2010 Jun 5

Sounders open the floodgates on New England

Seattle Sounders FC  3 - 0  New England Revolution

Qwest Field, Seattle, WA

5' SEA: Leo Gonzalez (Steve Zakuani)
24' SEA: Steve Zakuani (Brad Evans, Fredy Montero)
42' SEA: Fredy Montero (Pat Noonan, Leo Gonzalez)

Seattle: Kasey Keller; Leo Gonzalez (Taylor Graham 90'), Tyrone Marshall, Jeff Parke, James Riley; Steve Zakuani, Patrick Ianni, Brad Evans, Freddie Ljungberg (Sanna Nyassi 88'); Pat Noonan (Roger Levesque 81'), Fredy Montero. Substitutes not used: Terry Boss, Zach Scott, Nathan Sturgis, Mike Seamon.

New England: Bobby Shuttleworth; Cory Gibbs, Chris Tierney, Pat Phelan (Emmanuel Osei 46'), Kevin Alston; Kenny Mansally (Edgaras Jankauskas 46'), Joseph Kiouky, Shalrie Joseph, Sainey Nyassi (Zak Boggs 58'); Marko Perovic, Zack Schilawski. Substitutes not used: Tim Murray, Seth Sinovic, Khano Smith, Kheli Dube.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

The Seattle Sounders FC totally dominated a match for the first time this year, claiming a 3-0 win over the visiting New England Revolution. Defender Leo Gonzalez opened the scoring with an early goal, and first-half goals were added by Steve Zakuani and Fredy Montero. New England had very few chances, giving Kasey Keller an easy shoutout.

There were several bright spots this evening. First, Gonzalez' first goal as a Sounder and his setup on the third goal. Second, three goals to end a scoring drought. Third, Jeff Parke played well to contribute to the shutout. Fourth, the new beer Brougham Bitter debuted and it was excellent.

First Half

The Sounders came out of the starting gate looking to score. Early on Freddie Ljungberg did well to earn a cross that flashed past goal just our of reach of Zakuani.

5' SEA: Gonzalez (Zakuani). Left back Gonzalez was up to score from the fist shot of the match. His pass to Zakuani inside the penalty area could not be controlled by Zakuani, but the ball went back for Gonzalez to run onto. Gonzalez bent a hard shot past goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth and into the top far corner. 1-0 Seattle.

Zakuani had his first chance when he was sent free on the left in the 12th minute, but his shot slammed hard into Shuttleworth.

A minute later New England saw a chance when a long free kick was headed down in front of goal by Shalrie Joseph, but Tyrone Marshall got there first to clear it on the first bounce.

Zakuani had another chance at 17' when a cleared corner kick was headed four consecutive times by Seattle to set up a volley by Zakuani, but he skied the shot.

24' SEA: Zakuani (Evans, Montero). With the ball for a throw-in, Montero spotted Brad Evans open on the near side of goal and threw it in quickly. Evans controlled the ball and chipped a drop pass to Zakuani, who volleyed a nice shot in off the cross bar at the far corner. 2-0 Seattle.

Montero had his first crack at goal from a 30-yard free kick near the half hour mark, and the shot scraped the roof above the near corner. A few minutes later Pat Noonan beat two defenders to get close for a shot that hit the near post hard, maybe touched a bit by Shuttleworth. The rebound gave James Riley a shot, but he shanked it.

Seattle kept pouring on the chances. Zakuani was sprung again on the left and his shot was blocked wide for a corner. Patrick Ianni headed the corner well, but it went wide of the far post.

New England's best chance cvame at 35' when a cross was over Jeff Parke's head to give Kenny Mansally a header, but the shot went wide.

For Seattle, a nice run with the ball up the right side by Ljungberg set up a cross, but a defender did well to clear it out for a corner.

42' SEA: Montero (Noonan, Gonzalez). Gonzalez' forward pass to Noonan was passed square to Montero. After beating a defender Montero shot hard and low past Shuttleworth. 3-0 Seattle.

Second Half

New England coach Steve Nicol was apparently unhappy with his side's first half performance, sending in Edgaras Jankauskas and Emmanuel Osei at intermission.

Seattle continued the pressure early in the second half. Ljungberg was found open in the penalty area for a shot, and Shuttleworth did well to collapse on it for a save. Evans ran through to head a Ljungberg cross on goal, but Shuttleworth had it covered. From a counterattack Noonan just missed the top far corner from 25 yards. Montero carried the ball up the middle and dished off to Noonan for another try that missed the far post.

At 55' New England finally earned a chance and Joseph aimed a header nicely at the top far corner, but Kasey Keller did equally well to punch it away.

At 57' Ianni was above everyione to head a Ljungberg corner kick but he was again about a yard wide of the far post. At 59' Montero was pulled down just inside the penalty area, but you apparently don't get those calls when you are up 3-0.

The last chance for New England came at 74' when Joseph headed a free kick at the top far corner, but Keller was just able to pull it down.

Seattle had chances in garbage time to add another goal. Ljungberg sprang Evans wide open on a counter for a close shot that was blocked wide by Shuttleworth. Montero was 5 yards from goal to head a Ljungberg corner kick wide of the far post. Ljungberg carried the ball up the right side to cross for substitute Roger Levesque, whose shot just missed the lower near corner.

           SEA   NE
Shots:     21     6
Saves:      2     7
Corners:   11     4
Fouls:     10    11
Offsides:   5     2

3' NE: Gibbs cautioned for sliding under Montero at the halfway line
36' SEA: Gonzalez cautioned for a late challenge on Sainey Nyassi
64' NE: Niouky cautioned for a late challenge on Ljungberg

Referees: Jorge Gonzalez; Philippe Briere, Jeff Hosking; Ramon Hernandez

Attendance: 36,544 (regular season record)

Postmatch Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Sigi Schmid - Head Coach

Opening Statement: "It's one of those games again. I see we outshot them 19-2, so again we created chances but they didn't...oh, I can change the story. I got used to saying the same thing all the time. No, it was nice to get some goals, tremendous first goal by Leo Gonzalez - that was a wonder strike, a tremendous strike on goal. Zakuani as well, a very well hit ball. Montero a good combination that put him in. I thought the soccer we played was good. I thought playing out of a 4-4-2 we were more dangerous having a partner up front. I thought Freddie Ljungberg wide right was outstanding, creating numerous opportunities for us. As we get used to him there as well, it will make it easier for us to get him the ball more often in better positions. I was just pleased with our effort. The theme today was we wanted to play like there's no tomorrow and we came out in the first half and we played that way so I'm very pleased with how we did."

On what the win does for mentality: "It does a lot. Obviously because we put a lot on our plate with these last two games at home. We've got DC coming in on Thursday we wanted to get our record to .500 before we go on the break. We want to make this a tough place for teams to play. I think we made it that way tonight so it does a lot for our spirit, it does a lot for our confidence, it just does an awful lot for the morale and it was good to win and score some fine goals."

On doing things differently with preparation to bolster the offense: "The only thing we did differently, we switched into a 4-4-2 because we felt by playing a 4-3-3, only having one striker in the middle and that often times being Montero, that we just didn't have enough of a threat there. By going with two strikers there, and I thought Noonan is another one who had an outstanding game tonight, it just gave us a good combination there and when we play like that we're a tough team because you have Zakuani on one flank and Ljungberg on the other, that's going to make you concerned a little bit and then you've got two forwards up front that they can serve the ball to. When balls got put in the box, and now we've got to get better still at finishing those opportunities, but when balls got put in the box we had people there, we had numbers there. Sometimes if we're a little more clever, a little more composed, we'll get even more goals. It was definitely a huge step in the right direction and the change in formation helped us the most."

On New England goalkeeper situation: "We talked about it, let's test him early, let's make sure we hit shots on goal, let's put crosses on top of him early, let's see what he's got and certainly the guys did that. Again, I don't think he can do much on the first goal. I don't think he can do much on the second goal and the third goal, obviously I'm sure he'd like to have another shot at that one. I thought overall we did a good job of testing him early."

On the starting lineup: "I don't see why not, unless somebody gets hurt. Obviously, being able to play the same group together helps as well because you get familiarity with each other, you sort of know where each other is. The main thing is everybody did their role tonight, everybody played their role. The defensive midfielder Ianni did a good job on Shalrie Joseph. You really didn't see Shalrie much during the game. He took care of that. Evans took care of a little more of the offensive part. The wingers took care of their part. The defenders took care of their part. I thought Parke was much better than he was in Colorado. He was sharper and quicker tonight, so all of those were plus steps for us."

On wearing the same shirt Thursday: "Yeah, I'm just debating right now if I want to launder it or not, as to which way is the best way to go with that. I always tell my wife, I know when it's going well it's because I'm not cold. If I'm really into the game I'm not cold, so it's like the guys at halftime, they said, do you need a jacket for the second half? I said, no, it's not cold out there."

On memories of John Wooden: "Tremendous memories from the standpoint as a student there I had some friends who were on the basketball team and I used to watch practice all the time. Seeing him work, seeing the way he always tried to bring the best out of each individual and by bringing the best out of each individual, that made them a great team. His calmness, his decorum having met him, spoken to him, just his overall demeanor, his outlook on life is tremendous. I think we've lost a very unique and a very special person. I've gotten emails from teammates of mine who were there at the same time and everybody is expressing how much they appreciated him. A lot of guys have the Pyramid of Success in their offices signed by him. It's a huge loss, but we were very fortunate to have him here for 99-plus years. He's a very, very special person and UCLA and sports are going to miss him."

On something extra to be had from tonight: "No, that we played good attacking soccer, which we always want to do. We want to be an entertaining team that we're able to win at home and now it's a matter of hey, let's continue to refine what we're doing, get to know each other better in this system of play and even finish off more opportunities. It was nice to break out and get three goals. We don't want to be the lowest scoring team in the league. We want to get out of that."

On how the team played with a three-goal lead: "I thought they played all right. We talked at halftime about making sure we maintain the same mentality, that we went out in the second-half with the same mentality and that didn't think that okay, it's easy. I thought we did, even at the start of the second-half we went right after them. We created some chances and obviously sometimes you get greedy and you want to get the fourth or fifth but I'm not going to be greedy right now. Three is enough for tonight. I'd like to save some so we get two or three on Thursday."

On Gonzalez getting forward more: "That was funny because before the game we said to him, you've got a tough guy with speed in Nyassi, make sure you defend him, and if you can get forward once in awhile great, but don't worry about that. Obviously he proved me wrong, five minutes and getting forward and hammering the shot in. I think his ability to get forward was set up by defending Nyassi very well. Maybe it's because he goes against Sanna every day in practice so he had a good idea of what's coming. He deals with quick players pretty well, and he would steal balls and that would put him into the offensive part of the field - that allowed him to get forward because he defended really well."

On playing more direct than previous: "We talked about it early in the game. We wanted to make sure we could get our crowd behind us, even to the extent of saying on the kick-off we wanted to put the ball behind them. We talked about making sure that we get behind the defense a little more often, a little quicker, make them play in their end of the field and that would help us in terms of getting our crowd and putting the pressure on them and turning this into a home field."

Leo Gonzalez

On going forward on offense: "Indeed, it was the guidance from the management staff [to not go forward], but the opportunity showed up. I managed to go to offense and thank God I managed to score."

On thoughts on goal: "Before talking about the goal, I want to dedicate this to our friends, guys like Hurtado and Fucito, who are out with injury. Thank God. Again, it was a beautiful goal and gave us the confidence for the remainder of the game."

On taking the shot: "It was a matter of getting the confidence to kick and a little bit of luck as well. So thank God, it was a good goal."

Kasey Keller

On the result: "It could have been nasty. We could've really ran on 'em. Obviously 3-0, we're very happy with that. Long overdue. I thought the mentality from the very first minute was tremendous. We pushed them. We kept them in their half. We challenged for everything. The work rate was second to none, this season, and the standard has been set. It's great. Anytime it drops, I think everyone can go and watch a little film and say, 'You do this or we find someone else who does it, because you've proven that you can.' I'm just happy. I'm happy for everybody. I'm happy, obviously, for the fans and for ownership and the players because this is what we've been working hard to earn. But we know we've got another game on Thursday. Although we're going to enjoy ourselves, and fans are going to enjoy themselves, we can't do this halfway. We know we've got another game on Thursday that we're more than capable of winning as well. And what a great way to go into the minibreak with six points. It's halftime for me. Now the second half starts against D.C."

Anything more to be had in the dominant way that you won? "I, for one, after we scored the third goal, I wanted to make sure we did all the little things right to keep the clean sheet at the back because I think that's very important for us right now. We conceded some goals late in games. We lost our concentration. I didn't want to have that negative thought process go in our head after this game. I wanted everybody to come out of this game knowing we got an unbelievable goal from Leo, a great goal from Zakuani, Fredy did his thing - popped up and banged it - and then to have the defense have that confidence as well knowing they had nothing to lose and were going to push things forward, and challenge for things, and that we could keep that 'zero' in the back. This is hopefully a large, large step towards a lot better things coming."

Was this the best defensive performance of the season? "Obviously they're a decent team and they're so dangerous on set pieces. And we've conceded too may goals on set pieces this year, so on that side of it, I'm very proud. The guys did brilliantly I think. Shalrie Joseph is a very dangerous player for them. I thought the combination of Pat and Brad did a great job defending him the whole game. I'm sure he was very frustrated. Just very, very proud of the way the guys battled from minute to minute. I think what I was happy about, is I know that they put us under a little bit of pressure, but in different games we were very slow getting the ball out of the back and just playing really kind of across and keeping the ball. We put it in their half, we put them under pressure and we were rewarded for it. And way they cleared it, we were up their back and headed it back into pressure. I think we've cleaned up a mentality that has been kind of creeping into us this season and now the standard's been set."

Pat Noonan

On this being the one to turn it around: "I sure hope so. That was a complete effort for 90 minutes. We got the early lead, built upon it and had a nice lead going into the half. We didn't let up. We continued to create chances. We didn't get another one, but our defense kept them off the board, which is great to see. It was an all-around team effort tonight."

Boost of the early goal? "It was good. Obviously coming from Leo, a great finish. It was huge and you could tell it got the crowd into it early and got the guys confident. We didn't look back after that."

On the second goal: "Just a class finish. Montero, heads-up play just to get an early throw in and Brad got a little thigh on it and flicked it over. It was an all-around heads up play."

On having fun out there? "That's when you enjoy what you're doing. We're always enjoying it, but the way it's been lately - not finishing - it's tough. It's tough on the defense too when we're trying to come from behind, or we're zero-zero, and we're not putting the ball in the net. Tonight to get the early lead and get the crowd into it and kind of build off of that, that was key for us. Because we kept attacking, had good opportunities and kept moving the ball and our finishing and getting our shots on goal were first-class tonight."

Steve Zakuani

On the game: "It was important. I think the three points is the most important thing because we have to win. I think I said on Tuesday that it was the most important game of our Sounders career so far because we had to win. We just had to win. We have been saying for awhile that there would be a game where we are going to break out and tonight happened to be that night. I think even more than just the result the performance was fantastic. It was great interplay, great exchange of one-twos. On another night we could have five or six, I think that's the only disappointment, but no, it was a good result. Good to give the fans that, and it sets up very well for D.C. on Thursday."

How important was movement off the ball? "Oh, it was very important, we were buzzing. I think it came from our defensive effort first. We went into the game not letting them settle. We were on them from the first whistle. You could see guys were making tackles, guys were hustling, and from that you end up getting possession, and we were nice with the ball today. Very clean, very efficient, and it just sometimes takes a special goal, and Leo gave us that. Once he did that, we kind of settled, they were more open, and like I said we could have scored five or six."

Your goal? "I had an earlier one, an earlier volley, where I caught it well but I couldn't keep it down. Then I had the one-on-one that the keeper saves, so I said, 'I have to score.' I couldn't leave the pitch without scoring. It's just one of those, you take it. It could either go in the back row or it could go in the top corner, and today it went in the top corner and I'm happy with it."

Fredy wouldn't let you take the team-high in goals for long, eh? "No, of course, of course. That's his job. Fredy's our goal-scorer, so when he scores, I'm happy if he scores and the team is happy. We talk about it though, it's healthy competition. But it's good, it's good. It was a great goal as well, there were three tremendous goals."

On Leo's goal: "He hit it to me, but it was a bit too far. Then Alston slipped so I wanted to cut back, and I cut back too far, and it was good because Leo came in and finished it. I told Leo before the game I'm going to need him tonight because when you're playing against a quick defender you need one-twos and we had that tonight and he was there for it."

New England Revolution

Steve Nicol - Head Coach

On coming back down three to nil: "The first two goals were just window strikes, at the same time we didn't defend well. It is just school boy stuff; you don't let a man behind you on a throw in. We were sleeping and let a guy get to the edge of the box. It was a great finish but we were contributing to our own downfall. It is tough to come back from that. The third goal is just downright bad defending."

On his speech to the team at halftime: "I probably couldn't repeat it. We came out and played better. We played so bad in the first half we would have had to come out better. There is nothing we can take away from this game that is positive."

On going into the break of the season: "It is disappointing. We need to sit down with what we are doing and figure out how we are going to get results."

Bobby Shuttleworth

On playing in his first MLS game tonight: "We didn't get the result we wanted, I don't think we played very well. We just have to keep moving on and put this behind us right away."

On the difficulty of playing in front of 35,000 screaming fans: "I just tried to keep playing my game. Once the whistle blows the crowd is not an issue for me so I just tried to stay solid and help these guys out as much as I could."

On having a rough first start to his career: "It was my first MLS start, it was good to get it out of the way and we can keep progressing and picking up some points."

On giving up 3 quick goals to start the game: "It is never good to give up an early goal and they came after us right away. I just have to keep progressing and moving forward."

Kevin Alston

On giving up three quick goals: "We just can't come out and play that, with three easy quick goals we were chasing them all night."

On the difficulty of coming back after giving up a few early goals: "It is very difficult, tough. We are down and away, with the crowd it's just hard to fight back."