The Sounders were clearly dominant from the earliest moments of the match. Except for the odd Vagenas Yellow Card for taking a kick early, the first 15 minutes were all about Sounders' success. They then built on that as they got stronger with the Osvaldo Alonso appearance.
This was one of those matches like we saw early in the year, where the Seattle side was clearly better. The difference is that the fluke goal went in their favor. The 1-nil win isn't as good as it should have been, but it puts them in the driver seat.
It means that as long as Seattle has the edge heading towards the second leg. Any result down in El Salvador with Metapan +1 Goal (except a 1-nil) means that Seattle advances to the Group stage. If the aggregate is tied at 1-1 after regulation in the next match we will see extra time, and then a Penalty Shootout.
There is no way to pick apart this game. Every Seattle player was better than their opposite today, except maybe Keller who was threatened once. Metapan tried to out physical an MLS team, and that is a large part of why they lost. Seattle is used to getting knocked about, but normally it is by a team that is stronger and larger than they are. The side in Electric Yellow was able to maintain possession more than Metapan expected, and threatened from the numerous deep Free Kicks and near infinite amount of corners.
Next Tuesday probably won't be as easy as this one was, but a single goal down there changes every thing.
Marathon won 3-0 on the road. Joe Public managed two away goals in their 2-2 draw with Brujas.
Oh, that supposedly lazy Fredy Montero scored within a minute of appearing and played an inspired game until the final whistle.
But the Open Cup lineup is what powered the Sounders today. A lineup that most observers would call subpar. Forgetting that Seattle does not lose with those lineups. They will eventually but not to a thuggish team, not at Qwest.
Stats, quotes and some of Jeremiah's thoughts after the jump.
I know there's some disgruntlement over Sigi's choice of lineup. I thought, at the start, that it was a decent roll of the dice. The fact is that the Sounders have four games in 10 days and probably can't play anyone starter's minutes in all four. With that in mind, I kind of expect Riley to sit in one of the next two games, Alonso to be subbed out earlier than we'd like and for Nyassi to sit the next game.
More importantly, though, I think we can expect Nkufo to start on Saturday and to be available off the bench on Tuesday, and for Montero, Zakuani, Parke and Ianni to start both of the next two matches. This gives us a pretty solid chance to at least get a tie on Saturday and still have the bullets left to get the needed result on Tuesday. This was a far from ideal situation, to be sure, but I think Schmid played his cards about as well as could be expected.
It looks like the Sounders will catch a bit of a break when they play the second leg in San Salvador. The Metapan coach painted a pretty said picture, saying he doesn't expect more than a few thousand people as the game is being played 2.5 hours from their normal home. The crowd may not being as hostile as many of us feared it might be.
For whatever it's worth, I'm also expecting an announcement soon on Alvaro Fernandez. Even if he signs, though, I doubt he'll be available until the Houston match.
Here's the stats and quotes:
Goals by Period 1 2 Tot Isidro Metapan 0 0 0 0 1 1 Scoring Summary: SEA -- Fredy Montero (Osvaldo Alonso) 60 Isidro Metapan -- Misael Alfaro, Jose Alvarado, Erick Prado, Ernesto Aquino, Moises Menendez (Mark Lester Blanco 69), Oscar Jimenez, Hector Mejia, Emerson Umana, Rodolfo Suarez (Andres Flores 80), Anel Canales, Josue Flores (Jorge Luis Moran 87). TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Osvaldo Alonso 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Fredy Montero 2); FOULS: 17 (Leo Gonzalez 3, Roger Levesque 3); OFFSIDES: 1 (Roger Levesque 1); CORNER KICKS: 8 (Osvaldo Alonso 4); SAVES: 1 (Kasey Keller 1) Misconduct Summary: SEA -- Peter Vagenas (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 8 SEA -- James Riley (caution; Reckless Foul) 17 SEA -- Osvaldo Alonso (caution; Reckless Tackle) 19 ISM -- Rodolfo Suarez (caution; Reckless Foul) 36 ISM -- Erick Prado (caution; Reckless Tackle) 42 ISM -- Emerson Umana (caution; Reckless Tackle) 64 SEA -- Sanna Nyassi (caution; Reckless Foul) 67
Substitutes Not Used: Milton Molina, Carlos Carrillo, Elias Bladimir Montes, Jose Gonzalez.
TOTAL SHOTS: 2 (Emerson Umana 1); SHOTS ON GOAL: 1 (Emerson Umana 1); FOULS: 20 (Rodolfo Suarez 5); OFFSIDES: 3 (Anel Canales 2); CORNER KICKS: 2 (Josue Flores 2); SAVES: 4 (Misael Alfaro 4)
Seattle Sounders -- Kasey Keller, James Riley, Tyrone Marshall, Taylor Graham, Leo Gonzalez, Sanna Nyassi, Peter Vagenas (Osvaldo Alonso 14), Mike Seamon, Miguel Montano (Steve Zakuani 57), Nate Jaqua (Fredy Montero 60), Roger Levesque.
Substitutes Not Used: Jeff Parke, Tyson Wahl, David Estrada, Terry Boss.
Goals by Period
SEA -- Fredy Montero (Osvaldo Alonso) 60
Isidro Metapan -- Misael Alfaro, Jose Alvarado, Erick Prado, Ernesto Aquino, Moises Menendez (Mark Lester Blanco 69), Oscar Jimenez, Hector Mejia, Emerson Umana, Rodolfo Suarez (Andres Flores 80), Anel Canales, Josue Flores (Jorge Luis Moran 87).
TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Osvaldo Alonso 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Fredy Montero 2); FOULS: 17 (Leo Gonzalez 3, Roger Levesque 3); OFFSIDES: 1 (Roger Levesque 1); CORNER KICKS: 8 (Osvaldo Alonso 4); SAVES: 1 (Kasey Keller 1)
SEA -- Peter Vagenas (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 8
SEA -- James Riley (caution; Reckless Foul) 17
SEA -- Osvaldo Alonso (caution; Reckless Tackle) 19
ISM -- Rodolfo Suarez (caution; Reckless Foul) 36
ISM -- Erick Prado (caution; Reckless Tackle) 42
ISM -- Emerson Umana (caution; Reckless Tackle) 64
SEA -- Sanna Nyassi (caution; Reckless Foul) 67
Referee: Ricardo Arellano
Referee's Assistants: -Alejandro Ayala; Victor Calderon
4th Official: Jair Marrufo
Time of Game: 1:53
All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial
Seattle Sounders FC vs. AD Isidro Metapán - July 28, 2010 - Quotes
Sigi Schmid - Sounders FC Head Coach
(General comments...) "We had chances. I thought we had chances to score more than just the one and we're disappointed that we didn't get more. It's most important not give up a goal at home. We have a lead. It forces them when we go down there that they have to score a goal. They can't sit back. Here they can sit back. And for us on the road to score a goal, we force them to score three, so that's really important. We wanted to hold them at zero at home and get as many goals as possible as home. We also wanted to make sure that we can play with a strong lineup when we go down to El Salvador because it's going to be a hostile environment. The refereeing certainly is going to be a little different than it is in the MLS and it's going to be a situation where we're going to need our veteran players down there to get the result that we need to advance."
(On yellow cards...) "Obviously, with two yellows you sit out a game, so we have to be careful with that. I thought early in the game we got drawn into some of the theatrics on the field and we didn't play with enough composure. A couple of yellow cards we didn't need to take. It doesn't affect us for the next game. The most important thing is to get into the group stage and then we'll see where we are with yellow cards."
(On win being good for MLS...) "It shows that anything can happen. When you look at the Galaxy game, Puerto Rico got 4 shots and 4 goals. I'd much rather be in our position than the Galaxy's position at this stage. It's good for us to get a win and it's good for the league, but mainly what we're concerned with what's good for us."
(On substitutions...) "Our team has adjusted a little better to realizing that if you're coming into the game as a sub, you can make an impact on the game and you want your subs to have an impact on the game. That's something we talked about with our midfielders. I know Fredy was disappointed with not starting because he wanted to start, but he had his head about him, made good decisions when he came in, and he played with a lot of effort and enthusiasm and scored an important goal for our team. I knew coming in that it'd be hard to play all of our top players today, on Saturday, and then on Tuesday there, so we wanted certain guys like Fredy and Zakuani to play Saturday and then come back on Tuesday. Our subs have realized that they can have an impact and we've also told our players on the field that they have to get the subs involved when they get in the game. They have fresh legs, so get them involved."
(On Michael Seamon...) "Michael for a first year player is a good player. He could have done a few things better tonight defensively, but offensively a good example is the ball he played over the top to Sanna. He has that type of ability and vision. As he continues to mature, he'll get better and better. He has good physical qualities. He has a good mind for the game, he just has to learn when to go. The game sometimes comes to you. Not every game is the same. For him today, it was a midfield game where he got to see more of the ball."
(On touches...) "I think some of our touches up front weren't always the best. Sanna getting in twice really well in the first half and just that final pass and making that final decision has to get better. Metapan did a good job of getting numbers behind the ball and packing the defense and not getting themselves stretched too much defensively, so that made it a little tougher for us. You have to take your hat off to them because they made it difficult for us to win. We need to make it difficult for them when we go down there. We can always get better at that final pass. We can always get better at that final situations."
(On needing players for short turnaround...) "We didn't want to play [Blaise] Nkufo today because we want to make sure we don't put him in a situation where we jeopardize an injury when coming back into fitness. [Patrick] Ianni didn't suit tonight. We had some other guys on the bench. We have people there, certainly I'm not worried about that. Sometimes when you're in the rhythm of playing, the games go. Players would rather get their fitness in games than in practice."
(On Miguel Montano...) "Miguel is a young player who is very talented, but sometimes his performances go up and down. He's had better performances than he had today. It was a case of wanting to get Zakuani on the field because he can get them wider and stretch them out a bit more. He'll make his impact here down the line."
(On goal...) "I subbed him on and I just turned, so I didn't see the shot. I saw the tail end of it. I saw the goalkeeper scrambling for it and have it spin off his hands and go in. I didn't celebrate as much as I normally would do on a goal. That's what happens. You take your eyes off him for a second and he scores a goal."
Fredy Montero - Sounders FC Forward
(On expecting to score a goal when he came in...) "I think so. From the bench and while I was warming up my focus and concentration was on scoring a goal and on my first play I managed to score."
(On where goal ranks personally...) "It definitely represents a lot. It's part of the team's history. I scored the first goal in MLS and now the first international goal as well. A beautiful goal for me and always recognizing the goodness of playing with this team and all the colleagues with me."
(On style of play...) "They knew the style of play in the MLS. They know that we can run all 90 minutes. They kept possession for a long time and watched them fault in the back. We knew the goal was very important to keep the advantage and for the next game as well."
(On the shot...) "It was a three point goal. We always try to make it beautiful. This time maybe not so beautiful, but it was incredibly important and I'm very happy about it."
(On being prepared...) "The warmup was very good. I was very focused. I had the motivation and really wanted to face the team. It was a decision from the coach, but I was ready and motivated. I'm very happy that I was able to get out and help the team."
(On studying the keeper...) "The keeper has good technique. Usually keepers with such good technique tend to play a little more forward. I observed that and wanted to test him early on and that's why I attempted a shot and good thing it went in."
(On style of play and importance of the game...) "The style of play is similar, I was familiar. Many teams in Colombia play with similar rhythm. So I understand the dynamic of how the defenders play. I can talk to them and try to get them out of their game a little bit. It was definitely an important game and we had to play in our rhythm and our fashion. It will be important to know that they will attack and that we will counterattack them."
Kasey Keller - Sounders FC Goalkeeper
(On the game . . .) "Overall, we were not quite at our best today but we got the goal and we got the win. It's something to hold on to down in El Salvador. It's going to be a tough game. They are a crafty team. I thought we stuck with them pretty well. I think physically we were better and that showed in the end of the game. I had very little to do and I was happy about that."
(On second leg in El Salvador . . .) "It could be. At the same time, if we fall into a shell and let them come at us when what we need to do is to keep the same attitude in the back, keep it tight. If we do it the right way, we should have a lot of opportunities on the other end."
(On Sounders FC offense . . .) "I really thought we wanted to come away from this game with two or three goals. We had opportunities, we didn't take them. Hopefully that doesn't come back to haunt us. I feel very comfortable that we can go down there and get a result. The nice part is we come away with a win and without conceding an away goal."
(On going into second leg 1-0 . . .) "It's great. I mean, 0-0 is not a bad result for us either at home because, like I said, with the away goals counting as double in the case of a tie. Having that lead means that they have to beat us by two and I feel very confident that we can go down there and not concede a goal and be comfortable in scoring two or three."
(On last few matches . . .) "I think over the last five or six matches we have really turned that corner that we have talked about that we were capable of - the fighting for one another. I think there is a whole new amount of energy going out there and once again Fredy Montero came on and was working hard. I think that fans appreciated the fact that he is chasing people down and doing things and that's infectious. When guys are working like that it draws other people to work like that as well. We have to keep that going and the harder you work the easier it is to work harder the next game."
Edwin Portilllo - Metapán Head Coach
(Opening statement...)"Losing always hurts. It bothers us, but knew it was going to be a difficult game in a difficult stadium full of people; we are not that use to such a full stadium. It motivated us as well. It was an unfortunate mistake by our keeper. He's crying out for the mistake, but this is human we need to recover and move on. The Sounders did better, we came looking for a tie and ended up losing. Last year we lost 1-0. Now we will do better on our own field."
(On what the goalkeeper saw during the goal...)"Everyone is giving him moral support. He was in the locker room crying. The ball changed directions and he wasn't in very good position at the time, but at the same time it was a surprising kick from the player who just came in. For the keeper with the years of experience with the national team, he is bothered by it, he is not happy."
(On the style of play difference between the two teams...)"In the MLS the style is very different; first of all the infrastructure is much stronger. The payers are more professional and even more so from a style they move faster. Collectively they're still missing, but individually they are very fast. We came here very cautions to play defensively. We didn't want a large score against us."
(On the players playing on the artificial turf...)"We had played before on artificial turf. We didn't feel much of a difference. We played a friendly in LA and another in Panama. It isn't a field we are used to working on, but not a tremendous difference."
(On playing a more aggressive style for the next match...)"That will be the focus of our team. We have to change the tactics. We need to score 2 goals and that comes with more risk, but that's the only game. We will have to run the risk we don't have any other alternatives, so we'll have to expose ourselves to keep in the tournament."
(On CONCACAF not approving its home stadium [Estadio Suarez] suitable...)"That maybe surprised me a little bit. The last time we played in a tournament at our home. This time CONCACAF didn't approve of our stadium. Our stadium is indeed small, but for one reason or another they didn't approve our facility. We're going to play in the capital [San Salvador's Estadio Cuscatlan]. That might give a better show, but it might reduce our advantage. In fact in our stadium we have won 30 or 34 games without losing and now we have to play in a place that makes it a little bit more neutral."
(On the expected crowd capacity for the next match...)"We are from the municipality, not the capital. It will take two hours and it's a weekday so people have to work. I will not create false expectations. I expect 3,000 from the capital and a few more from the municipality."