2012 Apr 28

Sounders hold on for a road win in the windy city

Chicago Fire  1 - 2  Seattle Sounders FC

Toyota Park, Bridgeview, IL

39' SEA: own goal (Arne Friedrich)
67' SEA: Eddie Johnson (Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Fredy Montero)

89' CHI: Pappa

Chicago: Sean Johnson; Dan Gargan, Arne Friedrich, Jalil Anibaba, Gonzalo Segares; Logan Pause (Marco Pappa 61'), Pavel Pardo, Sebastian Grazzini (Rafael Robayo 80'), Daniel Paladini (Frederico Puppo 72'); Dominic Oduro, Patrick Nyarko.
Substitutes not used: Orr Barouch, Austin Berry, Paolo Tornaghi, Hunter Jumper.

Seattle: Michael Gspurning; Adam Johansson, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez; Mauro Rosales (Marc Burch 51'), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, David Estrada; Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson (Sammy Ochoa 90').
Substitutes not used: Bryan Meredith, Zach Scott, Andy Rose, Alex Caskey, Cordell Cato.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

The Seattle Sounders FC worked for a 2-0 lead from a Chicago own goal and Eddie Johnson's first for the Sounders, then made it hold up for a 2-1 road win. Marco Pappa scored directly from a corner kick in the 89th minute to set up a tense ending, but Seattle's defense held on for the win.

Returning to Seattle's right side from injury were midfielder Mauro Rosales and defender Adam Johannson.

It took a dozen minutes for the first shot, and it was Chicago's as Dominic Oduro was put through on the right side for a 15-yard shot from the right, saved by Michael Gspurning down low. Just a minute later Chicago had a great chance after Oduro crossed from the end line and Daniel Paladini seemed wide open a dozen yards from the far post, but somehow Osvaldo Alonso halfway to goal managed to deflect the shot up and over.

Seattle's first shot came soon, a quick shot from Fredy Montero from 25 yards, aimed off target. A better try was a header from Jeff Parke off Rosales' free kick, just missing the top near corner.

Pavel Pardo came close when he was open for a good header on a corner kick, but Gspurning got just barely enough of it to send it wide.

Montero next had three consecutive shots for Seattle. The first was his best chance when he was served well by Leo Gonzalez' cross and headed it inches over the bar, the ball settling on the roof. Montero's next shot came from a good Seattle build-up, but he wasted the shot well wide of the near post. He finished the series with a ripper from 35 that goalkeeper Sean Johnson had to punch away.

39' SEA: Own goal. The opening goal came from pressure by Seattle. Eddie Johnson won a through ball and dropped a pass from the end line to David Estrada, who attempted a shot aimed at the far post. Unfortunately for Arne Friedrich, the ball caromed off his far knee and went just inside the near post, catching Sean Johnson wrong-footed. 1-0 Seattle.

The half finished with Oduro seemingly sprung into the area for a great chance, but he whiffed the shot attempt.

Rosales left in the 51st minute, replaced by Marc Burch, who pushed Estrada from left mid to right mid. Rosales had b een kicked in the ankle by Gonzalo Segares early in the match, and it bothered him all night. Ten minutes after entering Burch served a fine cross to Montero for a header that seemed intended as a shot, but never got there. However, it set up Eddie Johnson for a header up close that had open goal available, but the shot hit square onto the near post.

Chicago netted the ball at 63', but offside was ruled. The play started with Sebastian Grazzini's 35-yard free kick blocked in the penalty area. The rebound gave substitute Marco Pappa a shot from just outside the area. It went in, leading to a hand-spring by Pappa, but Oduro was well offside and in Gspurning's way on the play, resulting in an appropriate offside call.

67' SEA: Johnson (Hurtado). The match winner came from a wicked free kick by Montero. The wind might have been a factor, as Sean Johnson could only get a paw on it for a save. The rebound was kept alive in front of goal by Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, and Eddie Johnson poked it in from close range. 2-0 Seattle.

Hurtado was soon in front of goal again to head a cross just over.

Seattle's defense kept Chicago at bay for most of the second half, but chances for a comeback came in the final ten minutes. Pappa came very close with a shot from his own half that went just wide of the top corner.

89' CHI: Pappa. After Pappa's shot was deflected out for a corner, he took the corner and scored directly from it, hooking a shot over Gspurning and in off the far post. The wind may have played a factor in this goal, too. 2-1 Seattle.

Although four minutes of added time were announced, additional time was added after Eddie Johnson left the pitch slowly on a substitution, drawing a yellow card for time wasting. It was nearly six minutes of added time when Gspurning had to make a big save to keep Jalil Anibaba's 15-yard header from tying the match up. The match continued for at least a minute beyond that, but finally time was called to give the Sounders the win.

Immediately after the final whistle there was quite a brouhaha between both teams, with the referee crew trying to break it up. It seemed to be triggered by Anibaba's bad tackle on Gonzalez near the final whistle, moments after Anibaba's last-chance shot was saved by Gspurning. It was mostly jawing and handbags, though, but it was reported later by the league that Anibaba was sent off for the fight and coach Frank Klopas was dismissed from the pitch, the equivalent of a red card.

          CHI   SEA
Shots:     13    15
Saves:      2     3
Corners:   12     2
Fouls:      8    13
Offsides:   5     1

60' SEA: Estrada cautioned for time wasting
90' SEA: Montero cautioned for dissent
90' CHI: Pappa cautioned for dissent
90' SEA: Johnson cautioned for wasting time when substituted for
90'+ CHI: Anibaba sent off for the postmatch fight
90'+ CHI: Coach Frank Klopas dismissed

Referees: Michael Kennedy; Gregory Barkey, Peter Balciunas; Abiodun Okulaja

Attendance: 14,166

Post-Match Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Sigi Schmid - Head Coach

On the added time at the end of the game: "It was supposed to be four, then [the referee] added another two, then two turned into three, so it ended up being like seven."

On the result: "It's a great win for us. Obviously we only play them once, and to play away and be able to get three points is important. Not our best game, our most artistic game, but in the end all that matters is the result. We did well, we created opportunities, we didn't possess it as well, but we're very happy with the win."

On Eddie Johnson's night: "It helped his confidence tremendously. Plus he also basically played 90 minutes, which is going to help him continue to grow in his fitness and eventually the timing and so forth. Eddie's timing within the game, I thought his touch was not the best in the first half; it was something we talked about at halftime. I thought his touch was better in the second half. He was unlucky as well with the header (that hit the post in the second half)."

On the second half: "We did a better job compacting our defense and also making sure that we held the ball a little better at times when we got the ball. We really wanted to make sure Johansson and Leo tucked in a little bit more. Leo pretty much stayed, so that allowed us to eliminate those gaps they were running through in the first half."

On the fitness of the players facing L.A. on Wednesday: "Obviously we had some tired bodies in there today, so we'll see who can get back out there in our next game on Wednesday. It was good to see Adam go 90 minutes -- he said he felt good. (There were) no issues with (Rosales') knee. It was an early tackle by Segares -- he nailed him in the ankle -- so he's got a pretty good bruise there."

On facing L.A. in the next game: "We want to win, definitely. We want to get three in a row. We always want to win at home. We want to measure ourselves against Los Angeles; they are the defending MLS Cup champions. They've got all the star power. They've got Keane, they've got Beckham, they've got Donovan -- they've got a good team and they've got quality. But our team has quality, as well. It's going to be a great match on Wednesday and we're looking forward to seeing all of our fans."

On getting the team's first win to start off this stretch of games: "It's important because you want to get the points wherever you can get them. Getting the points early in the stretch is as important as getting them late, and that way you don't have added pressure on yourselves. But certainly it's our second game away from home and we're undefeated away from home now with a win and a tie, so that's something we're very happy about."

On Johnson's production: "It was good. He produced at key moments; he also hit the post with that header. He was dangerous at times. His touch was off a little bit, but he knows that's going to get better. No matter how much you train, you don't get the fine timing and that in-tune movement until you get out there in games and play in games. I think it'll continue to grow and get better."

And it helps him on the mental side?: "Of course. Any time you open up your account and get a goal, it helps you psychologically. And David keeps shooting and seems to get a deflection here and there. But if you don't shoot, you don't get those deflections."

On Michael Gspurning's play: "He got beat by a goal the South Americans call an Olympico, when you score directly from a corner. Actually, I was able to do that a couple of times as a player. Hard to believe, I know. But with the wind behind him, Pappa strikes a good ball and ripped it. Michael said that he basically had no chance to react and all of a sudden it was off the post. I thought he controlled his box well and came out and smothered shots that he needed to. I thought he did a good job dealing with the crosses and being in the right position. They had a really good look late and his positional play was good, so the ball was right at him."

On how the team played with Rosales and Johansson back: "It was good. They help us in their passing on that side of the field. Mauro, because he took that knock early, probably didn't have his best game tonight. He really gutted it out the first half and gave us a little bit of time in the second half so we could get the sub ready and done. Adam I thought did a good job. He was unlucky late in the game where he got in naked on the right-hand side. A little bit better pass and maybe he picks up an assist tonight, as well. We have different options. We have depth. Zach Scott played very well when he was back there, as well, and as we go into this stretch of games we're going to need to use that depth."

What happened in that scrum after the game?: "I don't know. I'm pretty far away. I couldn't run out there, I tried to sprint, but it didn't help me. I saw that Nowak got fined so I didn't want to get out there too quickly. I wanted to wait for the melee to die down. I think it was a pretty aggressive tackle right at the end of the game from Anibaba on Leo Gonzalez. It was an aggressive tackle and obviously it was a frustrating game for Chicago because they had some great opportunities and they had some good chances and it's one of those days where it just didn't go in for them. I think that frustration all came out in the end a little bit. Obviously there's accusations in there, you know, some of their guys probably saying our guys pushed them. One of our guys said he got punched. The referees will have to have a look at it and look at the videotape."

Eddie Johnson

On getting his first goal: "I guess for a striker it's good for confidence. The team sacrificed a lot bringing me here. It was important (for me) to get off to a good start, but without the effort from my teammates and the guys around me, I don't think that goal would have been possible for me. It wasn't the best performance from us, but sometimes you have to win ugly. We'll take the three points. It was difficult to come here - we knew they are a good team and we knew it was going to be tough playing here, but thankfully we showed good discipline for 90 minutes plus. We kept our shape, we were hard to break down at times and good teams that defend get good results, and I think it was a good result for the team."

On his yellow card for delay of game: "Yeah, I was trying to kill time. They got a goal and after they went two-down, they didn't change the game plan. They were still knocking the ball around and when they got one goal they started to get the momentum. It was a tough night for myself and Fredy. I don't think I did the best holding the ball up at times to give our defenders a breather from defending the whole game. But like I said, sometimes you have to win ugly, but it was a good three points to win here away."

How'd it feel to get 90 minutes in?: "Tiring. I didn't think I would go that long. I am still trying to build my fitness. I'm still trying to find that balance where I'm working hard and doing extra fitness throughout the week. But it was good. From a physical standpoint, I thought I was able to keep moving and keep trying to be dangerous and get in behind. I didn't cramp up at all so that was a good sign. I will take the positive minutes and try to build off this performance."

Michael Gspurning

On Pappa's goal scored from a corner kick: "It was really unbelievable. We played the second half against the wind so I would say 70-percent it was a good corner kick, and 30-percent was the 50 mile-per-hour wind picking it up. So I had to step up and by that time it had hit the post and gone in. I'm always a positive guy, but I know it will be on all the season highlights now with this goal. But we were very happy with our performance and the three points."

On feeling fit for the game today: "I was. Everyone knows I didn't train last week but I was 100-percent fit today otherwise I wouldn't have played. I thought my performance was OK, but this goal, I take it. It shouldn't have happened. But at least we got three points. It's important especially against teams we don't see more than once."

Brad Evans

What happened in the end there?: "It's the end of the game, 90 minutes, and there was what looked to us (like a bad tackle). We're up 2-1 and we're going to defend our team. We battled until the end. It was just a scuffle -- everybody was involved. Before I knew it, I catch a little glancing slap in the face. It was pretty funny."

You got hit in the face?: "Yeah, yeah. Fair enough. It is what it is. (He's a) good player, but he just got a little too heated up. You've got to keep your cool there. No matter you should be better than that and smarter than that. In that situation you're just talking smack -- that's it. I must've said something wrong and really ticked him off. But he caught me when I wasn't looking. At least wait until I'm looking to catch me. It is what it is. We'll move on, take the three points and leave them with nothing."

What were the last few minutes like before that?: "Whenever you play on the road and they score a goal like that -- I think Beckham was probably the last guy to (score directly off a corner kick) in the past five or six years in the league, even longer than that -- I think that gave them a little bit of fighting spirit, for sure. We knew it was a battle, especially with the four minutes of stoppage, but again we showed the resiliency of our team in winning. The last goal we've let in from the run of the play was the Toronto game, I think. It's a credit to our team. We'll keep playing better and as long as the W's keep coming, we'll take it."

On Johnson's performance: "It was good. Both the forwards played tremendously; for 90 minutes, they fought hard. I was very happy with the way they played -- everybody, but especially those two. They put the pressure on the back line and Eddie with his speed brings a different dimension -- also his strength. And then Fredy's ability to hold up the ball. It was Fredy that started the goal. He hits the free kick right over the wall, we made our runs, it drops right at Sean's feet, and that's always hard for keeper when it drops right in front of him. He had a split second and couldn't save it with his hands or parry it away. Jhon was there and Eddie followed it in to tap it in. Just a good result overall."

David Estrada

On the game: "I'm so happy for Eddie to get his first goal... Overall, a good team effort."

On getting another goal off a deflection: "I mean sometimes you've got to put yourself in the right spots. If I don't shoot, it doesn't go in. I was going for the shot. I'm just trying to get myself in the right spots -- like when Johansson had the cross and I try to head it back. I'm just trying to put myself in right spots and thankfully the ball went in the net."

So that was a shot on your end?: "Yeah. It went in and that's all that matter. It's a goal."

It was a new-look lineup with you on the left and the guys returning on the right. How do you think things went?: "I think offensively we created chances. Unlucky not to get that third goal at the end to put them away, but you have to give some credit to them and maybe work a little bit more for that. I think the team overall created offensively. Johansson and Rosales definitely add a different dimension to the team. Hopefully we build on this for the game Wednesday."

Mauro Rosales

On that early hit from Gonzalo Segares: "It wasn't the knee. It was the ankle. I think the guy has something personal (against me) because the last year was the same. Last year was very bad and this one was without the ball again. After minute 10 I couldn't run free, without pain. It was like that to halftime. I said to the coach I will try to play as much as I can, but the pain was worse. I think it's OK. I think it's just a kick and something on my ankle, but it's going to be fine."

So this doesn't change your plan regarding availability next week?: "No, no. I think everything's going to be OK. We have a few days to rest my ankle. It's going to be fine."

How do you think things went in your first game back?: "We came here and we knew it was going to be a tough game. We scored in the first half and this gives you the opportunity to take more possession, to play more with the ball and (focus) not so much on the attack but keeping possession from them and not letting them have chances. I think we did very well. Also in the second half we had the effort from Fredy and Eddie. They ran a lot and we need them to do in the last part of the game. That's why I think we got the three points. The defenders have a tough time running and running and running all night because they have so much speed. They also have good players with the ball like Grazzini and Pardo and Pappa in the end. But we did very well and we got the three points. This is most important."

Chicago Fire

Frank Klopas - Head Coach

On high emotions: "The players put a lot into the game. We were playing at home; there were some emotions at the end, but we just have to control that. At times, the referees have to make the right calls and not let it get out of hand. The guys put a lot into the game and they pushed, and you could obviously see that. They wore their emotions and passion to play on their sleeves, but you always have to be under control."

Any suspensions because of the brawl?: "I really didn't see anything that was going on. I know there were some arguments, I have to see the tape. I didn't see anything else happen. I know that there were probably words exchanged, things that happen normally in many matches that you see. But I really didn't see anything else that the players did wrong. I'd have to see the tape, but I didn't see anything more than words exchanged."

On if the physical nature of the game threw the Fire off: "Physical nature? No. If you saw the game I thought we came out and played well. Our ball movement was very good. I thought we had the better chances in the game and that the second goal took a lot out of us. We scored the one goal, which I didn't think the goalie could have saved it if Dominic wasn't there, but I think the second goal was really a difficult one. I think the players never gave up and kept playing and that is a positive thing. There were some very good moments in the game as far as being good with the ball, competing, and being good with opportunities. Sometimes the game is cruel, where you deserve to get a goal or two and unfortunately you get a deflection the other way and you give up a goal. To the team's credit, we kept playing and we kept creating opportunities, never giving up, and I think that's a good sign."

Second straight game the defense has given up two goals, how do you fix the defense?: "The first one was just a deflection, there's nothing you can really do. The guy takes a shot and we have two guys in the right position, the guy cuts inside and shoots and it deflects between the players legs. The second one we have to look at the tape and see if Sean was in better position, could he pick up the ball. He might need to come out, but it's thirty yards away into the wind. I feel that the first one was a little bit of luck, and that happens sometimes in the game. But we have to look at that second one, defensively there's not much more we can do."

On the decision to start Paladini over Pappa: "It's because he (Pappa) was with the national team. We have had this experience with guys in the past and put them in... I think talking to Marco, when you play at a national match, there's a difference in the intensity than at the club level. I knew that we wanted to keep him fresh and bring him on at a point where if we needed him, he could push the game and bring something different from the bench, which he did."

Thoughts on the Robayo tackle at the end?: "When you see it at the speed of the game, I felt there was contact. When I saw it on video, I definitely felt that there was contact. He touches the ball and gets kicked from behind. I talked to Rafael too and he said that there definitely was contact. From what I saw looking at the tape, I felt there was contact. He pushes the ball by and gets hit in the box."

Do you think the game was called fair?: "I don't want to complain with the refereeing because it all evens out. But you look at Grazzini who is a playmaker, and he probably has the most yellow cards on our team. You figure that one out... he gets kicked the most and he never gets a call. It's not easy for other teams to get the ball but... it is what it is. You have to move on and sometimes things even out, but sometimes you feel that there are fouls that they do miss, and they call the second one out of reaction. I think those things even out, but when you look at all the games we've played, Grazzini is probably the guy that has been kicked the most, but he's the one that ends up with the yellow cards."

On the offense always looking the same?: "I think we're a team that changes that up. I think that when the opportunity steps up on us, we have the players that play in depth. You saw today, I thought the ball movement was very good. We were able to play, combine, turn... We had a lot of opportunities. Not one came in a situation when we looked to play the ball behind. With the players we have, there is a threat when teams leave space. And when they drop off, there's more space for the midfielders to play. But I thought that the ball movement was good, the ability to connect with when Oduro's higher up, Patrick comes in and he is a guy that you can play to his feet. I think you have to mix it up and we have the players to do that. Our philosophy is to keep the ball on the ground. We prefer to keep the ball moving with short passes than with long passes, but you also have to take what the opposing team gives you. Especially with a team like this, if they're very compact and tight, it's very difficult to play through the middle. We worked all week on being quick with the ball and switching the point of attack, we talked about dropping off... I think we're a team that mixes it up. I think that's the strength of the team, that we're not one dimensional."

Sean Johnson

On Seattle's first goal: "The ball took a big deflection - it all happened so fast. I just tried to react, but it was a bit unfortunate. I haven't seen the replay, but I'll take a look at it again tonight. But in the end it was just one of those unfortunate things that happens during the game. He took the shot, clearly not on target, but it takes a turn off of someone's leg and goes back on target. It's a tough one, but what can you do?"

On the defense: "I thought it was alright. Obviously giving up two goals we can't be pleased with the defensive effort, but on the night when we had our chances pushing for a goal at the end we did a good job of closing and doing the things we talked about in training. The past two games we gave up two goals and we've got to look to correct that. It's not going to win us games giving up two goals. We need to give our offense a chance to go out there and win games for us, and the only way to do that is by keeping it close. Definitely at a defensive unit we need to improve."

On how to improve: "You just keep working on the same things, keep working hard and the more we practice the easier it will come and things will start turning our way."

Dominic Oduro

On the result: "I thought we had a couple of good chances, but didn't finish. We just need to keep our heads up, the season is still young so we have to focus on Chivas and getting a win in L.A."

On the disallowed goal: "Apparently I was on the other side of the goalie, obstructing the play. Again, it's the referee's call, I'm just here to play."

Arne Friedrich

On the result: "I'm not sure if the second goal was offside, but it's unfortunate that we didn't get a point today."

On the scuffle post-game scuffle: "I didn't see anything, I was too far away. We need to calm down after the game, it's always difficult when there's caution given, but I was so far away that I didn't see anything and can't comment. The game was tough and it was pretty close, so everyone was emotional, but I didn't see anything."

Jalil Anibaba

On the cause of the post-game scuffle: "I went in to make a play on the ball and it turned into a scuffle. It was a hard fought match and emotions run high, but there was nothing malicious on either end. In the heat of the moment things are said, but again, it was not malicious - it was just two teams competing hard."

On what the defense needs to do to improve: "I think we just need to stay positive - we played well, we played hard. I think luck was just not on our side tonight, but that's part of the game. We just need to keep our heads up and figure out where to go from here."

On playing a third game with Arne Friedrich: "We're taking it day-by-day but it's getting better, but it's a process and our confidence is improving. With Arne and I it's just a matter of working it."

Marco Pappa

On the result: "We know when we are playing at home we need the points. We pushed at the end of the game. We didn't get the win, but we worked very hard and need to get ready for the next game."

On not starting after playing with his national team: "I respect the decision of the coach, for sure. They knew I played in the national team game on Wednesday night and they knew I needed the rest. I know that I needed to recover. When I came in during the second half I tried to help the team."

On his first goal of the season: "It was my first goal of the season, but it's hard to feel good because my first thought is always of the team and we didn't get the points. Now we need to prepared for next week."