2009 Aug 5

Sounders FC humbled by FC Barcelona

Seattle Sounders FC  0 - 4  FC Barcelona

Qwest Field, Seattle, WA

21' FCB: Lionel Messi (Xavi Hernandez)
41' FCB: Messi (Xavi)
75' FCB: Jeffren Suarez (Pedro Rodriguez)
89' FCB: Pedro

Seattle: Kasey Keller (Terry Boss 46'); Leonardo Gonzalez (Zach Scott 46'), Tyrone Marshall (Taylor Graham 46'), Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (Patrick Ianni 46'), James Riley (Tyson Wahl 61'); Steve Zakuani (Evan Brown 46', Michael Fucito 80'), Osvaldo Alonso (Peter Vagenas 46'), Brad Evans (Nathan Sturgis 46'), Freddie Ljungberg (Lamar Neagle 46'); Fredy Montero (Sanna Nyassi 46'), Nate Jaqua (Roger Levesque 46').

Barcelona: Jose Manuel Pinto (Albert Jorquera 46'); Victor Sanchez (Pedro Rodriguez 46'), Carlos Puyol (Eidur Gudjohnsen 46'), Eric Abidal (Maxwell Andrade 46'), Daniel Alves (Gerard Pique 46'); Sergio Busquets (Yaya Toure 46'), Andreu Fontas (Seydou Keita 46'), Xavi Hernandez (Jonathan Dos Santos 46'), Thierry Henry (Henrique Adriano 46'); Bojan Krkic (Marc Muniesa 46'), Lionel Messi (Jeffren Suarez 46').

Match report by Ron Stickney:

FC Barcelona were sharp in their preseason match, dominating Sounders FC 4-0. Lionel Messi scored twice in the first half, then after every player had been changed Jeffren Suarez and Pedro Rodriguez iced the match.

Seattle had their chances in the first half with five shots. Nate Jaqua created the first chance of the match early, sprung on the left by Freddie Ljungberg and beating a man for a shot, but he failed to get enough power on the shot. Ljungberg's good chance came at 19' when goalkeeper Jose Pinto sent a poor clearance up the middle and Ljungberg had an open shot from the 18, but he missed wide left. Fredy Montero had the Sounders' closest chances, forcing a save with a header from James Riley's cross at 33', then getting open for a shot when a cleared Seattle corner kick was sent back into the mixer and crossed by Steve Zakuani to the far post for Montero, who shot wide.

Barcelona spread 15 shots across the first half, and you could not complain about any of them. Half of them forced good saves by Kasey Keller and two went in. Bojan was first in the 4th minute, sprung up the middle, and Keller made the block save. Henry's first chance came at 11' when he juggled a ball with his back to goal and tried an ambitious bicycle kick that cleared the bar by yards.

After a quarter hour Keller's saves got tougher, first a diving save on Messi's shot from the right, later a diving save on Henry's shot from the left.

21' FCB: Messi (Xavi). A Barcelona goal seemed inevitable, and it came when Xavi's square pass found Messi open just above the arc. He hit a line drive past Keller inside the left post to open the scoring. 1-0 Barcelona.

Messi's chances kept coming. He got open at 25' on the right but hit the outside of the net. At 39' his shot from the right was just barely deflected onto the post by Jhon Kennedy Hurtado.

41' FCB: Messi (Xavi). Messi's second came when Xavi crossed to the far side, and Messi somehow got well clear of Sounders newcomer Leonardo Gonzalez to take the ball close to goal on the right. He beat Keller with a low shot to the far post. 2-0 Barcelona.

Halftime: Seattle 0 - 2 Barcelona

Every player was replaced at intermission except Seattle's James Riley, who was replaced at 61'.

The third quarter of the match was a big slowdown after the barnstorming in the first half. Neither side took a shot until the 70th minute, when Pedro Rodriguez forced Terry Boss to make a fine save overhead.

Seattle never managed a shot in the second half.

75' FCB: Jeffren (Pedro). A diagonal cross from the left side to the far post by Pedro found Jeffren open with Zach Scott yards away. Jeffren beat Boss with a low shot. 3-0 Barcelona.

89' FCB: Pedro. Pedro closed out the scoring when he tracked down a rebound off a Maxwell Andrade shot from the left and finished from close.

Final: Seattle 0 - 4 Barcelona

          SEA  FCB
Shots:      5   25
Saves:      9    2
Corners:    3    5
Fouls:      7    6
Offsides:   4    4

31' FCB: Busquets cautioned
81' SEA: Fucito cautioned

Referees: Mark Geiger; George Gansner, Paul Scott; Alejandro Mariscal

Attendance: 66,848 (Sounders FC record, record for soccer in Qwest Field)

Seattle Sounders FC Postmatch Quotes

Head Coach Sigi Schmid

General Comments: "It was a lesson. They're a very good team. There's a value on things and that's why their players are worth a lot of money. Good example of what we want to get to. In the first half we had three half decent chances. I'm proud of our guys. They hung in there. This is team that doesn't give up possession and can make you look silly. We battled. Times we could have battled harder, but we have a greater goal. They're an excellent team and they played an excellent game of futbol."

On what learn from match: "We can learn a lot of things. Young players and old players learned a lot. The game showed how getting the ball to open players and having four options and finishing out the play. When you compare Spanish Second Division to England or Germany, they are the most technically clean. They don't make technical errors. We won the ball and there'd be a mis-touch or mis-trap. When you grow up in this country you get away with those mistakes, but not there. Those are things we can lean from. If you're technically clean on the ball, you have a lot of time to observe the field."

On team's performance: "I'm not planning on punishing our players. Tonight for them was a good lesson. We're realistic. We know where we're at and we're an expansion team that's getting to know each other. Some players stepped up and played well. There were some positive things for us to gain. It's not punishment, it's learning and continuing to get better because someday they might want to play at that level. Tonight we played the elite of the elite."

On Lionel Messi: "All I can tell you is that in 2005 when we played the Youth Championships and we beat Argentina 1-0. They didn't play Messi until the second half and we shut him out. I thanked their coach after the game. I thought he was the best player in the world then and I think he still is the best player in the world. He has the ability to make something out of nothing."

On game for fans: "It was great. It shows a lot for our city, the city of Seattle. There were some more Barcelona fans than there were Chelsea fans. I hope they don't walk away disappointed. I hope they realize they got to watch a great team toady. Tonight, some kids got to see Messi and Henry. I hope our fans our proud of the Sounders and realize what we're doing herre by bringing teams of that caliber here to play. That's not something everybody gets to do."

On being prepared for Barcelona: "In the concept they understood it. Once you're out there though, you're like 'wow.' When you play a team like that, you want to hold onto the ball. Today, as an example, when you compare their lineup today against the lineup against the Galaxy, today was their full engine."

On game strategy: "I didn't want to develop a tactical game plan. We wanted the fans to enjoy Barcelona as they are and enjoy our team as they are. They saw a great game and some great goals and a Sounders team that played hard."

Nate Jaqua

On impressions of FC Barcelona: "They're a great team, the way they move, their knowledge of the game. It was fun playing against them. We had some chances to score and it would have been nice to put one in the back of the net, but it was a good experience to play a team like that."

On his scoring chance early in the match: "I just didn't get a good hold of it. I probably should have taken another touch and maybe slid it to someone who had a better chance on goal. It was a little early on there and it kind of snuck up on me. We still had a couple other ones, Freddie had a good chance. It's unfortunate we couldn't have at least put one in the back of the net."

On what makes Barcelona so good: "They are an amazing team. In general, just their movement. They always have two or three options available at all times. They play a very simple game and it makes it easy on themselves. And then you also have some players that have tremendous ability like Messi who scored two goals."

Kasey Keller

On Lionel Messi: "At this moment in time, if you threw a blanket over the top players in the world he would be under it. And he's still, what, 22, 23? It's scary. And he's a good kid too. I've been fortunate enough to hang out with him a couple different times. He's just a good guy and there's no reason why in the next 10 years he can't basically be the pinnacle."

On thoughts on timing of tonight's match and playing the first half: "I think it's okay. In a normal week after the bad game over the weekend we would have had a couple hard training sessions and maybe had today off. The emotional high coming from this game and then going to Salt Lake is what I'm more worried about. For the club, and the city and the players, you don't pass up these games. It doesn't matter what the timing is, when you're given the opportunity. What I'm really hoping for is that in 20 years time, we'll be so big that these games will be like, hey no, it's in the middle of our season and it will be a distraction from what the goal is and that's to win the league. But we've got a ways to go. But I'm just so proud of the city, the club and everything they've done to put on a game like this."

On Barcelona's attack: "You have probably the best attacking player in the world the last six to seven years in Henry and then the future best attacking player in the world on the other side in Messi. Not to mention, the rest of the cast isn't too bad either. And the movement off the ball and the first touch. It was an absolute lesson and hopefully a pleasure for the fans to see how the best team in the world plays."

Freddie Ljungberg

On FC Barcelona and game in general: "They have great technical ability and they keep the ball really well. It was just great for the fans to come and see the game, and enjoy it."

On whether Lionel Messi is the best player in the world right now: "Yeah, I think he is. He's so quick and just a brilliant player."

FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona Coach Josep Guardiola

On Lionel Messi: "You see him on TV all the time, I see him every day. He is the best in the world not only for his youth, but also for his ability to dominate all aspects of the game."

On MLS: "I think it's getting better, year by year. Good players are coming and the organizations are stronger. It's good. We're happy to be here. We came last year and this year we came back and we're happy to play the teams in the United States. There are interesting players that could play in Europe."

On Qwest Field: "It was amazing. The only problem was the pitch. Yesterday the owner of the Sounders explained to me the support for his team and we saw that tonight. It was a pleasure for us and for the players to play in the marvelous stadium. We also enjoyed the city. It was very nice."

On Zlatan Ibrahimovic: "He's a top player. He will adapt and have no problems. The top players adapt in systems. He played good in Italy and I am convinced that he likes this way to play. That is the real reason he decided to join us. The most important thing is that in the next few weeks he'll be ready to play with us."

On new players: "We have four new players. The good thing is that they fit well, are disciplined, they practice and play right because they are young. About Jonathan Dos Santos specifically, he is great and has a bright future. I've been with him for three weeks and I'm sure he will help a lot."

Thierry Henry

On his experience in Seattle and the atmosphere at Qwest Field: "It was amazing. It really reminded me of a crowd in Europe, they were all cheering the Sounders and rightly so. It was tremendous and a great atmosphere, they made it really difficult for us in the first half. They had a go at us and they nearly scored two goals, and we scored two goals. We are working hard this preseason, playing two games each day. It isn't easy but we had a good game."

On experiencing a crowd like the one tonight over here in the U.S.: "The Seattle fans were happy to see us, but they were supporting their team. That is what you do when you support your team, and it was nice to see."

On comparing the level of play of the Sounders to that of other MLS teams: "The guys were saying here the fans were supporting their team. When we played in the Rose Bowl, everybody came to see Barcelona. The fans came here to see Barcelona too, but support their team at the same time."

On playing against Freddie Ljungberg: "It was a quick one, he only played 45 minutes and I only played 45 minutes. It was kind of weird to be on opposite sides, we played together for eight years. I saw him before in the hotel. It was good to see him."

Jonathan Dos Santos

On the atmosphere at Qwest Field tonight: "It is marvelous to play in a stadium like this. It is also great to play with world-wide players such as Messi and other guys on the Barcelona team."

On the competition level against the Seattle Sounders: "Good. The Sounders played a very good game and their competitiveness was really good. They were pressing us in their offense. They have very good players such as Ljungberg who is driving the team and is a very good player."

Adriano Henrique

On his reaction to the game: "We played well and did some good passes with the ball. The were able to defend us very well, but we were still able to get good pressure and score some goals."

On coming over to the U.S. and the atmosphere at tonight's game: "This is the second time I have been over here and I'm very happy to be back. We're very happy about the fans because they were very loud and cheer the teams, which motivated to play really well."

Gerard Pique

On the play of Barcelona tonight: "I think we played good, the Sounders are a very good team. I think the thing is continue with the competition against good teams and get better everyday."

Other match reports: