Sounders Insider

Reaction: Sounders say fair, Union frustrated

Here is some of what both sides had to say after the Sounders and Union played to a 1-1 draw Saturday in Pennsylvania:

Sigi SchmidGeneral thoughts:I think a tie was a fair result of the game. Obviously, Ruiz scores a great free kick in the first half, but I didn’t think either team created a whole lot of chances. They had some shots from distance, but there weren’t a whole lot of chances.

Second half we weren’t generating that much so we switched to a 3-5-2. When we switched to that and brought in Montero and Jaqua I thought we got more offense created and I think based upon the last 15 minutes we deserved to get an equalizer. I thought we wer creating more chances up front even though we left ourselves open a little bit in the back. I think we were around 2 or 3 opportunities—Fernandez before he scored, Montero with the flick better, Montero another one he should have shot better when he looked for Jaqua so we had chances.

How big was goal for Fernandez:It was big. He and I talked this week I’ve tried to be very clear as to what I need from, what I was looking for. He responded well in training and I said if the opportunity presents itself we’ll get you in and he came up huge for us. It was a big goal.

On Montero coming back:It was good. Obviously he’s been out for two weeks, hasn’t been able to really train that hard so his timing’s going to be off a bit, but he’s someone that in terms of presence a team has got to worry about him.

On the weather:It was the same for both teams. Obviously the wind wasn’t favoring the team attacking towards the video screen, but you have to play a little differently. When you’re playing into the wind, you can hit more long balls, the ball holds up and gives your forward a chance to run under it which we tried to do a little bit more in the second half. We had some success with that. In fact the corner that we won was the result of that kind of a ball. But it’s the same for both teams. It’s not ideal, but for each team it’s the same.

On the surface (natural grass):We have no problem playing on natural grass; we prefer playing on grass. We train on it all the time and I think for our game, although today I don’t think it was a great game for us, but normally for our game playing on grass helps us because it slows the ball down a little bit. Sometimes in our stadium it gets a little too quick and fast. We like playing on grass, that’s not a problem

On Parke: I thought he was solid. I was just upset with him on one play when he was having a discussion with the referee while the play kept going, but outside of that he’s been solid for us. He had toe surgery in the offseason and struggled a little bit in the beginning of the year just trying to come back from that. He’s getting stronger with each week so we’re very happy with him,

On starting the same lineup two straight games:Yeah it’s obviously important when you can put guys out there and establish a rhythm. Now you have Montero coming back into the mix as well so you’ve got to figure out how to fit the pieces of the puzzle work together. So we talked about it, depending on how the game goes we might go into a 3-5-2 that might suit getting all those pieces onto the field.

STEVE ZAKUANI On the gameThe first thing is the ball had been coming and of course we had been putting a lot of pressure on them and give credit to the forwards and when you have 6 or 7 attacking players on the field and when you give up chances in the back that helps create some offensively. Credit to Freddy [Montero] and Jaqua for coming on and giving us some energy in the game as well. I just felt we just kept pushing and pushing and Fernandez came up with a goal, a very big goal in dramatic fashion. We’ll take that point because it was a tough game since the conditions weren’t the best but we just had to grind out the result. It wasn’t a pretty game but we’ll take that point back to Seattle. We haven’t lost in four game now and we’ll just keep building.

On playing against wingbacks coming upYeah it can hurt you and especially on a day like today when the field is fast and it’s hard to control balls. You have to worry about just standing up straight because it was so windy and rainy. Philly had some good tactics, they like to attack so credit to them. But at the same time I felt that the goal was a bit soft in terms of the free kick given. I think Ozzie [Osvaldo Alonso] won the ball cleanly and he got a yellow card and Ruiz put the ball away. So when they got ahead credit to their defending wall but we bounced back. On the road it’s not easy coming in, last year we lost the game here so I think it was a step in the right direction.

On Fernandez scoringOn a personal level I’m sure it’s huge for him. He’s a great player, like I said on this team we have 17 or 18 players that can play any given week. He came on and had a great header. He’s great in the air, he scored a goal like that for us last year. He’s very good in the air as we see in training every day. It was a huge goal and gives us a point which is the difference between losing the game and tying the game. The confidence is good, everyone feels a bit better today. We didn’t play well and we’re not going to say that we did. I don’t think offensively we weren’t sharp as we didn’t create anything today but that just shows a different side of our game. For us to grind and battle and then leave a place like this, a tough place like this to a team that hasn’t lost at home yet, and to not lose the game is great. Credit to Philly, it’s a tough place to come but we’ll take it.

On Montero coming backYeah we like Freddy and he’s another weapon. Freddy came on and gave us a lot of energy and a couple shots on goal. He ended up putting a cross into Fernandez and got the assist on that. He’s been out for a couple of weeks and obviously when you’re out for a while you start to get antsy and want to come back. Great to have Freddy back, he played his part in the goal, so did Alvaro. The guys that came on gave us energy and we needed it at that point. Happy to have Freddy back.

BRAD EVANS On the weatherI missed last year but yeah this was a little different for sure. I also missed the trip that these guys took in preseason a couple years ago and they said that was pretty bad too. But this was probably the worst conditions I’ve ever played in other than one time in Columbus. You know it makes for an interesting game with free kicks like that that generally don’t go in. Seemed like every time Kasey [Keller] was taking a goal kick the wind would pick up and it was just chaos and tough to judge balls in the air and things like that. But to get out of here with one point and six points in a row now I think that is something we can be proud and something we can take in stride for sure.

Options off the bench after being down 1-0I think it just shows the depth of our team. Anybody can play at anytime so people make a case for coming on and playing. It could be a different team every week if we wanted it to but I think something that will carry us farther is consistency. Trying to keep the same lineup for getting points on the road like one like this feels like a victory and hopefully it will be different in San Jose. We need to keep that consistency and keep it going and keep getting points and build up will create the cohesion the team needs to get to the next level.

On scoring in stoppage timeEven if we had scored earlier and anytime we fight back on the road in these conditions and against a team that doesn’t give up many goals is something that is positive that we can take away from it. I don’t think they created too many dangerous chances themselves also so I think our defense was good. They scored off a free kick but other than that we didn’t give up many chances and we created a few of our own. For us I think you can feel the mood in the locker room

ALVARO FERNANDEZOn personal importance of goal he scoredIt was good. He had a talk during the week and it was nice to be able to go in and score.

Approach going into the gameWe were behind and we knew that we needed to score. I had the first chance and it didn’t go in unfortunately but thankfully the second one did.

Ever play in conditions like this?Yeah I have played in these conditions a couple of times and obviously the weather makes it more interesting, especially if you score in the last few minutes of the game.

UNION COACH PETER NOWAKFrustrated?Yeah. It’s important that we realize not to be afraid to score the second goal. It seems like we’re trying to manage that and also give players enough freedom to explore the options to move forward and to have a good possession game as well. In some capacity maybe it’s in the back of their heads that we’re still winning, but winning doesn’t mean that we need to go on the shelf and just defend. IT’s just not going to happen.

We tried to encourage them the whole week and give them enough freedom in the game that in certain situations we’re going to keep the ball moving and we created some chances. I think we did a better job today, but we still, in the cases that we don’t see openings we’re supposed to see, and then all of a sudden we don’t have an idea where to go with the ball.

As I said, repetition, repetition, practice, practice, practice because it’s the only thing that’s going to get us better. On the other side of course, it’s a difficult way to play with the wind and also the rain. I didn’t expect to play a beautiful game, but still simple passes from A to B need to be delivered and we need to have an idea what to do with it. As much as we tried the whole week to work on that, we’ve got a lot of work to do.

Working on defending set pieces:Yeah. It’s not an issue—it’s not the first ball. In the case of LA it was the first ball, but we need to concentrate better on the second and third. Seattle had the one chance also that was cleared of the line that was not the first one, but was the second and third.

As soon as the corner kick came, we cannot have guys like Montero having a free look and then deliver the ball inside. We’ve got to put pressure on the ball, and from this perspective it’s disappointing because we talked about it and worked on it and it didn’t happen today in a very important moment of the game.

Is it tough for keeper when he hasn’t seen much all day?I think from his perspective, from our perspective its difficult for the keeper and as you saw the ball was going every direction possible from the wind. I don’t think anybody can control something like that

There was first not concentrated enough on the second ball. The ball bounced to Montero, we’ve got to make sure we put pressure on the ball. He played to Zakuani, back to Montero—we have to clean this stuff immediately so there was a goal scored.