2012 Apr 7

Hard-fought scoreless draw in DC

DC United  0 - 0  Seattle Sounders FC

RFK Stadium, Washington, DC


DC: Joe Willis; Robbie Russell (Chris Korb 74'), Emiliano Dudar, Dejan Jakovic, Daniel Woolard; Danny Cruz (Chris Pontius 59'), Perry Kitchen, Dwayne De Rosario, Nick DeLeon; Maicon Santos, Hamdi Salihi (Branko Boskovic 72').
Substitutes not used: Andrew Dykstra, Stephen King, Lewis Neal, Josh Wolff.

Seattle: Michael Gspurning; Zach Scott, Patrick Ianni, Jeff Parke, Leo Gonzalez; Roger Levesque, Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, Alvaro Fernandez (Marc Burch 90'); Fredy Montero, David Estrada (Eddie Johnson 66').
Substitutes not used: Andrew Weber, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Christian Sivebęk, Alex Caskey, Servando Carrasco.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

The defenses shined in a hard-fought draw as the Seattle Sounders FC played their first league road match of the season at DC United. Seattle Goalkeeper Michael Gspurning earned his shutout by punching a lot of balls clear of the area. DC goalkeeper Joe Willis needed the help of the post in added time to earn his shutout.

Seattle's back four of Leo Gonzalez, Patrick Ianni, Jeff Parke, and Zach Scott gave DC few chances. Seattle had a couple more good chances than DC, but for the second match in a row they failed to finish them.

It took half of the first half before anybody had a good chance, and it was Fredy Montero for Seattle, working a short give and go with David Estrada for a 15-yard shot that had speed but went right to Willis.

The next minute DC had their first good shot when Nick DeLeon worked for a fine cross from the left that found Hamdi Salihi on the near post run, and his shot glanced off the bar at the top near corner.

There were just two cautions in the match, the first well deserved by Maicon Santos for a late challenge on Scott, but the second to Dejan Jakovic was questionable as he came in hard to tackle Alvaro Fernandez and got the ball cleanly. Apparently referee Edvin Jurisevic deemed it a bit too dangerous for the opponent.

Seattle nearly had a goal at 34' when Estrada shot from 20 on a cleared corner kick. Montero was in front of goal and redirected the shot with his head, and it just missed the goal with Willis going the wrong way.

DC played better in the second half, but the Sounders defense was equal to the challenge. At 51' defender Emiliano Dudar was up to head Robbie Russell's long throw-in looping on goal to the far side, and Gspurning needed all of his stretched height to push it over the bar.

Seattle defended the resulting corner kick and worked the counterattack perfectly up to the last pass. Fernandez was in free on the left and tried to make the square pass to Estrada, who was two steps ahead of the defense in the middle, but Fernandez hit the cross very weakly and it was a gift to the DC defense.

Eddie Johnson came on for Estrada at 65' to log his first MLS minutes for Seattle. Johnson's first touch was promising as he headed Parke's cross a yard wide. After that Johnson seemed to waste his possessions with bad passes for the rest of the match.

DC tried to sneak a goal at 69' when DeLeon's free kick from near the touch line hooked towards the top near corner, but Gspurning had it covered and arrived to punch it away. Substitute Chris Pontius, back from a broken leg, worked a nice short wall pass to get the ball open in the left side of the penalty area for a shot, but he rolled it wide of the far post. Santos was next with a chance, rising in a crowd to head a 15-yarder on goal, but it lacked pace and was an easy save.

Seattle's second shot of the half did not come until 82', when Montero's quick try from the arc was sent well over the bar. Roger Levesque and Montero had chances to cross a few minutes later, but could not make the telling pass.

DC's late chances were a 20-yard free kick, sent over the bar by Dwayne De Rosario, and DeLeon's hard shot from 25 yards that went right at Gspurning only to be punched far away.

Ex-DC player Marc Burch entered at the 90th minute for seemingly a courtesy entrance, and he nearly stole the match in added time. Alonso took a well-aimed shot from 20 yards and Willis had to dive to slap it away. The ball went right to Burch who was sprinting towards the post, but his header hit the post squarely with plenty of target begging for it.

           DC   SEA
Shots:      9    11
Saves:      3     5
Corners:    4     1
Fouls:     14    13
Offsides:   1     0

12' DC: Santos cautioned for a late hit on Scott
30' DC: Jacovich cautioned for a careless tackle on Fernandez

Referees: Edvin Jurisevic; Anthony Vasoli, James Conlee; Sorin Stoica

Attendance: 15,651

Post-Match Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Sigi Schmid - Head Coach

On the game: "I thought it was good. I thought the battle that we showed was very good. Basically, we talked about that. I thought last week San Jose outcompeted us a little bit, so I wanted to make sure that we came out and competed and I thought we did that from the opening whistle to the end."

On the play of Osvaldo Alonso: "I thought [Alonso] did a great job on DeRo. I thought DeRo got frustrated towards the end of the first half and [Alonso] ended up paying the price for that a little bit. I thought he did a good job of shutting him down and eventually they moved DeRo up to get him away from [Alonso]. He did a good job for us and I also thought the center of our defense did well."

On the play of goalkeeper Michael Gspurning: "It was good. When he is able to come out and punch those balls clear it makes it a lot easier on our defenders because they know they have a goalkeeper that's going to get to those balls. He made a good save on DeLeon's free kick when it looked to a lot of people like DeLeon might have caught him, but he came through and he read that really well. He came up with some big saves tonight for sure."

Michael Gspurning

On his team's performance: "I'm pretty happy with our performance because we controlled the game. D.C. had a couple of chances, so I think the point is OK on the road. To take this point I think is important."

On saving Nick Deleon's free kick: "I think maybe on the camera the free kick was more dangerous, but for me it was the ball after the situation because the ball was going to the left. To be honest I have to catch that free kick."

Osvaldo Alonso

On defending Dwayne De Rosario: "It was a tough game. DeRo is a good player and getting one point is not bad."

On March Burch's near goal in the waning moments: "We had a chance. Burch headed it to the post, but it didn't go in. So, now we focus on the next day. Taking one point is not bad and now we'll focus on Colorado."

DC United

Ben Olsen - Head Coach

On the draw: "I don't think offensively either team was at their best. It was a pretty physical battle. I think [Seattle] came here with the thought of getting numbers behind the ball and having a real blue-collar day. You have to be pretty good with the ball, be confident, move and be clicking, and in the first half, we really weren't. But the fight was there, and spirit was there. In the second half, I thought we turned it up a little bit. We started moving the ball a little better, being more confident with our passing. I thought we could have snuck the win. It was one of those games where if we're a little sharper in the final third, I think we come out of here with three. They're a good team. They're a real team -- to keep them to zero goals is definitely a credit to the back four, I thought they came in and did a good job. Dudar in particular had a good day, and Robbie and Woolard hung in there. That's a positive."

On Dejan Jakovic: "Dejan's had quite a few games in this League, and we expect him to be able to come in and do the job. I thought he did a great job, in particular, on Montero, at times. Montero's a real player in this league, and he is a handful. I thought we did a pretty good job on him overall."

On coming off a 4-1 win against Dallas FC into a draw: "I think Seattle right now is a better team than Dallas. I will say that. I thought they were pretty charged up physically, they were ready to go. They're coming off a loss, and I think they came in here with a real defensive mentality that they were going to make it tough for us to play -- and they did that, but we still had chances. Again, if we're a little bit cleaner -- maybe we weren't in sync as much, combining up top in the final third as we were a week before. I think right now they're a better team than Dallas."

On Chris Pontius and the other substitutes: "He brought us a little soccer, as well as some energy. Branko, I thought did a good job as well coming on and slowing the game down and making sure we are passing, and possession was better. I wanted to get one more in, but Robbie came out with a little bit of an ankle. Korb came in and did a good job. He got forward there late a couple of times. Nick DeLeon, in particular was pretty damn good again."

On losing a substitution: "Obviously I wanted to throw on a forward, in particular. Maybe Wolff for Maicon, who was obviously struggling [with muscle cramps]. It hampered us a little bit, but there's not much you can do. You throw Korb in, and again, I thought he did just fine."

Daniel Woolard

On the team's defensive performance: "For the most part, we played well. We limited their chances; they had that one at the end, a couple in the first half, some long distances shots, but, for the most part, I think we did our job."

On keeping a shutout: "Seattle is a great team, and to put up a shutout is nice. [The draw] is not the best outcome; of course we would've loved to win the game, but I think it was a good performance and a step in the right direction."

On the draw: "It's disappointing when we don't win. That's the goal every week, finding ways to attack and defend teams. The point is always to go out and get three points, especially at home."

On the team's improvement: "I think it's a matter of everyone knowing their role when they are on the field. The coaching staff is really good with putting together a game plan and we are all on the same page now. We weren't quite there the first couple of games of the season, but now we are understanding each other and playing as a team defensively and offensively. It's all coming together."

Joe Willis

On Seattle's last play: "We got pretty lucky. I should've pushed it out a little wider but it fell right to [Seattle's] player and I was lucky that the post was there to help me out."

On keeping a clean sheet: "I think the back four played really well. I think Woolard was good with Levesque on the long balls. I think Emiliano and Dejan did pretty well by shutting down two forwards up top. I think our back four frustrated them, and I think it showed."

On neutralizing Fredy Montero: "Fredy didn't have many looks today because Dejan is a great defender; he was able to shut him down. One of the things Fredy likes to do is get the ball deep and turn with it, but we only let him do it once or twice and it didn't come to anything."

Nick DeLeon

Overall thoughts on the match: "It was just one of those games where it was run-and-gun, and by the time you saw it late in the second half it was wide open because everyone was so tired from it. It was constantly going, just a different style of game."

On Seattle closing down the wings: "Their outside backs were staying high on us -- me and Danny -- but that shouldn't have anything to do with [the final result] because we are a good enough team to play through the middle. Like I said, it was one of those games where it was run-and-gun, it wasn't possession-style. There were some tired legs out there."

On Seattle's last chance hitting the crossbar: "Thank God it didn't go in. That would've been tragic."