We could get used to this. The Seattle Sounders won their third straight, this time putting together a much more complete performance in dispatching the Colorado Rapids 4-1 on Saturday behind two goals from Clint Dempsey and one apiece from Obafemi Martins and Lamar Neagle.
Unlike the past three games -- including the tie against the Timbers -- there's not too much to complain about. Yes, the Sounders were a little loose with the ball in the first 20 minutes or so, but the Rapids didn't really do much with any of their chances and the final 70 minutes or so were absolutely dominated by the Sounders.
It wasn't just the goals the Sounders scored, either, it was the sheer volume of chances they created. If not for some excellent goal keeping by Clint Irwin, the Sounders could have had six or seven goals. As it were, they put a team-record 13 shots on frame and fired off 20 shots overall. The Sounders also had 57 percent of possession -- despite playing from ahead for 45 minutes -- and completed 85 percent of their 619 passes. Yes, 619 passes. Seriously have no recollection of the Sounders attempting anywhere near that many.
Among those 619!!!!! passes were about 100 back-heels, flips, chips and dips. The Sounders were flying all over the place and generally looking like a team that having a ton of fun. There's been a fair amount of debate about how the Sounders might look if teams stopped fouling them so much, and after the Rapids only fouled the Sounders 13 times, we might have our answer. It's a scary group, to say the least.
It's also a group that is having a lot of fun. You can see it in the highlights or the celebrations. They've come through a bit of a rough patch where they needed to grind out results and now they seem to be letting it loose a bit. Can they keep it up? It's tough to say, but this feels a lot different than any other similar run they've gone on.
SEA - Lamar Neagle 45+1'
SEA - Clint Dempsey 47'
SEA - Clint Dempsey (Chad Marshall, Gonzalo Pineda) 52'
COL - Dillon Serna (Nick LaBrocca) 62'
SEA - Obafemi Martins (Lamar Neagle) 75'
Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei, DeAndre Yedlin, Chad Marshall, Djimi Traore, Dylan Remick Lamar Neagle, Osvaldo Alonso (Andy Rose 82), Gonzalo Pineda, Marco Pappa (Brad Evans 69'), Obafemi Martins, Clint Dempsey (Kenny Cooper 88').
TOTAL SHOTS: 20 (Dempsey, 7); SHOTS ON GOAL: 13 (Martins, 6); FOULS: 19 (2 players, 2) OFFSIDE: 1 (Martins, 1); CORNER KICKS: 5 (Pineda, 4); SAVES: 3 (Frei, 3).
Colorado Rapids- Clint Irwin, Thomas Piermayr, Shane O'Neill, Drew Moor, Christopher Klute, Jose Mari (Jared Watts 72'), Nick LaBrocca, Nathan Sturgis (Marlon Hairston 56'), Dillon Serna, Gabriel Torres, Edson Buddle (Deshorn Brown 59').
TOTAL SHOTS: 10 (3 players, 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Serna, 2); FOULS: 13 (5 players, 2); OFFSIDE: 1 (Torres, 1); CORNER KICKS: 1 (Piermayr, 1); SAVES: 8 (Irwin, 8).
COL - Thomas Piermayr (caution) 25'
COL - Gabriel Torres (caution) 37'
Referee: Armando Villarreal
Referee's Assistants: Jeff Hosking, Corey Parker
4th Official: Juan Guzman
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 55 degrees
- Sounders FC extended its winning streak to three games and has gone unbeaten in the last four games (3-0-1).
- Seattle set the MLS record for consecutive games without a loss in any month with its 14th straight result (9-0-5) in April.
- Clint Dempsey has scored a league-high eight goals this season and has scored (8) or assisted (3) in all six games he has played in 2014. He also leads the league with an average of 1.33 goals per game.
- Dempsey's eight goals are two short of his career high (2005) and matches his second best total (2006).
- Dempsey has recorded three multi-goal game this season-all in his last four matches. He is the only player in MLS this season to have more than one multi-goal game.
- Obafemi Martins netted his third goal of the season to go along with his league-leading four assists. It marked the second goal against Colorado for Martins, who scored his first MLS goal against the Rapids last season.
- Lamar Neagle is tied-second on the club with three goals this season and has now scored in consecutive games. The Federal Way native is third on the club with nine points in 2014.
- Gonzalo Pineda is now tied-second on the team with three assists in 2014.
-Chad Marshall's assist on Dempsey's second goal marked his second of the season, one short of his career high.
- Seattle is unbeaten (6-0-1) in seven home matches vs. Colorado and now leads the all-time series 9-2-2.
- The win snapped a two-game home losing skid for Seattle. The club has never lost three straight games at CenturyLink Field.
- Seattle has now scored in all eight games to start the season, extending the club record.
- Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins together have contributed to 16 of Seattle's 18 goals this season, including today's first-half goal.
- Stefan Frei, Chad Marshall and DeAndre Yedlin have played every minute so far this season.
Sigi Schmid - Seattle Sounders FC Head Coach
(Opening Statement...) "We're obviously happy with a win, pleased with how we played. I thought our play overall was very good, I thought our combination play was very good. It was a lot of fun out there for each other-working, playing off of each other. [I] wish we hadn't give up a goal- I wish we had a clean sheet, but the offense was very good."
(On the connection between Martins and Dempsey...) "You always hope for that at the end of the day. It is something that we really try when we train-whether it's 6 v. 6 or 8 v. 8-we always try to put them together so they can look for each other and you see that showing in the game. The ticky-tack stuff they combine with is pretty pleasurable to watch. Knowing each other and knowing they'll move for each other, they'll combine, so that is our hope."
(On Martins and Dempsey mixing up their combinations...) "I think they are being smart about it. Sometimes they will play short and other times they will play it out to the wing. I think our crossing today should have been a little bit better at certain times, especially when we got to the end where we were hitting balls on the ground. I don't think they are overdoing it, but they are out there and when you're having fun you're having fun."
(On the late first half goal...) "The timing of the goal was very important at the end of the half. We had already figured out what we were going to say at halftime and we felt that we had played really well. We didn't let many-if any-looks on goal and we were getting closer. We felt confident that if we keep playing the way we're playing and sharpen up we'll get more goals. It was great getting it before halftime."
(On the defense moving forward...) "I think it's a balance we have. People do focus on [Martins and Dempsey] and they forget about us bringing the ball around. I thought (Dylan) Remick came forward really well. Looking back his runs forward were really good. DeAndre (Yedlin) always comes forward and that provides good balance between our attacking wide play."
(On Leo Gonzalez's injury...) "Leo has a hamstring injury right now so we're waiting for it to get better."
(On the team's defensive performance...) "Defensively we played well. Obviously we are disappointed to give up that goal but at that point we are leading 3-0, so maybe there was a concentration lapse. Up until that point, at 3-0, we didn't give them much of anything. But we still need to make sure we can get that zero over the line, but it will come."
(On Dempsey's scoring streak...) "It's pretty hot. In 2002, Carlos Ruiz had a pretty incredible run, but Clint's got eight goals in six games, one he played off the bench, so it's as good as streak-I don't know what the records are-as you'll see."
(On the performance of the midfield...) "I thought they played well. I thought (Gonzalo) Pineda did well. (Marco) Pappa, we like him on the left sometimes, and we like him at right at times-him and Lamar (Neagle) have the ability to switch sides. I thought he did a good job helping us out defensively, but he is an attacking player, so he contributes to our team by keeping the ball and keeping it balanced. I thought Pappa played his best game of the season for us today and I thought Pineda has been very, very steady."
(On Dylan Remick's performance...) "I thought Dylan played really well...he completed his passes to put him in good shape, even on the sequence of Dempsey's first goal it was Dylan's effort that kept the ball alive."
(On Neagle playing wide...) "Even as a wide player he's looking to get goals. Last year he only got goals when he played up front, but now he is getting goals coming in wide. If you can get 8-12 goals from a wide guy, that's pretty good production. In the past we have gotten that here... We like to have him with us on attack, because wide guys can be dangerous. He is starting to time his runs inside a little better."
(On Brad Evans getting late minutes...) "It was really a situation of Brad's training of about a week and a half, so maybe there's six full trainings he's had. I talked to Jurgen (Klinsmann) yesterday and we're going to give him some minutes in the reserves game tomorrow.... What we are trying to do now is build his fitness back, and I know Brad's mentality, he will give you everything he has when he steps out on the field. And I know my mentality with Brad is that I tend to push him sometimes. I didn't want to put him out there in a situation where gets pushed too hard and causes a reoccurrence. After a full week of training I hope to see him again next week."
(On getting a home victory...) "It was fantastic. We've talked about it-our fans are fantastic and we hadn't given them a lot to cheer about the last few home games the way the results went, but we don't think we played poorly in those games, so it was just a matter of getting the result and matching it with a performance. Today we got the result to match our performance and I think everybody that was here had an enjoyable time."
(On defeating Colorado...) "Colorado has played well. They went out on the road and hadn't allowed a goal in 200-plus minutes, and I know Pablo (Mastroeni) has tried to instill defense in his team, so to score four goals and create the amount of chances we did, is important. We want this place to be a fortress. We want people to not be happy about coming here to play.
(On Dempsey and Martins being the top duo in MLS...) "Right now, based on goals, production and points, I think they are. People could make a case for Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan, and those guys together are pretty good, but right now Dempsey and Martins are as good as it gets in our league."
Clint Dempsey - Sounders FC Forward
(On the game...) "It was good work from everybody. Good, quick play, quick transition of the point of attack from the midfield. Getting the ball wide-Pappa and Neagle also contributing, Ozzie and Pineda with the good passing and getting us the ball in good spots and we were able to make things happen with link-up play through each other, as well. I would have to say it's a team effort."
(On how his current hot streak stacks up to others in his career...) "The year I scored 23 with Fulham, I was on a pretty good run there, but it feels good. We're in a good rhythm as a team, we have a good locker room, and it think that shows on the field in our play."
(On the team's current run of good form...) "I think it's our team confidence and getting in a good rhythm of play and building off of that. You can see that the link-up play is really good throughout the whole team and we're creating opportunities for each other. It's not just me and Oba. Other players are making a difference and getting in good spots and we've been able to finish opportunities."
(On getting creative and trying different things...) "That's what it's about. That's when you enjoy your ball the most, when everybody's contributing and everybody feels valued. We didn't get frustrated in the beginning of the first half...we kept plugging away and were able to get that goal going into half that gives you a little bit of a lift and know that coming out in the second half, if we can keep that pressure on them and get some more chances then we'll be able to take the game to them and start putting down some good performances at home."
(On the goal right after halftime...) "That's what you need to put more pressure on them and give them a little more of a mountain to climb in terms of trying to get back in that game. We kind of never took our foot off the gas. We would have liked to have kept a clean sheet, but at the same time there was some good play there and some things that we were excited about in terms of how we're progressing as a team and I look forward to next game."
(On getting a win at home...) "You always want to do well at home. You always want it to be a fortress. You want it to be a place where people know it's going to be difficult to get points here. Getting in a good rhythm has allowed us to come here today and put in a good performance, and now it's about that confidence of playing well at home and continuing to move forward."
(On building a fortress at home...) "You could use different words to describe that home field advantage and making sure it's difficult for other teams to come here...It's a good mentality to have in terms of making sure it's difficult for people to come here and play. We have to use to our advantage, and I think we did that today."
(On rewarding the home fans...) "It's a step in the right direction. It's not just one game...We know throughout the season those performances will add up and we can reward the fans for the atmosphere that they create here because it's not like any other atmosphere I've been around...it's an awesome experience for players to be able to play in that type of environment and shows how far the game has come in the states."
(On everyone being in rhythm...) "I think that comes from confidence, knowing that if you do make those runs that you're going to get the ball. Maybe in the past, not wanting to make that run because you felt that if you do, they aren't going to see you and might be better to conserve your energy. I think just also the unselfishness of the players, being able to say, ‘You know what, go make that run that's going to create space for other people,' and also being in the back of the defenders' mind in terms of what we're going to do. Are we going to play the ball behind them? Are we going to link-up play? Try to keep them guessing. I think having that mix in your play allows you to pick teams apart. You need that to be successful. You have to have multiple dimensions to your game."
(On his play now compared to when he first arrived in Seattle...) "Last season I felt that I was getting in good positions and putting people in positions to get forward into the attack. I would say I have to compliment my teammates because they're getting in better positions in front of goal-I'm getting better looks right in front of goal. When I first came, I felt like there weren't too many games I could look back and say, ‘You know what, I had a lot of chances I should have scored.' I feel like in games now I'm getting good looks and looks that are allowing me to put the ball in the back of the net. I would have to compliment my team. I think we're playing better right now then we were towards the end of last season."
Obafemi Martins - Sounders FC Forward
(On his scoring goal...) "The ball went to Traore, so I saw Lamar \had the ball so I had to go the space and just do that. One on one I had to do something and I got rid of the defender and I just flicked it. I'm glad that we started doing everything quick, passing the ball around and gelling today; it's a good win so I'm glad."
(On the win at home...) "It's good to win, to have a three point game at home. It's my first goal this year at home. I needed it so bad, I want to score at least I gave the lead a little bit. I'm glad to score today and I'm glad that we won."
Stefan Frei - Sounders FC Goalkeeper
(On today's victory...) "It was exceptional play. [We had] really good combinations and we played beautiful football at times today. It's really nice for a change to win comfortably."
(On not getting a shutout...) "Yeah obviously you want to get a shutout. Our average is coming down, which is great, but we won comfortably today... And a win is all that matters. Obviously we want to get a shutout, we want to get to the point where we take pride in shutting teams out, but today we won with a big statement win."
(On finally winning at home...) "It is usually the opposite-you win at home and struggle on the road-but it is good to have gone through a tough stretch on the road, but like I've said before those wins don't really matter if you can't win at home.... Now with another stretch at home we want to take care of things at home and we're in a good position."
(On currently sitting atop of the table...) "It's awesome to be a part of a team where you can win 4-1. As a goalkeeper that saves you from a heart attack. I am just proud to be part of this team... It's been an awesome team to be a part of."
Dylan Remick - Sounders FC Defender
(On playing after having some time off...) "It feels really good to start playing again, not the ideal circumstances but it always feels good especially in front of our home fans."
(On how important win was to team's psyche...) "I think it was vital. That was one of things coming into this game, we lost a few at home earlier in the year and we sort of want to change that. Make this place a stadium where people don't want to come and play and they fear coming to play at our home stadium. In the last few games we gave up a goal and had to fight from behind which is good to our character but it's always good to go out and put a few goal in on a team and sort of take care of the game. We were pretty happy that we did that and it was important to move forward."
(On how important the first goal was before half...) "Yeah that was huge; obviously when you score that close to halftime is always a big boost going into halftime. To score a few right after the second half started it really hard for a team to comeback from that. They score one but we put another one away so once we scored those two, started feeling really good, everything got a little bit more easier and a little bit more simple so it was pretty good."
(On Clint Dempsey's performance...) "I mean it's unreal, he's showing everybody why he one of the best American players to ever play the game. He's scoring week in and week out you sort of just know that its him or Obafemi that's going to score every game. For a defender it's like alright hold the other team to zero or one goals and you always got a chance with players like that."
Pablo Mastroeni - Colorado Rapids Head Coach
(On what caused the team's struggles today ...) "I think the fact that they scored four goals definitely helped in their result. In the first half, we did a pretty good job of getting a foot in the game. But that goal at the end of the first half really set the tone for the second half. We came out flat in almost anticipating almost more of the same. For me it was disappointing that the mindset wasn't right going into the half. For the better part of six games, we were a really good defensive team, but after receiving two or three goals, you begin to doubt your ability as a player. That was the disappointing part. Overall, I think the guys competed to the end and there's some positives to take from the game."
(On how Seattle found the holes in the defense ...) "The two guys up top really made a difference. (Obafemi) Martins and (Clint) Dempsey really caused us a bit of grief. And again, if you're not good with the ball, you're going to end up defending. Against a team like this, you definitely don't want to be defending deep in your half as we found ourselves for the majority of the game. It's our poor decisions moving forward and our lack of effort when we do have the ball and relying on our defense. With the type of players they have, it just put a lot of pressure on our defense and forced a lot of errors that led to the dismantling of the team."
(On Dillon Serna's goal ...) "You know I didn't even see the goal, to be fair. I thought he had a decent game, but at the end of the day, it's not about individuals, it's about team and what your role is on this team. I'm excited that he opened his account as a pro and I think he has a bright future. But as a team, we just weren't good enough."
Dillon Serna - Colorado Rapids Midfielder
(On scoring his first goal...) "Obviously it's a bittersweet feeling for me, getting my first goal. I just opened up on the outside and did a run towards the middle and got the through-ball and just put it over the keeper. It was a special moment for me, but I wish we could have gotten the result."
(On what in Seattle's play made the game difficult for them today...) "I just think we needed to defend a little better; defend together, not individually. I think there are definitely some things that we can learn from this game and come in next week and do better."
(On what he wants to improve on...) "That's the first time I played at the top of the diamond, actually, in a little while, so it was good to be back playing there. Knowing that they can trust me at the top, at the left or the right, it's good for me. I'll just keep practicing there and see what I can do to improve."
(On how they intend to use today's game to prepare for the LA Galaxy...) "I just think there's a good pairing here with [Clint] Dempsey and Obafemi [Martins], so we can watch some film and kind of see how Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan are going to play together. I think we'll be ready and more prepared next week."
(On whether his week with the U-21 National Team helped his game and his confidence...) "I think it did. I had a pretty good camp. I was playing left back at the camp. Getting to play all the positions will just benefit me, so I think it was a positive week for me and I was prepared for this game."
Drew Moor - Colorado Rapids Defender
(On what Seattle did that made the game difficult...) "They're a good team obviously, they've got some good players and they're playing really well right now. I think we were much more disorganized than we have been so far this season. I thought we started brightly the first 10 or 15 minutes, and started to lose possession a little bit and then just kind of got unorganized. I think the biggest thing was giving up the late goal in the first half. We had possession in our attacking third, I think, when it entered injury time, so you're feeling pretty good, and then 20 seconds later, the ball is in the back of our net. I think just more disorganized and just didn't defend well today."
(On what they need to work on to have a better result against the Galaxy...) "Obviously we need to regroup, take a look at how we got exploited today. L.A. is a different team than Seattle, they have some similar players, some fire power. This is one of those games you want to put behind you and move on, but it's a learning lesson. It's almost a good experience in a way, especially at this point of the season because we need to manage the game better; we need to manage the start and end of halves better. Really, if you include the end of the first half and the 10 minutes of the second half, it was 11-12 minutes there that we wish we could get back. So, manage the game better and just regroup and put it behind us but learn from it."