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

November 12, 2012 at 2:17 AM

“Everyone just has to take a look at themselves in the mirror and ask, ‘Did I do enough tonight?'”

alonso playoffs.jpgPhoto credit: Chris Carlson, AP

Here are some quotes and stats from the Sounders after a 3-0 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy in the first leg of the Western Conference finals. Seattle needs a huge win in the return leg next Sunday at CenturyLink Field to keep its season alive.

* * *

SIGI SCHMID, Sounders FC coach

(How tough is that one to take?) “It’s a hard one to take. It’s very similar to what happened last year when we went into Salt Lake, so it’s disappointing that we repeated that. We’ve beaten them at home before by four, so it’s a matter of us doing that, but it’s going to be a difficult task.”

(Why was LA able to do what they did?) “I thought our game plan going in was good. We were one minute away from coming out of the first half 0-0. I thought we did a good job of possessing the ball and so forth and played all right. I think we fell asleep on the goal at the end of the first half. They took a free kick about 15-20 yards ahead of where the foul took place. We didn’t react quickly enough, we weren’t sharp about it, and as a result they get a goal. If we react quicker, it’s better. But then we go through a bad period in the second half where we just lost our shape, lost our concentration, lost our focus, and they bang away two goals, and we’re actually a little fortunate it wasn’t three or four. Overall, I thought our possession was good. I thought we out-possessed them. We held onto the ball, we got some things going forward, but at the end of the day Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan were very dynamic and were a lot more dynamic than maybe our team was up front on the day. Obviously they created a lot of good chances.”

(How did the first goal change the halftime talk?) “It didn’t change the team talk because as I said to the team at halftime, ‘1-0 is OK. It’s not the worst thing in the world. 1-0 is OK as long as we keep it that way.’ For some reason, again, we feel like, ‘No, we had to make it 1-1,’ or something, and early in the second half I thought we did a few things. We got close a couple of times where we were just on the verge of breaking through. Maybe the final pass wasn’t of enough quality. We got exposed. It came from a cross from their right wing. The second goal came from a ball played in behind us on the right wing, as well. Obviously that’s the side where they found a lot of joy.”

(How do you approach the second leg?) “The approach is we have to understand that we have to score three goals in 90 minutes. We don’t have to score three goals in five minutes. We don’t have to score three goals in 15. For sure we don’t have to go hog wild in scoring goals and giving up goals, because then we just have to score more goals. It’s important that we come out with a good mentality, a good work rate, a good effort on our part, but also a good plan and also the patience and the desire at the key moments.”

(How important will the fans be?) “We’ll need them completely. We need behind us. They were behind us last year and we almost came through with it. This is the year we’ve got to complete the job we didn’t complete last year, so we need our fans and we need their support. Certainly they helped drive us. The fans that were here tonight were fantastic and we’re disappointed that we disappointed them.”

(Did fatigue play a part?) “I think the teams were equally fatigued to a certain extent. It’s a little tougher having to travel and having the one day less in the turnaround, because it’s, ‘How many days ago did you play?’ At the end of the day, it was the quality, I think, of their two strikers. You have to take your hat off to them. Their quality was good. Landon Donovan was good, Keane was good, and we just didn’t quite have enough.”

(What are you most disappointed about?) “Just disappointed that we didn’t keep it at 1-0. I thought we had the ability to keep it at 1-0, and we should’ve kept it at 1-0 and played with a better mentality at that stage, but at the end of the day, guys on the field were trying to do things. We were still possessing the ball, we were still getting good looks going forward, and we got caught on the counter. It’s typical. That’s the way Bruce likes to play. That’s the way LA plays, they’ll sit back and they’ll counter attack. When you’ve got the speed of Landon and the speed of Keane and the creativity that they possess, they’re a team that’s very dangerous on the counter.”

(On LA’s offense…) “I think the movement for sure was good for the, but I think more so than anything it was us giving the ball away at midfield, which put us under duress. Guys getting caught in advanced positions as the ball turned over, and therefore they had space to counter into. The thing is, guys like Landon and Keane and Beckham, they cheat sometimes on defense, and if you turn the ball over badly and they’re in good positions on the other end, they have the quality to make you pay.”

(How much was Burch missed? And what was your assessment of Scott?) “Obviously Marc has played very well for us, so we were disappointed for him not to be able to play today. Him and Leo have been our two left backs for the majority of the season. Zach’s played more on the right and he’s played more in the middle, so for him it was a tough situation to step into, and he hadn’t played that much over the last three weeks, so it was difficult for him. But certainly Marc has been playing well and we missed him.”

(What’d you think of the suspension?) “It is what it is. Obviously it was consistent with what happened with Colin Clark, even though there was no audio of it. I’m proud of the fact that Marc felt his obligation as human being, not necessarily as a soccer player for the Sounders, to acknowledge that he had made a mistake. If you know his family history, you know it’s something that’s not in his character to do. It is what it is.”

(On the lineup decisions…) “What we wanted to do was congest the midfield a little bit and make it a little more difficult to possess the ball. I think when you look at the stats and you look at our possession and you look at the first half, I thought we did a good job. It went exactly what I wanted to do. We were one minute away from having it go the way we wanted it to go. We didn’t think Eddie was able to go 90 minutes, so we wanted to bring him off the bench in the second half when they were a little tired, and make sure that he could go 90 minutes next week, because he’s making progress. It’s tough with the amount of time he played in Salt Lake for that turnaround, for him, but I thought the plan was good and I thought in the first half, like I said, we were a minute away from having it go the way we wanted it to go.”

(On Fredy Montero’s long playoff drought…) “Obviously there are streaks and goal-scorers are streaky. It’s been over four years now and he hasn’t found the goal in the playoffs. He’s working hard. He’s trying to get the ball. He’s trying to get some looks, certainly, but teams focus a little bit harder in the playoffs and it’s been harder for him to find space.”

(Is it a mental thing with him, you think?) “Hopefully not. He’s pretty good that way, but I’m sure at some point you start thinking about it, yeah.”

(Is that why you took Fredy off?) “No, we wanted him to push as hard he could for 60-65, and then we were going to make a decision on how we were going to make changes. At the time when I was going to make the sub, which was right before their second goal, we felt that the rest of it was going all right. If we get a little fresh legs up high, we could possibly jump on some things. Eddie’s more through runner than a ball-at-the feet-guy, than Fredy is, and we thought the rest of it working all right at this point and then they scored the second.”

(Do you take solace if how you played against RSL in the second leg?) “We also take solace in the fact that we beat LA earlier in the year 4-0 at our pace. We know we have to come out with the same sort of effort that we came out with the last time we played at home last year. We have to come out with a better result.”

(Do you think the first goal changed the complexion of the game?) “I think we possibly pushed a little bit when we shouldn’t have pushed to try and get the goal back, because getting the goal back wasn’t important. 1-0 was fine. … Obviously they’ve got some veteran guys. You add up the three players I mentioned, they’ve got more caps times 20 than my whole team does — maybe times 100. From that standpoint, they’re a little more cagey. They’re a little more, ‘OK, this is what I need to do today.’ For some reason, maybe we didn’t quite recognize that, but I think the goal at the end of the half certainly changed the complexion a little bit, and it’s over now.”

(What did you learn in the RSL series last year you can use this year?) “Obviously we didn’t learn much because we did the same thing this year. We talked about it. We talked at halftime. We said, ‘1-0 is OK. If we walk way 1-0, we’re all right.’ I really tried to emphasize that at halftime. Then at the end of the day, we didn’t. Now we have to come back and we have to play with same attitude and same conviction played that we played with last year in Game 2, but we’ve got to score more goals.”

(Are you getting enough out of your DPs?) “There’s DPs and DPs. I’m talking not so much about their DPs, I’m talking more about the experience level. You’re talking about guys who have 100 caps, each of them. You’re about guys who have played in World Cups. You’re talking about guys who’ve played in European Champions League games and things like that. There’s a quality that they’ve been able to express onto the team. For us right now, we’re still searching maybe a little bit for that. I don’t think we’re that far away. I don’t think they’re three goals better than us. I thought tonight they were good and tonight they were very good on the counter and they were very good offensively and tonight they were three goals better than, us, so my hat’s off to them on that regard. But on a general basis, I don’t think they’re three-goals better.”

(Does this team need to spend more to get players like that?) “No comment.”

EDDIE JOHNSON, Sounders FC forward

(How is the team going to come back from this?) “Everyone just has to take a look at themselves in the mirror and ask, ‘Did I do enough tonight?’ There are a million other teams that are out of the playoff right now that would love to be in our position, and we beat one of the best teams away at their place with hard work and commitment and dedications, and we didn’t see that tonight — point blank. Myself, whoever’s is out there: You have to look at yourself in the mirror. We all talk about leaving a legacy when you’re done, and you want to be remembered. This is the defining moment for this organization, for this team and for us individuals, because the coach talked about it: You might get not get this opportunity again. I’m at a loss for words right now.”

(On how he is doing physically…) “Physically, I am doing fine. It is just one of those things were I picked up a nick the last time I was down here and played 90 minutes (Thursday), and the turnaround was too quick. They didn’t want to put me out there at the start and maybe set myself back, but from a physical standpoint I felt good. Physically: I felt fine. Fitness: I felt fine.”

(On the approach going into the next game…) “We know it is a must-win game now. Any time we give up good chances to a team like this they are going to punish you. We should have gotten something out of the first half. That was the first time I’ve seen LA not play their best soccer, but good teams always find a way to get a goal. They managed to get a goal before half and goals change games. They had the momentum coming into the second half and they used it to their advantage. This team always responds well during adversity; we have responded well this season. We know it is going to be a good crowd next Sunday, we are going to have our fans behind us, and we are a good team at home. We know it’s not going to be easy, going down 3-0 to the defending champions — it’s tough, but it’s not impossible. We played them this year at our place and managed to score four goals. But this is the playoffs, it’s different. We got to go back and watch film and go over some things and come out with a better mentality next week.”

(On his role tonight…) “It’s a team sport. You know, if I am out there, or whoever is out there, it’s the playoffs — it doesn’t matter who is out there. Whoever is out there has to do a job. If your jersey is called upon, it means the coach has trust in you, and believes in you. At the end of the day it takes 11 players to be successful on the field. My role was a different role this game, and I am looking forward to the game next week.”

JEFF PARKE, Sounders FC defender

(What happened?) “We got outplayed, from front to back. A better LA Galaxy team tonight. We just didn’t do enough. We didn’t have answers for the, The only good thing is it’s halftime. We go back to our place, but they were more creative, better runs off the ball. We didn’t have answers for them tonight.”

(Seemed like you had early success on Robbie Keane before things changed…) “We were tight on him. We were able to put pressure on him. … It seemed like they had tons of time right at the top of the box, and they could just tear right through us. It wasn’t easy. We didn’t do the job tonight.”

(What’s the most disappointing part about tonight’s performance?) “We’re down three now. We’re in the same position we were in last year. There was a lot of joy and happiness in the locker room, but now it’s head down. It’s a week now that we have to prepare for the games. We have to forget about this game. Our season is on the line now. We have to do our job. We have to go back there and get three goals just to push it into extra time, but I have faith in the team and the group that we can get our (stuff) together and get things right and make it harder for them and play a full game this time instead of 45 minutes.”

(Did the game change after the first goal?) “Not really. No. We knew it was just a goal, and if we could keep ’em out of the back of the net in the second half, then it’s fine going back to our place down one. We believe in each other and we can score a lot of goals in our place. It wasn’t anything where we said we had to go out and sit a little bit more and bunker in or to go out and attack. No, there wasn’t any different change, but the second half was a totally different game.”

(Did things get stretched in the second half?) “Yeah, it seemed like that. They just had more energy. You could see the momentum shift and we didn’t have answers for it tonight. That’s from all of us.”

(You guys up for the huge performance you’re going to need?) “We’ve put four up on ’em before, so it’s nothing we haven’t done, but we definitely have to be on our team and late better than we were tonight. It’s frustrating, it’s disappointing, but we have to forget about it and move on.”

(Did you ever think about last year’s RSL game when it was happening?) “No, it didn’t. I didn’t even think about that. Once the second one went in, then I was frustrated, but then the third one… There could’ve been a lot more. We didn’t create enough chances and they created a lot.”

MICHAEL GSPURNING, Sounders FC goalkeeper

(On the first goal right at the end of the half…) “All three goals were a difficult moment for us. The first one, you know, everything worked out good for us in the first half, if we go as a draw into halftime the game is different. And then they got the second one, and five minutes later the third one. That is tough to work with. We can look forward to next week. We have 90 minutes left, so we will see.”

(On organizing a back line against the type of players on the Galaxy…) “We did well. If the first goal doesn’t happen, things would be different. It was very unlucky that we conceded the goal so quick before halftime. It changed the game, and after the second goal you get the third one five minutes later. This is unacceptable. I am sure we don’t deserve this result today, but we have this result now and there is just one direction we can play now, and that is forward, so let’s look forward to what’s happening next week.”

(On heavy legs possibly playing a factor in this game…) “No, we don’t want to use any excuses. Everybody was prepared for this game, 100 percent. LA had a couple of games also, so there are no excuses at this time of year.”

FREDY MONTERO, Sounders FC forward

(On how hard it was to get a good look on goal tonight…) “We came in with a mentality to try and keep the ball and try to play high. The defender was playing behind me a little bit. I thought we were doing a really good job until they scored the first goal.”

(On not playing with Eddie Johnson…) “It is always good to play with him. He always tries to move forward. When I move, I leave space for him, and when he moves, he leaves space for me, so it is always good. We were doing what the coach wanted and unfortunately we couldn’t hold the ball or score.”

(On getting back to the success against the Galaxy from the regular season…) “Well, we have memory and we need to remind ourselves that we beat them 4-0 at home and we need to take what we did good and do it again. We need to find motivation in those games. We are going to play for the final in the conference, so we need to be five percent more than we are doing right now. Every single game I try to do as much as I can, but at the end of the day soccer is played in the midfield. We need to keep moving forward. We need to find a way to have a good result next game. We are not happy with this, but at the same time we need get over this and move forward and be focused on what we need to do for the next game.”

(What happened tonight?) “I don’t know exactly what happened out there, but we couldn’t find a way to score goals. At the same time, I think they are a really good team and they scored in the opportunities they had. I think that was the difference between the teams.”

(How will you be able to come back?) “We have to remind what we did good the first time we played against them, and we scored four goals, and try to do the same. More energy. The motivation is going to be there. We want to continue and get to the final. If we want to get there, we need to give five percent more than always.”

(What was the most disappointing part?) “I think the first goal at the end of the first half. We were doing really good, holding the ball and defending good, and unfortunately that opportunity was the only one they had in the entire first half, and they scored.”

(How’s this feeling compare to last year at RSL?) “It’s kind of the same. But, like I said before, what we did doesn’t matter. We need to be focused on what we’re going to do more the next game at home. We need to remind ourselves we beat that team 4-0, and we need to do the same. It’s something that is very difficult, but it’s not impossible to do.”

(On coming out in the second half…) “Well, that’s the coach’s decision. I tried to do the best by myself in the front, hold the ball and try to get some touches. We were doing good until they scored the first goal.”

ALEX CASKEY, Sounders FC midfielder

(What did you find out you were starting and what were your thoughts coming in?) “I found out yesterday. I just knew I had to come out and do whatever the team needed in this important first part of the series away.”

(What was the most disappointing part about tonight?) “Going into half 1-0 wasn’t terrible. They got somewhat of a lucky goal toward the end of the half. That wasn’t the most disappointing, but then we lost our shape a little bit in the second half and gave up a couple quick goals. We’re just going to have to focus on that fact that series is half over and we have to redeem ourselves when we get back to Seattle.”

(What did Schmid say to the team afterward?) “Just that. There’s no point at looking back at this point. We just have to look forward because we know what we have to do in Seattle.”

* * *

LA GALAXY 3, SOUNDERS FC 0 (LA leads series 3-0)

Scoring Summary:

LA – Robbie Keane (Landon Donovan) 45+1′

LA – Mike Magee (Sean Franklin, Robbie Keane) 64′

LA – Robbie Keane 67′

Seattle Sounders FC – Michael Gspurning, Adam Johansson, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Zach Scott, Mario Martinez, Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Alex Caskey (Steve Zakuani 73), Christian Tiffert (Andy Rose 73), Fredy Montero (Eddie Johnson 65).

Substitutes Not Used: Marcus Hahnemann, Servando Carrasco, David Estrada, Sammy Ochoa.

TOTAL SHOTS: 7; SHOTS ON GOAL: 4; FOULS: 7; OFFSIDE: 2; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 3.

LA Galaxy – Josh Saunders, Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, Tommy Meyer, Todd Dunivant, Christian Wilhelmsson (Michael Stephens 77), Juninho (Marcelo Sarvas 46), David Beckham, Mike Magee, Landon Donovan (Jose Villarreal 84), Robbie Keane.

Substitutes Not Used: Brian Perk, Andew Boyens, Jack McBean, Bryan Gaul.

TOTAL SHOTS: 13; SHOTS ON GOAL: 7; FOULS: 12; OFFSIDE: 5; CORNER KICKS: 8; SAVES: 7.

Misconduct Summary:

SEA – Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (caution) 15′

Referee: Jair Marrufo

Referee’s Assistants: Frank Anderson, Corey E. Rockwell

4th Official: Sorin Stoica

Attendance: 27,000

Time of Game: 1:53

Weather: Clear and 59 degrees

All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial

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