2013 Apr 20

Sounders' first league win of the season comes on the road in Colorado

Colorado Rapids  0 - 1  Seattle Sounders FC

Dick's Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, CO

27' SEA: Obafemi Martins

Colorado: Clint Irwin; Brian Mullan, Marvell Wynne (Shane O'Neill 55'), Drew Moor, Christopher Klute; Atiba Harris, Hendry Thomas, Dillon Powers, Tony Cascio (Jamie Smith 77'); Danny Mwanga, Nick LaBrocca (Kamani Hill 46').
Substitutes not used: Steward Ceus, Anthony Wallace, Nathan Sturgis, Dillon Serna.

Seattle: Michael Gspurning; DeAndre Yedlin, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Djimi Traore, Leo Gonzalez; Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, Shalrie Joseph, Steve Zakuani (Alex Caskey 70'); Lamar Neagle (Marc Burch 89'), Obafemi Martins (Mauro Rosales 61').
Substitutes not used: Marcus Hahnemann, Zach Scott, Mario Martinez, Sammy Ochoa.

Match report from Sounders FC:

Seattle Sounders FC (1-3-2, 5 points) picked up their first win of the season with a 1-0 road victory against the Colorado Rapids (2-4-2, 8 points). Obafemi Martins scored his first goal for Sounders FC as the Rave Green recorded a second consecutive clean sheet.

In the 27th minute, DeAndre Yedlin made a run up the right side and played to Lamar Neagle for a cross that Steve Zakuani laid off to Shalrie Joseph for a 20-yard shot. Rapids keeper Clint Irwin saved Joseph's shot, but Martins gathered the rebound and finished low to give Seattle the lead.

It marks the first Sounders FC goal for Martins in his third MLS appearance. The Nigerian striker was signed as a designated player on March 15.

Neagle almost doubled the lead two minutes later when he got into the box on a ball from Martins, but his 15-yard strike was saved by Irwin. Neagle was close again in the 72nd minute when Osvaldo Alonso found him at the edge of the box for an 18-yard shot that Irwin saved.

Colorado pressed in the second half, hitting the post in the 60th and 85th minutes. First, Brian Mullan found Atiba Harris for a header that went off the crossbar and fell to Danny Mwanga for a rebound attempt that was saved by Michael Gspurning. Later Mullan's cross found a wide-open Kamani Hill at the far post, but his volley hit the post.

In second half stoppage time, Jamie Smith's free kick found Drew Moor for a clean header, but Gspurning made the save.

The win marks the seventh straight by Sounders FC over Colorado dating back to July 25, 2010. Seattle is 8-1-1 against the Rapids all-time.

          COL   SEA
Shots:     16    10
Saves:      2     3
Corners:    6     4
Fouls:     12    14
Offside:    1     2

41' COL: Powers cautioned
67' SEA: Traore cautioned
84' SEA: Gonzalez cautioned

Referees: Silviu Petrescu; Jeff Hosking, Eric Proctor; Edvin Jurisevic

Attendance: 12,063

Post-Match Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Sigi Schmid - Head Coach

On getting the first win of the season: "We're just happy to get the win. Obviously it's been bugging us for a while. To get a win on the road is always important. I think defensively we've played pretty consistently all season. Today we maybe gave up a little bit more than we've given up in other games actually in terms of chances. But we finished the goal well. We had a couple other really good looks. Brad Evans was close. Lamar hits the crossbar. We were right around it a couple of times. So we just have to build on this today."

On Obafemi Martins starting and scoring: "It was great. He was a real trooper. At first we didn't expect him to start this game, but then when the situation with Eddie Johnson — when he went down on Friday — I said to Oba, 'Do you think you have 45 minutes in you?' He said, 'Yeah.' Then I go, 'I'm going to start you,' and he gave everything he had for as long as he could and obviously scored a great goal. But he was also very influential in the first half, drew a couple of fouls and kicks, and I think our fans could see what he brings to the table. So now we've got two weeks to make sure he's ready and hopefully he'll show Philly what he brings to the table."

On if there was any concern with the back flip, knowing Martins wasn't 100 percent: "No. Not concerned. Happy to see it. Every time I see the back flip I know we've scored, so I'm not worried."

On what happened with Eddie Johnson: "He said his hamstring didn't feel right."

On what they did to control the first half: "We knew that they try and play balls forward. Look for long balls. We gave Hendry Thomas a little too much space sometimes, so he knocked some balls in behind. But we knew we had to get up and win duels, win headers and we did that. And we also knew that because they push their wide guys forward that there'd be chances for us to get at them on the counter, which we did, as well."

On Lamar Neagle: "He's been great. Obviously he came off the bench and scored a goal for us down in Santos and really put us in the mix for that game. Just the work that he's done. Today, once he gets his full game fitness, maybe some of those balls he got in the second half, he can turns those into goals, as well. Certainly we're looking for him. I thought his running was pretty good. As the game wore on, he did a much better job holding the ball up for us, as well. So Lamar's done well the last few games."

On the emotions at the final whistle: "Happiness. Relief. A little bit of both. Just good to get it behind us and now we can move on. We've got that off our backs and we know that the West is pretty tight. We've got games in hand on people and people keep beating each other, so if we can win the games we have in hand, we're going to be back in the mix for a playoff spot."

On how you keep momentum going: "We have a reserve game on Tuesday, so a lot of the guys who didn't play tonight, they'll get a chance to get a run out. We'll do something on Friday, as well, and then give them the weekend off. It gives us a chance to train and work on some things, which is good for us right now."

On if the Mullan/Zakuani history came up before the game: "It was something I talked to Steve about. He said he felt OK with it; he was comfortable with it. So I thought Steve did all right. He had a couple of good runs where he got behind Brian, a couple times in the second half more so. But (other than) that, I think the two of them sort of negated each other."

On if having a bye week could stunt momentum: "We take it the way it comes. So I haven't given any thought about, 'Hey, I'd rather play right now again.' We'll just take it the way it is. I think it's good for us to get some time to train together right now."

On cutting Andrew Duran and signing Will Bates: "Andrew's done all right, but we just didn't feel Andrew was going to push into our back line with the development of DeAndre and the addition of Djimi Traore this year. So we didn't see him pushing in there. Will Bates, we wanted to give him a chance to recover from his knee surgery that he had before we drafted him. And then he had some shin splints, so we needed him to get healthy, but he's done fairly well for us and we think he's someone who can develop as a forward down the line."

On the next two weeks: "We can get some guys a little bit healthy and recover, but we can also train now in terms of how we want to play and get guys working together in training. We've only had one or two training sessions with the whole squad. So now we have the whole squad. Patrick Ianni can get back into the mix, as well. It gives us different options and all of that makes us a better team."

On if he had any headline recommendations: "Seattle wins. (laughs)"

Brad Evans

Not a bad birthday present, eh?: "Great birthday present. It's all I could ask for."

Are you shaving here or when you get home?: "I'll shave when I get home, yeah. (laughs) ... Just I thought a good team performance. Anytime you're playing away and playing a physical team like that, towards the end they'll lump the ball and we have to do a better job kind of handling the game in the last 20-25 minutes. I think we shot ourselves in the foot a little bit, took some pressure, but I thought we absorbed it well. Our first three points of the year."

On the tense second half: "It was in the backs of everyone minds that, 'We really want to get this, so let's not blow it.' I think we played a little bit too cautious, not as free-flowing as the first half, maybe a little bit too defensive. We didn't want to make that one mistake that ends up in a tie or something like that."

What do you want the team to take from this game?: "The most important thing is we can figure out how to win in different ways. Tonight I thought in the first half we played well — we played some good soccer and connected well. I thought the goal came from a really good buildup. There are things we can build on a positive side, but also things we can build on (a negative side), where in the last 20-25 minutes, getting our legs and getting some composure and controlling the game a little bit more. We have some work to do. We can win pretty. We can win ugly. The most important thing is get the three points and try to make a run."

Do you have a sharp razor ready?) “No, not yet. At home. My wife has it all set up."

Obafemi Martins

On getting the goal: "I want to thank the players, because without them I couldn't do anything. But I'm very glad that I scored today and especially that we got these three points. We really needed it, and I hope we continue like this because we have a long way to go."

On starting despite not being 100 percent: "Sigi asked how I was feeling and all that. I said since Eddie's not fit, I didn't have a choice. I have to come with the players and try to play. I did it, and thankfully I scored, so I'm very glad."

On the team going forward: "I think it's a very big day. We really need the points because we don't want to keep saying, 'If we can play as a team. We're going to win.' We wanted to prove ourselves today, and we did."

On the famous celebration: "I think the goal was very important, so once I scored I started thinking of that. I hope I score a lot of goals and I hope we win a lot of games."

Michael Gspurning

How's it feel?: "Very good. We had pressure on us, no doubt, but to succeed now with a win, it's a great feeling, especially since we're coming home and have two weeks until the next game. It would've been a very long week if we didn't get the three points, but we did and we played good soccer again. We were sometimes a little lucky, but we also had some good chances, so I think overall we deserved the three points."

On both teams hitting the woodwork a couple times: "I think it was an entertaining game. It was a good game from both teams, and there could've been better finishes from them and from us. Why not us one time? It was six games for this win. Of course our situation is better, but it's not good enough. It's still bad, so we have to continue. It was the first step today, at least."

On the second half: "In these games, my experience helps me, because I know I will not get a ball until last minute maybe. And then in stoppage time, there's always chance. You can bank on this. They'll always have a chance like this, because we drop back and they kick long balls, so I knew you have to be ready. And we were ready to defend with everything we had. It was 1-0, and that's all that counts."

That's two shutouts in a row now: "Three points are much better. Of course I'm happy with the shutouts, but the three points are most important."

Shalrie Joseph

How does this one feel?: "Great. That's one word that sums it up. It was a team performance and we worked hard defensively. We've still got a lot to work on, but just getting that first win feels great."

What was it like to see Martins score?: "It's great for him. We know and the coaches know what we have when they signed him. He's been working hard in practice, trying to get back his fitness and trying to get his sharpness down. For him to come in tonight and score is huge for the team. Him, Neagle, everybody worked hard. Lamar definitely stood out, too, up top."

Did you know this was your first win since July?: "Naw, I didn't know. I don't remember the last time I won, to be honest. But this feels great. The celebration afterward definitely showed how much this team looks forward to the next game. It was a great performance. We have a lot to work on, but we'll learn from it and move on."

Do you feel as strong as ever?: "Yeah, I'm starting to feel better and better after every game and practice. Every week in training I'm getting stronger and better. My touches are coming back, my sharpness is coming back and the more games I get, the better I feel. I'm still not there yet. It might take another week or two, but I've got to keep working with Dave and keep working with the guys to make sure I'm strong and fit. Once we start getting everybody back and on the same page, we're going to be a great team."

Lamar Neagle

On getting the first win: "It's a relief. Now everybody can kind of take a deep breath and we can get back into it. It's good to see us get a shutout and good to see us have a great celebration too."

On playing up top with Martins: "Obviously he's a different player than some of our other forwards. I was trying to get it to his feet as much as possible, and let him create and let him do what he does. The more he sees the ball, the more successful we're going to be. I was just trying to win headers and stretch the defense so he could get space."

On getting some offensive output: "I think we were able to stretch them. Through that, our midfield could move up and those guys can create for us as long as me and the other forwards are moving."

On whether he's getting comfortable in his forward role: "I think my movement off the ball is getting better. My runs are getting better. Martins found me on the one where I hit the crossbar in the first half. I thought that was good movement and a good ball by him."

On having a two-week break before the next league match: "It's kind of disappointing. We finally get the first win. It is a little disappointing, but I'm sure we'll be able to work it out."

Colorado Rapids

Oscar Pareja - Head Coach

On the match: "Disappointed. Nothing else we can say about a game that I thought we controlled. A few mistakes there in the first half gave them the chance to lead the game, and then it was hard for us to react. We said this before, and I'm thinking like I'm saying this over and over, but they created chances and we couldn't equalize. But it was a good effort for the players, I have to say that. The players tried very hard today, especially in the second half, in a game that was adverse in many senses, and we came out with no points."

On if his team was unlucky: "I do believe in one thing: it's work. I don't believe in anything else. I don't think it's good luck or bad luck, I just think that you've got to work, and it looks like sometimes the harder you work the more luck you have. That's the only thing I believe in."

On losing Edson Buddle in warm-ups, and other injuries: "It seems like we have to wait. There are a few things that happened today that I haven't seen before in my life. But as a group, I thought the group and the coaches dealt with the situation very well. We jumped over that hurdle and put a team that was competitive there, and stick to a kind of different plan in the last minutes and fought through. I've got to say that it was a few players that came today and did a good job and stepped up. But we say that we need somebody who can put the ball in the back of the net, and we have said that a lot. We continue with that weakness for sure."

On what it was that he hadn't seen before in his life: "I haven't seen this many missing people with injuries. Seriously, it's unbelievable. I had to check to see if I had seen it before – I have not, not that I remember. And then after the warm-ups, somebody comes up to the coaches and says we lost another player. Then you have to adjust, and things like that. Let's say that it doesn't happen often."

On making last-minute adjustments due to players being out: "It's difficult but I guess that's the job. It comes with the job. I guess sometimes that's probably the small letters that you don't read. And I think I got to read those too. But we did well, I thought the response from the group and the coaches in those situations were good. Because it was not just Edson today, it was Deshorn yesterday and almost Powers, who got 40 stitches in his head yesterday afternoon and we were afraid to lose him for the game too. But you know guys that I don't make excuses. We've got to push."

Drew Moor

On the team's performance: "I thought it was a good performance. We possessed the ball well, created chances, obviously we gave up a soft goal but I don't understand how we come out of that game without at least a point. We have to keep our heads up, we did play well. There was a lot of positive play. We can't hang our heads; we were on a nice run going into this game. You know that's one team we need to beat, we need to beat Seattle. I don't know what it is, but we have to take the pieces from this game and don't hang our heads, because it's a quick turnaround."

On facing Houston next week: "Just play like we played today and finish our chances. We have to stay compact in the back, limit their chances, obviously, that's a fortress we are going into. We have to go in with the belief that we can get three points. We don't go on the road with the belief that we are just going to hang in there or get a point. If we do, that's great, but we have to have belief that we are going to go in and get three points; that we can go in and perform extremely well like we did tonight. Score our chances and limit their chances."

On having so many injuries: "Yeah, it's definitely more than I'm used to for sure. But that's another thing. We can't hang our heads because of that. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us; nobody is going to play differently because we have some injured guys. I think we have seen in the last couple weeks, we do have a deep team. We have guys who can step in and perform well. Same thing again today, but that's just noise, that's something that we can't think about. We have to step out on the field and play if you're on the field."

On having to adjust to the changing personnel due to injuries: "As a player you don't really think about that. You are really focused on what you have to do. If everybody goes in there and does their job and does it to the best of their ability and performs well, then everything else will take care of it. Yeah you have to organize other people, you have to talk to other people, sometimes there is a bit of a transition, but that's why we train during the week. All the defenders train together, all the midfielders train together, and we train together as units. And you don't really think about that on the field."

On returning to the starting lineup: "It was nice. I think I have said it was a tough couple weeks for me. Probably one of the lower points of my career but it's always nice to be back and it was the first time I had prepared to start a game in a month. It was kind of fresh, it was kind of nice, just wish we got the result."

Chris Klute

On the match: "I think maybe the first half we came out slow, maybe a little bit unorganized. Second half was much better though, I think we outplayed them. We had our chances and we just didn't put them away."

On the Sounders' goal: "I think it was just a lucky break. They got an open [shot] and Clint blocked it, and the man happened to be there and just put it away. It was just unfortunate I guess, the right place at the right time."

On attacking down the left side: "When I see open space I like to take it, to help the team go forward. Today it was open a lot, so I definitely tried, we were down 1-0 early on, so I definitely tried to make up for that and give us more chances in the second half."