2012 Oct 17

Sounders give up a man to Salt Lake, but not a goal

Seattle Sounders FC  0 - 0  Real Salt Lake

CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA


Seattle: Michael Gspurning; Brad Evans, Zach Scott (sent off 30'), Jeff Parke, Marc Burch; Mauro Rosales (Alex Caskey 80'), Osvaldo Alonso, Andy Rose, Christian Tiffert; Fredy Montero (David Estrada 76'), Sammy Ochoa (Michael Seamon 40').
Substitutes not used: Marcus Hahnemann, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Servando Carrasco, Cordell Cato.

Salt Lake: Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Jamison Olave (Chris Schuler 46'), Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert; Kyle Beckerman, Luis Gil (David Viana 82'), Johnny Steele, Javier Morales; Fabian Espindola, Emiliano Bonfigli (Sebastian Velasquez 71').
Substitutes not used: Kyle Reynish, Yordany Alvarez, Kenny Mansally, Enzo Martinez.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

After going a man down to a second yellow card for defender Zach Scott, Seattle Sounders FC worked to manage a scoreless draw with visiting Real Salt Lake.

The yellow card came at the half-hour point when Scott missed a stab at the ball and knocked down Javier Morales. Scott had earned his first caution at 10' for a tactical foul at the touch line.

Prior to the send-off, Seattle had most of the shots, with Fredy Montero, Osvaldo Alonso, and Sammy Ochoa missing half chances. Salt lake's lone chance in the first half hour came when Kyle Beckerman saw the lower far corner from 25 yards and forced the first save of the match.

Short-handed Seattle looked like they would have a good chance at 38' when Montero was sprung into open space, but he was caught when he tried to cut back.

At 39' Seattle made a tactical change, sacrificing forward Ochoa for Mike Seamon to enter and play right back. It was Seamon's first appearance in league play this season. Brad Evans, who had started at right back, moved to center back to fill in the space vacated by Scott.

Seattle had two chances after the clock entered the 45th minute. After Tony Beltran was needlessly cautioned for a routine foul on Alonso, Montero sent the 30-yard free kick to the lower near corner, where goalkeeper Nick Rimando made his first save of the match. He made his second save just before the whistle when Alonso curled a shot to the top right corner from just above the arc.

Just after intermission Salt Lake came close when Morales from 20 yards forced Michael Gspurning to tip a shot over the bar.

Seattle came close on a free kick play after substitute Chris Schuler was cautioned for a tactical foul on Montero. When Salt Lake failed to clear the free kick from the penalty area, Mauro Rosales earned a shot and flashed it just wide of the far post.

Seattle continued to attack, with Christian Tiffert missing the far post from 18 yards after a poor Sale Lake clearance. Andy Rose got his head on a Seattle corner kick and sent it wide.

The tide turned at about 70'. Evans did well to break up a counterattack, conceding a corner kick that was defended. Beckerman tried a quick shot from 25 and sent it a yard high. Salt Lake's best chance yet came at 84' when Beltran busted through the crowd for a close shot, producing a one-handed save at the near post by Gspurning, who claimed the leftovers.

There was one chance left for Salt lake, but not until added time, and it was their best chance of the match. Substitute David Viana was served 15 yards from goal for a nice shot, and Gspurning made a great save, pushing the ball over the bar.

In three matches this season these teams produced just one goal, giving Salt Lake the series edge with a win and two draws. The teams will continue their race for second place in the West.

          SEA    SL
Shots:     10    13
Saves:      5     2
Corners:    3     5
Fouls:     13    10
Offsides:   1     2

10' SEA: Scott cautioned
30' SEA: Scott cautioned and sent off for his second caution
45' SL: Beltran cautioned
51' SL: Schuler cautioned
67' SEA: Tiffert cautioned

Referees: Ricardo Salazar; Corey Rockwell, Jeff Hosking; Tyler Ploeger

Attendance: 38,356

Post-Match Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Sigi Schmid - Head Coach

On the game: "I was proud of our team considering the players that were missing and playing a man down. I thought our team showed a lot of character. We battled, we created some counter-attacking chances. We knew were going to give away some possession in the second half, but I thought our team held solid. Obviously, Gspurning made a few big saves at the end of the game, and when added time is added to added time it makes it more difficult."

On the defense: "I thought they played well. Brad Evans, we needed him to play right back and he had to play center back. I thought he did a good job back there. I thought Michael Seamon came on and did well for his first appearance of the year and coming in and having to play right back. We asked Tiffert to play a little bit differently today because we had to change it so he had to play a little more on the left side from start to finish. I thought he did well. I thought everybody responded to the challenge of having to play a slightly different position. Obviously, I'm pleased with that."

On being aggressive offensively despite being a man down: "Yeah, we were trying to go for the win. We were trying to counter and get our opportunities on goal and get behind. I thought Fredy did a good job of trying to stretch them. We brought David in at the end - a little more work rate, hoping he could do the same. We were maybe a little less successful at doing that towards the end of the game. We went at times, we told them to make sure they countered with the appropriate numbers. There were times that Ozzie would go, or Rose would go, or Tiffert would go and we still left ourselves secure with at least six guys back there."

On playing to a tie despite being a man down: "It's important for the playoffs. You have a game like this, and Lord help us if we get Salazar in the playoffs. You have to be able to come through a battle like this under these obstacles and to play to zero is an important thing. We feel confident in our ability to get goals and I think if we had played even we would have gotten some. I thought defensively we've been pretty solid the last three outings."

On the injury status of Steve Zakuani, Patrick Ianni and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado: "We don't really know. Zakuani has an oblique muscle [injury]. Patrick Ianni has a calf that he injured the day before the game. Obviously Eddie Johnson will be back next game, Johansson will be back for Dallas. Kennedy was fitted with a mask that he felt comfortable with before the game. He only worked out with that a little bit before the game and I didn't feel comfortable for him to try and play 60-70 minutes with that mask, that's why we didn't sub him on. He's going to train with that over the next couple of training sessions and if he's comfortable, he feels good about it, he feels safe while wearing it, so that might allow him to come back in."

On adjusting after the red card: "We made the sub before halftime to bring Seamon on because we thought it was better to get the back four organized the way we had to. It was unfortunate for Ochoa that he had to lose minutes in a game because of that. You try and make sure you get to halftime, we talked about it how we were going to try and counter in the second half."

On Michael Seamon playing right back: "We thought he played enough games at right back that it was worthwhile to put him in there because he's got enough experience. We pondered for a second do we bring in [Hurtado] and slide Evans back out and move Seamon to midfield. That was something we thought about towards the end of the game, but again we decided with Jhon, because he hadn't trained since he had the facial fracture, so we decided that wasn't the optimum thing at this point."

On the play of Michael Gspurning: "It's superb. I think there's a consensus in this league that somehow thinks that Nielsen is the Goalkeeper of the Year. I think if you look around, Michael Gspurning's goals against average is better than Nielsen's. I don't know where he is when you look at the amount of shutouts he has to games played, but he's probably at a higher percentage. I don't know where save percentage is, but for me, Michael's been everything we've hoped for and everything we expected of him. For me right now, he's the Goalkeeper of the Year in this league. I think he's the goalkeeper that's been the most consistent. We had one bad stretch, that was the stretch where he was injured. When you look at our record when he's played, I don't there's a goalkeeper that can match that record. I think the fans out there and the media in other cities need to do a little bit of research and homework before they cast that vote when that vote comes up."

On Gspurning's lack of highlight-reel saves: "He makes a couple of big saves, highlight-reel saves and so we think it's his best game, but the reason he doesn't have to make a lot of those saves is his positioning is good and is solid. As a result of that, he hasn't been forced into a lot of those saves. You have to look at a lot of those games and say, 'Hey, that was solid and that was good positioning,' and today he had to make a couple of good reaction saves and was able to come up with them. The low shot that he sort of got his foot on, and the one late in the game that he deflected around the post, the one he tipped over the bar. Probably four big saves I can think of."

Brad Evans

On general game impressions: "I think the only other time we went down a man this year is when we got crushed in Montreal so maybe thoughts of that lingered in our heads a little bit. We're coming in on playoff time so I think everyone knows, especially coming off of a week and a half long break everybody should be fresh, everybody should be ready to play 90-plus regardless of what happens. Whether you're playing 11-11 or 10-11, It's just great determination by the guys tonight. I thought there was good thinking and good communication between midfielders. Just letting them kind of build the ball and picking and choosing the right times to go. Everyone was on the same page. Looking back on it now, it's going to help us going forward. Results like this, we'll remember these going forward so I thought it was good."

On the injuries and absences of guys and what they were able to do despite all of those things: "We played I think 29 different lineups so it's nothing new for us. I think it'll be different if we had played 28 games with the same guys then all of sudden somebody is put in the mix and you're not use to playing with them. But everybody is used to playing with each other in different roles and different positions. At practice we play the game, 5-on-5 and teams are totally random, so you can end up with five defenders and five attacking players. So you just have to figure it out and play that role. When everybody knows their role it makes things easy, especially when you're playing out of position and understand that role, it's only going to benefit us. Those are the types of guys that the coaching staff and front office brought in. Smart players who can play multiple positions. It doesn't do us any use if we just have three centerbacks and that's it. When you have guys who can play multiple positions, it helps us out."

On the three straight shutouts and how important it is to keep that streak going: "It's great; especially tonight I thought it was a big one. It's something that is going to become important, especially if we end up tied with Salt Lake, the shutouts are going to come in handy. We have to play to zero, and we got a couple of chances tonight playing a man down even saying that, so that's something positive as well. We can still be better I think at certain times holding the ball in their half and not pressing so fast. Three shutouts going into the playoffs, we still have two games left and we have to get results because teams are still close so we have to focus on Sunday now."

Michael Gspurning

On getting three straight shutouts: "We had a great team effort today. Three shutouts aren't coming from nothing so we know that we have great organization, but now everybody is waiting for the playoffs. We have another two games before the playoffs and we all know that one game in the playoffs can be very tough, so we know we have to keep working. It showed great character of the team today and we're very proud of the team."

On him having a lot of different combinations and defenders in front of him: "Yeah we had a couple of injuries and all of the guys who were playing like Jeff who has a couple of stitches in his head. We shouldn't forget about this and it shows how good our squad is from the number 12 to 25. Everyone can be helpful if we go into the playoffs so that's something we can build on."

On the tough shots he faced during stoppage time and how important it was to get those stops: "Not just the defense, the whole organization of the team was good. Salt Lake really didn't know what to do for a long period of time. I'm happy that I was there in the situation to make that stop."

Michael Seamon

On this being his first opportunity to get in the game in difficult situations and what were his instructions going into the game: "They just said keep it tight. In the reserve games I like to go forward and get some crosses in and they said don't really do that, just sit back. If I could rush them a little bit then okay, but stay behind the ball. A couple of times I did that and it worked out pretty well. I did get up the field a couple of times. But mostly they wanted me to keep it tight. We were playing to zero and hoping that we could sneak one in."

On this being his first experience of the year and the pressure of that: "For some reason I had a feeling today would be the day. When I walked in the locker room, the way people were saying hi to me, everything was different and I actually stopped and was wondering why people were talking to me like that. It was just completely different, and it did happen to be a different day because I got in the game."

Real Salt Lake

Jason Kreis - Head Coach

On result: "A result is a result. One point was our baseline objective coming into the night, we felt if we could get one point, we could control our own destiny in the last week of the season, and make sure we don't have to play that wild card game. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, look at it and say being up a man for sixty some odd minutes, we probably should score a goal. Credit to Seattle, it's not the easiest thing in the world to break a team down that is that committed to making sure that they get the point that they so desperately needed."

On missing players: "It's a bit of a challenge, especially the first two [Will Johnson and Alvaro Saborio]. Will is the type of player that when he gets time and space can run the ball at defensive players in the midfield and make them choose. I think we were just missing a little bit of that tonight. With Sabo, we all know what an important player he is for us, with the way he holds the ball up for us and gives us a target to play to up front and with his finishing touches around the goal. That doesn't take away from the efforts that everyone else gave us tonight, everyone had another positive performance in my eyes."

On red card: "I think it was a straight red card. I don't think there was any question about it. It was a very, very dangerous tackle that stopped an attacking chance, so for me, no decision necessary there. For the penalty kick, what's interesting that led to that play, was Montero, pushing Olave over, so we don't want to get nit-picky, what are you doing not making that call."

Tony Beltran

On general game impressions: "When you have a man advantage, of course, you always want to take care of the win there. I thought we did a pretty good job managing the game and they didn't get too many chances. You've got to be careful because sometimes you can go to sleep, defensively ... from that aspect we did well."

On Seattle's aggressive play: "Seattle's a team that's never going to give up, especially with this crowd behind them. We've got a history of pretty good games between us, so I'm sure they have that in the back of their mind; they want to get some revenge for us knocking them out last year and getting a win this year on their field earlier in the year. Good for them. They never went to sleep. They never made it easy for us."

Javier Morales

On RSL not being able to score, even with a man advantage: "We tried to score for 65 minutes. It was tough, because I believe that Seattle, they [were] down a man and they sit back and just wait. We tried to find a space to score a goal, but we couldn't."

On whether RSL is happy to leave Seattle with one point: "No. We came here to try to win the game. We tried to do it. Like I said, we tried to find the space. We worked hard to try to score a goal, but we couldn't do it."

On whether he thinks more goals will be scored if RSL and Sounders FC meet in the playoffs: "I believe because it's going to be different. It will be do or die. I think it's going to be different and it depends on who finishes in the second place and the third, so it's going to be very important. Now we're in the second place and maybe we have to play the last game at home. I hope we try to beat them if we have to play Seattle again."