Soccer is a game of goals. Not necessarily pretty goals, not amazing feats of beating strong defense, just goals. Saturday night as the Seattle Sounders beat the New England Revolution 2:1 the goals made were all off of defensive errors. Diego Fagundez was unmarked on a corner leaving him with just Kasey Keller to beat. He did and that opened the scoring. His individual play was strong, but there is no reason for his little curl to wind-up looking like Moses parting the green sea. Someone should be there. But the Seattle side wasn't the only one to make mistakes and get punished. On Fredy Montero's first goal he took a misplayed first touch by Ryan Cochrane and buried it without thinking. After a few stunning moves leading up to shots over the past week this was a simple one touch slam towards the far post. David Estrada tried to capitalize on another mistake by the Revs defense. This time it was A.J. Soares that couldn't clear. Alert to the opportunity Nate Jaqua chested deflection over to Montero who earned his 11th goal in MLS and 15th overall.
Seattle had to counter-attack with efficiency, because the only statistic they dominated was the score. The reserve laden lineup was out-dueled, out-passed and out-possessed, but they won. That puts Sigi's side with 8 road wins on the year which equals or exceeds 7 other MLS teams. Keller and his defense faced a barrage, with 23 New England attempts on goal. Six were saved, another three were blocked. But as can happen with one way traffic, there are opportunities to counter.
Coach Sigi Schmid noticed the poor play, but also comments on the perseverance of the team that is now 6-6-3 when giving up the first goal and 8-3-5 on the road. With the injury concerns he notes the different lineup that featured Roger Levesque in an unusual role and David Estrada as a starter. There was a planned substitution pattern for Montero who is as hot as can be and for him rested enough to start. Keller credits the New England side for keeping the pressure on him with particular praise for the young Diego. As the Revolution will use this game to decide on jobs for 2012, Seattle uses this one to continue fighting for another trophy in their young MLS life.
|Goals by Period||
|New England Revolution||
|NE -- Diego Fagundez 2 (Benny Feilhaber 5) 35'|
|SEA -- Fredy Montero 10 (unassisted) 36'|
|SEA -- Fredy Montero 11 (Nate Jaqua 6) 48'|
New England Revolution-- Matt Reis, Kevin Alston, Ryan Cochrane (Darrius Barnes 68), A.J. Soares, Shalrie Joseph, Benny Feilhaber, Chris Tierney, Ryan Guy, Diego Fagundez, Monsef Zerka (Pat Phelan 68), Milton Caraglio.
Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Shuttleworth, Zak Boggs, Kheli Dube, Kenny Mansally, Zack Schilawski.
TOTAL SHOTS: 23 (Milton Caraglio 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Milton Caraglio 2); FOULS: 8 (Milton Caraglio 4); OFFSIDES: 2 (Milton Caraglio 2); CORNER KICKS: 5 (Chris Tierney 3); SAVES: 1 (Matt Reis 1)
Seattle Sounders -- Kasey Keller, Roger Levesque, Zach Scott, Patrick Ianni, Tyson Wahl, David Estrada, Servando Carrasco, Erik Friberg (Osvaldo Alonso 79), Alvaro Fernandez (Lamar Neagle 46), Fredy Montero (Mike Fucito 68), Nate Jaqua.
Substitutes Not Used:Josh Ford, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Jeff Parke, Sammy Ochoa.
TOTAL SHOTS: 10 (Fredy Montero 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Fredy Montero 3); FOULS: 17 (Nate Jaqua 4, Fredy Montero 4); OFFSIDES: 3 (David Estrada 1, Fredy Montero 1, Mike Fucito 1); CORNER KICKS: 1 (Servando Carrasco 1); SAVES: 6 (Kasey Keller 6)
|SEA -- Fredy Montero (caution; reckless foul) 29|
|NE -- Milton Caraglio (caution; reckless foul) 84|
|Referee: Jorge Gonzalez|
|Referee's Assistants:Geoff Barkey, Claudo Badea|
|4th Official: Geoff Gamble|
|Time of Game: 1:50|
New England Revolution
Attempts on Goal
Shots on Target
Shots off Target
Open Play Crosses
Duels Won %
Passing Accuracy %
New England Revolution head coach Steve Nicol
Game should’ve been over at halftime. We could’ve been four-up at halftime. We made one mistake first half and it was a goal. We made one (mistake) each, which is a travesty. Second half, we didn’t quite make as many clear chances, but we still had some chances. We lose a horrible goal and we can’t deal with it. Just a big punt for the goalkeeper. So basically, (Matt) Reisy had one save to make – he made a good save on the header – and that was about it. The rest … the two goals are on mistakes. What do you say? It was a travesty.
It’s a matter in how we lose them. You’d always say it was rather good play on the opponents’ behalf. But when you make the mistakes we made for the two goals, it’s kind of hard to take. You see the effort the players put in tonight. They gave everything again, but we find a way to hamstring ourselves.
Well you come out and give a goal away straight away it maeks it difficult. It makes it easier for them to defend. It’s a lot easier to defend a 2-1 lead than it is when a team’s coming at you. Just that final pass in the second half just wasn’t there. But at the same time, we still let up a couple of near things. But that’s happened many times before – we make mistakes and we get punished and we can’t quite finish things off that we make. It kind of sums us up.
It was a fantastic header. (Diego Fagundez) makes some good runs. Nothing but positives things to say.
We have to go about it the same way we did tonight. I don’t think anybody could have any complaints the way we went about our business. We tried to get after it right from the start. But, as has happened too many times when we’ve actually had chances and pressure and put ourselves on the front foot, we’ve managed to make a mistake that’s cost us dearly.
New England Revolution defender Chris Tierney
It’s very frustrating. As professionals, you’re constantly evaluating your performance and performance of the team, and it just hasn’t been good enough. There’s really no two ways about that. We’re bottom of the league and there’s no way of getting around that. At this point were fighting for jobs and trying to make sure every individual is doing what they have to do to prove that they deserve a job in this league.
You can see (Diego Fagundez’s) quality. He’s 16, 17 years old, but he plays the game the right way. He’s so active up there, he’s got great feet and great vision. You see the way he’s getting up, scoring us a goal of a corner, so (there will be) really bright things from him in the future hopefully, and hopefully he’ll continue to help us out the way he has because he’s really been a spark for us.
Jobs are on the line at this point, so it’s a matter of pride at this point, putting in a good performance. Everyone’s got to be proud to be here, to be in this league and prove that they belong. That’s got to be in the back of our minds as we go forward here and try to get some wins for the fans and try to get some wins to prove that we can play in this league.
I think we just kind of ran out of gas. We were kind of discouraged that we didn’t put those chances we could have in first half away, and kind of ran out of ideas - just a little bit - ran out of gas. We still had enough chances. I had a chance at the end I couldn’t finish. We had a couple half chances in the box that we probably could have done better with, a bunch of free kicks, balls in the box that we just didn’t have that last little bit of quality that we needed to put it away.
New England Revolution midfielder Benny Feilhaber
I think we did some good things in the first half, things that we have been working on and have been talking about and we were able to get a goal. We were going on the right path obviously. Mistake there, it happens. It happened to me last game, and obviously this game, but stuff like that has happened to us this year and it’s really plagued us, so it’s unfortunate. But second half we didn’t play the way we wanted to. We didn’t do a lot of the things that we did well in the first half. I still think it was a relatively even game, but you know those kind of mistakes that lead to the second goal, that’s what’s been killing us the whole year. So it’s another story of mistakes haunting us.
Funny enough, Diego (Fagundez) scored on a corner kick in training, I think the day before the game so everybody was making fun of him for that. Obviously people don’t see him in there I guess. You know that little red Mohawk - nobody sees it - so good for him, finding that spot. I just put a ball in and to be honest, I didn’t even see who scored when he scored. But it’s great for him; he’s a kid that works hard in training, keeps his head down, doesn’t let the veterans get to him or anything like that. He’s a good kid. It’s good to see him doing well and he’s got plenty more to show and I’m hoping he’ll do well the rest of the year because he’s got a big career ahead of him.
I think a lot of the games that we gave up big leads in the second half were due to not having the ball enough and getting tired, so that’s one thing that’s good to see. But again, it didn’t feel like we were doing as well with the possession in the second half as we did in the first. Maybe I could be wrong, but that’s how it felt anyways. I think a big part of that is Diego (Fagundez), he’s running his butt off up there. Even balls that we kind of boot towards the corner flag that there’s no business Diego really tracking down, he’s doing it anyways and forcing them to either get rid of it and we win it back or get it out for a throw in or whatnot. So that helps us keep possession and you know he’s a good player. I’m really high on him and hopefully he can keep growing cause that’s what’s important at that age.
New England Revolution forward Diego Fagundez
It was the best thing ever, starting. I was really excited. I was really not expecting it. But I guess I was working hard in practice, so I deserved it, I guess. I did pretty good while I was playing.
I did the same exact (goal-scoring header off a corner kick) play at practice and in the game, so the play is working. So I guess I should keep doing it.
(I was getting) a little bit (tired), but not really. I was trying to get the result. We were trying so hard and once you want to go for the result, you don’t really think about it; you just want to keep going until the end.
It’s amazing (playing with Milton Caraglio). The ball’s in the air and I know I’m not going to win, so I know I can count on (Milton Caraglio) for a flick or a touch, so it really helps out. It’s really good.
I guess I wasn’t really getting the ball as much. I was going to space, checking to. I wasn’t really getting the same chances I was in the first half. I was trying to go over the top and it still didn’t work, so I was just trying to go for the crosses.
I don’t expect (to start), but I’d like to. I just have to keep working hard in practices.
Seattle Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid
This team has a lot of character and in the last couple of games, it seems that once the opponent scores, we wake up and play a little bit better. I thought in the first half we were pretty sluggish. We were lucky that we made them pay for their mistake. (Freddy) Montero did a great job of making (Ryan) Cochrane pay for that mistake and finished a great goal for us. It wasn’t our best half of soccer by a long shot, and I thought the second half we did what we needed to do. I thought we were much better, we were more compact and I thought we did what we had to do today.
(Fredy Montero is) in great form right now and when a goal scorer’s hot, you sort of continue to bet on him and ride him. That was one of the reasons why we started Fredy tonight. We were looking to get somewhere between 45 and 60 to 70 minutes out of him, and then get him off the field. He rewarded us with two goals. Hopefully he’ll carry that form into Tuesday’s Open Cup game.
(Kasey Keller) was good. I think some of the saves were obviously good; some of the saves were routine for a guy like him. I thought we did a better job of just keeping the shots from distance that weren’t as dangerous. I know he didn’t feel well about the goal he gave up down in Guatemala, but he’s a great pro, he’s a great goalkeeper. He’s one of the best the U.S. has ever seen.
It was hard because we have to look at different players who we needed to rest, and who needed to be out there to see if we had the balance right. With James Riley having been out injured, right back was a little of a concern for us, but I thought Roger Levesque did a good job out there for us. So then the midfield became a concern for us and with Osvaldo (Alonso) being out and we didn’t want to play Brad Evans tonight, I thought David Estrada came in and played well for us. It was good that those two guys had good games, but it’s always a little bit of a chess match when we’re trying to set the lineups. I think the lineup for Tuesday will be a little easier.
I thought (Diego Fagundez) did well. Obviously, we completely lost him on the mark on the corner kick, and he did a good job of finishing it. He’s got good skills. He’s got good field awareness. He’s going to be a good player. It’s important with young players not to go overboard too quickly because that puts too much pressure on them, but I think Stevie’s (Nicol) doing a good job of bringing him along and letting him grow. I think he’s going to be a fine player.
Obviously getting the goal right away was crucial for us because it wasn’t a good first half and we were very happy to come out at half time 1-1. We were concerned that once they got that first goal and went up 1-0 that we might lose or concede another goal. So to get that goal back was nice. It was more of what we did (in the first half). We didn’t close them down in the midfield. Benny Feilhaber and Shalrie Joseph are good players, so if you give them time and space, they’re going to play well. We gave them way too many free kicks, too many fouls. They’re dangerous when (Chris) Tierney swings a good ball; they’ve got some big bodies up there. So between giving them the free kicks and giving them too much space in midfield, those are the things we shouldn’t have done in the first half.
Seattle Sounders FC forward Freddy Montero
When you are down one goal, you try to score and tie the game. Then I had the opportunity to score again, (and) we were up, so it was easier for us to defend the rest of the game. We got the result, we got the three points in this place, (which is) very hard, and we are happy about that. We were looking for what we could do, and for sure the coach is happy because we always try to be the best. That’s what we were thinking before we went onto the field and we are happy.
(Sigi Schmid) told us to keep fighting. I don’t think it was a fun game, or a beautiful game, but it was the result we needed. We are happy about that.
I took a hit in the first half but I don’t think it’s anything to worry about. The change was simply technical. It had its reasons, and we as players have to respect the decisions of the coach. With the home game we have on Tuesday, I think we have accumulated games, trips, effort and I think it’s reasonable that he is taking that into account.
Seattle Sounders FC goalkeeper Kasey Keller
We knew we probably wouldn’t be as cohesive as maybe we have been so maybe instead of playing out of the back as much as we like to we had to play a little bit more direct, which kind of suited kind of the way that (New England) plays as well because they try to stop teams from playing out of the back. So we knew we probably had to play a little bit more direct. But we were disappointed with the way we played first half and pretty pleased with the way we came out second half.
It’s been a long trip and we were a little bit weary of a slow start and unfortunately we did exactly that. But credit, we capitalized off of a mistake immediately and equalized, and that made a big difference for us. I think if we had gone in 1-0 down at halftime it would have been a little different story. But for Fredy (Montero) to be able to pounce on that so quickly after they scored, we could just kind of erase what had happened.
Good kid, you know, (Diego Fagundez has) a lot of movement for his size, he’s strong on the ball - he’s got to do something about that haircut - but other than that, I think he’s got a bright future. He just has to keep working hard and you see that there’s something there, definitely.
Well (Diego Fagundez) was wide open in the middle of the goal and he finished it very well. He hit it hard, he hit it off the inside of the crossbar and it was a good goal. We were able to rest some people tonight and still get the result and that shows the strength of our squad. We’re very pleased with where we’re at right now.
Really I thought we got very lucky. I thought New England very easily could have beat us tonight. They were better than we were, especially the first half. The second half we kind of equaled out a little bit, but mistakes can hurt you and we were able to capitalize on some stuff today that maybe we didn’t quite make those chances (in June). We made the one mistake - the big mistake - I was able to make a save on one. Another time they scored and like I said we hit them straight back and then got one second half and really closed up shot really well second half.
(New England is) a good team and their record shouldn’t be what it is. But when you get into that situation where you are – we’re at the moment at the top of the table finding ways to win and get results and New England right now is finding ways not to get results and that happens when you’re down at the bottom of the table. But they’re a good team.