2011 May 21

Jeff Parke's last-minute goal is enough for a win over Sporting KC

Seattle Sounders FC  1 - 0  Sporting KC
Qwest Field, Seattle, WA

90' SEA: Jeff Parke (Tyson Wahl)

Seattle: Kasey Keller; James Riley, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Jeff Parke, Tyson Wahl; Servando Carrasco (Nate Jaqua 55'), Osvaldo Alonso, Mauro Rosales (Mike Fucito 69'), Alvaro Fernandez; Fredy Montero (Patrick Ianni 90'), Roger Levesque.
Substitutes not used: Terry Boss, Zach Scott, Erik Friberg, Lamar Neagle.

KC: Jimmy Nielsen; Michael Harrington, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Roger Espinoza; Craig Rocastle, Ryan Smith (Chance Myers 86'), Kei Kamara, Davy Arnaud; Omar Bravo (Graham Zusi 76'), Teal Bunbury (C.J. Sapong 73').
Substitutes not used: Eric Kronberg, Julio Cesar, Luke Sassano, Birahim Diop.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

Jeff Parke headed in a corner kick deep in added time for the only goal of the match, putting the Sounders back in the win column. Both defenses played well, allowing very few good chances in the match.

Seattle almost got a shot at an open net from the kickoff play. Tyson Wahl's long air ball skipped off a defenders head and became a 50-50 ball for goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen and forward Fredy Montero. Both got to the ball at the same time, and Nielsen managed to collect the ball after they both made contact with it.

KC's best chance came early, in the 5th minute. Ryan Smith got by the defense on the right for a shot that Kasey Keller blocked with a fine save. The rebound went to an open Omar Bravo, but his put-back shot bounced too easily to Keller. Kei Kamara got the next chance at 18', heading a shot on goal from a free kick play, but too softly.

At 20' Seattle had a chance when Alvaro Fernandez spun with the ball and crossed to Mauro Rosales' head for a shot that looped a foot over the bar. Rosales crosses set up the last two chances of the half. Fernandez' header near the far post was blocked out for a corner. Then Osvaldo Alonso ran onto a square pass in the middle just above the arc and hammered a left-footed shot a foot over the bar.

After a relatively uneventful first half, the second half opened with even less worth mentioning. Teal Bunbury had been neutralized by Seattle's center backs all match, but at 54' he broke away from Parke and got deep into the penalty area, but Parke tracked back and defended the cross well. Bravo put a long free kick right to Keller. Kamara got sprung, but Keller made it to the ball at the 18 just before Kamara could reach it.

Seattle tried to add punch to their offense by bringing Nate Jaqua on at 55' for Servando Carrasco, who had played as the right midfielder, and Mike Fucito entered at 69' for Rosales. Fucito was the first Sounder to get a good chance in the half when he sped in for a shot from the right, but the defender kept pace and blocked it wide for a corner.

90' SEA: Parke (Wahl). Seattle earned a corner kick 3 minutes into the 4 minutes of added time. Left back Wahl went to the diagonally opposite corner to take it and hit an in-swinger to the near side. Parke was open 12 yards from goal and headed it down with not a lot of velocity, but enough to get by a defender and beat Nielsen to the far post. 1-0 Seattle.

Kansas City earned a corner kick at the end and got a shot from it, but it was headed wide.

          SEA   KC
Shots:     12    8
Saves:      3    1
Corners:    8    4
Fouls:     14   15
Offsides:   1    0

44' SEA: Fernandez cautioned for delaying a restart
49' KC: Smith cautioned for dissent
51' SEA: Carrasco cautioned for a tactical foul
64' SEA: Rosales cautioned for a foul from behind
84' SEA: Alonso cautioned for a tactical foul

Referees: Geoff Gamble; Corey Rockwell, Eric Proctor; Drew Fischer

Attendance: 36,098

Postmatch Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Sigi Schmid - Head Coach

General Comments: "It seems like every time we play these guys we get a last minute goal here at home. We'll take it. One minute, one moment like that changes everybody's mood. Today, with us trying to play a little bit of a different system, I thought at times we held the ball well, but at other times we were a little bit disjointed. We wanted to come, obviously, with some offensive players at the end to try and get the goal. I thought we put a little more pressure on them in the second half in that regard. Can we play better? Yes. Do we like the three points? Yes."

On scoring on a set play: "It's one of the things we talked about before the game. Before the game we talked about how we wanted to get goals off corners and free kicks. Those things change games. When games are tight they make a difference. Over a season's time, if you can get 6-10 goals over the course of a season, it makes a difference. You can swing a game here or there. We actually pointed out a couple guys and said, 'When was the last time you scored off a header, off a kick and got a goal.' They said a couple season ago, maybe longer. That was the guy who scored the goal, so maybe I should pick someone else for the next game. Those things tip the scale in tight games."

On team being flat: I don't think we're emotionally flat or anything like that. I think Omar Bravo coming back to their team helped their team. Omar did a good job not only offensively, but also trying to bottle up Ozzie in the midfield. And Carrasco and Fernandez with the slightly different roles, they didn't come to grips with it right away. I don't think emotionally we were below par. I thought we were there."

On center back position: "It's a situation where we have three very good center backs in Parke and Ianni, and Hurtado. We have three games here in a week, so we'll probably play each of them a couple games. We got a shutout tonight, so that was good. They each bring something good slightly different to the table. It's more rotation than anything else. Roger has been playing well at practice. Nate may be at a physical lull right now, trying to get fit and in shape and it's causing his touch to be off, so we decided to switch it around."

On Carrasco: "He was playing on the right side of the midfield and he was supposed to pinch in a little bit, but he went out wide all the time it seemed like and that brought Flaco in all the time. We need better balance there sometimes. Carrasco's outside and sometimes he's inside, but he's a rookie and he's still learning, but he gives you everything he has when he's steps on the field and he makes more good decisions than bad ones."

On injured players: "OB was in the locker room before the game. Steve, because of his (late) arrival, wasn't in there before the game because by the time he got here, it was a little later and he didn't want to take away from our preparation. They had some time with O'Brian and I know they want to spend some time with Steve and talk to him. It's like having a family member who's sick. You want to see him healthy again."

On defense: "I thought they played alright. I thought Kennedy was good. I thought Tyson did well with Kamara and that's a difficult matchup as well. And Ozzie at times has Bravo, so he did a good job. Our center backs did a good job of containing the two. I thought we matched up with them fairly well. In the first half I thought there were two or three that dropped into the box that we could have done better with, but in the second half, there wasn't much."

On shots on goal: I thought we were still a little disjointed in terms of how we were playing in the diamond in midfield. We were a little cockeyed with Servando wide on the right side. As a result of that, our cohesion wasn't there. We had some good looks, but didn't put the shots on goal. Ozzie's shot was over the goal by two feet. If that's on goal, it forces a save. You want to make the goalkeeper make saves, so that's something we have to do better."

On looking ahead: "We wanted to get three points tonight and that was important for our confidence as well. We'll look at Dallas and Salt Lake tomorrow, those are our next two opponents, and we'll get after it."

Jeff Parke

On scoring his first MLS goal since 2004: "I scored a lot of goals during preseason matches and stuff like that, of course, and I've had my chances but tonight was finally the back of the net."

On how the play worked out for him to score: "It took a little bit because the guy's been grabbing me all night - either Kamara or whoever the kid was at the end there. But finally I was just like, 'Ref man, take a look at this guy.' And then he started mouthing off to me and it just kind of got me fired up because he was holding me all night and finally you saw a guy not grabbing onto me and I was able to get up and get my head on something."

On the defensive effort tonight: "It is good to see their two players get taken off. They're good players and they can come at you at any time of the game so it's important for us to be solid and those guys are good players and tonight I thought the defense and the back four, back five did real well. Kasey did well and as a team, I thought we deserved the points."

On if there was extra motivation being back in the starting lineup: "Yeah, it's nice to be back. I don't know if it's extra but it's good to get the points and the goal, obviously."

On what he felt when the ball went in: "It took a little bit. I kind of looked over like this and was watching it and it skipped and I was like, 'Come on, get in there!' Then finally - it was definitely a little bit of an out-of-body experience because I don't score that often - so once it hit the net, I [thought], 'What do I do?' Everything left the head, I just looked and saw my guys on the sideline and I took off after them."

Tyson Wahl

On the goal: "It was really just a great finish by Jeff. He got up super high, had some good hangtime and skipped it off to the far post. (I was) just really focusing on getting some ball in there that could cause some chaos. I think I put it in a good spot and Jeff had a great finish on it, so kudos to him."

On shutting out high-scoring KC: "They have a lot of threatening offensive players, a lot of speed. So we were just making sure that we didn't get countered, because they have a lot of breakout speed. I think we did a pretty good job of limiting their chances. We had a couple, but not many. I don't think it was the prettiest game. I don't think we had a lot of chances either. But I'll take the three points and keep this momentum hopefully into Wednesday."

If he could think of a less-likely goal-scorer than Parke: "Maybe myself. Or Kasey."

Kasey Keller

On the win: "That's why you play 90 minutes and you don't leave the stadium early. You just keep going and put the ball in the back (of the net) and that's what will happen. It was obviously a great ball from Tyson and Jeff--I'm sure you've all heard, Sigi called him out and asked when the last time he had scored--and now he's scored. It's great for Jeff, great for the team and obviously the fans. Everybody gets to leave now all excited. It's good for us. It was nice to get that late goal."

On the game, continued: "You got a team that's struggling a little bit, finding ways not to get results. It thought they played well. They came with a purpose and executed that. Teams that can score goals off free kicks always give themselves an opportunity to win games. I always want to be on a team that's in that plus category."

Mike Fucito

On the importance of Jeff Parke's winning goal: "It was great. We had talked before the game about how free kick goals are important and we're a team that is capable of capitalizing on chances like that. Parke was able to get up and get one finally and whether it's the first minute or the 90th minute, we can always take advantage of those. Parke did great on that."

On if he thought he would get a goal after having some chances: "I was close. I hit that one off the corner pretty well that got blocked and then the other one on my right foot. But they'll come, they'll come."

On if there's any thought in his head about beating Kansas City in the final minutes like last year: "I mean, a little bit but it's a game and we just wanted the three points, wanted to score that goal."

Mauro Rosales

On what made getting a goal today difficult: "They came here and they were OK with one point and they played for draw and made it difficult for us to play without space but we didn't surrender to the last minutes."

On how his injury felt: "It was OK. I felt very good during the week and I talked with the coach and I said, 'I want to play because I felt like I [could].' It was a good chance to play against this team and to prove that I'm OK. It was fine. I felt OK."

Sporting KC

Peter Vermes - Head Coach

On his impression from the match: "I think we played a very good match tonight. We were very organized and disciplined and didn't give anything away. It is very disappointing to walk away from here tonight without a point."

On his reaction to the goal by Seattle: "I will have to wait til I see the replay. I really haven't had a chance to see it yet. I'm not sure if Parke was wide open or not. It may have been someone missing their assignment but I have to go back and watch it."

On hoping for a draw tonight: "Absolutely, hundred percent. They had one chance in the second half and our guy made a great tackle. Easily should have been a draw, especially since we are playing away from home. We were organized in the way we played and disciplined in our assignments and worked very hard."

On playing so many road games to start the season: "It is always difficult but even more so when you play games like this. To lose a game like this when you work so hard for 90-plus minutes is difficult."

On his players being fatigued from playing so many road game: "I don't necessarily think so. It would be nice to play at home every once in a while but that is not going to happen for a couple of more games. When you travel you lose a day on preparation and recovery."

On his reaction to the crowd: "Excellent, this is a great place to play. The crowd is always a big factor in the game. I think our team did a great job not letting it affect them in the way the game was played."

Davy Arnaud

On his impression of the match: "I thought we deserved something out of the game today. We defended well, we didn't give them any legitimate chances, and anything they got was on set pieces. We worked so hard for each other defensively and stuck to our game plan and we deserved to get a point out of this game. It hurts to give up a goal like that. The worked we put in we deserved something out of it."