2012 May 19

Sounders salvage a draw in the 90th minute at Vancouver

Vancouver Whitecaps  2 - 2  Seattle Sounders FC

BC Place, Vancouver, BC

12' VAN: Alain Rochat (Omar Salgado)
47' SEA: Eddie Johnson (Mauro Rosales, Fredy Montero)
83' VAN: Camilo Sanvezzo
90' SEA: Fredy Montero (Eddie Johnson)

Vancouver: Joe Cannon; Lee Young-Pyo, Martin Bonjour, Jay DeMerit, Alain Rochat; Gershon Koffie, Jun Marques Davidson, Davide Chiumiento (Camilo Sanvezzo 80'), Sebastien Le Toux; Darren Mattocks (Eric Hassli 64'), Omar Salgado (John Thorrington 74').
Substitutes not used: Jordan Harvey, Etienne Barbara, Matt Watson, Brad Knighton.

Seattle: Bryan Meredith; Adam Johansson, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch (Zach Scott 85'); Mauro Rosales, Osvaldo Alonso, Alex Caskey (Andy Rose 46'), Alvaro Fernandez (David Estrada 72'); Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson.
Substitutes not used: Andrew Weber, Roger Levesque, Sammy Ochoa, Cordell Cato.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

The Seattle Sounders twice came back to manage a draw in this year's first Cascadia Cup contest, played at the newly renovated BC Place in Vancouver. Alain Rochat's first-half goal was answered by Eddie Johnson early in the second half. Camilo Sanvezzo put the host Whitecaps back in the lead shortly after he entered, setting the stage for a dramatic 90th-minute equalizer by Fredy Montero.

For Seattle, it was the first league match with their four top offensive weapons (Montero, Eddie Johnson, Alvaro Fernandez, and Mauro Rosales) starting together.

Seattle's defense was often disorganized in the first half, starting in minute one when Omar Salgado charted a course up the middle to the 18, where it took an outstanding tackle by Jeff Parke to end the threat.

Seattle earned two early free kicks in promising locations, but both times Vancouver's defense cleared dangerous crosses.

12' VAN: Rochat (Salgado). Salgado fed Rochat's overlapping run up the left touch line and no Sounder stepped up to cover for right back Adam Johansson, who was upfield marking another attacker. Rochat had an easy path all the way to goal, where he waited for goalkeeper Bryan Meredith to commit to the near side before shooting to the far side. It was the first shot of the match. 1-0 Vancouver.

At 34' Salgado had only Meredith to beat after Parke slipped and fell, but the shot went wide of the far post. At 42' Mattocks was perhaps offside when he got close, but he also shot wide of the far post.

Seattle's best chance of the first half came at the end when a broken free kick play was kept alive to give Johnson a close shot, sent wide of the far post. Up until that point, Seattle just couldn't connect on passes in the final third.

Vancouver opened the second half quickly with a gift to Darren Mattocks on a bad backpass, but Mattocks wasted the chance high and wide.

47' SEA: Johnson (Rosales, Montero). The Sounders finally showed skill in the final third as Montero passed to Rosales running up the right side for an unpressured cross. The service was for the far-post run, and Fernandez, Montero and Johnson all converged on it. It was Johnson who got up to win the cross and he headed it nicely back across goal to the top corner. 1-1.

The next ten minutes saw three fine shots from Montero, all saved well by Joe Cannon. A cleared Seattle corner kick got second life when substitute Andy Rose crossed to Johnson, who headed the ball in front of goal for a quick turn and shot by Montero, but Cannon correctly anticipated the aim. The rebound off that shot was cleared, but Seattle headed it back in front of goal for a header close in by Montero, caught by Cannon. Finally, a nice hard shot from 20 up the middle by Montero was swatted just wide of the post by Cannon.

Then the momentum shifted to Vancouver. Davide Chiumiento won a contested ball in the penalty area and backheeled a nice pass to Mattocks, who was dismayed when he volleyed his unpressured shot high over the bar. Big Eric Hassli replaced Mattocks and soon earned shots. From a free kick play, Rochat's cross to the far post was won by Hassli between two defenders and the headed shot bounced inches wide of the far post. Then he volleyed Gershon Koffie's nice cross high and wide in an attempt to repeat his recent goal from a power volley. Chiumiento had his chance at 80', curling a shot inches wide of the lower near corner from the 18.

83' VAN: Sanvezzo. Just three minutes after entering the match as a substitute, Sanvezzo took a long free kick that went just over the crowd. Two Vancouver players tried to get a head on the service, but couldn't quite reach it. Untouched, the ball bounced in front of goal and went in just inside the far post, to the dismay of Meredith. 2-1 Vancouver.

90' SEA: Montero (Johnson). It was long ball prayer time for Seattle, and the prayers were answered. A long release by Meredith went down the middle of the pitch and about 30 yards from goal Johnson got impressingly high up over Martin Bonjour to head the ball to Montero at the left end of the arc. Jay DeMerit took a sliding stab at the ball, but Montero eluded the challenge and shifted the ball sideways to the middle of the arc, where he was surrounded by five defenders but managed to curl a beauty of a shot inside the far post, stunning the home crowd. 2-2.

There was one chance for a win and it came off a Seattle free kick to the side of the penalty area. Montero took the free kick and found substitute Zach Scott's head for a powerful header, but it missed the top near corner by a yard.

The Sounders will not be happy about the two goals they conceded, but it always feels like an accomplishment to earn a draw with a goal that has a time stamp of 90'.

          VAN   SEA
Shots:     11    11
Saves:      4     0
Corners:    2     6
Fouls:     10    13
Offsides:   2     0

84' VAN: Koffie cautioned for tripping Alonso
90' VAN: Sanvezzo cautioned for taking out Rosales' legs from behind

Referees: Frank Stott; Frank Anderson, Brian Poeschel; Yader Reyes

Attendance: 21,000

Post-Match Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Sigi Schmid - Head Coach

What changed in the second half?: "In the first half we didn't do a good job against the central part of their midfield. Davidson was free a lot to orchestrate it and they were constantly playing three against two. What we did at halftime is we dropped Montero into that hole a little bit to deal with Davidson and played more of a 4-3-2-1 to match up a little bit better with that. Also, the guys I think were a little more honest. I think we cheated a little bit defensively in the first half and that gave them opportunities. In the second half, we did a better job of that."

Had the match been a couple minutes longer, think you would've had a chance to win it?: "Well, we almost had one there with Zach Scott at the very end. Obviously when they went up 2-1 they thought they pretty much had it, and Fredy Montero scores a great goal off Eddie Johnson's flick. And then Zach had a good look at that header. We were fortunate a little bit that Mattocks didn't have a good day finishing, because he had some good opportunities. This is what derby games are all about. I think it was a great game for the fans."

What did Andy Rose bring to the game?: "Once we decided that we were going to play more of a 4-2-3-1, I thought Andy would be a better option than Caskey in there. Also, their height was something that was causing us some problems on set pieces and free kicks, so Andy's a good header of the ball. I thought Andy came in and played very well."

What'd you think of the attacking four for the first time?: "It's still a little bit disjointed. I think Mauro's still not playing his best right now, but I know it will come. For Flaco, this was his first start in a long time, so his rhythm and his timing is going to come, as well. It's a matter of us understanding how to put those four guys on the field together. I thought in the second half, when we made that change of dropping Fredy in behind and letting Eddie play solo as a sole striker up front, I think the four combined a lot better."

On Montero scoring five goals in three Cascadia road games: "He likes scoring goals all the time. These games are very emotional games and the home team gets their crowd behind them and sometimes maybe goes a little more forward. If you leave a little bit of space Montero can exploit that. But I'm happy he got that one today."

Were there some times in the second half when you saw what you envisioned with the guys up front?: "Yeah, it was better in the second half for sure, and I still don't think we're sharp, per se. We're missing a lot of defenders; guys are out injured, Leo Gonzalez and Patrick Ianni. I think Marc Burch is a little bit tired, so our passing out of the back wasn't as good as I would like it to be. In terms of the front four, I thought it was much better in the second half. Obviously Evans in there helps us, as well, if he's in there. But I thought the front four was much better in the second half."

On deciding to move Montero back a bit: "It's sort of a work in progress. We haven't had those four guys on the field yet this year. So you sort of think it might look like this, but then when you get them out there it doesn't look like that. You have to tweak it and you have to adjust it a little bit. I've always been a coach where it's not that you have to play my system. It's about let's create something that allows you to take advantage of your talent. That's why we made the change at halftime, because we said this isn't working. We almost had like four guys up in a line in the first half. That wasn't being successful. Once we dropped Fredy in, then the combinations were there. Fredy opened up; he had some looks. He had a shot where Cannon makes the save, but it was a tremendous hit. So the arrangement of those four was much better in the second half."

On having multiple scoring options: "Certainly, Eddie's contributed goals. Fredy is a guy who can score goals for us. I think Flaco last year showed he can score goals for us. He'll find that touch again. Mauro has the ability to come and get goals. Yeah, I think we the ability where there's different people who can come up at different times."

Did the Chelsea game become a little bit more fun this summer?: "Yeah. Obviously it's great when you're playing against the Champions League winners. That's a great thrill for our club and I think it should be a great day for our fans. Chelsea, deservedly with the trophy, gets a chance to honor their team on this tour, as well. It'll be a great day."

Fredy Montero

Can you take us through that goal?: "It was a header to me by Eddie Johnson. I just faked one and tried to put the ball in the far post. It was good."

Nice to get one by Cannon after he stopped you three times in the second half?: "Yeah, yeah. I was looking to score that goal, but he was right there at the moment where the ball was going. At the end of the game, I have my chance and I score again."

On having success on the road in Cascadia games: "I mean it's always good to have goals in these kinds of games. I'm really happy about that. I'm really happy because it's always good to get points away, but obviously we need to get better for the next game."

Did the second half show some glimpses of what you might be?: "Yeah, for sure. We knew we were better than we showed in the first half, but this is soccer. After the start of the second half we had opportunities to tie the game. Yeah, we had some success before the end of the game. It was lucky for us to score that goal and get 2-2."

Does it feel like it's just the beginning of something?: "Yeah, yeah. Definitely. It's going to be a long, long season, so we just need to get really good at what we need to do. I'm happy because Eddie Johnson scored a goal, Mauro crossed the ball and I had the opportunity to score, too, again."

What did you think of Vancouver?: "I mean it doesn't matter what kinds of players they have out there; it's always like the game you want to win because of the rivalry between Seattle, Portland and Vancouver. So it's good for us to tie here. Hopefully at the game in the Seattle, we can get the victory."

Do you think you came out flat in the first half?: "I don't want to say flat, but goals change the games. We got the opportunity to score really early in the second half and it was the beginning to start playing a little better. I don't want to say we played well, but always when you get points away, it is really good for the team."

How'd you feel about dropping back into the midfield a bit more?: "I don't mind coming back and get the ball. It is what I know. It is what I want to do for the team. At the end of the game, I got the opportunity to score really far from the goalie. It was out of the box. I like to do that, too."

On the traveling support: "It is a long trip, three hours driving, it is always good to go back home with a victory or at least don't lose the game. We did as much as we can and it is a good point for us."

Mauro Rosales

On the Whitecaps: "I think they're a very good team now. They've grown as a team and they're showing that they're on a good level. They have many good players plus a fantastic stadium that they have -- all the fans coming to support them. Whitecaps in their second year already they show that they are in the MLS for something and they're working towards it. It's very good for the league. Personally, I enjoy to play here and to play this kind of a game. It was a battle to the last minute and I think for people who like football this is one of the best rivalries for fans to support."

On the game: "In the second half we dominated, but in the first half they dominated. We could've scored in the second half late in the game, but I think we've been in many situations trying to score at least one and we had a good game. We need to keep going like this. We were playing away, and they're a very good team so I think it's a good point to take in the last five minutes."

Eddie Johnson

What'd you think of the first taste of the Cascadia rivalry?: "It was good. In my career, (I've been) fortunate to play in a couple derbies, some big games. I knew the importance of the game. In these games you try not to get caught up in the rivalry so much and just try and relax and play your game. But I thought the first half was really difficult. I though they came out with a better mentality. We were a bit flat. They were able to score early in the game. I thought we made some adjustments at halftime and we came out better in the second half. We were fortunate to fight through the second half and get two goals and come out of here with something."

On playing against Jay DeMerit, where it got a little chippy at times: "I've had a chance to play with Jay on the national team, and when he was at Watford I used to play against him when I was in England. I know Jay is a physical guy. I knew he was going to be physical today. I know he doesn't like running out of the width of his 18-yard box, so I knew if I stayed more central it was going to be tough. I was just trying to work him around the pitch today and I thought he battled great. I though he was hard to play against. But in these games it's not pretty soccer all the time. It's about when you get your opportunities, you've got to try and capitalize on them because you don't get that many, especially in a big rivalry like this. Credit to our team we showed a lot of character going down and them having the majority of the chances in the second half. We came out with a better mentality. Hats off to our team today."

Did anything change knowing they'd have some tired legs having played Wednesday?: "No. This is our first week with an extra few days of rest. We had five games in 15 days, so we hit a wall, too, I thought in the last 20 minutes. But it just goes the character of the team and the (veteran leadership) of the team. Like I said, it could've gone one of two ways. But we went the right way. We didn't give up. We didn't put our heads down. We didn't start moaning and stuff, and pointing fingers. The most important things is we know that we're a team that can create opportunities. We believe in our ability and we came out and credit to Fredy on the last goal. It was a pretty special individual play by him."

On his goal: "It was one of those goals with good buildup. Whenever the ball goes out wide to Mauro it was just trying to get in the box between the two center backs. I think for the first time tonight I was free on goal where I wasn't battling with one of the defenders. It was a well-crossed ball. I think him and I are starting to develop a little partnership. Of the three of the goals I've had, he's assisted on two of them. Whenever the ball gets out wide to Mauro we know he's a good passer of the ball and I was just trying to do what us forwards get paid to do, which is score goals when the ball comes in. I was very fortunate and blessed today to get on the end of one."

On the attacking four coming together: "It's coming. It's not coming as fast as we thought it would. Like I said, we've had some injuries. Guys haven't been able to play on a consistent basis together. We know Flaco's not 100-percent fitness-wise, but we know what he brings to the table. Whoever Sigi puts on the field, we've got each other's back 100-percent. We're confident in whoever he puts on the field. Again, credit to the team again today. Massive, massive point today. In these rivalry games, you don't know how much that means for our fans to leave with something. They drove all the way up here, came out to support us, it would've been sad to go home with nothing. Having them there the whole game, rooting us on, we pulled it off for them."

Was the second half tip of the iceberg for what this could be?: "Yeah, the coach is smart. He changed the formation in the second half. He dropped Fredy a bit deeper in the midfield. We played five in the midfield and left me up top, because they were having a lot of success with their holding midfielder dictating the game in the first half. Because Fredy and I were so spread apart, they were able to play between us, get him the ball and dictate the flow of the game. Sigi made the tactical change and worked out well. We had a lot of success in the second half and we just want to build off these positives. We were able to come back and that says a lot about the character on this team. Like I said, huge, huge point for us today."

On seeing 1,000 fans traveling to the game: "It just goes to show you how big the fan base is in Seattle. It's unbelievable ... It just goes to show you how passionate our fans are and how big the organization is in Seattle and how big soccer is in Seattle. Hopefully we can keep doing well. The better we do, the more support we get on these away games. Like I said, as a team it's good to come away with a point. We wanted the three points, but most important for our fans -- from me to them -- I know how much it means to them. I was glad we were able to come out with the point and send them back to Seattle with something positive."

Bryan Meredith

On Vancouver's late goal: "It was tough -- a free kick on the right-hand side, a ball curling in and unfortunately our line dropped a little too deep. They were able to pin us in ... We just weren't able to clear the ball and it snuck in the back of the net."

It seemed like they had a lot of chances: "They're a good team, especially going forward. They're very dynamic, very good going forward. I think, again, we did well in the back. We gave away a few fouls that I wish we didn't, but I think we did well in the back, just a bit unfortunate to give up two goals."

On the first goal: "Yeah, that was also unfortunate. Mauro got stuck up high and Adam got beat down the line ... I don't really know exactly what it was, but instead of having everyone shift over, we kind of just hung out inside. It was a good finish, but he had all day really."

On managing a difficult situation on the second goal: "It's tough. You kind of just got to take a quick peek every once in a while and follow it along. A lot of it has to do with feel -- you kind of feel where the bodies are around you, as well."

Vancouver Whitecaps

Martin Rennie - Head Coach

Thoughts on the match: "It was an exciting game for the fans. Both teams put a lot into the game. For us, it was one of the best performances of the season. We showed a lot of passion, hunger and quality at times, but it's a bit disappointing not to come out with a win. We probably had three one-on-one chances and didn't hit the target and that's disappointing at this level because that makes a big difference to the game. We also lost a goal in the 90th minute through poor defending. It was a fantastic strike by Montero. We played well enough to win the game today, but at the same time we made a bunch of technical breakdowns which cost us the win. This afternoon was a day to see how far we've come so far, especially against one the league's top teams."

On Montero's goal: "It was a cross from the right-hand side, which we needed to stop. Second of all, Montero got between our defenders and that's criminal because there was no one on the further side for us to mark. We dived in a little at the edge of the box and he was clinical with his finish."

On Darren Mattocks: "I thought he was fantastic today with his movement. Obviously he has to improve on his finishing. He caused a lot of problems along with Omar on the other side. You have to give guys a chance to see if they're up to the level and those guys absolutely showed they are. They will be exciting top-tier players for the Whitecaps over time and it's exciting for us to have them and it's also great for us to have Camilo and Hassli to come on. Darren is a pretty clinical finisher normally, but he has to continue working on his game. He will get goal-scoring chances because of the pace of his play and his ability to hold the ball. Everything aside from the two missed chances was excellent. Perhaps he's a bit rusty, but it's probably the biggest game he's played in his life and I thought he handled it fantastically well."

Darren Mattocks

On his scoring chances: "Seattle's a very good team and a physical team. For myself to create so many chances is really good for the team. I think we're up there with the best teams in the league. We've just got to move forward from here and see what next week brings in Toronto."

On coming back from his injury: "I was excited and I gave my team a good start. This is my first start of the season, but give me a couple of games and I'll be firing on all cylinders."

Jay DeMerit

Thoughts on the match: "Anytime you end a game in a draw, it feels like a loss. That's the best we've played all season and it's a great thing to build on. If we play like that every week then I think we'll come off on the winning end a lot more than other times. It was kind of a bittersweet game. We still got a point and that's a positive. It's better than losing the game, but when you tie games like that, it hurts a little bit more, so hopefully it'll give us some fire heading into the next game."

On the teams' rivalry: "This is what it's all about. These Cascadia Cup games are really important for the teams, but also for the fans. I really enjoyed the atmosphere down to the battle. We had a couple of chances to finish the game and we didn't do that, but those are great learning experiences. It's good to have that at the beginning of the season. We look forward to the next one."

Alain Rochat

Thoughts on the match: "In BC Place, we don't fear anyone. No matter who's coming, we try to play our game and continue to focus on winning. We were close to a big win this afternoon, but we have a lot more games to play."

On his goal: "I was surprised to go through everyone. I was looking for an option, but it was open for me to go straight to the goal so I didn't hesitate."

Davide Chiumiento

Thoughts on the match: "I thought it was a good game and maybe one of the best from our side. Against Toronto, I don't think we played a great game, but today after the game, I think we played our best game. For our fans and people that came to the game, I think they saw an exciting game."

Thoughts on his play: "Maybe it's my fault, but I have to understand that fouls here are different than in Europe. A couple of referees need time to blow the whistle. Sometimes I thought I was fouled, but if they don't want to give it, it's OK."