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Daily coverage of Seattle Sounders FC, MLS and world soccer.

June 24, 2011 at 12:16 AM

Sounders FC 4, N.Y. Red Bulls 2, postgame quotes and stats

levesque ny.jpgPhoto credit: Dean Rutz, The Seattle Times

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SIGI SCHMID, Sounders FC head coach

(Opening statement…) “Obviously I think it was an exciting night for sure. All the fans here should have been excited by this game. We got three goals on corner kicks, indirectly. A couple of shots but they came on the heels of the corner kicks. One of the things that we felt was that they had given up a lot of goals on set pieces and corners and we wanted to take advantage of that a little bit, which we did. Play was spotty at times but I thought we stepped up. We did what we had to do to win, capitalized on a mistake by their goalkeeper. Being able to get three points at home is a great feeling and very important. And getting four goals as well. Erik Friberg’s first goal for the team, [Alonso] getting his second and Roger [Levesque] coming through with his first two as well.”

(On Levesque’s game off the bench…) “Obviously he’s a player who’s very good in the air and he’s good on corner kicks. When he came in we told him that he was the guy to take that near-post run. The more interesting thing is that Leo [Gonzalez] – last year I tried to talk Leo into taking corners and free kicks and he didn’t want to do it. So after he saw Tyson Wahl have some success, now he wanted to get in on the action. I didn’t have him on the board to hit the corner kicks before the game. And he said, ‘Coach, I think I can hit the corners from that side.’ And I said, ‘Okay, if you feel up to it.’ I told the team, ‘Hey, he can go over and hit it.’ So he sprinted across the field, took the ball away from Mauro [Rosales], hit a great corner and Roger makes a great run to the near post. So he did very well.”

(On Leo Gonzalez and Zach Scott in the backfield…) “I thought they did all right. New York is a difficult team to play because they play sort of a 4-5-1 and there’s a lot of place-changing and players are all over the place. I think we didn’t do a good job of bottling up number two, [Teemu] Tainio, in the first half. He’s a guy who’s a very effective player, really makes them go and sprays a lot of balls about and so forth. I thought Zach was solid and I thought Leo was solid as well. I thought defensively he was much better in the second half because he didn’t go forward quite as much. I think we locked down that side a little bit more. I think in the second half, we probably locked that down a bit better.”

(On the importance of quickly answering New York’s two goals…) “It’s obviously very important or we wouldn’t have won the game. It’s very important for our team. One of the things you want as your team develops psychologically as it moves forward is to find different ways to win games. We’ve been able to come back in some games and tie games last. We were able to win with 10-men last week. We had a lead and I think we relaxed a little bit once we had the two-goal lead. Both of their goals ended up deflecting off of our players a little bit; off Zach Scott, actually – both of them. By the same token, once it was tied now it’s a question of your character. Are you going to fold like a house of cards or are you going to stand up and get after it again? And I think we stood up and got after it.”

(On the fluidity of the offense…) “I haven’t seen the stats. I would assume that they had more possession than we did. I thought there were times that the combinations were very, very good. If anything we talked about it at halftime, which is usually the opposite. Usually we’re telling Fredy Montero to stay a little higher. We were actually telling him at halftime to drop off a little bit more and to get the ball in that hole because he stayed up too high. When he dropped in that hole, I thought that helped us connect. When him and Mauro picked the ball up in the hole, we became a much more fluid team.”

(On the crowd…) “It was a little louder. Certainly looking up and seeing the top deck uncovered was a good feeling. I don’t know. Ownership tries to put pressure on me and winning games, so I’m going to put pressure on them and say that maybe one day we can fill the whole stadium and sell it out for every game. Sort of Seahawk-like.”

(On the importance of Osvaldo Alonso picking up a yellow card…) “Well I had Leo. And then Leo picked up a yellow as well and Leo misses the next match. It is what it is. We’re going to have to deal with it and we got to move forward. Leo got his for cumulative fouls and Alonso was probably a little late on the challenge. There were certainly other challenges that were similar. It is what it is. We have a bench. Different people have to step up. We think [Brad] Evans should be ready to go Sunday, which should help us. [Servando] Carrasco got a few minutes today and he’s had a little bit of a bruise, so he’s ready to go again. I think we’ll find enough people.”

(On whether we’ll see a different lineup Sunday against the Revolution…) “I couldn’t tell you. I mean, obviously there will be some changes from today because we’ve got two guys out with yellow cards. Our plan all along was that [Brad] Evans wasn’t going to play on Thursday and was going to come back and play on Sunday. So then we gotta look at how we feel. Fredy Montero came out because he felt his quad getting a little tight. So I want to make sure that it didn’t get worse. So it’s a matter of how some guys regenerate. I think that all season long, we’ve been able to put different people out there and come up with performances.”

(On trying to put together a winning streak…) “This season for us, for some reason, we haven’t been able to put together a streak, in terms of a streak where there’s more wins than ties. I think when you eliminate the first two games of the season, I think we’re something like 7-2-7 right now. 7-2-7, if had eliminated that, would be a pretty damn good record in this league right now. So from that standpoint, I think we’ve found ways. Teams are always up for us. Teams are up when they play us here on our field because they get excited to play. I think teams respect what we can do and our ability. I think teams play better games against us sometimes. Maybe that’s made it hard for us to put together a streak. By the same token, we’re the ones responsible for that. We’re growing and we’re maturing as a group and so that’s coming.

ROGER LEVESQUE, Sounders FC midfielder/forward

(On how many free drinks he has coming to him tonight…) “Well, we’ve got a game Sunday, so just Gatorade and water tonight…maybe a protein shake.”

(On his two goals tonight…) “I think it was just being in the right place at the right time, just working at getting to great spots. A great ball got whipped in by Leo (Gonzalez) at the near post and we always talk about getting a guy to that near post, even if you don’t get it you’re pulling defenders or distracting the goalkeeper. I was lucky to get a touch on it. The second one I was just running and putting the goalie under pressure. He took a touch, a little extra touch, and the ball got caught up in his feet. Then I got a good bounce in behind him and hopefully I don’t miss that one.”

(On playing against Red Bulls goalkeeper Greg Sutton several times in the past and if he knew that he takes a little longer with the ball at his feet…) “No, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I have played against him, a long and storied past against that guy, had some good wins against him, so I don’t think he’s a huge fan of Seattle right now.”

(On Keller’s comment on hustle and players who pressure the goalkeeper 100-200 times before getting that result…) “Absolutely, I think that’s my mentality from day one. Maybe I’m not the most technical guy, but I always work on getting good positions and fortunately tonight was one of those nights where I got in two good spots and the ball went in. If you always find yourself in front of the goal you give yourself a chance.”

(On what his two goals do for his confidence and the confidence of the team…) “We’re going to approach Sunday exactly the same. Sigi (Schmid) always says, ‘Make home a fortress. You got to get points at home.’ It’s difficult to win and pick up points on the road, so any points we get now at this point in the season is a feather in our cap down the road. The more we can pick up is great. We’re going to go into Sunday with the same mentality. Whatever players are on the field are going to work and hopefully get the job done.”

(On his scuba dive celebration…) “That’s something Mike Fucito and I have been working on for awhile now. I didn’t really expect it to knock the wind out of me.”

(On what goes through his head as he is passing the goalie and sees nothing but him and the net…) “Just get rid of it. You hear footsteps. If it’s not the goalie, it’s somebody else trying to recover and come right through you. I think it was my 30-year-old legs and quick first-step explosion…No, I was just lucky to get a bounce and get the ball out in front of the goal.”

(On if that is the biggest crowd he’s ever played in front of…) “Yeah, I think so. Definitely for a home game. The atmosphere was awesome, it was electric. Scoring four goals as a group, getting a win, hopefully we give those people a reason to come back.”

ERIK FRIBERG, Sounders FC midfielder

(On your goal…) “It was amazing. With 45,000 here it was a good day to get my first one. I should have a couple of goals already. I was just trying to help the team get the lead.”

(On having to curl it around everyone…) “That’s what I’m always trying to do, score goals like that. … I tried to get it on goal and it worked this time, so it was good.”

(On another win…) “It’s important (to get the) three points. I think we played better soccer this game than we did last week, but it’s three points. That’s the important thing. We shouldn’t have let them into the game — though it’s fun for the fans, a little bit exciting. But I think we played a good game.”

(On the openness of the game…) “Both teams tried to play soccer, tried to keep the ball on the ground. It was a good game to play. I think we deserved the three points.”

(Are you feeling OK physically?) “A little bit sore right now. Hopefully I’ll be good in a couple of days.”

KASEY KELLER, Sounders FC goalkeeper

(On Roger Levesque’s play tonight…) “I’m so proud of him. Nobody works harder. He’s a great team player, a great guy in the community, and you love to see good people have success, and he made a difference for us today, which was tremendous.”

(On if he has ever had the ball taken away from him for a goal, like what happened to Red Bulls goalkeeper Greg Sutton tonight…) “Oh, I’ve had everything happen to me. I had a qualifying game against Mexico in ’97, where in the first 30 minutes I get a ball, take a touch wide, slow down a little bit, hit it, and a player jumped and the ball hit him in the head and it rolled into the goal. Sometimes when it’s your day, it’s your day. If you do it long enough, something is going to happen. It’s how you recover. Just great timing for us. It’s so much nicer sitting that last 10 minutes out with that second goal. So, oh well, it happens and hopefully you learn. It bothers me sometimes when I see teams rely so much on that situation, just shoving it back there. It can be taken care of better. If you need your goalkeeper to keep possession and create for you, then you’ve got some problems.”

(On the importance of bouncing back after giving up a two goal lead…) “Yeah, but like I said, it was a weird two-goal lead – we score our second goal off a deflection and they score both goals off of deflections. Like I said, you shoot and crazy things happen. The third goal, the one that Roger (Levesque) scored, that’s just a great play. You come in and you beat the guy to the ball, a great flick header. Like I said, if you work hard you get your rewards. If you press a guy, you’ve got to press a guy maybe 250 times to get your reward. I knew those strikers in Europe that they were the first one in front of me whenever I caught a ball, just waiting for that one time that I just dropped it. Maybe you have to do that 100 or 200 times to get that one chance, but you’re not going to get it if you don’t put the effort in.”

(On if he got a piece of the Red Bulls’ first goal…) “Yeah, I got a piece. Unfortunately the deflection just took enough pace off of it where I couldn’t keep it out. I was joking that I shouldn’t have cut my fingernails before the game. Maybe I would have had just enough to claw it out. But it’s a credit to everybody. You could have crumbled, you could have folded, but you push it up and we got the two goals and had a lot of fun, especially after opening up the top (of the stadium) and having an extra 10,000 fans here going away happy.”

(On how much having a bigger crowd affected the game…) “Not much. I think it’d be different if it was 70,000 fans, but with 46,000 it was nice. You’re not focusing up above, you can only kind of see what’s around the lower bowl anyway when you’re on the field. But it was great to have them there and let’s hope in the not too distant future we can pump this attendance up to about 40- or 50- thousand, and keep going.”

LEO GONZALEZ, Sounders FC defender, via translator

(On the corner kick he delivered to Levesque…) “We’ve been talking about those things during practice, and during games we have to make decisions. Before the game the decision was (Erik) Friberg was going to be taking the corner kicks, but I volunteered to Sigi and asked him about me taking some, so I went for it.”

(On how big it was to bounce back after giving up a two goal lead…) “We were playing very solid. Even though we had the advantage of two goals and they tied us, we were playing very solid and we knew that we had a better way to take the game. We knew that eventually we were going to be able to take the lead again based on the way that we were playing.”

HANS BACKE, Red Bulls head coach

(General comments…) “It was an even game, I think. We had plus when you talk about possession overall. Conceding three goals on corners hurt us. It’s ridiculous. You can’t win games that way. The way we defend against corners absolutely has to stop now.”

(On coming back from 2-0 deficit…) “It’s good that we bounced back from 2-0 to 2-2 and it looks like almost a possibility to win the game and then of course the new goal on a corner. Mistakes killed the game for us.”

(On beginning of game…) “It was pretty lucky. Two corners out to the rebound area and you can say the second one deflected. The first one bounced around and wasn’t the hardest strike. You feel that it was too much. We have conceded 21 goals and 13 of them have been from set plays. That has to be stopped.”

DANE RICHARDS, Red Bulls forward

(On goal…) “They were closing on me, so I looked up and tried to shoot it far post and beat him. We tried to get back in the game from there.”

(On defending set pieces…) “To give up three corner kicks, that’s unbelievable. To score two goals in Seattle, that should have been a win or at least get a point. It’s disappointing.”

(On momentum from tying…) “Once we got to 2-2 we had momentum and we tried to go for the win or at least get a point but we gave up a set play again. We have to put this behind us as soon as possible before the game in Chicago.”

AUSTIN DA LUZ, Red Bulls midfielder

(On game…) “I’m disappointed with the result. We showed a little fight to come back from 2-0 down to tie it up but set pieces are killing us. They’ve killed us for the past few games now so it’s definitely something we need to look at, something that we need to change as soon as possible.”

(On game atmosphere…) “It was fantastic. You can’t say enough about the city of Seattle and what these fans make the game for us. It’s unbelievable. 46,000 is excellent for the league and makes the game for the players.”


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