2011 Apr 22

Sounders claim first road win of the season after Mullin is sent off for breaking both bones in Zakuani's right leg

Colorado Rapids  0 - 1  Seattle Sounders FC
Dick's Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, CO

19' SEA: Fredy Montero (Mauro Rosales, O'Brian White)

Colorado: Matt Pickens; Kosuke Kimura, Tyrone Marshall (Anthony Wallace 66'), Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor; Brian Mullan, Pablo Mastroeni (Wells Thompson 68'), Jeff Larentowicz, Jamie Smith (Sanna Nyassi 72'); Caleb Folan, Omar Cummings.
Substitutes not used: Steward Ceus, Scott Palguta, Joseph Nane, Andre Akpan.

Seattle: Kasey Keller; James Riley, Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyson Wahl; Mauro Rosales (Erik Friberg 74'), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Steve Zakuani (Alvaro Fernandez 9', Leo Gonzalez 82'); Fredy Montero, O'Brian White.
Substitutes not used: Terry Boss, Jeff Parke, Nate Jaqua, Mike Fucito.

Match report based on Sounders FC summary:

Fredy Montero scored the early winner as Seattle Sounders FC extended their unbeaten streak to five matches with a 1-nil win over the defending MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids on Friday night at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo.

Sounders FC earn three points on the road for the first time in 2011 as they are now tied for third place in the West.

Colorado failed to win for the first time at home this season, dropping their third consecutive match.

Seattle took advantage of a counter-attack opportunity in the 19th minute. O'Brian White took the ball up the right side and passed it off to a streaking Mauro Rosales in the middle. Rosales found Montero who slid a one-touch ball through Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens' legs and into the right corner of the net for the match's lone goal.

Montero, starting for the first time in four matches, recorded his first goal of the season and his third all-time against Colorado. He also had the late game-tying assist in last week's 1-1 draw at Philadelphia. Rosales leads the team with three assists.

Sounders FC played a man-up for the majority of the night after a harsh tackle on Steve Zakuani in the opening minutes.

Just three minutes into the match, Colorado's Brian Mullan was issued a straight red card after a poor tackle on Zakuani. Zakuani was carted off the field to the emergency room for X-rays, where it was determined he had sustained a fractured right fibula and tibia and will undergo surgery. Alvaro Fernandez took Zakuani's place in the ninth minute.

After the Montero goal, Colorado was relentless in pressing for an equalizer but Seattle's defense held strong to earn their first shutout of the season.

In the 29th minute Kasey Keller beat Caleb Folan to a ball in the box and cleared it for a Colorado throw. Keller made another stop on a Jeff Larentowicz long-distance attempt in the 61st minute and also stopped Kosuke Kimura's left-footed strike just two minutes later.

Seattle nearly tallied a second goal in the 54th minute after Fernandez headed a corner kick behind the Rapids backline. White got a shot off but Pickens sprung off his line to deflect the shot away.

Sounders FC held the advantage in shots 11-9 (4-2 on goal) and tied a club record with 19 fouls committed. Montero was issued a yellow card in the 81st minute.

Ex-Sounders FC defender Tyson Wahl made his first start of the year, while defenders Leo Gonzalez and Jeff Parke and midfielder Erik Friberg did not start for the first time all season. Ex-Sounder midfielder Sanna Nyassi came onin the second half as a substitute.

          COL  SEA
Shots:      9   11
Saves:      3    2
Corners:    4    4
Fouls:      7   19
Offsides:   0    3

3' COL: Mullin sent off for sliding into Zakuani cleats first, breaking both of his leg bones
75' COL: Folan cautioned for sweeping out Evans' legs
81' SEA: Montero cautioned

Referees: Silviu Petrescu; Daniel Belleau, Eric Proctor; Geoff Gamble

Attendance: 14,185

Postmatch Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Adrian Hanauer - General Manager/Part Owner

On the loss of Zakuani and the first thoughts about what's next: "We'll talk tonight to absorb what's happened. I think first things first, we're all thinking about Steve. A bunch of us are going to the hospital to check in on him, make sure he's taken care of. Tomorrow we'll start thinking about how it affects the team and how we move on. We have a deep team -- we've said it a lot -- and we're going to have to prove it."

How do you think the league should handle situations like this?: "I think maybe a good answer is Mullan gets to play when Steve is back on the field. He's a hard player but that was a dirty tackle. He lined him up. There was absolutely no reason to crush him like that. It's my hope that he'll be heavily punished, but obviously it's out of our hands."

Sigi Schmid - Head Coach

On Steve Zakuani's injury and Brian Mullan: "Once we hear everything and know everything we'll be able to say, but right now it's just hearsay and speculation. It's definitely a serious injury. He probably won't be traveling back with us.

Did you see the play?: "I saw it. I didn't see a replay on TV. I saw the play live and that's enough for me. I don't need to see it and hear it again."

Was it a dirty play?: I've coached Brian Mullan. He's an aggressive player. No player goes into a tackle like that trying to hurt a player. He's an aggressive player and it happens."

How did the team respond?: "It's a major blow at the beginning of the game. The guys psychologically have to get through that hurdle and to try and refocus on the game. We tried not to really talk about it at halftime. Nobody really mentioned it but you definitely felt it hanging in the air in the room. You knew it was on everybody's mind. Everybody wanted to say, 'How's Steve?' But we tried to take care of business at hand and continue to play."

Do you have an opinion on what the league should do?: "It's up for the league to decide. That's not my role."

On trying to replace Zakuani: "It's a big blow for our team because he's going to be out for quite a while. Now it's, 'How do we adjust?' Other people have to step up. Unfortunately it's part of the game as well. Things like that happen. But right now my thoughts are just about Steve getting well and getting healthy as soon as he can."

On how the team played at the end protecting the lead: "I didn't think we played very intelligently. I thought we played with a lot of heart and a lot of desire, but we ended up chasing the ball a lot and that took a lot of energy out of our team. When you get tired then you sometimes don't make the best decisions with the ball. I think we could've made some better decisions."

On Montero's goal breaking his drought: "It's good that he scored the goal. It's good for Fredy. It should help his confidence and hopefully he can carry that forward into the next games."

On being five games unbeaten: "We wanted to get four points out of these two games on the road and we want to come back home next week and win. That's an important aspect for us. We've collected nine points in the last five games, which means we're on a pretty good streak -- close to two points a game -- and we want to continue to do that."

On replacing Parke-Gonzalez with Ianni-Wahl: "It was a situation where we thought Leo had been playing OK, but we felt Tyson was a good passer of the ball and we could use that here. In the situation with Ianni, he had stepped up a little bit in training again. Parke I think was doing well, but his sharpness in being able to close guys down and get tight wasn't as good as I've seen it from Jeff Parke in the past. That's something we want to see. We haven't really seen the combination of Ianni and Kennedy, so it was a chance for us to look at that combination and see how that works."

On finally getting the shutout: "I'm very pleased we got the shutout. I'd like to get the shutout in a little bit better style and hopefully we can do that the next game."

On Colorado controlling a lot of the second half: "We talked about things at halftime. It was really they did a good job of possessing the ball and making us chase it. If you were an observer turning on the TV you might've thought they had the extra man. Unless you've played out there and been on the field when something like that has happened, it takes a lot out of you emotionally. It takes a lot out of you mentally. I can't fault my guys too much for that."

On Hurtado: "He did alright. We wanted him matched up a little more with Cummings and wanted Ianni a little more with Folan. I thought Kennedy did a pretty good job on Cummings and Ianni did a pretty good job with Folan."

Brad Evans

How do things change when you see a teammate go down?: "It changed the dynamic, you know? You have it in the back of your mind for sure. Right when I walked out at halftime that's all I was thinking about. It's probably the most gruesome tackle I've seen in a long time. Terrible. Things like that play a part in a game like this, for sure -- away from home, scrappy team, the altitude, everything combined. But I think the team is happy with three points."

How does the locker room feel, even though you did get a win?: "It puts a somber mood over the whole dynamic of the day. You come in confident and I thought Steve played well in the beginning. He was a little shiftier than last week for sure in taking on the right back. For something like that to happen definitely puts a damper on the attitude for sure."

On not controlling more of the second half: "You see it all the time when teams go a man down, it provides them a little more gusto to work that much harder. Most of the time guys playing a man down play better. Really they're only missing a guy up top. They're still playing with four in the midfield and four in the back, so you're still playing 4-on-4 in the midfield. It's the same dynamic, but they had good possession for sure. I don't think we really shifted or worked the man advantage as well as we could."

On the concern level going forward without Zakuani: "At this point we've talked about depth all season. It's something that the coaches brought in: a number of guys who can play at any minute and make an impact. Now it's up to guys stepping in and contributing the best they can. It will give our team a different dynamic for sure and a different style of play, but other than that, I think we're happy with five unbeaten and keep it rolling as best we can."

James Riley

On the win: "It's not the reaction you'd expect. Everyone is devastated, not only for the loss of the Steve but just the way we displayed ourselves. It definitely felt like a loss even though we won 1-0. I thought we were fully capable of punishing them at home (but) it seemed like we were the ones playing a man down. Kudos to them. Obviously we have a lot of film to watch and things to change."

On Zakuani's injuryL "It's a tough one. I know Brian Mullan; I've played against him for the last seven years. He's a Colorado guy. That's the way he plays, he's full throttle. He's a great guy, too, but an unfortunate tackle I thought. It looked like a horrendous tackle before I even got over there. That's why I was on the trot over there. What happened to Stevie is obviously unfortunate. We'll be playing for him and we wish him a speedy recovery."

On approaching the next 87 minutes: ""Obviously it's tough. We've never handled that before as a team. To be fair, we've never really played a man up as a team. I think I can remember against Columbus late in the game when they had a guy sent off. We were trying to play against 10 guys, which is new for us, and it was difficult."

On getting the shutout: "Once we have a chance to sleep on it I think we'll be better equipped to judge that tomorrow morning. Right now we're just worried about Stevie. That's where our hearts and prayers are at right now. We thought we could've (played better), but we got a win on the road and will be able to reflect on that later."

On being on a five-game unbeaten streak: "To be honest I thought in the first couple games of the season we played some very good soccer and we were unfortunate not to get results. This was probably one of our worst games yet even though we were able to get a result of 1-0 with a man up. We'll take it as it comes. It's an ugly win, but it's a win on the road against a very good Colorado team."

Fredy Montero

On the goal: "The first goal came at a good moment. I'm happy that team is doing well in the last five games."

What happened on the play?: "A great pass from Mauro. I tried to go to the near post and it ended up going between the legs of the goalkeeper."

Nice to break the drought?: "Sure. We've got to continue to score goals, especially at Qwest Field. The fans deserve that."

How difficult was it watching Steve stretchered off?L "It's sad to see a teammate go out like that. He's a very important player. We've just got to continue going ahead with whoever replaces him at this point, but it's sad to lose him like that."

It happened so early, how did it affect the next 87 minutes?: "It is sad to do that, but obviously that's soccer. You've just got to continue fighting and hope for a good result. Happily we got three points."

Patrick Ianni

On losing Steve and having to play on without him: "We lost a key member of our team tonight at the beginning and that was brutal to watch. Everyone sends their best to Steve ... In terms of playing, bottom line we didn't work hard enough to make the game as easy (as it should've been). Maybe some guys with the altitude, but when you're up a guy it should be easy to talk and sort things out and work as a team. That wasn't the case tonight."

Colorado Rapids

Gary Smith - Head Coach

On the injury to Steve Zakuani and the red card to Brian Mullan: "Brian is not that sort of intending player, he's very competitive. It was mistimed. I'm sure when I look back on it, the decision was right. We all certainly give our best wishes to Zakuani for speedy recovery. No one likes to see those sorts of injuries, no one likes to see anyone sent off. Brian's a very genuine guy and I don't think there is any serious intent there."

On Fredy Montero's goal: "The goal that they scored was their first attack, and I would think their mindset changed a little bit when they scored. And after that they did a very good job of keeping their goal intact. I thought the players attacked it well, with good energy, reasonable possession. I thought all in all we couldn't threaten their goal enough and were not able to get back in it."

On not being able to get back in it: "Honestly I think there were so many things that didn't go our way. I'm sure the call was right (red card), but going down to ten men after three minutes is certainly not going your way. I know we have our own control over that, but the goal was pretty soft. It goes through Matt's legs. Maybe the fact he (Montero) didn't strike it properly was the problem ... There were so many things that weren't right. I don't know whether that was because of the injury, or we were playing a man down. Our final pass wasn't good enough; when we got in good areas we never made enough of it -- there wasn't enough cutting edge. When we ended up 2-v-3, the inspiration to make the chance just wasn't there tonight. Even the guys that came into the game, while they added some energy, the impact you're looking for from guys like Sanna, who are very talented, wasn't there. You're asking a lot of these guys, with ten men and really playing against the odds, somebody's got to step forward and make a name for themselves."

Brian Mullan

On the tackle to Steve Zakuani: "I'm sorry for Steve. It was never my intention to injure him in the least. It's a tackle that I've done hundreds of times and would probably do again. I had no intention of hurting him. It's a freak, freak thing, and I apologize and wish Steve a speedy recovery."

On the team's reaction: "I couldn't be any prouder in our guys. They fought hard, still controlled the game, very impressed. I'm hurt for their effort; because of me they had to play down. The outcome would have been different if the circumstances were different."

Pablo Mastroeni

On if the injury to Steve Zakuani affected the team: "Obviously it affects anyone, regardless of what team you're on you never want to see it. It's real unfortunate. I think at the end of the day, I think the response was great from the guys. We were able to find some decent possession on their side of the field with ten men, so I think we did a good job of quickly putting that behind us and focusing on the task at hand."

On Brian Mullan: "A guy of his character, I don't think there's any player in this league that for a second would think that Brian would egregiously attempt to hurt anyone. He's a classy individual and has proven that over a great career. I think that even Zakuani is a guy that would understand that Brian is a guy that plays hard all the time, and it was an unfortunate incident. But I don't think for a second that anyone in this locker room, that other locker room or anyone in the league would think of Brian as a guy that has the propensity to do something like that."