2010 Oct 23

Sounders end regular season in Houston with a loss

Houston Dynamo  2 - 1  Seattle Sounders FC

Robertson Stadium, Houston, TX

11' SEA: James Riley (Nate Jaqua)

27' HOU: Geoff Cameron (Dominic Oduro, Brad Davis)
46' HOU: Cam Weaver (Mike Chabala, Brad Davis)

Houston: Tyler Deric; Mike Chabala, Eddie Robinson (Adrian Serioux 66'), Bobby Boswell, Andrew Hasinault; Brad Davis (Danny Cruz 82'), Geoff Cameron, Lovel Palmer, Corey Ashe; Dominic Oduro, Cam Weaver (Brian Ching 73'). Substitutes not used: Pat Onstad, Ryan Cochrane, Richard Mulrooney, Joseph Ngwenya.

Seattle: Kasey Keller; Leo Gonzalez (Tyson Wahl 71'), Patrick Ianni, Jeff Parke (Tyrone Marshall 46'), James Riley; Steve Zakuani, Osvaldo Alonso, Nathan Sturgis (Alvaro Fernandez 64'), Sanna Nyassi; Nate Jaqua, Blaise Nkufo. Substitutes not used: Alex Horwath, Mike Seamon, Roger Levesque, Mike Fucito.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

The Seattle Sounders FC finished their second successful MLS regular season with a 2-1 loss at the Houston Dynamo. Defender James Riley scored his first goal for the Sounders to put Seattle on the scoreboard early. Houston came back to win it with goals from Geoff Cameron and Cam Weaver.

Vacation starts for the Dynamo, while the Sounders wait to see who they will face in the first round of the playoffs.

Seattle pressured Houston's goal beginning in the tenth minute when Sanna Nyassi sent the overlapping Riley into the penalty area with a nice forward pass. Riley crossed to give Nate Jaqua a chance to volley on goal, but goalkeeper Tyler Deric made a reaction save.

12' SEA: Riley (Jaqua). Continued pressure led to the opening goal. Steve Zakuani fed Jaqua on the left and he beat two defenders to get into the penalty area for a low shot on goal. Deric blocked Jaqua's shot, with the rebound staying near the penalty spot where Zakuani kept it alive. The loose ball came out to the 18-yard line, where Jaqua rolled it sideways for Riley to run onto. Riley shot hard from the right end of the arc and it was a beauty, finding the top right corner past the flying Deric. 1-0 Seattle.

Seattle kept the momentum and the next shot was a try up the middle by Blaise Nkufo, forcing a save.

The tide turned around 25'. Cameron got free on the right to cross past the far post. Weaver headed it down as Jeff Parke was flying in with a late challenge. The shot hit Parke's hand and went out for a corner. The Dynamo begged for a penalty kick, but replays showed that the ball went sharply into Parke's hand, not a foul.

27' HOU: Cameron (Oduro, Davis). Houston's opener came when the Sounders seemed to be inattentive on a Houston free kick. Cameron played the ball and went on a long run forward. A nice series of passes went from Brad Davis to Dominic Oduro to Cameron, who blew by Zakuani and carried the ball to the top corner of the goal area. Cameron shot nicely, putting a low shot under Keller's dive and into the far corner. 1-1.

Seattle seemed to deserve a penalty kick at 35' when a poor backpass to Deric was easily intercepted by Zakuani. Deric came out, Zakuani played the ball to Deric's side, and then Deric hit Zakuani as he tried to leap over the keeper. Down went Zakuani. Referee Kevin Stott botched the call, though, unfairly giving Zakuani a yellow card for purportedly diving when replays showed it was clearly not a dive. The stunned Zakuani could do nothing but smile for most of the rest of the half.

46' HOU: Weaver (Chabala, Davis). The match winner came in the first minute of the second half. Davis sent Mike Chabala to the left flag for a nice, curling cross to the center of the 6-yard line. Center backs Tyrone Marshall and Patrick Ianni leaped but couldn't reach the ball, letting Weaver win the aerial battle and head it into the lower far corner. 2-1 Houston.

Seattle had their chances the rest of the half, with Houston content to hang on to their lead. A quick Seattle free kick at 55' gave Jaqua another shot on goal, saved by Deric. A Seattle attack at 78' found Zakuani open on the right to send a low cross past the goal mouth, but Nkufo, apparently distracted by the wide open goal, missed the ball when it seemed within his reach. Nkufo kicked the post in frustration. Riley drove a low ball on goal from 23 yards that was block-saved by Deric, and the rebound went to defenders. Osvaldo Alonso had a chance up the middle but drove his 25-yarder wide.

In added time, Ianni missed a gimme when Alvaro Fernandez' long free kick was headed to the goal mouth by Jaqua. Ianni was there, four yards from goal, but headed the ball mostly down and it bounced over the bar.

          SEA    CHV
Shots:      8     11
Saves:      2      5
Corners:    1      9
Fouls:      8     13
Offsides:   2      6

29' SEA: Parke cautioned for a cleats-up slide under Oduro
33' HOU: Weaver cautioned for persistent infringement
35' SEA: Zakuani unfairly cautioned for diving when he actually was fouled and deserved a PK
41' SEA: Gonzalez unfairly cautioned when an opponent tripped before a corner kick was taken

Referees: Kevin Stott; Fabio Tovar, Adam Garner; Ramon Hernandez

Attendance: 23,990

Postmatch Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Sigi Schmid - Head Coach

On the game: "As far as the game goes, I thought we had some good moments. I think the start of the game was good, and then after the second goal we played well and had some good chances. For us now, the focus is on playoffs, preparation, and getting our bodies right and getting our game plan against whoever it is we play down."

On the rivalry with Houston: "They are always a physical team. It made for a good battle. It's enjoyable in that sense that you know it will be a good fight. Maybe it will be good preparation for the playoffs to help us get right."

Kasey Keller

On the game: "I don't think we brought enough energy to the game. I thought Houston did well finishing the chances they had. We still had enough chances to come out with a result, but I feel as if it would have been undeserved, as I didn't think we played well tonight."

On moving forward: "We have to move on and move forward. It's important for the guys to realize that they have to do more and that we are capable of doing more. In this league, when you don't bring that extra 10 percent, the teams are so close that you lose games. When you play with that emergency brake on because you don't want to go into that ball or you don't want to make that extra run because you don't want to do something today, the other team gains the advantage."

Patrick Ianni

On the game: "It was a tough game for us. We got off to a good start. It was a game that didn't have much meaning for either team; we have already clinched a playoff spot, and Houston is already out. It was a little different weather than we are used to, and it grinded us down a bit. Coach was a little disappointed that we didn't necessarily put our best effort into this game. Maybe there was an eye onto the playoffs, maybe not. Give Houston credit for fighting back and getting the two goals that won the game."

On the team's mentality heading into the playoffs: "I think we feel good. We have had a tremendous second half to the season to get ourselves into this position. We just know if we play the way we are capable of playing, we can beat anyone in this league. We will have tremendous home support behind us, and I'm sure we will have great fans with us wherever we got. We want to get at least one step further than we did last year."

Houston Dynamo

Dominic Kinnear - Head Coach

On the game: "I thought we played well. It was a tough game. There was a hard field, hard opponent, and a little bit of wind, so it became a physical match. When we got behind a goal, we could've put our heads down, but we didn't. Both of our goals were some great buildup play. I'm really happy for Cam to score the winner for us, and really happy for Geoff to get the goal the way he did. This also makes two wins for Tyler to end the season out."

On closing the season well: "All the credit goes to the guys. In the past two months, I feel we played our best stuff. It's just a little bit sad, but we knew it was coming, that we're not in training on Monday. These are very proud professional athletes, and it's a great way for the guys to end the season. I'm pleased for the guys that they did it this way."

On winning back-to-back games: "I'm happy we did it. I like the way we did it. We went about our business very well. It's nice to be able to win two games in a row; the guys should be proud of themselves for that. I think you can learn a lot from losing, and you can learn from winning. If the guys look back at the tape of this, they'll find out why we won the game."

On goalkeeper Tyler Deric winning back-to-back games: "Tyler's worked hard. When given an opportunity, it's always good for guys to prove they're ready. I give credit to Pat and Tally for not only helping him, but being supportive of him during this little stretch. I think Tyler showed he can handle it. He's focused and ready. It's a great group of goalkeepers that we have."

Cam Weaver

On finishing the season: "I'm a little disappointed in not continuing to play next week. This is the first time we've won back-to-back games. We don't want the season to end; we're playing well right now. But you can't pick and choose when you go on those runs, so it's obviously way too late. We'll head into the offseason with some confidence, and I'm sure players will be working hard to improve their game so the guys that are here next year will work on reversing the things that happened here."

On next season: "I'd love to stay here, but it's not always up to me, so I'll talk with the club and see what their plans are, and we'll see come next season. Looking back on the season that we've had and the fact that we've played really well the past two weeks and in the past six games, our record is better than it's been the entire season. So it's tough that this is the last day. We want to keep this run going, but that's not the way its ended up."

Tyler Deric

On his first home win: "It's definitely bittersweet. It's nice to finish the season on a win streak. I wish we could take this on to the playoffs. I thank my team for coming down out of that 1-0 hole. It's pretty big for the guys, and it's good looking forward for next season that we ended off on a good note."

Geoff Cameron

On finishing the season strong: "Even though we had a bad season, and things didn't go our way, we finished it strong. We finished the season on a strong note and now we can look forward to next year. I think just looking around the room, everybody put the effort in this year. We had our ups and downs, and it's really unfortunate that we didn't make it into the post season. The team came together. Some teams can just throw in the bag and take it for what it is, but I thought we showed today that we gave it all we had on the field and tried to put on a good show for our fans, and I thought we did that today."

On how far he has come since his injury in April: "I remember sitting and watching training practices and wishing I could be there. And getting back on the field, playing games, finishing strong ... hard work does pay off. You've got to put the hard work in to succeed, and mentally you've got to tune into the game. For me, it was a big help watching a lot of soccer. Watching the team play and analyzing the team on a different perspective."

On playing midfield: "I wish I had a whole season to play, to find my groove a little bit. Lovel and I started off the season pretty good. I think we had our best start of the season throughout the Dynamo career, and then getting hurt killed my confidence. But I fought back, and I like playing center midfield, I like making offensive runs. But I also like playing center back. It all depends on how Dom wants to play."

On a potential national team call-up: "I'm going to focus on the offseason and strengthening my knee. If they pick me, they pick me. We'll see. I'm not going to dwell on it. I want to be there, every player wants to be on the national team. But if I get there, I get there. We'll see."