2010 Jun 10

Sounders give up a hat trick to Chris Pontius to suffer another bad loss

Seattle Sounders FC  2 - 3  DC United

Qwest Field, Seattle, WA

39' DC: Chris Pontius
44' DC: Chris Pontius
79' DC: Adam Cristman (Chris Pontius, Santino Quaranta)
90' SEA: Own goal (Barry Rice)
90' SEA: Fredy Montero (Freddie Ljungberg)

Seattle: Kasey Keller; Leo Gonzalez, Tyrone Marshall, Jeff Parke, James Riley; Steve Zakuani (Sanna Nyassi 66'), Patrick Ianni (Nathan Sturgis 64'), Brad Evans, Freddie Ljungberg; Pat Noonan (Roger Levesque 75'), Fredy Montero. Substitutes not used: Terry Boss, Zach Scott, Tyson Wahl, Mike Seamon.

DC: Troy Perkins; Jordan Graye (Barry Rice 49'), Devon McTavish, Julius James, Dejan Jakovic; Chris Pontius (Jaime Moreno 81'), Stephen King, Clyde Simms, Andy Najar; Luciano Emilio (Adam Cristman 62'), Santino Quaranta. Substitutes not used: Bill Hamid, Thabiso Khumalo, Kurt Morsink, Danny Allsopp.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

Chris Pontius beat everyone in Seattle Sounders FC's back seven at least once to score two goals and set up the third, winning the road match for DC United in the last MLS match before the two-week World Cup break. James Riley scored in the 90th minute and Fredy Montero a minute into added time, but it was only enough to make the score look less embarrassing.

First Half

Seattle was best for the first 25 minutes. Freddie Ljungberg gave a cross to Montero that was barely cleared by a defender, a corner kick to Jeff Parke that was headed from the near post just wide of the far post, and a diagonal pass to Steve Zakuani that was shot or crossed easily to goalkeeper Troy Perkins.

DC's attack finally showed some life when Pontius moved from the left side to the middle and took his first shot, deflected high and wide off his marker's foot. Keller made saves on a good header opportunity and then on 17-year-old Andy Najar's low near-post shot.

At 34' for Seattle, Pat Noonan's run went to deep for Zakuani's cross to the near post. Ljungbberg tried a left-footer from 25 yards and sent it two yards high.

39' DC: Pontius. A bad clearance from Leo Gonzalez went right to Pontius in the middle. Pontius faked both Tyrone Marshall and Brad Evans to the ground with one feint to set up the shot. On the shot, Patrick Ianni turned away and the ball deflected off his back and into the goal, giving Kasey Keller no chance. If Ianni had stayed his ground he would have blocked the shot. 1-0 DC.

44' DC: Pontius. Pontius fought off a challenge to carry the ball up the middle. Riley's sliding stab was too late to block the shot. Keller appeared to have the ball as he tried to parry it overhead, but the ball went through his hands and over the goal line before he could get it. 2-0 DC.

Second Half

The second half was all Seattle except for one DC shot, and that one shot went in.

Riley took the first shot of the half at 53' from a distance and was not close. A dangerous cross from close to goal by Zakuani was well stopped by Julius James, who had several fine plays in defense during the evening. Ljungberg fired hard but bent it away from goal and it was deflected out for a corner.

On one hour, Riley had a golden opportunity when his give and go pass to Montero was chipped back to him at right in front of goal, but Riley tried to take a touch when he should have first-timed a shot and that let a defender clear it. Ianni stole the ball for a 25-yard shot but bent it away from goal. Montero rolled a 25-yard shot up the middle but it didn't have enough pace to beat Perkins.

At 72' substitute Sanna Nyassi got close and cut back for a shot and James blocked it wide of goal. A Ljungberg corner kick was headed to the far side for a smashing volley by Marshall, and Perkins' reaction save on the goal plane pushed it back out to substitute Roger Levesque, whose put-back shot troubled Perkins but didn't beat him.

79' DC: Christman (Pontius, Quaranta). A quick free kick was served into the box by Quaranta, and Pontius beat Riley to the ball to head a shot/cross over Keller that bent down into the lower far corner. Adam Cristman got a touch on it just as the ball crossed the line. The goal was originally credited to Pontius but changed upon league review. It was DC's only scoring chance of the half. 3-0 DC.

At 83' Levesque's header tried to chip Perkins, but he got back in time with a leap.

90' SEA: Own goal (Rice). Riley worked a give and go with substitute Nathan Sturgis to shoot from the top right corner of the penalty area. The shot deflected off substitute Barry Rice's shin as he tried to clear it from Levesque's run and the deflection found net. The goal was originally credited to Riley but changed to an own goal after league review. 3-1 DC.

90' SEA: Montero (Ljungberg). Ljungberg fought off a defender along the left touch line to send a cross to the penalty spot. Montero's run was perfect and he headed the ball sharply into goal, beating Perkins to the near side. 3-2 DC.

Another minute or two of added time was not enough for Seattle and they lost again despite outshooting the opponents 20-6.

           SEA   DC
Shots:     20     6
Saves:      2     6
Corners:    7     1
Fouls:     11    11
Offsides:   3     4

24' DC: Pontius cautioned for a tactical foul on Ljungberg
43' SEA: Ljungberg cautioned for pushing James in the back after the ball went over the end line
62' DC: Najar cautioned for dissent

Referees: Michael Kennedy; Chris Strickland, Adam Garner; Baldomero Toledo

Attendance: 36,146

Postmatch Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Sigi Schmid - Head Coach

General Comments: "We got beat by Chris Pontius. The first was fortunate with the deflection. The second one, you don't expect Kasey to let that one through. And then at the end, we were chasing. We showed character getting two goals at the end, but time ran out. At this point, with the World Cup break, we need to focus on the points in front of us, not what points we've missed."

On getting a break during the season: "We know inside ourselves and our character has to be strong. It is what it is now. We need to do some soul searching and guys are having chats with each other to come back and make sure that we're sharper."

On the outlook for rest of season: "We come back and have 17 games left, there's 51 points. They always say you need one and a half points per game to make the playoffs. The points are out there. It's just a matter of us going out there and getting them."

On Kasey Keller: "Sure, he's unhappy about that [giving up three goals]. He's come up with some big saves for us as well, so you have to remember that part of it. It's something that he'll want to make sure he does better at as he moves forward."

On lack of offense until end of game: "It was finishing. We were a bit unlucky. All of a sudden it broke for us at the end where it hadn't been before. We were creating things, getting forward. The third goal was a bit of a back breaker. Not sure if it was their only second half shot, it might have been. We wanted to get energy on the field. That's why we made the changes. We really didn't change out of the 4-4-2 today. We were close. Still have to improve our finish."

On why offense struggled in first half: "We had enough shots in the first half, we didn't put them on goal. When we got to the end line, our runs weren't good or we'd get in too deep. We didn't get anything off that. We need to make better use of our chances."

Kasey Keller

On thoughts on tonight's match: "It was difficult. We give up a bad goal with the deflection - that stuff happens. And then I give up a bad goal and we're 2-0 down and you think still everybody is confident, thinking we are going to get back in this game. They play a quick free kick and get another goal and we're 3-0 down. But credit to the guys. They fought back and made it a game at the end, just too little, too late. Obviously I'm disappointed. The guys work extremely hard and for me to let them down like that is frustrating. I said my whole career that once I feel I can't do the job, then I have to stop doing the job. But I feel great physically. I feel good in training. Everything is going great. It's just frustrating with this game and with the L.A. game that I've hurt the team when my job is to keep them in this game. We keep that 1-0, we come back, we win the game. Like I said, frustrating on my part but knowing that we got 17 games left and no one is going to be working harder to try to get this right. I wanted to play another year but not if I don't play at the level I expect of myself, that the fans, the coaching staff, the players expect of me. I will work extremely hard to try to make it better."

On second goal allowed: "Even today, after I blocked it I thought I had it and it just kind of spun away from me. Like I said, multiply frustrated on multiple levels and Sigi said to us, 'It's over and we need to concentrate on the next 17 games.' Like I said, I will be working extremely hard to try to get that right."

Freddie Ljungberg

On tonight's loss: "We are back to making mistakes and concede goals. It's a problem we have and we need to stop doing it. It's hard to play 3-0 down, especially in the first half we dominated the game totally and they get some fluky goals. It makes it hard but I don't even know what to say. It's hard. We came back to 3-2 but if you look at the first half, we should've been maybe 3-0 up. But that's the way it is."

On how team will respond to loss: "I think that we need to keep calm. I think there are certain things in our game that we will keep in the dressing room that we have to work on and if we can fix that we will score a lot of goals, I think. We are creating chances and going past them and of course, we have to try to concede not so many goals."

On World Cup break: "I prefer just to keep on playing. That's what I'm used to. But of course it's nice to have a little break and all the kicks and bruises can heal. So in that way it's nice."

Steve Zakuani

On thoughts on the match: "Obviously we ended with two games at home and to be honest I thought we brought the same energy and focus and intensity and we were unfortunate to give up two first half goals. I thought we dominated the run of play. Credit to them for being opportunistic and getting those goals but with that said, I thought we were able to get around them and create a lot of chances...We showed good character, kept pushing and fighting. I think we have that to be positive about going in to the break. As Sigi said, we have 17 games after the break so everyone comes in with clear minds, refreshed a little bit and then we get back to work. We still have the goal of reaching the playoffs and we know anything can happen after that."

DC United

Curt Onalfo - Head Coach

On his team giving up two scores late in the match: "Unfortunately, the game was 93 minutes long and we were darn good for 90 minutes. It was disappointing to give up the two goals, but we were in desperate need for those three points. We're a young team, credit to Seattle for fighting and staying in there, but we were the better team and came away with the points."

On coming up with a victory on the road: "It was huge, this is not an easy place to play, unbelievable fan support. For us, we needed to accumulate points over the last couple of weeks. We are within striking distance for playoff contention. We have two weeks to get better as a group so we can continue to climb up the standings in our goal of making the playoffs."

On Chris Pontius scoring three goals tonight: "It took him a little time to get accustomed to the game but once he did, he became aggressive. He made two great plays and obviously the third one there at the end. It was a great individual effort by Chris, but this was a team win to get three points."

Chris Pontius

On scoring the third goal of the match "Adam [Cristman] might have had that one; I just saw the ball go in. It was a close one."

On scoring three goals in tonight's match: "Three goals. Honestly if you look at the goals, one was a deflection. I wouldn't say they were the best three goals I have ever scored, but finally the ball's starting to bounce our way. That was not happening the first quarter of the season."

On pulling a win in a difficult environment: "When you have 36,000 people rooting against you, I would say it's a tough place to play with confidence and remain calm and even talk on the field. These were three huge points for us with going on the World Cup break. We knew we needed these three points. It's a boost of momentum for our team."

On his team turning the corner for the season: "We have won our last few games. We have beat Seattle here on the road, we have beat Chivas USA, tied Salt Lake. I would say the corner has been turned for us."