2009 Sep 19

Still no goals at Qwest

Seattle Sounders FC  0 - 0  Chivas USA

Qwest Field, Seattle, WA


Seattle: Kasey Keller; Leo Gonzalez, Tyrone Marshall, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, James Riley; Steve Zakuani, Peter Vagenas (Nate Jaqua 76'), Osvaldo Alonso, Sebastien Le Toux (Brad Evans 63'); Freddie Ljungberg, Fredy Montero. Substitutes not used: Terry Boss, Tyson Wahl, Patrick Ianni, Nathan Sturgis, Roger Levesque.

Chivas: Zach Thornton; Ante Jazic, Jonathan Bornstein, Yamith Cuesta (Claudio Suarez 66'), Marcelo Saragosa; Sacha Kljestan, Michael Lahoud (Mariano Trujillo 58'), Paulo Nagamura, Jesus Padilla (Maykel Galindo 59'); Justin Braun, Maicon Santos. Substitutes not used: Jon Conway, Shavar Thomas, Bojan Stepanovic, Chukwudi Chijindu.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

The host Seattle Sounders could not find a goal in spite of Chivas USA being reduced to ten men after a red card in the 71st minute. Seattle held Chivas to zero good chances, but failed to capitalize on their chances.

Before the match the US Open Cup trophy was carried by a fan representative in the march to the match, then it was featured in a prematch ceremony during which a US Open Cup banner was unfurled overhead next to previous Sounders championship banners.

Both sides started with a 4-4-2 lineup. Seattle had the two Freds up front and Steve Zakuani and Sebastien Le Toux as the wide midfielders.

First Half

After the two defenses produced some nervous moments in the first five minutes, Seattle's two Freds up front created the first corner kick of the match, and it was repeated thrice, eventually producing a 20-yard shot by Zakuani that went a yard over the bar.

On ten minutes, Chivas' Yamith Cuesta was lucky to get just a warning for getting Fredy Montero in the mouth.

The best chance of the match for Seattle came at 15' when Freddie Ljungberg chipped a pass to the far post and Zakuani headed a diagonal drop pass to the center of the 6-yard line for Le Toux, who shot hard at the ceiling. Goalkeeper Zach Thornton made the save of the match, guessing Le Toux's intentions and throwing his arms up, perhaps lucky to block the shot with an arm.

Chivas' first shot came at 21' when Maicon Santos drove it too high from a distance. Six minutes later Paulo Nagamura forced Kasey Keller's only save of the match, an easy one on a ball sent to the middle of the goal from 25 yards. Ante Jazic had a chance at 31' from a long free kick, but he skied the shot. That would be the last of Chivas' chances in the match.

For Seattle, Ljungberg burned up the right touch line to send in a nice cross, but Zakuani couldn't reach enough of it to head on goal and had to settle for a corner kick. On the corner kick play, Ljungberg headed a shot wide of the near post.

Second Half

Early in the second half Le Toux pressured a loose ball to earn a Seattle throw-in that led to a Zakuani headed shot from 10 yards, but Thornton did well to save overhead. Soon after Zakuani was sprung by a forward pass to get a chance to cross, but he put it within Thornton's reach. A minute later Le Toux's near post cross was just out of Montero's reach and Chivas had weathered the opening surge from the Sounders in the second half.

It continued to be all Seattle on offense, with Montero biking it wide on the hour. The next minute a Zakuani shot forced a diving save by Thornton at the near post. At 67' Tyrone Marshall headed a corner kick over the bar and seemed upset at the defending on the play. A minute later Montero tapped the ball into goal but Zakuani was ruled offside on the cross.

The red card came at 71' when Chivas' Marcelo Saragosa kicked Montero in the face. It was not intentional, but it was dangerous.

With a man advantage, the rest of the chances were all for Seattle, but they could not finish. At 74' Ljungberg carried the ball to the top of the arc and shot an inch wide. At 82' he missed the top near corner on a 25-yard free kick. A nice build-up gave Montero a great chance from the left, but with Thornton halfway out Montero shot low right at Thornton, who made a sliding save. Zakuani got a shot from a throw-in play, but sent it a foot high.

Chivas' defense prevented any chances for the final 7 minutes of regulation time, but Seattle had a few chances in 4 minutes of added time. Ljungberg tried to set up substitute Nate Jaqua with a short pass straight ahead, but Thornton anticipated the play and was there to take the ball. Ljungberg tried to chip over Thornton when he was out, but he retreated to take the ball overhead. Thornton won two more dangerous balls on his doorstep to finish his shutout.

In the end, it was another frustrating draw at home for the Sounders after they had dominated the match, giving Chivas zero good chances. The Sounders have gone four matches at home without scoring.

The Sounders played Chivas three times in the regular season and failed to score a goal.

          SEA  CHV
Shots:     15    4
Saves:      1    7
Corners:   10    3
Fouls:     14   19
Offsides:   3    0

33' CHV: Jazic cautioned for a tactical foul on Zakuani at the touch line
40' SEA: Alonso cautioned
43' CHV: Nagamura cautioned
71' CHV: Saragosa sent off for kicking Montero in the face
76' CHV: Trujillo cautioned for dissent
78' CHV: Santos cautioned for an altercation with Marshall
78' SEA: Marshall cautioned for an altercation with Santos
86' SEA: Jaqua cautioned for a late challenge on Suarez

Referees: Terry Vaughn; Hector Vergara, Darren Clark; Landis Wiley

Attendance: 32,719

Sounders FC Quotes

Sigi Schmid Ė Head Coach

General Statement: "It's one of those games when you sit there and go, shoot, if we get one we'll probably get three but it just didn't seem to go in. I thought Zach made a couple of good saves. The offside call on the one, I'll have to see the replay. Maybe you guys were at a better angle. I think he called Zakuani offside, I don't know if he was or he wasn't. So that one was a tough one. There had been a couple of soft penalties that had been called if you've watched MLS recently. Was that a penalty on Brad Evans or not, I'm not the one to say. To me key elements sometimes, not that I'm harping on this, there was a ball played into Montero where Trujillo takes him down from behind. If he doesn't pull him down there, he's one v one because he's got him turned on the trap and that's just a foul. It's tough to have offensive soccer if that's just a foul. But on the same token I think they got back, they got behind the ball. Zach had a good game for them. They got bodies in the box once they lost the player to the red card. I thought we pushed forward, we pushed Montero out to the left to get at their defense that way, bring some height inside with Nate. I thought we were close."

On not scoring: "It's frustrating but what are you going to do? Stop creating chances? You don't want to say stop creating chances and maybe we'll score then. You say, okay, we're playing, we're creating chances, so we're not scoring so let's drop that way of playing and go direct, that's maybe not the answer either. There are times when we are in a decent flow and then somebody mis-traps the ball, somebody misses a pass. Sometimes it's little things like we had a great one-two opportunity and our player plays the ball to the wrong foot of the player checking back. He plays it to the foot away from the defender, he can play him in on the one-two. Those are things that sometimes the fans and crowd don't see, they just see the energy of the players. That as a coach is frustrating because you see if we had just hit the pass better, then we're in. So sometimes you get in a situation where you sacrifice some energy for a little more precision. Or to maybe take out a little precision and get more energy. That's always a balance. But overall, I can't go in there and scream at them because they're creating chances. But for some reason at home right now, maybe we ought to check the goals. Maybe there's some cellophane around the goals that we haven't seen there. It's clear and we can't get the ball past it."

Did you like what you got from the look of your lineup?: "Yeah, I thought it was okay. I thought in the first half we didn't get at their outside backs enough. I think we went a little bit too centrally and Bornstein in the middle had decent speed. They were looking to gain some of that. I thought in the second half once we went at their outside backs more, I think we created even more opportunities. But even in the first half we had some opportunities. It's not much different than how we played in the Open Cup where we played Montero and Ljungberg up top as well when Nate was out injured. That's something that we're looking at, experimenting with. How do we just find that little bit extra that will take chances at the goal."

On top players right now: "Obviously I think right now we're 15-16 deep so different guys have played well at different times. Vagenas in midfield is a very good organizer so sometimes you need players on the field who make the players next to them better. He's one of those guys who through his organization makes the guy next to him a little bit better. So that's one thing that helps me get on the field at times. The situation with Nate, obviously we had to play a different look in the open cup final. We liked what we saw there. I didn't think Nate had a real stellar game in the last one there for us. But he's a guy who works really hard and he's a guy who's going to play minutes for us as we move forward."

On not playing so well at home now: "I think it's a couple things. I think one is when teams come to play us here now they definitely bunker in a little more. I don't think teams play as open. When teams came at us early in the season, they probably thought, ah, Seattle, an expansion team. Let's go at them a little bit. So now teams are, it's Seattle, it's a tough place to play. Maybe let's kick back a bit and bunker in a little bit. I think as everyone sees our games on TV and sees the atmosphere and the fans, sometimes that opposite effect happens. I remember the first year when Columbus Crew opened up the first soccer specific stadium, every team was excited to go there and play. I think players get a little pumped up from the opponent to play here. Their adrenaline, their energy comes a little bit stronger on that particular given day. If they had to play in those kind of environments week in and week out, then it would maybe wane on them. But when they just play in front of small crowds, everyone is a geared up and a little more motivated. For us when we go on the road, we never felt like we were a bad road team but for us when we go on the road right now, we're playing the way we played before. Chances are going in and the opponent is pressed a little more and so that gives us that little bit of space that we need."

On three more road games coming up: "We'd always rather play at home, believe me. I'd rather play at home but we're going to go get the points on the road. The points are out there, so we've got to take the points wherever they are. We don't want to be coming back here for the last game of the season in a must-win situation to get into the playoffs. If it ends up that way and we'll win that game. But our object is to take care of things on the road."

Freddie Ljungberg

On scoring chances: "I think we created three or four that were very clear chances that you usually score on. That goalie made some amazing saves. It was not that our finishes were poor. That keeper just made some amazing saves. But, in a normal game, I think that's too many clear-cut chances. You have to score on one of them."

On Sounders FC at home: "I think if you look at the opposing teams, they have different game plans than they had before. A lot of teams come in here just to defend. They stand in the back and hope that maybe they can catch us on a break. And that's what they were doing. But, when you play a team like that, like I said, if you create three or four really clear chances, that's good. But you have to put them away. Of course it is upsetting. We wanted to have the win today."

Fredy Montero

On Chivas USA goalkeeper Zach Thornton: "He is a great goalkeeper. He stopped the ones that he needed to stop. Our keeper is actually going to go home with a clean uniform. We managed and controlled the game. But, unfortunately, we didn't score a goal."

On Sounders FC at home: "In the beginning of the season, maybe the other teams didnít know about us. But as the season progressed, they started to get more information about us and play stronger and harder.Ē

On scoring goals: "The team is playing harder, creating the opportunities, creating the situations. Unfortunately, today was not the day."

On foul suffered in second half: "It was more like a surprise. It was a clinched ball. And when I realized what was going on I already felt the boot on my face. And it hurt. In this game, it was definitely the hardest foul. In other situations, like set pieces, you have to opportunity to protect your face. But, in this one, I really didn't have any opportunity and it just came like that."

Chivas USA Quotes

Preki - Head Coach

On getting a good result in his team's goal to make the playoffs: "We knew it was going to be a tough game here. We knew that they were desperate for points like we are. We knew defensively we had to be very strong and not allow them to get behind us. I thought we worked really hard and Zach made a couple saves for us and we got the point."

On changing the game-plan at halftime: "Yeah, we thought it was a hard fought game on both sides and Seattle had a bit more going forward. Seattle had the home crowd going for them and we had to be sure play solid defense and not give too much away. There were a couple of moments we broke down and Zach came up big for us. Given all the facts I don't think they did too much, it was more about the crowd. They only had one or two chances all game."

On building from this game: "Of course, every game we have shuffled the lineup because injuries, penalties, suspensions and we have to stop that. We have to stick to the game plan."

On feeling fortunate to play a man down and still hold onto for the tie: "I don't feel fortunate. I feel that the group showed a lot of character and strong mentality working for each other. It was really good to see."

On the ejection being warranted: "Absolutely not from what I saw. You have to ask for the guy on the middle. From what I saw he could have easily given a red card to Nate Jaqua. What is the difference I don't see? I wish we didn't see any cards and just played the game."

Zach Thornton

On playing in this type of environment here in Seattle: "We knew coming into this game this is a tough place to play. It's a great environment for soccer, but we knew what type of game going in."

On taking a step up when his team went a man down during the match: "We knew they were going to come at us. A man up or a man down we knew they were going to be a tough finish. It didn't help but we had a strong mentality and held on."

On the emotions of the game being such that both teams are in a playoff race: "Yeah, we are tight in points with them and we have six games left. Both teams are trying to position themselves for the playoffs."

On Seattle offense making him come up with multiple saves to save the game: "They are good, Fredy Montero is a good player and show up in different places and quality passing. They have five guys who are dangerous players and tough with the ball. We knew we had to defend and play smart."

Other match reports: