Sounders coach Sigi Schmid wasn't happy with the way his team played in its 2-0 loss to Portland: Two soft goals and too many missed chances.
However, everyone on both sides seemed energized by the loud, well-behaved crowd of 3,100 that jammed Starfire Sports Complex to watch the revival of what might be U.S. soccer's greatest rivalry.
My take: It was a little disconcerting. The Sounders went with what seems to be their first 11 and they gave up two soft goals. On the other end of the pitch, they took 18 shots, put only four on goal and, of course, none in goal. However, this was Portland's fourth straight shutout. And, of course, these are training games, so results are hardly the big issue. And the Sounders had long enough stretches of good enough play where that might be the more important takeaway than the final score. Along those lines Schmid named several players who had good moments. But he seemed especially pleased with Erik Friberg, who came on in the 69th minute.
Here's what I know for sure, however: This rivalry is going to be fun.
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And their take:
Sigi SchmidOverview: "I thought our second half was better than our first. We created chances. Obviously didn’t score, so that’s disappointing. … I’m really ticked at the last goal that we gave up. The first goal was a soft goal. I think that’s one that we shouldn’t have given up. It is what it is. It’s preseason. We pushed some guys 90 minutes. I think there was a little bit of fatigue from somebody like Kennedy at the end of the game, because it’s been a long time since he’s gone 90 minutes. But on the same token, it’s better to build that fitness now than to pull him out of the game and not build it."
"It’s preseason. What’s important is that we finish our chances once the season starts. But we’ve got to bury chances at practice and bury chances in practice games."
"I thought we took over control of the game in the second half. Their danger came in counters."
On the crowd) "I’m extremely disappointed. I don’t like losing. Nobody in the locker room likes losing. But it is what it is. We lost 2-0 tonight. I’m sure the Portland fans are going to have a happy drive home. … I’m disappointed for our fans, but as I said, we have to be sure we’re ready on March 15."
At his goals for Sunday's game against Vancouver) "It’s a situation of looking at some different people. There are some guys who didn’t suit up tonight because we knew they were going to play Sunday. And it’s a chance for guys to make a case for themselves and show that they can bang away goals."
STEVE ZAKUANIObviously everybody is disappointed because we lost the game. It’s still preseason, but it’s a game was wanted to win in front of the fans – it’s the first time they’ve seen us. Disappointed because they scored two goals from the few chances they had. So credit to them, and that’s a very physical team. It was a very physical game on a very tight pitch.
Portland coach JOHN SPENCEROn beating Seattle) It’s going to take more for us to beat Seattle and the Whitecaps to get where we won’t to be. We can’t be looking at making Seattle this giant monster. They’re a professional team, we’re a professional team; they have quality players, we have quality players.
Atmosphere) I think the atmosphere is what it’s all about. I said to the players before the game, no one comes to the Northwest for the weather. Everybody lives here, if you’re a soccer guy, because you want to come and play at the highest level and be treated like a top-class professional.
Overview) The first half I thought we were a bit nervous at times. Then we got a bit confident and started to attack from wide areas, we created a couple of chances and Jorge (Perlaza) taps one in. We had another one coming down the right hand side and we blasted one over the bar near post. I thought we were unfortunate not to go in 2-0, 2-1 at the halftime.
(At halftime) I said to them I thought their shape was excellent I thought their reaction and desire to get to the ball and win tackles was great. We beat a good team tonight but we can’t get too carried away. We put the work rate and the effort in and this is what you get. I keep telling them time and time again that talent alone is not enough in the modern game. You’ve got to have that desire to get there and win your individual battles, and I thought tonight we’ve done that.
About the run of play in the second half) You can’t dominate games for 90 minutes when you’re playing against quality teams like the Sounders are. They’re a powerful unit and very well coached. We expected them to come out in the first 15 minutes and throw everything they had at us. Again I thought we looked a little bit nervous…I felt at about the 65th minute they’d given us everything that they had, and possibly run out of ideas. I said to the guys on bench if we’re smart and still compete and try to attack from the right areas then I think we’ll win this game. To be fair I think the best team on the night won this game.