2010 Apr 3

Sounders FC blanked at home by Red Bulls

Seattle Sounders FC  0 - 1  New York Red Bulls

Qwest Field, Seattle, WA

21' NY: Macoumba Kandji

Seattle: Kasey Keller; Leo Gonzalez (David Estrada 83'), Tyrone Marshall, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, James Riley; Steve Zakuani (Sanna Nyassi 76'), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Roger Levesque (Pat Noonan 56'); Freddie Ljungberg, Fredy Montero. Substitutes not used: Terry Boss, Patrick Ianni, Nathan Sturgis, Zach Scott.

New York: Bouna Coundoul; Roy Miller, Mike Petke, Tim Ream, Jeremy Hall; Sinisa Ubiparipovic (Danleigh Borman 79'), Seth Stammler, Joel Lindpere, Dane Richards; Macoumba Kandji (Conor Chinn 90'), Juan Pablo Angel. Substitutes not used: Greg Sutton, Andrew Boyens, Austin Da Luz, Tony Tchani, Juan Agudelo.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

The Seattle Sounders FC could not solve the New York Red Bulls' defense, allowing them to get a win from Macoumba Kandji's first-half strike. The win broke New York's 27-match road winless streak. Bouna Coundoul had some fine saves to help his side earn the shutout.

The only change in Seattle's starting lineup from match 1 was James Riley returning at right back after sitting out the opener with a red-card suspension.

Assistant coach Richie Williams ran the show for New York, as head coach Hans Backe went to the hospital with stomach pains.

First Half

Seattle's first chance was a hard, low shot from the 18 by Brad Evans from Roger Levesque's setup pass 5 minutes in, and Coundoul did well to quickly collapse on the ball.

A minute later it was New York's first chance when Joel Lindpere shot from 15 yards on the right and sent a line drive a yard over the bar. Next to try was Seth Stammler, who received a diagonal back pass from the end line from Kandji, but a defender pressured Stammler into a miss. The shots kept coming, with Kasey Keller saving a close-in shot from a New York free kick play at 11'.

The next minute gave Osvaldo Alonso a low shot from the arc aimed at a lower corner, and Coundoul made another fine save. Another minute and Seattle had a tantalizing chance when Freddie Ljungberg's square cross was dummied by Fredy Montero 8 yards out from the near post, but Levesque was a bit early on his run and Steve Zakuani was a bit late as the ball went between them.

21' NY: Kandji. A New York corner kick was knocked down to become a loose ball near the penalty spot. Kandji got to it and shot into the center of the crossbar, the rebound hitting a yard past the goal line. The corner kick was earned by Dane Richards, who sped around the right corner and forced Leo Gonzalez to slide tackle the ball over the bye line. 1-0 New York.

Just two minutes later Zakuani in the arc juked a defender to fire high on goal, and Coundoul parried it over the bar. Montero's volley from Ljungberg's cross was blocked. Ljungberg, then Alonso, shot from 16 yards and saw their shots blocked. Four shots in three minutes, but not good enough to beat the defense.

The last 15 minutes of the half saw the tide turn in New York's favor. Kandji got his head on a dipping cross but shot over the bar from 8 yards. Keller used both hands to slap away a hard, close shot. Sinisa Ubiparipovic made space on the left for a shot at the near post, and Keller got down for the save. In the final minute Juan Pablo Angel shot wide from a distance.

Second Half

At 50' Zakuani was open 15 yards out on the left for the first shot of the half, but he served it easily to Coundoul.

After Riley passed the ball right to Angel, Kandji's cross from the left gave Angel a golden opportunity 8 yards out from the near post, and Keller parried the hard volley wide of the near post.

Sounders FC newcomer Pat Noonan entered at 56' for his first minutes in Seattle, replacing Levesque, who had made too many errant passes. Rookie David Estrada entered late to also get his first minutes in a league match.

At 66' a nice Seattle buildup in the penalty area gave Montero a shot from 15, but again it was blocked. Then Zakuani's nice shot from 15 yards on the left was parried just wide of the far post by Coundoul. At 77' Ljungberg was open 8 yards from goal with a header from Noonan's cross, but Ljungberg headed it wide when he should have hit it on goal. That proved to be Seattle's last chance for a goal, as the New York defense held firm for the final 13 minutes plus 4.

New York were not done trying, though. Danleigh Borman entered as a substitute and got around the corner with the ball, setting Richards up with a nice cross that got shot wide of the far post. With the clock at 90 Conor Chinn entered the match and almost scored from a free kick, but he headed it right at Keller.

          SEA    NY
Shots:     17   10
Saves:      5    6
Corners:   12    4
Fouls:      9   21
Offsides:   2    4

10' SEA: Ljungberg cautioned for a cleats-first challenge
35' NY: Petke cautioned for knocking Montero down from behind
62' NY: Richards cautioned for getting Gonzalez after the ball was gone
63' SEA: Riley cautioned

Referees: Kevin Stott; Darren Clark, Hector Vergara; Tyler Ploeger

Attendance: 36,066

Postmatch Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Sigi Schmid - Sounders FC Head Coach

Opening statement: "It's the beauty of the game for the fans that statistically sometimes you can dominate the game and you come out with nothing at the end of the day. That's the way soccer is, more so than any other sport. For sure I thought we had some good opportunities. Coundoul came up with a couple of big saves, the one on Zakuani and the one that he went up to his left. Ljungberg had a good opportunity with the header. We had a ton of corners, we had a ton of free kicks, we need to be more effective on those things so that's something we've got to make sure we go to the training ground and make sure we become more effective on that. I'm not displeased with our effort, I'm not displeased with our ability to get forward but I am displeased with our ability to finish."

On whether this was a better New York team than last year: "For sure. Like I said in the week, they are a much better organized NY team defensively. They're more disciplined. Lindpere gives them some bite in midfield. You look at the foul totals and obviously they were a lot more aggressive than we were in that regard and that slows it down. Some of those are tactical fouls to basically stop you from countering on them too quickly, get the attack going. Overall I thought we got into the final third, even though defensively they were better, I thought we got there."

On Noonan: "He's been with us a short period of time but he crossed the ball to Ljungberg's head, he was the one who served that ball in. And on the right side on a little combination, had a shot blocked. From that standpoint, with the little bit of time he was with us, he's helped us."

On start: "I thought we started flat maybe the first five, and then we came and got a couple counters on them. Zakuani broke in on the left hand side and we were right around it after that, but we didn't start well again that first five."

On physical play: "That's really a question more for the referee. I think in the NBA you foul out when you have six fouls. I see on the stats sheet someone has six fouls. But you don't foul out here. But it's something that we just have to deal with and adjust. Sometimes we draw fouls because maybe we hold the ball an extra touch, and we need to lay the ball off sooner. Sometimes teams are taking us physical and the protection isn't there, I think that's important whoever is officiating the game has to see it and read it. Does he think it's tactical? That's his judgement."

On shots: "I thought a lot of attempts like Zakuani's coming inside was a good attempt, he made a good save. The one where Montero turned and hit it I thought he had Noonan open on the flank and should have maybe laid that ball off. That's the thing in maybe laying the ball a little sooner. But overall it was one of the those days, if one goes in, one or two will go in, but we needed one to go in first."

On free kicks: "We're going to work on it."

On NY's goal: "It was a corner kick and Leo Gonzalez got turned around in there and couldn't get a good clearance on hit. The ball just fell to Kandji and turned and hit it on goal. He got it up, usually expect a guy to drive it. Kasey was down a little bit and he got it up and came up on the underside of the crossbar. Obviously we have to do a better job clearing the first ball."

"Disappointed that we weren't able to get one. We did enough work to make that happen. When we went to three in the back, we actually had less of the ball. Sometimes it might have been better to stay with the four because we were applying a lot of pressure. Guys were pushing up out of that. You've got to roll the dice sometimes."

Kasey Keller - Goalkeeper

General: "I'm extremely disappointed obviously. I think there were a lot of chances for both teams. A credit to both teams they kept going forward, trying to make the game exciting. Like I said, we had our chances to level it up and get back in the lead and we just couldn't take advantage of it. It's frustrating, we're all extremely frustrated but I don't think you can fault the guys' effort. Everyone worked extremely hard and it's a frustrating day. It will challenge us to get better and make sure that we can get those goals. I'm looking forward to the next week or two of training, and we'll up that intensity and make sure that we make it happen."

On if NY was a lot better team than last year: "It's night and day between that team and last year. The way they're organized, the way they're fighting for one another and the way they worked out. Kandji and Juan Pablo up front were a handful. I think they got tired there at the end but for 70 minutes they were amazing, the way they worked on both sides of the ball. It is a very well organized team. But on another day, we score three goals and maybe they score three goals. It's very frustrating but at the same time it's the second game, no panic stations. We'll make it happen."

On NY's goal: "We just didn't clear a ball. They were whipping some good balls in the box and we didn't quite clear it. He turned extremely well and I don't know if it took a deflection or not but it ended up flying off the underside of the crossbar. It was a very opportunistic goal. A good goal all the same."

Pat Noonan - Forward

On playing for Sounders FC for first time: "It was good to get the minutes in. It was disappointing that you come out with a loss but a lot of good possessions and some good chances but just couldn't convert."

On connecting with new teammates: "It's a learning experience. Before the game, I was kind of asking around, seeing that there was going to be some movements and adjustments. Freddie likes to hop out wide so just trying to get into that rhythm of finding holes and getting out of the way when Freddie comes out wide or whatever it might be. You try to go out there and try to be creative and I was trying to get some crosses in, maybe get some chances, and get some shots on goal or something."

On his header late in game: "Poor header. I got caught in the middle of maybe flicking it on because I was kind of deep and then maybe try to catch the goalie out and get one near post. Just a bad header."

Steve Zakuani - Midfielder

On not finishing on goal: "I think you saw last week that once you score one it is easy to get a second one. I think some of them were good saves by the keeper and some of them we have to go back to training and execute better. We created some very good chances. That's a good sign. I think we played better this week than we did last week actually and against a better team. But they got one goal from the one clear chance and after that I think it was one-way traffic but we couldn't manage to score."

On Red Bulls defensive strategy: "They have got a lot of speed obviously and they kind of sat back there and once we lost the ball they would kind of counter us. That was their one tactic. But I think we came in here at halftime and said let's just possess the ball a little bit better. We did that in the second half. I don't think they had many chances. I think we could have scored three or four on another good night. It just wasn't to be. So I think we played our game."

On being concerned over loss: "No, second game of the season. We knew we wouldn't go undefeated. We were going to lose a game at some stage and we have lost now. It definitely hurts. We are definitely going to go home to think about this, losing at home in front of those fans is never good. Had we performed poorly and been outplayed by New York, we would be concerned. We just know if we had put one away it would maybe be a different story."

Brad Evans - Midfielder

On best practices to score goals: "It comes from both ends. It could be better service and it also could be better runs. And also we have so many set pieces that we vary it a little bit. Instead of swinging it every single time, maybe we try playing short a little bit more and see what happens. We can always work on those things in practice. I guess it's just a concentration thing."

On this year's New York team compared to last year's: "Much more organized. But still, 17 shots, it's one of those where we should have had three points, at least a point. This will probably be one of those where you work back and say 'should've had that one.' But definitely a way better side for sure, improved."

On getting fouled more than the average team: "For me it doesn't really bother me. It's going to happen anytime you have really good players. We used it to our advantage though. We got a number of set pieces off of it. A couple times I thought he could've let it play because we were in advanced position. It's his decision overall. The best we can do is draw fouls and get some chances off of set pieces, bottom line. If they're going to foul you're going to fall down every once in a while. It's just a matter of finishing our chances."

New York Red Bulls

Richie Williams - Assistant Coach

On the status of Head Coach Hans Backe: "He is doing fine; he needed some rest and will be back with us next week."

On coming out with a win in tough environment: "You have to give our guys credit; this is tough place to play with great stadium and fans. They have a good team and come and get a good result, everybody from front to back played hard and deserved 1-0 win."

On embracing the challenge of getting a road victory: "Nobody wants to have 29 road losses and we wanted to put an end to it and it be a different year. We battled and play intelligent and wanted to win. It was an excellent overall team effort."

Mike Petke - Defender

On having a different outcome this game than last year's match: "Everything was different, from the form we played to the physical nature of the match. We deserved to win this match, they are a great team. They are a very good team and very good at home and this is a big accomplishment for us."

On the team playing more crisp and precise: "As opposed to last year we don't have four guys playing defense and four guys playing midfield. It is 11 guys playing defense and 11 guys playing offense and that is the biggest difference and why were able to get a win tonight."

Macoumba Kandji - Forward

On the league starting to take them seriously: "Of course, when we played Chicago at home and they are a very good team. We got that one goal and we defended really well tonight. If we get a shutout and they way we defended meant we had a good chance at winning the game tonight."

On scoring the goal in tonight's match: "The goal is just like we practiced, I started at the goalkeeper and backed away. Whatever comes out is mine and I just hit it with my left foot and then it went in."