Sounders Insider

Sounders satisfied with scoreless draw at Chicago

Here are some quotes provided by the Chicago Fire media relations department following the Sounders nil-nil draw:

SIGI SCHMIDOn the game:“Obviously we’re happy to get a point. I thought we did a good job defending, Kasey had to come up with some big saves in that middle 15-minute period in the first half. After that I think we did a better job attacking and got some chances. But at the end of the day we’re playing a team that’s motivated, we’re playing a new coach, and to come awaywith a point is not that bad.”

On controlling the first 20-25 minutes:“I thought we might have a chance to be able to do that. We talked about being able to match their intensity at the beginning of the game, and I think we did that. We also feel like we’re a good road team so we try to play with the willingness to go forward and I thought we did that early on. If we could have scored a goal than we could have changed things, but they put us on our heels a little bit, Dominic Oduro got himself into the game and he was dangerous at times. Chaves had a really good look, so they had some good chances. Obviously Paladini’s shot to Kasey that Kasey pulls out of the corner.”

On playing in the heat:“Obviously it’s not hot for me, I’m over on the sidelines. For us, it’s the first time we’ve played in heat,and I thought fitness-wise, we held up fairly well. We haven’t played inthe heat and humidity, and we haven’t trained in the heat and humidity,so as a result of that, fitness-wise I thought we were good. I thought even at the end of the game besides Montero’s chance, which I don’t know if it was a foul, we also had Roger who had the header off the corner, we also had some chances to win it as well.”

On coming to Chicago after a coaching change:“It was quite difficult because we didn’t know what they were going to change. He didn’t change a lot of people or personnel. I think they played a little more direct than they did under de los Cobos. That made it a difficult game for us. Nazarit is a big guy, he challenges for headers and wins a lot of those, and they were certainly looking for him. It was difficult so we weren’t quite sure how their style was going to change.”

On Lamar Neagle:“I thought he was good. I thought he had some good moments. He’s still a young player. There’s always some ups and down. He had two good chances early on, I’m sure he’d like to havethat header back for sure. I think he missed the ball in the second half but he got through it and picked up steam again towards the end. I think he rose in confidence as he was 1v1 on the edge of the 18…”

KASEY KELLEROn the game:“It was a tough game. I think Sean made a couple good saves, I had to make a few saves at the end of the first half. The second halfwas a battle and there were a few half chances for both teams but no one could get that final touch, that final piece of magic to separate it. So I think overall it was a pretty fair result. It could have been a different occasion,it could have been a 1-1 or a 2-2, but like you said I was able to make a few saves, Sean made a couple good saves and we were able to keep it at zeros.”

On a first half Chicago chance:“I got a good jump on it, I kind of lost it a little bit but I thought the only place it could go was there, so I took a gamble but I had a pretty good idea of where it was going to go. Like I said, I got a jump and fortunately the ball was somewhere where I could reach it.”

On Sean Johnson’s performance:“Obviously he’s a good young goalkeeper who’s coming up and as long as he continues to learn he’s got a bright future. He made a great save early on Lamar to keep it at zero. There was continued pressure but he made the saves he needed to make.”

On the collision with Cristian Nazarit:“Nothing really, I just collected the ball and he came in as I was protecting myself and just kind of caught me and I think James came over to make sure everything was alright, but it was no big deal. I expect himto go for the ball and it’s part of the game.”

Chicago coach FRANK KLOPASOn the draw:“Obviously, we played two different halves. I thought in the first half we pushed the game and had some opportunities. I felt they had some opportunities, too. But, this has been the story for us so far. We always create opportunities, but we need to finish some of those. Some of the things we worked on in the set pieces that have led into goal scoring opportunities didn’t occur tonight, so it’s a positive clean sheet for Sean and the rest of the team, who worked very hard. We tried to push thegame in the second game with the guys we brought in and that is why we have subs. I believe in my players and I put them in. We didn’t get the win,but I thought there were a lot of positives going away from this game. “

On changes he made this week and how the team played differently:“Well, I think we focused a lot. If you look at the last games, I think an area of concern was definitely the goals we’ve been giving up. We’ve been creating chances, so that is a positive. I think fine-tuning little things and I think just looking at the opponent we’ve been playing. There are strengths on how to break them down and I think that the team had good ideas as far as knowing we definitely can be better and times when we are forcing the ball. We were constantly looking on how to change the point of attack. They overplayed the middle and they force you to play those types of balls in the middle because they are very good at almost inviting you to play then they close the space and then off they go.When we did look to play the ball in the middle, we wanted to make sure when we looked for Chaves or Nazarit that the midfielders had an easy outlet out, so wecould play in, get it back, then look to switch it. So, that is some of the stuff we worked on. You saw in the game that the guys were constantly looking to do that. I think the important thing is to have better ideas in the final third and movement off the ball.”

On why there were fewer chances in the second half: “It’s hard to say. I felt we made some changes because we wanted to bring some fresh players in. At times, we had opportunities to be simpler and connect players. I think we weren’t as sharp in connecting the final pass or the outlet pass out wide. I think we had moments in transitions where we got the ball and were able to break, but I think at times we didn’t step high enough to win the second ball and keep possession in that half. I think in the second half the game was more balanced and we talked about putting guys that were fresh in the forward position, so they could chase the ball down and apply more pressure. I think a key in the game was having more movement off the ball. I think late in the game the guys got tired and we didn’t push up high enough. If we play those balls we should be able to keep the ball in their own half. “

Chicago keeper SEAN JOHNSONOn the shutout:“Our focus tonight was on the defensive end and to come out and get a shutout. The guys were committed early on. It’s important when the other team has chances to communicate with each other, shut that down and make sure everyone is on the same page again. When we don’t do that, those are the little things that cost us in the long run. We came together in the second half and limited their chances and gave ourselves the opportunity to win the game.”On playing against Kasey Keller:“It’s always good to get a shutout. When you are playing you see different scenarios throughout the entire game, it’s a learning process. Every game you learn more and more, and seeing Keller back there and how he commands things gives me a better understanding of the game. “

Chicago midfielder LOGAN PAUSEOn the result:“I think where we’re grabbing the positivity and the good aspects are from how we approached the game. Our preparation throughout the week was on not giving up a set-piece goal, keeping a clean sheet and creating chances. I think that’s why everyone’s so positive, but the reality of the situation is that we have a lot of work to do. Before you know it, it’s September and we can’t lose sight of how quick this season goes. It feel s good to have a zero, but at the end of the day we need some wins.”

Chicago midfielder DANIEL PALADINIOn the second half:“They put more pressure on us, and we were basically trying to sort out where Fredy (Montero) was and to play a bit more defensively in the second half. When Patrick (Nyarko) came on and Corben (Bone) moved to the middle it created a bit more of an attacking dynamic, so we still had some chances.”