2012 Aug 30

Sounders sweep Caledonia in CCL

Caledonia AIA  1 - 3  Seattle Sounders FC

Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, Trinidad

45' SEA: Alex Caskey (Zach Scott, Sammy Ochoa)
60' SEA: Sammy Ochoa (Fredy Montero)

67' CAL: Kareem Joseph (PK)
69' SEA: Fredy Montero (Alex Caskey)

Caledonia: Glenroy Samuel; Aubrey David, Radanfah Abu Bakr, Nuru Abdullah Muhammad, Walter Moore; Cornelius Stewart (Conrad Smith 72'), Densill Theobald, Stephan David, Kareem Joseph; Kerlon Ferguson (Trevin Caesar 63'), Jamal Gay (Abdallah Phillips 84').
Substitutes not used: Colin Nelson, Trayon Bobb, Kemron Purcell, Colin Edwards.

Seattle: Michael Gspurning; Zach Scott, Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch; Mario Martinez (Cordell Cato 61'), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Alex Caskey; Fredy Montero (Leo Gonzalez 74'), Sammy Ochoa (Christian Tiffert 86').
Substitutes not used: Josh Ford, Jeff Parke, Steve Zakuani, Servando Carrasco.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

Seattle Sounders FC completed a two-match sweep of Caledonia AIA in Trinidad to stay perfect in the group round of the CONCACAF Champions League. The Sounders won 3-1, the same score as when the two sides played in Seattle at the start of the month.

The Sounders were not at their best through most of the first half, but defended well enough to keep their net clean. Caledonia had an early chance with a header from close on a corner kick, but the shot went to Patrick Ianni in front of goal and he cleared it nicely.

Sammy Ochoa ought to have scored at 10' when Mario Martinez found him wide open for an unpressured header at the far post. Ochoa hit it right at goalkeeper Glenroy Samuel, who made a face save and needed a minute to recover.

Caledonia were taking most of their shots from distance with no success.

Osvaldo Alonso forced Samuel into a good collapsing save with a low shot from the arc near the midpoint of the half.

45' SEA: Caskey (Scott, Ochoa). Seattle scored a timely goal as the clock was seconds from 45:00. Ochoa's pass to Zach Scott on the right seemed too close to defender Nuru Abdullah Muhammad, but Scott slid in to win it and his first-touch square cross was perfect for Caskey, who stepped in front of his marker to redirect the ball into the lower far corner. 1-0 Seattle.

At the start of the second half Caledonia's Kareem Joseph should have tied it up when he rounded the corner on the right and was served for a close-in shot. He hit it into the near-side netting. Radanfah Abu Bakr had a good chance from a far-post run and headed a shot just wide.

60' SEA: Ochoa (Montero). After a nice, slow build-up, Fredy Montero fed Ochoa at the left end of the arc and Ochoa was allowed enough space for a shot that went in at the top near corner, glancing off the crossbar. 2-0 Seattle.

Trinidad native Cordell Cato, who grew up 25 miles from the stadium, entered at the hour mark to replace Mario Martinez, who got his first start for the Sounders.

67' CAL: Joseph (PK). Scott was called for holding Jamal Gay, giving Caledonia a penalty kick. Joseph took it, sending the shot to the left side while Michael Gspurning went the other way. 2-1 Seattle.

69' SEA: Montero (Caskey). Seattle quickly regained a two-goal lead. Caskey beat a double-team on the left to turn towards goal. He sent a low cross in front of Montero's near-post run and Montero finished clinically. 3-1 Seattle.

The last goal seemed to take the fight out of Caledonia. Seattle mostly passed the ball around for the final 20 minutes, with no good chances either way except for a shot wide by substitute Christian Tiffert near the end.

          CAL   SEA
Shots:     16    16
Saves:      2     1
Corners:    8     6
Fouls:     11    10
Offsides:   4     5

17' CAL: Moore cautioned for sliding under Evans
29' CAL: Theobald cautioned for a tactical foul on Montero
71' CAL: Gay cautioned for a studs-first challenge on Ianni
87' CAL: Abu Bakr cautioned for a tactical foul on Cato

Referees: Javier Santos (Puerto Rico); Antonio Lopez, Jairo Morales; William Anderson

Attendance: a few hundred

Post-Match Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Sigi Schmid - Head Coach

On getting two wins in two CCL games: "Getting six points was important to us because now we've put ourselves in a position that we need to win just one of our last two games. We've got one game at home and we've always said winning games at home is the key, and getting some points on the road, but now we know if we win one of our last two, we win the group. It was a position we wanted to be in at the end of the day."

On the goals and goal-scorers: "They've done well for us and they were very timely goals. Caskey's goal right before halftime was a very important goal, a very timely goal because obviously they had some chances before then. Ochoa scored his goal, as well. It was well taken and got us up. And then Fredy's goal was really timely because it comes right after the PK, about two minutes after the PK, and at that point puts us up 3-1 and we were able to hold it from there."

On the team's performance: "Considering everything that we went through, I was very pleased. It was a very difficult travel situation for us. The guys basically had very little sleep on Monday night because we had to be at the airport at four o'clock (a.m. Tuesday) ... and it's tough to sleep on planes. Our flights got delayed. We didn't get in until way after midnight, so it was again another night of little sleep. It's hot and humid. The field is not a surface you're going to see in MLS; it's a much different surface, so they had to deal with all those things. So I was very proud that the team was able to deal with all that and come out with the result we needed."

On the defensive effort: "I thought defensively it was better. I don't like the idea that we keep giving up a PK, especially in this tournament, but I thought it was better than it was against Chivas in terms of marking people tightly in the box. But they're a big team, a physical team, they're very dangerous on their set-pieces, so we had to make sure we matched up there and won in those aerial duals. I thought overall our team did all right there and for the most part defensively, even though they got behind us a couple times, we kept the game in front of us most of the time."

On controlling their own destiny for the rest of the group stage: "It's huge. Being able to control our destiny is really important. We can look at the next game when it comes up against Marathon in Honduras and we can decide where we're at -- where we're at physically. Is that the game where we push and try and lock it up in that game because we've shown ourselves to be good on the road? Last year in the group stage, we didn't lose on the road ... so we can push for that or we can say, 'Let's get ready,' because maybe we need some points in league at that stage. So maybe we'll play a little different team in Honduras and we'll push for it when we play at home in the last week of the season. We can analyze a little bit and sort of decide which game we're going to push for that victory."

On the team's play the last month: "Obviously, we've been a good hot-weather team. I think historically (we're) the top team in the second half of the season and we're starting to show that again. We're doing well. We're getting goals from different people now, which is really, really important. The addition of Tiffert has helped our team. The addition of Martinez has helped our team, so we've got different elements we can go to. Once Rose comes back from his injury ... Andy has been an important member of the team. I think we have a lot of different options and that makes our team stronger. I was really happy with how we've played and dealt with a lot of things, a lot of adversity that we had to deal with in this month, a lot of travel that we had to deal with, so I'm pleased. I think we're there where we need to be. I think we're competitive and we're in position to make a move in league, and we're obviously in a position to advance here."

Sammy Ochoa

On the game: "We knew ... in the first 15 minutes they were going to come out strong. We just had to hold the first 15 minutes and put away the chances we had -- and we did."

On his goal: "We were just keeping the ball and Fredy somehow found me in the box. I took a touch inside and I saw the defender cheating and I saw the goalkeeper cheating, too, so I hit it to the first post and it went in. I was trying to hit it on the ground ... but I guess it went a little higher. But it was a good goal and a good play. Good thing we got the win here."

On the third goal by Montero: "It was really important because we were up 2-1 and to get the goal right back was just a dagger, I think. Put them away and keep the game under our control and work from there."

On his play recently: "I just think I'm taking advantage of the time I'm getting, just taking advantage of the time. Sigi said everybody is going to play and we've just got to make the most of it."

On the team's traveling support: "It means a lot. It's extra motivation to know that we have people from Seattle coming down to watch our game. It's really good that we have support everywhere we go ... It's good to always have fans wherever we go."

Alex Caskey

On scoring just before halftime: "I think we came out a little bit slow actually, kind of adapting to the new atmosphere from the long trip and everything. I think it was important to get that first goal at the end of the half and then in the second half we settled down a little bit and started playing better soccer."

On his goal: "It was a good build-up. [Sammy Ochoa] laid a ball out to Zach on the right-hand side. It was a little tight and Zach ended up just winning a tackle and it popped to me (at the six-yard box) and I just placed it in."

Was it a sigh of relief?: "It definitely was. The longer it goes 0-0, the more dangerous it gets to give up a lead and then have to come back. Especially right before half it was important for us to go in with a lead."

On the second half: "I think we kind of weathered the storm from Caledonia in the first half. They came out strong because they needed to win this game. In the second half, it slowed down a little bit and we were able to control the game a little more."

On the team's traveling support: "It's incredible. The willingness to fly all the way down here to Trinidad from as far away as Seattle just shows the enthusiasm of our fans. We appreciate it more than they know."