Rarely have the Seattle Sounders dominated a match as thoroughly as they did against the New England Revolution on Saturday. The Sounders had their best passing game of the season (attempting 596 passes and completing 83 percent), won 57 percent of the duels and didn't allow a single shot on a goal. The Sounders actually completed nearly three times as many passes as the Revs (495-170).
Yet, we all know the scoreline: 0-0.
The Sounders' inability to score is obviously a problem. It's a glaring problem. Given the quality of the chances, it's even more alarming, and it's not as if Bobby Shuttleworth had to play out of his mind either. The Sounders simply have to do better when they are around goal, whether or not Eddie Johnson and Obafemi Martins are playing.
But that doesn't mean we should entirely discount how well the Sounders played. They swung the ball around wonderfully. They connected quick, short passes while also looking for the more dangerous ball. The central midfield of Osvaldo Alonso and Shalrie Joseph looked, yes, dominant. Alonso was a rather shocking 108-for-116 passing, had 10 recoveries, three interceptions and four clearances. Joseph was 63-for-72 passing with 14 recoveries. If the Sounders dominate the center of the midfield like that, much better days are ahead.
There positives to be found in aspects of just about every player in the front six in fact and there really wasn't anything to complain about on defense either, aside from a couple miscommunications.
The glaring issue remains that the Sounders are winless. This game did not solve that. But playing like this suggests better days are ahead.
Seattle Sounders FC - Michael Gspurning, DeAndre Yedlin, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Djimi Traore, Leo Gonzalez, Mauro Rosales (Mario Martinez 83), Osvaldo Alonso, Shalrie Joseph (Andy Rose 74), Alex Caskey, Steve Zakuani (Philip Lund 74), Lamar Neagle.
Substitutes Not Used: Marcus Hahnemann, Zach Scott, Marc Burch, Sammy Ochoa.
TOTAL SHOTS: 13; SHOTS ON GOAL: 3; FOULS: 14; OFFSIDE: 4; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 0.
New England Revolution - Bobby Shuttleworth, Andrew Farrell, Jose Goncalves, A.J. Soares, Chris Tierney, Kelyn Rowe, Clyde Simms, Kalifa Cisse (Andy Dorman 64), Lee Nguyen, Juan Toja (Saer Sene 74), Larry Bengston.
Substitutes Not Used: Matt Reis, Donald Smith, Darrius Barnes, Diego Fagundez, Stephen McCarthy.
TOTAL SHOTS: 5; SHOTS ON GOAL: 0; FOULS: 16; OFFSIDE: 3; CORNER KICKS: 4; SAVES: 3.
Referee: Chris Penso
Referee's Assistants: Mike Rottersman, Baboucarr Jallow
4th Official: Tyler Ploeger
Time of Game: 1:51
Weather: Partly Cloudy
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial
POSTGAME QUOTES: Sounders FC vs. New England Revolution
Sigi Schmid - Sounders FC Coach
(On the game...) "Just a little bit of déjà vu in terms of you have to finish your chances. If you finish your chances you win games. We had chances to put the game away in the first half-we didn't score, we didn't put the game away in the first half. You let them hang around and they almost caught us at the very end. You work and you train towards playing with a rhythm and being able to put pressure on the other team, maintaining possession of the ball, creating chances-we did all that and we continue to work on our finishing and all that. The opportunities are there and we need one to go in. We didn't finish it today and that's why we're standing here with a tie."
(On if the team was pressing to score...) "I don't know if we were pressing to score a goal-you want to score a goal. Pressing would be if guys are taking shots from ridiculous angles or trying stupid things. The shots we're getting-breakaway, across the goal mouth pass, those kind of opportunities are good opportunities, you just have to finish them."
(On being unable to finish a chance...) "They're all soccer players so they should all finish. If you had an actual forward there-maybe if he gets that opportunity, maybe his quality is better. That's why some guys start and other guys don't. The guys right now today were Neagle and Zakuani and it was their opportunity to try to finish something. The next time we'll have to see. We'll obviously have to find somebody who can finish consistently and at the same time supply us, as well, with the work rate we need. The work rate was good, and part of the opportunities that got created were because of the work rate. Lamar making those inside out runs-he's getting the ball, getting at them-that's what creates those opportunities and so we need the work rate and the quality."
(On controlling the run of play...) "For the first 70 minutes, for sure. I thought for the last 15 minutes we had lost the plot a little bit. Shalrie was really fatigued, that's why I had to take him out. But it disrupted our rhythm a little bit of our play and they came into the game a little bit when they switched to a 4-4-2. That's probably a point in the game where you say maybe we were pressing a little bit looking for that goal. Guys were starting to think, 'Oh jeez, it's not going to come,' and put some pressure on themselves, but for the first 70 minutes I thought it was good."
(On the play of Lamar Neagle...) "I thought Lamar was alright. He needs to maybe get a few more looks himself onto goal. It's just little things like the cross at the end where the cross was just a little high, if Caskey hits that cross and it ends up being a foot lower, Lamar can step up and bury that ball into the back of the net. So he put himself in a good position, but the service was a little bit high. I thought Lamar did what I asked him to do-he stayed high, he occupied the back two, he made runs in behind the defense, he won his duel with A.J. Soares in terms of the aerial dual and things like that which we felt he could...I was happy with how he played. I thought he put in a good shift."
(On Steve Zakuani's play at forward...) "I thought in the Santos game he was the guy that was most closely involved with the majority of our chances, so that's why I decided to give him another game there-hopefully a little more relaxed and understanding what we want. I thought he did an even better job this game through, especially the first 45, staying high and being more of a threat to their back line. Again, he had two really quality looks in the first half, then he had a quality look that he created himself in the second half off the dribble. If you finish one of those three-we don't need all three, I just need one of those three-and we're there, and I'm sure he feels the same way. There's nobody that feels worse than he does."
(On Philip Lund ...) "Lund has been training well. He's busy and he's active. He hits a heavy shot with either foot so we felt like giving him a go. I think he was maybe little bit overwhelmed his first game so I don't think he got into it or got involved as much as I think he could have. But it's based upon what he's been doing."
(On getting the first shutout of the year ...) "It's great to have a shutout and hopefully we'll have more. I think Djimi Traore got beat up pretty bad today in the game. At the end of the game he was struggling a bit and we were fortunate to even hold a shutout at the end. That's the good part - we got the shutout. It feels hollow right now because I know the guys sitting in there, they wanted the win and it was there for us to take."
(On guaranteeing a win and whether the players rose to the occasion ...) "It was all about me showing my support for the players because I believe in the group and I believe in what we have. I thought it was great. Apparently (New England coach) Jay Heaps thought I was taking a shot at his team. I'm not worried about his team. I could care less about what they're about. What I'm worried about is my team. It was about showing them that I'm behind them and that I believe in them. We talked about starting it off today ... that today is the day we start it. We sort of started it with a tie, but we need to start it with a win."
(On if he was happy with the effort the players turned in ...) "I thought through the first 70 minutes, we played well. Soccer-wise, it was decent, it was as good as we've played at times. It's just a matter of finishing."
(On why they have been unable to finish chances this season...) "It's hard to say. In training we've done a lot of things in terms of going offense against defense, numbers up, numbers down in terms of going to goal, trying to put them in front of goal. We try to play goals in tight and put them in situations where they're comfortable finishing. But the psychological part you can't measure. Sometimes you do press and it's just not happening. It's like when you're trying to water your lawn and your hose gets that little kink in it. When you're around the corner, you're looking to see where that kink is. If you get that kink out, then all of a sudden there it goes. It all looks so easy. Right now we just can't find the little kink in the hose."
(On the play of Osvaldo Alonso...) "I think Ozzie played well. I thought for the most part that we controlled the midfield. I thought Ozzie and Shalrie had good control of the midfield and we were in possession of the ball. He helped us recover a lot of balls. It was good, he was busy, he was active. Ozzie and I had talked about that being the strength and always being able a hallmark of his game...Again, he won his job, he won the ball and played it on, and guys have to their job from there on."
(On the play of Shalrie Joseph...) "Shalrie's helping us. I think it's still a little rough at times because he's still getting into his game rhythm and his fitness rhythm. For him to play two games this week and play basically around 160 minutes in those two games is going to go a long way towards really improving his game as we move forward. I think he's been a combination. If we can get Evans out there, as well...and it'll all come together. For now, that's not the situation."
Shalrie Joseph - Seattle Sounders FC Midfielder
(On the game...) "It's disappointing. The feeling throughout the locker room is a feeling of disappointment. We put out a great effort as a team. We created chances. We moved the ball well. But at the end of the day, not getting three points is disappointing and frustrating."
(On his MLS debut for Sounders FC...) "It felt great. From the moment I got out there with the crowd chanting and the atmosphere is unbelievable. It's just disappointing that we weren't able to get the three points. That's why we came out here tonight. We pushed the team from the starting whistle, moved the ball well and dominated possession. Like I said, disappointing we weren't able to get three points."
(On how he feels physically...) "I feel great. A little tired towards the end but the more practice and the more games I get the better I'm going to be, the stronger I'm going to be, and the better the team is going to be. It's going to take a little bit longer than we expected to get that win. We played well tonight and there's a lot of positives we can take from that as we move forward to next week."
(On the positives from the game...) "I think we dominated the game from the start of the whistle. I think we had like 65 to 70-percent of the ball and we created a lot of chances. Steve [Zakuani] was very dangerous up top, and Lamar [Neagle] up top with him. We got Mauro [Rosales] involved early in the game, which is good for our team, and then Ozzie was brilliant in the middle like he always is. The back four were unbelievable tonight so it was a great team performance. There's a lot of positives we can take from it but at the end of the day we just weren't able to get the three points we needed. We are looking forward to next week and we will move on to there."
Lamar Neagle - Seattle Sounders Forward
(On the game...) "It's nice to put everything together, but obviously we wanted this win. We had our chances that we couldn't put away, and we really needed these three points before going on these road games. It's obviously disappointing, but it's nice to see our offense going. Like I said before, we really need to score the goals."
(On the game, continued...) "I was hoping this was going to be one of those games to get us started, so it is very frustrating when we are in front of their goal for half the game, and can't get it in the back of the net."
(On playing forward...) "I felt good. It is a very fun position for me, less defensive responsibility and staying high and being a nuisance on the defenders. It's much more fun than tracking back and keeping track of guys."
Steve Zakuani - Sounders FC Forward
(On the game...) "When you draw 0-0 at home in a game and you dominate like that, it's disappointing. Even more so because of the situation we're in - we're trying to get wins. We had a lot of chances and I did create some. That left-footed one, that was as close as I could do it. I hit the ball pretty well and it went close. The one in the first half where I caught the guy and shot with the right foot ... you can look back and always say put it lower, but as it happens ... it was happening on the fly. I just can't buy one at the moment. But these things happen in football. The biggest disappointments for me are those small ones that can turn one point into three points. I feel more disappointed for my teammates because I really want to get those balls in, but at the same time I know that once that first ball goes in, it turns around. Overall, we are happy with how we played, but at this point, the result is what's most important and we didn't get it again. You can't fault the guys' effort or play. We were aggressive, we took the game to them, we were fighting ... we just need one goal to go in. We just need it. That's the most disappointing thing."
Jay Heaps - New England Revolution Head Coach
(On the game overall...) "I thought our first half wasn't very good. We weren't good enough with the ball and weren't creating enough. The second half was definitely a little bit better for us. It's a tough place to play and our guys stepped up to the challenge. We did a nice job defensively. We have to continue to push forward and get chances. As the game went on, we got stronger and had more chances that were dangerous toward the end. We just have to get those earlier in the match."
(On the message at halftime...) "We had to be better with the ball. It was clear that a lot of our giveaways were unforced errors. It has to be a little bit better in that regard. This is a hard place to come with the travel and everything involved with it. But in terms of how we handled ourselves the last few minutes of the game I thought was pretty good, and we have to make sure that we continue to do things like that."
(On both teams are fighting for points...) "Both teams are struggling to get wins so we knew they were going to come out flying and they did. That was part of our job - to manage the first 20 minutes of the game, then try to take the game on. We never really did that until the second half. I thought (Andy) Dorman came in and did an excellent job as did all of our subs. Saer (Sene) came in and you could tell we were a little more aggressive offensively when he was on. That's what we need to bring and it was a good first step for him."
(On Saer Sene...) "He's not 100-percent yet, but you can see some of the things he can do. He kept the ball for us, made some good runs and his fitness is going to come along. His body is good, but we just need to get his fitness up. He definitely helped us."
(On the decision to play Bobby Shuttleworth...)"Really it came down to a week of training and Matt (Reis) was starting to get a little bit better. Ultimately the decision came down to who was stronger at this time. It was clear that Matt wasn't at 100-percent - he probably wasn't even at 90-percent. Bobby has been in big moments for us this season already. He's had a couple of tough goals against and (today) he really stepped up and made a huge save in the first half and a huge save in the second half."
(On the backline posting another shutout...) "I think (Chris) Tierney did a nice job defensively for us and stepped in. It was his first game back and getting him settled in. Chris going forward will really help us, but (today) I think he was more worried about defensive responsibilities."
Bobby Shuttleworth - Revolution Goalkeeper
(On their performance...) "I think it wasn't our best stuff today. We didn't keep possession as long as we wanted to. But we came in here and we fought and I think that showed."
(On Sounders' early attack...) "We knew in the first 15 minutes they would come out flying. We knew the crowd was going to be into it. We talked about weathering the storm in the first 15 minutes and trying to play after that."
(On the weather throughout the game...) "I don't think the weather really affected it. Some guys prefer it when it's slick because it's faster. Once it started to rain in the second half I don't think it affected the game."
(On Sounders FC....) "I don't think their record reflects what kind of team they are. I think they are better than that. To come in here, you know it's one of the more difficult places on the road, and we would rather to come out with three points, but we will take one."
Chris Tierney - Revolution Defender
(On the game...) "It was a tough game. We knew it was going to be. Coming to Seattle, they are a good team, and a better a team than their record reflects. They play tough at home; their fans get behind them. It's a tough place to play."
(On the scoreless draw...) "I'm just glad we kept another clean sheet. These guys have been rock solid defensively and Bobby came through with some saves when we really needed them. Defensively we have to be proud of the effort, but hopefully we will get things together offensively and score some goals."