Sounders become the first-ever MLS team to go undefeated in the CONCACAF Champions League group stage.
Before Wednesday's game, I talked about how this was a game where the Seattle Sounders would show just how deep they are. With a 3-1 win over Marathon, I'd say they answered that question.
Sammy Ochoa, David Estrada and Steve Zakuani got the goals, but this was really an impressive performance from top to bottom. Marcus Hahnemann may not be quite as spry as he once was -- and I think he'll probably see the replays of the one goal he allowed and feel like he could have played it better -- but he was about as solid as you can possibly hope for a backup. Servando Carrasco was a calming force in the midfield. Mario Martinez once again flashed some impressive skills. Mike Seamon looked perfectly at home at right back. You could go all the way down the roster and not find anyone who really looked out of place.
Let's also give some credit to Marathon, who had nothing to play for except pride but took it very seriously. Seven of their 11 starters were the same guys from the previous meeting. Even after going down 2-0, and it looked like the rout may be on, they battled back to at least keep it interesting.
All of this bodes well moving forward. Chances are, the Sounders will use their normal starters in the quarterfinals, but being able to showcase this kind of depth has to be seen as a positive.
It's also worth noting that the Sounders became the first MLS team to go undefeated in the group stage of CCL and their four wins equaled the most for an MLS team.
SEA - Sammy Ochoa (Mario Martinez) 23'
SEA - Steve Zakuani 28'
MAR - Michel Brown (Tulio Vega, Mauricio Sabillon) 37'
SEA - David Estrada 76'
Seattle Sounders FC - Marcus Hahnemann, Mike Seamon, Jeff Parke (Marc Burch 46), Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Zach Scott, Mario Martinez, Servando Carrasco, Andy Rose (Alex Caskey 67), Steve Zakuani (Cordell Cato78), David Estrada, Sammy Ochoa.
TOTAL SHOTS: 15; SHOTS ON GOAL: 6; FOULS: 12; OFFSIDE: 0; CORNER KICKS: 7; SAVES: 4.
CD Marathon - Jose Mendoza, Luis Castro, Quiarol Arzu, Mauricio Sabillon (Wilmer Fuentes 79), David Meza, Reiniey Mayorquin, Mariano Acevedo (Alexander Aguilar 73), Mario Berrios, Cristhian Altamirano, Tulio Vega (Randy Diamond 65), Michel Brown.
Substitutes Not Used: Shane Orio.
TOTAL SHOTS: 10; SHOTS ON GOAL: 5; FOULS: 10; OFFSIDE: 4; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 2.
MAR - Quiarol Arzu (caution) 40'
MAR - Michel Brown (caution) 83'
Referee: Ricardo Arellano
Referee's Assistants: Juan Rangel, Salvador Rodriguez
4th Official: Miguel Rodriguez
Time of Game: 1:48
Weather: Cloudy and 46 degrees
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial
POSTGAME QUOTES: Sounders FC vs. CD Marathon - October 24, 2012
Sigi Schmid - Sounders FC Head Coach
(On the game...) "Obviously we're happy with the win. We're happy to have gone through our group play undefeated. It was a good situation tonight in terms of that we were able to play a lot of players. We wanted to stay somewhat solid in the back, and with the injuries that we have in back we decided we could get 45 minutes out of [Jeff] Parke and 45 minutes out of [Marc] Burch, and share that responsibility a little bit. I think that helped us, as well, tonight, so I'm proud and pleased and happy that we won the group and put ourselves into the top four seedings."
(On the play of Marcus Hahnemann...) "I thought Marcus played well. I know with about 15 minutes to go I turned to [Goalkeeper coach] Tommy Dutra and said, 'That's not a bad backup goalkeeper. That's pretty good.' So it's something that you could see his experience, you could see him talking to the players in front of him. Those are things that you only get through years of playing and the confidence that he has in himself. I know he was unhappy he said with his kicking, his sharpness at certain times-that's that final game phase that you get in to. Certainly, I don't think, with Marcus now in shape, there's a team in the league with two better goalkeepers than [Michael] Gspurning and Hahnemann. That's something that makes you feel really good as a coach and I know the team has a lot of confidence in them."
(On the upcoming CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals...) "You've got three MLS teams moving on. You've got three, possibly four, Mexican teams moving on. Well that takes care of seven of the eight, so it's maybe only one team that's not either a US team or a Mexican team, so the chance that you're going to play either an American team or a Mexican team is great. Playing a team from Mexico, at least we're away first and home second, which is a plus, and we're avoiding for sure the big two that have done very well in the last couple years in this competition-Monterrey especially. All we can control is our own destiny, and then the rest is up to them. Chivas still needs to work to get in there-they need to win tomorrow night to get in-and we'll see what happens in the Galaxy game, then that will determine who we play."
(On the play of Sammy Ochoa...) "He got a good goal. I think he's been sharper at times than he was tonight a little bit. He scored a good goal, it was a good combination-unusual maybe to see Mario [Martinez] hitting a right-footed cross that he got in. He got in there, he got good position, and he finished it well. I think that's his fourth goal, so I think he's got to be near the top of goal scorers right now in Champions League, so he's going to want to play in the other Champions League games."
(On Ochoa's success in Champions League...) "It was a good opportunity for him to get back out there and play. Having played in Mexico for those years, for him to do well in this competition I'm sure that's something he's very proud of because he knows the people he played with and the teams he played with notice and keep track of this competition."
(On the team's performance in Champions League group stage...) "I read Brad [Evans] saying something in an article saying every year we learn from the year past. I think the team's gotten more mature, a little more cold-blooded at times, at the right times. We did a good job last year in terms of our away games, making sure we got points there, we continued to do that this year. I just think the team has done a better job managing the games than they have in years past."
(On Steve Zakuani getting knocked in the second half...) "I think he just got kicked. Kicked in a similar spot [to his injury], but he's fine. For him that's probably a very positive thing, a very good thing, to know you can go in and get kicked in that spot and take a tackle and you're fine. From that standpoint it was good. He scored a goal. At first I thought he might have been offside-I haven't seen the replay so I don't know if he was or not, but he certainly took his goal well. He got the goalkeeper leaning the other way and then beat him near post."
(On succeeding past the group stage...) "Every time we play in anything we certainly want to do better than we've done in the past. In the first year, we couldn't get out of our group. In the second year, we got out of our group and we lost in the quarterfinals. This year, we want to go further than we did last year. We want to gain and learn from all the experiences as we go through it. From my standpoint, I think obviously, MLS Cup is still preeminent in our mind, and doing well in playoffs is the most important near-term goal for us, but as we look already into next season, going into the semifinals in the Champions League is something we want to achieve-and getting to the finals. It's been a long time since a team from the US has won that, and if we can be that team, that's something we'd be very proud of."
(On the play of Mario Martinez...) "I thought Mario did well. It's been difficult for him-I know the articles earlier this week-it's been difficult with him because as he's been in and out of our training so much between his trips with the National team. I think there's only like a six-day period where he's trained in a row for us, but we wanted him to get back to the National Team, as well, so he could get games. We wanted to make sure he continued to get playing time, so tonight was a great opportunity for us to get playing time with our team, and obviously there's going to be another opportunity for him to play on Sunday. He's a clever player, he's a good passer, he generally involves himself in goal-dangerous situations. He picked up an assist today, he picked up an assist when we played down in Marathon, and in know he'd like to have a couple of his shots back and hit them again. He's got such a good shot that when he gets that opportunity he's going to try and make use of it. I was happy with his play."
(On the side Marathon put on the field...) "They brought a lot of their regulars. I think seven of the starting 11 played against us, something like that. Anytime a player steps on the field he's got pride and he's going to give what he has, and I thought the players played with that from Marathon. If anything, maybe a player, for example, like [Mario] Berrios, their left fullback who usually goes forward at times and is really involved, he stayed at home a little bit and maybe that was a concession to, 'Okay, you're the left fullback today but don't tire yourself out for the next league game.' Maybe certain guys weren't as aggressive going forward, per se, as they would be normally because in the first game he was forward all time, took all their corners and that stuff. Outside of that, I thought the rest of the guys competed and played and they're going to play with pride all the time. They're in a battle right now in their league and they want to continue to do well there."
Marcus Hahnemann - Sounders FC Goalkeeper
(On his impressions on his first game for the Sounders...) "Well it's not my first game for the Sounders. It' been a long time. I think Frank MacDonald tweeted and said it's been 16 years, 18 days in between Sounders appearances which is a pretty big deal. You guys yesterday asked me when my last game was, and I had to sit and think about it. It's been a while as well. To really get back out there, and the training has been great and I've been getting sharper every day but to actually get out there on the field, it was awesome."
(On if he felt like he played well or if he felt like there was some rust...) "A little bit. I think my kicking could've been better, and my quad is about to fall off because haven't kicked that many balls. You know you can do everything you want in training, but that sort of stuff always gets you. My positioning I thought was pretty good...There are always things you can improve on. There was one I caught and I could've just chested it down and waste a little bit more time. I think I could throw the ball out a little more, which Sigi [Schmid] is going to probably give me an earful, but I'm not used to giving the ball out, I'm used to pumping it as far as I can. Everybody has got a learning curve, but I thought today was pretty good."
(On how did the goal play out from his point of view...) "Well I had the guy sneak through and it was a really good run for him, and then I had come out and he shanked out something, I don't know what it was, and it went right to their guy. I'm sure it was offside."
(On the crowd...) "It was 67,000 I thought today. That's what it felt like. It felt pretty good, it doesn't matter and you still have the ECS, I know there's not as many of them, but they are cheering the whole game and we can all here that. It doesn't matter, it was an awesome experience."
(On growing up in Seattle and seeing how the team has grown, does it make it any sweeter...) "Yeah, I mean you're driving down the road and you see scarves in people's cars. Kids are walking around wearing Sounders shirts all over town, and not just kids, you see adults. I mean everybody has really taken to the team. The coverage from the news is all really good. We have highlights and all the games are on TV. The whole coverage and everything is better. When we play Portland there are 67,000 and it's just a league game. I know it's not just a league game because it's Portland, but still that sort of crowd is incredible. To be a part of that is truly remarkable that I actually got a chance because I thought I was all done and retired, and I was kind of happy with that, but I'm glad Sigi wanted me to come back."
Manuel Keosseian - CD Marathon Head Coach
(Opening statement...) "First I'd like to salute the team for this league and for qualifying, going to the next round and what's coming next. About the match itself, it was very effective. They didn't come many times, but when they come they come, they were effective."
(On the fact that this game didn't really have any meaning for them knowing that they were eliminated...) "Yes that was a factor. We knew that we were already eliminated, but we wanted to play a very honorable game. On Sunday we have a very important game in the league for qualifying, but we're professionals and we wanted to play respectfully with intensity and we came here for that."
(On if he left some of the players back for a reason...) "Yes we knew that we had no chance to qualify here so we wanted to preserve some guys, they stayed behind training. We came here respectfully, but aware that we didn't have the chances to qualify and needed to think ahead about this local game that is worth qualification in the league."
(On if it is difficult, how difficult is it to travel and play in the United States...) "No. we've had opportunities like this and came abroad and won, and qualified a couple of times. But that was a different Marathon, a much stronger Marathon. Now we're in this transition, and there is not that same power as in the past."
Mario Berrios - CD Marathon Midfielder
(On there being a local player from Honduras playing for the Sounders, was there any motivation for the team to come and play the Sounders...) "Not really. The match was of no importance, but for us it was significant. It was significant preparation and we got good training for what's coming in the coming weekend."
(On how different was it to play on a synthetic field...) "It is complicated. We're not use to playing in pitches like this, but we managed to play a good game. It was well played. We knew that it was going to be a factor against us, but we played well and created some opportunities knowing that the opponent was going to have the advantage for being use to this kind of pitch."