Here's my game story.
The Sounders agreed it was a missed chance. Chivas packed it in defensively, but when you get that many good chances you have to finish something.
The general vibe comes through in this quote from Freddie Ljungberg: "We created three or four very clear chances that usually you score. I must give that that goalie made some amazing saves. It wasn’t that our finishes were poor: He made some amazing saves. But in a normal game, that’s too many clear-cut chances, and you have to score on one of them."
The Sounders outshot Chivas 12-4, and put six on goal to Chivas' one (and a weak one at that.)
A few quotes:
SIGI SCHMIDOverview: “It’s one of those games when you sit there and go, shoot, if we get one we’ll probably get three but it just didn’t seem to go in. I thought Zach (Thornton) made a couple of good saves. The offside call on the one, I’ll have to see the replay. Maybe you guys were at a better angle. I think he called (Steve) Zakuani offside, I don’t know if he was or he wasn’t. So that one was a tough one. There had been a couple of soft penalties that had been called if you’ve watched MLS recently. Was that a penalty on Brad Evans or not, I’m not the one to say. To me key elements sometimes, not that I’m harping on this, there was a ball played into (Fredy) Montero where (Mariano) Trujillo takes him down from behind. If he doesn’t pull him down there, he’s one v one because he’s got him turned on the trap and that’s just a foul. It’s tough to have offensive soccer if that’s just a foul. But on the same token I think they got back, they got behind the ball. Zach had a good game for them. They got bodies in the box once they lost the player to the red card. I thought we pushed forward, we pushed Montero out to the left to get at their defense that way, bring some height inside with Nate (Jaqua). I thought we were close.”
On not scoring: “It’s frustrating but what are you going to do? Stop creating chances? You don’t want to say stop creating chances and maybe we’ll score then. You say, okay, we’re playing, we’re creating chances, so we’re not scoring so let’s drop that way of playing and go direct, that’s maybe not the answer either. There are times when we are in a decent flow and then somebody mis-traps the ball, somebody misses a pass. Sometimes it’s little things like we had a great one-two opportunity and our player plays the ball to the wrong foot of the player checking back. He plays it to the foot away from the defender, he can play him in on the one-two. Those are things that sometimes the fans and crowd don’t see, they just see the energy of the players. That as a coach is frustrating because you see if we had just hit the pass better, then we’re in. So sometimes you get in a situation where you sacrifice some energy for a little more precision. Or to maybe take out a little precision and get more energy. That’s always a balance. But overall, I can’t go in there and scream at them because they’re creating changes. But for some reason at home right now, maybe we ought to check the goals. Maybe there’s some cellophane around the goals that we haven’t seen there. It’s clear and we can’t get the ball past it.”
On his starting lineup: “Yeah, I thought it was OK. ... It’s not much different than how we played in the Open Cup where we played (Fredy) Montero and (Freddie) Ljungberg up top as well when Nate (Jaqua) was out injured. That’s something that we’re looking at, experimenting with. How do we just find that little bit extra that will take chances at the goal.”
On benching Jaqua: “Obviously I think right now we’re 15-16 deep so different guys have played well at different times. (Pete) Vagenas in midfield is a very good organizer so sometimes you need players on the field who make the players next to them better. He’s one of those guys who through his organization makes the guy next to him a little bit better. So that’s one thing that helps me get on the field at times. The situation with Nate (Jaqua), obviously we had to play a different look in the open cup final. we liked what we saw there. I didn’t think Nate had a real stellar game in the last one there for us. But he’s a guy who works really hard and he’s a guy who’s going to play minutes for us as we move forward.”
FREDDIE LJUNGBERG: On troubles at Qwest: “I think if you look at the opposing teams, they have different game plans than they had before. A lot of teams come in here just to defend. They stand in the back and hope that maybe they can catch us on a break. And that’s what they were doing. But, when you play a team like that, like I said, if you create three or four really clear chances, that’s good. But you have to put them away. Of course it is upsetting. We wanted to have the win today.”
FREDY MONTERO:On Chivas USA goalkeeper Zach Thornton: “He is a great goalkeeper. He stopped the ones that he needed to stop. Our keeper is actually going to go home with a clean uniform. We managed and controlled the game. But, unfortunately, we didn’t score a goal.”
On suffering the red-card foul: “It was more like a surprise. It was a clinched ball. And when I realized what was going on I already felt the boot on my face. And it hurt. [. . .] In this game, it was definitely the hardest foul. In other situations, like set pieces, you have to opportunity to protect your face. But, in this one, I really didn’t have any opportunity and it just came like that.”
CHIVAS COACH PREKIOn feeling fortunate to play a man down and still hold onto for the point: “I don’t feel fortunate. I feel that the group showed a lot of character and strong mentality working for each other. It was really good to see.”
On the ejection being warranted: “Absolutely not from what I saw. You have to ask for the guy on the middle. From what I saw he could have easily given a red card to Nate Jaqua. What is the difference I don’t see? I wish we didn’t see any cards and just played the game.”
ZACH THORNTONOn Seattle offense making him come up with multiple saves to save the game: “They are good, Fredy Montero is a good player and show up in different places and quality passing. They have five guys who are dangerous players and tough with the ball. We knew we had to defend and play smart.
Final: 0-0. Seattle hasn't scored in four straight home games or in three games against Chivas. Chivas hasn't scored in six of its last seven road games. Seattle had the far better chances, but they'll get the same point in the standings as Chivas.
With the next three on the road, this smacks of a lost opportunity at a time of little margin for error.
I'll be back from the locker room with notes and quotes.
Red card in 72nd minute: Chivas defender Marcelo Saragosa has been sent off for whacking Fredy Montero in the chin with the bottom of his boot. Sounders a man up in what remains a scoreless struggle with Seattle continuing to get the far better chances.
Attendance: 32,719 tickets distributed
Second half begins: No lineup changes for either club.
Halftime: Scoreless. Sounders have had the far-better chances, but scoreless nonetheless. Which should come as little surprise, given these notes from our preview box today:
Goals could be rare today as Chivas’ Zach Thornton leads MLS keepers with a 0.82 GAA, and Seattle’s Kasey Keller is second at 0.90. Seattle also has been shut out in three straight home games, while Chivas has been shut out in five of its last six road games.
Well, now add 45 minutes to all of that.
The feel here today is that one goal will do it.
Each team has three shots, one shot on goal and nine fouls. The only real statistical difference is corner kicks: Seattle 7, Chivas 1.
Btw, while by no means are there acres of empty seats, there do see to be more no-shows today than previously. Maybe Huskies. Maybe weather. Maybe pig races at the Puyallup Fair. Maybe all of it. But those who are here are into it, including an especially nice show by the supporters groups.
16th minute: Still scoreless. Sounders have had the better chances, including the best just now: A Ljungberg cross to Zakuani at the far post, which Zakuani headed back to Le Toux. Le Toux fired on goal, but Thornton punched it over the bar.
Kickoff: We've begun. Sounders in green/blue; Chivas in red stripes/white. Game is on Fox Soccer Channel and usual radio.
Original Sounders honored: Pregame ceremonies are getting under way here at Qwest. The current Sounders starters (see below) have just been announced. And now the team is about to introduce a group of about a dozen original North American Soccer League Sounders... who are lineup up along the east touchline wearing rave green jerseys.
(Among those introduced were Tacoma's own Jeff Stock has just been introduced. And current Sounders' assistant Brian Schmetzer. And now the great Alan Hinton, formerly of the NASL Sounders and MISL Tacoma Stars, is being honored with the Golden Scarf. Here's the full list: Frank Barton, John Best, Tony Chursky, Pepe Fernandez, Chance Fry, Jimmy Gabriel, Bobby Howe, Tommy Jenkins, Jimmy McAlister, Mark Peterson Jeff Stock, Ian Bridge and Walt Daggatt and Brian Schmetzer.)
Also, a fitting light-green and light-blue banner tribute is being offered by the supporters groups on the south end. Very nice touch, guys.
Lineups: They've just been released, and they're very interesting. The familiar back line returns. Le Toux starts in midfield. Ljungberg slides up to forward. Assists-leader Jaqua sits. All fascinating decisions for discussion. Here's the whole list:
For Sounders: GK Keller; D Riley, Hurtado, Marshall, Gonzalez; M Le Toux, Alonso, Vagenas, Zakuani; F Montero, Ljungberg. Reserves: Boss, Evans, Ianni, Levesque, Sturgis, Wahl.
It's nice for Vagenas that he finally gets a start against Chivas. And fascinating that he appears to remain in Schmid's dream 11.
For Chivas: GK Thornton; D Saragosa, Bornstein, Cuesta, Jazic; M Padilla, Lahoud, Nagamura, Kljestan; F Braun, Santos.
Gameday plan: The normal. I'll keep this open as a running blog for your comments throughout the day. I'll pop in with pregame news -- that lineup for example -- then in-game updates and postgame notes and quotes.