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September 15, 2012 at 5:54 PM

Fredy Montero: “We know we can be better, but at the same time we know to tie in this place is so difficult.”

Seattle Sounders FC Logo.jpgHere are some quotes and stats from Sounders FC’s 1-1 tie Saturday in Portland. The result ensures the Cascadia Cup will return to Seattle, at least this weekend.

* * *

SIGI SCHMID, Sounders FC coach

(Opening comments…) “Obviously for them it was a very emotional game. You saw by all their players that went out injured and cramping up and little niggling muscle injuries toward the end that they had expended everything that they had in this game. From that standpoint I was pleased we were able to keep them at bay for the majority of the game. Once we got the lead, I thought we played a little better in the second half finding Andy Rose to get out of the back rather than Ozzie, because they were really cracking down on Ozzie, making it difficult for us to play through him. So Andy got more involved and got forward and we got a good goal to take the lead. Then we just gave away too many corner kicks and gave them a little bit of dominance in the game, and when you give away that many corners eventually you get chances. We were lucky on the one where they hit the post, as well, and then we had a good chance at the end, where we could almost steal it. At the end of the day, I think 1-1 is a fair result. For our team, it’s good that we were able to secure a point in the standpoint of the Cascadia Cup. That’s still all open for us right now, so it’s good.”

(On Montero’s goal…) “It was just a great goal. At first when he hit it, I actually thought it went over the goal, but just the individual ability to turn and hit that ball he hit takes a lot of skill.”

(On Johnson’s yellow card and suspension…) “Yeah, it’s probably a yellow card, so was maybe Martinez’. How Songo’o doesn’t get a yellow though for his tackle on Evans is beyond me. It’s just something that we have to deal with. When you’re sitting on four, there’s a chance you’ll get your fifth. Obviously he got his fifth and he won’t be available for (the San Jose) game.”

(On having enough to make up for his loss…) “The hopes are to have Rosales back and Tiffert back. I think that helps our team, as well. I think those two guys were missing, especially when you’re playing on a small field and a team is very active defensively and they’re getting nine guys behind the ball often times, so you need those kind of guys who have that ability to break down a team.”

(On Alonso’s defensive effort…) “Ozzie’s defensive effort was superb. He covered a lot because they had different people, Nagbe and Chara, running through. He ended up sometimes being on Nagbe, sometimes on Chara, covering behind because Zizzo at times gave some problems for Leo. At times Leo held him fairly well, but Ozzie was there to assist, so I thought his defensive game was very good. His offensive game I’m sure he would’ve liked to have had better.”

(On what a national audience might make of MLS having seen this one…) “It’s intense. It’s competitive. That the atmosphere was tremendous. Obviously atmosphere is always great here or at our place. The effort of the two teams was fantastic. You can see it’s a very competitive game. It’s a man’s game. People have to get out there and battle. It’s got its physical elements to it. It’s got it’s skillful element — look at the goal that Montero scored and some of the individual play of other players. I think it had everything. We always complain about not enough goals, it’s really about goal-scoring chances. Drama was there with them hitting the post at the end, and with us having a very good look from Ozzie at the end, so it had all the elements of what a good sporting event should be.”

(Did you tell that guys to test the new goalkeeper?) “Yeah, I called Steve over and I said, ‘Let’s test the goalkeeper early’ and so forth. Obviously that was the first shot, then Bindek did well to hold onto Ozzie’s shot at the end.”

(On if there’s anything the team can do better when it has a lead on the road after settling for ties in Dallas and Portland…) “No. … I think it’s a situation of each game, like I’ve said, takes on its own emphasis. The Dallas game, they were very hungry team. We were coming off a game that was difficult, so (we had) to hang on. Today we played a game where for them, this was their MLS Cup final today. They played and expended the energy that a team would expend in the MLS Cup final. Not to say that you don’t want to expend that energy every time you play yourselves, it’s just a little bit different when you’re saying, ‘This is it. It’s now or never.’ They had that ‘now or never’ attitude, so based on that it was OK. I thought once we had the lead, we need to do a better job of managing the game. We need to do a better job of holding onto the ball. We got complicated sometimes. There was the one play in the corner where Leo flicked the ball up to himself and tried to clear it. Mario tried to flick the ball over a guy and all of a sudden we’re giving up another corner and another corner, when really we could’ve cleared the ball up the field. Those are little things that you have to do well in those moments of the game.”

(Is your roster finalized after the Hahnemann move?) “Yeah. That what we did.”

(What does he add?) “He’s experienced and he’ll train and get fit. He’s an experienced goalkeeper and it gives us obviously some insurance. If something were to happen to Michael, we have an experienced backup goalkeeper that we can turn to. For Marcus, the opportunity to be able to finish his career in Seattle is something that he really wanted. He’s a local kid from and I think from that standpoint, it’s also a good thing. It shows what our club’s all about and we felt we could make this happen for him, which is something he’s wanted to do for a couple of years, but it’s never been something we were able to do. Now it’s worked out and also gives us some depth in that position.”

(Do you expect he’ll be back next year if he’s fit?) “Right now we’re just worried about the next (few) months and then we’ll go from there.”

(Do you have a relationship with him?) “Yeah, I’ve talked to Marcus. Tommy and him have grown up playing together, so they know each other very well. Obviously Schmetz knows him, as well. They played and I think he might’ve coached him, as well. I know I coached against Marcus when he was at Seattle Pacific and so forth. I’ve talked to him numerous times.”

FREDY MONTERO, Sounders FC forward

(On his goal…) “It was a long past from Michael Gspurning. The ball bounced and I tried to hold the defender. When I saw I was in the box, I just tried to hit the ball. It was good.”

(On attacking a new goalkeeper…) “He didn’t have time to warm up and, yeah, we just said, ‘OK, let’s try to hit the ball and see what happens.’ For us, it was good the first one was to the goal.”

(On the result…) “Well, we know we can be better, but at the same time we know to tie in this place is so difficult. We have one point, which is going to be good for us at the end of the season.”

(On career-high-matching 12th goal…) “I’m looking forward to next six games. I just want to try to help the team to get as many points as we can. If I can keep scoring goals, I will be more than happy.”

(On scoring in rivalry games…) “It’s always good to score goals in those kind of derbies. The people who are coming from Seattle … I’m happy for them and happy for the team. Let’s keep winning games, and hopefully the next game at home we have the opportunity to win again.”

STEVE ZAKUANI, Sounders FC midfielder

(On the game and result…) “We came out to play. We always try to win games. Portland was the same. The atmosphere was great. Our fans are always representing; it was fantastic. It was a really, really good experience for me to play my first game (in Portland). We’re a bit disappointed as you can see. We thought we had the three points after Fredy’s great goal. We played pretty well, not our best offensive game but maybe enough to sneak away with a road win. But at this point maybe you can take the point and regroup from there.”

(On Darlington Nagbe…) “He’s good. I said that a long time ago. …. I’ve always said he’s a great player. He’s maturing more and more. I still think he has a long way to go in terms of his ceiling because he just has so much quality. I was happy to for the first time play against him at this level. I wish that he’ll keep continuing to be a good player.”

(Ever play against him?) “No, just in training. No, I’ve never played against D, but D’s one of my best friends. I’m going to be in his wedding in the offseason. I’m close with his family — his mother, his sister. He’s someone who I always like to look out for. … I wish maybe one day in the future we can play again together. At this point he’s on Portland and I’m on Seattle, but I definitely think he’s a great player.”

(On keeping the Cascadia Cup in the fans’ hand…) “That was important. We didn’t want our fans to drive down on a bus carrying a trophy and go back empty-handed. We still have to play Portland in a couple weeks in Seattle and that’s going to be a must-win game as all the games are at this point. We definitely kept that going. They said the Cascadia Cup is the most important thing for them. It isn’t for us — for us, it’s MLS Cup. But on the way to winning MLS Cup we want to win Cascadia Cup and pick up three points today. We didn’t do that, so I think we’re a bit down. But you look at it, we’ve been playing a lot of tough games and we’ve picked up some good results, I thought today we could’ve done that again, but it just wasn’t to be.”

MICHAEL GSPURNING, Sounders FC goalkeeper

(On the assist…) “It’s good to get my first assist, but it’s just a statistic in this case. It’s not my first (priority) to make an assist and I would change it three points if I could do it. In the end of the day, we feel a little bit disappointed because we wanted three points here. But their goal was unlucky. It’s not that they don’t deserve it at this point of the game because they put the pressure on us, but the goal was a little bit lucky because it happened from a corner and we were a little bit disorganized in this case and we reacted too late. Then Leo wants to clear and I am also there, and maybe if Leo doesn’t clear it I can push it away from the line. He wants to clear, I want to clear, and it ended up in the goal, so that was unlucky. At the end of the day, and with the momentum, we have to be happy with the point.”

(On the other goalkeeper going in cold…) “It was pretty unlucky for the goalkeeper for Portland – the new one. But he did well. He took it like a man and made a good save in the last minute. He played a good game. Bad for us.”

(On the atmosphere in his first game in Portland…) “It was good. Our side was, of course, great. Their side gave power to their team. That’s what a rivalry is all about. … It makes these games special and makes a victory, if you can achieve it, much sweeter.”

(What do you know about Marcus Hahnemann…) “That he’s signed with us. I met him last week. Pretty nice guy. Welcome home to him. I’m also happy that he joined us because I’m feeling much younger now. Just kidding in this case. (laughs) No, he’s had a great career in Europe. It’s the same as Kasey. I think we can really work together. I said in an interview last week, every player who can help us is welcome. In this case, it’s a goalkeeper. Every player who can help us is welcome.”

(Ever had five GKs on one team…) “That’s a problem Tommy has to solve, how we do practice.”

EDDIE JOHNSON, Sounders FC forward

(On the physicality of the game…) “They beat me up. It was a physical game, but those are derby games. We just wanted to come in here and match their intensity and start out on the right foot. Last game we didn’t have a good start to the game and we went down two goals, and it was difficult to get back into the game. This time I thought we matched their intensity. We knew they were going to have their home crowd behind them and I thought 1-1 was a fair result.”

(On the collision with Ricketts…) “In the attacking third we got a good understanding when guys get the ball out wide. For a forward it’s first-nature — one guy goes to the near post and one guy goes to the far. I just tried to make a hard run in the box and I was already celebrating as the ball was crossed, because Andy crossed a perfect ball. But [Ricketts] came late and I tried to avoid the contact. By that time it was too late because my momentum was going toward the goal and his ribs hit my (arm). I was just trying to be dangerous in the box. That’s been my bread and butter this season, and the guys made it difficult today, but I thought it was a good game.”

(On Portland’s intensity…) “They’re a good team. They’ve very young. They’ve got a lot of talented players on their team. These rivalry games it’s like Real Madrid-Barcelona. These are the games we wait for as players. These are the games we dream of as professionals. We know the importance of it and how much it means to each organization. I think it was a well-fought, well-battled game today.”

(On the yellow card and suspension…) “At the end of the day, the referee makes the decision, but it was my first foul. Sigi talked about putting pressure on them once we lose the ball and not letting them get in a rhythm. My momentum was kind of going forward and I fell into the guy, but I didn’t think he was going to give me a yellow. That’s soccer.”

(On Fredy Montero’s goal…) “I think it was a great goal — (he) did well. Sigi told us to test the ‘keeper once he came in and I think the long ball, I went up to challenge for it and Fredy held it up really well and just turned and hit the ball. It’s hard for the ‘keeper to react when he’s coming across his box and you receive it and turn and shoot it as quickly as Fredy did. It was a good goal. Credit to Fredy.”

(On the final upcoming match against the Timbers…) “Well, the good thing is we get to go back to our home stadium and play in front of our crowd. We know it’s going to be an electric atmosphere, but these games are tough. The Cascadia Cup is something that they’re playing for and something they’re looking forward to achieving because it’s a goal that’s still a realistic goal for them. We know we’re trying to get as many points as we can to secure second place in the Western Conference, so it’s going to be a big game, but we need to get the three points at home.”

GAVIN WILKINSON, Timbers GM, interim coach

(General thoughts on the match…) “It took us a while to find the game, in my opinion, and once we did, we started stringing passes together. I thought our response after we conceded that goal was first class. I think the next passage of play, we kept the ball moving. We went from side to side, and we started to develop a little bit of rhythm. I think that was an important response by the players, and I’m pleased with that. You always worry how a goal is going to affect the team, and our team responded positively. After that, when we were down to 10 men, it was tough to manage, but I thought we were unlucky not to come away with a little bit more. I think there was one that came across their goal line from the inside of the post. That could’ve changed things a little bit more. But happy with the response.”

(On how Ricketts leaving the match affected the team…) “I think mentally, again, you go back to we let the ball bounce, we didn’t charge the first one, we got beat on the second one. And Joe [Bendik], it was his introduction into the game … We probably should’ve played with a little bit more of a stronger mentality in that situation. Charge the ball a little bit higher up the field and get him [Bendik] a touch on the ball. The first touch on the ball for him was picking it up out of the back of the net. I thought his mentality, his character showed, and his response. I think he made a fantastic save there, and it was positive from everybody. I think it was an entertaining game.”

(On having to go on the road to have a chance to win Cascadia Cup…) “We’ll accept coming away with a tie. I think coming back from a goal down. If you’re a goal up, and you give that away, it’s three points lost. I think we salvaged a point today. As I said, unlucky not to take all three. I think most of the second half, performance from us was very, very positive. At least we clawed ourselves back into the game. We gave the fans something to be excited about, and kept the Cascadia Cup very, very much alive, and benefitting us, I hope. We’ll go on the road, we have great fan support on the road, and we still get to bring it back to Portland, hopefully, if and when.”

JACK JEWSBURY, Timbers midfielder

(On getting a draw…) “I think it’s good to see us come back, especially in a huge game like that. Obviously, a bit disappointed, because we wanted to raise the trophy in front of the home fans. But now, we got a little bit more work to do.”

(On how the Wallace goal energized the team…) “Yeah, it was huge … You want to continue to press. I thought we did that. We had three or four corners there toward the end of the game. We were able to finish that one. There was another one where Bright [Dike] hits the post. I thought we continued to press. Obviously, the last five minutes, when Diego [Chara] goes down, the game changes a little bit, and just trying to preserve the tie. But overall, I thought everybody fought hard. The energy was there, like you’d expect in a game like this.”

(On what it meant to come back from a 1-0 deficit…) “I think we have a belief in one another that maybe we didn’t have earlier in the season, that we’re not going to put our heads down when we go down a goal, and give up a second and third. We have the belief in one another, and this is a confident group. I think we’re playing well, and maybe on another day, we get out of here with three points.”

RODNEY WALLACE, Timbers defender

(How it felt getting the goal…) “Just excited. Just excited that I got this opportunity, and ended on a good note. I think the team played well today, and we just got to build from this performance. Unfortunate that we didn’t get the win, but we just got to keep fighting and keep grinding it out.”

(On getting his first goal of the year in this game…) “Playing in front of these fans, and against a rival like that, it’s a great feeling.”

(On the feeling after coming away with the draw after being down…) “It’s always good to get the point. If you’re a goal down, you always want to get a goal. You always want to win the game, but unlucky it just didn’t go our way with the shot at the end that [Bright] Dike hit the post. But overall, it was a good performance.”

* * *

SOUNDERS FC 1, PORTLAND TIMBERS 1

Scoring summary

SEA – Fredy Montero (Michael Gspurning) 57′

POR – Rodney Wallace (Jack Jewsbury) 78′

Seattle Sounders FC: Michael Gspurning, Adam Johansson, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez, Brad Evans (Marc Burch 79′), Osvaldo Alonso, Andy Rose, Steve Zakuani (Mario Martinez 70′), Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson.

Substitutes Not Used: Josh Ford, Zach Scott, Patrick Ianni, Alex Caskey, Sammy Ochoa.

Total Shots: 15; Shots on Goal: 3; Fouls: 11; Offside: 3; Corner Kicks: 2; Saves: 2.

Portland Timbers: Donovan Ricketts (Joseph Bendik 57′), Kosuke Kimura, Hanyer Mosquera, David Horst, Rodney Wallace, Darlington Nagbe, Jack Jewsbury, Diego Chara, Sal Zizzo (Kalif Alhassan 83′), Bright Dike, Franck Songo’o (Danny Mwanga 72′).

Substitutes Not Used: Mamadou Danso, Eric Alexander, Kris Boyd, Mike Fucito.

Total Shots: 17; Shots on Goal: 3; Fouls: 12; Offside: 1; Corner Kicks: 9; Saves: 2.

Misconduct summary

SEA – Eddie Johnson 26′

SEA – Mario Martinez 79′

Referee: Ricardo Salazar

Referee’s Assistants: Peter Manikowski; Mike Kampmeinert

4th Official: Jesus Cisneros

Time of Game: 1:53

Attendance: 20,438

Weather: Sunny and 64 degrees

All statistics contained in the box score are unofficial.

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