Seattle Sounders Beat Chicago Fire 2-1 - Highlights, Stats, Quotes

In the end David Estrada wasn't credited with the goal, but without him it never would have happened. (Photo by John Gress/Getty Images)

Few Seattle Sounders games have proven the axiom 'you can't score if you don't shoot' more than Saturday night's 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire. Whether it was David Estrada's shot that became an own goal or the effective poach by Eddie Johnson, Seattle's goals did not come from pretty attempts. Instead the goals were rewards for a boldness that rarely results in a tally on the score sheet. Even the Fire's goal came from a shot that is often a simple save. But they were attempts taken and converted. Without those shots (the free kick on goal that rebounded out to Jhon Kennedy Hurtado's feet) the match's most sublime moments would be near misses, strong runs and Osvaldo Alonso playing total body defense.

As we continue to learn that Opta possession doesn't matter much, a number that does is Duels. Seattle took 50/50 balls and turned them into 60/40. That ball winning created an extra nine possessions for the Sounders. While the Fire were more effective passing than Seattle, Chicago did not create as many opportunities to score from that passing. Seattle shot more often and blocked more Fire shots as well. It's a good formula for a deserved win.

In the quotes Eddie Johnson talks about the importance of winning, even if ugly. That includes his time wasting, his hold play and even his goal. He also states about how much the team gave up to get him, which means he feels he needs to score more and do better. Michael Gspurning blames himself for the goal, even despite the wind gusts, his frankness is refreshing from an athlete, particularly one new to a community. Sigi Schmid indicates that with the compact schedule there are no fitness excuses. Seattle will host the LA Galaxy with the goal of winning the game and continuing a home and total game winning streak.

Seattle Sounders FC (4-1-1, 13 points) vs. Chicago Fire (2-2-2, 8 points)
April 28, 2012 - Toyota Park, Bridgeview, Illinois


Goals by Period12Tot
Seattle Sounders FC112
Chicago Fire011



Scoring Summary:
SEA - Own goal (Friedrich) 39'
SEA - Johnson (Hurtado) 67'
CHI - Pappa 89'


Seattle Sounders FC - Michael Gspurning, Adam Johansson, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez, Mauro Rosales (Marc Burch 51), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, David Estrada, Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson (Sammy Ochoa 92').

Substitutes Not Used: Bryan Meredith, Zach Scott, Andy Rose, Alex Caskey, Cordell Cato.

TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Montero 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Estrada 2); FOULS: 13 (Montero 4); OFFSIDE: 1 (Johnson 1); CORNER KICKS: 2 (Montero, Rosales 1); SAVES: 3 (Gspurning 3).


Chicago Fire - Sean Johnson, Dan Gargan, Arne Friedrich, Jalil Anibaba, Gonzalo Segares, Logan Pause (Marco Pappa 61), Pavel Pardo, Sebastian Grazzini (Rafael Robayo 80), Daniel Paladini (Frederico Puppo 72), Dominic Oduro, Patrick Nyarko.

Substitutes Not Used: Orr Barouch, Austin Berry, Paolo Tornaghi, Hunter Jumper.

TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Pardo, Pappa 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (4 players with 1); FOULS: 8 (Oduro, Paladini 2); OFFSIDE: 5 (Nyarko, Oduro 2); CORNER KICKS: 12 (Pardo 5); SAVES: 2 (Johnson 2).


Misconduct Summary:
SEA - Estrada (caution) 60'
SEA - Montero (caution) 91'
CHI - Pappa (caution) 91'
SEA - Johnson (caution) 92'


Referee: Michael Kennedy
Referee's Assistants: Gregory Barkey, Peter Balciunas
4th Official: Abiodun Okulaja
Attendance: 14,166
Time of Game: 1:55
Weather: Clear and 48-degrees

All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial

Chicago Fire

Seattle Sounders FC

13

Attempts on Goal

14

4

Shots on Target

3

6

Shots off Target

10

3

Blocked Shots

1

12

Corner Kicks

2

8

Fouls

13

15

Open Play Crosses

23

5

Offsides

1

1

Yellow Cards

3

0

Red Cards

0

32

Duels Won

49

39%

Duels Won %

60%

431

Total Pass

384

79%

Passing Accuracy %

69%

52.9%

Possession

47.1%

Frank Klopas, Chicago Fire Head Coach

On high emotions…

"The players put a lot into the game. We were playing at home; there were some emotions at the end, but we just have to control that. At times, the referees have to make the right calls and not let it get out of hand. The guys put a lot into the game and they pushed, and you could obviously see that. They wore their emotions and passion to play on their sleeves, but you always have to be under control."

Any suspensions because of the brawl?

"I really didn’t see anything that was going on. I know there were some arguments, I have to see the tape. I didn’t see anything else happen. I know that there were probably words exchanged, things that happen normally in many matches that you see. But I really didn’t see anything else that the players did wrong. I’d have to see the tape, but I didn’t see anything more than words exchanged."

On if the physical nature of the game threw the Fire off?

"Physical nature? No. If you saw the game I thought we came out and played well. Our ball movement was very good. I thought we had the better chances in the game and that the second goal took a lot out of us. We scored the one goal, which I didn’t think the goalie could have saved it if Dominic wasn’t there, but I think the second goal was really a difficult one. I think the players never gave up and kept playing and that is a positive thing. There were some very good moments in the game as far as being good with the ball, competing, and being good with opportunities. Sometimes the game is cruel, where you deserve to get a goal or two and unfortunately you get a deflection the other way and you give up a goal. To the team’s credit, we kept playing and we kept creating opportunities, never giving up, and I think that’s a good sign."

Second straight game the defense has given up two goals, how do you fix the defense?

"The first one was just a deflection, there’s nothing you can really do. The guy takes a shot and we have two guys in the right position, the guy cuts inside and shoots and it deflects between the players legs. The second one we have to look at the tape and see if Sean was in better position, could he pick up the ball. He might need to come out, but it’s thirty yards away into the wind. I feel that the first one was a little bit of luck, and that happens sometimes in the game. But we have to look at that second one, defensively there’s not much more we can do.

Decision to start Paladini over Pappa tonight?

"It’s because he (Pappa) was with the national team. We have had this experience with guys in the past and put them in… I think talking to Marco, when you play at a national match, there’s a difference in the intensity than at the club level. I knew that we wanted to keep him fresh and bring him on at a point where if we needed him, he could push the game and bring something different from the bench, which he did."

Thoughts on the Robayo tackle at the end?

"When you see it at the speed of the game, I felt there was contact. When I saw it on video, I definitely felt that there was contact. He touches the ball and gets kicked from behind. I talked to Rafael too and he said that there definitely was contact. From what I saw looking at the tape, I felt there was contact. He pushes the ball by and gets hit in the box."

Do you think the game was called fair?

"I don’t want to complain with the refereeing because it all evens out. But you look at Grazzini who is a playmaker, and he probably has the most yellow cards on our team. You figure that one out… he gets kicked the most and he never gets a call. It’s not easy for other teams to get the ball but… it is what it is. You have to move on and sometimes things even out, but sometimes you feel that there are fouls that they do miss, and they call the second one out of reaction. I think those things even out, but when you look at all the games we’ve played, Grazzini is probably the guy that has been kicked the most, but he’s the one that ends up with the yellow cards."

On the offense always looking the same?

"I think we’re a team that changes that up. I think that when the opportunity steps up on us, we have the players that play in depth. You saw today, I thought the ball movement was very good. We were able to play, combine, turn… We had a lot of opportunities. Not one came in a situation when we looked to play the ball behind. With the players we have, there is a threat when teams leave space. And when they drop off, there’s more space for the midfielders to play. But I thought that the ball movement was good, the ability to connect with when Oduro’s higher up, Patrick comes in and he is a guy that you can play to his feet. I think you have to mix it up and we have the players to do that. Our philosophy is to keep the ball on the ground. We prefer to keep the ball moving with short passes than with long passes, but you also have to take what the opposing team gives you. Especially with a team like this, if they’re very compact and tight, it’s very difficult to play through the middle. We worked all week on being quick with the ball and switching the point of attack, we talked about dropping off… I think we’re a team that mixes it up. I think that’s the strength of the team, that we’re not one dimensional."

Sean Johnson, Chicago Fire goalkeeper

On Seattle’s first goal:

"The ball took a big deflection - it all happened so fast. I just tried to react, but it was a bit unfortunate. I haven’t seen the replay, but I’ll take a look at it again tonight. But in the end it was just one of those unfortunate things that happens during the game. He took the shot, clearly not on target, but it takes a turn off of someone’s leg and goes back on target. It’s a tough one, but what can you do?"

On the defense:

"I thought it was alright. Obviously giving up two goals we can’t be pleased with the defensive effort, but on the night when we had our chances pushing for a goal at the end we did a good job of closing and doing the things we talked about in training. The past two games we gave up two goals and we’ve got to look to correct that. It’s not going to win us games giving up two goals. We need to give our offense a chance to go out there and win games for us, and the only way to do that is by keeping it close. Definitely at a defensive unit we need to improve."

On how to improve:

"You just keep working on the same things, keep working hard and the more we practice the easier it will come and things will start turning our way."

Dominic Oduro, Chicago Fire forward

On the result:

"I thought we had a couple of good chances, but didn’t finish. We just need to keep our heads up, the season is still young so we have to focus on Chivas and getting a win in L.A."

On the disallowed goal:

"Apparently I was on the other side of the goalie, obstructing the play. Again, it’s the referee’s call, I’m just here to play."

Arne Friedrich, Chicago Fire defender

On the result:

"I’m not sure if the second goal was offside, but it’s unfortunate that we didn’t get a point today."

On the scuffle post-game scuffle:

"I didn’t see anything, I was too far away. We need to calm down after the game, it’s always difficult when there’s caution given, but I was so far away that I didn’t see anything and can’t comment. The game was tough and it was pretty close, so everyone was emotional, but I didn’t see anything."

Jalil Anibaba, Chicago Fire defender

On the cause of the post-game scuffle:

"I went in to make a play on the ball and it turned into a scuffle. It was a hard fought match and emotions run high, but there was nothing malicious on either end. In the heat of the moment things are said, but again, it was not malicious – it was just two teams competing hard."

On what the defense needs to do to improve:

"I think we just need to stay positive – we played well, we played hard. I think luck was just not on our side tonight, but that’s part of the game. We just need to keep our heads up and figure out where to go from here."

On playing a third game with Arne Friedrich:

"We’re taking it day-by-day but it’s getting better, but it’s a process and our confidence is improving. With Arne (Friedrich) and I it’s just a matter of working it."

Marco Pappa, Chicago Fire midfielder:

On the result:

"We know when are playing at home we need the points. We pushed at the end of the game. We didn’t get the win, but we worked very hard and need to get ready for the next game."

On not starting after playing with his national team:

"I respect the decision of the coach, for sure. They knew I played in the national team game on Wednesday night and they knew I needed the rest. I know that I needed to recover. When I came in during the second half I tried to help the team."

On his first goal of the season:

"It was my first goal of the season, but it’s hard to feel good because my first thought is always of the team and we didn’t get the points. Now we need to prepared for next week. "

Seattle Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid
On the added time at the end of the game:
"It was supposed to be four, then [the referee] added another two, then two turned into three, so it ended up being like seven."

On the result:
"It’s a great win for us. We only play the Fire once, and to play away and be able to get three points is important. Not our best game, our most artistic game, but in the end all that matters is the result. We did well, we created opportunities, we didn’t possess it as well, but we’re very happy with the win."

On Eddie Johnson’s goal and minute total:
"It helped his confidence tremendously. Plus he also basically played 90 minutes which is going to help him continue to grow in his fitness, and eventually the timing and so forth. Eddie’s timing within the game, I thought his touch was not the best in the first half; it was something we talked about at halftime. I thought his touch was better in the second half. He was unlucky as well with the header [he missed]."

On his team’s performance in the second half:
"We did a better job compacting our defense and also making sure that we held the ball a little better at times when we got the ball. We really wanted to make sure Johansson and Leo [Gonzalez] tucked in a little bit more, so that allowed us to eliminate those gaps they were running through in the first half."

On the fitness of the players facing LA on Wednesday:
"Obviously we have some tired bodies in there today, so we’ll see who can get back out there in our next game on Wednesday. It was good to see Adam [Johansson] go 90 minutes, he said he felt good. Mauro [Rosales], no issues with his knee, it was an early tackle by Segares-he nailed him in the ankle, so he’s got a pretty good bruise there."

On facing LA in the next game:
"We want to win; we want to get three in a row at home. We always want to win at home. We want to measure ourselves against Los Angeles; they are the defending MLS Cup champions. They have all the star power. They have Keane, Beckham, Donovan; they have a good quality team. But our team has quality as well. It’s going to be a great match on Wednesday and we’re looking forward to seeing all of our fans."

On getting the team’s first win to start off this stretch of games:
"It’s important because you want to get the points wherever you can get them. Getting the points early in the season is as important as getting them late so you don’t have added pressure on yourselves. But certainly it’s our second game away from home and we’re undefeated away from home now with a win and a tie, and that’s something we’re very happy about."

On Eddie Johnson’s play:
"He produced some key moments for us; he also hit the post with that header. He was dangerous at times. His touch was off a little bit, but he knows that’s going to get better. No matter how much you train, you don’t get the fine timing and that in-tune movement until you get out there in games. I think it’ll continue to grow and get better."

On Michael Gspurning’s play:
"Yes, he got beat by a goal the South American’s call an Olympic Goal when you score directly from a corner kick. Actually, I was able to do that a couple of times as a player-I know, hard to believe. But with the wind behind him, Pappa strikes a good ball and ripped it. Michael said that he basically had no chance to react-all of a sudden it was off the post. I thought he controlled his box well and came out and smothered shots that he needed to, I thought he did a good job dealing with the crosses and being in the right position."

On what happened at the end of the match with players converging after the final whistle blew:
"I don’t know. I’m pretty far away, I couldn’t run out there, I tried to sprint, but it didn’t help me. I saw that Nowak got fined so I didn’t want to get out there too quickly. I wanted to wait for the melee to die down. I think it was a pretty aggressive tackle right at the end of the game from Anibaba on Leo Gonzalez. It was an aggressive tackle and obviously it was a frustrating game for Chicago because they had some great opportunities and they had chances and it’s one of those days where it just didn’t go in for them. I think that frustration all came out in the end a little bit. Obviously there’s accusations in there, you know, some of their guys probably saying our guys pushed them, one of our guys said he got punched. The referees will have a look at it and look at the videotape."

Seattle Sounders FC Forward Eddie Johnson

On getting his first goal:
"I guess for a striker it’s good for confidence. The team sacrificed a lot bringing me here. It’s my second game and it’s important to get off to a good start. Without the effort from my teammates and the guys around me tonight, I don’t think that goal would have been possible for me. It wasn’t the best performance from us, but sometimes you have to win ugly. We’ll take the three points. It was difficult to come here – the Fire are a good team and we knew it was going to be tough playing here, but thankfully we showed good discipline for 90 minutes plus. We kept our shape; we were hard to break down at times."

On his yellow card for delay of game during his substitution:
"Yea, I was trying to kill time. They got a goal and after they went two-down, they were still knocking the ball around and when they got one goal, it gave them some momentum. It was a tough night for myself and Freddy [Montero], I think I tried to hold the ball up at times to give our defenders time to breathe. Like I said, sometimes you have to win ugly but it was good to get three points on an away win."

On how it felt to play 90 minutes:
"It was tiring. I didn’t think I would go that long. I am still trying to build my fitness; I’m still trying to find that balance. I’m working hard and doing extra fitness throughout the week but it was good. From a physical standpoint, I was able to keep moving and keep trying to be dangerous and get in behind the defenders. I didn’t cramp up at all so that was a good sign. I will take the positive minutes and try to build up my performance from there."

Seattle Sounders FC Goalkeeper Michael Gspurning

On Pappa’s goal scored from a corner kick:
"It was really unbelievable. We played the second half against the wind so I would say 70% it was a good corner kick, and 30% was the 50mph wind picking it up so I had to step up and by that time it had hit the post and gone in. I’m always a positive guy but I know it will be on all the season highlights now with this goal. But we were very happy with our performance and the three points."

On feeling fit for the game today:
"I was. Everyone knows I didn’t train last week but I was 100% fit today otherwise I wouldn’t have played. I thought my performance was okay but this goal, I take it, but it shouldn’t have happened. But at least we got three points. It’s important especially against teams we don’t see more than once."

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