Some on the network think that Sounders fans blame the referees too much. While they may be true, we have another match where a goal was scored off a bad call, and a PK was not awarded in a hand ball in the box that gained clear advantage. The fact is that while the Sounders are having troubles scoring even the league itself has admitted that it took goals off the board in Sounders matches.
I haven't tallied it yet, but I'm willing to bet that the Sounders have had more USSF Week in Review correction statements in their matches than any other team. A deserved result in this very match would have been nil-nil. Maybe 1-nil in the Sounders favor.
But they literally got ran over despite having proper positioning.
Here's the real key though. The Sounders can't fix the officiating in midseaon. Nor is it biased against the Rave Green Seattle side. It is what it is. Horribly inconsistent with little hope of getting better. Seattle should have more points, and they don't. And let's not pretent that the problem is that some Seattle players complain too much.
To say that Ljungberg complains too much is to assert that he should tacitly accept a level of refereeing that is not up to the standards of a league that claims it wants to be one of the ten best in the world. When I think of those best leagues I don't think of a goal like Conor Casey got tonight. I think of opportunities and plays like Montero to Zakuani to Ljungberg that got called offside by a player completely uninvolved in the play.
Do we whine too much?
Is Ljungberg, or the fans complaints to blame for this loss?
It isn't that the Sounders played a possession game against a bunker. This was two possession sides that faced off and the Sounders clearly had the run for the majority of the match. False offside calls, a missed handball in the box and a blatant foul by the home sides forward defined this match.
A commenter called it Sigi's Paradox, but it is clear that the coach prefers a veteran over skill. The first two subsitutions made little sense. In each case a more skilled player came off than someone left on the pitch.
Ljungberg made one costly run on offense as he chased down the Zakuani feed and pushed it further away from the goal destroying his angle besides that he had a great game. And yet there are some who want him sat? There are some that would blame the loss on him?
Quotes and stats as soon as we get them
COL - Conor Casey 63
Seattle Sounders FC: Kasey Keller, James Riley, Tyrone Marshall, Jeff Parke, Leo Gonzalez, Patrick Ianni, Freddie Ljungberg, Brad Evans, Pat Noonan (Roger Levesque 83), Fredy Montero (Miguel Montaño 76), Steve Zakuani (Sanna Nyassi 63).
Substitutes Not Used: Terry Boss, Zach Scott, Tyson Wahl, Nathan Sturgis.
TOTAL SHOTS: 9; SHOTS ON GOAL: 1; OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 4; FOULS: 8; SAVES 4.
Colorado Rapids: Matt Pickens, Marvell Wynne, Julien Baudet, Drew Moor, Danny Earls, Pablo Mastroeni, Mehdi Ballouchy, Jeff Larentowicz, Wells Thompson (Colin Clark 61), Omar Cummings (Quincy Amarikwa 89), Conor Casey.
Substitutes Not Used: Claudio Lopez, Ross LaBauex, Andre Akpan, Ian Joyce, Scott Palguta.
TOTAL SHOTS: 10; SHOTS ON GOAL: 5; OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 6; FOULS: 13; SAVES 1.
SEA - Leo Gonzalez (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 46+
COL - Pablo Mastoeni (caution; Tactical Foul) 48+
SEA - Patrick Ianni (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 52
SEA - Freddie Ljungberg (caution; Dissent) 53
COL - Marvell Wynne (caution; Reckless Tackle) 71
COL - Conor Casey (caution; Dissent) 93+
Referee: Jair Marrufo
Referee's Assistants: Greg Barkey; Peter Manikowski
4th Official: Ramon Hernandez
Time of Game: 1:15
Weather: 70 degrees and Cloudy
Sigi Schmid – Sounders FC Head Coach
(On the game…) “We didn’t capitalize on our chances. Breakaway by (Freddie) Ljungberg at the end of the half, (Fredy) Montero had a couple of good looks. If you give up a goal and you don’t score you will lose the game.”
(On Connor Casey’s goal…) “It was a battle for the ball. It looked like they tussled for it. (Jeff) Parke ended up on the ground. Conor did well and saw that Kasey (Keller) was out and he chipped him into the far corner.”
(On the state of the team at this point in the season…) “It is never too early to think about our points so far. Points are worth the same now as it is in the end. It doesn’t matter; if you are giving up points then you are giving up points. It has been frustrating because I don’t think we have walked off the field being an outplayed team. We just got to keep working and keep our belief in ourselves.”
(On finishing goals…) “You can talk about individual efforts on the chances that they had but balls usually go over the top of the goal. We just have to put more shots on goal and more shots on frame. We have been working on it and working on it and working on it but we have to put more shots on frame.”
Freddie Ljungberg – Sounders FC Midfielder
(On the game…) “It was a typical nil-nil game unfortunately. It was a physical game. I think all the boys were fighting real hard but the way that level of the game was allowed to play there was little chances. It was typical but very difficult and disappointing.”
(On concern at this point of the season…) “Everyone is really down because we did not get the result today. Sigi said that Colorado hasn’t ever lost two games at home in a row before and this would have been the second and we knew it would be hard. But hopefully we get stronger and we take this with us.”
Pat Noonan – Sounders FC Forward
(On the game…) “They were able to go all over the field. When you give guys that much time and space they are going to hurt you. Then they got the lead and they were able to hold it. I think we should have put more pressure on the ball and control the pace of the game.”
(On the lack of finishing…) “It will come. We have to be patient but at the same time we have to have that killer instinct. Whatever it is the last pass, shot, cross, whatever it is we just have to be precise and right now we are just a little bit off and it is costing us goals so we will fix it. We can’t keep our heads down or we will get smashed. So we need to bounce back. We have a week at home to prepare so hopefully we will take care of business there.”
Gary Smith – Rapids Head Coach
(On the game…) “For the players this is a big confidence boost and something they can push on with. With another clean sheet tonight, they can draw an awful lot from that. They are more than capable against the best sides to be creative and to keep the defensive side tight. You have to remember this group is in a transition in terms of formations and shape and they are still creating chances that we still need to improve on, but also making it difficult on other teams.”
(On Conor Casey and his goal…) “I think he come up with one that none of us were expecting. It is a fabulous goal and a worthy match-winning goal. And on top of that, I thought his performance overall was up there with his best in general play this season. Everything that is played into his body, it sticks. He is bringing other players into the play and buying us some time to allow the midfield to join him. His ability to switch the point of attack has improved enormously. And deservedly he got Man of the Match and hopefully it give him confidence moving forward.”
Conor Casey – Rapids Forward
(On his goal…) “I think Omar (Cummings) put me in (the box) and I got tangled up with the defender. I saw that Kasey (Keller) had come off his line so I looked to go to the back post with my shot and it found its way in. It’s been a while since I scored in the run of play so it felt good, for sure.”
(On the win…) “We haven’t had a league game in a couple weeks so to win these last two, it helps us gain some momentum. This year we have played well and sometimes without the win coming so it is good to play well as a team and get that win.”
Pablo Mastroeni – Rapids Defender
(On the team’s form of late…) “We have established ourselves as a decent possession team this year and when we move the ball quickly we find each other in good spots. That is critical to our play- that we move the ball quickly. If you are going to take someone on, make that decision before you receive the ball and, like-wise, when you are going to pass the ball, know where you are going with the ball. I think today we did a good job of moving the ball quickly which gave the next guy a couple more seconds. Those seconds add up over time and give you that much more time to think and make good decisions. There are a lot of things we are still working on but for the most part I think we are quite content with the way we are moving the ball.”