2010 May 1

Sounders unlucky again, playing Columbus well but settling for a draw

Seattle Sounders FC  1 - 1  Columbus Crew

Qwest Field, Seattle, WA

4' SEA: Steve Zakuani (Freddie Ljungberg, Fredy Montero)

45' CLB: Steven Lenhart (Danny O'Rourke, Eddie Gaven)

Seattle: Kasey Keller; Leo Gonzalez, Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, James Riley; Osvaldo Alonso, Peter Vagenas, Freddie Ljungberg; Steve Zakuani, Brad Evans (Sanna Nyassi 66'), Fredy Montero. Substitutes not used: Terry Boss, Tyrone Marshall, Tyson Wahl, Nathan Sturgis, David Estrada, Miguel Montaņo.

Columbus: William Hesmer; Danny O'Rourke (sent off 85'), Andy Iro, Eric Brunner, Frankie Hejduk; Robbie Rogers, Brian Carroll, Adam Moffat (Jason Garey 90'), Eddie Gaven; Steven Lenhart, Guillermo Barros Schelotto (Jed Zayner 87'). Substitutes not used: Kenny Schoeni, Kevin Burns, Duncan Oughton, Emilio Renteria, Sergio Herrera.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

The Seattle Sounders FC played well enough to win but were left with a 1-1 draw with the visiting Columbus Crew. Steve Zakuani scored early for Seattle and Steven Lenhart tied it up in added time at the end of the first half.

First Half

4' SEA: Zakuani (Ljungberg, Montero). Receving a pass from Peter Vagenas, Fredy Montero was knocked down in midfield but managed to get the ball to Freddie Ljungberg and referee Ricardo Salazar allowed advantage. Perhaps Columbus' defenders were expecting a whistle, because Zakuani was the only player who chased Ljungberg's ball over the defense and it was Zakuani vs. goalkeeper William Hesmer. Zakuani's feint caused Hesmer to go down and the calm Zakuani sidestepped to the right to finish into the open net. 1-0 Seattle.

Columbus got their first chance at 8' from a broken free kick play when Robbie Rogers shot low from 35 yards and forced Kasey Keller to save at the post.

A minute later Seattle had beaten the offside trap again and Ljungberg was in on Hesmer on the right. This time Hesmer deflected the shot wide into the side netting.

On the half-hour chime Zakuani did well to get around the left corner and serve a cross to Brad Evans who was on the near-post run, but the sliding shot was deflected wide and on the corner kick Evans volleyed a shot well over the bar. The chances kept coming for Seattle as Montero had a chance to chip in but mishit it. After another advantage was given, Ljungberg served Evans on a near-post run and Evans wasted the chance over the bar from 7 yards. Osvaldo Alonso fired a hard, bending shot from 20 yards and Hesmer could only parry it wide. Another rocket up the middle from Alonso went barely wide of the post. It was ten minutes of solid attacking but no goals came of it.

At 41' Lenhart was open to head a warning shot just over the bar from Adam Moffat's cross.

45' CLB: Lenhart (O'Rourke, Gaven). Eddie Gaven found Danny O'Rourke open on the left touch line to send in a perfect cross in front of goal. This time Lenhart headed his shot down into the lower corner to level the score. The goal came in added time at the end of the half. 1-1.

Second Half

Seattle's Montero nearly scored early in the second half when his quick shot deflected off his marker, hit the post and went out. On the hour chime he took a 35-yard free kick but did not have enough dip on the shot. Patrick Ianni had a chance when he got his head on a corner kick but he sent it over the bar.

Seattle came closest to a match winner in in the 67th minute. Left back Leo Gonzalez was up in the penalty area to send a cross over the crowd for Ljungberg to run onto. The cross bounced once, twice, as the wide open Ljungberg set up his shot. He fired a very hard shot at the lower near corner and was unlucky as the ball deflected off both the goalkeeper and the post and went out.

Two turnovers in the Sounders' defensive end gave two chances to the dangerous Guillermo Barros Schelotto, but Keller deflected the first shot wide and the second went over the bar.

Columbus went down a man at 85' when O'Rourke got his second caution for a reckless challenge on James Riley who was running to the right flag to cross. O'Rourke had gotten an early caution for sliding under Alonso.

At 86' a Seattle free kick play gave Alonso a shot and it was almost deflected in by Montero. On 90 minutes Montero beat his marker to earn a shot from the arc but sent it just over the bar. In the final minute of added time Montero netted the ball, but the whistle had blown for a marginal foul by little Sanna Nyassi on big Andy Iro.

          SEA  CLB
Shots:     16    8
Saves:      2    4
Corners:    9    4
Fouls:     16   12
Offsides:   3    2

28' CLB: O'Rourke cautioned for a late slide under Alonso
59' CLB: Carroll cautioned for tripping Ljungberg
85' CLB: O'Rourke cautioned a reckless foul on Riley and sent off for his second caution
87' CLB: Schelotto cautioned for leaving the pitch too slowly when substituted

Referees: Ricardo Salazar; Corey Rockwell, Darren Clark; Paul Ward

Attendance: 36,219

Postmatch Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Sigi Schmid - Head Coach

Opening statement: "We obviously wanted to play more offensive, we've been working on that. We wanted to do a better job possessing the ball, creating opportunities again because in Toronto we did a little better with that but we wanted to grow. I thought the 4-3-3 suited us well. I thought we created a number of chances. We fell asleep right before the end of the first half and gave away a goal that we shouldn't give away. Those things are starting to become very bothersome and something that we have to address. Overall I thought when I looked at the majority of the game I was very proud of how our team played, the effort we put in I thought was very good. We created and if we continue to play along that vein, I think luck will return to us."

On whether it was one of the better efforts this season: "Yeah, I thought it was one of our more complete efforts of the season, for sure. From that standpoint I thought it was solid. But again, it was elementary mistakes on the goal. Lenhart's their best header of the ball and to have him to be unmarked in the box is criminal."

On early goal: "It was a good goal by Zakuani and then we had the other chances, we were sniffing around the box. Evans with the near post run, Montero had some good looks. One later in the game when he gets the right-footed shot. You expect him to do better with that. Yeah, you're hoping that this is the game it happens for you. Obviously I'd like to get more than one."

On defensive breakdown and Alonso: "You talk about it all the time, when a team is going to cross the ball, the grass isn't going to score on you, the opponent is. So you always want to make sure that you have a body on everyone. It was a case of Kennedy was stepped in front and Patrick, instead of calling Kennedy back, was the man who was between Kennedy and Patrick stepped up to the man and left Lenhart behind him. He's got to take Lenhart, he's got to get Kennedy back a step or two and then it gets locked up and then it's not a problem. Lenhart had got open for a header about five minutes earlier than when he came inside of James Riley. That's just something we've got to make sure it doesn't happen. That's the plight of a defender, everybody thinks defending is easier; you don't have to create. You don't have to do all that stuff, but if you play 89 minutes of good concentrated soccer and you have 10 seconds of a lapse, it can hurt your team which is something offensively, you can make 10 mistakes and the, well, we didn't get a goal, kind of thing. I thought Alonso played well. I thought the middle of our midfield, there was only a period of time in the second half, they adjusted by bringing Gaven inside, moving Moffat outside and there was a period of the time there for about 10-15 minutes where I thought they had a little more of the ball. Outside of that, I thought our midfield pretty much controlled theirs."

On Evans: "I thought he did well. He plays with a lot of energy and he came out because he had a sore hamstring, not because he wasn't playing well. We were concerned about the hamstring, wanted to make sure it didn't get worse. He plays with a lot of energy, he's not the kind of winger who's going to get the ball on the line and do six step-overs and beat the guy, but what he does is he tries to get on the end of crosses and he tries to make space, and makes hard runs. We need that from all our forwards, we need those hard runs from all our forwards."

On 4-3-3: "I think it was good, early on especially. You look at the spaces Freddie Ljungerg got, he was able to slip people in, he was able to make some runs from deep. It's a position I want him playing deeper than he was been playing for us. It's something we'll continue to work on and grow with, but I think it's something that suits us."

Steve Zakuani

On his goal: "In the first half of the game, I checked the clock and there were three minutes in and I hadn't touched the ball yet. So I kind of wanted to find the ball and they stepped up high and I beat the offside and I was just one-on-one. I waited for him to make a move. He didn't. He stood up well. So then I just took it around him because he had space behind him and fortunately I got around him and got a goal."

On Columbus' goal: "I think it was a great ball first of all. At the same time, we should probably be more clean in the box but I think it comes from before that. I think we played fantastic for the first 40 minutes. The last five we kind of sat off them and waited for them to come at us. I think it starts from the defensive end, put full pressure on them and maybe the ball doesn't get there. So it's all around but of course I'm disappointed. I thought we had enough chances. First half we could have been up two or three maybe and we would've beat a good team. I think we dominated and that's great for our club."

Peter Vagenas

On tonight's match: "For me, you see a team like Columbus and they have been together for years now. Their movement is probably a tad bit sharper in the final third but, at the end of the day, I think we created a little more and that's just from sheer quality of players. I think as those guys get more comfortable, again it's a new formation, guys are tweaked a little bit, but at the same time I think we are so talented in the final third that it's important that guys like Zakuani, Ljungberg, Montero and Evans sort of don't really worry about the defensive end but when we win the ball they got to make things go. I know they are disappointed we only put one in the back of the net because that's their job. But at the same time, I think we can do a little better job of getting the ball in the right places."

Kasey Keller

On tonight's match: "Obviously extremely disappointed. We could have comfortably been winning by two or three goals in the first half. It didn't happen. You keep teams in games, you get punished. For the most part, I was very pleased. We are definitely moving in the right direction. It's close. Close doesn't quite cut it though. We'll see what happens here in the next couple weeks but I'm optimistic that we are moving in the right direction."

On how the team is improving: "I am still optimistic that we are going to turn that corner. Like I said, it's close. I keep feeling that it's going to happen and it's getting better and better. But better and better without the victories doesn't mean a whole lot. So at some stage it's all about winning games or picking up points that we should pick up and today obviously we should have picked up three points and we didn't."

Columbus Crew

Robert Warzycha - Head Coach

On his impressions of the match: "I think Seattle probably had the better game, they controlled the possession. They were playing pretty well; we played better in the second half. We were happy with the result."

On getting the goal at the end of the first half: "The goal before the half is a perfect timing, probably everyone was thinking about halftime. Scoring at the end of the first half and at the end of a game is always good. To go one-one into halftime is good, going into halftime down one-nothing you never know what is going to happen. We're happy to score."

On his team's starting off the season without a loss: "Hard work and determination. We have a good group of guys who understand how to play and respect each other. They leave everything on the field, and work hard. We are getting rewarded for our hard work."

William Hesmer

On coming up with a number of saves during the second half: "I don't think we had our best half with the ball, but our defending has been great all year. I'm proud of our guys on how we defended throughout this season. We got our rhythm this second half, and I thought we were the better team the second half. I'm sure Seattle is disappointed they didn't come out of here with three points, but you have to defend. We have been successful because of our defense."

Steven Lenhart

On scoring the goal at the end of the first half: "First goal of the year, it was a great ball by Danny O'Rourke. I just headed it back where it came from. Danny had a better red card. I'm just kidding. I didn't do much, it felt good to score."