There are a lot of things wrong with Starfire Soccer Stadium. It's out in the middle of nowhere. Parking is awful. The concessions are very minor league. The seats are uncomfortable. The field is small. The turf is hard. It's no wonder fans often grumble about it and opposing teams hate playing there.
But, man, does it produce some exciting soccer. No, not pretty, but if you turn away for even a second, you're bound to miss something.
The Seattle Sounders' 1-1 (4-1 shootout) victory over the San Jose Earthquakes on Tuesday was exactly that kind of game. There were only two goals before the shootout, but there were somehow 46 shots squeezed in there. David Bingham was out of his mind with some of the saves he made, the Sounders hit the post twice and there probably wasn't more than one or two solid passing sequences the whole match.
That it all ended with Marcus Hahnemann chugging a beer with no shirt and his goalie gloves on only seemed fitting. Starfire: It's a different kind of experience.
SJ - Steven Lenhart 24'
SEA - Kenny Cooper (Lamar Neagle) 26'
Shootout (SEA wins 4-1 on PK's)
SEA - Gonzalo Pineda (goal), Marco Pappa (goal), Brad Evans (goal), Lamar Neagle (goal)
SJ - Khari Stephenson (goal), Alan Gordon (miss), JJ Koval (saved)
Seattle Sounders FC - Marcus Hahnemann; Brad Evans, Chad Marshall, Zach Scott, Leo Gonzalez; Lamar Neagle, Micheal Azira, Gonzalo Pineda, Marco Pappa; Kenny Cooper (Chad Barrett 78), Cam Weaver (Jalil Anibaba 99).
Substitutes Not Used: Stefan Frei, Osvaldo Alonso, Aaron Kovar, Sean Okoli, David Estrada.
TOTAL SHOTS: 31 (Neagle, Pappa 8); SHOTS ON GOAL: 10 (Neagle 5); FOULS: 19 (Scott 4); OFFSIDE: 4 (Cooper 2); CORNER KICKS: 19 (Pineda 11); SAVES: 3 (Hahnemann 3).
San Jose Earthquakes - Jon Busch; Brandon Barklage, Ty Harden, Clarence Goodson, Shaun Francis; Atiba Harris (Billy Schuler 94), Sam Cronin, JJ Kovall, Mike Fucito (Cordell Cato 83); Khari Stephenson, Steven Lenhart (Alan Gordon 62).
Substitutes Not Used: Jon Busch, Jason Hernandez, Jordan Stewart, Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi.
TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Stephenson 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Lenhart 2); FOULS: 19 (3 players, 4); OFFSIDE: 7 (Fucito 3); CORNER KICKS: 7 (Cronin 7); SAVES: 9 (Bingham 9).
SJ - Atiba Harris (caution) 20'
SJ - Steven Lenhart (caution) 34'
SJ - Shaun Francis (caution) 49'
SJ - Alan Gordon (caution) 113'
Referee: Mark Kadlecik
Referee's Assistants: Fabio Tovar, Brandon Major
4th Official: Tyler Ploeger
Time of Game: 2:41
Weather: Party cloudy and 74-degrees
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial
Sigi Schmid - Sounders FC Head Coach
(Opening statement...) "You get through. We got Portland next, that will be fun."
(On the game's flow...) "I thought earlier in the game they had a little bit of it, but I thought after that we turned it and had a little more of the game. When Barrett went on I thought he was unlucky to not get the game-winner, the header where [David] Bingham made a great save on, the shot off the post-I think we hit the post two or three times tonight. I thought we deserved to win it, but it wasn't falling for us. Even toward the end with the corners and opportunities, you don't see Chad Marshall get an open header and put it that wide normally, so I thought we were a little bit snake bit but the guys did well and came through on the penalties."
(On Brad Evans moving to midfield...) "We know he's got that flexibility. We wanted to get an experienced player on in [Jalil] Anibaba. [Cam] Weaver was out of gas so we decided to push [Lamar] Neagle up and Anibaba played well at right back. We decided to stay big because that is their big thing, and push Brad up."
(On Marcus Hahnemann's performance...) "He did well. He is an experienced goalkeeper. Tommy [Dutra], our goalkeeper coach, does a good job in terms of preparing the guys for PK's. They shot in the same order when they played Toluca and it went to PK's. He had that all down and he and Marcus communicate, and it all works out."
(On playing an additional 30 minutes...) "It's an extra 30 minutes we got to put on our bodies. This field is really, really tough anyways, so the guys are going to have an easy [regeneration] day tomorrow, Thursday is just going to be flight and a little bit of a stretch, then we will train again on Friday to get ready to play Saturday."
(On extending the winning streak at Starfire...) "It seems to work for us, so we will try to do it again. I am excited because since I've been here it's the first time we've gotten to play Portland at home. We've always had to go to Portland. I know they are complaining we are getting all of our games at home, but we never get Portland here, so it works out."
(On the close finish...) "It's just exciting. [...] People like a shootout, coaches really don't, but the fans love them."
(On how he handles shootouts...) "I try to find a spot when we are shooting, and if that works I go to the same spot. And then I go to a spot when we are defending, and when they made the first one I had to find a new spot-that new spot worked pretty well."
Marcus Hahnemann - Sounders FC Goalkeeper
(On the game...) "It's awesome. I felt like I was at fault for the first goal that I let in, just got wrong-footed by [Steven] Lenhart and he put a good shot and I couldn't even get after it. It was past me and then you're sitting there going-the worst thing you can do is try and make up for it. So I didn't come and chase many crosses and do anything stupid like when I was 22 years old, what I would have done. You have a little bit more experience when you're 42. We go into the shootout and we've been taking penalties for the last three, four weeks and our guys are good. It takes everything I've got to try to figure out what they're doing. They scored all theirs. I touched one. I'm not sure if I touched it after the post or before it, but saved the other one but we go through and it's an awesome day."
(On the game, continued...) "Yeah, it's awesome. [...] The crowd here is awesome. It's a lot more intimate than CenturyLink. I think we'd all rather be at CenturyLink, but this is a close second. It's amazing and a good atmosphere."
(On playing the Timbers here next...) "Oh, did they win today? Oh that'll be nice."
Mark Watson - San Jose Earthquakes Head Coach
(On the game...) "I thought it was a really competitive game on a difficult surface. It was tight and on turf, the ball was bouncing around a lot. A lot of stuff in the air, a lot of second balls. It was tough to find moments of quality in the game. I was proud of our guys tonight. I thought we were solid. We stuck together. We were under pressure from Seattle at times - they're a good team and they're always going to do that, especially up here. We had our moments to score as well. Steven [Lenhart] scored a great goal. Once it gets down to penalties, it's really anyone's game. I'm disappointed for our guys because they worked hard tonight."
(On playing on this surface...) "We play on all different surfaces, but I think everyone prefers grass. You have to play on these artificial ones. It's always a little different - the ball doesn't move the same, but that's not a factor in the game. It's a factor in the quality of the game, but it didn't decide the game. We play on that surface enough that it's not a main issue. It just changes a little bit how the ball reacts."
(On goalkeeper David Bingham...) "I thought David Bingham played excellent tonight. He hasn't played a lot for us, but I thought he had a fantastic performance. I know he'll be disappointed because of the loss on penalty kicks, but he was so important for us even getting to penalty kicks. He made some really big saves on a few occasions. I thought he had a really great game and just shows what kind of talent and ability he has. He's actually been on load to San Antonio this year so he's had some games. We thought that was important for him. That 90-minute work that he's had over the past couple of months has really shown. I thought he was sharp and he showed just what a good keeper he is. He made three or four fantastic saves in the game."
(On forward Steven Lenhart...) "He's been working hard. He's been off for a long time so I think it's taken him a little while to get his max fitness and sharpness. I think he's getting there. I thought he had a good performance and battled hard all night and scored a fantastic goal to give us the lead."
(On any second half adjustments made by Seattle...) "I think they're a good team. They had a bunch of good chances and forced us to defend really well. We knew that because they have good players and put you under a lot of pressure. We knew there were going to be moments tonight that we were going to have to defend the box well and we did that."