2012 Mar 23

Sounders win battle of early undefeateds

Seattle Sounders FC  2 - 0  Houston Dynamo

CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA

23' SEA: David Estrada
27' SEA: Brad Evans (PK)

Seattle: Michael Gspurning; Zach Scott, Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch; Roger Levesque (Leo Gonzalez 81'), Brad Evans (Servando Carrasco 61'), Osvaldo Alonso, Alvaro Fernandez; Fredy Montero (Christian Sivebęk 90'), David Estrada.
Substitutes not used: Bryan Meredith, Jeff Parke, Alex Caskey, Sammy Ochoa.

Houston: Tally Hall; Andre Hainault (Jermaine Taylor 45'), Bobby Boswell, Geoff Cameron, Corey Ashe; Colin Clark, Adam Moffat, Je-Vaughn Watson (Luiz Carmargo 67'), Brad Davis; Brian Ching (Macoumba Kandji 76'), Will Bruin.
Substitutes not used: Tyler Deric, Calen Carr, Nathan Sturgis, Cam Weaver.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

In a battle of teams with perfect records after a match (Seattle Sounders FC) or two (Houston Dynamo), Seattle emerged with their record intact. Two goals made the difference, a few minutes apart in the first half. Both came after corner kicks, the first a shot by David Estrada that deflected off a defender and the second a penalty kick by Brad Evans that came from a foul on the corner kick.

The match was fast and furious out of the starting gate. But the first shot waited for the 11th minute when the first corner kick of the match was Houston's and Brad Davis served it to Geoff Cameron on the near post run, and it was headed over the bar. A better chance came at 17' when Will Bruin's shot from the top of the arc off a short drop pass was skillfully touched over the bar by goalkeeper Michael Gspurning.

23' SEA: Estrada. Alvaro Fernandez' corner kick was headed out of the penalty area by a defender, but right to Estrada, who fired it up the middle from 22 yards. The ball deflected off defender Geoff Cameron on the way in, sending the ball right while goalkeeper Tally Hall went the opposite way. 1-0 Seattle.

27' SEA: Evans (PK). On another Seattle corner kick, Cameron was called for pushing Patrick Ianni from behind as Ianni attempted to head the ball. Evans took the penalty kick and beat Hall to the lower right corner with a powered shot. 2-0 Seattle.

Roger Levesque had an open chance early in the second half from a great cross by Fernandez, but he shot well wide when he ought to have put it on frame. Immediately the other way Brad Davis chipped a nice serve into the penalty area for Bruin, whose header towards the lower near corner was well saved by Gspurning.

Seattle midfielder and captain Evans left with a hamstring problem at the hour mark, replaced by Servando Carrasco.

There weren't many chances left. For Seattle at 79', Fredy Montero fed Fernandez on a counterattack for a shot at the top far corner that barely missed, settling on the roof. Houston created a few chances in the last few minutes, but never came close to a goal.

Seattle had to feel good about their defending the entire second half. Houston will be disappointed with their failure to create any good scoring chances.

          SEA   HOU
Shots:      9    11
Saves:      3     3
Corners:    6     6
Fouls:     10    11
Offsides:   0     0

35' HOU: Moffat cautioned for a reckless challenge on Alonso
78' HOU: Davis cautioned for a reckless foul on Montero
83' SEA: Fernandez cautioned for arguing before a Seattle free kick

Referees: Baldomero Toledo; Ian Anderson, Fabio Tovar; Jasen Anno

Attendance: 38,304

Post-Match Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Sigi Schmid - Head Coach

On the result: "Over the course of the season you've got to win games different ways. Today was a little more one of those games where you've got to roll up your sleeves and you've got to battle and persevere. I thought Houston played very well at times and had control of the game at certain times, but I thought we showed a very good resiliency. We scored two timely goals, the goal and the PK - which I think was a PK - and in the second half I think we held our own. We should have maybe got a third through Roger on that one chance, but I was pleased with the way our team came in and battled and with the character they showed today."

On David Estrada's play: "It's going good. When it's going good it's going good, so you can shoot on goal and get a little bit of a deflection and score a goal. But he did well. You get rewarded when you work really hard."

On Michael Gspurning's play: "I thought Michael had a very good game tonight. He made that one save early in the game when the score was 0-0, the one that he tipped over the bar going to his right and he tipped it over with his left hand. I thought he did well. He came out and did well on a couple of crosses, ones he punched out and collected. I thought it was a good game tonight for Michael's confidence and also for the fans to see his quality tonight."

On lineup choices: "Well, obviously we thought Zach Scott was a good choice at right back because he's going to win those aerial duels and those battles and I think he helped us defensively, for sure. Roger is never going to short you on work-rate. We maybe weren't as creative on the right-hand side as we are at times, for sure. But I thought both of the guys did what they needed to do in terms of the effort they put in. I thought they did a good job of bottling up Brad Davis. I didn't think you saw a whole lot of Brad Davis. In fact, you saw more of maybe Corey Ashe coming forward. That's because we concentrated on Brad. That was really a responsibility of Zach and Roger and I thought they did a good job there."

On Brad Evans' injury: "He should be all right. He felt his hamstring a little bit, so he wanted to get off the field before he would make it worse. I thought today early in the game he made a lot of big runs for us getting into the box and was dangerous for us in that way and that might have been a little too much today."

On starting Patrick Ianni for the second straight game: "Again, sometimes you don't want to change a winning team. We won last week 3-1, defensively we did all right. It's Patrick's old team, so you're always a little more motivated, a little more geared up to play your old team. He knows Ching - he's trained against him on a daily basis for a lot of years. So we felt that familiarity and based upon the fact that we got a good result last week we didn't want to change the middle pair."

On if Jeff Parke is healthy: "Parke is healthy. He's ready to go."

On earning a shutout victory: "You always want to get shutouts. We talk about it. We talk about making sure we don't allow anything because we always feel confident that we're going to be able to score a goal. But it's not like, 'shutout-or-bust'. It's not that kind of an attitude."

On the continuity of play: "I thought it was a little disjointed at times. I thought at times we had some good combinations. I thought Burch did a very good job in the first half of playing some balls down the line. We were trying to get behind him and I thought we did that well in the first half - there were a lot of good balls that he played. But at times it was a little bit disjointed. Part of that is also the way Houston plays and the pressure they put on you. They're always coming at you and trying to get a piece of the ball."

On the continuity between the goalkeeper and the defense: "Obviously every time you get a shutout it's everybody. It's David Estrada chasing back at times, it's Roger pinching in, Flaco I thought helped out as well defensively and did a good job of making sure Hainault didn't get forward, but you look at it now and if you include the Santos game we've played seven different guys in the back. But I feel confident in all of those guys and their defending. Michael knows them and he's played behind them, so it doesn't make that much of a difference as to who's playing. I think they have a good understanding of each other."

On if he will stick with Roger Levesque in the starting lineup at midfielder: "We'll see. We've got to see how guys recover from injuries right now, where we're at, how the matchups look for us. As we play San Jose we'll take a look."

On Mauro Rosales' status: "He's already started jogging at this point, so it's a matter of we see how he does day-to-day. He did some good work yesterday, did a little bit today and we'll see."

Michael Gspurning

On the game: "The game was tough. We knew we had to fight today. It was a very decent game. They showed today that they are a good team and they were not for nothing in the final last season. We knew this before, we took the fight, and we won. It's great. Maybe we can play better soccer, but on the fighting and defense-wise, (it) was great stuff."

On defending Houston's corner kicks: "These balls are always tough but we did our job. [Goalkeeping coach Tom Dutra] told me the whole week that those balls are coming because they have amazing corner kicks and free kicks, so I was prepared. I was prepared for it and I'm happy I've done the job."

David Estrada

On his first goal: "It was a deflection, obviously, but I think it might have been going on target."

On what they were doing right on offense: "We were just stretching them, I think. We knew they were going to be physical, and they were absolutely physical. I felt it the whole night - bumping, pinching - but we made them work and I think that's what opened the game up for us."

On his celebration: "Everything that I hit is going in. It's luck, but I work so hard for it and thankfully it went in."

On his mentality scoring four goals in two MLS matches: "It's the same. I keep myself grounded and I keep working. I think I do some things when I don't have the ball that the coaches really like. If that's what is going to keep me on the field, then I'm more than willing to do that."

Brad Evans

On getting hurt and coming out: "I felt it on the ball that Burch played through in the second half and I played the next five minutes on it and just figured there's twenty minutes left in the game, better safe than sorry."

On the penalty kick and being 3 for 3 last year: "It's just about having confidence, stepping up, picking your spot and taking it. If the keeper saves it, it should be a good save. Sometimes you have to mix it up and with a little confidence there and stepping up it's a chance to go two-nothing up and create a gap for us going into halftime. It's just the same as in the past."

On both of the goals coming from set pieces: "That's what we work on after almost every practice is set pieces. Even though we're playing against a very good team defensively ... we found a way to score both of our goals basically from them. The first one was a clearance in or out against good challenge and gets a fortunate bounce on that shot. The next one was a PK on the corner kick. You don't think going into this game you're going to get two off of set pieces but that's why we practice them. We could have gone three-nil up and created a good gap but at least we get two."

On the right side: "It becomes a different game when those two guys are out. Through the week we had a week to prepare with Roger on the right and Zach coming in two days ago so you know what you're going to get every time from those two, it's going to be hard, solid work. Is it as creative? No. Are the crosses coming in? No. But defensively it helps out a lot especially against a team with Brad Davis who was one of the best players in the league and he'll probably do the same this year. He was not a non-factor but the guys hit very well defensively against him."

Houston Dynamo

Dominic Kinnear - Head Coach

On taking away any positives from the match tonight: "We played pretty good tonight. We had about a 10-minute spell there in the first half where we kind of lost our way up to a little bit of luck and then the penalty - I've got to take a look at it again, it's hard to tell. You call a penalty on a corner ... I think every corner you can call a penalty. It's just the way it went. We lost our way for a little bit, but all-in-all I thought it was a good, spirited performance by us. We got that last little area where we weren't putting in the killer ball and that's the way the game went."

On how Geoff Cameron was at halftime after an unfortunate first half: "He was fine. I said to the guys in here to just get those 10 minutes out of the way, if we can get a goal that brings our way up and puts some pressure on them. We were fine at halftime."

On earning six points out of a possible nine on their current road trip: "That's good. I think when you take a step back, it is. But you look at tonight and you see we've lost our first game of the year, albeit to a good team. But yeah, six out of nine, winning your first two out of three - it could be a lot worse."

On being the only Eastern Conference team to have won out west this year: "That doesn't matter. We're just trying to beat whoever we play. It doesn't matter if it's East or West."

On if he is feeling an extra buzz about soccer with a new stadium in Houston: "We're still a little bit away. I think once we get to the closing week and we get to train inside the stadium ... I think the whole build up to the game on May 12 there will be a great buzz about the place I think. We've been there for six years now, I think we're pretty well respected as far as a professional sports franchise, but we've always been renting and now we have our own place. I think it definitely cements us as a franchise that's going to stay and build in the community. I'm thrilled it's going to happen. I'm not too excited now because there are still four games to go before we do get that May 12 game. But you talk to me on May 10 or May 11, I'll have butterflies and for many good reasons."

Geoff Cameron

On the result: "I thought we played pretty well. We came out pretty sharp in the first half. We had opportunities. There were seven minutes that were bad. I don't think it was a PK ... the deflection ... it didn't go our way, but I thought we played pretty well. We did some good things and I think we've got to hold our heads up high. Deflections are part of the game. We should have had a PK toward the end - same call - unfortunate, but you've got to take the good out of this game and we've got a couple weekends off to be focused for Chicago."

On what some of the good things he saw were: "We switched the fields, we had play, one, two-touch, in and out - outside mid to center mid to forwards holding up the ball, laying off. We did some really good things. We didn't finish the opportunities. But that's something to be proud of, that we had some of our best soccer this year. Just watching from the back we played them off the clock for 15-20 minutes at a time, but you get those two opportunities in those seven minutes that we weren't really together - the deflection and the PK kind of bites you in the butt."

On the penalty kick: "I don't think it was a penalty. He's going for the ball, gave him a nudge like any other guy would do and what not. I don't want to get myself in trouble, but I don't think it was a PK. He got the ball, did just enough to get him off-balanced a little bit. It's just one of those things."