2011 Mar 9

Sounders close preseason with a win thanks to Colombian goals

Charity Shield preseason match:
Seattle Sounders FC  3 - 1  Colorado Rapids
Qwest Field, Seattle, WA

60' SEA: Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (Fredy Montero)

63' COL: Jeff Larentowicz (PK)
67' SEA: Fredy Montero (Erik Friberg, O'Brian White)
78' SEA: Fredy Montero (O'Brian White, Pat Noonan)

Seattle: Kasey Keller; James Riley, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (Patrick Ianni 84'), Jeff Parke, Leo Gonzalez; Alvaro Fernandez (Pat Noonan 75'), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans (Erik Friberg 52'), Steve Zakuani (Michael Tetteh 81'); Fredy Montero (Lamar Neagle 81'), Blaise Nkufo (O'Brian White 65').
Substitutes not used: Terry Boss, Josh Ford, Taylor Graham, Zach Scott, Tyson Wahl, Servando Carrasco, David Estrada, Roger Levesque, Miguel Montano.

Colorado: Matt Pickens (Steward Ceus 46'); Kosuke Kimura, Drew Moor (Scott Palguta 71'), Marvell Wynne (Tyrone Marshall 71'), Anthony Wallace; Pablo Mastroeni (Joseph Nane 63'), Jeff Larentowicz (Ross LaBauex 70'), Jamie Smith (Wells Thompson 71'), Brian Mullan (Sanna Nyassi 71'); Omar Cummings (Quincy Amarikwa 71'), Conor Casey (Andre Akpan 60').

Match report from Ron Stickney:

Three Colombian goals gave the Seattle Sounders FC a win over the MLS champion Colorado Rapids in the Seattle side's last preseason match. After a scoreless first half, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado nodded in Fredy Montero's free kick on the hour chime to open Seattle's account. Colorado soon leveled on Jeff Larentowicz' penalty kick, but Fredy Montero closed the account with two fine goals.

Seattle looked best out of the starting gate, but in the 9th minute it was Seattle defender Jeff Parke this time who muffed an attempted clearance, putting Conor Casey in on goal. Kasey Keller positioned himself well and Casey hesitated before shooting, and it was just enough time for James Riley to get there to break up the shot.

A quarter hour in Fredy Montero had the ball close to goal and danced around with it, but could not make space for a shot. Then on a counter the other way Casey broke through again and tried to chip Keller, but Keller got back to take the ball.

Colorado controlled most of the rest of the half, with Keller making professional saves on a free kick by Larentowicz and shots up the middle by Pablo Mastroeni and Omar Cummings.

Seattle nearly broke through when Montero fought for the opportunity to put Blaise Knufo through up the middle, but goalkeeper Matt Pickens got out to block the shot.

Brad Evans had the first shot of the second half on a volley that was blocked, then he soon limped off with a hamstring injury, replaced by Erik Friberg.

Colorado took the momentum for a bit, then Seattle struck off a free kick.

60' SEA: Hurtado (Montero). Seattle had a 30-yard free kick in the middle. Osvaldo Alonso stepped over the ball and Montero curled it to the far post, where Hurtado headed it with speed over new goalkeeper Steward Ceus' shoulder. 1-0 Seattle.

63' COL: Larentowicz (PK). Cummings went down on contact from Hurtado in the penalty area and was rewarded by referee Yader Reyes with a penalty kick. Hurtado would have been better off to have cleared the ball. Larentowicz fired it hard and low up the middle as Keller dove to the side. 1-1.

67' SEA: Montero (Friberg, White). A service in front of goal was headed back to Friberg by O'Brian White. From the middle of the 18-yard line, Friberg sent a short through ball to Montero on the right-post run, and he finished low to the far side. 2-1 Seattle.

Montero soon had another close-in shot from Alvaro Fernandez' cross, but it was blocked and Steve Zakuani could not quite reach the leftovers.

Ex-Sounders Tyrone Marshall and Sanna Nyassi entered at 71'. Then at 77' a cold March downpour started and lasted beyond the end of the match.

78' SEA: Montero (White, Noonan). This goal was similar to the previous goal. Pat Noonan fed White at the arc, and White slipped the short through pass to Montero, who finished low under Ceus before the keeper could collapse. 3-1 Seattle.

One highlight was left in the match when Alonso's 25-yard free kick bent low around the wall and nearly found the lower near corner, stopped by Ceus' fine save.

          SEA  COL
Shots:     11   12
Saves:      5    3
Corners:    2    5
Fouls:     18   10
Offsides:   4    1

57' SEA: Gonzalez cautioned for a tactical foul
86' SEA: Friberg cautioned

Referees: Yader Reyes; Jeff Hosking, Mike Rottersman; Allen Chapman

Attendance: 7,355

Postmatch Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Sigi Schmid - Head Coach

On his team's overall performance: "Obviously it's still preseason. Just like [Colorado Rapids head coach] Gary Smith said to me before the game, he said 'you've played a lot of good competition.' So I think to a certain extent, in comparison to some other teams, we haven't played a lot of college games. You know, played the Under-23s or the Under-20s or the Under-17s and things like that. We've tested ourselves in every game. Obviously there was a stretch there when we didn't score goals and everyone said it was almost the end of the world. Now, tonight, we scored three goals and it's not like the new dawn has approached either. You can't get too low with the lows or too high with the highs. I was pleased tonight to see us score some goals. I thought we were more aggressive in our style. We tried to get forward; we tried to look behind the defense. Hopefully the win wasn't costly in regards to a couple of injury possibilities, but that's why you have a squad and that's why you have depth. But I was pleased with our attitude tonight in the game."

On the injuries: "It's really tough to update right now. The guys are being looked at right now and you really got to see how it reacts in the 24-hour period."

On what you said at halftime, got three goals in second half: "We talked about it and the forwards did a good job tonight of staying high. It's maybe sometimes frustrating when you stay high because you feel you don't see enough of the ball, but by staying high, that opens up some space underneath, and what we said at halftime is that's a space that Zakuani could come into and that Fernandez could come into as well. And that would open up space for Riley on the right to get forward. So that started to happen for us a little bit. Fernandez started to find the ball more by doing that. The forwards, Blaise and Montero, did a good job of staying high and keeping the two central defenders occupied."

On Fredy Montero: "I thought his energy and effort were good. Obviously pleased with the two goals that he scored, especially the one from the pass from Friberg, where it was just one touch and the second touch, he hit it. I thought he had another one he could have hit earlier. We talked about that. There's still some times where I'd like to see him just play it a little bit sooner. But, overall, I thought his effort and desire -- like in the first half when he came back and stole the ball from Larentowicz and started to counter the other way -- that was a combination with him and Blaise, where Blaise was almost in and Pickens had to come up with a save. So, if we get that kind of endeavor, that's tremendous. I don't want him back in front of our own 18, like he was before he got subbed out. I'd rather keep him up higher on the field."

On Hurtado, both the goal and the PK?: "I'll tell you about the header first. I thought he made a great run and scored a good goal on the header. On the PK, me and Jhon Kennedy just talked about it, the ball should have probably been in about row 35. He should have not tried to maybe bring that ball down. If he had just cleared that ball out, you live and fight for another day. He didn't do that, and the ball comes inside a little bit and then you've got players in this league that have size and pace. If they get a half a step on you in the box, you're in trouble."

On the Rapids' forwards Cummings and Casey: "Those two guys are probably the best forward tandem, last year in the league for sure. They're a good combination of size and speed as well. I thought overall, we did a fairly good job on them. Early on in the game, we got into a couple of bad positions, a couple of bad angles that created problems. We let a ball bounce as well. That created problems in the first half, but for the most part, I thought we kept them in check fairly well. Cummings was close to breaking through a couple of times, but when you have forwards of that quality, that's going to happen."

On how the defense responded to the weekend: "Definitely happy, even though I thought we gave up a little bit of a soft goal again by giving a penalty away that we didn't need to. Certainly happy overall. We made a couple of defensive plays as well: blocked some shots, we were good on set pieces in terms of defending their corners, because they've got decent size. We scored a free kick of our own, which is a goal we set for ourselves going into the game -- that we wanted to get a goal off a set piece."

Is Bryan Meredith still with the team, have you made that choice in terms of a third goalkeeper?: "We've made the choice on our third goalkeeper. Josh Ford is our goalkeeper who we're going to sign. Bryan Meredith was still with us at training yesterday. We're trying to help him find something as well and I think he's got a couple possibilities to play at. It's a tough one and Bryan's a very talented guy as well."

On positive signs for next week?: "Providing guys aren't hurt, yeah. You never know. There's always things that can surprise us and changes that can come up, but in terms of seeing on Tuesday the effort and the work rate we put in today, I would expect to see the same."

Any thoughts on Friberg?: "He came in and played well. We were going to sub him in anyways and probably move Evans outside. Obviously when Brad got hurt we went for the straight sub. It's the reason we brought him here is we knew if something happened his style of play -- as you saw with him getting in the box and getting the assist -- is more similar to Evans. Evans in the first half made some great runs that put himself in dangerous positions. He was in the box and Friberg provides some of that the same for us."

Any injury concerns besides Evans and Zakuani?: "No. Those are the only two."

Do you feel you accomplished everything you wanted to?: "We accomplished the fact that we scored some goals, which we hadn't done. We're happy about that. We wanted to play to zero, so didn't accomplish that goal. We wanted to score off a set piece and we accomplished that as well. We wanted to play with more energy. We wanted to be a bit more direct than we have been, and finding the right mix of when to hold it and when to knock it in. I think we did a better job of that. We still need to work on that. We still need to get better on that."

Fredy Montero (via translator)

Good to see the ball hit the back of the net again?: "Very happy, more than anything for the result than necessarily my goal. That gives me confidence for the starting game."

Did you want to put on a show for Juanes?: "Sure, why not? I admire him a lot. I admire his career and his route, so I was happy to spend some time with him. He's someone so important for our country."

What did you do in the second half to get those scoring chances?: "Simply run. Those kinds of passes in empty spaces are always good. If we can keep doing that we can kill defenses with our fast players. We'll always find that kind of space."

On where you're at before the season?: "We know that we are not at 100-percent of our level, but we are getting prepared. If it required that we run, we run. If long passes are what's required, we'll throw the long passes, if the first touch is not working we'll find the alternatives."

Is this how you wanted to go into the opener?: "We are very happy. Obviously a good end to the preseason, especially being in front of the fans. This gives us motivation to start the season."

Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (via translator)

On the goal: "It was a good cross from Montero, came from the right side. I headed it with the left side of head and centered it in the right direction. It was very good."

On the PK: "That was a play where I unfortunately made a mistake. I should've cleared but wanted to start the play. Thankfully we ended up winning and there's always another day to fix things."

On how you feel physically: "I'm feeling good. The decision from the coach, staff and myself not to accelerate my return was definitely a good one. It's given me a chance to prepare, get ready and just be ready for the entire season."

Brad Evans

On the injury: "It was a simple ball played into Blaise. He turned and I was just coming to support and felt in there. I was able to still get the pass off to Zakuani and do the 1-2, but after that I just couldn't go anymore -- I felt a little pop. I got an injection so hopefully that localizes the injured spot. I think maybe 1-3 weeks, so it's not anything major, so that's a positive. At the same time, you never want to get injured."

On the moment when you went down, then got up because the ball was coming at you: "It was super awkward because I thought it was going out of bounds. Luckily, Conor had said, 'Just stay down,' and he was a good sport in that situation. Maybe a league game is a little bit different. It was a little bit awkward in that situation for sure. I thought maybe could continue, but there was no chance."

On the letdown after a good preseason: "Preseason was great. Participated is just about every practice fully. I felt good. Felt good tonight. Completed most my passes, but something unlucky happened. It's just the way it goes. There are guys that can obviously fill that spot so I don't think anybody's worried about a dip in play or anything like that. Nobody's worried about the opening game for sure, but for it's a letdown, absolutely."

Keeping perspective on it being a long season: "Yeah, that's the most positive thing for sure is the season hasn't even started yet. From that standpoint I just got to keep an even head and not get too upset. A minor setback."

Colorado Rapids

Gary Smith - Head Coach

General Comments: "The result is immaterial to me and the group. I thought for the first hour, where had our starting 11, we looked comfortable. In general, our play was very controlled, we defended well, and we were playing a good Seattle team on the road in front of a good crowd. I like the way the group is coming together. Some of the rapport the group is getting again is good."

Tyrone Marshall

General Comments: "Any time you play an away game you try to get a result. It's always disappointing when you lose, especially against your old team. The good thing is that it isn't a regular season game, it's a preseason game. It was a good dress rehearsal for the season opener. I think we played good for 60 minutes. Overall, progression-wise, we did well. We can take away the positives from here and keep getting better."

On being defending league champs: "You always have a bulls-eye on your back because it's not like you can sneak up on teams. Teams are going to be ready for you. It's a challenge for us to make sure we're ready all the time. We have a good competitive nature about us and we don't like to lose."