Sounders FC

Late Morris goal gives Sounders 1-0 win

The bottom line: After a game characterized by plenty of missed chances from both teams, Jordan Morris finally knocked in a late goal to give Seattle a 1-0 win over the Columbus Crew before a crowd of 39,473 at CenturyLink Field.

The goal: In the 88th minute, Morris scored his third goal in three games to move alone into the Sounders’ goal-scoring lead. The Sounders had been swarming when late sub Oalex Anderson took a close-range shot that Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark stopped but didn’t control. Morris swooped onto the rebound.

Notes: Coach Sigi Schmid went with his eighth different lineup over eight games. Three Sounders regulars couldn’t start. Brad Evans was out due to disciplinary suspension, while Nelson Valdez and Erik Friberg recovered from injury enough to make the 18-man roster, but didn’t start. Schmid went with Herculez Gomez, Clint Dempsey and Jordan Morris as the forwards, Aaron Kovar at midfield, and Zach Scott at centerback. Scott also took the captain’s armband from Evans.

Next match: 7 p.m., Saturday May 7, CenturyLink Field.

Quotes:

SOUNDERS FC HEAD COACH SIGI SCHMID

Opening statement:

“Obviously I thought they were a little better in the first half than we were. We made a couple errors that we were lucky we didn’t pay for, and we also had a couple good chances. In the second half we were more on the front-foot. I thought we were better in the second half overall.”

On subbing Clint Dempsey:

“He’s coming off an injury – the last thing we want to do is get him injured again. We pushed him as long as we could – we were thinking about it 10 minutes earlier – but we wanted to give him another 10 because he felt alright. He’s a competitor; he’s going to want to stay on the field.”

On earning three points:

“Three points are massive – it’s a big difference. You want to get wins at home, so we got another win at home now. I think it was a good game from the standpoint of our character. I thought defensively, with the exception of a few plays, we did a great job defensively, as well. Obviously getting the three points is huge.”

On moving the ball at a faster rate:

“We knew they were the kind of team that are open to counter-attacks and are susceptible to counters, so in the first half our first chances came a little bit through that because they throw so many people forward. If you catch or intercept the ball, you can get at them right away.”

On Jordan Morris scoring his third goal in three matches:

“I think he is getting his confidence, for sure…We said once we get his first goal he will feel better about himself. That weight is off his shoulders and he feels more confident.”

On Ozzie Alonso:

“I thought Ozzie was good today; I thought he was solid. He held our midfield together. Cristian [Roldan] I think was good, also. Cristian did a lot of work for us in there.”

On Herculez Gomez:

“Herculez did well. He is tactically an astute player – he did what we asked him to do tactically, and that is really important. I thought he was consistent and helped us out, too, because he was hitting most of our set pieces.”

SOUNDERS FC FORWARD JORDAN MORRIS

General thoughts after the match:

“It feels good. What really matters is three points and getting back on the right track. It was a great team win.”

On why after scoring his first goal, it seems easier to score more:

“You get that pressure off your back. Each game you aren’t scoring you get more and more pressure and it kind of eats you while you are playing. You get your first one, you can go out there - and this is the life of a forward - but you go out there and play a little more free and with a little more confidence and goals like the one today just kind of come. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.”

On playing against Columbus Crew SC defenders Tyson Wahl and Michael Pankhurst:

“They are both very technical players and are good on the ball. Tyson gets into you and makes it tough. They are both very good players and they made it tough for us.”

On if he is starting to catch up to the speed at the professional level yet:

“It is slowing down a little bit. I think when you make the step up from any level to a higher level it’s going to be a little fast at first, but it’s definitely slowing down and hopefully it will continue to slow down.”

SOUNDERS FC MIDFIELDER OSVALDO ALONSO

On change in play between first and second half:

“They are a good team. They like to play for the ball and to get possession of the ball, but I think we came in the second half to press them and I think we had a good second half.”

On momentum from the game carrying into the next match against San Jose:

“It was a big win. We played at home and got the three points. It doesn’t matter how, but we got to walk away with three points. I think we did good today.”

On whether or not he changes his tactics against specific players like Crew SC midfielder Federico Higuaín:

“I go after everyone the same. Any player who comes next to me, I want to get the ball from him.”

SOUNDERS FC FORWARD HERCULEZ GOMEZ

General thoughts on the match:

“We put in a great effort - a great shift. I thought the first half, they probably had the better of us, especially in possession. But we started off strong in the second half and that really carried us through the whole way. All that work we put in, that effort, was rewarded with a goal.”

On how he is feeling after the game:

“I’m a little tired, but I feel great. It feels great to be a part of this win and great to put in a shift like that. It’s been awhile. It feels great to play in front of these fans, so I’m happy.”

On Sounders FC forward Jordan Morris’ late goal:

“I gave Jordan a piece of advice a while ago and he has taken to it and is doing really well. I told him if at any point during the game you don’t know what to do, just put it in the back of the net - [laughs] - and he’s done pretty well. I got this advice when I was his age from a forward, Billy McNicol, who played for Rangers. It was one of those things where you put yourself in front of goal and you don’t think, you react.”

COLUMBUS CREW SC Head Coach GREGG BERHALTER

On the game:

“I think it was a game of two halves in terms of us controlling the first half and them controlling the second half. A little bit disappointed with our reaction out of the locker room for the second half. I thought we lost our aggression. You know, our pressing wasn’t good enough and it allowed them to take control of the game and after the first half of not scoring which I felt we had a couple of good opportunities to score a goal it was disappointing to end a game like that.”

On Jordan Morris’ Performance:

“It was ok. Obviously he got a goal and he was dangerous at times but I think we did a good job against him, he’s a good player with a bright future and it’s nice to see guys like that in the league and performing well.”

On the message to Federico Higuaín coming out of halftime:

“It was about the next [chance]. Not worrying about any potential misses but focusing on the next opportunity. In soccer sometimes you make them, sometimes you miss them so it’s not getting too down just focusing on the next opportunity that you get.”

On failed goal scoring chance by Higuaín in first half after failed clearance by Frei:

“I don’t know. I can’t tell that. I know we had an opportunity and didn’t convert.”

On the aspect of a low-scoring game:

“Listen overall I think the fans probably got some good entertainment out of this game. You know we came to play like we always do. We came regardless of the atmosphere we came to dominate the game. For large stretches we did that. Unfortunately, in the we weren’t able to maintain that up to our standard.”

COLUMBUS CREW SC DEFENDER MICHAEL PARKHURST

On the game:

“We are upset. We are distraught. We felt like we deserved to win that game and at the minimum take a point from it. We are very upset with ourselves that we gave up a soft goal on a set piece like that. We fell asleep and they punished us for it. We have to finish a game out.”

On the difference between the halves:

“I thought we came out and played a very good first half. We dominated and we controlled the game in the first half and we moved the ball very well and created some chances. In the second half, they came out with some energy and we did not match it right away. We weathered the storm for that first 15 minutes while they were on top of us. Then the game opened up a bit and was a little bit more even. It was unfortunate we were not able to take advantage of such a great first half. Obviously we were disappointed we didn't finish out the game.”

On what they can take from this game moving forward in the season:

“We can take that we need to focus for 90 straight minutes. In this league you can't fall asleep for a second. You know we did and we got punished for it and now we go home with zero points and we need to learn from that mistake.”

COLUMBUS CREW SC GOALKEEPER STEVE CLARK

On the game:

“Obviously we were very disappointed. To lose on a set piece like that is disappointing and not what this team is about.”

On the goal:

“The goal was a set piece from a long way away and we should have done a better job of organizing and not letting the first pass, the short pass go though.”

On the flow of the game:

“We deserved more from the game then we got but that is on us.”

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