pro then it's your obligation to step up and show everybody what you're made of, and I thought the guys did that very well.

Were you due for breakout game?: "Definitely. No question about it. I think it could've been more than (3-0). There were some good chances out there and I'm just proud of the way the guys played. I'm a little disappointed in the last 10 minutes. I think we took our foot off a little bit, but they're probably just saying, 'Let's make that old (guy) make some saves.' But whatever it takes. It was cool. It was nice to go have a 3-0 win at home. Free haircuts, free tacos, just a great way to spend your weekend."

On 63 straight starts, which will be the longest streak in MLS after this weekend: "I don't think too much about it. It's just nice to be able to train everyday. Like I said before, it's not a case where I'm just bandaging myself up and getting out and sucking down 55 Advil to get out there and crawl out onto the field and then take the week off. What I'm proud of is I'm able to train everyday, come out, perform and have fun doing it. That's the key. I don't worry too much about streaks or that kind of stuff."

At six games unbeaten, are you playing better now than earlier?: "Did you not watch the Colorado game?"

But you had said after the 0-2 start that this was a good team: "I think we played well enough in New York to get something. We obviously played well enough at home against L.A. to get something. Sometimes it just goes that way. You take the Houston game; we should've beat Houston by three or four as well. That just happens. Now you get a little bit fortunate against Colorado under some circumstances, and then you come back home and stamp your authority in a game like this and win well. The thing is consistency. If you can come out and consistently perform the way you want to perform you're going to give yourself a chance to win games. Sometimes you're going to have games where you just hammer a team and they beat you 1-nil on a counterattack. I've been on that side. I've beat teams that I no right ever to beat. That's the cool part about this game. It doesn't matter who you're up against, if it's your day, it's your day. That's a cool thing to be a part of. For us, we just need to play well. If we play well, play the way we want to play, work as hard as we possibly can, we're going to be in most games."

Fredy Montero

On injured teammates: "Sure, every time that you have a player out for injury it's sad. We just managed to fill their presence and we're all very proud to be a part of this team."

On Brad Evans' performance: "That's his characteristic. He always runs and gives himself throughout the 90 minutes. He runs throughout the game. It was a good plan for Sigi to play him outside. That opened more space and with that he scored the goals and managed to get an assist as well."

On what the emotions were like heading into the game: "It's always good to have the fans on our side and give them this kind of joy, scoring the goals and at the same time think about the players who could not play. But we always keep the team strong, playing strong."

Toronto FC

Aron Winter - Head Coach

On his overall thoughts on the match: "It is very simple, it was a bad game and we didn't play well. Seattle played the way we expected them to play but during the game everyone was afraid. Secondly they were doing something, just not the things we asked."

On the team being fatigued with the extensive travel the last few days: "It could be but soccer is simple and we ask for the most simple things. When most of the players are doing their own thing it will be difficult."

On the play of the second half subs: "They were doing what we were asking and doing it well. What I expect is the most experienced players have to do what we want. They have to be fighting and battling and doing things we expect."

On the team regrouping for two matches this upcoming week: "First, I'm going to think about it. I'm not satisfied with some players with their performance during this match and the previous games. I like more players who are giving everything because some players today didn't give everything."

Jacob Peterson

On his overall thoughts of the match: "Terrible. We didn't show up today. Simple as that."

On being possibly fatigued: "It was not an excuse. A lot of guys today didn't play a full game in Edmonton. We have to look in the mirror and take accountability."

On the dominant performance put out by Seattle tonight: "What didn't they do? They did everything they wanted to do. We were running around chasing ghosts out there. We have to come together and look at the tape and figure out how to get better out there."