Sounders Insider

Sounders blame themselves for 2-1 loss; Defoe impresses ... and impressed with Sounders support

I've got some reaction in the posts below, but here's more from both clubs after Toronto FC's 2-1 win over the Sounders today at CenturyLink Field:

Stefan Frei - Sounders FC GoalkeeperOn the game...) "I thought we did alright in the first 10, 15, 20 minutes or so. We got in behind them a couple times, controlled the game pretty well. They had some corners too, but nothing too fancy. We kind of gifted them two goals a little bit, some breakdowns and quick turnovers. The quality that they have, they were obviously going to take their chances. It's tough to trail two-zero at home, obviously, but coming in the second half we did well. I think we responded really well, found that goal with a decent amount of time on the clock. Unfortunately we weren't able to capitalize on a couple of chances late in the second half."

(On pressing all the way to the end...) "I think this is where character comes through-when the going's tough and it really matters. We really responded well. With that being said, we can't be going into half at home being down two-zero. We shouldn't put ourselves in that situation, so we don't have to dig out of that. It's something to build on. We have to show up and work hard on Monday for training and get ready for Montreal." (On playing his former team...) "Honestly, just another game. Like I said, disappointed to not at least pick up a point. We were aiming for three points at home, obviously, so we have to put this one behind us, learn from it, and get ready for next week." Obafemi Martins - Sounders FC Forward(On the game...) "We conceded easy goals, so that was not a good sign at the start. But, you know, in the second half it was our job to try to score and equalize, but it wasn't easy today."

(On improving the attack in the second half...) "I think we just have to play more forward. That's what we need. Like I said in the preseason, they changed almost half of the players so we're getting to know each other. It'll be better soon." Lamar Neagle - Sounders FC Forward(On thoughts about the game...) "We just really had a slow start obviously we gave them a couple of goals. Towards the end of the game whenever you're down a couple of goals or down a goal you're going to be chasing. So we knew it was going to be crazy by the end of it, yeah it was definitely our game and we gave it to them." (On how the team can recover from the loss...) " It's a long season and I think we know that, just because it's 1-1 it kind of looks pretty bad but obviously we don't want to lose at home, ever. But we know it's a long season and we know we got a game next weekend so can't really dwell on it too much, we can take away what we did wrong and those mistakes, but yeah we got another game against Montreal. (On the goal...) "The ball popped out to Dempsey and I just opened up and he gave me a good pass, I waited for the defender to kind of commit and I saw Oba going down the line, so just played him down the line and they did the rest. Yeah Oba did Dempsey, and Dempsey did what he does." Dylan Remick - Sounders FC Defender (On playing his second home match...) " I mean, it feels good to play and obviously come out there again and play in front of our home fans. Unfortunately we didn't get the result we were wanting to, but sometimes that just the way it goes." (On thoughts on game and how team can move on from loss...) "I thought we had really good moments throughout the entire match. I thought there were long stretches of play where we played really well and got good chances but there was that five to ten minutes where we as a team just mentally lapsed and they took advantage of it. They have players who aren't going to miss those chances but overall I thought we did some really good things and we just have to focus on staying mentally tough the entire game. Our goals will come we created some, got one and could have gotten three more. So its good strides, certainly not the end of the season so we just know what we have to work on its just a little wake up call." (On the mindset while making late game surge...) "I think the team's mindset was just to do what we can to create chances, whether it's out wide, through the middle or up top. My mindset was just to do the exact same thing, trying get on the ball and put in some crosses; do whatever I could to get help get us back in the game and get those goals that we needed." Ryan Nelsen - Toronto FC Head Coach(On the game...) "Obviously it's a very difficult place to play. They are very well coached and have some fantastic players. In my opinion, they're probably one of the favorites to win this competition. So when you come here, you have to show more than just football ability, but heart and character. We knew as the game went on that it'd get tough and we had to stand up for it. I thought the guys were magnificent in the first half when it came to their football and magnificent in the second half when it came to their desire and their character." (On the team not being familiar with each other...) "We've got so much to improve on. We're not stupid - we know we have new players coming in that haven't played together. Our organization wasn't too bad, but we can be so much better off the ball. What I like about this team is their heart, their character, their desire, that they want to win. That's what you hope for and build your house on that type of foundation. We know we have lots to improve on and we'll get back to work as soon as we can."

(On if Jermain Defoe's play surprised him at all...) "No, not at all. It does take some players time, but I've had the pleasure of playing alongside the man and watching him at training so once you see it day in and day out, you just know that's going to happen." (On if this game sends a message to Toronto fans and the league...) "No, no, it's one game. We tick that box. As I said, we know we've got so much to improve on. We've got to get better in all facets and a couple of guys we need to get up to speed fitness-wise. We tick that box and move on to the next one. We have a very difficult game against D.C. next." (On Michael Bradley's play in midfield...) "He initiates a lot of pressure and he backs it up. He causes turnovers by his presence and on the other side, even Michael would probably say, when you're not used to that kind of surface, it takes a bit to get used to. Our passing wasn't as good, but for us, it was a game where we had to stay organized and we had to show character and the chances that we got, we had to take when we did." (On if he felt the central midfield was overcrowded...) "I thought they did very well. We obviously have things that kick in if we feel we're overcrowded. Support systems there and no, we didn't get it perfect, and there's much to work on. If it were perfect, I'd probably have to hand in my resignation because I wouldn't be needed."

(On the team's vision for this year...) "We've got a vision of where the club wants to be. We're trying to take steps forward and how big those steps are are determined on days like this. It was a good step forward. Again, we're self-aware enough to know that we've got lots to work on. The guys now will recover and can't wait to get back to work and try and get better." (On play in the second half...) "When you're playing against a team of the quality of Seattle - they've got a fantastic coach, a fantastic home ground and the fans behind them - you're going to have times when you soak up pressure. We soaked up a lot of it and handled it very well. As I said, when you come to a place like this, if you're going to get a win, you have to be able to handle it. I thought the players were fantastic."

(On the back line...) "The back line is one of the hardest things to get right, to tell you the truth. Whether you're too high or too low, you balance when you have the ball. When you don't have the ball, it's very important. [...] What I like about this team is they're not afraid of the occasion and for a big occasion like this, they seemed to play a lot better." (On Doneil Henry...) "I thought he was very good. We forget he's only 20. He plays above his age. But when you've got Justin Morrow, Julio Cesar and Steven Caldwell around you, and Michael Bradley in front of you, it does help. I thought the whole back line - everybody, I can't fault anybody to tell you the truth."

(On where this win ranks in his career...) "It felt like a game that had a bit of an edge. It was built up so it was a powerful game for us. We probably didn't have the greatest preparation going in - we were probably under prepared. To come to a place, like Seattle, which is one of the top places in the league, and get a win is very substantial."

(On switching the flanks between Jackson and Rey...) "Just to see different kind of skill set. Alvaro (Rey) is probably the polar opposite player to Jackson so sometimes they get used to a player and deal with a different kind of skill set. We like to move them around as much as we can to unsettle them."

(On the difference Jermain Defoe makes up front...) "That's why he's been at the level he's been at because he can do those sorts of things. Once you see it first hand, there's a reason why he's scored so many goals. He proved that to hopefully millions of people that watched the game today."

Jermain Defoe - Toronto FC Midfielder (On coming to Seattle and getting the win...) "It's always going to be difficult when you come to places like this, with the atmosphere, the crowd, and they've got good players. I think to come here and to win was massive for us. Everyone is delighted. It's an important three points." (On scoring two goals in his MLS debut...) "I think the most important thing is obviously winning the game, and to score two goals in your debut, it's a dream. The first goal was a great ball and you just have to finish it off. I thought the second half, we showed great character because they put us under a lot of pressure and you've got to do that sometimes away from home. Like I said before, the three points was massive." (On how he thinks Roy Hodgson viewed today's game...) "I think the most important thing for me is to focus on playing here, winning games, and working hard for the team, and obviously trying to score goals. Obviously with the England thing, it's obviously going to be in the back of my mind, but I'm sure if someone said to Roy Hodgson, 'If you haven't seen Jermain scored two goals...' then maybe he won't be surprised. So yeah, it was good, but I think it's important that we keep our heads down now and all stick together and look forward to the next game." (On whether today's match was more physical than he expected...) "Yeah, it was physical. Obviously playing on that pitch was different, the artificial, but you can't make excuses. It's the same for both teams. You have to adapt and I thought everyone played well today. I keep mentioning the second half because they got us under a lot of pressure and you have to show character away from home sometimes and I thought we did that in the second half." (On him and the other international players adjusting to the MLS...) "Obviously sometimes it takes time to adapt. I think obviously when you're training with the boys, you know, it's important to listen to the information and try and see how, you know, your new teammates play. It does take time. For some reason today, it all clicked and it was a massive three points and everyone's happy."

(On now dealing with even higher expectations...) "At the end of the day, I understand that expectations are going to be high. There's pressure, but that's why you play football. You play football to be the best, and to win things, and as a striker, to score goals. There's pressure in that, but it's good pressure."

(On the quality of service he got from teammates...) "It was quality. Obviously it's going to difficult because the pitch, it was quite wobbly, and at times it was like a little bit scrappy, but the service was good. The boys were looking for me and getting the two goals in the first half was important for us. The second half was just organized really. We tried to stay compact and hit them on the counterattack. And that's what we did. Credit to them. They played really well in the second half, but we showed great character." (On the atmosphere...) "It was electric. It was amazing. Great experience. I thought their fans were fantastic. Our fans were good as well. It's a fantastic stadium."