2011 Jul 13

Sounders beat LA Galaxy again in US Open Cup (although Galaxy seem to always win in league play)

Seattle Sounders FC  3 - 1  Los Angeles Galaxy
Starfire Stadium, Tukwila, WA

5' SEA: Nate Jaqua (Pat Noonan)
25' SEA: Fredy Montero (Nate Jaqua)

40' LA: Adam Cristman (Chris Birchall)
74' SEA: Lamar Neagle (Alvaro Fernandez)

Seattle: Terry Boss; Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Patrick Ianni, Leo Gonzalez; Pat Noonan (Erik Friberg 64'), Osvaldo Alonso, Alvaro Fernandez, Lamar Neagle; Fredy Montero (Michael Fucito 79'), Nate Jaqua (Roger Levesque 71').
Substitutes not used: Kasey Keller, James Riley, Servando Carrasco, Mauro Rosales.

Los Angeles: Josh Saunders; Bryan Jordan, AJ DeLaGarza, Gregg Berhalter, Todd Dunivant; Chris Birchall, Michael Stephens, Juninho (Jovan Kirovski 78'), Landon Donovan (Hector Jimenez 75'); Paolo Cardozo (Miguel Lopez 64'), Adam Cristman.
Substitutes not used: Brian Perk, Kyle Davies, Juan Pablo Angel.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

Seattle Sounders FC advanced to the semifinals of the US Open Cup with a strong 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy, repeating their quarterfinal win over the Galaxy a year earlier. Seattle led with goals from Nate Jaqua and Fredy Montero, then Los Angeles reduced the deficit with a goal from Adam Cristman before halftime. A late goal by Lamar Neagle iced it for Seattle.

Seattle honored Zach Scott with the captain's armband, playing him at right back. Seattle wore all electricity yellow, with Los Angeles in all white.

Terry Boss played in goal to give Kasey Keller a rest, and Boss was flawless in a big match.

Seattle greatly outshot Los Angeles in both halves, and it started early when Montero was served in the penalty area, held the ball, and crossed to Jaqua for a header that beat goalkeeper Josh Saunders and came straight back off the far post to Saunders.

5' Jaqua (Noonan). Seattle's first goal went straight up the middle. At the halfway line Montero sent the ball forward to Pat Noonan, who sent it ahead nicely for Jaqua, who beat Saunders low to the right side. Jaqua was close to the offside line on the play, but the flag was not raised. 1-0 Seattle.

A minute later Jaqua sent a nice cross to Noonan, open on the far post run, but he shot yards too high.

Los Angeles had a free kick from the top left corner of the penalty area at 14' and Juninho shot hard on goal, and Terry Boss parried it away for the first save of the match.

Seattle captain Scott had his chance at 19' from a corner kick, and his headed shot was pulled down by Saunders. Next, Jaqua served Alvaro Fernandez for a header and Saunders saved again. The next chance went from Fernandez to Noonan to Jaqua, and the poke at the far post went just wide from 6 yards.

25' SEA: Montero (Jaqua). A surprise turnover by LA's defense at the 18 was claimed by Jaqua, who then sent a square pass to Montero. Fredy juked two defenders and fired straight in from the right end of the arc. 2-0 Seattle.

Five minutes later another gift turnover by Los Angeles was centered by Montero and quickly shot by Neagle, but two yards over the bar.

A great chance for LA at 31', when Juninho's corner kick was headed on goal by Gregg Berhalter, and it was Osvaldo Alonso manning the far post who cleared it.

Jaqua was served in front of goal for the next two chances, first from Alonso and flubbed, then from Neagle and shot just wide from a slide.

A sudden momentum shift to Los Angeles occurred at 40' when Landon Donovan's point-blank header from a throw-in play was saved at the lower near corner by Boss with a dive.

40' LA: Cristman (Birchall). Chris Birchall's square cross from the right was perfect for Cristman's far-post run, and he slammed it in first touch. 2-1 Seattle.

The last chance of the half was for Birchall, served open on the right, and he powered the shot right at Boss for the parry-save.

LA took the first chance of the second half when, after a turnover, Juninho fired sharply on goal from the edge of the center circle, and Boss was home for the save.

Seattle came right back with Neagle's volley from a deflected cross, and Saunders saved. Eight minutes later Noonan served Neagle for another shot and another save.

At 58' for LA, Birchall's cross/shot hit the crossbar at the far post and then went out for a throw-in.

For Seattle at 68' Fernandez' cross gave Neagle a close header, and Saunders denied Neagle again.

74' SEA: Neagle (Fernandez). On a counterattack, Fernandez turned his marker inside out and fend a perfect pass ahead for Neagle's near-post run. Neagle finished low to the far side. 3-1 Seattle.

From then on, the Galaxy were done and all chances were for Seattle. Substitute Michael Fucito fed Roger Levesque for a good chance, but he shanked it well wide. A ball sent forward in the air was flicked over the bar by Levesque. Another long ball in the air was headed to the bar by Neagle, and Saunders parried it over. A long shot/cross from Leo Gonzalez was saved at the lower near corner. Finally, in added time, Neagle crossed to Fucito for a turn and shoot that was on goal, well saved by Saunders.

          SEA   LA
Shots:     21    8
Saves:      5    7
Corners:    3    7
Fouls:     16   10
Offsides:   3    0

22' SEA: Alonso cautioned for a tactical foul
54' SEA: Montero cautioned
55' SEA: Parke cautioned for a tactical foul
59' LA: Cardozo cautioned for a tactical foul
90' SEA: Fucito cautioned for netting the ball after being whistled offside

Referees: Kevin Stott; Corey Rockwell, Mike Kampmeinert; Levi Rippy

Attendance: 4,322

Postmatch Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Sigi Schmid - Head Coach

On the play of Nate Jaqua: "We're going to have to name him 'Mr. Open Cup' pretty soon. He was unlucky (as) the header he had early went off the post as well. Then he finally got a goal and I think he'd like to have a couple of the other chances back. He could have finished with three or four goals tonight, for sure. But it was good to see him get a goal. I think it was very important for him, as well as our team, obviously in tonight's game, but I'm very happy that Nate got a goal tonight."

On being one step closer to being three-time U.S. Open Cup champions: "We always take it seriously. Now we've got Dallas in the next round and we're at home, so that's a good thing for us. Our guys really respond to the fans and the intimate atmosphere here. I think it's tremendous and it gives the fans a chance to see it up close and personal. But we've got a tough semifinal game; Dallas is a good team. Our goal is always whatever we enter, we're going to try to win."

On L.A.'s lineup: "I thought they put out a mixed lineup. They had some guys with injuries that they weren't going to take chances on and we certainly took some players out of the lineup too and tried to rest some people as well. So it was good. We're not going to apologize. They're not going to apologize. Both teams came here to compete. I think there's only really been one team that sort of really said, 'Hey, we're not going to compete in the Open Cup,' and that happened last night. But outside of that I think every team has come in to compete and try to play well and put their best team on the field that makes sense based upon the rhythm of games you've played."

On Lamar Neagle's performance: "Lamar has done well. There are times where he drifts out of the game a little bit, but he always comes up with a big play or two. The third goal was certainly a very important goal for us, a sealing goal. He had an assist on a goal when we played the Galaxy reserve team, so I'm sure he wouldn't mind playing the Galaxy a few more times and getting on the field. But Lamar has done well. He's still a young player. He made a lot of growth last year by going to Charleston, and he's been back and continued to make that growth. As we give him minutes he responds to them."

On Terry Boss: "Terry did well. I thought he made a couple of good saves, a couple of big saves early in the first half as well that kept us in the game. But I was really pleased with Terry's calm today -- his calm and confidence. He was composed. You could tell he was in control of his goal box, which is very important for a goalkeeper to be. He wasn't rattled and he comes up with a big save. So I was very pleased with what he did tonight."

On comparing Alonso to Bryan Robson: "It's tough for me to compare because I probably didn't see Bryan Robson play enough, but Ozzie certainly was solid. We've asked him to play a lot of minutes. I thought he did a good job holding down the midfield. Flaco helped him early on and I thought when Friberg came in those two guys were really solid together and got control of the middle of the field for us. I can't say enough about Ozzie. He does what you ask him to do. His game has developed and is getting better all the time. His ability to recover the ball is as good as anybody in our league for sure and his passing decisions are becoming better and better."

What will you say when you meet Alex Ferguson?: "I have to call him Sir, right? Sir Alex? What horse are you betting on this weekend? Because I know he likes to bet on horses. (laughs) ... It's going to be a pleasure and a privilege to be able to coach against him. I've obviously followed his career. He's a little bit older than me. It's not often I get to coach against someone who's older than me. Always from his days at Aberdeen I thought he was fantastic. I know everyone talks about the Man. United run and what he's done there, but Man. United's a big club and he kept it there. He improved it and made it stronger, but when you think about what he did at Aberdeen against Celtic and Rangers, I think that really showed his abilities to bring a group and a team together that people don't expect to win. He's been able to show all sides of it. He's rebuilt the team at Man. United a number of times, so it's going to be a great privilege playing against that organization."

On roster expansion helping teams in this tournament: "I think obviously the roster expansion (helps) and the reserve league as well. Guys that are stepping out there for us and playing in the Open Cup game have already played at least seven reserve league games. That's a lot more than they would've had last year stepping into an Open Cup game at this point. I think it's helped everyone's development. Certainly when you have guys training with you more often and you got more competition in training, it allows you to build better teams."

Can Fredy, Ozzie and Parke go Saturday too?: "We'll see. We'll figure that one out on Friday. We'll see how people recover over the next two days. We have a pretty good idea of who recovers better than the others. We'll see how that mix works."

On Pat Noonan: "I thought he did well. Obviously he slipped the ball in for the one goal. I thought that was a clever pass. He was unlucky not to get the goal on the cross that he just tried to hit the half-volley and he put it a little bit high. He allows you to hold onto the ball. He's able to slip little passes. There was the one pass he split between the outside back and the central guy and slotted it inside to someone looking for the 1-2 back and didn't get it. He's a good player and obviously he's waited a long time when you look at (when) he's been on the field for competitive games. Not saying the reserve league (games) aren't competitive games, but for him to have played 60 minutes like tonight -- you could call it like an MLS-type game -- and it's been like nine months since he's done that. I was very pleased with what he did tonight."

You're playing so well, is the transfer window coming at a bad time?: "No, no. You're always looking to improve your team. You're always looking to make your team better. You want to do things that make sense, but I think we've shown our ability as an organization to constantly search and probe and want to make the team better. But we've also shown that we have patience and we're going to allow players and groups of players to develop. I think that's why we're having success and continue to have success. It's always that mix of patience and excitement in getting something new, but you have to have both to make it work. If you keep dismantling the foundation, you're never going to have anything. I think Toronto has been a good example of that. It makes it very tough for the team to establish any sort of stability."

Nate Jaqua

On the match: "I was able to get that first one early and I had a couple of other ones I would have liked to put away, but that's how it goes sometimes. The bottom line is that we got the win and we're moving on to the next round."

On how exciting it is to have made it this far in the U.S. Open Cup with the Seattle Sounders FC in each of his seasons with the team: "Yeah, it's great. We've got a good opportunity now. I think we have the game here at home again. It's fun playing here. I love it. I love the fans that come out. I'm looking forward to it."

On how much today's match can help to build confidence going forward: "I think we have a lot of confidence going forward. I think that's why we're playing well right now. It's just something if you can keep using that momentum going forward. For myself, it was nice to get a goal. Usually when you get that one, then (more) start to follow. I had a couple of other chances I would have liked to put away, but that's how it goes sometimes. But I'll use that as good momentum for myself and we're moving forward."

On if it means more that the L.A. Galaxy brought out some of their first string talent this match: "I think around this stage guys start realizing that if you win a couple of games then you're in the final. And everybody wants to be in the final, so why not? It's a great opportunity. They had a good team, a good squad out there. They put the pressure on us that first half, especially after they got that first goal and it was 2-1 at halftime. But we were able to come back in the second half, fought hard, and Lamar got a great third goal and we were able to put it away."

Lamar Neagle

On your goal: I just saw the build up on the right side, and me being on the left, it's kind of tough for the back line to watch the other outside mid coming across, and that's what I did. I ran between two of the defenders. Flaco saw me early, played a great ball and then I just wanted to get a flick on it. It's kind of tough for the goalie to read where it's going if I run across the wrong way. I got a flick on it and I think it touched off of one of the defenders as well and it went in."

On how important it is to get this win: "It's important just to keep our momentum going. No matter what we're playing -- reserve game, regular season, or Open Cup -- we want to win. We definitely have the squad to do it. We definitely have the depth on the team to perform and every single person is playing."

Do you have a competitive advantage at Starfire?: "The atmosphere is so crazy, it's so intense and intimate at Starfire compared to Qwest. There's a lot more people at Qwest obviously, but at Starfire they're right on top of you so you can hear them and you can feel the crowd a little bit more. I don't know, we just seem to get a lot more goals here. It's nice playing here and it's nice for the Open Cup that we do play here."

Could you have had more goals early on?: "We definitely came out strong. I think that kind of goes with being at Starfire, like right away we can get on top of them. Then we got an early goal, so that always helps and that kind of keeps their head down. With our crowd that's got to eat at the other team."

How'd you feel at halftime?: "We knew we could score more goals. Especially here, especially the way we were playing. We were definitely dominating offensively and creating a lot of stuff. It could have been like six goals tonight, but we definitely didn't have any doubts going into the second half."

How quick did it take you to pick up on how the team values the Open Cup?: "Well, I was here in 2009. I wasn't playing, but being around it and being at Starfire during those Open Cup games it was kind of cool. The things that we put into these games, you can see from our lineup that we're going for it."

On the Galaxy: "They're definitely ones to take it seriously, too. It's Open Cup, everybody in the U.S. is playing in it. We're the defending champs and we want to keep it going, so we're definitely not going to take it lightly."

Terry Boss

On the early lead: "I think the guys did a good job. We came out and everyone looked really sharp. From the opening kickoff I think it was evident to everybody how bad we wanted to win and how important the U.S. Open Cup is, not only to us but to the city and the whole organization."

On defending so many set pieces: "We did face a lot of set pieces. It was one of those things where we wish we didn't have to face as many as we did, but we ended up doing a good job. Guys I thought did a good job of battling in the air and we took care of them. We were fortunate not to give up a goal on set pieces with as many as we took, but it was definitely nice to get out of there without giving one up."

On teams taking USOC more seriously: "I think it was great that L.A. (put out a strong team) and you could tell it was important to them, too. I think that this tournament does mean a lot to a lot of teams. You could tell that there's momentum around the league in how valuable it is to other organizations as well. I think that ups the ante a little bit and it definitely makes this win a little more sweet."

On the team's defense: "Our whole team did a good job but specifically the back line, Jeff and Ianni and Zach, everybody did a great job. Leo is such a good one-on-one defender. He did a great job for us. They definitely did. We didn't break down that many times so it was nice to walk away with only one goal."

On Noonan: "Pat's a great player. Pat has such a great soccer IQ, you can just see it. When he has the ball people are running and he's finding people. He's definitely one of those players that needs to be accounted for at all times. The way we delivers the ball he makes players around him so much better. It was definitely nice to see him on the field and be so effective for 60 minutes."

Los Angeles Galaxy

Bruce Arena - Head Coach

On his overall impression of the game: "I thought Seattle's start of the game was excellent, our reaction was poor and we were dominated in the first 25 minutes of the game. We got our feet under ourselves in the last 15 minutes of the first half. I thought we ended the half playing well. (Being down 2-1 at halftime), given what we saw in the early going, was a pretty good position to be in. We came out in the second half and did all right, then obviously the third goal broke our backs but I thought if you take away the first 25 minutes-which might be a pretty stupid statement-it got better. Obviously at 3-1 we dug ourselves a hole. That's the way it is."

On Starfire Sports Stadium: "The field and all of that is tough, but you know, both teams play on it. It's fine. It's all part of it. What are you going to do? We didn't react real well to it technically or tactically and the better team won the game."

Landon Donovan

On playing at Starfire: "I guess kind of a typical early round Open Cup game. It was a good atmosphere, it was a good environment. The turf actually played okay. And [the Sounders] were good tonight. They deserved to win."

On the loss: "We were a little naive. I think we tried to play a little bit too much early. We made a few mistakes and they made us pay. They had a few other good chances too. We got back in the game and had some chances at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half to even the game. We didn't and then we make an error and that's pretty much the game."

On the early pressure from Sounders FC: "We knew that was coming. We didn't do a good enough job of relieving the pressure. We gave away too many balls in the bad parts of the field and they took advantage of it and that was pretty much the game. The first 20 minutes really decided the game."

Adam Cristman

On scoring a goal for the LA Galaxy: "Obviously the chance to start...It was an okay performance by myself. Getting the goals, that's my job as a forward, to score. So that's a positive. But at the end of the day, we didn't do enough to win and we had other chances we could have put away. So it's disappointing."

On being eliminated from the US Open Cup: "It's disappointing. We were all the way to the round of 16 our first game, and this was the quarterfinal. It's the only type of tournament where you can win a championship and it's only four games. It allows you to focus on it. I think we could have done better tonight and so it's disappointing. We feel like we could have done well in this tournament. We didn't have it tonight and that's the result. We'll move on and focus on the rest of our games and tournaments for the rest of the year."