Here are some highlights. We’ll be back with a full game report and more quotes later.
The basics: The Seattle Sounders are the final team in Major League Soccer without a win or a draw yet this season, as they fell 2-1 to the Vancouver Whitecaps, who until tonight also had no points in the standings. The Sounders had the better run of play but couldn’t overcome two Whitecaps’ goals on penalty kicks. Midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz got the lone goal for Seattle, a blazing free kick from 19 yards in the 52nd minute.
Player of the match: Pedro Morales converted both PKs for the winners.
Key moments: Referee Mark Geiger called two fouls against Seattle in the penalty area, leading to both Vancouver goals by penalty kick. The first came in the ninth minute, when defender Joevin Jones might have clipped the heel of Christian Bolanos, who went down. In the 73rd minute, Chad Marshall went down for a slide tackle, and Blas Perez stepped on Marshall and went down. Pedro Morales converted both PKs.
Notes: The Sounders are 0-3 for the first time in their MLS history. ... Forwards Clint Dempsey, Nelson Vandez and Jordan Morris all had solid chances. However, the forwards’ goal drought continued, as the Sounders’ two goals this season have come from the midfield. … In the 71st minute, S2 alum Oalex Anderson subbed on for Morris. ... Seattle played without midfielder Erik Friberg and defender Brad Evans.
Quotes: Sigi Schmid: “Not pleased with the result. It’s a game that again I thought we controlled the majority of the game. I thought we were the team that was on the attack most of the game. I’m not sure about the PKs -- I haven’t seen the replays yet -- but I’ve seen guys trip themselves in the box before. ... It seems like right now we’re not catching a break in any way, shape or form. Obviously it’s got to be better for us to win at the end of the day, but it’s not like I can say the other team is steamrolling us or things like that. ... Maybe the imagination in the final third still needs to get better.”
Sigi Schmid: “You can’t go and keep beating your head against the wall because eventually you start bleeding and you don’t accomplish anything. So you’ve got to analyze it. We’ve got to stay strong in our will and in our endeavor and in our belief with each other. But obviously we’re not happy. I’m not happy, they player’s aren’t happy, the organizaion’s not happy. It’s a results-orientated business -- I know that as well as anybody. And at the end of the day, we’ve got to start getting results or quite a few of us could be looking for new jobs.”
Vancouver Coach CARL ROBINSON
On bouncing back:
“It was a better performance. This game is a process and if you put the right performances in, the results will come. I think we tripped ourselves up with mistakes in the first two games and we accepted that. Today was a team performance.”
On how the team responded after Seattle equalized:
“Lots of character shown today. It’s not an easy place to come. We know we have to have a very good game against a very good team. We know they’re going to put you under pressure and they did that today. When they got the goal, it was a set piece and a fantastic finish on a free kick. But we showed character and we probably played our best little bit of futbol after they scored. That shows the team has character.”
On the difference this year in scoring on set pieces:
“I’ve got no idea, if I’m honest. I think we scored on five set pieces in the first four years of our MLS history so we’re doing something right. I really don’t care how we score – as long as we score I’ll take it.”
On what changed after Seattle scored:
“At halftime, I told them I didn’t want to sit back because they’ve got good players in key areas. If you sit back against a good team with good players, eventually they’re going to hurt you. I tried to stress that during the first 10 to 15 minutes of the second half to get after them. Good players sometimes don’t allow you to do that and they put us under pressure and probably got their just rewards in the free kick goal. But, as I said, we showed character afterwards. We wanted the ball. It’s easy to play when you’re winning, but coming off two defeats – silly defeats really – we showed a bit of grit and determination. They’re knockered a bit and they’ve got ice packs all over them, and that’s what you need to do in this game.”
On if he’s seen the two penalty kicks:
“No, I haven’t. I could sit here and say it’s two non-penalties or it’s two penalties – I don’t know. What did you see? [The first one was a little bit shaky, the second one looked to be pretty fair.] Okay, the first one looked a little shaky and the second one was fair.”
On how he felt about playing two strikers tonight:
“I thought Blas Perez was one of the best players on the field. I thought he was excellent in his hold up play and brought leadership into the young team that we have. It was a different option and I’ll do that at different times this year. I don’t get caught up in formations … it’s about players. We have players that are able to play in different formations in different games.”
On creating the situations against the Sounders’ backline:
“We know they have two excellent fullbacks who love to attack and want to get forward and will load you up with numbers because of their forward-thinking play, but it leaves the two centerbacks a little bit isolated sometimes. That’s why I went with two forwards today to maybe catch them. You’ve got to be able to defend crosses with two centerbacks in there as well as the fullbacks defending the back post very well. You’re going to come under a barrage of crosses because they’ve got good players here. But we held our nerve and that was the pleasing thing.”
On why playing on the road brings out the counterattack:
“I think it’s a little bit of everything, if I’m honest. Like you guys and ladies, you watch a lot of futbol and the team atop the Premier League in England at the moment is a counterattacking team. Are they the best team? Arguably they are because they’re the best team at putting the ball in the back of the net and have the most points. It’s finding the right rhythm with the different type of players we’ve got. We can play different ways and away from home is slightly different than playing at home, where we have crazy Canadian fans. It’s a different type of game. Teams can sit back at our place, but we’ve got to be better about breaking them down. Today the matchup was good for us, but we won’t get carried away – it’s only one game. It’s nice in a derby game – there’s lots of emotion in it, but it’s three points at the end of the day.”
On what it is that brings out the best in his team here in Seattle:
“You know what, I don’t know. Again, I’m sitting on the fence with a lot of these questions. But last year I think we came and got a good result, then Seattle comes to our place and slapped us twice so I don’t know what it is. One game at a time. We enjoy coming here. They have great fans. We’ve got our crew up in the top corner so it’s nice for them to make the journey home a lot sweeter with the three points.”
Next match: The Sounders have a bye next weekend. They return to action at 7 p.m. April 2 when the Montreal Impact visits.