Sounders Insider

Notes and Quotes from Sounders’ win over Timbers

Before calling it a night, some notes and quotes provided by the club after the Sounders’ 2-1 win over the Portland Timbers:

MATCH NOTES 

 

  • Seattle Sounders FC improves to 12-13-2 in the 2015 regular season. At 38 points, the Rave Green are tied for sixth place with the San Jose Earthquakes, but hold the tiebreaker for the final postseason spot in the Western Conference on total wins.
  • After today's result, Sounders FC improves to 7-3-4 against Portland in league play, including an unblemished 5-0-2 record at CenturyLink Field. Seattle won both matches against the Timbers  this season on its home turf.
  • Today's attendance of 64,358 is the fourth-largest crowd in club history and the biggest in MLS this season. Seattle is 4-0-0 all-time against Portland in matches featuring over 60,000 supporters, outscoring the Timbers 8-1.
  • Forward Obafemi Martins scored his team-leading 10th goal in the sixth minute. With the Nigerian's scoring tally, Sounders FC is now 7-1-0 this season when Martins records a goal. Since 2013, the club is 26-1-0 when Martins scores.
  • Captain Brad Evans scored his second penalty kick across all competitions this season in the 42nd minute. Evans is now 10/10 all-time from the spot with Sounders FC across all competitions.
  • After carrying a 2-0 lead into halftime and recording the three-point result, Sounders FC is now 8-0-0 when leading at halftime - the best mark in MLS.
  • Midfielder Marco Pappa made his first start for Seattle since June 28, attempting two shots in 63 minutes of action. In addition, Osvaldo Alonso returned to the pitch in a reserve role in the 76th minute. The club's all-time leader in appearances and minutes played in his first match since August 1.

In partnership with the American Red Cross, Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and Hanauer Family Foundation, Sounders FC fans helped to raise more than $20,000 at CenturyLink Field in support of those affected by the Western Wildfires in Washington and Oregon.

COACH SIGI SCHMID

 

Opening statement:

 

"We can talk about a lot of things. The most important thing is that we got three points. Sometimes you’ve got to find you way into a rhythm and [regain] confidence through hard work, and today was hard work, I don’t think it was beauty. The first goal was a great effort put in by Nelson Valdez and others scraping out the ball, and Obafemi Martins jumps out and scores the goal. On the second goal, we felt we could behind them. Oba makes a hard run and sacrifices himself and draws the penalty kick. Outside of that, their play was probably better than ours at times – I am not going to say the other way around. Sometimes when you go through what we’ve been through – injuries and all that – you’re looking for the three points, you’re looking for your team to work hard and battle…It’s the first time Marco Pappa has played with that group, so there’s obviously misunderstandings. It’s the first time Erik Friberg has played with Pappa, so there’s a lot of things we are trying to work through, as well. What’s important for us – as we continue to work through all of those things – to continue to fight and battle as a team and get three points whenever they’re there."

 

On Stefan Frei’s performance:

"Stefan – as I said last year and this year – I thought he improved consistently last year and through the end of the year I thought he was one of the best goalkeepers in the league and I still think Stefan is one of the best goalkeepers in the league. I don’t think he gets mentioned in the same breath as some of the guys and I think that’s a shame. I know he had the MLS Save of the Week last week and that save he made on Lucas Melano in the first half was very critical. On a ball that Tyrone Mears misread and didn’t react quickly enough, all of a sudden Melano is on a breakaway and Stef makes a great decision and snuffs it. I think he is one of the top goalkeepers in the league."

On the foul that led to the penalty kick:

 

"The goalkeeper knocked [Martins] over… I haven’t seen a replay on it. I asked the fourth official why it wasn’t a yellow or a red, and I was told his communication device wasn’t working, so that was the end of that conversation…I haven’t seen the replay, but I have seen red cards given for that same play. I think that’s one of the areas where this is still a lot of inconsistency with the refereeing. Some guys will call the penalty and give a yellow; some guys will call the penalty and give a red. Some guys won’t give anything. It’s very inconsistent."

 

On a less hectic schedule to finish the season:

 

"We are looking forward to the fact that now we play as many games in the next two months as we played in the past month. Now we get some time for guys to get to know each other in training, and we can work on some things. It helped that we sort of kept this group behind a little bit so they could work. Basically our back four with the exception of Tyrone Mears was left behind, so those guys could work together. I think that helped us in this game a little bit…Being able to train, continue to get guys fitter – guys are becoming more and more game-fit. Things happen in a game. For example, we wanted to make a certain move, but then [Erik] Friberg had taken that shot at the end of the first half on his back, and his back started to tighten up on him and that affected his play. Valdez needed to come out because he was struggling. We knew Pappa couldn’t go 90, we knew Lamar Neagle couldn’t go 90 because of their fitness levels and because Neagle just played 90 minutes on Wednesday. It will be nice to not have to worry about those things going into games."

 

On the result:

"It was a hard-fought win. The results that become turning points for you are the ones where the team realizes, ‘Wow. That was a team effort.’ Everybody rolled up their sleeves and battled for each other, fought for each other. I think that’s the feeling in the locker room. They are tired, they know they can play better, but they also know they got a result through grit and determination today. They set a goal for themselves today to get to three points, it didn’t matter how." 

On Osvaldo Alonso’s performance:

"It was good. We wanted to hold him less than 30, we thought maybe 15-20 was ideal. At that point we needed to go a little bit earlier. I told Ozzie, ‘It’s a fast game. They aren’t giving us a lot of time to settle the ball, so make quick decisions.’ It’s hard when you’re sitting on the bench to enter a game like that, and especially when you’re playing more of a defensive position, to catch the rhythm of the game. I thought Ozzie did a good job of catching the rhythm of the game. He made a couple of good defensive plays for us as well, and he also helped us settle the ball." 

On today’s lineup:

"Our hands are tied a little bit. Andreas Ivanschitz is still injured, he’s an option there at that position. Clint Dempsey is still out – if he’s available maybe it’s a little different formation and he can move people around. If Ozzie is available, then maybe it allows us to play like we did at the end with Evans on the outside. Based on the personnel we had, we felt those were our best options." 

SOUNDERS FC CAPTAIN BRAD EVANS

 

On how this match compares to the win over Orlando City:

 

"I think every game takes on their own character and it’s the way the guys approach it to be honest. The way that the team approached the Orlando game was not the way that everybody was approaching the Salt Lake game. So from that stand point I kind of new beforehand that it wasn’t going to be the same game. Today it was the same way that we approached the Orlando game. Everybody came out fighting from minute one. There wasn’t one guy who you kind of had to yell at him to get him going. It was one of those games where we knew we had to win."

 

On if it’s easier to get guys going when you know you have to win:

 

"Yeah of course. I think as your back gets pushed further and further back into the wall at some point you have to make a stand and everybody has to be collectively together and today was one of those days. And now it’s a test for the whole group. Whoever comes in when guys are missing for international duties, can we do the same next week? And that’ll be the telling story for the end of the season. Can we do it consistently to get ourselves into the playoffs and make a run at this thing? But if I could see the future then I could tell you that’s going to be the case but reality is I can’t say what other people are thinking in their head when they’re coming into a game situation and next week hopefully after the game we can say we were right."

 

On playing with Friberg:

 

"I think it was good. I think we were overrun at times still with [Diego] Valeri and us two playing against three and sometimes four when [Darlington] Nagbe tucks in, so sometimes it’s a game of laser pointer with the dogs and we’re turning our heads and running in circles, but at the end of the day as long as we feel we have cover from the defense which we did tonight and the forwards battling and holding up the ball that it makes our job worth it in the midfield to stretch their legs."

  

SOUNDERS FC GOALKEEPER STEFAN FREI

 

On the importance of the game:

 

"Big three points for us at home and especially against the big rivals. So, especially with games – there’s not too many left so the thing is that all of the teams we’re playing in the future, they’re all tough, tough opponents. Today was no different but really a big three points for us."

 

On the defense:

 

"They put a lot of pressure on us, especially in the second half. First half I had to make a couple saves but I think second half I was more the one watching and our defenders were doing the hard work and the dirty work so that was more nerve-racking for me in the second half because they put so much pressure on us, trying to put crosses on the ground behind our defense, but Chad [Marshall] and also Román [Torres] had a couple really big interceptions for us and then I think you also see at the very end with the last free kick, it’s do or die. We had a talk about attacking as 11 and defending as 11 and I think it was Nelson [Vadlez] that comes up with the big deflection on the free kick so it’s just knowing that there’s only so many games left so we’re going to have to bring it for 90 minutes-plus and it’s really nice to see Nelson there at the end, a striker coming through defensively."

 

On his save on Lucas Melano:

 

"At first, starting-position wise, you try to stay connected with your defenders and then it kind of is bouncing weirdly almost to the right a little bit. And I feel like I’m not going to be able to get there cleanly so I just decide to stay back and see how he takes up the angle against me and then just come out, stay big and not go down too early. And luckily he hit it at me."

 

SOUNDERS FC FORWARD NELSON VALDEZ

 

On the rivalry:

 

"This is how derbies are. They are tough, they are difficult. You don’t always win in a pretty way, but you have to fight. Today we fought."

 

On comparing this atmosphere to other derbies in Europe:

 

"I have played 15 years in Europe, and it is indescribable to say how incredible and beautiful it is to play in this stadium."

 

On playing for his first postseason in an MLS playoff chase:

 

"I understand what it is – and I came to win that. I came to win and I came to [chase] the top place, and be able to qualify and fight for a championship."

 

On communicating as a team with new players throughout the summer:

 

"I believe that we are gaining a better understanding of each other, and we are improving in that area. When we are on the field, we are working together very well, and we are working with each other to understand each other. I believe that as we continue to make plays and play in games, we will continue to improve on those things."

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