2011 Mar 19

Sounders miss chances again, lose to a lone goal again

New York Red Bulls  0 - 1  Seattle Sounders FC
Red Bull Arena, Harrison, NJ

70' NY: Juan Agudelo (Teemu Tainio)

New York: Greg Sutton; Jan Gunnar Solli, Rafael Marquez, Tim Ream, Roy Miller; Dane Richards (Danleigh Borman 90'), Teemu Tainio, Mehdi Ballouchy (Tony Tchani 68'), Joel Lindpere; Juan Agudelo, Thierry Henry.
Substitutes not used: Bouna Coundoul, Carlos Mendes, Carl Robinson, Corey Hertzog, Luke Rodgers.

Seattle: Kasey Keller; James Riley, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez; Alvaro Fernandez (Mauro Rosales 68'), Servando Carrasco (Lamar Neagle 79'), Osvaldo Alonso, Erik Friberg; Fredy Montero, O'Brian White (Roger Levesque 73').
Substitutes not used: Terry Boss, Patrick Ianni, Zach Scott, Tyson Wahl.

Match report from MLS:

Forward Juan Agudelo scored his first career MLS goal to give the New York Red Bulls a 1-0 win over the visiting Seattle Sounders at Red Bull Arena on Saturday night.

The decisive goal came in the 70th minute as Agudelo ran onto a long ball from midfielder Teemu Tainio. The 18-year-old, who was called up for upcoming US national team matches against Argentina and Paraguay, shrugged off Seattle defender Leo Gonzalez and coolly deposited past goalkeeper Kasey Keller for a ruthless finish.

New York had a golden opportunity to take the lead nine minutes into the match. After goalkeeper Greg Sutton saved the Red Bulls, coming off his line to smother a deflected ball which fell invitingly for Seattle's Fredy Montero in the box, RBNY earned a penalty kick.

Captain Thierry Henry fed a through ball to Agudelo behind the Seattle back line. The US national team forward beat Seattle central defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado to the ball. The striker's nifty footwork to cut the ball back drew contact from Hurtado, who clipped Agudelo for a PK. However, Henry's low shot was tipped away by Kasey Keller.

In an entertaining back-and-forth affair in the first half, Montero was the inspiration for Seattle's most dangerous offensives, sending Alvaro Fernandez in alone on goal in the 16th minute. But the Uruguayan failed to capitalize on the opportunity with his touch sending the ball right at Sutton. Montero again tested Sutton from long distance in the 27th but the New York netminder pawed the ball away.

Montero resurfaced in the 39th minute, running onto a weighted ball from Fernandez in the box. His tight angle shot was swatted away by Sutton who recovered to collect the loose ball from the ground while O'Brian White lurked for the rebound.

It was again the Fernandez-Montero combination wreacking havoc in the final minute of the first half with Montero dancing by defender Tim Ream before slamming a shot against the right post from an impossible angle.

New York fired warning shots early in the second half in the 51st minute with a long distance shot from Rafael Marquez while Mehdi Ballouchy missed wide right on a corner kick seven minutes later.

After Agudelo's goal in the 70th minute, second-half sub Tony Tchani nearly sealed the affair with a header in the 88th minute which was tipped by Keller over the bar.

Seattle nearly scored a dramatic equalizer in stoppage time. Montero's free kick from 20 yards out was punched away by Sutton and Lamar Neagle skied the rebound over the bar.

Steve Zakuani, who carried a hip injury into the opening match last Tuesday against Los Angeles did not make the trip for Seattle, who instead started Erik Friberg at left midfield and gave draftee Servando Carrasco his first MLS start.

The Red Bulls' first lineup of 2011 featured new acquisitions Jan Gunnar Solli at right back and Teemu Tainio in central midfield.

           NY  SEA
Shots:     17   10
Saves:      5    5
Corners:   11    0
Fouls:     10   17
Offsides:   1    3

61' SEA: Hurtado cautioned

Referees: Jair Marrufo; CJ Morgante, Corey Rockwell; Alejandro Mariscal

Attendance: 20,982

Postmatch Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Sigi Schmid - Head Coach

General thoughts: "In the first half I thought for sure New York had more of the ball, more of the play, which we thought was going to happen. We were looking for opportunities to counter, which we also got. So at the end of the day, when you look at the real chances created, I think we created as many chances as they did, but for sure their possession was better. The first 15 minutes or so of the second half I thought we were much better in terms of not giving them as much possession. We were able to step up our pressure a little higher. We were holding the ball better ourselves, which is something we talked about. We felt now we could start doing that against them. Then we give up a goal and we're chasing the game."

On kicking off the season with two straight losses: "We have to move on. The league gave us the toughest schedule to begin the season with. It's a punishment for having good crowds, you know that's why we end up playing the opener and we have to go again on the road. It would have been nice to only play one game but it is what it is and we know we are a better team. When we play two of the better teams in the league and show that we can play them pretty even. Now we just have to make sure that we come out with the results."

On allowing the goal: "It's a ball that we've got to do better with at midfield. Fredy Montero is a marvelous player and does tremendous things for us, but he's always probing. He's always trying to make more out of something. In that occasion it was maybe the wrong thing and we got caught. As a defender you think he's going to hold the ball there and he loses it. You don't expect him to lose it. You get caught on the wrong side of your mark and (it's) over."

On Keller's PK save: "It was tremendous. It was a great save; it kept us in the game at a very key point. Him saving that PK is what gave us the opportunity to tie or win this game."

On Montero's performance: "He was good and his combinations with Fernandez were very good as well. It's exactly what we wanted to do. Unfortunately we didn't get a goal from it."

On O'Brian White being less involved: "He did some of the running off the ball for Montero. Our idea was for O'Brian was to try and stretch them and for us to get the ball to Fredy underneath, which is what we did."

On having no goals yet in 2011: "Last year, we could create chances but we wouldn't necessarily force saves. I think this year so far in the two games we are forcing some saves, but at the end of the day you want to see the ball go in the net. You want to have a little bit more composure, get a little bit of luck. Fredy hit a couple bombs that Sutton was just grasping for. If that bends a little different, breaks a little different it goes in the net.

On Zakuani not traveling: "He should be OK for next week. We didn't want to aggravate it in this game tonight because he had really pushed through the LA game. So we felt if we pushed him tonight that could maybe set him back for a little bit of time."

On Carrasco joining Alonso in the middle: "Carrasco, I thought, did well. For a rookie in his first game I thought he did well. It's a difficult team to play against because they possess the ball. They knock it around the back an awful lot, so you got to be patient at the right times. It's tough sometimes for rookies to be patient when a team does that. I thought he was good. I thought at about 60-65 minutes he ran out of gas, but he did well for a first-year player."

On starting Carrasco at CM, pushing Friberg to LM: "I just thought it would give us the best opportunity to win the game. Carrasco we knew would be able to defensively help out in there, which is something that we needed. We knew we wanted to counter; Carrasco is one of our better long passers of the ball. He can get the ball forward to open up that counter for us. Friberg has got a good engine. He can get up and down. He was going to help us double back on Richards, which I thought we did a good job with Richards through about 65 or 70 minutes and then when the game opened up, obviously he got some chances."

Is that how you plan to use Rosales?: "We brought him wide right and then we pushed him inside at the end. It depends. We can push him inside, we can let him playmake on the right. For us to diamond our midfield like Salt Lake does, Zakuani is not that kind of midfielder on the flank to do that with. If we want to keep using (Zakuani), because he's an effective player for us and he's dangerous, we got to find a way to use Rosales where we can playmake the game for us as well. That might be from the middle; that might be from wide-right. We've got to look at it."

Does this team need more help up top? Are you waiting to get healthy or do you need to shop?: "Having a little bit of luck, not having goalkeepers save everything and got to do a better job finishing. There was one opportunity where I thought we could've hit it first time and we took a touch. Jaqua should be able to play some minutes next week. I think that will be able to help us as well. We got to continue to find goals. (ed note: corrects himself) We haven't found any."

James Riley

Is allowing 21 shots, 11 corner kicks, too much to absorb without allowing one?: "Yeah. You can only put out so many fires. Goals change games. They had opportunities. We bent but we didn't break. We had opportunities and obviously they got that one to go ahead. Kind of the opposite of the L.A. game where I thought we had the upper hand and chances and stuff like that. I thought we had good chances tonight, as did they, and they were able to put one away."

What's the sense of the team after an 0-2 start?: "Obviously we're not happy. A long flight home tomorrow to kind of lick our wounds and get back to it. We've got a very tough Houston team coming into Qwest Field, so we can rectify this and be 1-2. We're getting opportunities, which is a good thing, but we're failing in those critical moments to recognize and be strong. Again, we'll look to learn from it, lick our wounds and get back to work."

Servando Carrasco

On making your Sounders FC debut and getting the start: "Personally it felt good to finally represent Seattle. It was my first official game in the league, but unfortunately we didn't get the result that we wanted. It was one of those games where we take certain positives and certain negatives, and once that's done, we move on. There are certain things we did well and definitely some things we can improve on. We'll analyze that when we get to Seattle and move on."

How did you feel out there? Comfortable?: "I never feel comfortable. I think I did alright, but I'm always looking to play better and better. I think the combination between me and Ozzie can be a very successful one. As we play more and more together we'll feel more comfortable together. I feel like I did OK, but I'm never satisfied with the way I'm playing. I know there's always room to improve."

How did this game play out in your view?: "I think in the first half they controlled a little more of the game. In the second half, the first 20 minutes, I think it was the other way around. We eliminated a lot of their dangerous spots in the second half. Unfortunately they got one break and finished it. That's all it takes: one goal. We're going to go back, study our game and see what we can improve on."

Kasey Keller

Some fans back home might be at panic stations, but for you guys?: "Nah. Two 1-nil losses are nothing to panic about. A couple (butt)-whoopings maybe, but it wasn't that bad. Bottom line is it's no points in two games and it doesn't matter if you get your (butt) kicked 6-nil or lose 1-nil. It's still no points. Just like the other day, we easily could've got a point out of the game. I think the first half they kind of kicked our (butt) a little bit. Second half we figured things out more or less, (but) conceded a bad goal. I mean great finish by the kid, don't take anything away from that, but a simple almost-clearance long ball and he's through one-on-one. You want to kind of limit those as often as you can in a season. I think after escaping the first half at nil-nil, you got to then go on and get something out of the game. It's just disappointing because right we're just not finding a way so far to get results when maybe we've deserved to get something out of the game. That's something we need to learn: how to manage games. Man U gets a goal late in the game today to give themselves a great opportunity to win the league. The great teams find ways to do that."

On not scoring any goals, does it seem like you're forcing saves?: "Maybe some of that. I thought Sutton had a very good game. He came up big and got a little lucky at times. Sometimes that's what it takes, but he made the saves when he needed to make them. Fredy hit the post unfortunately, but you got to make your own luck. You got to bury the chances you get and say, 'OK, I'm going to beat you.' The kid (Agudelo) had pressure, took a great ball on the outside of his foot and found the side-netting. That's what it takes to win games. Give them credit."

On the PK save: "You kind of always try to think, 'Where do I think he might go?' He likes to drag that ball in and I thought he might do it that time. I got a good jump to the ball and got a good hand to it. I don't read much into penalty saves. It's nice when you can come up big for the team, but in the end we lose 1-nil, so it didn't really matter."

But the game would've changed significantly without it: "Definitely their confidence could've skyrocketed by getting an early goal. They really took it to us after that. Like I said, I'm happy to be able to make the save but I don't really dwell on saves when we end up losing because in the end it didn't really amount to anything. I like being to come up with that save and if we get a nil-nil out of it then I think, 'OK, that's cool. I was up to come up with that.' It's nice. It's always nice personally to be able to do that, but in the end it's about picking up points."

Lamar Neagle

On the late chance at the end: "It came right at me and I just mis-hit it and went over. Not very much more to say about it. I should've scored. You maybe get one chance when you go in like that and unfortunately it didn't go in. I just got to use it for motivation."

Did it bounce up on you weird or anything?: "I just mis-hit it. When it comes to being that close in front of the goal, you got to get over it. And that's what I didn't do."

Fredy Montero

On tonight's match: "Tough match. We can see once again that whoever doesn't score gets scored on and that's the truth."

On the difference between the first and second half of the game: "We lost possession of the ball in the second half. We gave up on the counterattack which is the way we wanted to play and they managed to score a lone goal that gives them the victory and the three points."

On the next match versus Houston: "We have to come up with a new game plan and we have to win. We have got to keep our head up and realize that this is not the end. We have to keep on moving forward. We have done some good things on the pitch but it is obviously not enough. We have got to give more."

On his hopes of being called up to the Colombian National Team: "I have to get back to my highest level, two games have passed and I want to score. If that's enough to go back to the National Team then I will welcome it. Every Colombian player wishes he can wear the jersey for the National Team."

Jeff Parke

On tonight's match: "You know it's up and down. They ran us over the field the first 25 minutes and then we settled in a little bit. In the second half, I felt that we had a better level of play but we missed on some chances and they capitalized on one of theirs. It's frustrating and tough to swallow but we have a new game next week so we have to move on."

On how the team can move on to face Houston: "Finish our chances. We are going to come up with chances and we have to do better defensively keeping them off the board so that we can give ourselves a chance to sneak one at the end for three points."

On coming back to New York: "It's beautiful. It's nice. It's good to be back. It's even better to see they have a great stadium and a great crowd and I look forward to playing here in the future."

New York Red Bulls

Hans Backe - Head Coach

On if he thought the missed penalty kick by Thierry Henry early on would come back in hurt the team: "Yeah, it happens in most of the games. We started very well in the first 15 to 20 minutes. [We] missed a penalty but, anyhow, created some decent chances and then suddenly we looked a little bit wide open for Seattle's breaks. I think they had four good, really good chances in the last 25 of the first half. In the second half, I think we controlled it in a good way. I liked our intention, the build-up, so we don't force it too much as we did last year and fully deserved to win at the end of the day."

On the emergence of Juan Agudelo in tonight's game: "Yeah, he surprised me today. We all know that he has decent pace, that he is an athlete. He is very hard to play against but I was very happy with his decision making today. In our build-up, I don't think he had many, many lost balls or unforced errors compared to last year. He played safe now."

On Thierry Henry's penalty kick and who decides who takes the penalty kicks: "In the preseason, we didn't have that many. Marquez scored against Atlas from the penalty spot. I can't remember the shootout we had against Atlante in the friendly but we scored, I think, four out of five. Normally, it is good that the captain steps up and takes the penalty after nine or 10 minutes."

On the play of Greg Sutton: "Great. He had some key saves in the first half. With a tricky guy like Montero, he's definitely a player who can make a difference, I think he saved two or three from Montero. Yeah, he had a great game today, Sutton."

Juan Agudelo

On scoring his first MLS goal: "It feels good. I know people have been saying, have been waiting for me to get that MLS goal and it's great to do it at the opener. There's a lot of people here. I'm just really happy."

On the goal: "I noticed that they had a high line and the defenders were biting a little bit behind me when I was trending toward the ball so I just cut and looked for the long ball. It was a perfect ball by Teemu, couldn't have been played better. I just tried to get my body in front of the defenders, saw the goalkeeper come out, took a shot and it was 10 times better because that's what I was trying to do, curl it toward the far post. As a player I think that's special, when you try to do something and it works out perfect."

On Seattle's defense on the goal: "I knew he (Leo Gonzalez) was going to try to come hard, and if he would have fouled me it would have been a red card. I just tried to get in front of him and if I got fouled, I got fouled, if I didn't get fouled I'm going to take a shot. And I was able to take a shot and score."

Teemu Tainio

On setting up Agudelo's goal: "I saw there was a big space behind him and he made the first cut, so all I had to do was play the ball behind the defense in front of Agudelo and he did the rest."

On the match: "We didn't create that many great chances. Of course, it's the first game of the season, you have to remember that, it's the early days, so when guys get to know each other and play more games I think it will come more easily. But I think when teams come here they try to close us down. We were able to keep the ball on the ground and play the short passes. But like I said, sometimes we have to play the direct balls. We have to find the solution when to play the long ball or when to keep it on the ground."

Jan Gunnar Solli

On his first MLS match: "I think I played a safe game. I wasn't trying to do too much, it was my first game as a right back. I played seven friendly games and none of them as a right back. Me and Rafa, we managed to - and also the back four - I think we were pretty solid. Of course we gave away a couple of chances but that's not only our fault, it's a whole team and, I think we gave away a couple of too easy big chances. But in the end we controlled the game, we didn't get dragged into too much in the way Seattle plays."

On playing with Rafa Marquez: "You have to listen to a guy like him. He knows what he's doing, and he's really good at making me stay in the right positions all the time. I think we did well in the way we communicated and the way we were helping each other."