2010 May 29

Sounders FC avenge with win in New York

Colorado Rapids  1 - 0  Seattle Sounders FC

Red Bull Arena, New York, NY

63' COL: Conor Casey

Colorado: Matt Pickens; Danny Earls, Julien Baudet, Drew Moor, Marvell Wynne; Jeff Larentowicz, Mehdi Ballouchy, Pablo Mastroeni; Wells Thompson (Colin Clark 61'), Conor Casey, Omar Cummings (Quincy Amarikwa 89'). Substitutes not used: Ian Joyce, Scott Palguta, Ross LaBauex, Claudio Lopez, Andre Akpan.

Seattle: Kasey Keller; Leo Gonzalez, Tyrone Marshall, Jeff Parke, James Riley; Brad Evans, Freddie Ljungberg, Patrick Ianni; Steve Zakuani (Sanna Nyassi 63'), Fredy Montero (Miguel Montaņo 76'), Pat Noonan (Roger Levesque 83'). Substitutes not used: Terry Boss, Zach Scott, Tyson Wahl, Nathan Sturgis.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

Once again the Seattle Sounders FC failed to find finishing magic, dropping a 1-0 road decision to the Colorado Rapids. A good shot by Conor Casey was the difference, as both sides were limited to few good chances.

First Half

Colorado had the best of the first 15 minutes. On 6' they worked the ball around the penalty area nicely to earn their first chance when Marvell Wynne's cross from the right gave Casey a chance sliding in unmarked in front of goal, but he shot side. Colorado earned their first corner kick after Jeff Parke fell, and it led to an excellent header aimed down by Omar Cummings as he crashed into the box and leaped. Kasey Keller did well to slap the shot away.

Seattle's first chance came a quarter hour in as Fredy Montero fed Freddie Ljungberg's run for a cross, but the cross was too tall for Pat Noonan's header.

At 26' Colorado's second corner kick led to another fine header, this time by defender Julien Baudet, who missed the far post by inches and then held his head.

At 38' Seattle's first corner kick was cleared to Patrick Ianni, who shot nicely and gave goalkeeper Matt Pickens trouble as it bounced just before it got there. Pickens managed to play it wide for another corner.

Seattle looked best closing out the half, as crosses were just barely too far for first Steve Zakuani and then Montero. Then came Seattle's best chance as Zakuani sprung Ljungberg up the middle and into the penalty area for a shot from 12 yards, but Ljungberg wasted it over the bar.

Second Half

Seattle continued their momentum into the second half as Montero earned a quick left footer sent wide and Zakuani was isolated to beat a defender and shoot, only to see it blocked by another defender halfway to goal.

63' COL: Casey. Colorado made good on their first chance of the half. Cummings sent a ball ahead to the middle for Casey, marked by Parke. Parke stretched to get a touch on the ball, but didn't send it far, and then he went down under Casey's charge. Casey collected the leftovers, teed up his shot, and chipped the ball perfectly over Keller and into the top far corner as the retreating defenders could only watch it. 1-0 Colorado.

Five minutes later a defensive turnover at the top of the arc gave Montero his best chance, open for the shot, but like Ljungberg he shot over the bar when it needed to be on goal.

With Seattle pushing forward, Keller was called on for a couple of saves as Bellouchy beat the offside trap on the left corner and failed to beat Keller, then Cummings from the top of the arc fired one at the right post that Keller dove for.

The last good chance came at 83' when Noonan drew a foul near the right end of the arc. Ljungberg took the 20-yard free kick and was frustrated with himself after missing the top near corner by a half yard.

          COL  SEA
Shots:      9   10
Saves:      1    4
Corners:    6    4
Fouls:     13    8
Offsides:   3    2

45' SEA: Gonzalez cautioned for a tactical foul on Cummings at the touch line
45' COL: Mastroeni cautioned after advantage given for a tactical foul on Montero
52' SEA: Ianni cautioned for sliding into Ballouchy from behind
52' SEA: Ljungberg cautioned for dissent, perhaps about Ianni's card
71' COL: Wynne cautioned for kicking Rodriguez as the ball went over the line
90' COL: Casey cautioned for dissent

Referees: Jair Marrufo; Greg Barkey, Peter Manikowski; Ramon Hernandez

Attendance: 18,116

Postmatch Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Sigi Schmid - Head Coach

On the game: "We didn't capitalize on our chances. Breakaway by Ljungberg at the end of the half, Montero had a couple of good looks. If you give up a goal and you don't score you will lose the game."

On Connor Casey's goal: "It was a battle for the ball. It looked like they tussled for it. Parke ended up on the ground. Conor did well and saw that Kasey was out and he chipped him into the far corner."

On the state of the team at this point in the season: "It is never too early to think about our points so far. Points are worth the same now as it is in the end. It doesn't matter; if you are giving up points then you are giving up points. It has been frustrating because I don't think we have walked off the field being an outplayed team. We just got to keep working and keep our belief in ourselves. The team spirit has to remain there."

On handling Casey, Cummings: "We thought the danger they created in the first half was more from their corner kicks and their set pieces. It was most of their danger. We didn't think off the run of play there was too much that was happening. And even after the goal, we had to push a little bit but didn't think they created much off the run of play."

On offensive issues: "Obviously just like Colorado we played a game Wednesday. We're up here and we wanted to make sure we dropped off a little bit to make sure we have some spaces to attack in, and have them come out. I thought early on we didn't do a good job of holding the ball up front. There were times we were 1v1 or 1v2 and we were trying to make a move rather than just hold the ball and give ourselves a chance to connect. I thought once we started connecting every time, in the first half when we put together 6-7 passes we usually got something. Got close to creating something."

Upbeat at halftime at 0-0?: "We felt good where we were at halftime. We felt good. We've just been snakebit a little bit this year, it seems like something happens and we end up taking one."

On the Sounders finishing: "You can talk about individual efforts on the chances that they had but balls usually go over the top of the goal. We just have to put more shots on goal and more shots on frame. We have been working on it and working on it and working on it but we have to put more shots on frame."

Freddie Ljungberg

On the game and what was the difference: "I think it was a typical nil-nil game unfortunately. I didn't speak to Parke, but he (Casey) steps on him. It was quite a physical game and the ref didn't blow for much. It's hard. I thought all the boys fought hard but the level that was allowed to be played, there was no chances created really for any side. Maybe they got one or two chances after they scored because we were pressing forward. It was a typically nil-nil game and I was very disappointed."

On the handball appeal: "It hit his hand blatantly, but there's no point in (talking) about the referee. I'll probably get suspended if I say anything. But it's the same. I have an injured calf and it takes five minutes and someone smashes me in my calf. The ref doesn't even care. It's up to whoever controls it. It would've been a much better game if the fouls were called as fouls. But that's how it is and we have to get on with it."

On if there is concern at this point of the season: "Of course if you see the rest of the room, everyone is really, really down because we didn't get the result today. It was one of those games away from home, I think Sigi said Colorado has never lost two games at home in a row before, and this would have been the second. We knew it would be hard. I definitely thought it was a nil-nil game. Hopefully we'll get stronger from it and that's the thing you have to take with you."

Pat Noonan

On the difference in the game: "They were just winning the majority of the knockdowns and were maintaining possession better than we were. I don't think we closed them down quick enough. We allowed them too much time and space to turn all over the field. When you give guys that much time and space, they're going to hurt you. They did in terms of possession, got the lead and were able to hold it. I think we needed to put more pressure on them and dictate the pace of the game."

On finishing: "It'll come. We have to be patient, but at the same time we have to have that killer instinct in the final third whether it's the last pass, shot, cross, whatever it is. It's got to be precise. Right now it's a little bit off, and it's costing us goals. We'll fix. We can't get our heads down or we'll get smashed. We have to bounce back. We have a week to bounce back before our next game, so we'll be back home and take care of business there."

Kasey Keller

Seemed like a fairly even game, what tipped the balance?: "It was a phenomenal goal. I mean Conor shouldn't even have been here. He should have been with the U.S. team going to the World Cup. Sometimes it just takes something special to beat you, and it did today. We're disappointed. We had chances again but couldn't finish. They worked hard, we worked hard. Like you said it was an even game, but it took something special to beat us."

On being a 3-5-3 team, but not feeling like it: "No not at all, but good play only goes so far. At some stage it has to be about results and it has to be about finished products. Putting balls in the back of the net and keeping balls from going in the back of the net. I think we're all waiting. We were hoping the game against Boca was good, we showed a lot of energy. I think that carried over, but it was just a shame. The final pass was just a bit off, the final shot, everything. Like I said, it took a wonder goal to beat us."

Jeff Parke

How'd it feel to be out there, albeit in a loss?: "I mean it's good to be back out there. I guess it happens sometimes, kind of forget about it and move on."

On the goal: "I just got stepped on as I was trying to clear it. He stepped on the side of my ankle and I couldn't get a lot on the clearance."

On team's defensive performance as a whole: "It was alright. We could do better. The goal kind of came from nothing, Cummings takes a touch across, plays it ahead and all of a sudden it's a 2-on-2. We've got to be stronger and I've got to be better there."

Colorado Rapids

Gary Smith - Head Coach

On the game: "For the players this is a big confidence boost and something they can push on with. With another clean sheet tonight, they can draw an awful lot from that. They are more than capable against the best sides to be creative and to keep the defensive side tight. You have to remember this group is in a transition in terms of formations and shape and they are still creating chances that we still need to improve on, but also making it difficult on other teams."

"We controlled large portions of the first period and I thought we well deserved to win."

On Conor Casey and his goal: "I think he come up with one that none of us were expecting. It is a fabulous goal and a worthy match-winning goal. And on top of that I thought his performance overall was up there with his best in general play this season. Everything that is played into his body, it sticks. He is bringing other players into the play and buying us some time to allow the midfield to join him. His ability to switch the point of attack has improved enormously. And deservedly he got Man of the Match and hopefully it gives him confidence moving forward."

"Conor scored a terrific goal from play and should give the fella a huge boast. While he has been criticized for not scoring as people might suggest, his general play has been an absolute rock out front for us."

Conor Casey

On his goal: "I think Omar put me in and I got tangled up with the defender. I saw that Kasey had come off his line so I looked to go to the back post with my shot and it found its way in. It's been a while since I scored in the run of play, so it felt good for sure."

On the win: "We haven't had a league game in a couple weeks so to win these last two, it helps us gain some momentum. This year we have played well and sometimes without the win coming so it is good to play well as a team and get that win."

Pablo Mastroeni

On the team's form of late: "We have established ourselves as a decent possession team this year and when we move the ball quickly we find each other in good spots. That is critical to our play - that we move the ball quickly. If you are going to take someone on, make that decision before you receive the ball and likewise when you are going to pass the ball, know where you are going with the ball. I think today we did a good job of moving the ball quickly, which gave the next guy a couple more seconds. Those seconds add up over time and give you that much more time to think and make good decisions. There are a lot of thing we are still working on but for the most part I think we are quit content with the way we are moving the ball."