2011 Jul 16

Sounders offense wins over opportunistic Colorado

Seattle Sounders FC  4 - 3  Colorado Rapids
CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA

1' COL: Wells Thompson
7' SEA: Alvaro Fernandez (Osvaldo Alonso)
42' COL: Jeff Larentowicz (Wells Thompson, Omar Cummings)
48' SEA: Roger Levesque (Mauro Rosales, Osvaldo Alonso)
82' SEA: Fredy Montero
84' SEA: Mauro Rosales (Fredy Montero)

89' COL: Caleb Folan

Seattle: Kasey Keller; James Riley, Patrick Ianni, Jeff Parke, Tyson Wahl; Mauro Rosales, Osvaldo Alonso, Erik Friberg (Brad Evans 73'), Alvaro Fernandez (Lamar Neagle 71'); Fredy Montero (Nate Jaqua 89'), Roger Levesque.
Substitutes not used: Terry Boss, Zach Scott, Pat Noonan, Mike Fucito.

Colorado: Matt Pickens; Kosuke Kimura, Marvell Wynne, Tyrone Marshall, Drew Moor; Sanna Nyassi (Ross LaBauex 80'), Pablo Mastroeni, Jeff Larentowicz, Wells Thompson; Omar Cummings (Andre Akpan 86'), Conor Casey (Caleb Folan 38').
Substitutes not used: Steward Ceus, Scott Palguta, Joseph Nane.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

Seattle Sounders FC needed every one of their four goals to beat an opportunistic Colorado Rapids. As in their previous league match, Seattle had to come from behind twice to win.

1' COL: Thompson. Defender Jeff Parke tried to clear a cross and the ball rolled to Wells Thompson in the arc all alone. Thompson took a touch to set up and hit the lower left corner perfectly. 1-0 Colorado.

For Seattle, Erik Friberg led with the ball into the penalty area and had the ball defended away, but right to Roger Levesque on the 18-yard line for a shot. Levesque tried to go low to the far post and Matt Pickens dove to make the save.

7' SEA: Fernandez (Alonso). Osvaldo Alonso found Alvaro Fernandez isolated on the left with a diagonal through ball. Fernandez' first touch was a cut-back move to get past Kosuke Kimura, then Fernandez battled Kimura's charge to earn a shot 10 yards from goal, curling it around the charging Pickens and in. 1-1.

Soon after that Seattle threatened when Alonso got around the corner on the right and might have crossed the ball, but chose to shoot from a steep angle and hit the outside of the net.

Fernandez was served three more times in the half and got off good shots, at 27' forcing a good save by Pickens at the lower far corner, and at 40' heading a shot that Kimura headed back over Fernandez. At 41' Fernandez' header under pressure went wide of the near post.

Ex-Sounder Sanna Nyassi carried up the middle for a hard shot at the half-hour point, but he drove the shot right at goalkeeper Kasey Keller.

At 38' Conor Casey dropped to the ground in pain after trapping a ball out of the air. He limped off, replaced by Caleb Folan. Casey reportedly injured his Achilles tendon.

42' COL: Larentowicz (Thompson, Cummings). Seattle got caught thin in the back when Omar Cummings fed Thompson open in the left side of the penalty area. Thompson held the ball for a bit, then served it to Jeff Larentowicz who had run along the 18 into open space. From the left end of the arc Larentowicz fired a low shot in off the base of the far post. 2-1 Colorado.

Seattle almost gave up another at the end of the half when Patrick Ianni let Forlan get past him to receive a throw-in and then carry it deep into the penalty area. Forlan's shot went harmlessly wide of the far post.

48' SEA: Levesque (Rosales, Alonso). Another fine diagonal through ball from Alonso found Mauro Rosales open on the right. Rosales bent a cross to the near post, where Levesque beat his marker to the ball and foot-flicked it past Pickens to the lower far corner. 2-2.

Rosales had his first chance at 52' when Fredy Montero head-flicked Fernandez' cross on, but Rosales shot right at Pickens. Alonso had a chance when a cleared corner kick was headed back in by Levesque, and Alonso's shot at the lower far corner was saved.

Seattle substitute Brad Evans wasted a golden chance when he beat the offside trap and was alone carrying the ball straight up the middle. His second touch was far too heavy and sent the ball ahead to Pickens.

82' SEA: Montero. Evans pounced on a loose ball in Colorado's penalty area after a misplay by a defender. Evans tried to chip a cross over Pickens and the keeper got a hand on it, but the ball carried on anyway, dropping at the far post, where Montero dove low to head it in for Seattle's first lead. 3-2 Seattle. Evans deserved an assist on the play, but the official scorer did not give him one.

84' SEA: Rosales (Montero). From the middle of Colorado's half on the attack, Montero chipped a ball to the right for Rosales. A defender got a touch on it, but it found Rosales anyway, and he shot low past Pickens for the insurance goal, which would be needed. 4-2 Seattle.

89' COL: Folan. Near the end, Colorado scored on a corner kick play. Larentowicz' header was saved by Keller with a dive to the lower far corner, but Folan slid in in front of a defender to knock the rebound into the roof of the goal. 4-3 Seattle.

Three minutes were added at the end, but Colorado could not find another scoring chance.

          SEA  COL
Shots:     13   12
Saves:      2    5
Corners:    4    5
Fouls:     10    8
Offsides:   3    3

18' COL: Mastroeni cautioned for a late, harsh tackle on Montero
25' COL: Casey cautioned for dissent
27' SEA: Montero cautioned for sliding under a defender late
69' SEA: Levesque cautioned for a late tackle on Kimura
79' COL: Thompson cautioned for a late challenge on Riley

Referees: Edvin Jurisevic; Mike Kampmeinert, Colin Arblaster; Andrew Chapin

Attendance: 36,424

Postmatch Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Sigi Schmid - Head Coach

Opening statement: "Who says soccer's not exciting? Obviously I think the character we showed again coming back after being down twice was superb. My hat's off to the team in that regard. I didn't like the fact that we gave up three goals but I'm the coach and as I just said to them I'm paid to worry so I worry about those sort of things. I thought our effort was magnificent. I thought we controlled the majority of the match. I thought we created chances. The first goal was a mistake. The second goal was because we were too eager going forward and left ourselves open in the back and the last one was a lack of concentration. Overall, I was very pleased with our passing and our play. I thought guys stepped up and did very well. If you came to today's game and you didn't enjoy it then you don't enjoy sports."

On physicality of game: "I think the game got a little chippy at times but that's part of it. I think everybody kept their emotions in check. I don't think there was anybody looking to retaliate or get even or anything like that. I never had that sense."

On grass surface: "Obviously the rain made it a little tougher so the field was a little heavier than it would have been without the rain. The ball was pretty dead when you hit long balls so balls would stay in play, which created opportunities for them because of their speed up front. It also created opportunities for us on the flanks where those switching balls would sit -- please don't take offense to this -- but if it was the turf some of those switching balls to Mauro and some of those switching balls to Alvaro are going to run out of bounds. So as a result you saw more of a free-flowing game."

On Fredy Montero: "His work rate was good. There was only the one ball that he forgot to chase that stayed inbounds. He's stepped up and he's accepted the challenge. He's been getting goals and he set up a great goal to Mauro. I was very pleased with our front four -- Levesque, Montero, Fernandez and Mauro Rosales. I think they were creative and they really put a lot of things together and a lot of combinations."

On four goals by four players: "You can't concentrate on one player. You look at the first goal that Alvaro scored, it was great. A great run, great individual effort. It showed great balance. Roger Levesque, I didn't see him through all his USL days when he was here but I have to believe he's playing as well as he's ever played. It was a great near-post run. If you focus on one guy hopefully another guy is going to come along and hurt you. That's what's important about our team. Today we got four goals from the run of play, which was also good. We've got some goals from set pieces so if we can get goals from set pieces and get goals from the run of play and get goals from different players that makes us a more difficult team."

Is it less stressful playing from behind now?: "(laughs) No. Trust me, trust me, no. I would rather get on top and stay on top and finish on top in the game. That's something that's there. Obviously we're not pleased with the three goals we gave up and that's something we want to take care of, as well, but I think it speaks more to our character but it's not a habit we want to remain in."

On front four players: "Mauro Rosales and Fredy Montero bring an awful lot of creativity into the game. They're good individual 1v1 players. Mauro is probably off the run of play as good of a crosser as there is in this league. He finds people and picks them out on crosses. Roger Levesque brings that work ethic. He's a guy who seams things together by working and he's done a great job of holding up the ball for us and connecting and finding that pass. When he does that and can get the ball to Mauro or Fredy and then run, we become more effective. Flaco brings some physical qualities as well. He was unlucky on that header that hit the back of Kimura's head. I thought he had a goal there. He's able to get in the air and he's able to get up and down the line. He has more speed than people think he has and he's also got creativity. With Ozzie and Friberg behind them, knocking the ball around and finding openings and winning the ball back, and later on Evans today, it makes us a good team. Right now we're 22 games in and we have some more games to go and we want to maintain this. The guys have gone through a good run and now it's time to relax a little bit, take a deep breath and prepare for the next stage."

On the next phase: "We're looking forward to playing Man. United on Wednesday. That's going to be a tremendous soccer exhibition and a tremendous day for soccer aficionados and fans out there. I know our team is looking forward to it. I think that's going to be great. From a standpoint of where we go from there, there's a CONCACAF play-in game starting down in Panama. That's something we take very seriously. Like I've said before, any competition we enter we want to try and win. And then we have to go into Houston, which is a very tough place to play. We're going into two places that are going to be very hot and very humid so we have to make sure that we're ready."

On women's World Cup Final: "We'll watch the women tomorrow. I might lay in bed and watch that one. I'll definitely enjoy it. I told the guys to enjoy a nice day off tomorrow to do whatever they do on a nice day off."

On anticipated Manchester United game atmosphere: "I think it'll be tremendous. I think it'll be unique for Manchester United from the standpoint that they've been to America before to play games but it'll be one of the few times where they walk into a stadium with 60,000 plus in the stadium and they're going to find that the majority of the fans are actually behind the Sounders. I'm sure there's going to be some red in there and some Man. U. fans in there but our fans are going to come out in droves for that as well. It's a soccer celebration for our fans. It's a soccer celebration for them to be able to see the quality of players that Man. United has and the international stars that they have and to see a legend like Sir Alex Ferguson coach the team. For us, it's a privilege, but on the same token the team wants to play well."

Fredy Montero

On the week for him: "Not to say that it was a perfect week but I definitely feel very good, especially because the team accomplished its objectives set before going to this break in MLS."

You score on a diving header like that last year?: "Yes, in the first game, in the inaugural game (at home last year) I scored a similar goal. This time I was a little bit afraid that the ball seemed a little bit too low."

On the offense: "We have to maintain and keep doing that and even reinforce what we are doing and motivating the entire team."

On coming back from behind: "The team has been maturing over the course of three seasons and we find that kind of energy when we get a goal against. I'm very proud of what the team has done today and we managed to get the three points."

Mauro Rosales

On coming back: "It's mentality. In that way it's perfect for us because we never give up. They score against us and we always work hard to come back in the game. We scored important goals ... I'm very happy about it."

On winning goal: "We played very nice football today in the game. I think we didn't deserve going down in the game. We were playing very good in the first half and they were winning the game that they didn't deserve to. We changed mentality in the second half and we worked for everything. This is the prize. We won."

On United: "It's very important for our careers. This is the second time that I'm going to play against Manchester. I will try to enjoy it. It's a little bit more relaxed for us because it's not for the league or some important game. We can enjoy this. They have some good players and we can show that we are good players and that we have a good team. We will try to do our best against a huge team. It's going to be a lot of fun."

On last time you played them: "We lost 1-0 in Ajax in Amsterdam. It also was a friendly game at an Amsterdam tournament. It was a nice game also ... I enjoyed like they're going to enjoy. They have very good players and they're the best in the world. It's important for our team because Seattle deserves games like that."

Kasey Keller

Was the physical game a result of emotions carrying over?: "No, no. They kind of play that way. You know teams like that that kind of play that way, and that's cool. I don't think there was anything in there that was -- maybe one tackle at midfield that was a little bit nasty -- but I think other than that it was just a physical game, but nothing too crazy. The most important thing is that everybody now understands what the situation is on Wednesday that none of our players get hurt, none of their players get hurt and everybody goes and has a great game for the fans."

On another comeback win: "This was probably the worst disciplined defensively that we were all year. That's a little frustrating because we can't let that creep into our game. You can't just expect to gift goals and keep having to come back from behind, to keep keeping teams in the game. I have not a problem with making a mistake in the first minute, OK, there's your one goal, now go win the game 4-1 if you're better than they are. Don't just keep giving the same stuff away. Then you go 4-2 up and you let a guy get wide open a couple different times for a corner at the end just to make it interesting. Have that discipline to see that game out. We're just a little bit off of that right now, and if we can clean that side up, but keep the same attacking flair that we've shown, then we've got a good chance this year."

Did it carry over from last week?: "No, last weeks were totally just ... you talk about deflections, you talk about own goals and things, that's different. But it's all part of a theme that we have to get better. We have to beat the guy to that spot so it's not a case where you're stretching so you get that deflection, just have that little bit better about yourself. We'll get there. Yes we won the game, and we're all happy for the three points and to beat Colorado, but at the same time, it's a little bittersweet because we've got to clean that side of our game up. If we truly want to obtain our goal, and if our goal is to have a run in the playoffs and see what happens, then it has to be better than today defensively."

Learning from mistakes while winning: "Well you've got to learn from them, that's the first and foremost thing. It's no good if you just keep making the same mistakes over and over again. Sure it's positive in the fact that you got three points, there's nothing more positive than that, but at the same time you've got to figure it out that, 'Hey this wasn't good enough on the defensive side and we've got to clean that up.'"

On needing four goals to win: "That was shocking. Our discipline and defending was just not there today. Any time the positives you have to take out of that is that when you have a day like that defensively and you're able to win the game, that's tremendous. It shows a lot of spirit. We keep giving teams goals. We keep having to come from behind. At some stage we have to start to clean that up. We just can't let that happen. But today it was a huge team effort. We were able to come back multiple times, twice again, take the lead. I'm a little disappointed, but also extremely happy."

On giving up the first goal: "Mistakes happen. We know that. The nice part of what we're doing right now is that we're able to pick our guys up. When somebody makes a mistake, there's no heads down. It's just a case of, 'Let's get on with it.' We know we can do better and we know we can score goals. It's a great feeling when you know you can score goals. When you do that, granted it was a little loose and undisciplined, we have to clean that up. But at the same time it was great being able to get a win out of a game like this."

On the physicality of the game: "We knew they were a physical team and this is the way they play. I have no problem with that. I don't think there was anything nasty out there today. I think there was some physical play and we traded a ton of chances. You look at what Mauro did, you look at what Flaco did, you look at what Fredy did. It's great to see him pop up with another goal and obviously a tremendous effort from Roger. You know he's going to work tremendously hard. So it was just a good, team effort today and we got the goals when we needed them."

Brad Evans

On the come-from-behind win: "We're scoring goals right now and that's the most important thing. No matter if they come in the first minute, seventh minute or whatever it was today. We get two late past the 80th minute mark so we're putting the ball into the back of the net. We're finding good ways to score."

On how it feels to get back out on the field: "It's just anticipation. The ball bounces the right way, we hit a cross, Fredy heads it home to take the lead. We get the buffer goal and luckily we got that one because they got one back."

On the unbeaten streak: "It's a good run. Last year at the end of the year we went on a really good run as well so it's just coming at a different time. We're going to carry this as long as it'll go. We're at 10 wins so we'll ride the wave."

How'd you feel? Did you tweak something in L.A. to miss last week?: "I felt good today. In the L.A. game I came in and that shot from distance tweaked my groin. Missed the Portland game that was it. I feel fine now."

Vindicating to set up third goal after failed breakaway?: "Yeah, absolutely for sure. I don't know what happened on that. It was just a weird play. I thought for sure I was offside, took a touch and the keeper's right in front of my face. I take another touch and the play is over. With something like that, if we lose the game it's a little different. But that's just one that you kind of laugh about. It was some atonement in getting the assist for sure then we complete the game getting the fourth and get with out the win."

On the new turf: "Yeah, it's different. On the sideline we were talking about those balls, those crossed balls into space, kind of sat up for us. Normally on those crosses if it's a little bit damp those go out of bounds for sure, so it played a little bit bigger. I think we used the flanks decently well tonight. It was a lot different for sure. This was the first time guys have worn studs since D.C. All that stuff comes into play, different footwear, different everything and it was a muddy, wet, heavy pitch. If it dries out for Wednesday it'll be better."

Jeff Parke

What happened on the first goal?: "Frustrating. I misjudged it and it took a bad touch out. I should've just cleared it to the line and instead I tried to clear it up. It just hit the inside of my foot, probably hit my knee, and went straight across. It wasn't a good clearance by me."

On the defensive effort: "We just got to do better. We got to concentrate more. With their goals, I think we could've prevented pretty much all of them. It's the end of a three-game stretch where we did alright. If this is the worst game and we won, then let's move on and forget about it -- but learn from our mistakes."

On the physical nature of the game: "It's frustrating because they're a physical team. We can be physical at times, but we like to play with a little finesse and they were just trying to give us knocks and slow us up a bit. Friberg (was hit in the groin) and I thought that was a definite yellow for sure. They were on edge playing chippy and we had to play chippy. It was a definitely a physical game."

Does the team showing an ability to come back give the defense confidence?: "It's great. It definitely gives us a lot of confidence that if we make a mistake we can battle back and win. We're mentally strong and physically strong and doing well right now. The offense is clicking and doing well and scoring some big goals for us."

On a little break coming up: "Much needed. Of course, we play against one of the top teams in the world, so it won't be an easy day, but it's all in good fun."

Colorado Rapids

Gary Smith - Head Coach

On his general impressions of the match: "When you score three goals you expect to get something coming out after the game. The second half performance started in a poor fashion. I thought we managed to stabilize the middle part during the second half. After feeling pretty good about ourselves going into halftime up 2-1. The second goal we gave up was a big dent to us, and a big boost of confidence for Seattle. The third goal, I felt was coming, the pressure started to mount and Seattle was playing very confident. They have been playing that way for a long period of time."

On the change in momentum during the second half: "The initial goals were a big blow. You try to get yourself a nice footing and hold in the second half, away from home. To concede quickly, with the crowd, and the team we are playing against was just tough. I have to be honest there were good periods of the game were we look unsettled in the back. I don't know if it was the pitch or just some good movements from Seattle but we looked vulnerable. There were other opportunities where Seattle breached our backline and increased their lead at certain points."

On the new surface at CenturyLink Field: "It looked difficult for all, including Seattle. They are not used to that surface; it was boggy and heavy along with being difficult to turn on. All in all there are no complaints about the pitch. It is a temporary surface and it was good enough to make a competitive game."

On the positives the team takes away from today's match: "To be able to go up 2-1 on the road in a difficult place. Scoring the three goals itself is a positive. Unfortunately, giving up four goals which the group doesn't do too often. There are one or two sore bodies in there. I don't know what is going on with Conor Casey's achilles; it will be a matter of patching the group back on up to get a strong lineup for Wednesday to play against a difficult New York side."

On the physical nature of the match: "I thought the game was called really well, given the circumstance surrounding the fixture. The fans were great and got behind the team as usual and supported them ever so well. There were some challenges there maybe a bit late but nothing out of the ordinary."

Pablo Mastroeni

On his general thoughts on the match: "It is unfortunate to be up twice in this game and not walk away with anything. It was a hard fought game and Seattle got on the right side of a few bounces."

On the temporary surface affecting their style of play: "No, both teams have to play on it whether it is turf or grass. We had two leads in this game, if anything it helped us out. Some weird plays and a few strange bounces, we were just on the wrong end of the score."

On the changes Seattle made during halftime: "They came out and put some pressure on us early. They created their own type of positive momentum. Anytime you can score coming out of halftime puts the other team on their heels. We found ourselves in the game and didn't capitalize."