2011 Mar 25

Sounders dominate, but draw

Seattle Sounders FC  1 - 1  Houston Dynamo
Qwest Field, Seattle, WA

42' HOU: Geoff Cameron
80' SEA: Steve Zakuani

Seattle: Kasey Keller; Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Patrick Ianni, Leo Gonzalez; Erik Friberg, Brad Evans (Mauro Rosales 71'), Osvaldo Alonso, Steve Zakuani; Fredy Montero, O'Brian White (Nate Jaqua 61').
Substitutes not used: Terry Boss, Tyson Wahl, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Servando Carrasco, Alvaro Fernandez.

Houston: Tally Hall; Kofi Sarkodie, Bobby Boswell, Andre Hainault, Hunter Freeman; Corey Ashe (Danny Cruz 85'), Lovel Palmer, Geoff Cameron, Brad Davis; Will Bruin (Brian Ching 75'), Jason Garey (Cam Weaver 46').
Substitutes not used: Tyler Deric, Mike Chabala, Alex Dixon, Eddie Robinson.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

The Seattle Sounders FC have to be the unluckiest team in the league right now after dominating the Houston Dynamo 26 shots to 6 but ending the match with a 1-1 draw.

Seattle failed to net any of their 15 shots in the first half, while Houston got a lucky goal near the end of the half.

There was controversy in the second minute when Houston defender Hunter Freeman misplayed a ball and Eric Friberg was going to be in on goal. Before the ball came back down Freeman blatantly pulled Friberg back by the arm just outside the penalty area to prevent him from getting what could have been considered an obvious goal scoring opportunity. True, Friberg did not yet have the ball, but everyone knew he would have gotten it with the goal 15 yards away. A red card would have been reasonable and just, but only the yellow was shown.

Steve Zakuani, Brad Evans, and Fredy Montero had their chances, then Jeff Parke let Jason Garey get around him for a shot with Kasey Keller in position for the save. A minute later Lovel Palmer missed a 35-yarder, and Houston would get no more shots for the next half hour.

At 27' Friberg crossed perfectly for O'Brian White's header from 6 yards, and local native Tally Hall did well to knock the shot over the bar. On a corner kick play, White's header was cleared off the line, then Jeff Parke's looping header cleared the goalkeeper but was headed away at the bar by a defender who had been manning a post.

42' HOU: Cameron. Houston earned a 35-yard free kick after a marginal foul was whistled. Palmer took the free kick and powered it off the bar near the right post. The rebound settled in the middle behind the spot and Geoff Cameron hammered it towards goal with two Sounders a split second late on the slide tackles. The ball hit Parke on the ground, deflected up to the bar, and came down just behind the line for a goal. 1-0 Houston.

Seattle again outshot Houston by a wide margin in the second half. Early shots were a missed free kick by Montero, Parke again from a corner kick and deflected wide, and White missing his header from the next corner kick. Montero forced saves at 65' and 74', and White's shot was deflected wide. The ensuing corner kick netted Seattle's first goal of the season.

80' SEA: Zakuani. Friberg's corner kick went to the near side, where Bobby Boswell earned the unfortunate assist as he knocked the ball with his knee to the far post. Zakuani ran onto it and tapped it in for what will surely be his easiest goal of the season. 1-1.

Seattle tried a lot of long prayer balls in the final 10 minutes plus 4, but earned only a couple of shots, running out of time and settling for the draw.

          SEA  HOU
Shots:     26    6
Saves:      1    8
Corners:   12    1
Fouls:     15   16
Offsides:   5    4

2' HOU: Freeman cautioned for holding Friberg after letting a ball get by
30' HOU: Palmer cautioned for getting Montero in the face
43' SEA: Ianni cautioned
46' HOU: Cameron cautioned for tripping Zakuani from behind
73' SEA: Gonzalez cautioned for diving, when awarding him a PK seemed the better choice

Referees: Ramon Hernandez; Kermit Quisenberry, Bill Dittmar; Daniel Fitzgerald

Attendance: 36,204

Postmatch Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Sigi Schmid - Head Coach

General comments: I think we deserved more tonight than a tie. I'm very proud of the team. I'm very proud of the effort they put in. I thought we had a PK; still think it's a PK after seeing the replay. Right now we can't get anything to break our way sometimes. So I'm happy that we fought back and got the equalizer. Like I said, we deserved more on the day.

On Leo Gonzalez's fall in the box, resulting in a yellow card: If a guy slide tackles me, do I leave my leg in there to be broken? Or if I have to jump over his tackle, then I lose my balance by jumping over the tackle. Isn't that still a foul? The referees don't call a foul. If you leave a leg in there to get broken, then they call a foul. But for sure the guy came through, he got part of Leo. Leo tried to jump the tackle as well. I'm not going to say he didn't try and jump the tackle, but what's he supposed to do, leave his leg there and make sure he gets hammered? Make sure he's got a broken ankle and that he's out for 5, 6 months? I think that's the part that doesn't get taken into consideration.

On the caution to Houston's Hunter Freeman: Again, the referee decided to not give a red card there. I guess he thought there were additional defenders between Friberg and the goal. I thought if the guy doesn't pull Friberg, he's in one-on-one on the goal, but I'm sitting on the bench, he's closer to the play. Sure looked like he was in to me.

On whether the team is experiencing bad luck or poor finishing: You tell me. What can you do? You continue at practice. You try and put them in situations where they're in front of goal, situations where they've got to score a goal in all the different games that we play. We play a lot of directional soccer so they've got to cover and balance. So they're going forward as a unit ... and I think we did all of those things. A little bit of it has been bad luck and a little bit has been not good finishing. You look at their goal and was that good finishing? I don't think so. He just hit it and it went there. Right now we're hitting it and it's going straight at goalkeepers and just not going the way we want it. All we can do is continue to work. All I can continue to do is ask them to create good chances. Eventually if guys don't put it in the back of the net, then we've got to find guys that will put it in the back of the net. Right now I think we're a little snake bit.

On the lineup changes: I thought Evans played very well. We had to take him out because he was obviously fatigued at that stage. It wasn't because he wasn't playing well; we just wanted to make sure he didn't suffer a relapse. But I thought that his size in the middle midfield helped us win some headers, win some tackles. I thought he was good with the ball. Jaqua helped us as well up front. He got on the end of some crosses and caused some problems. He's a big body and won a number of flick-ons so he did well. But I take nothing away from O'Brian White. He had a good game tonight too. He showed his speed and was much busier. Riley at practice yesterday cleared a couple headers and after practice he felt fine, but later got a headache. So obviously there's always the concern of a possible concussion. He still woke up this morning with a little bit of a headache so the decision with the concussion protocol was that he wouldn't play today.

On Jhon Kennedy Hurtado not starting: It's just situation of form a little bit. Kennedy has done well and is coming off an injury. I always say coming off an injury like that you have a period of time where everything is going well, then you slip off a little bit, you catch yourself again. I just felt right now that he's in that area. Ianni has been training well. Houston is his old team so just like Parke last week, who had a very good game against New York ... you think that's going to give a little boost to his performance, and I thought he played well tonight.

On changing from Alvaro Fernandez as the starter: Brad Evans being healthy and being able to get into the starting lineup and we thought Friberg has played in the games he's appeared so we felt that was our strongest midfield.

On whether fortunes are beginning to turn: I always think we're close to busting loose. What I'm proud of is our fans want us to come out every game and battle and fight and give everything we have on the field. I think anybody that was at the game tonight knows we left everything on that field of play. We gave everything we have. Nobody wants to win more than we do and we're disappointed that we only got a tie, but we're happy that we fought back. Maybe this is the first step. At least we're heading in the right direction. Right now we'll take a point and look to go down to San Jose and score some goals.

On his thoughts after the first half: I think we got motivated because the shot statistics were in the paper. We talked before the game about going out there and that we're better than an 0-2 team, and we needed to go out there and show it, and leave everything we have on the field. I thought the guys went after it. I thought we were aggressive and made it difficult for them to play. I thought we kept Brad Davis out of the game. He didn't have any impact tonight and he's usually a very important player for them and difficult to handle. I thought we were good in terms of going forward. We were aggressive around the goal. At halftime, when we came in, we were like let's continue to do what we're doing. Let's be a little more patient at times and get them a chance to be unbalanced. I thought we did a better job in the second half of being patient and knocking the ball around. We talked about certain things on set pieces ... and just correcting minor things. In the end we said let's keep doing what we're doing because we're playing well.

On the influence of Mauro Rosales: You saw that Rosales has some energy. There were a couple balls he went to slide tackle for and you saw his skill. He's played right wing for a lot of years and you saw him get in positions he didn't necessarily have to beat his man to get the crossover. That's a skill you learn when you've played there a little bit. He knows how to get his body around it. A couple of the crosses, as he trains more, those crosses that ended up being in Tally Hall's reach, I think in the next two weeks, those aren't going to be in the goalkeeper's reach anymore. I thought he brought good energy; he brought something we needed at the time. I thought Zach played well and it's a big tribute to him that Brad Davis was not involved in the game offensively.

Nate Jaqua

On getting back on the pitch against Houston: "It's a fun one to come into. We're really pushing trying to get a goal. It's unfortunate we couldn't get that second one but it's fun to be out there, fun to be running around again. I'm still trying to get my fitness back a little bit but I thought I was able to try to keep it pretty simple and just keep the ball moving and I thought I did an okay job doing that. It's just one of those things where it's going to take a little bit to really get back in the flow of things but it was fun being out there."

On getting knocked around a bit and if it was maybe good to get that out in his first match back: "Yeah. We expected that right away from Houston. We know each other and we battle a little bit. I try to give it to them a little bit, they give it to me. It's part of it."

On his thoughts on the result: "We definitely wanted more. I thought we played well and definitely did enough to win the game, just got to finish those chances and it's one where we can't get our heads down at this point. I think we played some very good soccer and we just got to keep it going and if we play like that, things are going to go in. We're going to win games."

Steve Zakuani

On the match resulting in a draw: "Well, the performance we wanted for sure. You can't fault any of the guys, can't fault the effort. I think a lot of guys are really tired right now because what more can you do really? We had 15 shots in the first half, absolutely was on top of Houston and then they got their goal. We kept plugging away and not the best result but, like I said, if it was a dry 1-1 then that's a different story. We played well enough to win the game three or four to one. We didn't do that, that's something we've got to focus on. In terms of our passing, our movement, creating opportunities, it was first class today. We managed to not lose the game which is important and we've got to build on this now."

On halftime: "Lots of passion in here. Guys were very passionate. Positive, but we came in here ... We were frustrated. We said, 'What are we going to do? We've made chance after chance and the ball just won't go in.' And Houston had one really clear shot, two deflections off the crossbar and the ball goes in the goal. That takes a lot out of you. But we came in here, regrouped, rejuvenated and came out in the second half where we left off. The keeper made some pretty good saves at times and at times we had some bad misses. Overall, we put enough pressure on them to where they had to break in the end. We got the goal and then time ran out on us and we couldn't get the second."

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

On the result: "I think you could look at it and you say, 'That could be the most frustrating loss ever.' I've been in those games on both sides and it's not a lot of fun when you're on the losing end of that side. So it was great that we got the goal and battled like hell and had chances even to win which would've been a great victory to start the season. But in the end, we stopped the rot. We're ready to move forward from now. If we keep creating the chances we're creating, we're going to put a big number on somebody and we're just looking forward to that day."

On this match being a step in the right direction: "I hope so. I mean, like I said, it was a shame because I thought it would have been great to finish that game off with a massive flurry and I've been there a couple times, on the receiving end, where you have one of those games where everything's going your way and then when they get that goal, you end up losing 3-1. But it just wasn't going to be all the way for us today but we'll get there."

Houston Dynamo

Dominic Kinnear - Head Coach

General comments: "We were fortunate to be up 1-0 at halftime, but we came and played better in the second half. With all of their chances, maybe they were due a goal, but the goal we gave up was very sloppy. This is one of the harder places to play in the league, so one point isn't terrible. We're happy with that. We're not thrilled, but we're happy with that."

On halftime adjustments: "We held the ball a lot better in the second half, especially the forwards. They gave us possession farther up the field. In the first half we struggled to hold that ball and that's why we were pinned for the period that we were."

On goalkeeper Tally Hall playing well where he grew up: "Maybe he saves it for his family, but if that's the case, we'll be traveling with his family from now on because he was excellent."

Tally Hall

On playing in Seattle: "I enjoy coming here. I don't try any harder than I do for any other game. It's always a dogfight between us and Seattle. This was one of those games that was scrappy. Our goal was kind of a scrappy goal and theirs was a bit of a scrappy goal and that's what the game dictates."