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September 2, 2012 at 10:41 PM

Steve Zakuani: “The second half was just about getting a point and getting back to Seattle to regroup. We’ll take that.”

zakuani dallas.jpgPhoto credit: Ronald Martinez, Getty Images

Here are some team-provided quotes and stats from Sounders FC’s 1-1 tie on the road Sunday against FC Dallas. Seattle has gone unbeaten in 28 MLS games when scoring the first goal (23-0-5) and has just one loss in its last 10 league games (5-1-4). A big talking point was Steve Zakuani’s first start in 500 days since he suffered the devastating leg injury, which he rewarded with a fine assist on the Sounders’ lone goal by Mauro Rosales.

* * *

SIGI SCHMID, Sounders FC head coach

(General thoughts…) “We’ve had to go through this week with the traveling, and so forth, and the early morning airport calls, the lack of sleep the guys have had to deal with… I was very pleased at what we showed. It shows our character and morale. We knew we have to hang on at times, try to get as many fresh bodies as we could out there. We didn’t expect [Osvaldo Alonso] to get hurt, so that forced a change on us that we didn’t want to make, but I was really pleased with our character.”

(It has been 500 days since Zakuani last started for you, talk about what he’s done…) “Steve shows that he still has that explosion, the ability to beat people. As he gains confidence hopefully those kind of opportunities will occur more often in the game. He’s shown that he can still do it. It was a tremendous assist. Now it’s just a matter of gaining game fitness and the ability to do that on a repetitive level.”

(On a game like this, how important was it to get that first goal?) “Vital for us to get, I wasn’t happy that we gave up one at the other end because I think that we defended as well as we could have but that’s the way it is sometimes. But for us to get the first goal here away from home was very important, especially considering our fatigue factor.”

(On Michael Gspurning’s play:) “Michael was very good. The save he makes going to his right in the second half is a huge save. That’s what you need from goalkeepers. They come up with saves at big times of the game. I coached Kevin Hartman for years. He’s a guy that’s done that in the years I coached him many times and Michael has done that for us this year as well.”

(A little bit of a different formation for you guys, what do you think on the way that worked out?) “It worked out alright. It was a way I felt we had to play based on our personnel and what we had here today, so it worked out alright. Obviously for a guy like Adam Johansson, who has never played in this kind of heat before, or a guy like Christian Tiffert, who’s never played in this kind of heat either, for them psychologically it was even a more difficult game at times. Overall, I think we did alright. Fredy Montero was active and occupied the two center backs. Sometimes we needed a little more support from the wingers but if we play this formation more often we’ll work that out.”

(On the fatigue factor, especially in the second half:) “I think it showed. When you look at the stats of the game, it showed in terms of us winning less duels in the second half, just not being able to get the balls, not being able to really generate as many attacks in the second half that got into the final third as we did in the first half. That was just a reflection of just tired legs.”

MAURO ROSALES, Sounders FC midfielder

(General thoughts on the game…) “The heat played a big part in the game. It was tough for both teams. We couldn’t play our best match. We couldn’t. We tried, but it was too hot here. We were coming from Trinidad and Tobago and a 10-hour flight with delays with all this stuff. We did a great job trying to win this game and to play to the same level as them.”

(On his goal and the assist by Steve Zakuani…) “It was a great assist from Stevie [Steve Zakuani]. I was just trying to put the ball in the net. It was good for me. I’m not used to scoring. I’m used to making the assist, but it was a goal for us and now we just have to keep going.”

(On the return of Steve Zakuani and his play in the match…) “It was great to see him back with the team and on a good level. He was working very hard to come back and you could see the frustration with him a few months ago when he couldn’t be the best player that he really wanted to be. Now we’re very happy for him. We’ll have to keep supporting him to come back to the level he wants. … We have to get him to the same level of confidence that he had in the past, but it has already been a great come back. Playing and getting assists… the minutes he is gaining game by game. He’s going to get past this and get back on his same level.”

STEVE ZAKUANI, Sounders FC midfielder

(Thoughts on the first half and the progression of the game…) “We didn’t have enough of the ball. We were saying to each other, ‘Right now we can’t keep the ball.’ We were just clearing it and clearing it and giving it back to Dallas. I didn’t get many touches, but we knew that when we got it we had to take care of it and we did.

“We had a few chances… a good header from Mauro’s [Mauro Rosales] cross and Fredy [Fredy Montero] got it a couple times. [Christain Tiffert] was finding balls and Alonso began to find the ball. I began to find the ball, too. I knew that in this heat I might just get one or two chances to run. When it came, I made sure to take it. I looked up and saw Mauro making a good run at the back post. He was free and it was up to me to find him. I was able to do that.

“The first 15 minutes wasn’t good. We ended the first half very well. And the second half was just about getting a point and getting back to Seattle to regroup. We’ll take that. This isn’t an easy place to come play.”

(On Mauro’s goal and his assist…) “I was just happy we scored. It didn’t hit me until half time that it was my first start. It was good to get back on the board in terms of an assist, but I was honestly just disappointed that we didn’t get to the half at 1-0.”

(On what he has to do moving forward…) “Play again. Keep building. I’m just going to have to keep training and training to get my sharpness back again. The run I made I could have made, you know, 10 times. My fitness was really good and my goal is to be able to do that run a few times each half. That’s what I bring to the team. I just need to play my role. We’ve had a good run. We still haven’t lost in a very long time. September should be a very good month for us and then we’ll be pushing on into the playoffs. I just want to be there to play my role.”

* * *

SOUNDERS FC 1, FC DALLAS 1

Scoring summary:

SEA – Mauro Rosales (Steve Zakuani) 20′

DAL – Jackson (Blas Perez) 32′

Seattle Sounders FC — Michael Gspurning, Adam Johansson, Jeff Parke, Pat Ianni, Leo Gonzalez, Osvaldo Alonso (Servando Carrasco 78), Christian Tiffert, Brad Evans (Marc Burch 88), Mauro Rosales, Fredy Montero, Steve Zakuani (Alex Caskey 66).

Substitutes Not Used: Josh Ford, Zach Scott, Mario Martinez, Sammy Ochoa.

TOTAL SHOTS: 11; SHOTS ON GOAL: 4; FOULS: 20; OFFSIDE: 4; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 5.

FC Dallas – Kevin Hartman, George John, Zach Loyd, Matt Hedges (Herman Pertuz 58), Jair Benitez, Brek Shea (Carlos Rodriguez 86), Jackson, Andrew Jacobson (Daniel Hernandez 63), Julian de Guzman, David Ferreira, Blas Perez.

Substitutes Not Used: Chris Seitz, Bryan Leyva, James Marcelin, Scott Sealy.

TOTAL SHOTS: 24; SHOTS ON GOAL: 7; FOULS: 17; OFFSIDE: 0; CORNER KICKS: 6; SAVES: 3.

Misconduct summary:

SEA – Fredy Montero (caution) 30′

DAL – George John (caution) 42′

DAL – Jackson (caution) 56′

SEA – Leo Gonzalez (caution) 72′

SEA – Servando Carrasco (caution) 86′

Referee: Sorin Stoica

Referee’s Assistants: Kermit Quisenberry, Jonathan Johnson

4th Official: Hilario Grajeda

Attendance: 12,811

Time of Game: 1:51

Weather: Sunny and 99 degrees

All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial.

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