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August 27, 2011 at 6:07 PM

Sounders FC 6, Columbus Crew 2, postgame quotes & stats

neagle columbus.jpgPhoto credit: Joel Hawksley, The Seattle Times

* * *

SIGI SCHMID, Sounders FC head coach

(Opening statement…) “Obviously this afternoon we got off to a good start. We were a little fortunate on the first goal (with) the bounce. I know Hesmer’s a quality goalkeeper; those aren’t the kind of goals you expect to get against him. Then we were able to parlay that and score more goals after that. I thought, offensively, our combinations, our cohesion were very good at times. They’re a quality team, so they’re going to have character and they’re going to stand up in the second half and try and battle back, which they did, and obviously they got a PK and they got a free kick. With the amount of games we’re playing, to be able to come out and score six goals against the Eastern (Conference) leader is something that the team has to be very proud of.”

(On Lamar Neagle and his three goals today…) “He feels he can go back to Federal Way and they’ll actually treat him well and treat him with respect [laughs]. No, I mean it was great. He keeps working hard. He’s working on his first touch, which is something that’s helping his game come along. Like I said, on the first goal he got a little bit fortunate. The second goal was clinical; it was a great volley, a great cross from (from Riley), and then the third goal, I mean he loves cutting inside and hitting that. It was a little bit similar to the goal he got against Salt Lake. I’m glad the linesman was well-positioned to call it, because it was obviously in. So he’s got to be a very happy young man.”

(On giving Neagle the start over Fernandez…) “Just to stay fresh, keep our team right. Lamar obviously didn’t play in Monterey. Fernandez played a lot of hard minutes down in Monterey, helped us, scored a great goal down there. We wanted to come back with Rosales, who also didn’t play in Monterey. So it’s just a matter of squad rotation and staying fresh.”

(On the depth of the squad…) “It definitely speaks well for the depth of our squad. Obviously we’re missing a couple of key pieces that aren’t healthy, but the majority now are healthy, and I felt all along that we could go 16 or 17 deep without having too much of an issue or changing our ability to play.”

(Is White done for the season?) “I can’t say that 100% right now but … it looks more like he’ll be done rather than coming back at this stage. What’s most important for us is that they’re able to resolve the issue on a permanent basis and that O’Brian will be able to resume his career. So when that’s going to happen that’s something that right now we’re still in a wait-and-see.”

(On Mike Fucito getting his first MLS goal this season…) “It was good to see Mike get a goal. He made a good run. He was quicker to the ball, finished it well. He was also the guy who was standing right there to tap it in when Josh Gardner scored the own goal. I thought he had some good moments. He’s doing a better job staying in the middle of the field and when he’s there he’s dangerous.”

(On adjusting for the absence of Julius James…) “Not all that much. We knew they were going to have to replace Julius James and we wanted to make them play out of the middle a little bit more and force the ball there. I think that Rich Balchan is a good rookie who is coming off of having been out for awhile with an injury and it maybe took him a little bit of time to get used to the rhythm of the game.”

(On the Crew’s Jeff Cunningham scoring his 134th career MLS goal…) “As the penalty got called, I was sort of surprised because I saw some of their players grab the ball ahead of Jeff, and I’m like going ‘I can’t believe they’re not going to give them the goal here today or give it a try.’ And I felt for Kasey, because I wanted Kasey to save it because you don’t want to be the guy who gets that scored against. But Jeff’s had a great career in this league and he’s scored a lot of goals. It’s good to see him get that behind him.”

(Did you designate Rosales to take that PK before the game?) “Yeah. Rosales was No. 1 and Neagle was No. 2. Neagle might’ve had four, but we definitely designated Rosales.”

(On the defense’s efforts today…) “I think the defense overall has done well in terms of their ability and their willingness to sacrifice their bodies. I think we’ve blocked a lot of shots, which is something we did really well when we had a good run last year. We did a good job of getting our body in front of shots. And today we did a good job of that as well. We want to eliminate the goals we take on set pieces, because they all count the same, but I think as a team we’ve defended much better. The second half was a little harder for us, because they went into a 3-5-2 and I was a little stubborn. I didn’t entirely switch to match them. I wanted to see a little bit of how the guys would adjust to it themselves. Early on, we did alright with it and then we needed to adjust a little bit more, but that’s something we’ll talk about tomorrow.”

LAMAR NEAGLE, Sounders FC midfielder

(Do you remember your last hat trick?) “No, not really. Maybe in Charleston I might’ve had one. I don’t know though. I can’t really remember, been a while. It might’ve been high school actually, back when I was a Raider.”

(On the fast start…) “Yeah, we haven’t had a game like this where we’ve gotten off to a great start in a while. Usually it’s kind of the other way around, where we have to kind of dig ourselves out of a hole. So it was nice. We were kind of connecting at the beginning and throughout the first game. We were all on the same page offensively and defensively for the most part, except kind of towards the end.”

(On early success in career…) “I wouldn’t say so early. I’ve kind of worked my way up. I was with the Sounders and the level was kind of a little bit too fast for me in 2009 and going down there helped me out, in Charleston, with Tom Heinemann, who’s actually with Columbus. We both have moved up and done well. He’s doing well, as well.”

(Surprised the first goal went in?) “Yeah, I didn’t really hit it too well, but I mean a shot on goal has a chance. Sometimes you get those.”

(On other goals…) “Yeah, the third one was reminiscent of Salt Lake. Most of the game I was crossing with my left and I wasn’t cutting in. Finally he was seeing that and he was cutting off the line, so I cut in, had some space and hit it. On the second one, James put in a great cross to the back post where I was sitting all alone and had a tap in.”

(On deferring to Rosales on the PK, ever wonder what if?) “Yeah, Mauro’s great though. Great player. Great role model. I knew he could bang ’em in. It wasn’t a question of how many goals can I get today? It was a question of winning the game.”

(On finally scoring at home…) “It’s great to finally score in front of family. It was nice. I had a lot of people here. I think I had like 16 tickets I had to give out. I bunch of people waiting in the green loft.”

(Ever been on a team with so many scoring option?) “Not really. No. It’s always been those one or two guys that bang in a lot of goals. This is great because who do they mark? On any given day we have people who step up and it’s been like that all season with the depth that we have. We have players who can rotate in and out without (skipping) a beat.”

(How much of today’s success was the team playing well and how much was Columbus not playing well?) “When it comes down to it, we have to put the passes on our feet and that’s what we were doing. Like I said we were on the same page and everybody was connecting. We were moving off the ball really well and that made it lot easier to find our own players.”

MAURO ROSALES, Sounders FC midfielder

(On the game…) “We know they’re a tough team and I think we did our job. We played very focused in that game. We were at home and nobody can take points from our home.”

(On Neagle…) “I’ve very happy for him. He’s working on it every day and every training and trying to get his chance. Today, three goals, I’m very happy for him and I hope he can keep up this performance.”

(On the team being sharp and fresh during busy stretch…) “One of the reasons is because the coach has made some substitutions in the few games and tried to keep all the guys fresh. He gives minutes to everybody and every guy coming onto the field is trying to do his best.”

(On having lots of scoring options…) “We have many options, that’s why we score these kinds of goals. Today we have six. We have many more chances. When we have the chances, that’s something we have to do, try to score as many goals as we can. I think we’re working very hard and we’re having a good time.”

MIKE FUCITO, Sounders FC forward

(On minor breakthrough…) “Absolutely. Yeah. I know I’ve done it in Champions League and some people say, ‘Well, can he do it against bigger defenders?’ I knew it was going to come. It was just a matter of time. I’ve been close so far, so to finally get that it’s good. There’s going to be more to come.”

(Why the attention on the MLS drought?) “I don’t know, but to me it’s still soccer. It’s the same game. Whether we’re playing a team from Costa Rica or Chicago or wherever, it’s all the same. I know it was just a matter of time.”

(On the reward of an effort goal…) “Oh yeah, and they all count the same. It was nice to get one with my right foot; my last two were with my left. It’s also being busy in the box and Sigi wants us to make that near-post run, so it was good to get it that way.”

(On not having scored in MLS before…) “I think for me and the run of games that I’ve had — a couple good saves, a couple PK calls, a post here and there — it’s just that you’re doing all the right things and sometimes you need a bit of luck and things to just go your way. Hopefully I got all the bad luck out at the beginning of the year and now they’ll keep coming.”

KASEY KELLER, Sounders FC goalkeeper

(Was it important to you to keep things tighter in the back at the end?) “It was a little bit frustrating. I know we hit the wall a little bit, maybe 15-20 minutes left. What I was really trying to stress at halftime was really to maintain that discipline. There’s a bad habit in MLS of taking leads and then just relaxing. And the other team has nothing to lose and so they just start pressing numbers forward and before you know it, you’re in a game for no reason. The best teams in the world don’t do that. The best teams in the world play right, and then as the other team cheats, then they take advantage of it. We got into a little bit of a half-court basketball game: here, you get the ball, OK we get the ball. But I understand we were tired. We’ve had a hell of a travel, a lot of games, but I just want to really keep that in people’s heads. If we want to go far in the playoffs, you’ve got to treat everything equal. You can’t just take time off because were winning 5-1 or 4-0. Finish the game off. Take the time off when the games over.”

(Is it tougher when you’re four goals up instead of maybe two?) “Yeah, but those are the habits you’ve got to have as a pro. When you see teams like Barcelona, teams like Man U, when they have that four-goal lead, there is no relax. It’s a case of now we’re really going to beat the crap out of them, but we’re going to do it the right way. We’re going to do it by not conceding, and that’s the tricky part, where we need to have that pride in not conceding goals.”

(On being the goalkeeper that allows Cunningham’s record goal…) “I didn’t even know and don’t even care.”

(On the response…) “What was great and what I was very happy of is when we did concede a goal we went straight back down the field and scored just to take any doubt out of the equation, and that was nice. I feel sorry for Josh Gardner. He smashes a brilliant free kick and then ends up with an own goal 30 seconds later. This game will bite you in the (butt).”

ROBERT WARZYCHA, Crew head coach

(On the starting out the game poorly…) “The goals we gave up today are not the best ones. We made a lot of mistakes and they punished us. I think it was fortunate for Seattle that they scored easy goals today.”

(On his speech to the team at halftime…) “We changed the system a little bit and tried to stay positive and win the half.”

(On his team’s breakdowns during the match…) “To be honest they were moving quicker and more aggressive with the ball. Sometimes we tried to help and shift and another guy would be open. I think too many easy chances.”

(On Jeff Cunningham becoming the MLS all-time goal scorer…) “That is probably the only positive thing to come from the game today. For him to get a goal and his record is a good thing. We still have eight games until the playoffs. We have to regroup and win the next game.”

WILLIAM HESMER, Crew goalkeeper

(On giving up three quick goals to start the match…) “They put us under pressure to start. I haven’t seen the replays of the penalty but I was sure I saved the first one, but I have to do better on that one. From there it was just downhill.”

(On making changes to stop Seattle offensive onslaught…) “They have to be little mentally tougher. You have to learn to put things behind you and believe in yourself and your ability to come back.”

(On nearly coming up with a save on Seattle’s first goal…) “It bounced up on the turf and came back into me. I was stuck in between pushing it wide and catching it. I didn’t get enough of it. I thought initially I did. It looked like it spun inside. It is just too hard to play in a place like this to give up a goal like this.”

JEFF CUNNINGHAM, Crew forward

(On becoming the MLS all time leader scorer…) “I’m going to keep this ball for the rest of my life. This is a great feeling. Fourteen years is a long time in this league and to become the all-time scoring leader is a great honor. There have been some great players who are part of this league, and I’m just honored to be a part of their group in terms of goal production. I’m very humbled [to be among the likes of] Jamie Moreno, Brian McBride, Landon Donavon, and all those guys. The list goes on and I’m just honored to be grouped with those guys. I appreciate all the support over the years from the fans; the Columbus Crew were where I started my career. To get the opportunity to possibly finish my career here, you couldn’t ask for anything better. I have been playing this game since I was three or four and to get to this point, to have this ball is a big honor and I’m very proud.”

* * *

SOUNDERS FC 6, COLUMBUS CREW 2

Scoring Summary:

SEA — Lamar Neagle 3 (Mike Fucito 2) 4

SEA — Mauro Rosales 5 (penalty kick) 16

SEA — Lamar Neagle 4 (James Riley 2, Mauro Rosales 8) 21

SEA — Mike Fucito 1 (Mauro Rosales 9, Fredy Montero 7) 40

CLB — Jeff Cunningham 2 (penalty kick) 59

SEA — Lamar Neagle 5 (Osvaldo Alonso 3) 70

CLB — Josh Gardner 2 (unassisted) 73

SEA — own goal (Josh Gardner) 74

Columbus Crew — William Hesmer, Sebastian Miranda, Rich Balchan, Chad Marshall, Josh Gardner, Kevin Burns, Emmanuel Ekpo, Robbie Rogers, Dilly Duka (Jeff Cunningham 56), Andres Mendoza (Tommy Heinemann 56), Emilio Renteria (Justin Meram 76).

Substitutes Not Used: Bernardo Anor, Eric Gehrig, Danny O’Rourke, Alex Riggs.

TOTAL SHOTS: 19 (Andres Mendoza 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Andres Mendoza 2); FOULS: 12 (3 tied with 2); OFFSIDES: 3 (Kevin Burns 2); CORNER KICKS: 4 (Josh Gardner 2, Sebastian Miranda 2); SAVES: 2 (William Hesmer 2)

Seattle Sounders — Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jeff Parke (Zach Scott 75), Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyson Wahl, Mauro Rosales (Alvaro Fernandez 71), Osvaldo Alonso, Erik Friberg, Lamar Neagle, Mike Fucito (Nate Jaqua 78), Fredy Montero.

Substitutes Not Used: Servando Carrasco, Brad Evans, Roger Levesque, Terry Boss.

TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Lamar Neagle 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Lamar Neagle 3); FOULS: 18 (Erik Friberg 3, Fredy Montero 3); OFFSIDES: 2 (Nate Jaqua 1, Fredy Montero 1); CORNER KICKS: 5 (Mike Fucito 2, Mauro Rosales 2); SAVES: 5 (Kasey Keller 5)

Misconduct Summary:

CLB — Kevin Burns (caution; Tactical Foul) 64

SEA — Jeff Parke (caution; Reckless Foul) 73

SEA — Zach Scott (caution; Reckless Tackle) 81

Referee: Baldomero Toledo

Referee’s Assistants:-Frank Anderson; Ian Anderson

4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal

Attendance: 36,364

Time of Game: 1:50

Weather: Clear-and-72-degrees

All Statistics contained in this box score are unofficial

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