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

June 24, 2012 at 7:43 PM

Zach Scott: “To let (the fans) down, to know that they’re driving back to Seattle disappointed … is probably the biggest thing.”

fans portland.jpgPhoto credit: Rick Bowmer, AP

Here are some quotes and stats following Sounders FC’s 2-1 loss to Portland on Sunday. Seattle’s winless streak has reached a franchise-worst seven games. It also marked the first loss to the Timbers in the expansion era.

* * *

SIGI SCHMID, Sounders FC head coach

(Opening statement…) “We made a couple of mistakes in the first half. They scored a good goal on a set piece; we had already given away one off the post by Horst. The marking was bad on Boyd’s goal — he was behind the ball, so he’s not offside — and we put ourselves in a hole. It’s tough; the last seven games we’ve played out of the hole every time and when you’re constantly playing from behind, it makes it difficult.”

(So the slow start mystery continues?) “Yeah, definitely. It’s just not good enough.”

(Is there something causing that?) “One of the things that’s causing it, for sure, is we’ve had too many key guys injured, when you look at Johansson and Gonzalez and Ianni, who’s just getting back into the team now. So our defenders have logged a lot of minutes, so mentally I don’t think they’re sharp, per se. We are getting too many red cards, so then you miss a player here and you miss a player there, and as a result the options become limited. But on the same token we haven’t responded well in terms of our demeanor. We shouldn’t be losing our composure towards the end of the games like that and that’s something that we have to seriously talk about and make sure we’re better at.”

(Are those connected? You get behind, try to come back, get frustrated, get a red card….) “Yeah, you can put it together like that, but we’ve got to stop making the equation go like that. We’ve got to be able to A) not get behind, B) if we are behind, work hard and get back into the game, and C) not lose our composure, because that just makes it harder for us to get into the game. Right now the equations that we put together aren’t good enough.”

(How is it preparing for a game Tuesday?) “We’ve got to play Tuesday and obviously that stands in favor of the Quakes, because they have an extra day’s rest, so we’ll have to see what we can put out there for that game.”

(How is Parke?) “I really don’t know.”

(Even a body part?) “He said he felt dizzy, but it wasn’t a concussion.”

(He’s had migraine issues in the past…) “I don’t know. I have no idea.”

(Ianni came in fired up. Was that to get the team fired up?) “He was probably just fired up from sitting on the bench and watching it. He’s a competitor so he’s frustrated at how the game had gone up until that point. On the same token, you’ve got to channel that in the appropriate direction and not channel it where it becomes a negative for the team.”

(Did Eddie Johnson’s goal give a boost?) “We felt good. We talked about it at halftime; we said, ‘Get one back and then we can get a second.’ And we felt we could get a third. … Overall in the second half they had the one chance from Fucito and a couple of close counters where we were pushed up, but outside of that they really didn’t have anything. The quality of our set pieces, our service, our cohesion, again, not good enough because we’ve got guys thinking different things. One guy’s hitting a quick free kick and the other guys are waiting. One guy’s opening up and wants the ball from the goalkeeper and the goalkeeper wants to kick it long. A goalkeeper wants to play it short and the guy doesn’t open up. We’ve got to sort that away.”

(Is this the worst you’ve felt after a regular-season loss?) “I don’t feel good about this last series of games. I think the team in the locker room has to decide which team is the Seattle Sounders: The Seattle Sounders that played the first seven-, eight games or the Sounders who have played the last (seven) games of the season? They’re at the crossroads where they need to make a decision and decide which team they are.”

(How is the team’s self-belief?) “I think any time you get knocked down a little bit you lose a little bit of that swagger and that confidence. Maybe that’s a little bit about what they’re feeling, as well.”

(Are the pieces here to get it right?) “The pieces are here. We played with quality last year and we played with quality at the beginning of the season this year, so the people are here. But again, like I said, you look at your lineup — and I’m not going to name names — but there are guys who when you’re looking at it at the beginning of the season you’ve got penciled in as being reserve players and those guys are playing 90 minutes week in and week out. Is that good for our team or not? I think those guys are quality players and we have good depth but depth means guys can play, not that they play every week.”

(What went into the Evans sub and changing the midfield look?) “We just decided to push Mauro back outside when we decided to bring Andy Rose in. With the exception of Ozzie, I think we struggled a little bit in the middle of the field.”

(Is that the end of the diamond, you think?) “Don’t know.”

EDDIE JOHNSON, Sounders FC forward

(What’d you make of your first game against Portland?) “This was a typical rivalry game. I’ve been fortunate to play in a couple in my career in Europe. One of the most important things the manger said before the game was, ‘Don’t get caught up in the emotion of the game.’ We’ve just got to work. We’ve got to show that desire. We’ve got to have that winning mentality. The plan was to come in here and start from a goal up instead of two goals down. It just seems like the last (few) games we’ve always put ourselves in a hole and tried to dig ourselves out at the last minute. In this league, you can’t do that. This league is a proven league and going down two goals, it’s difficult to come back, especially in Portland here with their fans behind them. Like Fredy said, it’s a quick turnaround. We have a chance to make it right on Tuesday, get a win in San Jose, which is going to be another difficult game. We’ve just got to try and take the positives out of this game. I thought we created a lot of chances. We were just unfortunate tonight. But we just can’t keep putting ourselves into these positions. Trying to come back is difficult. We’re still learning as a team — a lot of new faces here — and it’s going to get better. We’ve just got to keep positive. The good thing is we’re creating chances. We haven’t won in six or seven games, but we’re creating chances and that’s a good sign.”

(Did you goal provide a boost?) “Our manager is a good motivator. When things are going difficult, he always says, ‘We’re going to get chances. We’re a good team; we’re going to create chances.’ Whenever you have a manager like that who believes in you when things aren’t going right, you can only have confidence when you get out on the field. We’re creating chances as a team. We did tonight, but like I said we were unfortunate. Hopefully we can put it right on Tuesday.”

(Do you guys have it in you to turn it around?) “Oh, for sure. We can’t panic. This team has been real consistent over the last three years, won three Open Cups. We’ve still got a long season. It’s a streaky league like the manager always says. We’ll get one win and then we’ll go on a run. You can’t panic man. It’s football. But we’ve got to take the bad with the good and the good with the bad. We’re creating chances as a team. It’s my job and it’s Fredy’s job to put our chances away when we get them and sometimes you don’t get two or three chances, you might just one get one, but you have to put it away.”

(What was the mentality going into the second half?) “We just had to wake up. Whatever the reason is, we keep giving up goals in the first half. In modern football today, it doesn’t matter what league you’re in, they keep getting harder and harder. In a derby game like this you have to find a way to comeback and today that didn’t happen.”

(What’d you think of the Cascadia rivalry?) “It’s everything you can dream of as a kid. I didn’t realize how big it was until today. I played in Europe for the past three years and played in some big stadiums there, but this is as big as it gets here. It’s fun. We knew it was going to be a physical game and consisted of a lot of emotion. Once again we dug ourselves in a hole and when you have 20,000 fans behind the home team, it’s hard to come back.”

FREDY MONTERO, Sounders FC forward

(What happened on the red card?) “Nothing. This guy was head-to-head with Eddie and I just tried to push him away, you know? He fell to the ground. … This is what this game was about and unfortunately today wasn’t a good day for him.”

(You think Horst sold it?) “Yeah, but he got what he wanted. I got red carded and I was out. That’s all that mattered for them.”

(Do you think you’ll be able to play in the Open Cup on Tuesday being suspended for Saturday’s game?) “Sure. If the coach says I’m going to play, I’m ready always. I always want to play.

(Even after such a quick turnaround?) “Sure. Yeah.”

(What do you have to do to get out of this slump?) “Obviously it’s a bad moment for the team, but we need to work hard. We need to look for that victory and hopefully that one is in the next game.”

BRAD EVANS, Sounders FC midfielder (to The Seattle Times)

(What did you think of coming out at halftime?) “I’m not really sure why, but I guess we’ll talk later. That’s it.”

(What do you need to do better?) “We’re just leaking goals. That’s seven games in a row now that we’ve given up the lead first. It’s just mental lapses. Like Eddie said, we’re creating a number of chances. We out-shot them. We out-fouled them. We out-played them, period. We definitely have it in us. There’s no question everyone believes it. We’ll meet as a team tomorrow, get ready for Tuesday night, and then we’ve got a big one in New England. We’ve got a big swing coming up. We’ve just got to battle now. There’s no chance we’re going to keep this run going.”

(What’s gone on in allowing the first goal in seven straight?) “That’s pretty interesting. Seven games ago you would’ve never thought that. After our last victory you would’ve never thought that. If somebody said … that we’re going to give up the first goal in the next seven games and not come out with a victory, everybody would’ve said, ‘You’re (kidding).’ But it is what it is. It’s sports. (Stuff) happens. At this point you’ve got to switch on. Everybody felt good coming down here. We felt confident. We were the better side, but they converted their chances — that’s it.”

(Why do you think the trend of comeback wins hasn’t continued this year?) “It was a theme last year and continues to be a theme that we’ve conceded goals first, for whatever reason. If we could put a finger on it then obviously it would’ve been figured out five or six games ago. It’s impossible to say why. It’s one of those things where hopefully we can look back and say, ‘(Shoot). That was a bad run, but we sorted it out.’ “Right now we face a really tough team Tuesday night and hopefully the Open Cup is our saving grace.”

(Has it been difficult adjusting to playing on the right in the diamond?) “I’m not going to think about it. It is what it is.”

ZACH SCOTT, Sounders FC defender (to The Seattle Times)

(What has gone on in this stretch where you’ve allowed the first goal in seven-straight games?) “I think a big part of it is just starting the game on the right foot. I don’t think we’ve necessarily come out lackadaisical, but ‘complacent’ I guess is the right word. I think it’s almost taken 45 minutes (for us to get into the game). The second half was a completely differently game, and that’s something we talked about coming out after a poor showing in the first half — winning the second half. Though there’s definitely no consolation in doing that. It’s a trend that we need to break. It’s something we need to focus on, coming out with the right mentality from Minute 0 instead of Minute 45.”

(Does a rare loss to a rival feel different?) “Only in the sense that we know how much it means to the fans. In that sense, it’s that much more frustrating … because of the rivalry the fans have built and the passion that they bring. To let them down, to know that they’re driving back to Seattle disappointed … is probably the biggest thing.”

JOHN SPENCER, Timbers head coach

(Thoughts on the game…) “I’m very, very happy. I thought the first half was a tremendous performance. Expected Seattle to come out and do what they did in the second half. They’ve got a lot of pride. They’re a quality, quality team; top-quality organization. The coach has been at the top end of the coaching spectrum for a number of years, and I expected them to come after us and pin us back and create chances and score a goal. They’ve got too many quality players not to score a goal; good team. Unbelievable performance from us. First half, I thought the quality was there. Second half, couldn’t get a hold of the ball. They dominated most of the play. We dug deep, showed a lot of character, and I’m very, very happy with the three points.”

(On holding an early lead…) “I think that when you go through a little bit of a barren spell that we did. Let’s not forget, we’re not getting pummeled 4-0 every week, and battled and embarrassed. We’ve created a lot of chances in the last few weeks and the last few games, and just not managed to pult the ball in the back of the net for whatever reason. Today, we get two opportunities and we go 2-0 up. To be honest, I think we showed an unbelievable amount of character – I took my hat off to them in the locker room. I said, ‘Not good tactics. Not good coaching. Just sheer hard work, determination,’ and they got the just reward today because they got two quality goals.”

(On Kris Boyd’s performance…) “I think Kris Boyd had a great finish coming across the six. That’s what Kris Boyd does. I’ve seen him do it 150, 170 times in his career at the top level. And I’ve said time and time again if you give him chances, he puts the ball in the back of the net. There’s been a lot of harsh criticism directed toward all of us here. You could see a little bit of change in his mentality this week about wanting to score, and really wanting to put the ball at the back of the net. And there’s nothing better than scoring a goal down at that end against your biggest rival, and then celebrating with the fans down there.”

KRIS BOYD, Timbers forward

(On what the win means…) “Time will tell how we go forward. We came into the game knowing that we needed to get the three points, which was the most important thing. To get the fans back on our side, to get everybody off our backs and prove to people that we can play. We grinded out a great result and we look forward to Colorado next week. We’ll get a good week’s training in us. The [Seattle] game is over with now. The hard work starts and preparation for next week now.”

(On atmosphere of Portland-Seattle match…) “It was good. It was great to be involved. Today, we got the three points, and it sets up the game. It’s a far better atmosphere; it’s a far better environment to play in when you’re winning the game.”

(On playing with a 2-0 lead…) “It was obviously great that, in terms of we got off to a great start in the first half. But we knew if we didn’t come out in the second half and start properly, and defend from the front as a team, it was going to be a difficult 45 minutes again. We lost that goal, and towards the end maybe we were hanging on a bit, but we had chances to finish it in the second half. We never took them, but it’s a great three points and we’re looking forward to Colorado next week.”

(On scoring his goal…) “I can just remember the ball going down the left hand side, and a great ball in from Steven [Smith]. It’s the first time in a long, long time that I found myself with that amount of space in the box. I managed to get on the end of it, and put it in the back of the net and give us a lead. And it was important.”

DAVID HORST, Timbers defender

(On his first MLS goal…) “I got the taste in the first header that hit the crossbar, and Franck [Songo’o] put the ball in the exact same spot again. It was an unbelievable corner, and I headed it down this time, instead of up. It worked out the second time. It felt pretty good, especially in this rivalry. … I’ll never forget it. It’s got to be one of the greatest moments of my life. To score against Seattle, in front of all these people, especially with the way we’d been playing lately. It’s great to get a win for us, and the organization. I couldn’t be more proud of the team today.”

(On whether the win will lead to momentum…) “Last year, we had that turning point with LA, where we went on a little run. Hopefully that’s what today is. It’s a turning point, and we can get a bunch of games under our belt, gain some points and get back into the playoff race.”

MIKE FUCITO, Timbers forward

(On facing his former team…) “It was good. It was a little weird, but I like the dark green uniform. I like the city, so it’s been good so far. I like it.”

(On playing with a lead…) “It was good. To be able to keep it, too, I think that’s a whole other thing. Coming out, and starting games well. I think that was key, especially in a game like this, where there’s a lot of nerves and energy.”

(On holding the lead…) “I think it just shows our toughness and our mentality, and how we’re a little bit stronger and able to finish off games, because that’s key. That’s going to happen. I thought it was a good performance overall and definitely something to build on.”

* * *


Scoring summary:

POR – Kris Boyd (Steven Smith) 16′

POR – David Horst (Franck Songo’o) 25′

SEA – Eddie Johnson (Zach Scott) 58′

Seattle Sounders FC: Andrew Weber, Zach Scott, Jeff Parke (Pat Ianni 42), Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch, Brad Evans (Andy Rose 46), Osvaldo Alonso, Mauro Rosales, Alex Caskey (Cordell Cato 75), Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson.

Substitutes Not Used: Bryan Meredith, Leo Gonzalez, Roger Levesque, Sammy Ochoa.

TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Johnson 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Alonso 2); FOULS: 23 (Montero 6); OFFSIDE: 0; CORNER KICKS: 8 (Rosales 8); SAVES: 1 (Weber 1).

Portland Timbers: Troy Perkins, Jack Jewsbury, Mamadou Danso, David Horst, Steven Smith, Kalif Alhassan (Sal Zizzo 54), Diego Chara, Darlington Nagbe, Franck Songo’o (Lovel Palmer 79), Mike Fucito (Danny Mwanga 66), Kris Boyd.

Substitutes Not Used: Joseph Bendik, Mike Chabala, Steve Purdy, Eric Alexander.

TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Boyd, Horst 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Boyd 2); FOULS: 15 (Boyd 4); OFFSIDE: 4 (Boyd, Fucito 2); CORNER KICKS: 5 (Songo’o 5); SAVES: 5 (Perkins 5).

Misconduct summary:

SEA – Brad Evans (caution) 18′

POR – Diego Chara (caution) 44′

SEA – Osvaldo Alonso (caution) 48′

POR – Kalif Alhassan (caution) 54′

POR – Steven Smith (caution) 73′

POR – Jack Jewsbury (caution) 90′

SEA – Fredy Montero (ejection) 90+1′

POR – Lovel Palmer (ejection) 90+2′

Referee: Ricardo Salazar

Referee’s Assistants: Peter Manikowski, Mike Kampeinert

4th Official: Jasen Anno

Attendance: 20,438

Time of Game: 1:56

Weather: Partly cloudy and 64 degrees

All Statistics contained in the box score are unofficial.


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