2013 Mar 30

Sounders fall behind Salt Lake early and can't close the deficit

Real Salt Lake  2 - 1  Seattle Sounders FC

Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, UT

8' SL: Robbie Findley
35' SL: Luis Gil (Ned Grabavoy, Sebastian Velasquez)
57' SEA: Brad Evans (Mauro Rosales, DeAndre Yedlin)

Salt Lake: Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Abdoulie Mansally (Lovel Palmer 81'); Seabastian Velasquez, Kyle Beckerman, Luis Gil (Javier Morales 62'), Ned Grabavoy; Devon Sandoval, Robbie Findley (Joao Plata 14').
Substitutes not used: Josh Saunders, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Enzo Martinez, Olmes Garcia.

Seattle: Michael Gspurning; DeAndre Yedlin, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Djimi Traore, Marc Burch; Mauro Rosales, Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans (Andy Rose 80'), Steve Zakuani; Eddie Johnson (Sammy Ochoa 78'), Obafemi Martins (David Estrada 62').
Substitutes not used: Marcus Hahnemann, Zach Scott, Leo Gonzalez, Alex Caskey.

Match report from Sounders FC:

Brad Evans scored the lone goal for Seattle Sounders FC in a 2-1 loss to Real Salt Lake Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium. Robbie Findley and Luis Gil scored first half goals for RSL despite a regular-season career-high seven saves from Michael Gspurning.

The loss gives the Rave Green consecutive league losses for the first time since March 19, 2011, ending a league-record 742-day streak of recording at least one point over a two-game stretch.

Findley opened up the scoring in the eighth minute when he tracked down a long throw in the box for a point-blank shot that was initially saved by Gspurning, but the striker knocked in the rebound attempt. The goal ended Salt Lake's 408-minute scoreless streak against Seattle dating back to May 12, 2012.

Moments before the goal, Gspurning saved a dangerous deep shot from Devon Sandoval, then recovered to stop Sebastian Velasquez's follow up attempt.

Salt Lake made it 2-0 in the 35th minute when Velasquez played a short corner kick to Ned Grabavoy on the end line, who flicked to Gil in the box for a header into the net.

In first half stoppage time, Plata got behind the defense for a one-on-one with the keeper, but Gspurning came off his line and blocked the 10-yard shot.

Seattle pulled a goal back in the 57th minute when Mauro Rosales laid off DeAndre Yedlin's cross for Evans, who delivered a 12-yard strike off the post and into the goal. It was the first goal of the season for Evans, as well as the first assist of the season for both Rosales and Yedlin.

Yedlin (19 years, 8 months, 21 days) becomes the youngest player to record a point for Sounders FC. Cordell Cato (19 years, 9 months, 24 days) previously held the mark with his assist against Dallas last season.

New Designated Player Obafemi Martins made his first start for Sounders FC after signing on March 15. In the 41st minute, he made a nice move to split the RSL center backs, but couldn't get a shot off. The Nigerian forward previously came off the bench to play nine minutes against Portland on March 16.

Gspurning's seven saves mark a regular season-career-high, short only to his nine-save performance at RSL in the 2012 Western Conference Semifinals. His 11 saves in the past two games are the most over a two-match span in 25 career games.

Evans' goal was the 19th of his career and 14th with Seattle. The midfielder was close on a couple of earlier chances, first in the 14th minute when Steve Zakuani got by multiple RSL defenders into the box and found Evans at the near post, but his shot was saved by Nick Rimando. In the 54th, he headed a Zakuani cross on frame, but Rimando made a diving save.

Including playoffs, the matchup marked the 10th between the two teams since the beginning of the 2011 season, with RSL leading 4-3-3. The three goals scored tonight are more than the teams combined to score against each other in five games last season.

Findley suffered an adductor strain minutes after his goal and was replaced by Joao Plata in the 14th minute.

           SL   SEA
Shots:     25     8
Saves:      3     8
Corners:    7     3
Fouls:      9    14
Offside:    1     5

87' SEA: Rose cautioned

Referees: Mark Geiger; Corey Parker, Brian Dunn; Allen Chapman

Attendance: 20,359

Post-Match Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Sigi Schmid - Head Coach

On coming out with such a strong lineup: "Guys should be able to play two games in a week. If they are not able to do that then maybe there is something wrong with what we are doing fitness-wise or with what they are doing fitness-wise."

On not getting enough offense out of the team: "Well, with the way we were playing it didn't really surprise me. We weren't playing well and they were playing well. We weren't running with people. At the end of the day, you have got to keep the ball, and in order to keep the ball you have got to get the ball. So if you don't go and get the ball, you won't be able to keep it."

On what Seattle needs to do to get the bad taste out of their mouths before Tuesday: "Well there is going to have to be a lot of soul-searching from the guys in the locker room and from us as a staff, as well."

On what is causing such hardship for Seattle: "We're picking and choosing what times in the game when we want to play. We have moments in the game where three or four guys are involved and some other guys aren't involved, then some other guys get involved and others aren't. We have yet to have a game where all 11 guys are involved for the whole 90 minutes. Players have to take hold of the game."

Djimi Traore

On what was discussed during the post-game team meeting: "You work hard, you should be better than that –- we know we're better than that, especially for the first 45 minutes. Now, it's time to react, and we don't need more talk –- we need more action on the pitch. The way you train is the way you play, and all that matters is what you do, what you show on the pitch. We need to take orders, take responsibility, and yes of course I'm bothered by [the start]."

Steve Zakuani

On how well the team played against Real Salt Lake: "We didn't play well. They could have been up 5-0 on us at half. We improved our play in the second half –- we did what we could, but the game was lost by then. At 0-3-1, our record is not good. We have to take what's coming our way: the criticism, the backlash –- we deserve it, but the good thing is that the season is still young. We have time to turn it around, and CONCACAF is a good escape for us. We'll come back to MLS play in a couple weeks' time, and hopefully we'll be ready for it."

Michael Gspurning

On whether Seattle's slow start is a concern, or just something that will fix itself as the season progresses: "The reality is that we are dead last in the league after four games. It's not what we think we are –- what we are doing is important."

Real Salt Lake

Jason Kreis - Head Coach

Thoughts on first half offensive efforts: "I'm really pleased. We talked a couple days ago, we talked again yesterday, and we talked before the match about how I'm really looking for improvement, about how we are starting our games, especially at home. And I think that tonight we saw that when we do that, that when we focus on getting a really positive beginning to matches it will often time lead to good things at the end of matches and good results."

Thought on the set piece that led to RSL second goal: "I don't know, it's the first time I ever saw it, it's crazy. The guys are creative out there. No we did, it's a play that Javier actually brought to us. We have been looking at doing some different things with our corner kicks. I would qualify it as a weakness in the coaching staff, in the head coach in particular that he hates to work on dead balls, attacking dead balls, but we did. On Thursday we spent 30 to 45 minutes on them, and I think that apart from even the goal we were dangerous on a couple others in the first half as well, so it will be something that we look to build on, unfortunately for me."

Thoughts on getting goals from somewhere else other than Saborio: "I don't put particular names on them or anything else; I just think that we have to try to improve on the facets of game and the philosophy of how we play. My message was how we start matches, that's one of the things that we really emphasis and there are four other things that I really listed for the players and said this is what RSL is about. From my point of view in the first four matches we got some of each of those five areas but we need to improve in all of those areas. I think that tonight we probably improved in most of them, I'll have to look at it, but I'm not so sure our game management was as nice as I would have liked it to have been in the second half."

Thoughts on Javier Morales coming back: "We know how valuable Javier is. We know how gifted he is with the ball. We know that if we want to be an elite club in this country and in this league we are going to need a player like Javier Morales to make differences. So it's good to have him back on track and moving forward."

Thoughts on Devon Sandoval: "Devon gave us exactly what he has been giving us now for the past two months. He just covers so much ground and works so hard and battles for every single ball. To have a young player basically showing the rest by example what Real Salt Lake means to him, and what it means, what this opportunity means for him, what it means to get a chance to play professional soccer I think is saying a lot; so I hope that all the guys took notice."

Thoughts on Robbie Findley's goal and status of his injury: "I have no idea actually. I think he strained his groin and I actually believe he strained it on the goal. On the one hand I'm saying 'Finally, we got Robbie a goal and we've got him off the schneid.' Often times you have a feeling that forwards are going to score multiple goals once they score one, but then he gets hurt, so I guess if you press me for an answer I'd say that I'll take the goal with the injury, but we will get him back quickly."

Thoughts on Ned Grabavoy: "I would say that everybody was all over the field, and everybody worked extremely hard. Ned and Sebastian, geez, the ground that those two covered was fantastic. Ned was just as you said, instrumental and involved in some very, very nice build up play. Unfortunately we didn't score one of those which could have buried the game, but credit to the guys for continuing to work hard and getting the result in the end."

Thoughts on transition play out of the midfield: "I think you can always look at it in one particular way, how many of our midfield players are in the attacking third when we get into the attacking third? We are always looking for more; we are always looking both of our outside diamond midfielders to be involved in those plays. Our attacking midfielder as well and for Kyle to be sweeping things up, so the number of times that we can get those three advanced midfielders involved in attacking plays needs to be higher. We are always asking for more. It's a difficult, difficult task because you see those guys are going from box to box from six to six and sometimes end-line to end-line; that's a lot of ground to cover, but I think that tonight we did a pretty nice job."

Thoughts on Luis Gil's goal: "Really, really nice because I think that he has been involved in quite a few good attacking movements over the first five games and has also got several shots off in matches. That's what you need first, somebody to be involved in those plays and you need them to be creating their own or to be on the end of shots and creating shots for others. In my opinion his game is really taking a nice step forward."

Thoughts on taking Devon under your wing as being a forward yourself: "I just think that it hasn't been a whole lot of extra coaching on my part. He is always asking for answers. He is like a sponge; in preseason he almost started to bother me how much he was asking me for input. But no, the kid just wants it in the worst way. And as you see, he is not just a hard worker; he is a pretty darn good player, and a pretty good passer, and he has some good ideas. I wish he could have gotten off the schneid. I think he had two chances in the first have that probably should have been scored. But I'll take the work and I'll take the result."

Luis Gil

On the play that led to his goal: "Yeah, you know, we've been trying some new things. I feel like that's another thing for us, another option for us. We tried it a couple times and we executed on that one."

On getting his first goal of the season, the same as he had last year: "It's great. I can't feel like since I scored a goal, that's it. I still feel like my game today wasn't the best, I don't feel like I was as sharp. It still took me a while to get in the game. I feel like my touch, at the beginning, it was getting ahead of me a little bit. There's one play, at the beginning, where I could have taken a shot, the ball got ahead of me a little bit and I ended up trying to pass it and losing it. These are things I got to work on."

On feeling any pressure to be a more increased playmaker: "Not really, you could say. They try to put it on me, but I just try and do what I do. I'm still improving as a player. Obviously I got to apply myself, that's the big thing. I just need to take it slow and away, but at the same time be dangerous."

On his success with the U-20s, having success there and if it's carried over: "Yeah, for sure. Even with that San Jose game, it came with some dangerous plays. But I felt like the last game I kind of backed off a bit. I gotta start stepping up now and making big plays like that every single game; they can't be every other game or every three games."

Javier Morales

On the ovation when he came in: "Yeah, because this was a tough year for me. In the beginning I didn't expect my injury, my knee. I worked hard in Argentina before coming back here, I think maybe that was a gift after working hard for three months. I'm blessed."

On being nervous going in tonight: "No, not nervous but excited. Excited, I couldn’t wait. I was watching the first half and I just wanted to play, to play again. Jason told me at halftime, 'Hey to be ready in the 60th, you may be going in.'"

On how he thought he played: "I don't know, I think I had to score. But you know I'm happy now. I'm happy to play again, to help my team."

On if he thought that was a foul, if it should have been a penalty kick: "It wasn't a dive for sure because I didn't see him. I was watching the goalie to see where I wanted to finish it. It was just like a train came from behind and killed me."

Kyle Beckerman

Thoughts on game: "We really created a ton of chances. It could have really gotten away from them if we would have finished one more. All in all that team is not going to lose too many games."

Robbie Findley

Walk through his goal: "Somebody took a shot and it ended up bouncing near the keeper and I was able to get a step on him and got a touch, he made a save, then I think he dropped it and then I was able to get my left foot on it and squeeze it in. It always feels good as a striker to get that first one off your back. Hopefully the rest will start flowing, but we're getting the opportunities and I will get more goals."

On the injury: "I'll take a couple of days and see how it feels and then do what I need to do to get back in. It happened when I took the shot, that's when I felt it. I tried to go on, but I couldn't."