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

November 3, 2012 at 12:07 AM

“We can sit here, and we can lament about it, and we can cry about it … but at the end of the day, we’ve got to get ready for a game on Thursday.”

rimando playoff.jpgPhoto credit: John Lok, The Seattle Times (full gallery here)

Here are some quotes and stats from Sounders FC’s 0-0 tie with Real Salt Lake in the first leg of a Western Conference semifinal Friday at CenturyLink Field. The two-game, aggregate-goals series will be decided in Thursday’s second leg at 6:30 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.

* * *

Sigi Schmid – Sounders FC Coach

(Opening statement…) “I thought we played well. I thought we created chances. Rimando comes up with some big saves in the first half that keeps them in it off a couple of those corner kicks. We missed some chances in the second half. Sammy Ochoa had a good look. David Estrada had a good opportunity at the back post, and even then Rimando comes up with a big save in the second half. Even the last ball where Mauro cuts it back, he reads the cross and beats Fredy Montero to the ball. All you can do is create chances, but I was pleased with how we played. I thought we kept them at bay for the majority of the game. After the injury to Rimando, which killed a lot of clock, obviously, but it really killed the momentum a little bit, I think it took us a while to get back into the flow after that. I thought prior to that we were really all over them. Nobody wants anyone to get injured, but for them it was very timely injury because it helped slow the game down and kill some momentum. But I can’t be displeased with how we played and the effort that we gave tonight. I was very pleased and it’s halftime at 0-0. We’ve been a good road team. We just have to go to Salt Lake and do well.”

(On the play of his team…) “When you’re creating chances, that’s the object of the game at the end of the day. Obviously, finishing that is the quality. Could Eddie Johnson have made a difference? Possibly. But it’s also just whatever happens — the quality, the opportunity, if it hits a guy, the ball maybe bounces at the last second. You don’t know exactly what happens. I’d be more concerned if we’re not creating chances. I think there’s times where we have to do a better job in terms of moving their center backs. We talked about that at halftime and that’s something that we’ll work on this week.”

(On the mood of the team going into game two of the series…) “The mood will be fine when we get there. I think right now it was hard fought game and the guys are a little bit disappointed that they didn’t come away with a victory today, but in terms of where we’re going to be when we get on the field on Thursday, we’ll be ready to play.”

(How is Rosales? Did anyone get hurt today?) “I don’t know. I haven’t checked and I don’t know.”

(On the strategy going in to the game…) “We knew that our wide guys would get space, that our outside backs would get space to play and that our wide midfielders would get space to play. That was our plan going in, that we knew they could get space. We were talking about trying to get crosses in behind their defense, especially if they hold a high line. There’s even some times we could have played some balls over the top; maybe we were lacking a little bit of pace to do that at times. We wanted to get the ball to the wide channels because we knew that’s where there was space against them, just the way they play and the way they defend.”

(Did the football markings on the field make anything more difficult?) “No, I think it was okay. I think it probably looked worse from up top than it looked from on the field itself. The guys were good about just blocking it out of their minds and just playing. I think it was okay. Obviously we’d still prefer a clean field, but we appreciate what was done.”

(Does this feel any different than Dynamo serious in ’09?) “God, you’re asking me to remember that far back? Geez. I’m old. I can’t remember all that stuff. … No. The Dynamo series was our first playoff series and I think we did a good job in that series, we worked and we created some chances, but I don’t think we created as many chances in either game as we created tonight. We happened to run into a hot goalkeeper and we didn’t convert on what we needed to convert on. We just need to change it around for the next game.”

(Can a lack of scoring get into your head?) “We’ve been a pretty good goal-scoring team over the last two years, and we just need to know that it’s a mutually exclusive event. The next game is mutually exclusive from this game, and just because we didn’t get a goal in this game means nothing in regards to the next game. We could pop free for two or three.”

(Did you think you’d still get opportunities after those great Rimando saves?) “Yeah, we felt we were going to get one. We felt that way. At halftime, we talked about how we felt we were going to get one. I thought we were dangerous on our corners and our set pieces, which was one of the things that we talked about. It seemed like we got all our corners from the right, we got none from the other side of the field. We thought we were dangerous on those things, and we felt that we would get another opportunity and eventually find a goal. I thought we had some chances in the second half to do that.”

(On the play of RSL keeper Nick Rimando…) “Yeah, I don’t like it when goalkeepers get hot against us. I know Nicky fairly well and he’s a good goalkeeper. He’s courageous and his reactions are good. The one save he made against Sammy (Ochoa), he actually parries the ball off the crossbar and over the goal. If he doesn’t get quite as much a hand on it, three inches lower, it hits the bottom of the crossbar and goes in. He played well, he had a good performance, but the week before in L.A., Saunders came up with three big-time saves, as well.”

(Can GK’s stay hot?) “Yeah. Sometimes it’s easier in goal when you’re played warm — that’s a way they say it in Germany — meaning you’re facing a lot of shots and are under pressure, and so you get a little sharper with your following of the game and reading the game. The hardest thing for a goalkeeper is when you have not much to do, like Gspurning at times didn’t have a lot to do, then all of a sudden you face a shot. That’s sometimes when it’s more difficult for you. But like I said, the next game is mutually exclusive. Is he going to be hot the next game? I don’t know.”

(On the play of the defense…) “I thought we were pretty solid. … In the first half we ran into some problems by letting guys pop free into the top of the D and we had to block some shots and so forth and we need to do a job with that. After the injury in the second half, I thought we lost possession a little bit, and got forward at times. But I thought we did a good job of bottling up Morales, and I don’t think Saborio really got any looks — maybe the one header that he had — and Espindola came off at halftime.”

(On the attitude of the team after the game…) “We could sit here, and we can lament about it, and we can cry about it, and we can say, ‘Oh geez, that was terrible! Wow! Oh my god! What are we going to do? Woe is me! The sky is falling! Are we going to be able to cross the road and not get hit by a car?’ We can talk about all these things right now, but at the end of the day, we have to get ready for a game on Thursday. We have to build on what was good, and what was good is that created chances. What was good is we kept them pretty much at bay for the majority of the game, and what was good is I thought we worked very hard. I think our fans saw the effort that our players put in and the performance that they put forth. Their goalkeeper comes up big, we missed some chances without a doubt that we need to bury, but if we play the same way in Salt Lake, I think we come away with a result.”

(On Gspurning’s play…) “He was solid. As I said, that’s the hardest thing for a goalkeeper to do, when you’re not constantly under pressure, to be able to then get tuned in, make a save — it’s a tough thing to do. I thought he did very well.”

(On the absence of Eddie Johnson…) “Eddie’s obviously scored goals this year and so having him back on Thursday is an important element to our team. You take out a big goal-scorer like that — it’s something Salt Lake experienced when they didn’t have Saborio in the game against Herediano — it makes a difference for you. He’ll be ready.”

(On deciding to start Ochoa in place of Johnson…) “Because I think Ochoa has gotten goals and played well lately. He got denied by Rimando on one and he missed one. If he doesn’t get denied by Rimando and buries the other chance, you’re (saying), ‘What a great move coach! You brought Ochoa in and he’s banged away two goals…’ But that was the way it was tonight. I think if he gets that first header past Rimando, he doesn’t make that save, maybe the second one is a little easier for him, as well. He played basically 55-, 56 minutes, and in those 56 minutes, he had three good looks. That’s what you want from a forward.

(What were you looking for in the Estrada sub?) “From Estrada, I was looking for more activity up front, because at times I think our forwards needed to make more diagonal runs and crossing runs to make it more difficult for their defenders, so we were looking for Estrada to add that activity, and I think he did that and put himself in a position to score a goal, as well.”

Michael Gspurning – Sounders Goalkeeper

(On his perspective of match……) “Of course we were disappointed because we wanted to win today to have a good start. I think we left everything out on the pitch today and we fought, we played good, we created chances — the only thing we didn’t do was score goals. OK, now we have to go and take a win on the road and it’s tough, maybe now RSL is favored, but we aren’t afraid to go there and see what’s going on in the second half of the playoff round.”

(On other GK’s play…) “He had a great game and awesome saves. I looked afterwards at his face and he really was a little damaged. So all the best to him, that he recovers 100-percent. … You don’t wish anybody to get hurt. But yeah, he was one reason we didn’t score today.”

(On keeper going down and effecting match….) “It was a break in the game, yeah. Sometimes people do it on purpose, but in this case he was really injured. We didn’t score before the break and we didn’t score after, so this time didn’t change something.”

(On going into Salt Lake…) “Of course we are thinking why we didn’t score or why we didn’t win today, but on the other side there is no time to think about today. It could be worse, to be honest. It could be worse. They had a couple of chances. It’s still tied and the plus in now on RSL’s side, but don’t write us off. We are a good away team, too, so it will be a fun game next week.”

Sammy Ochoa – Sounders FC Midfielder

(On the game…) “The ball wouldn’t go in today. We’re going to have to take care of business down there. It’s going to have to go in down there. Like we’ve said, this is the first half. We still have the second half to go.”

(On his header saved by Rimando…) “As soon as it went off my head, for sure I thought it was going in. But Nick made a good save. We just got to go out there in Salt Lake and take care of business.”

(On his chance hit over the goal in the 50th minute…) “I tried to put it in, but I hit it too hard and it went over. We’ve just got to hope we put our chances away when we go down there.”

(Do you chalk tonight up to facing a hot goalkeeper or more of missing chances?) “These playoffs games are about whoever puts it away is going to go through. We’ve just to hope next game we finish our chances, because we might just have one, and that one may be the difference.”

(Do you still take confidence in the way the team played?) “Yeah, you just got to go out there and keep doing what we’re doing, play the same way we played here, and we’re a good road team.”

Mauro Rosales – Sounders FC Midfielder

(On match today…) “I think we did a correct game today. We had a lot of chances but their keeper had an amazing night. We have to keep going. If we play like this in Salt Lake, we have to keep going until the goals come. It’s the way we have to play. I think we did an excellent job taking care of all their good players, and the goals are going to come if we keep the same mentality, the same character that we showed today. We have to keep going.”

(On play of goalkeeper…) “I think you have to keep going. Soccer is like this. If a keeper like today has a night that he has, sometimes it’s just impossible to score. You can shoot from everywhere and you don’t score. The good thing is we generated many chances offensively. I think we had a good game, but we have to get going. That’s the way you have to go. If we win this game, we have to win the next one. We are in the same place now. We have to go there and win. It’s the same mentality that we had today.”

(On three consecutive 0-0 draws versus Real Salt Lake…) “Before the game I talked to your colleagues and said we don’t have much space in this kind of game. Two similar teams with similar kind of players, and it’s tough to play each other. It’s two top teams in the league and the games are going to be like that. Not so many goals or scores. Last year, too. We didn’t score so many goals in the playoffs. Today, we came out with good mentality and good character and it’s something we have to keep.”

(On the game’s intensity…) “It was very intense. I think the team knows how to play over there. The supporters give us the little bit extra that we need to push the 90 minutes. That’s something we have to keep also — working for them. They’re going to be supporting for here and some there, too. That’s the way to go. We have to go there and try to win the game.”

(Did you take a knock at the end?) “I’m doing OK. I’ll try to recover this in the few days that we have. Let’s see.”

Osvaldo Alonso – Sounders FC midfielder (via translator)

(What happened in that postgame scuffle?) “Not much. … I went there to try and separate things. But nothing much.”

(On the game’s intensity…) “We knew that it was going to be an intense match — very physical, very tight, very competitive.”

(Is there a rivalry forming here now?) “Yeah, I believe so — very competitive matches, one goal in four games played, and we expect the game in Salt Lake to be similar to this.”

(How’s the confidence of the group going into next week?) “We know that winning is going to be important. We don’t have any other option: It’s win or win. No other option. That’s the way we will be able to advance.”

Jason Kreis – Real Salt Lake Head Coach

(On general game impressions…) “I think I start with praising my team for an unbelievable effort they put forth tonight, and showed just a real desire to be committed and to stay together. It’s fantastic, and we had a lot of individual performances that were incredible, but I think I walk away feeling so proud of my team because they defined the word ‘together’ for me tonight.”

(On Goalkeeper Nick Rimando’s performance… ) “I just got off the radio and said it, and I’ll say it again: I think it will have to go down as one of the single best individual performances by any player that’s ever worn an RSL jersey.”

(On whether Rimando’s injury nearly took him out of the game…) “We thought he was going to have to come out. We thought it was going to be a laceration that they couldn’t get the blood stopped, and if that’s the case, then he has to come out. They did a good job getting the blood stopped and Nick continued on with a real brave effort.”

(On the status of Fabian Espindola…) “I don’t know that one either. He was questionable coming into this game. We knew he probably wasn’t going to be able to give us 90 minutes. I think he gave us 45 minutes of everything he had, and then hopefully made a smart decision to get himself off before he hurt himself any more seriously.”

(On holding Seattle scoreless for four games, and whether that is a feat solely attributable to Rimando…) “It’s about everybody; it’s about 11 players. Certainly, Nick made some individual plays tonight to make some stops on some corner kicks and such, but the 11 players in front of him were simply fantastic, as well.”

(On subbing in Jamison Olave…) “(It wasn’t) my ideal plan to try to get Olave into the game to see if we can get ready for next week, but we were forced into that sub because Kwame Watson-Siriboe, I think, rolled his ankle and he was limping around and that’s not the game you want to be limping around in.”

(On what he expects from the return leg…) “I don’t know, we’ll see. I mean, we’re going to handle it the same way we try to handle every game, which is to try to be on the front foot. We’re at home, obviously we know we need to win to move on, and we’ll throw everything at it, I’m quite certain of it.”

Nick Rimando – Real Salt Lake Goalkeeper

(On how he is feeling…) “I feel good. I took a hit, but I feel OK. … My eyesight is fine. I’m ready to get back home and handle business on Thursday.”

(On what exactly happened on that play…) “I just got told. I have no idea. I commit for a ball and the next thing I know I’m on the ground. I was told that Christian Tiffert kind of followed trough, not intentionally, but he followed through with his forearm and got me.”

(On if he has a favorite save of the ones he made today…) “No, just the shutout. Just to come here and get the shutout. You want to always go in and do your job, and the job was done here tonight, not just by me but by my teammates, as well.”

(On how does it feel for him to come and contribute mightily…) “These are the playoffs. Big players step up in big games, and I think everybody stepped up tonight, it wasn’t just me. I did my part for sure, but so did everybody else.”

Ned Grabavoy – Real Salt Lake Midfielder

(On how does it feel to be able to walk out here with a positive result…) “It feels good for sure. It’s a really difficult place to play. They’re a really good team and they have been for the past couple of years. We’ve been battling with them in the playoffs it seems almost every year. They’re well coached with good players so we knew it was going to be difficult coming into this. We got a result we wanted. We kept it zero and going back to our home turf and I think it is going to be another difficult game. Nothing is over by any means, and I think Thursday is going to be another test for us for 90 minutes maybe plus.”

(On Nick Rimando’s game…) “It’s just pretty unreal. Both of those corner kicks in a row. I’m on the post, so I have the best view of anybody, and I see the ball come in and I see that their guy is going to win it no question. He goes ahead and I think it is a goal all the way. The first one he just tips right over the crossbar. The second one was another split second reaction. Nick’s a battler and there is no question that he is the best goalkeeper in the league in my eyes. I can’t say enough about Nicky; he’s the man of the match tonight.”

Kyle Beckerman – Real Salt Lake Midfielder

(On what happened on the pay where Nick Rimando got hit…) “I’m not sure. They crossed the ball in, and it was just a split second reaction where I had to kick it out. The guy was coming in to attack it, and Nick was coming out to defend it, I couldn’t really see, but he has a nice little gash on his eye.”

* * *

SOUNDERS FC 0, REAL SALT LAKE 0

Scoring Summary:

None

Seattle Sounders FC – Michael Gspurning, Adam Johansson, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch, Mauro Rosales (Steve Zakuani 90+4), Osvaldo Alonso, Christian Tiffert (Mario Martinez 82), Brad Evans, Fredy Montero, Sammy Ochoa (David Estrada 57).

Substitutes Not Used: Marcus Hahnemann, Servando Carrasco, Alex Caskey, Zach Scott.

TOTAL SHOTS: 11; SHOTS ON GOAL: 5; FOULS: 13; OFFSIDE: 2; CORNER KICKS: 8; SAVES: 4.

Real Salt Lake – Nick Rimando, Tony Beltran, Kwame Watson-Siriboe (Jamison Olave 76), Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert, Ned Grabavoy, Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales (Yordany Alvarez 87), Will Johnson, Alvaro Saborio, Fabian Espindola (Paulo Jr.).

Substitutes Not Used: Kyle Reynish, Luis Gil, Kenny Mansally, Jonny Steele.

TOTAL SHOTS: 11; SHOTS ON GOAL: 4; FOULS: 13; OFFSIDE: 1; CORNER KICKS: 8; SAVES: 4.

Misconduct Summary:

SEA – Jeff Parke (caution) 45+1′

RSL – Kyle Beckerman (caution) 53′

SEA – Brad Evans (caution) 54′

RSL – Javier Morales (caution) 56′

Referee: Hilario Grajeda

Referee’s Assistants: Paul Scott, Jeff Hosking

4th Official: Allen Chapman

Attendance: 34,941

Time of Game:

Weather: Rainy and 57 degrees

All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial

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