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March 29, 2014 at 11:22 PM

‘Mentally we just sort of turned off for a few seconds.’ (postgame quotes and stats)

Posted below are some postgame quotes from both teams, photos from our John Lok, plus some stats from Sounders FC’s 2-1 home loss Saturday to the Columbus Crew:

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Here is our photo gallery:

meram lok

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SIGI SCHMID, Sounders head coach

(Opening statement…) “We’re disappointed in the final result. I think our group deserved better than that tonight. I thought we had some really, really good chances in the first half, should’ve maybe gotten another goal in the first half that would have made the game a little easier. Certainly the penalty kick and the red card becomes a crucial play, and then at that point they are a pretty good possession team and it’s a little bit hard to chase it. Even then we got forward a couple times, but then at the end of the game we didn’t react well. I have an issue with the referee, but we didn’t react well.”

(On if he thought final play had been stopped…) “Usually a referee positions himself outside the 18 when a corner kick is taken. I rarely see referees positioned almost inside the six-yard box. So it looked to me from the outside like he was talking to our players, and if you’re talking to our players, why do you let the ball get played? Then he’s backpedalling. If the ball had been swung in, he was in no position to make a call in the melee. He had done that earlier in the game, as well, where he talked to one of our players and let them play a quick free-kick. You can’t do that. If you’re going to talk to our players, then stop the play. But that doesn’t make an excuse for us falling asleep. More guys needed to pay attention there so we don’t get caught.”

(On if he had a problem with the red card…) “I didn’t see it. I talked to some people who said he kicked him from behind. But it’s that same thing — it’s double jeopardy. Is it a penalty and red card? Is it a penalty and a yellow? I don’t know. I saw a goalkeeper today in the game sit on a player outside a box and it was only a yellow card, where the goalkeeper was the last man, I think. So why is that a yellow and why is this a red? I don’t know.”

(On Sounders FC first-half play…) “We did what we thought we’d be able to do. We knew that they like to spread the field and they spread their players on the field, and when you can intercept passes, you can get at them pretty quickly and the flank areas are open, because their outside backs are up so high. I thought obviously we got the goal off that kind of play. [Kenny] Cooper had another good look. Lamar [Neagle] had a really really, good look, as well. So those chances we needed to make sure that we bury those. In the first half, it went the way we expected it to go. We had good opportunities and we expected the second half to continue to go that way.”

(On playing with 10 men…) “I thought we handled it OK, for the most part. We tried to get some fresh legs on with Sean Okoli and Leo Gonzalez, and had to make the switch with Anibaba so we could get back to our four in the back. So I thought we were handling it OK. We were getting forward at times. Oba had done a lot of work, Neagle had done a lot of work, so we tried to get them out and get some fresh legs, but obviously the last 10 seconds were not good.”

(On Brad Evans not being available…) “Brad wasn’t ready to play tonight. His calf is still bothering him at this point.”

(On if he’d prefer Evans not go to the USMNT next week…) “It’s a situation where I don’t think he’s going to be ready to play on Wednesday, but he’s part of that group. It might be a decision where Jurgen wants to bring him in to be with the group, and we don’t have a problem with that.”

(On Rose’s status…) “He’s just got a tight hamstring.”

(On Micheal Azira’s play…) “I thought Azira was fine. I thought Azira played well. I thought the three midfielders, Ozzie, Azira and Pineda were good.”

(On Gonzalo Pineda’s play…) “He’s good with the ball. He’s got good vision. He finds people. He hit a couple of good free kicks and corners today. We were unlucky on [Chad] Marshall’s header in the second half late off the one free kick, and found him in the one corner in the first half at the back post, as well. Hopefully that will get better as we move forward.”

(On what Pineda offers from that role next to Alonso…) “Ozzie’s sometimes breaks down defenses by running through them and Pineda is really good about finding that through-pass in pressure. That helps you turn and allows you to attack the other way pretty quickly.”

KENNY COOPER, Sounders forward

(On how hard it was to lose like that at the end…) “It was a tough one. Like you said, the guys put a ton of work in. Having the lead was good and unfortunately got a red card and weren’t able to hold on at the end. The guys fought hard and you’ve got to give Columbus credit for fighting back the way they did.”

(On Columbus taking the game to them…) “Yeah, they seemed intent on trying to play good soccer and keeping the ball. They’ve got good players obviously – Higuain, I think, is one of the best in our league. Give them credit, they fought till the end. They had a man up, but they battled ’til the end. I thought we battled to the end, too, and you know, unfortunately, we walk away with no points.”

(On scoring his first goal for the Sounders…) “It always feels good to score, whether it’s yourself or your teammate. It’s one of the best feelings in the game. In front of these fans, obviously, it’s that much more special. It was a great team build-up. Oba put me in so well and I’m just glad it ended up in the back of the net.”

LAMAR NEAGLE, Sounders forward

(On the loss…) “Yeah, it’s frustrating, obviously, to get scored on in both the circumstances: the PK and then toward the end not being turned on. They get a quick corner kick right at the end. It’s very frustrating I think, especially after the first half that we had. I feel like it was one of the better halves that we have put together as a team. I definitely had a couple of chances that if I bury, then it’s a different story. I rather win ugly than look good and end up losing at the end.”

(On how it all ended…) “I mean in a circumstance like that, there was a scuffle kind of toward the end of the line and then all of a sudden the ball is in play. We can’t do anything about it now.”

(On looking back at the missed chances…) “It’s definitely going to be on my mind all night and all tomorrow. It’s one of those things that, like I said, if I put a couple of those chances away — I had plenty — then it’s a completely different story. The game is deflated, they’re out of it, they’re away from home and we’re up two, three goals — yeah it’s frustrating thinking about it.”

(On how did he think the team handled playing with 10 men…) “I thought it was alright. I think we kind of pulled together. I should’ve dropped in towards the center probably a little bit earlier than I did. Then coach brought me back in and told Oba that he should stay high and I should come in the middle. So I thought that kind of handled it a little bit better. They didn’t have as much of the play closer to our goal. We’re still trying to get a win out of it, trying to salvage anything that we can.”

CHAD MARSHALL, Sounders defender

(On the confusion at the end…) “I’m not sure what really happened with the ref on the last play. I’d have to see it on video. I’m not sure at this point.”

(On the late goal…) “They had a close chance there before the corner and we just didn’t react well enough. They had been playing it pretty quickly all night. Unfortunately we fell asleep there on the last kick of the game. It kills us. It’s frustrating.”

(On getting over this loss…) “We’ll look for the positives. I though before the PK, we were fine. We were doing all right. We’ll look at the positives, learn from the mistakes, obviously. Big game coming up this weekend, so we have to learn from it and move on.”

(On the missed opportunities…) “It’s always nice to get early goals, but we have to be better and saying out the point at the very least.”

(On what happened with Sigi Schmid after the game…) “I’m not sure.”

(On wearing the armband when Traore went out…) “I think I was just the closest guy to Djimi at that point.”

DYLAN REMICK, Sounders defender

(On how the game ended…) “It’s unfortunate. I thought we played well. Even with the 10 men, we were pretty organized. They didn’t have too many clear-cut chances. It was unfortunate how the goal went down with the ref sort of distracting us and us not being 100-percent prepared for the short corner. It always sucks to lose in the last second. You win some like that and you lose some like that, but it never really feels good.”

(On the confusion at the end…) “I didn’t really see what was happening with the ref, but apparently he was talking to some of our players about what was going on. They played the short corner and he didn’t really do anything about it. The guy struck it well. We weren’t prepared for it, but unfortunate how it got down.”

(On if it had anything to do with having 10 men…) “No, that doesn’t have anything to do with the 10 men. Mentally we just sort of turned off for a few seconds. Whether the ref distracted us or not, that’s sort of up to interpretation. We have to stay focused all the way through the game and we weren’t as mentally focused as we should’ve been on that last play and it bit us.”

(On how it happens…) “It’s just a mistake. Those things happen. It’s not the end of the world. Unfortunately, they took that chance well, so they penalized us for it. That’s something where you just have to be ready and focused for the entire game. It’s going to happen in games. People make errors. It’s all part of the game. It’s unfortunate when it happens that late and they take advantage, especially because we were playing so well with 10 men.”

STEFAN FREI, Sounders goalkeeper

(On how the game ended…) “About the first one (corner kick), we cleared it obviously off the line. Even on that one, I tried to go up for it and I got stiff-armed in the face. Then that’s why I think we were all up with the ref, and the ref’s talking back to us, and the next thing you know, they already started. We have to be smarter obviously on our part, but the ref didn’t really help us out there, either. Then (Meram) just puts it on frame. Obviosuly there are so many people in front of it. It just didn’t go our way. Disappointing because I thought we fought really hard, with a man down especially, and we deserved better today.”

(On if the Crew got a corner kick when it should’ve been a throw-in at one point…) “I’m no going to get in trouble here. No comment.”

(On if it feels like early missed chances hurt the team in the end…) “Yeah, we had opportunities. If you get opportunities, you want to take them obviously. But nobody knew that we were going to go a man down in the second half. … Once we went a man down, we had to adjust. But like I said, we fought so hard. Our guys really left it out on the pitch and it’s disappointing not to at least come out with a point.”

(On what happened on the penalty…) “Honestly, there’s contact obviously. The guy beats our defender and gets goal-side. Djimi is going to try and do whatever, but in the end, he lets the play go on and the guy gets a clear shot off, blasts it off my face, and then he decides to go back and give a PK. In my opinion, he gives him two chances — either he bangs the first one in or he bangs the PK in. He gives them two for one. I don’t understand it, but we have to live with it. We have to move on and learn from our mistakes, get better and get ready for next week.”

(On if the red card was the right call…) “I don’t know. I’m going to let that be up the refs and hopefully they can get it right.”

MICHAEL AZIRA, Sounders midfielder

(On when he heard he’d be starting…) “I think it was Thursday or something. That’s when I knew I might be in the starting lineup, because I saw a lot of players getting injured. Coaches were trying to get me with the first team when I trained.”

(On if it was a more comfortable role for him on the field…) “Yeah. I feel comfortable. It’s just unfortunate we lost the game in the last minute. It’s sad. You go out and work hard. Then with a minute to go the ref was talking to us and they started right away.”

LEO GONZALEZ, Sounders defender

(On playing his 100th game for the Sounders…) “I didn’t know about that. I feel bad because we lost. We gave a lot of effort to keep it a tie game, but in the end, we made a mistake, there was confusion, and we lost. We’re not happy.”

GREGG BERHALTER, Crew head coach

(On the match …) “I thought it was a good match. I probably would’ve paid for a ticket for that game. The first half was just up and down, up and down. Guys invested a lot in the game. I was pleased. Obviously to get the winner that late is a tremendous result for us and a great effort.”

(On getting the result in such a tough place to play …) “It’s great. You see that we wanted to try and play and to play our game. We knew that it was going to be tough. We kept going and didn’t give up. At times, it was a little sloppy and we got punished for turnovers. But in the end, we just kept going, and that was good.”

(On goalie Steve Clark’s performance …) “He made some good saves certainly. We know that he can do that. We know that he has that ability. He’s a fighter and a guy that relishes his chances. He came up big.”

(On the team’s passing …) “That’s what we want to do and that’s how we want to play. The wet turf was good for that. You could zip the ball around, and the guys did that. It’s tough to always control, but at times you see that the ball moves quickly and it’s nice movement.”

(On if he saw the team starting out this hot this season…) “I don’t think you could’ve seen it. We knew we wanted to develop. We knew we wanted to grow as a team and improve. We made strides in every game that we played, so I’m pleased with that. Our job is to keep improving.”

(On what strides they have made …) “It’s how the guys have accepted the way that we want to play. That’s been key because if it doesn’t work with the group that you have, it’s going to be very difficult. But they’ve taken it on, they’ve embraced it and they’ve put their little touches on it, and that’s been nice.”

(On his view of the penalty …) “I think it’s tough. If I commented on it, it opens it up for me commenting on every decision the referee makes. It’s his job to referee the game, it’s not my job.”

(On their next game coming up against Toronto …) “Toronto is a very good team. They’ve proven that they can win here (in Seattle), as well, so it’s going to be a tough game. We know that.”

(On if Justin Meram is a guy he saw scoring a game-winning goal for them …) “This was my coaching tip before he was going in — I told him to score a goal. … (laughs) So I kept it real basic for him, and he did that.”

STEVE CLARK, Crew goalkeeper

(Clark on the match and his performance tonight…) “It was a tough first half. It’s nice to make saves. For me, that’s all I really care about, keeping the guys in the game. Obviously to win like that, it’s a fantastic win for us as a young team, and it was a great atmosphere.”

(On what his defenders did differently to help in the second half…) “I thought we needed to keep a little more balance. They had a good game plan, so they were going to basically leave some guys up there to counter us and it worked a little bit there. So we had to keep better balance and I thought we did that in the second half.”

(On whether that adjustment was something they discussed at halftime…) “Yeah, I was trying to get it in the first half, but it was a little bit loud out there — thank the fans for that. But I thought their game plan was… they were confident in it, leaving three guys up top. It was kind of like a heavyweight fight, trade punches and they had won the first half.”

FEDERICO HIGUAIN, Crew forward (via translator)

(On his thoughts on the game…) “We were superior tonight and we were able to win because of that.”

(On the PK…) “We were fortunate to get the penalty kick and we converted it. Because of that we were able to win the game.”

(On the team’s passing…) “We were able to create our own luck because of comprehensive passing. We were a complete team tonight in the sense of being able to put passes together and because of that, we were able to win.”

JUSTIN MERAM, Crew midfielder

(On if he felt pressure on the last shot, knowing it was the last chance for the team to win…) “You know, I practice that shot a lot. Honestly, probably too much. It paid off tonight, so I’m just so excited for this club and the direction we’re going. This win – that goal – was not just for myself, but for this team and to be 3-0 is incredible. It’s the best way to start.”

(On whether he would have predicted starting the season 3-0…) “It’s always tough with all new faces, new coaches. But they’ve got us in the right system. They believe in us. We believe in each other – the guys back home, the guys here. I’m just so happy that I could make a difference.”

(On whether he knew his shot was going in when it left his foot…) “When I hit it, my first touch kind of took me away from my body and I just thought that was the right type of shot, not with power but with placement. Like I said, for me, if I didn’t score and we won, that’s all we want, coming here. I’m glad I could make a difference and I’m glad we got three points and now we got Toronto next week.”

(On how it feels to secure the best start in franchise history…) “It feels great. It’s what we want. Now this game’s over and now we look on to Toronto next week at home and all the amazing support we have back in Columbus.”

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COLUMBUS CREW 2, SOUNDERS FC 1

Scoring Summary:

SEA – Kenny Cooper (Obafemi Martins) 22
CLB – Federico Higuain (penalty) 59′
CLB – Justin Meram (Federico Higuain) 94+

Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei, DeAndre Yedlin, Chad Marshall, Djimi Traore, Dylan Remick, Micheal Azira, Osvaldo Alonso, Gonzalo Pineda, Kenny Cooper (Jalil Anibaba, 60), Obafemi Martins (Leo Gonzalez, 86), Lamar Neagle (Sean Okoli, 76).

Substitutes Not Used: Marcus Hahnemann, Marco Pappa, Cam Weaver, Chad Barrett.

TOTAL SHOTS: 12 (Neagle, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Neagle, 3); FOULS: 13 (5 players, 2); OFFSIDE: 3 (Neagle, 2); CORNER KICKS: 5 (Pineda, 5); SAVES: 5 (Frei, 4).

Columbus Crew – Steve Clark, Josh Williams, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Michael Parkhurst, Waylon Francis, Tony Tchani, Wil Trapp (Justin Meram, 89), Bernardo Anor, Hector Jimenez (Ethan Finlay, 73), Dominic Oduro (Jairo Arrieta, 62), Federico Hiaguain.

Substitutes Not Used: Matt Lampson, Chad Barson, Agustin Viana, Tyson Wahl.

TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (2 players, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Higuain, 2); FOULS: 17 (4 players, 2); OFFSIDE: 0; CORNER KICKS: 8 (Higuain, 8); SAVES: 5 (Clark, 5).

Misconduct Summary:

CLB – Hector Jimenez (caution) 8′
SEA – Djimi Traore (ejection) 58′
CLB – Wil Trapp (caution) 68′

Referee: Allen Chapman
Referee’s Assistants: Jeff Muschik, Jeremy Hanson
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal
Attendance: 38,429
Time of Game: 1:51
Weather: Cloudy and 49-degrees

All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial.

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