The Cascadia Cup is gone. That sucks. But there's a much bigger prize on the horizon, and Sunday's 3-1 win over FC Dallas certainly helps in the goal of getting there.
Playing a team that was absolutely desperate for a result, the Sounders looked the far more composed side. If not for absolutely spectacular play from Kevin Hartman, this could have been a real blowout. In large part because of Hartman's play, Fredy Montero was kept off the scoreboard.
Montero did, however, have a huge impact on the game. He made a spectacular play to get possession of the pass that led to the penalty and had two key passes to pick up assists on the other two goals.
Similarly, Eddie Johnson ended up being more of a facilitator in this one. His pass to Montero on the third goal was a thing of beauty, but it was just the most notable of many strong passes that helped set up good scoring opportunities. As they have been showing increasingly, he and Montero are really starting to form an understanding that bodes well for the playoffs.
SEA - Brad Evans (PK) 32'
DAL - Blas Perez 40'
SEA - Brad Evans (Christian Tiffert, Fredy Montero) 60'
SEA - Mauro Rosales (Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson) 79'
Seattle Sounders FC - Michael Gspurning, Adam Johansson, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch, Mauro Rosales (Andy Rose 83), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Christian Tiffert (David Estrada 89), Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson.
Substitutes Not Used: Marcus Hahnemann, Mario Martinez, Sammy Ochoa, Mike Seamon, Steve Zakuani.
TOTAL SHOTS: 15; SHOTS ON GOAL: 7; FOULS: 17; OFFSIDE: 1; CORNER KICKS: 6; SAVES: 2.
FC Dallas - Kevin Hartman, Zach Loyd, Hernan Pertuz, Matt Hedges, Jair Benitez, Daniel Hernandez (Carlos Rodriguez 81), Andrew Jacobson, Fabian Castillo, Ricardo Villar (Scott Sealy 74), David Ferreira, Blas Perez.
Substitutes Not Used: Richard Sanchez, Matias Jara, Bryan Leyva, James Marcelin, Bobby Warshaw.
TOTAL SHOTS: 11; SHOTS ON GOAL: 3; FOULS: 12; OFFSIDE: 5; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 4.
SEA - Christian Tiffert (caution) 45'
SEA - Mauro Rosales (caution) 72'
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Referee's Assistants: Ian Anderson, Fabio Tovar
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal
Time of Game: 1:53
Weather: Rain and 46 degrees
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial
Brian Schmetzer - Sounders FC Coach
(On the game...) "The last time I sat here it was Pat Ianni on a bicycle kick-when we played Houston-to win the game. I don't know how many two-goal games Brad Evans has in his career...but I'm very thankful for Brad happening to have one now, and then the rest of the guys pitching in, as well, to make this a successful evening for not just myself, but the whole coaching staff. Like Sigi [Schmid] said at the stadium to thank the fans, but for the guys that did the hard work on the field. Our job is certainly important, but the players are the ones that really do the hard work. Being in my shoes, I get to work with some of the younger players on the squad, and I also get to help some of the older guys and the stars, as well. I certainly think I've touched or been involved with the group from top to bottom, and I think that's what I'm feeling right now-I'm proud of those guys for coming through and making sure really did our jobs tonight and made it into the second or third place and we control our destiny here with our last game. For me to win another game, it's just a pretty good feeling."
(On Portland beating Vancouver to clinch the Cascadia Cup right before the game tonight...) "Before the game we were watching the TV's and we knew the result walking out on the field and I said, 'Well, it's up to us. We have to do our job here and not worry about what they did.'"
(On avoiding the play-in between the fourth and fifth seeds...) "It's massive. It's massive. It's just an extra game on an already busy schedule. I think we must play more games than most teams in this league. We've had a couple injuries and we're trying to get back at it, and Wednesday games we're used to it. It certainly would have put a lot more mileage and a little bit more pressure to get us to where we want to be."
(On the build-up leading up to the game...) "I think we had a good week of training. I think the guys have kind of figured out that this is the lineup we're using. Certainly injuries and other things come into play, but the team has been on a steady up-tick as far as performances are concerned. You didn't want to add too much pressure to them, you wanted to tell them, 'Hey, we can control what we can control.' Whatever the result was up in Vancouver, whatever the result was LA-San Jose, those things are just little side-notes as far as our story is concerned."
(On the team...) "I think this team is good enough that if we play up to our potential and we worry about ourselves that we have a chance to beat anybody in this league."
Brad Evans - Sounders FC Midfielder
(On getting the win at home...) "Yeah it was a good way to close out our home stand at the end of the season. I think this is one of the most important games of the season so far. We made a statement and if we play well next Sunday I think we give ourselves a good chance going into the playoffs."
(On getting the penalty kick...) "It was bound to happen. Some teams get them all and some teams don't, but fortunately Fredy [Montero] made a good touch."
(On knowing what happened between Portland and Vancouver making the MLS cup more of a goal...) "Once we knew that was over, and we knew Dallas had to win this game we knew that they were going to throw numbers forward and we were able to catch them on a couple of counter attacks. We said that this is what the playoffs are going to be like so it was a good test for us going into the playoffs."
(On the build-ups today...) "Anytime a team throws that many guys forward you are going to have good build-ups. Especially with the type of team that we are, and with our skill at counter attacking, we knew that we were going to have some good build-ups today. For us it happens every game. It is just about making the right runs. There was a lot of unselfish play tonight, and we benefited from that tonight."
(On this team being more prepared for the playoffs than previous years...) "I think we are hungry more than anything. We can compete with anybody, and we have shown that throughout the year. For us I think that we are confident, but we aren't overconfident. I think we are playing with our backs against the wall and a chip on our shoulder. We are not overconfident, but I know the players we have, and I am confident with what we can do."
(On the Cascadia Cup result fueling that hunger...) "Obviously that is important to everybody top to bottom, especially the fans. If we can't give them that then we need to give them something else."
Mauro Rosales - Sounders FC Midfielder
(On the big win...) "Before the game we knew the results, and we knew that we were going to have to win this game. It was a very difficult game too, because they had to win today to get into the playoffs, and we did an excellent job. We need to keep playing like this, and then go into the playoffs at our best level."
(On Dallas playing differently because they knew they had to win...) "Yeah they did, but we knew they were going for the win so we were going to have more space to play. This helped us create more room for offense, and allowed us to score three goals today."
(On a difference between the 2nd and 3rd seed...) "There is a difference, because if we pass the conference round then we want to be the highest seed to host the final round, but we have to beat the conference teams first. We are in a good spot, and we just need to keep going."
(On this team being more prepared than previous years...) "Yeah everybody is tired, but we need to play with 5% extra because it is playoff time. The concentration and work need to be there during the week, and then we can do a better job in the playoffs."
(On the build-up to your goal...) "Patience. It was the patience that we had to go forward and play the ball from Eddie [Johnson] to Fredy [Montero], and eventually to me. We knew that we were going to have space every time, and we did a great time controlling the game."
(On the difference between setting up goals and scoring goals...) "No, it doesn't feel any different. I was just trying to find space. The defense was looking for the guys that score all the time, and not for me. I had to be creative and find the space."
Fredy Montero - Sounders FC Forward
(On the game...) "It was a very good effort from the team. Brad Evans-it was an unbelievable night for him. At the end of the day, I'm happy with my job out there and hopefully we keep going for the playoffs."
(On if the team is ready for the playoffs...) "Yeah, definitely. I think we are prepared for what we are going to have. The playoffs are going to be difficult. We've been waiting this whole year and we just want to start playing in the playoffs and see what we can do."
(On playing Real Salt Lake in the playoffs...) "It's the playoffs. You never know what's going to happen, but our mentality is going to be the same. At home, try to attack and score goals. You can see the last game that's what we tried to do."
(On this year's team compared to previous years' teams...) "Three years before we were new in this league. We didn't know anything about the playoffs, so now we have three times gone to the playoffs and we couldn't advance. This year, we are focused on what we need to do-run and battle every single ball and hopefully that's going to be enough for us to advance."
(On Portland winning the Cascadia Cup...) "I think we did what we needed to do. We played two games at home, and we won those games, we tied a couple times away, so that's all."
Schellas Hyndman - FC Dallas Head Coach
(Thoughts on game...) "It was a very important game for us, obviously, with Portland beating Vancouver, we felt like we had an opportunity to get a point and hopefully three, but it was a well played game by both teams, difficult environment as everyone says, and our guys gave everything they had."
(On goals...) "PK called, always a game changer, we score a nice goal, come back a call on our side of the field, but they played it quick, something we talked about, and they got a pretty easy goal out of that, and then scored a third. I think if you look at the stats and everything, it's probably a lot closer game than the score line."
(On the disappointment of not getting a point...) "Well, it's not just this game, it's the whole season. I ask you to look at any team in the league that has gone without seven starters in a game, tonight we went without five, we left five guys at home. We've done that the whole year. I think Blas [Perez] is leading the team with 9 goals, and I think he has missed half the season, with injuries and call-ups. For what we have on our team, not just with the injuries and suspensions and the things we could have done a little better at, I know my team, and I don't know how much more I could get out of them. We had Seattle twice at home, and both games we think we outplayed them, and found a way not to win. It has been a whole season thing."
Kevin Hartman - FC Dallas Goalkeeper
(On today's game...) "I thought we were a little naïve a couple of times tonight. It's a little disappointing that Vancouver left the door open for us tonight so we were in a position that if we were to get the win, or get a point at least, we would've put ourselves in a position that it would've come down to the last game. Seattle came out with a good game plan and stuck to it and were able to capitalize on some of their chances. It's been a rough one. Dealing with some scheduling and dealing with injuries, at the end of the day, it just wasn't good enough."
(On the injuries to the team this season...) "I would imagine that we were missing half of our salary cap for majority of the season. So it's difficult to compete without that level of talent on the field. To have such a front loaded schedule can be difficult as well, but we're not in the business of making excuses, we're in the business of getting wins and tonight we weren't able to do it. The pressure was on and the guys that we needed to have out there, the majority was out there. Seattle just beat us."
Zach Loyd - FC Dallas Defender
(On today's game...) "We knew that coming in a tie wasn't good enough. We were throwing bodies forward especially in the second half. We were tied one - one, and we knew that a tie wasn't going to get it. Unfortunately we got caught on a few counters and they capitalized on them, and we missed a few chances. At the end of the day I'm proud of the guys. We put everything on the field, and it's unfortunate that it ended the way it did, but we have one more game so hopefully we can go home and end the season on a good note."