2011 May 4

Sounders fall short in DC

DC United  2 - 1  Seattle Sounders FC
RFK Stadium, Washington, DC

31' DC: Josh Wolff (Charlie Davies, Andy Najar)
52' DC: Charlie Davies (Josh Wolff, Andy Najar)
71' SEA: Brad Evans (PK)

DC: Bill Hamid; Dejan Jakovic, Perry Kitchen, Ethan White, Daniel Woolard; Andy Najar (Fred 77'), Clyde Simms (Stephen King 82'), Dax McCarty, Chris Pontius (Santino Quaranta 49'); Charlie Davies, Josh Wolff.
Substitutes not used: Steve Cronin; Chris Korb, Blake Brettschneider, Joseph Ngwenya.

Seattle: Kasey Keller; James Riley (Mauro Rosales 59'), Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyson Wahl; Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, Erik Friberg, Alvaro Fernandez (Leo Gonzalez 76'); Fredy Montero, Nate Jaqua (Roger Levesque 64').
Substitutes not used: Terry Boss, Jeff Parke, Servando Carrasco, Mike Fucito.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

The Sounders' first win streak of the year came to a screeching halt in Washington, DC as they lost 2-1 to goals by Josh Wolff and Charlie Davies. Brad Evans pulled the Sounders to within a goal with a penalty kick late in the match, but that ended the scoring.

The first half hour was quite lively, with strong attacks both directions. DC shot first when DC's Chris Pontius pounced on a loose ball just above the arc and shot quickly, but right up the middle to Kasey Keller. A minute later Seattle's Fredy Montero stole the ball from a center back and tried a long chip, but it wasn't long enough. Montero had another chance when Tyson Wahl's cross to the penalty spot fell nicely, but Montero shot a yard over the bar.

Seattle nearly got on the board in the 22nd minute. Alvaro Fernandez felt he was fouled as he headed Wahl's corner kick at the bar, and goalkeeper Bill Hamid tipped it over for another corner. On the next corner kick play Erik Friberg headed the cleared ball back in to Patrick Ianni, who was shoved in the back and went down, with the ball falling for Jaqua to slam into the net, but Evans was unfairly whistled for handling that was caused by being shoved in the back. It should have been a goal.

It was DC's turn to nearly score in the 26th when Andy Najar forced Wahl to turn the ball over, and Davies got it. Davies returned the ball to Najar, who worked for the shot and hit the near post hard. The rebound gave Pontius a quick 15-yard shot but James Riley was there to poke out a leg and deflect it over the bar.

31' DC: Wolff (Davies, Najar). On the right side, Najar sent the ball forward for Davies. Jhon Kennedy Hurtado missed his stab at it, allowing Davies to send in a square cross in front of goal that Patrick Ianni stabbed at and missed. Wolff ran past Erik Friberg and Riley for an easy finish. 1-0 DC.

Seattle had a chance to come right back on a throw-in play. Montero's cross was head-flicked on by Fernandez, but Jaqua could only get a piece of it in front of goal with his knee and Hamid easily saved.

Then quickly it was DC's turn when defender Perry Kitchen at the spot fired hard and low and Keller made a great stop with Osvaldo Alonso clearing the leftovers.

The last good chance of the half was Seattle's as Montero's short pass put Evans open at the top of the arc for an excellent chance, but he was leaning back on the shot and sliced it high and wide when a quality finish would have evened the match.

52' DC: Davies (Wolff, Najar). DC shot only twice in the second half, and found the winning goal with the first one. Najar found Wolff open on the right, and Wolff's cross was perfect for Davies' run at the far post for an easy finish. 2-0 DC.

With a half hour to go Seattle coach Sigi Schmid went on the offense, pulling defender Riley for attacking midfielder Mauro Rosales. But Rosales pulled his hamstring with about 12 minutes left and was ineffective after that.

At 63' Seattle had a chance when Jaqua's shot off Montero's service earned a corner, then from Friberg's corner Fernandez hit Jaqua's chest and the rebound went just wide.

Then it was DC's turn as Dax McCarty's 25-yard free kick was served to defender Ethan White for a nice header at the top far corner that Keller pushed wide with a nice save, and Davies couldn't quite reach the ball pushed wide.

71' SEA: Evans (PK). Montero worked a give and go with Evans at the arc, who headed the return pass in front of goal. Dejan Jakovic ran over Montero from behind and a penalty kick was awarded with Montero on the ground. Evans put the PK to the lower left corner as Hamid dove the wrong way. 2-1 DC.

Seattle soon had a great chance to equalize when substitute Roger Levesque's perfect cross from the right gave Fernandez a close-in header, but Fernandez hit it in the middle allowing Hamid to make a reaction save with his arm overhead. Levesque set up Montero for another good chance that was diving towards the top far corner, but Hamid made another great save.

Seattle had a few more weak chances, but nothing that came close. They seemed to run out of energy in the final quarter hour.

           DC  SEA
Shots:     11   14
Saves:      4    5
Corners:    4    7
Fouls:     11   11
Offsides:   1    1

13' DC: White cautioned for sliding under Montero
35' DC: Davies cautioned for pulling Fernandez down
55' SEA: Jaqua cautioned for a late challenge on Kitchen

Referees: Hilario Grajeda; Bill Dittmar, Paul Scott; Daniel Fitzgerald

Attendance: 11,254

Postmatch Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Sigi Schmid - Head Coach

On the game: "I think we played a team that was extremely motivated. [D.C. United] came out with a lot of energy and we didn't possess the ball well enough at times to take some of that steam out of the game in the first half. We were a little bit careless with the ball and the goals we took were identical. But then in the second half we got back into the game and I really thought at 2-1 we would get the equalizer. Then Mauro Rosales pulls his hamstring so the last twelve minutes he came in he's just standing on the field and can't move anymore. So now we're playing ten against eleven and then they were obviously able to hold onto the ball. If we played eleven against eleven it would have been better at the end, so we're not happy but we've got to move on and get ready for Columbus."

On his side's offensive rhythm: "We were able to get some pressure in the box, but it wasn't cohesive enough and sometimes I think we ran too much. Brad Evans always gives you a good effort and Erik Friberg gives you a big effort, but sometimes I think they ran too much ahead of the play instead of coming in behind the play. So as a result of that, we had too many guys close together and when the ball popped free it seemed like every second ball fell to [D.C.] because we were on top of each other."

Kasey Keller

On the game: "We just gave [D.C.] two easy chances and they finished them both. [The goals] were in a couple good places and they kind of reversed it. I think at the end of the game we were pushing hard, got the goal, had good chances, and unfortunately after we used our three subs we had somebody go down with an injury which kind of took the steam out of our push. We had some good chances at the end to tie the thing up, but it wasn't meant to be. [It's] frustrating because I thought we'd been playing better than we played today and that was a shame. In the end, give D.C. some credit. [They had] good movement up front with Charlie and Josh and that made the difference."

On the run of play...) "We were stop-and-start the whole game. We just couldn't - passing wasn't right, movement wasn't right - just compared to how we played the other day against Toronto it just wasn't there and it was frustrating. But in saying that we created enough chances at the end of the game to maybe get something, so you're not going to play great every time you step on the field. Good teams find ways to get results and today unfortunately D.C. found a way to keep a result."

Brad Evans

On Seattle's slow start: "I think we started out a little bit too flat and we knew [D.C. United] was a team with their back against the wall. For us, we didn't play as well as we did last week, especially as far as moving the ball and keeping the ball in possession in our attacking half of the field. We still created a number of chances and it was just a matter of putting them away. We get one back and keep pushing, switching to the 3-5-2 [and got] maybe two or three good looks after that. The headers were on frame - Hamid made some good saves on different shots and different headers, but we just couldn't pull out the tying goal."

On D.C. United: "Credit to [D.C. United], it seemed like they were kind of swarming in the midfield and really putting pressure [on us]. For us, the ball was going forward and it was just sent right back down [the field]. The way they played they kind of dropped back to a four-star center midfield, so we pushed a little bit too high and when the ball turned over Dax was free to go. If you give a number ten that much time and space, they're going to pick you apart and two good runs by their forwards and they finished their chances."

DC United

Ben Olsen - Head Coach

On the game overall: "I thought we had a response [from the Houston loss]. I thought we were pretty charged up, and we knew what was at stake. It wasn't dire that we had these three strikes, but it was pretty important for where we have been at mentally this week. We challenged each other all week, and I am glad that the guys got rewarded for a pretty good effort. Overall, it was a good night, but we need to forget about it very quickly and make sure that we continue with that type of effort for the weekend."

On defensive changes and Perry Kitchen's performance: "Perry has played [outside back] since he was 16 or 17, which actually wasn't too long ago (laughs)...But he did very well. I asked him about playing there and how he felt, and he is the type of kid that says, "Yea, let's do it." Ethan brought a nice bite, which I thought was important to have. Woolard came in and actually struggled with a little hamstring, but he stepped in and I thought had a really good game."

On the offensive production of Charlie Davies, Josh Wolff, and Andy Najar: "Andy's final ball was fantastic, and it was great that Josh gave Charlie one, and then Charlie gave Josh one, right on the spot. They both did a great job. Charlie was more physical than what he's been since he's come back, and I think that is a big step for him. Wolff worked really hard and held the ball up; he was a handful all night long."

On Bill Hamid: "Obviously I credit Bill, but Pat worked with him all week about playing big. He is not a small man, so when he stays big he makes great saves. It was nice to see him get rewarded for some hard work."

On Dax McCarty's role: "We flatted Dax out today, he worked a little bit more side-to-side with Clyde, and I think it worked out pretty well, but it was still them reading off each other. In the first half, picking up second balls was a bit of an issue...they had a big guy like Jaqua, who causes a lot of trouble, and with Alonso they were coming back at us - but we fixed that. Overall, I think this was one of McCarty's better games. He gave us the 'scrappyness' that I want to see out of him and he was much better with the ball."

On Andy Najar: "It was really nice to see him back again, I like him a lot more than you guys [journalists], believe me. He is one of my favorite guys that I've had around in my professional career. His energy looks better, his spirit looks better, and I was very excited for him to be back."

On Chris Pontius' substitution: "[Pontius] got kicked last game, and it flared up a little bit and didn't loosen up in the second half. But then Tino came in and gave us some energy."

On Stephen King's contribution: "[King] hasn't seen much first team soccer this year, but he did a pretty good job out there."

Charlie Davies

On United's overall performance: "Today I would say was our best overall team performance so far this season. It's coming off two not so good games, so it was really important that we come out and set the tone and set the tempo. I think we [set the tone], Seattle's a great team and they showed they are capable of playing, and we had to show we are a good team - tonight we played well."

On playing a part in both United goals: "I was able to make a good run [on the first goal], and Andy played a good ball and I created some space beside Hurtado, and I saw that Wolff made a great run and I was able to bend the ball around Ianni, and [Wolff] banged it in. On the next [goal] Wolffy returned the favor, he played a great ball into me and I was able to get back post and sneak one in."

On his progress within Major League Soccer: "I'm pushing myself every game and trying to take the next step, and tonight was a big step for me as far as being more physical and using my body. Coach Olsen has really been harping on me to be more physical and hold the ball up, and today I took a big step towards being that force up top where I can not only make runs, but hold the ball up for the team."

Josh Wolff

On ending a two-match MLS losing streak: "It's certainly positive to end a difficult past week and a half, and we use those things to make us better. Obviously you hate to have to lay on the floor one game, but it gives us something to remind us what this game's about and what competing day-in and day-out is about. I felt like we were scrapping, and at times it wasn't beautiful. We were able to get the first goal, and we talk about it every week - if you get the first goal you can drive the game a bit more."

On United's team effort: "Collectively I thought we did a great job defensively. When we defended we were able to get out on some breaks, and Andy was able to play some good balls. I had a good link in there sometimes and it was good to see."

On his chemistry with Charlie Davies: "You hope that chemistry [continues to grow]. With results like tonight you can see Charlie put in a real shift up front. We talk about it at training, it's about being difficult, being physical and holding balls up. There's parts of this game that just aren't fun and exciting, but you have to dig in and get it done. Again, I thought Fred and Santino came in and gave us a real lift and a great collective effort, but with Charlie and I it's great to see some synchronization that led to some goals."