2011 Aug 3

Sounders need extra time to win CCL preliminary round against Panama's San Francisco FC

Seattle Sounders FC  2 - 0  San Francisco FC

CLink Field, Seattle, WA

41' SEA: Alvaro Fernandez (Leo Gonzalez, Fredy Montero)
98' SEA: Nate Jaqua (Alvaro Fernandez, Mauro Rosales)

Seattle: Kasey Keller; James Riley, Jeff Parke, Zach Scott, Leo Gonzalez; Mauro Rosales, Osvaldo Alonso, Erik Friberg (Servando Carrasco 112'), Alvaro Fernandez (Lamar Neagle 111'); Fredy Montero, Pat Noonan (Nate Jaqua 68').
Substitutes not used: Josh Ford, Tyson Wahl, Patrick Ianni, Mike Fucito.

San Francisco: Miguel Torres; Rolando Algandona, Martin Gomez, Luis Felipe Olivardia, Edgardo Panezo (Jefrey Diaz 102'); Manuel Torres, Eybir Bonaga, Amir Waite (Freddy Arizala 85'), Roberto Chen; Johann De Avila, Roberto Brown.
Substitutes not used: Aron Luna, Eduardo Jimenez, Jose Pimentel, Pedro Jeanine, Bryan Santamaria.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

The Seattle Sounders FC finally got the two goals they needed, but it took extra time to do it. Alvaro Fernandez headed in the lone goal in regulation time, leveling the CONCACAF Champions League preliminary round series with Panama's San Francisco FC at 1-1. He assisted Nate Jaqua's series winner in extra time. Kasey Keller made every save that he had to en route to a two-hour shutout.

With the 2-1 win on aggregate, Sounders FC advance to play six matches in the CCL group stage, facing Monterrey (Mexico), Comunicaciones (Guatemala), and almost surely Herediano (Costa Rica). Monterrey are the defending CCL champions.

Seattle had plenty of chances to save themselves from overtime work, outshooting San Francisco 28-5 in regulation time. SF goalkeeper Miguel Torres, a Colombian, made a total of 11 saves over the 120 minutes to keep the outcome in doubt until the final whistle.

Seattle forced the first save less than two minutes in when Fernandez cut back at the top left corner of the penalty area to earn a shot aimed at the lower far corner, and Miguel Torres did well to tip it wide. The resulting corner kick from Mauro Rosales was head-flicked by Pat Noonan to Jeff Parke on the doorstep, but he volleyed his shot wide of goal.

San Francisco had not generated much offense the previous week when hosting Seattle, so it was not surprising to see a strategy of dives in the attacking end to earn chances from free kicks, and Costa Rican referee Jeffrey Solia rewarded the dives too often. The 11th minute saw Sounders nemesis Roberto Brown drop like he was shot when James Riley touched him, producing a long free kick that Brown at the end line headed back to Rolando Algandona for a shot at the lower far corner, and a perfect save by Keller denied the goal.

At 19' Jeff Parke headed a cross sharply down, and Miguel Torres collapsed to block it, with the rebound crossed to Fredy Montero for a shot at the lower near corner that was blocked wide by a defender at the post. Rosales served a cross to an open Fernandez at the center of the 6-yard line, but he aimed his header right into the goalkeeper who was moving laterally.

At 28', after a San Francisco dive, Manuel Torres took the long free kick from the side and sent it just over the crowd and on goal, where Keller was waiting for it.

A minute later Erik Friberg had his chance from the top of the arc and curled it a yard over the bar. Montero tried a long shot and corkscrewed it the wrong way. Riley's cross gave Fernandez another open header and he missed the goal.

41' SEA: Fernandez (Gonzalez, Montero). Montero fed Leo Gonzalez overlapping on the left side. Gonzalez reached the ball just before it went over the end line and crossed perfectly to Fernandez at the six-yard line, and this time his header went in off the base of the far post. 1-0 Seattle.

Seattle finished the first half with two more good chances. Martin Gomez chopped down Noonan at the 18 after Noonan had passed the ball, and Rosales took the free kick, grazing the top of the bar at the near post. At 45' Osvaldo Alonso fought for a chance from the 18 and drove it on goal, forcing another save by Miguel Torres.

Seattle was back on the attack in the opening minute of the second half when Montero was open in the penalty area on the left and could not find anyone open, so he tried a shot at the lower near corner and could not beat Miguel Torres. Next, Montero tried a quick long shot and missed. Then he tried a chip shot but sent it right to Miguel Torres.

At 57' the other Torres, Manuel, sent another free kick on goal where Keller had it covered.

Seattle left back Gonzalez found himself open for a couple of shots, but missed them both badly. Montero took his time with a 25-yard free kick up the middle and just missed the top near corner. At 81' substitute Jaqua was put through in the middle and had a good chance to beat the goalkeeper, but he shot low into the sliding Miguel Torres, and Montero did the same after getting the ball on the rebound.

Five minutes were added to regulation time, and they produced two more Montero shots. From a throw-in play, he was open and fired a yard over the top far corner. Then he took another 25-yard free kick and did not quite get it over the wall.

Regulation time ended with a 1-0 win for Seattle, matching San Francisco's 1-0 win at home the previous week. So 30 minutes of extra time were next.

Seattle center back Zach Scott had the first chance, heading a corner kick at the lower near corner, and Miguel Torres was there for the save.

98' SEA: Jaqua (Fernandez, Rosales). The series winner came after Rosales hustled to win the ball in the middle of San Francisco's half. He carried the ball forward and found Fernandez open on the left. Fernandez got close to goal and crossed, just missing Rosales on the near-post run. Jaqua was waiting for the ball at the far post and had time to settle it, then roof his shot over the sliding Miguel Torres. 2-0 Seattle.

Montero soon had yet another 25-yard free kick up the middle, and he put this one on goal, forcing a fine flying save by Miguel Torres at the left post. Near time to change ends Alonso got a cleared corner kick and shot at the lower far corner, forcing a save.

San Francisco were in need of a goal to stay alive, and Roberto Chen got open on the right at 109' for a good chance, but Keller saved well, pushing the shot wide of the near post.

Seattle's Friberg limped off injured at 110', and somehow both he and Keller were shown the yellow card for dissent before play resumed. Servando Carrasco replaced Friberg, and Lamar Neagle came on for Fernandez to use up Seattle's substitutions.

San Francisco had two chances for a miracle in the final three minutes, both headers from long free kicks, the first one easily saved by Keller and the last one pressured wide by the defender.

It wasn't pretty, it was a nail biter, but in the end Seattle had done well enough at both ends to win the series.

          SEA   SF
Shots:     34    9
Saves:      5   11
Corners:   14    2
Fouls:     18   20
Offsides:   3    4

45' SF: Brown cautioned for dissent after a San Francisco foul
60' SEA: Alonso cautioned for a seemingly routine 50-50 challenge
61' SEA: Rosales cautioned for handling the ball
63' SF: De Avila cautioned for tripping Friberg from behind
110' SEA: Friberg cautioned for dissent
110' SEA: Keller cautioned for dissent

Referees: Jeffrey Solia (Costa Rica); Octavio Jara, Warner Castro; Hugo Cruz

Attendance: 21,233

Postmatch Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Sigi Schmid - Sounders FC Head Coach

General comments: "Wish we could have ended the game about 45 minutes earlier. I thought we had enough chances to finish the game. Sometimes when the luck has turned against you like with us over the last few games, sometimes it seems you have to grind out a victory. You have to work really hard at the victory and that was the case for us today. I think we were the better team over the 120 minutes. They had a couple chances. A big save by Kasey early. Probably one of the turning points of the game. Then we had to grind it out. We had chances. Their goalkeeper came up with some saves. We mishit a few. In the end, we ended up getting the victory, so we're happy about that."

On first goal: "He got one last year when we played down in El Salvador and he scored a big header for us today to get us on the board. We needed that goal. He's a player who's good in the air. A lot of times when we're building on the right, we're looking to get him in at the back post because Rosales is a good crosser and he's a good header. At times we try to play a little more right-handed than left-handed as a result of that. It was a good goal."

On not converting opportunities: "It was frustrating. It was probably most frustrating when we were trying to sub for Erik Friberg who had got hurt and for some reason that got lost in translation somewhere. That was probably more frustrating. Sometimes when you're coming off a series of games where you haven't gotten the result, it seems like that win that gets you back over the hump is one of those that you grind it out. It isn't necessarily a thing of beauty, even though we created a lot of chances, so there was a bit of frustration there. Our character showed through at the end."

On Mauro Rosales: "He definitely knows how to play in a wing channel. He's a good crosser and picks people out. He's busy and he's active. We don't want him to defend sometimes as much as he has to defend. He's more than willing to defend in the attacking part of the field and put pressure on the opponent, which is something that helps us in terms of trying to win the ball back and regain possession. He's been a great addition since he plays with such passion and energy."

On CONCACAF: "I just keep wondering why our group is so tough. Dallas was a play-in and every team is tough at this point, but we're back in against Monterrey and we're back in against the team from Guatemala, Communicaciones. And then we play Herediano from Costa Rica. It's a tough group but it's important. Our players felt disappointed with our performance last year overall. We felt we deserved a bit more. We felt we were unlucky with the red card in Costa Rica and we thought we had done enough in Marathon to get some points. We were up 2-1 in Monterrey. So we had some things go against us. It's great to have a chance, as Flaco said, those chances come again and we have a chance to go at it again."

On player rotation: "Zach was ready to play. With Ianni and Parke, we were deciding between the two. We felt they had put in a lot of minutes and one of them needed to sit. We felt that Parke was a little more recovered than Patrick was so that was the reason. We wanted to get a fresh center back in there."

On Pat Noonan getting the start: "Noonan up top. Roger looked tired to me so that's why we didn't include him in the 18 tonight. Noonan is a player who combines well. We felt it was going to be a game where they were going to play more defensive and keep guys back. We wanted a player in there like Noonan who knows how to find little spaces and combine well rather than going with speed or some other attribute."

On Pat Noonan's play: "I thought he played well. His 60 minutes were good. He held the ball for us well and he allowed us to push up as well."

On next game: "We'll look how people are and how they recover. We'll travel with 20 because sometimes you don't know until the next day if someone comes up with kink or a bruise so we don't have to fly someone in last minute. We feel good about our fitness level. We're going into another warm climate. The good thing is Kansas City had to play tonight as well and they ended up playing a man down in the second half. They didn't get overtime minutes, but it is what it was. That's why I wish we'd finished it 45 minutes earlier, but it is what it is and we'll deal with it."

Nate Jaqua

On having time on goal scoring chance: "Maybe a little more time than you want but I took a touch to get it down and then they came across. I tried to roof it over them and put it in the back of the net. It was nice to see it go in."

On missed chance earlier in match: "You want to make up for that. That was one I should have put away. When you get in there and get one a little bit early and aren't quite in the rhythm of the game. I think I got into the rhythm of the game a bit more as it wore on. It was nice to make up for that."

On shot discrepancy: "I think we were confident. We created a lot of things and knew if we kept plugging away that they were getting a little bit tired and that we were getting opportunities as the game wore on and that we'd get more in overtime. It felt like that happened. We kept pushing and got good chances and finally got the one."

Mauro Rosales

On Seattle finally scoring a goal when Alvaro Fernandez scored in the 41st minute: "It was very important to score in the first half, to have the [ability] in the second half to play a little more quiet, but we didn't. We were doing all the hard work to try to get the goal and it was in the 110th minute. It was [a] pity that we couldn't score before 90. We had to run double but that's okay. After the two games that we had, it's good to have some motivation like we did today. We go to the next game trying to keep our hard work."

On how important it was to get out and play the way they did: "I think it was very important because we know we have a good team, we have been doing a very good job in the last five games but after we lost (some games recently), we lost some confidence also. We have to get (that confidence) again. Today was a very important game. It's not just for us but for the club and for the MLS too."

Alvaro Fernandez

On goal after missed opportunities: "I was getting a little bit disillusioned with one shot outside the box and then two headers, but good thing about soccer is it gives those opportunities back to you."

San Francisco FC

Leonardo Pipino - Head Coach

General comments: "The feeling of losing always brings sadness, especially in an important tournament like this. But coming from a league that isn't well known it's good to come here and play at the same level with a great team like the Seattle Sounders that play in a league that is more well known."

On goalie: "He had a great performance. We don't always want the goalkeeper to be the star of the team but he had a very lucky night and was able to keep the game going all the way to the extra time."

On team strategy: "We had the idea to come and dominate the match. To play in the other field and keep the ball in our possession. Unfortunately, we had a rival on the other side that prevented us from doing that. In the first half, there was a chunk of time where we had good passes."

On officiating: "It was acceptable within the normal progression of the game. Maybe there were mistakes for one team or the other, but I don't have anything to complain about."

On Sounders fan support: "They have an admirable number of people who follow the team and support the team. I salute the fans of the Sounders."