Sounders Insider

Sounders react to grinding through to group

Here's some postgame reaction to the Sounders 2-0 win last night that gave them a 2-1 aggregate-score win over San Francisco FC of Panama and on to group play in CONCACAF Champions League:

SIGI SCHMIDGeneral comments) "Wish we could have ended the game about 45 minutes earlier. I thought we had enough chances to finish the game. Sometimes when the luck has turned against you like with us over the last few games, sometimes it seems you have to grind out a victory. You have to work really hard at the victory and that was the case for us today. I think we were the better team over the 120 minutes. They had a couple chances. A big save by Kasey early. Probably one of the turning points of the game. Then we had to grind it out. We had chances. Their goalkeeper came up with some saves. We mishit a few. In the end, we ended up getting the victory, so we're happy about that."

On Alvaro Fernandez's first goal) "He got one last year when we played down in El Salvador and he scored a big header for us today to get us on the board. We needed that goal. He's a player who's good in the air. A lot of times when we're building on the right, we're looking to get him in at the back post because Rosales is a good crosser and he's a good header. At times we try to play a little more right-handed than left-handed as a result of that. It was a good goal."

On not converting opportunities) "It was frustrating. It was probably most frustrating when we were trying to sub for Erik Friberg who had got hurt and for some reason that got lost in translation somewhere. That was probably more frustrating. Sometimes when you're coming off a series of games where you haven't gotten the result, it seems like that win that gets you back over the hump is one of those that you grind it out. It isn't necessarily a thing of beauty, even though we created a lot of chances, so there was a bit of frustration there. Our character showed through at the end."

On Mauro Rosales) "He definitely knows how to play in a wing channel. He's a good crosser and picks people out. He's busy and he's active. We don't want him to defend sometimes as much as he has to defend. He's more than willing to defend in the attacking part of the field and put pressure on the opponent, which is something that helps us in terms of trying to win the ball back and regain possession. He's been a great addition since he plays with such passion and energy."

On CONCACAF) "I just keep wondering why our group is so tough. Dallas was a play-in and every team is tough at this point, but we're back in against Monterrey and we're back in against the team from Guatemala, Communicaciones. And then we play Herediano from Costa Rica. It's a tough group but it's important. Our players felt disappointed with our performance last year overall. We Felt we deserved a bit more. We felt we were unlucky with red card in Costa Rica and we thought we had done enough in Marathon to get some points. We were up 2-1 in Monterrey. So we had some things go against us. It's great to have a chance, as Flaco said, those chances come again and we have a chance to go at it again."

On player rotation) "Zach was ready to play. With Ianni and Parke, we were deciding between the two. We felt they had put in a lot of minutes and one of them needed to sit. We felt that Parke was a little more recovered than Patrick was so that was the reason. We wanted to get a fresh center back in there."

On Pat Noonan getting the start) "Noonan up top. Roger looked tired to me so that's why we didn't include him in the 18 tonight. Noonan is a player who combines well. We felt it was going to be a game where they were going to play more defensive and keep guys back. We wanted a player in there like Noonan who knows how to find little spaces and combine well rather than going with speed or some other attribute."

On Noonan's play) "I thought he played well. His 60 minutes were good. He held the ball for us well and he allowed us to push up as well."

On Saturday MLS game in Kansas City) "We'll look how people are and how they recover. We'll travel with 20 because sometimes you don't know until the next day if someone comes up with kink or a bruise so we don't have to fly someone in last minute. We feel good about our fitness level. We're going into another warm climate. The good thing is Kansas City had to play tonight as well and they ended up playing a man down in the second half. They didn't get overtime minutes, but it is what it was. That's why I wish we'd finished it 45 minutes earlier, but it is what it is and we'll deal with it."

NATE JAQUAOn having time on goal scoring chance) "Maybe a little more time than you want but I took a touch to get it down and when they came across. I tried to roof it over them and put it in the back of the net. It was nice to see it go in."

On missed chance earlier in match) "You want to make up for that. That was one I should have put away. When you get in there and get one a little bit early and aren't quite in the rhythm of the game. I think I got into the rhythm of the game a bit more as it wore on. It was nice to make up for that."

On shot discrepancy) "I think we were confident. We created a lot of things and knew if we kept plugging away that they were getting a little bit tired and that we were getting opportunities as the game wore on and that we'd get more in overtime. It felt like that happened. We kept pushing and got good chances and finally got the one."

MAURO ROSALESOn Fernandez's breakthrough goal in the 41st minute)"It was very important to score in the first half, to have the (ability) in the second half to play a little more quiet, but we didn't. We were doing all the hard work to try to get the goal and it was in the 110th minute. It was [a] pity that we couldn't score before 90. We had to run double but that's okay. After the two games that we had, it's good to have some motivation like we did today. We go to the next game trying to keep our hard work."

On how important it was to get out and play the way they did) "I think it was very important because we know we have a good team, we have been doing very good job in the last five games but after we lost (some games recently), we lost some confidence also. We have to get (that confidence) again. Today was a very important game. It's not just for us but for the club and for the MLS too."

ALVARO FERNANDEZOn goal after missed opportunities) "I was getting a little bit disillusioned with one shot outside the box and then two headers, but good thing about soccer is it gives those opportunities back to you."

San Francisco coach LEONARO PIPINOGeneral comments) "The feeling of losing always brings sadness, especially in an important tournament like this. But coming from a league that isn't well known it's good to come here and play at the same level with a great team like the Seattle Sounders that play in a league that is more well known."

On SSFC goalkeeper) "He had a great performance. We don't always want the goalkeeper to be the star of the team but he had a very lucky night and was able to keep the game going all the way to the extra time."

On team strategy) "We had the idea to come and dominate the match. To play in the other field and keep the ball in our possession. Unfortunately, we had a rival on the other side that prevented us from doing that. In the first half, there was a chunk of time where we had good passes."

On officiating) "It was acceptable within the normal progression of the game. Maybe there were mistakes for one team or the other, but I don't have anything to complain about."

On Sounders fan support) "They have an admirable number of people who follow the team and support the team. I salute the fans of the Sounders."