Earlier today SoundersFC.com published my story with Assistant Coach Ezra Hendrickson talking about the how the number of chances allowed and goal conversion in the first two matches of the year came in different circumstances. One is a loss in league play and needs to just be put behind them, whereas the other was a loss that sets the team up for something special.
Two matches into the young 2013 season Seattle Sounders FC has played two very different matches. Against the Montreal Impact the local club gave up few chances and one goal. Against UANL Tigres in a hostile road environment Seattle gave up many chances, but only one goal. The circumstances are very different.
"Now we're in a position where we let one in. No matter how much of the play they had it's only one-nothing," Assistant Coach Ezra Hendrickson said on after practice Friday. "We're still in a good position to come home and win one-nothing, two-nothing. That's something we're capable of and we are very confident we can do that. We're still in a good position. That Montreal game is gone. It is out of our hands. Now we have to focus on Tuesday."
Hit the full story at the official team website, and then you can slog through the thousandish word full quote sheet here.
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Which loss is better for the defense
During the course of a game chances are going to be created. Yes, Tigres created more than Montreal, but Tigres is a two-leg. If you look at the big picture just losing one nothing to Tigres, even though it similar to the one-nothing loss to Montreal, it's better from the defensive standpoint. You can call it luck, call it whatever it is, at the end of the day we're coming back down just one-nothing. The Montreal game? That's gone. Even though they didn't create as many chances they did score that one chance. It's more frustrating defensively. If Tigres beat us three-nothing we'd think they took it to us, but with just the one at the end of the day it was opposite of Montreal. They didn't have as much of the play as Tigres did, but we still lost those three points. Those are frustrating. At the end of the day it is more difficult.
Circumstances change approach?
The thing with Montreal too is that what makes it so hard to take that one is that it was at home. Tigres we go there, we expect them to have more of the play, which they did. In all honesty the first fifteen, twenty minutes they came at us. We were able to sustain that. When you are on the road sometimes, especially in Latin American countries with teams that are that good, that technical, it's difficult. It's a matter of withstanding that storm. We managed to do that in the first half, but it broke in the second half.
Now we're in a position where we let one in. No matter how much of the play they had it's only one-nothing. We're still in a good position to come home and win one-nothing, two-nothing. That's something we're capable of and we are very confident we can do that. We're still in a good position. That Montreal game is gone. It is out of our hands. Now we have to focus on Tuesday.
Their aggressive defense
They came at us those first fifteen minutes. At home you don't expect that. You don't expect them to put the same amount of pressure. Still, we never know. We have to prepare ourselves that they might come with the attitude that if they get one early they put us behind the 8-ball down two-zero. We have to be prepared for it, but you don't expect it. I expect them to come here with the one-nil advantage and not sit back, but with less pressure. Then the atmosphere. It's going to be at our place. The field is different. One of the key aspects of their game is the long ball where it just sits up over the defenders. At CenturyLink that's not going to happen. Those balls will just skip right to the keeper. As far as to how they approach it? I don't know. If they come at us like they did there they might be in for a long night.
Away goal changes everything
The key for our guys is that we don't want to sit back because now we're home. We want to be more aggressive, but we don't want to be stupid. The coaching point to our team is that we have 90-minutes it's not the last five minutes of the 2nd leg when we'd need to just go, go, go crazy. Yes, we want to put more pressure than we did down there because now we're at our place and more comfortable. We don't want to leave ourselves exposed in the back. We don't want to be so stupid about it that we're trying to get that goal back in the first five minutes of the game and now we get a counter because they are a good countering team. They're very technical and they are very fast. We want to put more pressure. We want to step up. We want to be more aggressive, but not to the extent of giving one away in the first five minutes, because then it is hell for the next 85 minutes.
Possession as defense?
One of the best forms of defense is possessing the ball. What was happening to us was that when they gave the ball away what did we do? Maybe it was nerves, maybe it was their pressure, whatever it was we didn't help our cause as far as that first fifteen minutes of the game, because whenever we got the ball it was a turnover. It was a lot of pressure. It was defend for a minute get the ball for five seconds and defend for another minute. You can't sustain that, especially on the road. We were very fortunate to go to in at halftime zero-zero.
I thought the goal might have been offside, but after looking again maybe he was onside.
We just have to be ready here, at home, to take it to them like they take it to us, meanwhile not just being crazy about it leaving us exposed in the back.
Tigres large crowd
Their crowd was behind them. The atmosphere was very good. It was a very good home atmosphere for them. They had the fans. They had the big pitch. It was very wide. Their ability to keep the ball and spread us out hurt us a lot. We made some adjustments at half but at the end of the day we didn't keep them out of the net. If we were coming home zero-zero we would be in a better position. One of the things we told the players was that we want to leave this match with a result that puts us in a position to win it at home. A win would have been perfect. A draw would have been good. A one goal loss is still not bad. In the past we've come back home in two-leg series being down three-zero. That's very difficult to come back from. I think we showed in the past that we can get two. Hopefully that happens Tuesday.
Hopes for Tuesday
I think we're capable of getting two. If we come out and score within the first fifteen, twenty minutes they are going to try and get that goal back and might leave themselves open. We'll see how it all plays out. The comfort is that we're home now. We're not down by a large margin. It's a one goal differential and we know we can get it back.