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

March 18, 2012 at 12:06 AM

David Estrada: “It’s been a long time coming.” (postgame quotes and stats)

ecs toronto.jpgPhoto credit: Dean Rutz, The Seattle Times. Full photo gallery here.

* * *

SIGI SCHMID, Sounders FC coach

(Opening statement…) “It’s always good to start off the regular season with a win. That was something that we obviously had as a goal for ourselves. Whenever a guy gets a hat-trick like David Estrada got tonight, (it’s) a great performance for him. But our team tactically did what we wanted to do. Early on, they played with a high line and we felt we could get in behind them with running off the ball, which we did quite a few times. They lost (Torsten) Frings to injury — that’s obviously a big part of their team and that came to help us. Ryan Johnson scores a great goal and keeps them in the game and it was a good thing David scores one at the other end.”

(On bouncing back tonight after a tough loss to Santos Laguna…) “Yeah, obviously we’re still disappointed with what happened down in Torreon. When you look at that, like I said it’s a 180-minute series and for 135 to 150 minutes we were up to the task and then we lost the plot somewhere. But it’s good for us to get back on track, to regain our confidence in ourselves. Obviously, Toronto is moving on to the semifinal round (of the CONCACAF Champions League). It would have been nice if we could have moved on and played them as an opponent. It would have been a good series. It would have drawn great attendance. But I’m pleased with the character we showed tonight.”

(How special is this for Estrada?) “Well, everybody thought he was maybe a bad draft choice, but I felt like if we kept him around long enough maybe eventually I’d get something out of him, so I wouldn’t look so bad. (laughs) No, David, obviously we moved him around an awful lot and it made it a little bit harder on him, but at the end of last season I think you saw all of the sudden things started to click with him a little bit more. Then once we realized that O’Brian White wouldn’t be out there for us right now, that we were short up front, we said, ‘Look, we’re going to stick you back up front. We think that’s your best spot.’ His work rate is unbelievable. Like I’ve said, nobody deserves it more in terms of the effort that they put in day in and day out. It’s fantastic. I remember watching him play as a freshman at UCLA and I thought his finishing was good and today with one exception — probably the one in the first half where he had the breakaway that he could’ve done a little better with — but the other three he finished fairly well.”

(Can his work rate, and the success that has come with it, be infectious?) “Well obviously people have to look at that and say, ‘Hey, that’s what work does for you.’ You need 11 guys. There were a lot of other guys that did work today, too. I thought Brad (Evans) and Ozzie (Alonso) were great in midfield today. Ozzie did a really good job on (Luis) Silva, because I think Silva is going to be a very good player in this league and probably has a good shot at Rookie of the Year in this league, and Ozzie shut him down pretty well. Brad kept us organized. So I was very happy.”

(What went into playing Patrick Ianni and Marc Burch tonight?) “We just wanted to get a little bit fresher legs out there. We played a difficult game down there (in Mexico) and it was a difficult game for our defense. So we wanted to make a couple of changes, but we didn’t want to change too much. So (Patrick) Ianni, who I’ve always felt is a capable MLS center back, so we felt he was the choice. Burch has trained well, has played well in the reserve games that we’ve played, so we felt him coming on and his ability as well to hit balls behind the defense is something that could help us in this game.”

(Is Mauro all right? He went down hard at one point…) “Yeah. I thought that was a penalty, but I can’t argue that much because I don’t know if the second goal was offside or not — it probably was close to it or maybe a little off. He just got bungled into by Aaron Maund. It depends how stable he was on the ground, whether he tweaked anything or not. Hopefully it’s something where just a couple of days will do him.”

(And Alonso went down too…) “His was more a hit. Obviously the concern is when you see somebody go is it knee-to-knee, or is there something there. He’s got a little bit of a bruise or a stud-mark or something below the knee. But he said it was more just bad contact and he feels fine with his knee.”

(On the fans…) “Our fans are tremendous. Obviously we’ve got the right color uniforms for St. Patrick’s Day, so that worked out really well. Although, I saw a lot of green hair in the stands — more so than normal. But it was great, it was great. The display that they put up at the beginning of the game with all the flags representing all the different players and the countries that they were from — our fans never cease to amaze me and long may it continue.”

(On watching Estrada at UCLA…) “I liked him as a freshman. I thought he had an ability in the box and the ability that he has is that if you take your eye off him even for a second he’s in a different place because he works so hard. But it was just when he first came to us it might have been nerves, or trying to do too much, or sometimes you get into bad habits when you can get away dribbling maybe and now at the next level you can’t get away as much doing that. So it was just a matter of finding that. But he’s got four goals now in our last three games and it’s great. It’s great for him.”

(On Estrada getting to this point…) “With everything in life people say, ‘If I would have only known’, or ‘I could have done this differently.’ You wouldn’t be at the place you’re at if you hadn’t gone through all the experiences you went through. All of it becomes part of your character and part of your make-up, so if he had achieved it earlier he probably wouldn’t be the same guy he is right now. So we’ll just focus on where he is right now and not worry about that.”

DAVID ESTRADA, Sounders FC forward

(On if he has ever experienced a standing ovation…) “Never. I think when we played in Vancouver there was a few ECS (at the game) during my first year, but it was incredible to have the whole stadium canting my name.”

(On how it feels to get his first hat trick…) “It’s unbelievable. It’s hard to describe. I am just thankful that I have the teammates I have. Flaco put me in twice. I’m just thankful that I have the players that I play with every day: Mauro Rosales, Fredy Montero, Alvaro, Ozzie, Leo, Burch — all those guys.”

(You ready for the cult status you might get?) “No. Not at all, but I’m just happy the team won. We got the three points and I think that’s the most important thing.”

(On the three goals…) “They were going to step up high so I knew there was going to be some space behind them. I was very mad that I didn’t play away two chances that I had early on. Luckily in the second half two went in, but I really couldn’t describe what was going on in my mind.”

(On the last time Estrada has scored a hat trick…) “So long ago, I can’t (remember) — most likely high school.”

(Freshman year in UCLA did you have one?) “No. I had two goals in the semifinals, but I think that’s about it and the most I had in college. It has been a long time since I’ve had a hat trick.”

(When will this sink on for you?) “I don’t know. Like I said, we had a bad performance on Wednesday and I think everyone was mentally prepared to have a better game. Thankfully things went our way.”

(On how far he has come since last season…) “It’s been a long time coming. Like I said, I’m thankful for the guys around me: Mauro Rosales, Fredy Montero. I always put myself down, but (Montero) was always there to pick me up. It has been a long time coming.”

(On what his grandfather means to him…) “I never met him, but he was a big influence in my family for soccer. He is big-time in my life. I never met him, but he is just so important to me and my family. My extended family back home plays for a Sunday league team named after him. So (using him in my celebration) is like a double meaning for the playing I’ve played with Sunday league games and for him, too.”

(How’d that hug feel from Sigi?) “Good. One of the things is, he’s always had faith in me. In preseason, he was the one that wanted to play me up top and I was ready to play right back. But he’s the one that makes the decisions. I felt very comfortable in preseason and thankfully Brian Schmetzer and Sigi Schmid have guided me and told me what to do when playing up top. Things worked out today.”

MICHAEL GSPURNING, Sounders FC goalkeeper

(On if it was the reaction he wanted from his team after the loss last week…) “It was exactly the reaction we wanted to have. It was not easy of course to forget the loss, but we did great from the beginning. It was so important for us, especially in front of the home crowd, to win the opening game and it gives us a lot of power for the future.”

(On being in front of this crowd for the first time…) “Great feeling. I don’t have words for this. It is so great to be here and I am so proud to be part of the Sounders family. Thank you to everyone who was here today and to the people who usually come but were unable to get tickets today. Thank you so much. I think the people saw that we did everything to celebrate this day today with the fans and the win. It is a great St. Patrick’s day for us.”

(On the goal by Ryan Johnson…) “For this goal, I have to take my hat off. Congratulations to him. It was a great goal. I will speak with (goalkeeper coach Tommy Dutra) tomorrow about what I should do with this goal. I will see if I could do something else, but I don’t think so. I don’t think there was anything to do about it and congratulations to him.”

MAURO ROSALES, Sounders FC midfielder

(On bouncing back from Wednesday’s loss…) “We tried to do our best. We know the other game in Santos was tough, because we didn’t expect that result. The winning mentality is always there. I think it was a good victory. It’s the beginning of the season and it’s something important for everybody.”

(On Estrada…) “He’s working every day to perform like that. We are very happy about him. He’s working every day to have these kinds of games and we’re very proud of him.”

MARC BURCH, Sounders FC defender

(On his first MLS match for Sounders FC…) “It was amazing. In the seven years I’ve played in the league it was the best atmosphere I’ve ever played in. The crowd’s amazing, and our team is great. We have a lot of great individual players and we’re really good as a team. We showed that at some points today. There’s some things we need to work on, things I definitely need to work on, but I’m happy with the first game.”

(On his assist on Estrada’s second goal…) “I found Flaco and he had a nice little back-heel to me. And David was making great runs all night. I saw him curl and I just tried to put it in. I thought he might have been offside, but I was happy it wasn’t. It was a nice finish, too.”

BRAD EVANS, Sounders FC midfielder

(On winning their first MLS game…) “It was great. A quick response to Wednesday-it was pretty embarrassing–so it’s good to come out and put in a quality showing. I thought we were more aggressive tonight. I think we can play with any team, but I think if we bring the aggressiveness that sometimes isn’t there, I think it puts us to the next level. I thought that was a key tonight. Obviously starting out with three points this year is big. All the points we can grab we gotta take, so this is a good result.”

(On David Estrada…) “Obviously he’s been here a couple years now and just hadn’t gotten that sniff, but he keeps trying and he keeps going and was all over the place on the field. It’s huge. Something that we haven’t had in the past is that runner that’s up top and that’s good at getting behind the defense and can just wreak havoc. When you have that it disorganizes the other defense. Instead of playing in front of them all the time we have somebody that can stretch and bring players out. He found himself in good positions this game and finished three really good goals.”

(On moving forward…) “Now we forget about this and now we turn our focus to Friday night against a team (Houston) that’s on a good roll. They have two wins now and found themselves in the final last year, so they’re going to be really good. They’ve got the same core that they’ve had the last three or four years, as well. It’s a good, organized tough team-good in the air, set pieces are going to be key, but possession is something that we’ve always been good at. We’ll watch tape and we’ll take each game in stride and we’ll try and get three points next week.”

ARON WINTER, Toronto FC coach

(On the game…) “I think if you watch in the first half we played quite well. At the end you got to force something to at least score one of two goals. It was very hard that we lost and I think that we didn’t give them everything, that’s my opinion.”

(On midfielder Torsten Frings’ injury…) “We had some problems of course when he went out. We’ll have to wait in the coming days to see how bad it is. We tried to force things but we weren’t able to.”

(On starting Milos Kocic…) “We had to make a choice and we chose Milos.”

MILOS KOCIC, Toronto FC goalkeeper

(On the match…) “It’s always difficult playing here and getting points. We had a great victory in LA and wanted to win two games but it’s not the end of the world. We have to pick it up and play as well in the league as we did in CONCACAF.”

(On giving up a goal minutes after scoring…) “Of course [it was tough]. We were done after that nobody really wanted to chase the game anymore. I don’t think we had any more strength and were emotionally exhausted after that.”

RYAN Ryan Johnson – Toronto FC Forward

(On the game…) “If I hit that header earlier in the first half it would have been a different game. Seattle is a hard place to play every time I come here. It’s just one of those hard places to play. I wasn’t too surprised at the result but we should have been better defensively.”

(On being tired after the win on Wednesday against the L.A. Galaxy…) “Possibly I can only speak for myself and I felt fine. I felt like my legs were fine. The coaches didn’t work us too hard in practice so we were fresh. Every game we’re ready regardless of how soon we played a game before that. I think we need to be true professionals and be ready for the next game.”

LOGAN EMORY, Toronto FC defender

(On the game in the back line…) “I think as the game progressed we got a little more comfortable. The second half was in part better than the first half but we definitely gave up some goals which is something we’re not proud of. There were times we played well but obviously there’s a lot we have to prove.”

(On giving up a goal minutes after scoring…) “It’s deflating, even at that point we knew we were still in it and had to keep fighting. The game’s not over until it’s over.”

TERRY DUNFIELD, Toronto FC midfielder

(General comments on the game…) “We bumped into a good Seattle (team) today. We were watching videos and saw them concede six but on the day they were good and full credit to them.”

(On the starting lineup…) “We did our research and I’m sure Aron did as well, unfortunately it didn’t work. We gave our all today and like I said before we bumped into a real good Seattle team.”

* * *

SOUNDERS FC 3, TORONTO FC 1

Scoring summary:

SEA – Estrada 17′

SEA – Estrada (Burch, Fernandez) 51′

TOR – Johnson (Aceval) 62′

SEA – Estrada (Fernandez) 63′

Seattle Sounders FC — Michael Gspurning, Adam Johansson, Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch, Mauro Rosales (Roger Levesque 79′), Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, Alvaro Fernandez (Christian Sivebaek 65′), David Estrada (Servando Carrasco 87′), Fredy Montero.

Substitutes Not Used: Andrew Weber, Sammy Ochoa, Jeff Parke, Zach Scott.

STATS: TOTAL SHOTS: (12, Estrada 7); SHOTS ON GOAL: (7, Estrada 5); FOULS: (12, Ianni 3); OFFSIDES: (3); CORNER KICKS: (3, Rosales 3); SAVES: (2, Gspurning 2)

Toronto FC — Milos Kocic; Richard Eckersley, Ty Harden (Danny Koevermans 45′), Miguel Aceval, Logan Emory; Torsten Frings (Aaron Maund 24′), Terry Dunfield, Luis Silva; Ryan Johnson, Nick Soosma, Eric Avila (Joao Plata 57′).

Substitutes not used: Stefan Frei, Reggie Lamb, Julian de Guzman, Ashtone Morgan.

STATS: TOTAL SHOTS: (13, Johnson 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: (3); FOULS: (14, Eckersley 5); OFFSIDES: (3);CORNER KICKS: (5, Silva 4); SAVES: (4, Kocic 4)

Misconduct summary:

SEA – Alonso 26′

SEA – Ianni 53′

TOR – Maund 93′

Referee: Ricardo Salazar

Referee’s Assistants:- Jeff Hosking, Mike Kampmeinert

4th Official: Ramon Hernandez

Attendance: 38,709

Time of Game: 1:59

Weather: Cloudy and 48 degrees

NOTE: all statistics contained in this box score are unofficial

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