One thing we've learned over the past couple months: These Seattle Sounders are different than past iterations. That's maybe a bit of a "no-duh" statement, as each team is always different from others, but this one seems to have taken on an entirely different character.
While past teams were known for their shutdown defending and tempered build up, this one seems to play on a bit more of a high wire. Maybe that's the nature of having guys as fast as Lamar Neagle, Obafemi Martins and Eddie Johnson. Maybe it's the lack of a real playmaker anywhere in the middle of the pitch. Maybe it's having a full back that moves like a waterbug.
Whatever the cause, there's really no good time to walk away from this time. The first 11 minutes of the Sounders' 3-2 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday was a perfect example. In that time, there were two goals and probably three or four more good chances. It was a frantic pace that never really slowed down.
Even after the Sounders surrendered a couple goals, there was never really any doubt that they'd at least get chances to come back. Of course, that's what they did with Martins setting up Neagle for the eventual game-winner.
There are so many players on this team now capable of breaking down defenders one-on-one and creating dangerous chances. Sometimes that leads to a harried game, but maybe the tradeoff is worth it. May as well buckle up for the ride.
SEA - Andy Rose (Lamar Neagle) 9'
VAN - Camilo (Russell Teibert) 26'
SEA - Servando Carrasco (PK) 71'
SEA - Lamar Neagle (Obafemi Martins, Andy Rose) 81'
Seattle Sounders FC - Michael Gspurning, DeAndre Yedlin, Zach Scott, Djimi Traore, Leo Gonzalez, Mauro Rosales (David Estrada 90), Servando Carrasco, Andy Rose, Alex Caskey (Marc Burch 61), Lamar Neagle, Obafemi Martins.
TOTAL SHOTS:16 (Neagle 4) ; SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Rose 3); FOULS: 9 (Neagle 4); OFFSIDE: 2 (Martins, Neagle 1); CORNER KICKS: 11 (Rosales 8); SAVES: 3 (Gspurning 3).
Vancouver Whitecaps FC - Brad Knighton, Young-Pyo Lee, Johnny Leveron, Andy O'Brien (Greg Klazura 62), Jordan Harvey, Nigel Reo-Coker, Jun Marques Davidson (Kekuta Manneh 83), Matt Watson (Daigo Kobayashi 89), Camilo Sanvezzo, Russell Teibert, Kenny Miller.
Substitutes Not Used: Joe Cannon, Tommy Heinemann, Corey Hertzog, Erik Hurtado.
TOTAL SHOTS: 10 (Camilo 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Camilo 3); FOULS: 11 (Harvey 3); OFFSIDE: 1 (Manneh 1); CORNER KICKS: 6 (Teibert 4); SAVES: 2 (Knighton 2).
SEA - Andy Rose (caution) 52'
VAN - Jordan Harvey (caution) 86'
Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Referee's Assistants: Frank Anderson, Paul Scott
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal
Time of Game: 1:54
Weather: Clear and 68 degrees
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial
POSTGAME QUOTES - Sounders FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Sigi Schmid - Sounders FC Head Coach
(On how the team performed overall...) "Basically, I thought we started off the game well, got a good early goal, and then we sort of fell asleep right after we scored, which is a time when you can't fall asleep, took a goal, didn't do a good job on set-pieces. Set-pieces got them back into the game and were probably their most dangerous moments. It still felt we had a little more of the game, of the run of the play, but for sure we didn't do well on set-pieces and it caused us a lot of problems. Second half, we just talked about making sure that we continued to spread out the field, that we could find gaps, getting [Alex] Caskey to play wider, and later we put [Marc] Burch on to play wider so there would be more gaps there because he was pushing in too much and I thought that closed down the space for Lamar [Neagle] and Oba[femi Martins]. It was Wal-Mart day today, so it was two-for-one. You know, two fouls in the box give you one penalty. We ended up with that. We were maybe fortunate at the end that we didn't get one called against us. I was proud of our character, being able to come back. I thought we carried the game to them and we created chances. Oba had a good one that he missed wide. But then for sure the third goal was as well-taken a goal as you would want to see. It was a good ball in from Andy Rose, good turn by Oba and then Neagle with a great near-post run."
(On the large attendance (53,679) and atmosphere...) "Great. Great. We love big crowds. We seem to do well. We don't want to send them away disappointed, so we want to keep the game exciting, keep the game close. We're able to showcase ourselves in front of people who don't normally get to come to our games. It was a great contingent of fans from Vancouver as well that followed their team. It had a tremendous atmosphere."
(On whether playing for a large crowd is different and if it contributes to scoring goals and winning games...) "You can sense the energy. You can sense that there's a little more there. When you look up and you can see the upper-deck filling up or half-full, that's normally something that we don't see. You don't see the tarps up there. It gives you a different feeling, when you walk out on the field, and I think the guys realize that, and they respond to that. Is that the reason that we score goals and win games entirely? Probably not, but right now we'll keep it going."
(On whether he feels Yedlin made a mistake when the first Vancouver game was scored...) "On the first goal, twice the ball got played in behind Leo [Gonzalez] and we were zoning in the box. DeAndre [Yedlin] got pushed in way too far. I mean, he was almost marking Zach Scott and had no idea that Camilo [Sanvezzo] was over his shoulder, so that's maybe a little bit of a mistake of youth. He certainly had a good game and came forward and did so many other things well for us. That's one with a little bit more experience, he takes that quick look, he knows where that guy is, he backs off two steps and then it's not a problem because he jumps and clears with the header. I thought it was more a lapse of the game, at that point, it had gone so well for us. We scored that goal nine minutes in and I think the guys just relaxed for an instant and thought, 'ok this could be an easy one for us today,' and they're never easy."
(On the trouble defending set pieces...) "I think it's something that happened today. I don't think it's something that happens all the time. I think we need to go back to the training ground, we need to work on our defending of set pieces because I thought we got some of the marking assignments wrong a little bit."
(On the play of Lamar Neagle...) "He's playing well. The work rate that he puts in-part of what he had to do today for us, too, was defensively he was the guy who was supposed to help out on Davidson, and I didn't think he saw Davidson. I remember last year we played Vancouver once and Davidson had all day and all night to spray the ball around. Tonight, he didn't have any of the time, so that was Lamar's doing and probably something most people didn't see. Just his running off the ball, his hold up play tonight I thought was pretty good-it was much, much better than it it's been. His connection of passes as a result of that-I'd like to see his pass completion because it's up over what it normally is. He's just done really, really well. He got the assist on the first goal on the ball that he slipped in to Andy Rose and he scores. You can't ask a lot more of a forward than that."
(On the play of Andy Rose...) "It was nice to see Andy get back off the snide a little bit. It hasn't been the best of seasons for him so far, so it was good for him to get that goal. I thought his game overall was better tonight. I thought he fatigued a little bit towards the end because he hasn't had a lot of 90-minutes. He had to sort of gut it out a little bit, but I thought this game was a definite improvement."
(On if they prepared differently tonight...) "We prepared the same way. We prepare the same if we're playing in front of our family and friends or if we're playing in front of 50,000 family and friends. We try and prepare the same."
(On Servando Carrasco's penalty kick...) "It's good. We have confidence in our penalties. In the Tampa game, he was the one who was on the board for the penalties, as well. Oba [Martins] asked to take it and he allowed him to take it. Tonight, he held on to the ball. I don't think anyone asked for it, though. We know he hits penalties well and he can put them away. Penalties are so much all about confidence-feeling confident putting the ball down. He knew where he was going to go and he banged it away, so I'm happy for him because it's sort of an exclamation point on how well he's played the last seven games."
(On Servando Carrasco...) "He's a pretty tough character. Anybody who knows the Servando story knows how he grew up-living in Tijuana, going to school in San Diego, playing with the Surf and the different teams that he played with and going back and forth each day-he's a tough character. There's not a lot that's going to unnerve him."
(On the grass surface...) "I thought it was good. This is the third time we've had grass put down and I think it was the best that it's been. We told our team to be cautious the first 15 minutes until they got used to the playing surface and make sure that they didn't do anything silly until they got used to the surface."
(On players stepping up...) "I think different people have stepped up on different days and different occasions. Obviously Servando's had to step in and play a lot of games at midfield with Ozzie [Alonso] out and Shalrie [Joseph] out. Lamar [Neagle] stepped up when he's been asked to step up. [Marc] Burch has done well for us. Zach Scott stepped in there when we thought Kennedy was a little tired and he stepped up and played really well. There's different guys that are stepping up at different times. They know when their opportunity comes and they want to take hold of it. When we get there on the 22nd we'll have some guys probably still missing, so we keep having to shuffle it around. The thing is, the guys have confidence in each other and have in confidence in the guy playing next to them."
(On Brad Evans goal for USA...) "I thought it was great. I thought it was great that he scored. It's a great way to top off your first USA qualifying match that you play in. It's good to know that the US's road to Brazil has a few Sounder goals littered along the way from Eddie Johnson and Brad."
Lamar Neagle - Sounders FC Forward
(On the game's atmosphere...) "It felt great. You could feel the energy, maybe a little more exciting than what we wanted to make it, but it was great to be able to come back and get a win for the fans."
(On stepping up in Eddie Johnson's absence...) "We've been switching in and out between me, Obafemi [Martins], and Eddie [Johnson] so it's like any other game. Vancouver is in our conference, which makes it even more important with the points. It's a big match and you just got to figure it out from there."
(On scoring a goal in the 81st minute...) "It was a good build -p play down the right side. I saw [Obafemi Martins] one on one, so once he made his move toward the line to beat his guy I knew I had to get in front of my defender and it would be an easy pass right to the near post."
Andy Rose - Sounders FC Midfielder
(On stepping up in front of the big crowd...) "I think it's a pride thing. At the end of the day we are professionals, playing for our city, for Seattle. Seeing the fans step up like that, seeing the passion and how loud they are, you can barely hear anybody on the field for a normal game, let alone a game like this. It's just a special occasion and makes it even more exciting for us as players to play in front of a crowd like that."
(On scoring a goal in the 9th minute...) "I've said it before, but Lamar [Neagle] has been playing so well, he's been doing such a good job dropping into that hole right behind the front man, and his vision and first touch have been incredible. He turned and saw me running through, and when a forward drops off like that there is always a hole. The defender went with him and I was able to get through that hole, take a good first touch, and slot it. It's really exciting to score, especially in front of a crowd like that."
(On the team's improvement...) "We want to win every game. It doesn't matter if it's the first game of the season or the MLS Cup final, we go out there to win, and that's our job. We are starting to play better as a team and certain individuals are stepping up. Especially this week we've had a lot of guys out, whether it's injuries, suspensions, or with the national team, so it's on us young guys to step up a little bit and I'm really proud of the effort we put in today and getting a win."
Servando Carrasco - Sounders FC midfielder
(On playing in the great atmosphere...) "It was absolutely incredible. There's no other way to describe it. The fans inspired us to a totally different level. We thought that we came out well. We didn't come out flat-footed the first 15-20 minutes and we established a rhythm. But in the next 25 minutes we kind of took our foot off the gas pedal, but we came in at halftime and said that we were going to come out the same way we did the first half, and that's exactly what we did. We created some chances and when we scored our second goal the fans were behind us and that really pushed us to a totally different level."
(On stepping up in the absence of some players...) "I think we pride ourselves in the depth that we have here. They know what their role is on the team and nothing changes. I thought that Andy [Rose] played really well. Guys came in and stepped up."
(On his penalty kick goal...) "I just knew that I had to score. My teammates and coaching staff gave me the confidence to take the kick and I knew that I had to step up and score. It was an important time in the game and there was only one thought on mind-put it in the back of the net."
DeAndre Yedlin - Sounders FC Defender
(On Sunday's plan to join U-20 team...) "I am going to leave at 11 o'clock, and I l fly to the East Coast, I only have an hour layover there then head straight to Portugal."
(On feelings of joining the team...) "I have mixed feelings, I don't want to leave here but it's going to be a great experience over there. I am excited to join that team to see what we can do and see what we can mix up over there. It's a bunch of mixed feelings-overwhelmed, excited-but I think it will be a good experience."
(On learning in stride...) "Tonight in the first goal, I was at fault for that, I lost my mark. I'm still learning everyday, every game and it's those kind of things that make you a better player. I am taking it in stride and hopefully put in my best effort for this World Cup."
Brad Evans - Sounders FC Midfielder/USMNT Defender
(On the past 20 hours...) "Long. Good experience, great experience. Obviously getting three points is the most important thing. Long travel day today and staying for the game will make it that much longer, but it's great to support the guys. A lot of emotions, scoring a goal then flying 10-plus hours then coming to watch your own team trail at halftime is difficult, too."
(On starting the last few matches for the national team...) "It's an opportunity. I think I've been telling myself that each game brings a new opportunity and it's up to me to stake my claim. I've done a decent job the last two games and obviously I can do better on a number of occasions, but that will come in time playing the position, learning the position. Even now I'm watching DeAndre [Yedlin] play the position today that I might find myself in a game, so I'm still obviously a student, still learning. I will always remember this, for sure."
(On areas to improve on...) "There are a number of things-missed passes, little bit of timing, tracking runners, for me it's endless. There are a number of things."
(On how big of a week this has been in his career...) "I still think winning MLS Cup is the biggest thing that I will always remember. But like I always said is you remember certain points in your career, whether it's winning MLS Cup, Open Cups, first game with the national team, scoring your first goal, you will always remember it. It's a big week, that's for sure."
(On no clock in the stadium in Jamaica...) "There was no clock in the stadium, I had no idea. Every time you asked a ref he would blow right past you. I had zero inclination what time it was, absolutely none."
(On playing with the first team...) "It's a different level, it really is. You don't notice it looking on the outside you think, 'Oh it's easy to play...it's easy this or that or the other...it's Jamaica, why aren't they getting results there?' But then you get in the belly of the beast and you get in these situations and you don't realize how difficult it is. We've experienced it with the Champions League a little bit as going down there and playing teams that people have never heard of, playing against players that people have never heard of and [wondering] why aren't they getting results, but it takes experience and a little bit of luck to go your way to get a result. Playing with these guys, the wealth of experience and talent these guys have is really special, but it's not much farther off than what we're seeing in MLS. I think everyone will tell you it's still a different level, but you settle in quickly. When you're playing with better players it makes you that much better."
(On playing right back...) "I'm surprised to be the No. 1 for sure, but ready. Like I said it's an opportunity, but I've been thrust into different positions in a snap of a finger-the day of the game, changing positions, within a game playing center back for 45 minutes or whatever it is, it's just having a positive attitude and being a student of the game and recognized that's my role and embracing it. In years past I thought I wanted to be a central midfielder and thinking that was where I was going to be in this league, but things change and lineups change and coaches change. Being ready for the inevitable and the little switches that might happen...has always been on the back of my mind."
(On playing in front of his home crowd Tuesday...) "Obviously I've thought about it. I think it will be extremely special and not many players get to experience something like this. It will always be something I remember. My first cap was here with the Gold Cup and I will always remember that one and this one, playing in the World Cup Qualifier, as well. You try not to get too anxious a couple days before. You think about last night for a couple days maybe, then get your own mind and try to relax and take it easy for a couple days. Come game time it will be time to play."
(On the possibility of playing in the World Cup...) "There's so much time until Brazil, obviously everyone wants to play in a World Cup but there are a number of players that couldn't be here because of injuries or they played an extremely long season. In my mind there are a number of guys that are ahead of me, so keep plugging away an whatever happens, happens."
(On low ticket sales for Tuesday compared to tonight...) "I think of it as anywhere in the world your club team is going to get more than the national team in some situations. But we are so lucky-if we were getting 15,000 every game and now we are getting 34,000 for a national game we would be seeing it in a different tune, but the fact we get 55,000 tonight and 'only' getting 35,000 at a game on Tuesday night, I think we're doing OK."
(On coach feedback...) "Everything has been positive. But looking back on tape there are things to work on, so I will take all the knowledge I can from those guys and [I am] still learning. Right now I am playing that position, and if I keep playing the way they want me to hopefully I will find myself still in the starting lineup."
(On telling USMNT teammates about Seattle soccer atmosphere...) "I think today was a difficult day. A couple days ago guys were really excited to come to the game but 10-plus hours of travel and no real dinner on the schedule, some guys opted to eat out. They missed the numbers, but they will find it on Tuesday night. There's a number of guys that are catching it. Some guys had no idea, like Joe (Corona) and Terrence (Boyd), playing in other countries asking to this day how many numbers you guys get to those games and saying, 'Oh crap, that's pretty incredible.' So they understand and it's pretty cool to be able to showcase our fans."
Jurgen Klinsmann - USMNT Head Coach
(On concerns of the grass pitch....) "I haven't been on the pitch yet. We will train here tomorrowafternoon and again Monday afternoon, whatever it is, it is. Both teams have to play on it, I hope it's in good shape."
(On Seattle's soccer fan base...) "Well one of the big reasons why we are here is because the atmosphere is always tremendous here in Seattle. The support from the fans for their team is outstanding. We want to enjoy that and show them a good game and win this game badly. We are all looking forward to it. It's not very often we can come to the Northwest with all of the European guys because it's always challenging during a normal season to go all the way to the west coast because of the nine-hour time difference. Now there is an opportunity, we kind of wanted it badly, and we are looking forward to it."
Martin Rennie - Vancouver Head Coach
(On the game...) "Well, we started off a little bit slowly. We didn't track a run in midfield as well as we would have liked, but we responded really well to that. Two fantastic goals and some good play from that point. I felt we were really comfortable in the game and doing pretty well, but the turning point was losing Andy O'Brien. When we lost him the game opened up. We were dis-jointed and I don't think any team in MLS can lose three-we're really lost four centerbacks...There's not team in MLS that would be fine with that and we weren't. That was the turning point in the game and it made a difference. We had a chance at 2-1 to make it 3-1, which would have made a difference, but once Andy went off I just felt we were dis-jointed and we didn't replace him and we couldn't."
(On Camilo's goals...) "Great balls in from Russell, as well. There's lots of things to build on from this game and obviously Camilo's goals and Russell's assists. Camilo also had a fantastic free kick that was rebounded that we really had a good chance to make that 3-1. At that point it would have been hard for them to get back."
(On losing Western Conference game...) "They're all big games, but we've been on a good run. That's only the second game we've lost in the last 10 games. After the Montreal game, when we didn't win that final, we knew it was New York and Seattle coming up away from home. I think if we were told we'd get three points from that we would have taken that. Now we dust ourselves off and look forward to the next one. I think we're disappointed tonight. We felt like we could have gotten more, especially going in 2-1 at halftime. I think losing Andy was the turning point in the game, and that did make a difference."
(On taking some points on the road going forward...) "Yeah, I think it's important. I think tonight we were in good position to do that, and I think with a full group out there we could, and I think we've got great goal threats. We're working hard, we've got pretty good shape generally. It did change in that game, and I made it clear why that was. I think that on the road we can pick up points, I think we've got confidence in that, and we have to get back rolling again on Saturday against New England at home."
(On his team...) "I know we've got a good team and we've got lots of work to do. I know we're in a building phase, we have to grow, we have to improve. I think you saw that a great response when we went a goal down. There was no worry in terms of our work ethic or our mentality. I think nothing concerned me on that, as well. We were a little bit dis-joined in the back once our back four changed, and I think if I would have known that going in to it, if we would have lost someone in that position, then I would have known that would have been a tough one to replace. What I know about this team is that they've got a lot of character and a lot of drive. We're close to clicking and doing well. It's disappointing that we didn't get result tonight, but I look forward to getting back at it next week. Again, I'm pleased with the performances of players like Russell and Camilo. They're doing really well right now."
(On the next two games at home...) "I think we've got two games coming pretty quick at home and our home form has been really good, so we need to perform really well in those games. It would be nice to get six points and we're definitely capable of that."
Brad Knighton - Vancouver Goalkeeper
(On the game...) "It is disappointing. We were in total control of the game looking to get our first win against a Cascadia team, but then Andy [O'Brien] unfortunately goes down with a hamstring issue. That kind of took the wind out of our sails a bit and the game seemed to turn very quickly. It was just a bit unfortunate."
(On what Andy O'Brien contributes to the back line...) "He really contributes his veteran leadership. We had guys playing out of position which is something you really don't want when you are playing in front of an atmosphere of 50,000 people. It was a tough situation for us to put ourselves in. It was just a bit unlucky. We were in control of the game up until that point and we had a chance to go up three to one, but that is just the way the game goes sometimes. We are devastated right now."
Camilo Sanvezzo - Vancouver Midfielder
(On the overall match...) "It was very disappointing to not get the point here, but the match is over and we just have to watch the game again and prepare for our next match."
(On tonight's positives)... "There were some positives. I thought that the whole team played well. I think everybody had a good game, but we just need to pick it up a little bit."
(On the team's road performance...) "I think the last two games we played away from home were very good games, but obviously tonight was very disappointing. We hope that we will be able to pick one up on Saturday."
(On having two header goals...) "We have been training a lot. Kenny [Miller] and I have been working a lot together and he made a very good move which got me free. I just tried to stay in god position and make a good finish."