Someone recently said that statistics don't lie, they just get interpreted incorrectly. Well, I'm honestly not sure what to make of the collection of numbers generated from the Seattle Sounders' 4-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.
Obviously, the big glaring number is the four goals the Sounders scored. None of them were cheap. Lamar Neagle was an absolute animal, Mauro Rosales' free kick was a beauty and Obafemi Martins is showing fans why he's been successful overseas. Truth be told, the Earthquakes are probably lucky to get out of town only having given up four, as the Sounders missed several good chances, including a Rosales header at the back post that you expect him to make literally every time.
Dig a little deeper though and you can understand why soccer fans are so reluctant to pay much mind to the other numbers. The Earthquakes had more shots (16-14) and took more of them in the penalty area (12-9). They also had 53 percent of the possession and won 56 percent of the duels. We all know that winning those battles won't lead directly to victory, but they rarely result in such a lop-sided loss either.
Even more, they seem to go counter to what we actually saw unfold. The Sounders were solid in the run of play and aside from a 10-minute stretch in the first half that saw the Earthquakes get several good chances at the equalizer, looked pretty dominant.
But, that's soccer, I guess.
After spending the first couple months of the season looking completely out of sorts, the Sounders appear to be putting it back together. They are now 3-3-3 and just two points out of a playoff spot with at least one game in hand on virtually everyone. A roster that was looking to be stretched perilously thin at one point, suddenly has more guys deserving of minutes than there are minutes to go around.
Obafemi Martins now says that he's received the rest he needs and is ready to go. Shalrie Joseph probably needs a spot on the field after the performances he put together earlier this year. Steve Zakuani's upside is still as good as anyone's. Brad Evans and Lamar Neagle have been good enough that the Sounders are going to have to find a place for him somewhere, while Servando Carrasco and Zach Scott have clearly earned some more playing time.
These are good problems to have, certainly better than the ones the Sounders were dealing with last month.
SEA - Lamar Neagle (Mauro Rosales, Eddie Johnson) 28'
SEA - Mauro Rosales 45+1'
SEA - Lamar Neagle (Servando Carrasco) 54'
SEA - Obafemi Martins 90+3'
Seattle Sounders FC - Michael Gspurning, DeAndre Yedlin, Zach Scott, Djimi Traore, Leo Gonzalez, Mauro Rosales (Mario Martinez 62), Osvaldo Alonso, Servando Carrasco, Brad Evans (Obafemi Martins 55), Eddie Johnson, Lamar Neagle (David Estrada 86).
Substitutes Not Used: Doug Herrick, Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Shalrie Joseph.
TOTAL SHOTS: 14 (Neagle 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Neagle 3); FOULS: 13 (Carrasco 4); OFFSIDE: 0; CORNER KICKS: 1 (Rosales 1); SAVES: 3 (Gspurning 3).
San Jose Earthquakes - Jon Busch, Steven Beitashour, Justin Morrow, Victor Bernardez, Dan Gargan, Rafael Baca, Sam Cronin, Ramiro Corrales (Shea Salinas 64), Walter Martinez, Chris Wondolowski, Alan Gordon (Marcus Tracy 65).
Substitutes Not Used: David Bingham, Jason Hernandez, Mehdi Ballouchy, Cordell Cato, Adam Jahn.
TOTAL SHOTS: 16 (Wondolowski 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Wondolowski 2); FOULS: 10 (Tracy 2); OFFSIDE: 2 (Martinez, Tracy 1); CORNER KICKS: 2 (Cronin 2); SAVES: 2 (Busch 2).
SJ - Rafael Baca (caution) 45'
SEA - Eddie Johnson (caution) 88'
SJ - Chris Wondolowski (caution) 88'
Referee: Jair Marrufo
Referee's Assistants: Babucar Jallow, Jonathan Johnson
4th Official: Jesus Cisneros
Time of Game: 1:50
Weather: Partly cloudy and 72 degrees
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial
POSTGAME QUOTES: Sounders FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes - May 11, 2013
Sigi Schmid - Sounders FC Head Coach
(Opening statement...) "Obviously it's good to get a good result and get a solid win. It's been a while for us and I was happy with our team and proud of what our team did on the field. I thought our first goal was a very, very good goal-a combination of determination and also some good soccer. The second goal was very timely and Mauro [Rosales] maybe caught [Jon] Busch cheating, looking for the cross a bit. Again, a good goal by Lamar early in the second half, which helps take the sting out of the game a little bit. I think the last goal, when you look at Obafemi [Martins'] goal, I think it shows that if you slip up or make half a mistake, he's so quick to pounce on things and easily turned it into a goal. There were a lot of guys that played well tonight. Sometimes how you play doesn't actually show up on the score sheet, but I thought Eddie Johnson worked really hard up front for us and created a lot of things. The combination play up front was good. Servando [Carrasco] and [Osvaldo] Alonso were good. [Brad] Evans has been playing with a calf that's been bothering him a little bit, so we've been milking him through games at times, but he's just so tactically good. He helped us today-the ball he put across that Mauro missed on the diving header I thought was a great ball. Obviously Djimi [Traore] played well. Jhon Kennedy [Hurtado] had played really well for us in the last couple games and was a little fatigued, so we decided to go with Zach Scott. I thought against their matchup and the way they play, with a lot of aerial balls, he was a good choice and I thought he played well."
(On the team getting healthier...) "We're getting healthier for sure. I think something we started talking about was, we've got to find our passion and our determination and our grip. If we can find that part of our game, as I told the team, the soccer will follow. On the road trip we played with a lot of passion and determination and grit, and today the soccer followed a little bit. We have to continue to that. We were talking about climbing the ladder of the standings, and we're starting to do that now. The team's confidence certainly is growing. We're getting there. A couple of guys who didn't play today will be able to put some minutes in tomorrow at the reserve game because the reserve game is a different proposition-you're allowed five subs, so if the guy plays 20 minutes or 30 minutes and feels it, he can come off the field, which is something you can't do in this sort of game. From that standpoint, we are getting healthier and tomorrow will give us a good check and balance as to how far some of the other players are."
(On the turnaround the team has made...) "There's a lot of pride in that locker room and there was a lot of disappointment when we didn't get off to the start we wanted. We had a little bit of a distraction called the Champions League, as well, that held our focus and we accomplished some things there. We were the first U.S. team to knock off a Mexican team in a head to head, and I think that can't be minimized as to how big that was. And we were right there-we were one goal away from possibly advancing to the finals. We did well there and maybe our focus was a little too gray on that in those games sometimes. I just think the guys know their quality, they know they're better than that, and since that game everybody's sort of been very determined about turning it around."
(On not having to face Steven Lenhart...) "It doesn't change much because you have Alan Gordon, and the style of play is the same. Steven is maybe a little more rambunctious than Gordon, but in terms of style of play they're both big, strong, physical forwards who look for a lot of air balls and they look to run off those guys-off their flick-ons. [Chris Wondolowski] feeds off that. Thought we did a good job of knowing where Wondo was when the ball was up in the air."
(On Lamar Neagle...) "I think in the games he's played up front he's deserved some goals. He was unlucky-I think he hit the crossbar in one game and he barely missed wide in another. I think from his standpoint, it was great to see him get a couple of goals. We made the decision to push him up front, while we'd mostly played him wide before that because we thought maybe that's where he could succeed for us, as well. Now he's finding his confidence. He's always been-I've said it before-he's one of those guys that's a gamer. Sometimes at practice you sort of scratch your head and you say, 'what's going on?' but then once he gets the opportunity in the games and he performs well, it's his game performances that'll keep getting him on the field. Obviously, this afternoon's performance was pretty solid."
(On the team's defensive play...) "It's been good. I still want us to be better defensively at times. I thought against Kansas City, I was really pleased because I don't think we gave away a lot of good opportunities. Tonight, there were a couple things where you started to get a little nervous that they almost slipped in, but it was still much better than it was against Philly. Against Philly I thought we were open at times and really gave away opportunities. It's good again to get a clean sheet, it's good for them in the back-slightly different group of people with DeAndre [Yedlin] coming back into the team, but I think overall the team understands the commitment as well from the outside midfielders has to be towards the defensive side of things also. I think those guys have been committed, so it's not just the backs who create these things, it's the whole team and they're willingness to force the other team in, their willingness to put some pressure on service, etc."
(On the play of Michael Gspurning...) "I think there was one good opportunity where he had to go down to his right that I thought he made a good save on. I know he's had harder games, but I'd be more than happy to have him have games where he doesn't have to make any saves. I'd be happy with that. I wouldn't want our goalkeeper to lead the league in saves."
(On defending San Jose...) "We're talking about getting in front of crosses, getting in front of crosses, getting tighter to people when the ball gets laid back. I think it's a culmination of that getting through to the guys and stepping up. I think there was a good job done by Servando and Alonso stepping to their midfielders so they couldn't line it up from distance."
(On the play of Servando Carrasco...) "He's playing well. I know everybody loves saying, 'Oh, coach just doesn't like me right now,' but if you're playing well I think I'll try and get you on the field. He's playing well right now, and the way it's worked is he's sat maybe a little deeper at times than Ozzie has, and Ozzie has gone a little more forward. Whereas before, Ozzie was the deeper one and Servando is not as comfortable in that role in front of Ozzie as much. They're more or less side-by-side at times, but there's probably more times where Ozzie is in front of Servando than it was when they played in the past."
(On subbing for Mauro Rosales...) "When he got hit on that play in the first half and taken down he fell on his shoulder, so it was uncomfortable. He actually took a pain shot at halftime, but I was watching him and he seemed to still be carrying the arm a little bit, so we wanted to get him off the field at that point when it was 3-0."
(On beating San Jose...) "San Jose is a good team. Obviously it went our way today, it didn't go theirs. It's been going their way for quite a few games, so it was nice to see it go our way for a change. Hopefully we start winning more than our fair share against them."
(On looking ahead to Dallas next week...) "Obviously that's going to be a big game. Dallas is in first in our division, and one of the things we talked to our team about is we want to win season series against teams. This is our first game with them and it becomes a really good measuring stick for us. They're a good team, they're an exciting team, they score goals, they've played a good amount of games at home at this stage, as well, so us catching them here is good for us."
Michael Gspurning - Sounders FC Goalkeeper
(On team's performance....) "It was a great game for us and a great game for me, too. I had a couple of important early saves early on and we did a great job. Four-nil, that's great."
(On breaking slump vs. San Jose...) "We showed from the beginning that we really wanted to win this game. The road trip was nice but of course you have to win the games at home, too."
(On team starting to reach its peak...) "Yeah, I think the start was not that bad like it looked like, because we had chances and we had good games, it just didn't have a result. And now we have all the results and it's good now we're coming close to the target."
(On returning to the home pitch after a month of being away...) "Absolutely, it's the best feeling...it was great weather, great atmosphere and very nice coming back."
Lamar Neagle - Sounders FC Forward
(On two goals scored...) "I knew I had to take advantage of the chances I was given so it ended up working out. The first one was from a little closer, so that wasn't as hard."
(On coming out of suspension...) "Whenever that happens you feel like you've let your teammates down a bit and let them out to dry. So coming back I had a lot of adrenaline and wanted to prove that I was supposed to be there."
(On performing at a high level at practice and at matches...) "[Practice] is where you earn your chances, so if I'm not performing in practice then chances are going to be slim when it comes to games. Luckily in games I've done well so my chances keep coming... I'm a little bit disappointed with myself so far. This game obviously turned out well but in the last couple games I've had chances I should have put away for sure."
(On moving to midfield with Martins and Johnson at forward...) "Yeah, having these guys on the field is just going to be better for the team. These guys are amazing up top. They are experienced and veterans, so anything I can do to help the team I'm there."
(On hearing chants for his name...) "Yeah, I could definitely hear it. Reminded me of 2011 when I had the hat trick. I was hoping for the same thing-something about these one o'clock games in the sun."
Obafemi Martins - Sounders FC Forward
(On today's performance...) "We played very well. We won 4-0 and that's big."
(On the injured knee...) "I feel a lot better now. I'm running now and keeping fit. I'm just ready to go."
(On training with the knee...) "It's going away now, with the training. I definitely have to treat it and continue to play."
(On getting used to home matches....) "For me, I don't want to think too much about playing a home game or away, I just want to help my team. Try to score goals and win."
Mauro Rosales - Sounders FC Midfielder
(On the team's effort...) "The effort that we put in the last eight days with these three games was magnificent. I am very proud of the team and the hard work we have been doing. It shows because we want to get better and be a tough team. Today we showed that."
(On having the team together...) "One of the reasons is because we are a full group training every day, full group in the locker room trying to do our best. When we are like this, with all of the players that stepped up today, we were in good form and it's much easier."
(On team's capability...) "This is something that we want. We know also we can play much better than we did today. "
Frank Yallop - San Jose Earthquakes Head Coach
(On the game...) "Was it a four-goal sort of drubbing loss? It was. I felt that we had chances to score, but you've got to hand it to Seattle. They scored some good goals today and three goals were very good. They come out of the gate quick. They had a good start to the match. We started to kind of get into the game and then they scored right before halftime. It makes it tough. We are a team that prides itself on never giving up, and we didn't, but four-nil never sits well with anybody."
(On how his team performed today...) "It's football. I told the guys in there it's about both boxes. It's about defending our box properly and being dangerous and getting to the ball first in the opposing box and I think Seattle did that better than us today. And they came out three - sorry, four - goal winners. Again, we've just got to take stock on how we went about it. We'll watch film and we've just got to dust ourselves off and get ready for our next game"
(On whether his team was physical enough against Mauro Rosales' play...) "There's no individuals getting blamed. You've got to be better in your box. You've got to make sure he doesn't turn you and doesn't get a body on you and dictates what happens. You've got to be there first. It's about anticipating the play. I don't know who was on the back of [Mauro] Rosales for the first one, but it's difficult. He's a good player. We've just got to do better than that defensively for sure."
(On whether his team did anything different in this game coming off a four-game unbeaten streak...) "We'll look at individual things and make sure we learn from them. We got punished from a team that scored some good goals. Three of the goals were very good. Not good for us, but if you look at a Seattle perspective; they were three very good goals. For us, it's just take it on the chin and just get ready for the next match."
(On whether anything could have stopped Rosales' free kick goal...) "It's over the wall, top corner. I think Jon nearly gets it, but it's just so much pace and it touches the post, as well. I mean, if you think about the placement, two of them hit the post and the other one was a great blast from sort of 14-yards out. For us, it's that Seattle did well and deserved to win because they scored four goals."
(On his lineup changes for this game...) "Ramiro [Corrales] is used to playing in the middle of the field and I felt that with [Rafael] Baca's energy and running ability - not full sprinting - but his movement, him and Walter [Martinez] I thought would handle the ball well in those spots and allow our fullbacks to get forward. If you look at the general play, I thought Walter had a good game. I thought that Sam Cronin and Rafa; Ramiro's maybe not on his game today, but I think that you can't fault the shape of the team or anything. Seattle scored three unbelievable goals and that's the story of the whole game."
(On whether Justin Morrow playing defense was a good lineup choice...) "You deal with what you've got to do. We don't have anyone else to play there right now. Justin [Morrow]'s played there before. Did I think it worked out smoothly? Obviously not, we conceded four goals. That isn't good. I haven't seen the goals again. I have to look at them. I thought one player who was good today was Victor Bernardez. I thought he played well. We'll look at it again, but obviously I'm not going to call anybody out because I haven't seen the goals or that nature, so I'm not going to do that. Again, we've got to be better in certain situations defensively."
Sam Cronin - San Jose Earthquakes Midfielder
(On the loss...) "Disappointing performance from us. They had a few good goals, but we gifted them a few as well, and on the road we can't do that. The first one we turned the ball over in midfield, which you can't do. We just got to look at the film during the week and improve on everything."
(On Mauro Rosales' goal...) "That was a great goal. The only way to prevent that is to not give away a foul there. We know they are good on service, so we need to defend a little better on our box."
(On scoring chances...) "It's a game of chances. After we conceded the first goal we had a couple chances. If we score that, tie it 1-1, and it's a completely different game. We didn't, and that's the way the game goes sometimes. We just got to keep grinding it out, keep working on the little things, because the little things are hurting us right now."
(On the "little things"...) "Almost every game, it's little moments, defining moments that we got to win those moments, and we haven't been winning those. We haven't conceded tons of chances, but the ones we have, we have been getting punished on throughout the season. We have to be better at limiting chances. And then on the other end, when we get our chances, it's vital we score them because we are letting the chances leak by, then they score another and the game gets out of control like it did today."