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Quick Review: Sharpshooting Sounders Crush the Revolution

Leo set the tone tonight and the Sounders finally clicked.
Leo set the tone tonight and the Sounders finally clicked.

This was the game that Sounders players and coaches have been talking about having for a while now. Like is the usual Sounders way, lots of chances were created, but the big difference tonight was that shots were put on frame. Tonight the Sounders put eight on target, twice their total for the last two MLS matches combined. That combined with a solid defensive performance that effectively took Shalrie Joseph out of the game allowed the Rave Green to grab all three points and take a big step toward righting the ship.

The Sounders were probably helped somewhat by the fact that the Revs were forced to play Shuttleworth in the absence of Reis and Burpo, and he definitely had the look of a third stringer, especially on the third goal. But the Sounders looked like the better team on all areas of the field and the other two goals would likely have beaten any keeper in the league.

Taking Dave's Keys to the Game in reverse order:

  • Stopping Shalrie Joseph
    Big check here. There were long stretches where Joseph was invisible and he only looked dangerous once or twice. At lot of this was done by Ianni in the midfield, and I think Ianni is really showing his versatility in deputizing for Alonzo.
  • Set Plays
    Another check here. Even though the Sounders didn't score from any set plays, they were very organized and balls were cleared out of the penalty area with dispatch. Obviously there are still things to work on, such as getting the ball in the net from a corner, but this was a solid performance to build from.
  • Breaking the Bunker
    And check. This effort was helped immensely by Leo's early goal, which forced the Revs to chase the game, thereby opening up space for the Sounders to exploit. As they demonstrated against Boca, giving the Sounders room is a very dangerous thing.



Scoring Summary:

SEA - Leo Gonzalez (Zakuani) - 5
SEA - Steve Zakuani (Evans, Montero) - 24
SEA - Fredy Montero (Noonan, Gonzalez) - 42



Seattle Sounders: Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jeff Parke, Tyrone Marshall, Leo Gonzalez (Taylor Graham), Freddie Ljungberg (Sanna Nyassi), Patrick Ianni, Brad Evans, Steve Zakuani, Pat Noonan (Roger Levesque), Fredy Montero


New England Revolution: Bobby Shuttleworth, Kevin Alston, Cory Gibbs, Chris Tierney, Sainey Nyassi (Zak Boggs), Pat Phelan (Emmanuel Osei), Shalrie Joseph, Kenny Mansally (Edgaras Jankauskas), Joseph Niouky, Zack Schilawski, Marko Perovic


Quotes after jump.

Sigi Schmid - Sounders FC Head Coach

(Opening Statement...) "It's one of those games again. I see we outshot them 19-2, so again we created chances but they didn't...oh, I can change the story. I got used to saying the same thing all the time. No, it was nice to get some goals, tremendous first goal by Leo Gonzalez - that was a wonder strike, a tremendous strike on goal. Zakuani as well, a very well hit ball. Montero a good combination that put him in. I thought the soccer we played was good. I thought playing out of a 4-4-2 we were more dangerous having a partner up front. I thought Freddie Ljungberg wide right was outstanding, creating numerous opportunities for us. As we get used to him there as well, it will make it easier for us to get him the ball more often in better positions. I was just pleased with our effort. The theme today was we wanted to play like there's no tomorrow and we came out in the first half and we played that way so I'm very pleased with how we did."


(On what the win does for mentality...) "It does a lot. Obviously because we put a lot on our plate with these last two games at home. We've got DC coming in on Thursday we wanted to get our record to .500 before we go on the break. We want to make this a tough place for teams to play. I think we made it that way tonight so it does a lot for our spirit, it does a lot for our confidence, it just does an awful lot for the morale and it was good to win and score some fine goals."


(On doing things differently with preparation to bolster the offense...) "The only thing we did differently, we switched into a 4-4-2 because we felt by playing a 4-3-3, only having one striker in the middle and that often times being Montero, that we just didn't have enough of a threat there. By going with two strikers there, and I thought Noonan is another one who had an outstanding game tonight, it just gave us a good combination there and when we play like that we're a tough team because you have Zakuani on one flank and Ljungberg on the other, that's going to make you concerned a little bit and then you've got two forwards up front that they can serve the ball to. When balls got put in the box, and now we've got to get better still at finishing those opportunities, but when balls got put in the box we had people there, we had numbers there. Sometimes if we're a little more clever, a little more composed, we'll get even more goals. It was definitely a huge step in the right direction and the change in formation helped us the most."


(On New England goalkeeper situation...) "We talked about it, let's test him early, let's make sure we hit shots on goal, let's put crosses on top of him early, let's see what he's got and certainly the guys did that. Again, I don't think he can do much on the first goal. I don't think he can do much on the second goal and the third goal, obviously I'm sure he'd like to have another shot at that one. I thought overall we did a good job of testing him early."


(On the starting lineup . . .) "I don't see why not, unless somebody gets hurt. Obviously, being able to play the same group together helps as well because you get familiarity with each other, you sort of know where each other is. The main thing is everybody did their role tonight, everybody played their role. The defensive midfielder Ianni did a good job on Shalrie Joseph. You really didn't see Shalrie much during the game. He took care of that. Evans took care of a little more of the offensive part. The wingers took care of their part. The defenders took care of their part. I thought Parke was much better than he was in Colorado. He was sharper and quicker tonight, so all of those were plus steps for us."


(On wearing the same shirt Thursday...) "Yeah, I'm just debating right now if I want to launder it or not, as to which way is the best way to go with that. I always tell my wife, I know when it's going well it's because I'm not cold. If I'm really into the game I'm not cold, so it's like the guys at halftime, they said, do you need a jacket for the second half? I said, no, it's not cold out there."


(On coach John Wooden's death...) "Tremendous memories from the standpoint as a student there I had some friends who were on the basketball team and I used to watch practice all the time. Seeing him work, seeing the way he always tried to bring the best out of each individual and by bringing the best out of each individual,  that made them a great team. His calmness, his decorum having met him, spoken to him, just his overall demeanor, his outlook on life is tremendous. I think we've lost a very unique and a very special person. I've gotten emails from teammates of mine who were there at the same time and everybody is expressing how much they appreciated him. A lot of guys have the Pyramid of Success in their offices signed by him. It's a huge loss, but we were very fortunate to have him here for 99-plus years. He's a very, very special person and UCLA and sports are going to miss him."


(On something extra to be had from tonight...) "No, that we played good attacking soccer, which we always want to do. We want to be an entertaining team that we're able to win at home and now it's a matter of hey, let's continue to refine what we're doing, get to know each other better in this system of play and even finish off more opportunities. It was nice to break out and get three goals. We don't want to be the lowest scoring team in the league. We want to get out of that."


(On how the team played with a three-goal lead...) "I thought they played all right. We talked at halftime about making sure we maintain the same mentality, that we went out in the second-half with the same mentality and that didn't think that okay, it's easy. I thought we did, even at the start of the second-half we went right after them. We created some chances and obviously sometimes you get greedy and you want to get the fourth or fifth but I'm not going to be greedy right now Three is enough for tonight. I'd like to save some so we get two or three on Thursday."


(On Gonzalez getting forward more...) "That was funny because before the game we said to him, you've got a tough guy with speed in Nyassi, make sure you defend him, and if you can get forward once in awhile great, but don't worry about that. Obviously he proved me wrong, five minutes and getting forward and hammering the shot in. I think his ability to get forward was set up by defending Nyassi very well. Maybe it's because he goes against Sanna every day in practice so he had a good idea of what's coming. He deals with quick players pretty well, and he would steal balls and that would put him into the offensive part of the field - that allowed him to get forward because he defended really well."


(On playing more direct than previous...) "We talked about it early in the game. We wanted to make sure we could get our crowd behind us, even to the extent of saying on the kick-off we wanted to put the ball behind them. We talked about making sure that we get behind the defense a little more often, a little quicker, make them play in their end of the field and that would help us in terms of getting our crowd and putting the pressure on them and turning this into a home field."

Leo Gonzalez - Sounders FC Defender

(On going forward on offense . . .) "Indeed, it was the guidance from the management staff [to not go forward], but the opportunity showed up. I managed to go to offense and thank God I managed to score."

(On thoughts on goal . . .) "Before talking about the goal, I want to dedicate this to our friends, guys like [Jhon Kennedy] Hurtado and [Michael] Fucito, who are out with injury. Thank God. Again, it was a beautiful goal and gave us the confidence for the remainder of the game."

(On taking the shot . . .) "It was a matter of getting the confidence to kick and a little bit of luck as well. So thank God, it was a good goal."

Kasey Keller - Sounders FC Goalkeeper

(On the game . . .) "I'm just happy. I'm happy for everybody. I'm happy obviously for the fans and ownership and the players because this is what we have been working hard to turn. We know we have got another game on Thursday and, although we are going to enjoy ourselves, fans are going to enjoy themselves and everything. But we can't do this halfway. We know we have another game on Thursday that we are more than capable of winning as well. What a great way to go into the mini-break with six points. So it's halftime for me. Second half starts against D.C. [United]."

(On keeping clean sheet . . .) "I, for one, after we scored the third goal, I wanted to make sure we did all the little things right to keep the clean sheet in the back because that's very important for us right now. We conceded some goals late in games. We lost our concentration. I didn't want to have that negative thought process go into our head after this game. I wanted everybody to come out of this game knowing we got an unbelievable goal from Leo, great goal from Zakuani, Fredy did his thing - popped up, banged it. Then to have the defense have that confidence as well knowing they had nothing to lose. They are going to push guys forward and challenge for things and we were going to keep that zero at the back. This is hopefully a large, large step towards a lot of better things coming."

Steve Zakuani - Sounders FC Midfielder

(On the game . . .) "It was important. I think the three points was the most important thing because we had to win. I think I said on Tuesday that it was the most important game of our Sounders career so far because we had to win. We just had to win. We have been saying for awhile that there would be a game where we are going to break out and tonight happened to be that night. I think even more than just the result the performance was fantastic. It was great interplay, great opportunities. It was a good result, good to get the fans that and it sets up very well for D.C. on Thursday."

(On scoring second goal . . .) "It was very important. I think it came from our defensive effort first. We went into the game not letting them settle. We were on them from the first whistle. You could see guys were making tackles, guys were hustling. From that, you end up getting possession and the passing was very clean, very efficient. Sometimes it takes a special goal and Leo gave us that. Once he did that, we kind of settled and we were open."

Steve Nicol - Revolution Head Coach

(On coming back down three to nil...) "The first two goals were just window strikes, at the same time we didn't defend well. It is just school boy stuff; you don't let a man behind you on a throw in. We were sleeping and let a guy get to the edge of the box. It was a great finish but we were contributing to our own downfall. It is tough to come back from that. The third goal is just down right bad defending."

(On his speech to the team at halftime...) "I probably couldn't repeat it. We came out and played better. We played so bad in the first half we would have had to come out better. There is nothing we can take away from this game that is positive."

(On going into the break of the season...) "It is disappointing. We need to sit down with what we are doing and figure out how we are going to get results."

Bobby Shuttleworth - Revolution Goalkeeper

(On playing in his first MLS game tonight...) "We didn't get the result we wanted, I don't think we played very well. We just have to keep moving on and put this behind us right away."

(On the difficulty of playing in front of 35,000 screaming fans...) "I just tried to keep playing my game. Once the whistle blows the crowd is not an issue for me so I just tried to stay solid and help these guys out as much as I could."

(On having a rough first start to his career...) "It was my first MLS start, it was good to get it out of the way and we can keep progressing and picking up some points."

(On giving up 3 quick goals to start the game...) "It is never good to give up an early goal and they came after us right away. I just have to keep progressing and moving forward."

Kevin Alston - Revolution Defender

(On giving up three quick goals...) "We just can't come out and play that, with three easy quick goals we were chasing them all night."

(On the difficulty of coming back after giving up a few early goals...) "It is very difficult, tough. We are down and away, with the crowd it's just hard to fight back."

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