2012 May 30

Sounders open US Open Cup defense by swamping the Atlanta Silverbacks with a tidal wave of shots

Seattle Sounders FC  5 - 1  Atlanta Silverbacks

Starfire Stadium, Tukwila, WA

44' SEA: David Rose (Jeff Parke)
47' SEA: Osvaldo Alonso (Cordell Cato)

53' ATL: Reinaldo Navia (Shane Maroney)
54' SEA: Alex Caskey
62' SEA: Sammy Ochoa (Osvaldo Alonso)
66' SEA: Sammy Ochoa

Seattle: Bryan Meredith; Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch; Alex Caskey, Osvaldo Alonso (Servando Carrasco 72'), Andy Rose, Cordell Cato; Sammy Ochoa (Roger Levesque 69'), Eddie Johnson (David Estrada 46').
Substitutes not used: Andrew Weber, Brad Evans, Christian Sivebęk, Fredy Montero.

Atlanta: Joe Nasco; Shane Moroney, Martyn Lancaster, Jose Burciaga Jr; Raphael Cox, Tony McManus (Jordan Davis 84'), Ciaran O'Brien, Danilo Turcois, Borfor Carr (David Santamaria 72'); Matt Horth (Nico Colaluca 63'), Reinaldo Navia.
Substitutes not used: Daniel Ilyes, Lucas Paulini, Willie Hunt, Lindemar Ferreira.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

The Seattle Sounders FC, winners of the US Open Cup the past three years, opened their defense of the cup at Starfire Stadium with a 5-1 win over the Atlanta Silverbacks of the current rendition of the North American Soccer League.

The Silverbacks kept the match scoreless until the final minute of the first half, when Andy Rose sent the Sounders into the locker room with a lead. The goals came rapid fire at the start of the second half. Osvaldo Alonso scored an insurance goal that was necessary, as Reinaldo Navia promptly brought Atlanta back within a goal. Even more promptly Alex Caskey added to the Sounders tally before Sammy Ochoa closed the scoring with a brace.

Atlanta played well to keep the scoreboard empty for the first 43 minutes. Seattle outshot Atlanta 11-4 in the first half, but Seattle weren't finishing the shots until just before halftime.

Ochoa took the first shot, turning on goal after winning a loose ball in Atlanta's end, and he shot well over the bar. Then soon Alonso had his first try when he received a drop pass at the corner of the penalty area, but he leaned back on the shot and missed over the bar. Cordell Cato was sending in some dangerous crosses, and at 17' goalkeeper Joe Nasco had to push one onto the roof to keep it from sneaking in.

At 19' Seattle's best chance yet came when Cato set up Eddie Johnson with a square cross in front of goal, but Johnson booted it over the bar from 7 yards.

Atlanta's first good shot came two minutes later when Tacoma native Raphael Cox fired a 20-yarder a yard over the bar.

Johnson forced the first save when he headed Rose's cross on goal, but it didn't trouble Nasco.

Atlanta came very close a half hour in when local native and ex-USL Sounder Ciaran O'Brien set up Borfor Carr for a cross that Shane Moroney shot just over the bar. Bryan Meredith's first save was necessary when Jose Burciaga shot from distance after a cleared Atlanta free kick.

At 36' it was nearly a nightmare for the Silverbacks when Nasco ventured 35 yards from goal to clear a ball and collided with his own defender, spilling them both to the ground. From the halfway line Alonso shot at the empty net, but Nasco got back just in time to push the ball wide of goal, and some thought he may have handled it outside the penalty area. The assistant referee did not wiggle his flag and was probably correct, but it would be interesting to see a replay on the telly.

Caskey tried to open his account twice as halftime approached, first driving a shot from the arc an inch over the bar, then corkscrewing a 20-yarder that Nasco pushed wide.

44' SEA: Rose (Parke). On a corner kick play, Johnson crossed to Jeff Parke 15 yards from goal, and Parke chested it away from goal to Rose at the right end of the arc. Rose was given a moment to measure his shot before pulling the trigger, and he rocketed the ball inside the far post. 1-0 Seattle.

47' SEA: Alonso (Cato). Seattle wasted no time in getting on the scoreboard again after intermission. The ball was passed to Cato on the right, and after holding the ball a few moments he sent a perfectly weighted through ball in front of Alonso's run toward the near post. Alonso shot a worm burner into the lower far corner, beating Nasco. 2-0 Seattle.

53' ATL: Navia (Moroney). Atlanta struck suddenly when Shane Moroney's cross from the right side found Navia at the far end of the arc. Parke was there, but failed to block as Navia shot quickly and hit the lower far corner nicely. 2-1 Seattle.

54' SEA: Caskey. Seattle immediately answered back. Caskey won a loose ball and carried it into the penalty area with purpose. He outmaneuvered two defenders to fire a hard shot into the lower far corner. 3-1 Seattle.

Three of the first four shots of the second half had found net.

Cato had a good look when Ochoa, playing the target forward, fed a nice through ball. Cato fired hard, beating Nasco, but hitting the far post squarely.

Just shy of the hour mark there was a relatively minor altercation involving several players after Navia fouled defender Marc Burch late in front of the Atlanta banch. After some pushing each way, a yellow card went each way, accepted by Burch and Navia.

62' SEA: Ochoa (Alonso). On a counterattack, Alonso carried the ball into open space in the middle, then served Ochoa's run on the left. Ochoa muscled off his marker and powered a left-footed shot inside the near post off Nasco's hand. 4-1 Seattle.

66' SEA: Ochoa. On another Seattle attack with Atlanta pushed forward, substitute David Estrada worked to the 18-yard line for a shot that was immediately blocked. The rebound went sideways to the opposite side, where Ochoa was open to run onto it. He bent a left-footer beautifully inside the far post. 5-1 Seattle.

Atlanta's last good opportunity came when Parke gifted a turnover to Tony McManus, who then feinted to get around Parke for a 20-yard shot that was well saved overhead by Meredith.

The shots kept coming from Seattle, with substitutes Servando Carrasco, Estrada, and Roger Levesque all getting their chances. The Sounders outshot Atlanta 16-3 in the second half, finishing four of them.

In the fourth round of the tournament, the Sounders will next week host Cal FC (US Adult Soccer Association), who beat the Portland Timbers 1-0 after extra time. Some local soccer fans will remember Cal FC as the team that eliminated the Kitsap Pumas in round 1 earlier this spring. With the Timbers falling, 8 of 16 MLS teams were eliminated in round 3, the round where they enter.

          SEA   ATL
Shots:     27     7
Saves:      3     9
Corners:   11     2
Fouls:      5    12
Offsides:   3     3

59' SEA: Burch cautioned for retaliating after an Atlanta foul
59' ATL: Navia cautioned for pushing in further retaliation
88' ATL: Davis cautioned for knocking Cato down from behind

Referees: Josh Wilkins; Ron Lagraff, Jeremy Hanson; Chipalo Street

Attendance: 3,703

Post-Match Quotes

Sounders Head Coach Sigi Schmid

On the result: "It's always a lot more fun when you score goals. It makes it a lot easier. Getting the goal early in the second half helped us. And then the response when we got the third goal - Caskey's response to their goal right away I think is really what finished the game off. Then after that we were a little bit unlucky not to get more. Their keeper came up with some big saves, Cato hits the post - he probably deserved a goal for his effort tonight. But I was pleased with what the guys did and it was good to see them score goals."

On the first half of play: "Well, we got chances. I think Eddie Johnson had a really good look on a ball by Cato. We had the one that Ozzie hit - the question was whether the goalkeeper touched the ball out of the box or inside the box on that one, but that was definitely going. We had a couple opportunities as well where we were around and our shots, or just our final pass weren't that good. But we were putting pressure on and definitely you just felt it was a matter of time."

On Sammy Ochoa making the most of his minutes tonight: "Definitely. Obviously, Ochoa - I don't know if he can remember the last time he scored two goals with his left foot in a game, because he got them both with his left. They were well finished, both goals. That's the way he can play. We just need him to come out like that all the time. It was a good opportunity for him. I thought Cordell did very well. I thought Alex Caskey played very well, Rose continues to do well for us all the time, so it was a good performance by those guys and they took their opportunity well."

On if he thought they could open up the game after that first goal was scored: "Yeah, you're hoping so. Sometimes you're a little hesitant because that one doesn't seem to come right away. The timing of the one from Andy right before halftime was really important as well for us, so that sort of set things up for the second half."

On what it will take for Sammy Ochoa to gain playing time in MLS: "It's just consistency of training habits. It's not always fitness. It's frustrating sometimes when you're having to train and you don't always get into games and you haven't had a lot of reserve games. It gets frustrating and sometimes you've got to be a special person to sort of push through that and continue to perform every day at practice. Obviously, Estrada has done well up front and he's gotten goals and Montero and Eddie Johnson got some goals there, so it was hard to break past those guys as well."

On if the Sounders lineup changed tonight based on the many MLS teams that lost their Open Cup games yesterday: "No. We didn't have Ianni. We didn't have Johansson. We didn't have Gonzales. We didn't play Evans, we didn't play Fernandez, we didn't play Rosales, we didn't play Fredy. So I don't think anybody can complain and say, 'Oh, they just brought out a heavy team.' We brought out who we had to play in the back and then in our front six we brought out five guys with fresh legs to get out there and play. Ozzie hadn't played the last game, so it was an opportunity for him to play. I think it's a reflection of the depth of this team, and Gspurning - we haven't talked about him. So right there you're adding up eight players and I think any of those eight could replace those guys that are on the field and we could keep the same rhythm and that's the thing that hurt us toward the end of that phase where we struggled a little bit in the league."

On the success of non-MLS clubs yesterday: "You never know what happens in these games. I watched a lot of the games last night. I watched part of Columbus' game, I saw Dallas' game in parts, I saw Chicago's game, so I saw a lot of teams and these teams are going to come and battle. If Caskey doesn't respond with the third goal after they make it 2-1, maybe the game changes a little bit."

On if he reminded his players about the struggles of MLS teams yesterday in the Open Cup: "Yeah, it was obviously good because we talked about it. We said, 'Hey, last night 14 MLS teams played and seven went home. And three of them lost at home.' The guys thought I had forgotten about Salt Lake, but I left Salt Lake for the end because they said Dallas lost at home and Columbus lost at home, but Salt Lake, their ownership went out and gave them the opportunity to play at home and they had a great crowd and yet they didn't come through. Obviously, coach knows better than I, but it's a game that you can never take too lightly because the moment you take it lightly is the moment you're going to get caught."

Andy Rose

On the result: "That was main thing we wanted - the past four games we haven't been able to score first. So that was the main thing, get the first goal and then we knew that would open up gaps in the back and obviously we had some great gaps. Sammy comes in and he does a great job and scores two fantastic goals. The main thing we wanted to do was put on a good show for the fans and score some goals."

On the goal he scored that started the Sounders' run: "I was lucky with the bounce. It was a good play from the corner kick. Jeff put it up perfectly for me and I was able to make it come back."

On if he can feel the importance of these U.S. Open Cup matches: "The atmosphere at Starfire is incredible and you really get pumped up with the fans on top of you like that. I still get goosebumps when I walk out at CenturyLink - it's just incredible. Obviously, three times in a row you understand the importance of it and we'd love to go on and win a fourth."

Sammy Ochoa

On the team effort in the second half: "It was that time. We knew they were going to come out strong in the second half, so we just came out with the same mentality we had at the end of the first half. We just came out and got a quick goal and we went from there."

On his two goals tonight: "Ozzie got the ball and I tried to stay onside. I was onside and he played a great ball through and I got the shot off on time and away. The second goal I saw the ball come to me. Estrada was one-on-one with a defender, the defender blocked him and the ball was coming at me and I decided to hit it with my left foot and it went in."

On the atmosphere at Starfire Sports Complex: "It was good. It was my first game here at Starfire and it's a nice atmosphere. It's great. It's not like CenturyLink, but it's a good atsmophere. It's a good place to play."

On learning what the U.S. Open Cup means to this franchise: "Yeah, we've won three times in a row, so it's pretty big. For us we take everything seriously. It's good to be out here and enjoy it with all these fans, too."

On if they thought they could break the game open after scoring that first goal: "Yeah, we were just trying to play zero in the back and we knew when we had one the rest were going to come."

On capitalizing on the playing time tonight and hoping that play time will continue moving forward in MLS: "Yeah, he told us this was an opportunity for us to play well. I take whatever. Five minutes, 10 minutes - I take every opportunity. We haven't been doing well the last four games, but this game is going to help us out a lot."

Atlanta Silverbacks

Alex Pineda Chacon - Head Coach

On the game: "I think Seattle played an amazing game, especially the second half. The second half was the difference-they played with more speed up top, they changed the rhythm more than us. I would like to say the first half for us was wonderful. We played so good. Tactically, we played the game very well and we were very disciplined. Unfortunately, they scored a goal in the 44th minute, and it changed a little bit in the second half because they scored an early goal. Even after that, we scored the goal to make it 2-1, but again they came back and scored the third one. So we started to really play again like we did [in the first half], but after that they played much better than us in the last 25-30 minutes."

On what they were doing well in the first half: "We tried to stretch the team a little bit more. That way the fullbacks never went forward, except for one time. So we tried to keep the fullbacks really busy with three on top, and we had success. We got a lot of people in the final third. We had five players in the final third and we created some opportunities. Unfortunately we didn't put it in."

On playing a team from a higher division and gauging his team's success: "I think it was a good experience for the younger players that we have. Obviously we have some experienced players like Tucois and Navia, but overall for the whole I think we learned a lot. We are going to get this form and compete in our league, in NASL. We have to get some points over there, we have to focus over there, and with this experience I think we won more than lose."

Ciaran O'Brien

On the game: "It was a bummer to give up a goal right before halftime. I think that killed us. And then right away, right when we came back in. To be fair, they're better. They're better on the ball. They're more organized, touch, passing, every aspect they were better, and they definitely deserve it. They deserved to win 5-1. It wasn't like the score line didn't show what the game was like. Hats off to them. That's a different level - different level than us and we couldn't handle it in the second half."

On playing in front of home fans: "It was amazing. I'm definitely jealous of these guys. I grew up around the team, and the fan support is unbelievable. It's probably some of the best in the world even I think. They have something special going on. To come back and play in front of family and friends, and even that crowd, it was amazing."

On being familiar with some of the players out there: "I grew up with Roger and Zach, with [Brian Schmetzer] coaching. It was great to play against them, great to see those guys. They've literally - like I've said before - they've paved my way to where I am today. They helped me along the way, they were huge role models for me when I was growing up. It was cool to come back and play against them. Maybe someday we'll be back on the same team again."