Nothing quite like a 4-0 drubbing to get you feeling good about the state of the season. Rarely have Seattle Sounders fans been treated to such a satisfying victory, especially not one against a previously unbeaten opponent who has all the looks of a Supporters' Shield contender as Real Salt Lake did, at least prior to Saturday's game.
Name a part of the team or even a player and they should grade out well. Aside from a couple bits of miscommunication between Chad Marshall and Stefan Frei, this was about as close to a perfect game as the Sounders have played. That they managed to do it without three of their normal starters basically balances out RSL missing a similar number of their stars.
Chad Barrett verged on a revelation, having as good of a game as a classic forward as we've seen from the Sounders this year. He only had the one goal, but could have had an assist or two while also helping generate the chance that led to the penalty. Lamar Neagle was a bit unlucky not to have more than his one assist, as an impressive save from Jeff Attinella kept him off the scoreboard and he repeatedly found space on the right wing. Brad Evans managed to have nearly as much influence on the attack as DeAndre Yedlin, sent in a couple great crosses and still managed to keep his side from being exploited.
Those might not have been the game's best playes, either. Marco Pappa had by far his best performance as a Sounder, even if you throw out his beautifully taken goal. Obafemi Martins easily could have had a couple goals and a couple assists instead of his single goal. Osvaldo Alonso essentially marked Javier Morales out of the match. I could go on...
Basically this was the kind of performance we've all been hoping to see. That it comes in Game 14, all but insured that the Sounders will go into the World Cup break leading the Supporters' Shield and came without Clint Dempsey and DeAndre Yedlin can only be considered hugely positive signs.
It's getting fun, guys. Enjoy.
SEA - Gonzalo Pineda (penalty) 42'
SEA - Marco Pappa 55'
SEA - Chad Barrett (Lamar Neagle) 62'
SEA - Obafemi Martins (Kenny Cooper) 90'
Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei, Brad Evans, Chad Marshall, Zach Scott, Leo Gonzalez, Lamar Neagle (Dylan Remick 75'), Osvaldo Alonso, Gonzalo Pineda (Andy Rose 90'), Marco Pappa, Obafemi Martins, Chad Barrett (Kenny Cooper 67')
TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Martins 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Martins 2); FOULS: 13 (Pineda 3); OFFSIDE: 1 (Scott 1); CORNER KICKS: 3 (Pineda 2); SAVES: 1 (Frei 1).
Real Salt Lake - Jeff Attinella, Tony Beltran, Nat Borchers, Aaron Maund, Chris Wingert (Abdoulie Mansally 59'), Javier Morales, Cole Grossman (Luis Gil 59'), Luke Mulholland (John Stertzer 74'), Ned Grabovy, Olmes Garcia, Devon Sandoval
Substitutes Not Used: Eduardo Fernandez, Rich Balchan, Robbie Findley, Carlos Salcedo,
TOTAL SHOTS: 6 (Garcia, Maund 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 1 (Garcia 1); FOULS: 21 (Morales 4); OFFSIDE: 1 (Garcia 1); CORNER KICKS: 4 (Morales 3); SAVES: 2 (Attinella 2).
RSL- Tony Beltran (caution) 43'
RSL- Nat Borchers (caution) 76'
SEA- Brad Evans (caution) 80'
Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Referee's Assistants: James Conlee, Gianni Facchini
4th Official: Tyler Ploeger
Time of Game: 1:51
Weather: Sunny and 71 degrees
-Sounders FC extends its lead in the Supporter's Shield standings and is now five points ahead of Real Salt Lake. This week will mark the seventh consecutive week Seattle has sat atop the standings, dating back to April 26.
-The win snapped Real Salt Lake's 12-match unbeaten streak (6-0-6), tied for the longest to start a season in MLS history.
-The Rave Green won its fifth consecutive match at CenturyLink Field-the longest home winning streak in MLS this season. The club's six home wins also lead MLS.
-The four-goal margin of victory is the largest of the season for Sounders FC.
-Gonzalo Pineda scored on a penalty kick for the second consecutive game, giving him two goals and four assists on the season. He is just the second player in club history to convert multiple penalty kicks in a season after Brad Evans (2011, 2012, 2013).
-Chad Barrett scored for the second consecutive game, giving him three on the season. The nine-year MLS veteran is now 14thamong active players with 47 career goals.
-Obafemi Martin' late goal is his sixth of the season, second on the team and tied-sixth in MLS.
-Lamar Neagle matched a career high by recording his fourth assist of the season, tied for second on the team.
-Kenny Cooper recorded an assist for the second consecutive match, giving him three on the season.
-The game marked the 18th meeting across all competitions between Salt Lake and Seattle (13th in MLS), tied for the most among Sounders FC opponents (LA Galaxy). Sounders FC now leads the series 7-6-5.
Sigi Schmid - Seattle Sounders FC Head Coach
(Opening Statement...) "Obviously we are happy with the result. Pleased because offensively they are a good team, pleased because we came away today with a shutout. That was one of the things we've been working on-defensively playing a little bit better. Once it was 3-0 they had a few chances at that point, but we also had some chances to score some more. I was pleased with the team's effort and pleased with the commitment to the game. Pleased with the way we came out in the first 15 minutes of each game. That was one of the goals we set before the game-coming out well at the beginning of each half."
(On the top two teams facing each other...) "It's two teams playing soccer. Obviously they were missing some guys and we were missing some guys, I never think about that or worry about that. It changes the game for sure-sometimes for a positive and sometimes in a negative away. When opportunities are there people step up and do different things."
(On finding passes in the midfield...) "I felt we did a good job at that. Gonzalo Pineda always helps us with that and I thought Marco Pappa had a very good game today. I thought he was excellent and he helped us with those passes in the midfield. I thought we were disjointed at times in the first half when were a little too direct, but in the second half it got a lot better."
(On the performance of Chad Barrett and Kenny Cooper...) "I thought Barrett did well and I thought Cooper did well. Barrett got a goal and he was running early I talked to him to put more pressure on the ball so they couldn't build as easily, and he did a great job at that. When he came out and I thought Kenny played very well also. When you get those kind of shifts it's a good thing."
(On Pappa's curling free kick goal...) "It was beautiful. We practice them all the time... this year we have a line of like nine guys wanting to take free kicks at practice and Ezra [Hendrickson] usually runs that for me. Today I turned to him and said, 'OK, who are my two?' And he said Pappa from the left and Neagle from the right."
(On players competing all over the field...) "It's what I expected us to do. It's not only our depth; it's our spirit. The guys like each other, the guys work hard for each other, the guys battle for each other. It doesn't matter who is out there on the field. We took (Dylan) Remick and put him at left midfield. We can take guys and put them at different positions and they will do what we need them to do in that particular game for us to be successful. I am very pleased with our depth-it's what we expect-but I am very pleased with our commitment to the game."
(On staying in first place...) "Right now it's not about sending messages, but we're in first place and we wanted to hold onto first place. We've talked about creating some separation there. As a group we are maturing and being able to step into a game between a first place team and a second place team and being able to win with a convincing result speaks volumes for our character."
(On Chad Barrett's role on the team...) "Chad is always a player that I have had a good relationship with since I coached him on the Under 20s. We always joked that one day I would find a way to get him onto a team that I am coaching, and it happened this year. He's an interesting fellow, but he has banged away three goals for us this year and gotten one assist. He's scored some important goals for us and he has that ability and capability. I am very pleased. He's a big addition for us, along with Kenny, because we knew we needed those guys."
(On stopping Real Salt Lake's unbeaten streak...) "We talked about it before the game that we wanted to break the streak and keep the record from a couple of people.... It was mainly that we wanted to beat them. It was No. 1 vs. No. 2, and we wanted to show them what we're made of."
(On second half adjustments...) "In the second half we talked about possessing the ball a little better. We talked about getting Pappa 20 yards up the field because he was dropping back. We talked about those things and the team executed that fairly well. It was a tight game in the first half as it is when top teams play each other, no team wants to give an inch.)
(On whether or not it should have been a penalty...) "I haven't seen the replay of it... I don't know if it's a PK or not."
(On Stefan Frei posting a shutout...) "Obviously we are happy with the shutout. It's something we talked about it...he was making big saves today and it was a good test for his character to show that he can come back and play well."
(On the defensive performance...) "Defensively I thought it was OK. There were still times I wanted to do a little bit better with it, but I think our effort defensively was as good as it's been."
(On Brad Evans' performance...) "I thought Brad did well. He obviously helps us with headers and duels...he picks and chooses his moments well, I thought defensively he did well. The thing he gives you back there is wherever you put him he talks. His talking, organizing, and pushing makes it easier to defend."
(On Martins scoring a late goal...) "I was very happy with Martins. I thought he was snakebit because he had some great chances... for him to come up with that goal was a just reward for the effort he put in. running, playing, moving is something we are always talking about."
(On another sellout crowd...) "I am obviously very happy with that. We go to Chicago next week and won't be home for a while, but we will be super excited to come home in July. I think our next three MLS games are on the road, but we have been a good road team and we got to carry it to the road. But we love playing in front of our home fan-it's fantastic."
Chad Barrett - Sounders FC Forward
(On defeating Real Salt Lake...) "It feels great, especially when you're going against top of the table class. It's a chance for us to put some distance between us and second place. We did that, they're missing a couple of guys, we're missing a couple of guys we made sure that we weren't going to go easy on them. Great crowd today, great day for soccer, great result."
(Thoughts on Sounders FC possession...) "I thought first half we were doing OK, we were really feeling it out and getting the penalty kick was huge, just to get the 1-0 lead going into second half. Getting a lead here, I've been on the visiting side here it hard to come back from that and once that second goal went in I didn't think they had a chance."
(On his goal...) "Coming in here once you get one goal the goal seems to get a little bit bigger every time, it was a great pass by Lamar. I just wanted to make sure to get the shot off before the defender got back, he almost got to it but thank God he didn't."
Marco Pappa - Sounders FC Midfielder
(On his goal...) "When I shoot it I want to put it in the net for sure. Scoring my first goal I felt a lot of confidence, which is a good thing. And I think it's also because of Fridays before game we were train for free kicks, I think that had a part to do with it and those are the things that are important. What's more important is that the team got three points and now we have to look forward to the Chicago game."
(On the personal importance of the goal...) "It means a lot for me because it has been a while since I scored goal because of what happened to me in the past but now I'm living in the present and I'm feeling better and better and also the team is looking good. We're still in first place and now we have to keep that going."
(On handing Real Salt Lake first loss defeat of the season...) "Yes, it was something Sigi talked a little bit about in the team meetings. It important that the teams that come and play here at our home they have to see what kind of team we are."
Obafemi Martins - Sounders FC Forward
(On the game...) "I thought we defended quite well, which is good. That's what we've been working on this week, so I'm going to praise the defenders because they did well today."
(On his work up front today...) "As a striker, the only thing I can think is to keep working until you get a goal. I kept working at it, make some chances...so I'm happy."
(On shielding a defender on the build-up to Chad Barrett's goal...) "I think that was the only thing I could do. The defender was a little bit faster, so I had to disturb him. I tried to distract him a little and everything, and Lamar [Neagle] just went through alone and gave it to Chad [Barrett], and Chad scored."
Stefan Frei - Sounders FC Goalkeeper
(On the play of the defense...) "Played really well today. I think we played extremely smart. It's a very hot day today, obviously for both sides, but it can take a toll if you're running around and expending a lot of energy for nothing. I think we defended really, really smart today. We didn't give up very many chances. Even though we scored four, you had the feeling that we were really well organized and one or two was going to be enough today, but it's always good when you can put away a team like that."
(On the play of Brad Evans at right back...) "He's a very versatile guy and an exceptional player, so he did really well. He brings tons of leadership and communication, as well-he's a loud guy back there. It was good to have him in the back four."
(On giving RSL its first loss...) "Another motivation that we knew going into this game. They're obviously a very good team and they were right with us at the top of the West. Now we've created a bit of separation, which is good, but they're a really good side and I'm very, very happy with the result today."
Gonzalo Pineda - Sounders FC Midfielder
(On scoring on a penalty kick for the second straight game...) "It's always good to score. It was the first goal of the game, so I feel very good and because of that, it opened the goals for today."
(On the group offensive effort today...) "That was fortune. I always want to score, but I more want the team to win the games, so it was good for everybody today that we scored four goals."
(On winning at home against a big league rival...) "Today was a big game for us. Sigi told us right before the game that today was a very important game for us, for the fans, for the crowd. This was a playoff-like game because we wanted to keep first place in the league, and we did, so it was big for everybody."
Jeff Cassar - Real Salt Lake Head Coach
(On how he feels the team played...) "To be honest with you, I just told the guys to discount the third and fourth goals because we were pushing and we knew we were going to be exposed at the back. But I thought the commitment level was there. It was a very even match in the first half for sure. Two dead ball situations - the PK and the free kick - then the rest was just breaks on counters. It's a tough place to play and we don't have a full arsenal, but I thought the guys out there did a very good job."
(On the performance of defender Aaron Maund...) "I thought his inpidual battles were good, but maybe the decision making on a few plays was tough. Obviously the PK call - I don't feel like it was a PK. Neither does Aaron. Any time you leave your feet, you leave it up to the referee to make that call. I think he was kind of going away from goal a little bit. The counter attack goal, maybe it's an early foul or stop the play. But I thought he battled through it and it's about moving on and showing your character. And Aaron has really strong character. It's about focusing on Columbus now."
(On the momentum swing following the PK...) "When it's hard fought, it's the 42nd minute, it's a very even match at a tough place to play, then that - it is a little deflating. But I thought our guys came out hungry and were trying to get back in the game. We weren't accepting 1-0 down, but it just wasn't our day. Credit to Seattle for capitalizing on our mistakes."
(On fixing the team's recent offensive struggles ...) "I thought [Olmes] Garcia had a fantastic match - probably his best one of the year, which is really promising. But I thought Chad Marshall was really fantastic for them. He really was working Devon [Sandoval] and making every touch Devon had on the ball extremely hard. He won a lot of aerial battles. Right now it's about getting our bodies right to get ready for another game on Wednesday and then another game on Saturday so that's what we're going to do."
(On the team's first midweek game and the quick turnaround ...) "Like I said, it's really about taking care of our bodies. Obviously we have 19 healthy bodies right now. It's definitely not easy, but I know the character in our locker room is extremely strong."
(On if having a quick turnaround helps wash this one away ...) "Absolutely. What I've been stressing all along with these guys is we win, great, on to the next game. We lose, OK it sucks, move on to the next game. That's what we're going to do - move on to the next game."
(On his first loss as a head coach ...) "I don't enjoy it. I don't want it to happen often, but we knew it was going to happen [eventually]. It was a fantastic run that we went on, but I'm trying to make sure the team will react the same way I do - we have work to do and it's on to the next game."
Nat Borchers - Real Salt Lake Defender
(On playing again in three days...) "Either way I think that we're going to bounce back. They didn't crush us 4-0 beliged? the actual way the game was played and I think that we've got some good games ahead of us and it'll be important to respond for sure."
Jeff Attinella - Real Salt Lake Goalkeeper
(On the PK...) "I came out, called Tony (Beltran) off of it, though I had it and then next thing I know I didn't. I tried to scramble and find the ball. I thought Aaron (Maund) did a good job of going shoulder to shoulder with him but obviously the ref thought differently and it definitely changed the game. It is what it is; you can't leave it up to a call. Maybe I should have gone through him but I thought I had the ball but who knows. Obviously he saw it better than I did."
(On playing in three days being better after a loss like this...) "Yeah, I think so. Quick turnaround, which is great, not a lot of time to think about it. We get on a plane tomorrow and we knew this was going to be a tough stretch. Whether we lost 1-0 or 4-0 it really didn't matter we knew we were going to have to get a result in one of these games. So, heads up, move on, leave it in the locker room and get ready for Columbus."