2011 Aug 16

Sounders need a half hour to get going, then win big over Comunicaciones to open CCL group stage

Seattle Sounders FC  4 - 1  Comunicaciones

CLink Field, Seattle, WA

2' COM: Jairo Arreola (Bryan Ordonez)
36' SEA: Brad Evans (Mike Fucito)
61' SEA: Mike Fucito (Fredy Montero, Alvaro Fernandez)
67' SEA: Mike Fucito (Alvaro Fernandez, Brad Evans)
87' SEA: Own goal (Rigoberto Gomez)

Seattle: Terry Boss; James Riley, Patrick Ianni (Roger Levesque 84'), Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez (Zach Scott 75'); Lamar Neagle (sent off 55'), Servando Carrasco, Brad Evans, Alvaro Fernandez; Fredy Montero (Mauro Rosales 63'), Mike Fucito.
Substitutes not used: Kasey Keller, Amadou Sanyang, Erik Friberg, Nate Jaqua.

Comunicaciones: JJ Paredes; Edgar Martinez (sent off 80'), Erwin Morales, Carlos Castrillo, Adolfo Machado; Juan Marquez (Rigoberto Gomez 77'), Fredy Thompson, Bryan Ordonez (Carlos Mejia 70'), Carlos Ramirez; Transito Montepeque (Hernan Sandoval 78'), Jairo Arreola.
Substitutes not used: David Guerra, Dagoberto Arriola, Marco Ciani, Abner Trigueros.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

Seattle Sounders FC hosted Comunicaciones of Guatemala to open group play in the CONCACAF Champions League. The Sounders were outplayed for the first half hour, falling behind a goal in just the second minute when Jairo Arreola scored. Then the Sounders got going to win it 4-1 on goals by Brad Evans and Mike Fucito (a pair), and finally an own goal off a Comunicaciones defender. Seattle's go-ahead goal came when they were a man short, as Mexican referee Paul Delgadillo lived up to his card-happy reputation, dishing out a red card each way and nine yellow cards.

2' COM: Arreola (Ordonez). The Sounders were shocked early when a counterattack gave Bryan Ordonez the ball running up the left side. He beat Alvaro Fernandez to earn a cross from the end line, and Arreola ran up the middle untracked and leaped in front of James Riley to head it in. 1-0 Comunicaciones.

After a Comunicaciones flop drew a foul call in the 15th minute, they nearly scored again on a long free kick that found Carlos Ramirez very open at the near post, but Terry Boss was at the post to make the save.

Seattle started to come alive around the half hour mark. Fredy Montero's back-heeled pass put Lamar Neagle open for a cross that was aimed at for Fucito, but a defender did well to break up the pass.

36' SEA: Evans (Fucito). Seattle scored on their third corner kick, taken by Fucito. Evans was out from the near post to get a head on it, and he got a bit lucky as he headed the ball down into his shoulder and saw it then go in off the crossbar at the near corner. 1-1.

At 44' Montero had his best chance when James Riley sent him a high-speed low cross to the penalty spot. Montero trapped it well and took a quick shot that missed the post by a foot.

To open the second half Boss had to scramble to save a Comunicaciones cross attempt that was deflected by a defender, turning it into a shot on goal.

For Seattle, Evans nearly had a second goal when goalkeeper JJ Paredes tried for a corner kick and got only his fingertips on it. Evans volleyed a shot and Jean Marquez cleared it from the goal plane.

At 55' Neagle made a poor choice when he was late and forceful trying for a ball, getting Marquez in the shin and elsewhere. Out came the red card, and Seattle would have to finish the match short-handed. Gonzalez was cautioned for complaining about the red card.

Strangely, Seattle were the more dangerous side after the red card. They soon earned a 20-yard free kick and Montero curled a nice shot at the near post, saved by a flying Paredes, who pushed it wide.

61' SEA: Fucito (Montero, Fernandez). Gonzalez, Fernandez, and Montero combined well along the left touch line, allowing Montero to send a cross into the penalty area near side of goal. Fucito sprinted past his marker, Ramirez, and finished inside the far post after Paredes went down early. 2-1 Seattle.

67' SEA: Fucito (Fernandez, Evans). Seattle counterattacked well, with Evans feeding Fernandez up the middle, who sent a through ball to the right side for Fucito, who broke from the offside line perfectly. Fucito had only Paredes to beat, and he beat him inside the far post. 3-1 Seattle.

Fucito tried for a hat trick a few minutes later, but it was deflected out for a corner kick.

Zach Scott entered for Gonzalez at 75' and immediately scared the home side, allowing Transito Montepeque to get by for a close shot from a steep angle that fortunately hit the outside of the net.

Comunicaciones came very close at 80' when Fredy Thompson raced past Scott for a shot from the right, saved by Boss, but Patrick Ianni knocked the rebound onto the far post, then dragged it back and to the side of goal. The ball nearly went all the way over the line, or perhaps did go over the line, but a goal was not awarded. The ball was recovered by Comunicaciones and sent out to the 18 for another shot by Thompson, saved and held by Boss with a dive. Edgar Martinez used unwise words when complaining to referee Delgadillo about the failure to award a goal and was sent off, leaving the sides at equal strength.

At 85' Comunicaciones again got open on the right for a shot and missed a foot over the bar. Arreola then tried a long shot and Boss watched it wide.

87' SEA: Own goal (Gomez). Substitute Mauro Rosales found his way into the penalty area and fed a short pass to Fernandez for a cross intended for Fucito's far-post run, but when Rigoberto Gomez slid in and tried to clear the ball wide he knocked it just inside the post for the own goal. 4-1 Seattle.

Added time gave Comunicaciones one more chance when Adolfo Machado fed substitute Hernan Sandoval for a 20-yard shot that missed the far post by inches.

The Sounders will play their next CCL match at Monterrey, the current CCL champions, in a week.

          SEA   COM
Shots:     11    13
Saves:      4     2
Corners:    7     0
Fouls:     13    14
Offsides:   0     1

9' COM: Arreola cautioned, apparently for dissent, although a reckless tackle on Riley by a defender was more deserving of the card
16' SEA: Ianni cautioned for a tactical foul at the halfway line
45' SEA: Riley cautioned for what didn't even look like a foul
50' COM: Castrillo cautioned for a late trip on Evans
55' SEA: Neagle sent off for a late kick into Jean Marquez
56' SEA: Gonzalez cautioned for dissent, complaining about the red card
60' COM: Machado cautioned for a reckless tackle on Gonzalez
69' COM and SEA: Ramirez and Hurtado cautioned for a minor altercation before a Comunicaciones free kick
80' COM: Martinez sent off for abusive language, complaining when a near goal was not awarded
90' COM: Thompson cautioned for chopping down Rosales

Referees: Paul Delgadillo (Mexico); Marcos Quintero, Salvador Rodriguez; Alfredo Penaloza

Attendance: 10,017

Postmatch Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Sigi Schmid - Sounders FC Head Coach

General comments: "We're pleased with the victory. In this tournament you have to win home games. It was nice to be able to start off the tournament at home. I thought our team showed a lot of character to come back again from 1-0. Being 1-1 and having a player ejected and playing a man down and being able to score two goals showed a little bit more. I thought we did a good job attacking. There were times where they were dangerous for sure on the counterattack and caused us some problems. I was pleased with our ability to finish our chances today."

On playing from behind: "I told the team at halftime that there's good news and bad news. The bad news is that we let the other team score two minutes into the game. The good news is that when the other team scores first, it seems that we score a goal, so we'll score some goals today."

On players returning from injury: "I thought they were successful. I thought Kennedy played well. I think it took him 10 or 15 minutes to get into the game but after that I thought he was solid. Brad Evans shows what he helps provides us by getting that goal off the corner kick and getting an assist. He was good at winning those flick-ons. Those are little things that are really important that often times go overlooked. I didn't expect him to be able to go 90 minutes but he was able to conserve his energy for the right times and get through it. I thought both of their returns were good."

Did they get through the game OK physically?: "Yeah. They're fine."

On Terry Boss: "The first goal shook everyone up a little bit, maybe him as well. After that he settled in and played OK. There was one scramble in the second half. It was tough to tell from where I was at what exactly happened there. We can't play Kasey every game. He needs some rest as well. I thought Terry played well today."

On Lamar Neagle's ejection: "He didn't go to kick the man. He went to play the ball. The ball was gone and he swung pretty aggressively. I can't argue with the red card. There were probably a couple others. There were a couple of two-footed tackles and certainly the foul on Rosales late was something that didn't look as violent but was as violent from the standpoint that we might have a player who is injured and they have a player who is able to walk it off. I can't argue that. It was a red card. He swung and missed the ball. It sounded pretty violent and looked pretty violent."

On number of cards: "There were a lot of cards. Some referees pull a lot of cards. I haven't coached in a game where he's refereed before but I understand from talking to people that he likes to pull a lot of cards."

On team depth: "As we've said, we think our team is deep and to play in a tournament like this you have to rely on depth. I told the guys before the game that every guy we're putting out there has the ability to be a starter or is a starter on this team. Mike started for us in a series of games where we did well as a team. Sometimes you get in and out of form a little bit but I thought his training had gotten a lot better of late and he deserved the opportunity to get out there and play. He rewarded me but mainly he rewarded himself. When you do that you get more opportunities."

On playing first game at home: "Better. It'd be nice if we could play the next two at home. Going to Monterrey is difficult. The most important thing in this tournament is winning our games at home. If we can win our games at home then we'll see what we can get on the road. We're pleased that we got off to a better start and gives our team a lot more confidence."

Mike Fucito

On his two goals tonight: "Just trying to make the most of my opportunities. Just doing what I can to help the team when I get the opportunities."

On their play offensively: "I thought at times our movement was good. That was something that we talked about at halftime - was making sure that we were moving off the ball because there were spells in the first half when we were getting decent looks and we knew the more movement, the more opportunities. I thought Fredy played a great ball and so did Flaco and I was able to get it and finish."

On Comunicaciones' near goal in the 80th minute: "The one where it was on our line? From what I saw it was on the line. I didn't see it go over but I wasn't really in the best position to see it."

Brad Evans

Not to take anything from your goal, but did it come off your shoulder?: "100-percent came off the shoulder. Well, it came off my head, but then it hit my shoulder. I think if it would've come off my head the guy would've saved it. Luckily it came off the shoulder and (kind of) went over his head."

How were you guys able to respond to the red card like you did?: "I don't know. We were talking about that. This year when we've played a man down I think we've played a little bit better and little more urgently than we have with 11 guys on the field, for whatever reason. You see it all over the world. It adds a little more urgency. Guys tend to play a little smarter and tend to give 10-15 more percent here or there. We didn't really talk about much. We said we were going to keep our shape and we'll catch them on the break. They were getting tired; we were bound to get a couple goals. For us, we just stick to a game plan and results usually come your way."

On a slow start: "It was definitely chaotic in the beginning. It's a new tournament, new surroundings, a team you've never even seen before play -- you have no idea what to expect. It is tough to play your game, but once we settled into it I think that we found a little rhythm. Regardless if they scored, we still would've found our rhythm and we still would've played the way we did. I thought we did a much better job middle of the way through the first half of figuring out how to break them down and what we were going to do. We stuck to that game plan. Fucito held the ball up well. With the movement we were talking about, they weren't going to stick with us. Move the ball well and finish our chances, that was the name of the game."

On getting back on the field: "I think that was the first time I've played 90 minutes in two months or so. For me, I just want to be healthy. Being able to wear the captain's armband today was something special. I've never gotten to do that with an MLS team, even in a reserve game. For me, anytime you put the band on you want to play well, you want to show well. I think I had a decent game, we came out with a victory and that's the most important thing."

When did you find out?: "Right before the game. 10-15 minutes before the game."

How'd Sigi tell you?: "He brought me into the office, said it was his idea. I wasn't expecting it and no matter what you wear it with pride."

On getting a good start to the CCL: "I wasn't even a part of the Champions League last year so for me this was huge. Anytime you can get wins in tournament like this, like I said it's teams you've never played before, players you've never seen. It's a great test and a quality side, so for us it's a huge win. In MLS you see the same thing over and over again, but this is a new experience. It's a good start and hopefully we can get a good result on the road next week."

Fredy Montero

On CONCACAF Champions League: "Well, certainly the players in Central America, they come with these street smarts and they make us work with a lot more effort and we have to concentrate a lot more, even when the rival is not necessarily controlling the game all the time. The good thing is that even after we were losing we managed to tie, and later on, even a man down, we managed to score more goals as well."

Patrick Ianni

On his injury: "I don't think I've ever had a hamstring injury so I don't know how bad it is but I don't think it's that bad."

On if it felt like he needed to be carted off the field: "No, every time they bring the cart on the field, you have to get on it. It's the rules of CONCACAF."

On the game changing to their favor after they were issued a red card: "Yeah, I think we were good for the whole 90 minutes, really. I think Fucito just came up with two really good strikes. I think we had chances in the first half but maybe none better than Fucito's - he just took those two shots really well in all honesty."

On scoring four goals in another comeback victory: "I think it's good for our forwards, especially for Fucito, to get a couple goals and get their confidence going. I know he knows what he can do. We all know what he can do but when you get goals they just seem to keep coming. So hopefully they keep coming for him and for the team, and Brad did well on his first one. It's good for him to get one coming back from all the injuries that he's had. Brad works as hard as anyone and deserves the best so it's good for him as well as an individual and the more we keep playing well, the more wins we'll have."

On how important it is playing with maturity in the Champions League: "Yeah, every game that's important. You have to know the referees. Referees for every game are different. Even a particular referee, if you had him for five games in a row, he'd be different every game, just like us as players are different and have different kinds of performances as well. It's just a thing you have to be aware of and like you said, be mature, be smart about the kind of referee that's out there and play accordingly."

On having Brad Evans back: "Brad is a very good player. Every time he steps on the field he gives 100 percent and I think the team feeds off his energy in the midfield, certainly. It's one of those things where if you give your all as a player you can ask a lot of others as well, and I think Brad has a good way of doing that and it really helps our team."


Ivan Sopegno - Head Coach

General comments: "It's tough to explain. The first half was excellent and we had a good handle of the match but the reality of futbol is like this. The other team all of a sudden became precise and very fast. I think we had a good effort and we even had a moment that we could be reacting in the second half with a ball that supposedly got in, at least in our point of view. Not for the referee. In my opinion, that was a mistake that cost us a lot."

On playing too defensive after early goal: "You have to consider that the other team is also generating situations. We had to manage the ball to control the game. The other team managed to come with very precise plays. We also had some set pieces that could have got in. They tied the game with a very precise corner with a great header."

On Sounders FC: "The local team was very strong, very fast. We already knew that if we left space for them behind us they would have taken the opportunity and that is exactly what happened."

On Edgar Martinez' ejection: "There's not much to comment. It was a bad attitude from the player. The player cannot react like that. There is a lot of pressure, but definitely not how a player should react."

On one man advantage after red card: "I could notice there was a trend that the other team was controlling the ball. When the game was still 1-1, we could have put more attack but that opens space for the counterattack. Sometimes one has to know what we have and what we don't have. We had to work the possession. That's what ended up happening."

On Mike Fucito: "He's a very good player. We saw the videos. We knew the team was very fast and very strong and could take advantage of the field. A fast pitch as well. It's more evidence that futbol in the US is progressing and advancing quite a bit."