Here is some of what the Sounders had to say tonight after being eliminated from CONCACAF Champions League with a 1-1 draw that gave Santos Laguna a 2-1 aggregate victory:
Midfielder LAMAR NEAGLEOn his goal…) “ It was a good ball over the top. Going in I knew their defenders were going to be a little tired with the heat and they’ve had a few games in the past week. My job was just to work and I had a good ball over the top, I saw Steve [Zakuani] on the other side, and I got the fortunate bounce off the goalie.” On playing up top with Steve Zakuani...) “I knew coming on that Eddie [Johnson] has had a few games in the last few weeks and had some injuries and stuff. So I knew I was going to play similar to a David Estrada, just working and running and making those runs maybe Steve is too tired to make at that point in the game—it’s late in the game with the heat—just trying to make anything work.” On the mentality of the team throughout the match…) “Going into it we knew it was a great opportunity for us, to even kick-start MLS play—we haven’t been doing too well—to get ourselves going. During the game I thought we started well, we had a few chances that we could have finished, just like the first game, and we were unfortunate not to finish them. Then they end up scoring a goal and they had their bit of play in the game, and towards the end we knew we were going to be running and gunning for goals.” On playing to a draw against one of the top team’s in Mexico…) “Losing always makes it kind of bitter. It is nice to realize where U.S. Soccer is going and we can come down here and get a goal and get a tie like that, but we were definitely coming in here looking for a win.” On moving on to Saturday’s game against New England…) “We just have to keep going with it. We realize MLS is a whole new tournament, so we have to start playing well and start scoring goals and start playing our game.” Midfielder OSVALDO ALONSOOn the game…) “I think we played pretty good. Disappointed with the result, but now we have to focus on MLS and forget about what happened tonight and focus on the game in Seattle.” On carrying momentum over to MLS play…) “It’s always tough to come here to Santos and play against a Mexican team that’s pretty good. We have to take this game and show Saturday that we can do it in MLS.” On the coach’s halftime message…) “We came here to score two goals. One-zero is the same for us. Sigi said we just have to come out and score two goals to advance to the final.” Midfielder MAURO ROSALESOn the game…) “I’m very proud of what the guys did tonight. We’re obviously disappointed about the final result, but we are very proud of how we stepped on this field. Even knowing this was a powerful team we were playing against, we stepped in and played the same way we play at CenturyLink, with the same mentality, with the same character, and I’m just very proud of that. We were very close, but we know that it was not enough getting close to the final. We dreamed about being in the final in this competition because it was very important to us as players and it was something we wanted so badly. I just wanted to say that I’m very proud of the boys today and how hard we worked today to get the result.” On the progress the team has made…) “Even though we knew that they’re a powerful team from Mexico, and we stepped on the field and we did a great job. We played very hard against them, we battled, we fought. We had everything we needed to defeat them, and it was a pity that we didn’t. In the last 10 minutes we had a few chances to score, and we’re just disappointed we didn’t get it.” On how Neagle’s goal changed the game…) “The belief was there since minute one. I think we could’ve scored in the first half, I think we had enough chances to score at least one goal, but this is soccer. We couldn’t score every chance that we create. They’re also a very good team—very sharp, lots of good players on the field. That was an issue to play against them, but we did the job we had to do. Obviously the progress we’ve had since last year’s competition till now, making the semifinals and almost the final, playing always with the best teams in Mexico—it’s something that we have to be proud of and also learn about everything we did tonight and try to bring this mentality to the MLS. Now we have to focus on this and try to start winning games. I think what we showed today is the same character we have to show Saturday against New England.” Forward EDDIE JOHNSONOn the game…) “I thought it was difficult game, but I thought we created chances. We had some good chances early on in the first half, and goals change games. We didn’t put those chances away and the longer you let the team stay in the game the more difficult it is for us, but we showed some character. The guys that came on—Lamar Neagle came on and made a difference. You want guys who can come off the bench and make a difference, and he came in and got a goal. [Mauro] Rosales, his play out wide, he put some good balls in and caused a lot of trouble on their back four. It was a good game by us, but unfortunately we conceded a goal and one goal wasn’t enough.” On the halftime message…) “He said we’ve had chances, and if we’re going to get chances they’re going to get tired—they had a game over the weekend—and that they were going to fatigue. It did show in the second half, even watching the game from the sideline when I came out. They were tired and were able to push the game and have some fresh legs on, and the guys that came on made a difference.” On carrying today’s positives over to league play…) “We can just take what we got out of this game and, as football players, get better and be consistent in each game we play. Like I said, we’re out of the CONCACAF Champions League and now we can focus more on the league. The guys are really looking forward to the game this weekend.”
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