The win did not come easily. It looked poor while it happened. It also puts Seattle Sounders FC back at the top of the Western Conference and the Supporters' Shield. Interestingly enough, though the field surface looked horrible both teams had 80%+ pass success. Seattle matched its season average for pass completion. Houston greatly exceeded their season average.
Here's all the data and quotes from the team press release.
SEA - Marco Pappa (Clint Dempsey) 69'
SEA - Gonzalo Pineda (penalty) 75'
Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Brad Evans, Chad Marshall, Djimi Traore, Leo Gonzalez; Lamar Neagle (Chad Barrett 68), Osvaldo Alonso, Gonzalo Pineda, Marco Pappa (Andy Rose 90); Clint Dempsey (Kenny Cooper 90+2), Obafemi Martins.
Substitutes Not Used: Marcus Hahnemann, Jalil Anibaba, Zach Scott, Micheal Azira.
TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Dempsey, Pappa 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Pappa 2); FOULS: 19 (3 players, 3); OFFSIDE: 0; CORNER KICKS: 3 (Pappa 2); SAVES: 3 (Frei 3).
Houston Dynamo - Tally Hall; Kofi Sarkodie, David Horst (Andrew Driver 81), Jermaine Taylor, DaMarcus Beasley; Boniek Garcia, Luis Garrido, Ricardo Clark (Brian Ownby 78), Brad Davis; Giles Barnes, Will Bruin (Jason Johnson 46).
Substitutes Not Used: Tyler Deric, Corey Ashe, Servando Carrasco, A.J. Cochran.
TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Bruin 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (3 players, 1); FOULS: 15 (Garcia, Taylor 3); OFFSIDE: 0; CORNER KICKS: 5 (Davis 5); SAVES: 2 (Hall 2).
SEA - Lamar Neagle (caution) 28'
SEA - Obafemi Martins (caution) 33'
SEA - Gonzalo Pineda (caution) 55'
HOU - Luis Garrido (caution) 60'
SEA - Leo Gonzalez (caution) 81'
SEA - Obafemi Martins (caution) 86'
SEA - Obafemi Martins (ejection) 86'
HOU - Kofi Sarkodie (caution) 90+4'
Referee: Chris Pennso
Referee's Assistants: Ian Anderson, Mike Rottersman
4th Official: Daniel Radford
Time of Game: 1:54
Weather: Sunny and 82 degrees
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial
Sigi Schmid - Sounders FC Head Coach
(Opening Statement...) "Obviously I'm happy we won the game, sometimes when you're in a little bit of a rut you sort of have to fight your way through to a victory. Sometimes it's not as artistic as you want it to be or as beautiful as you want it to be, but it's a little bit of rolling up the sleeves and fighting... For us it's just a battle. In the second half I thought we picked up our game. We were better in the second half than the first half. There was the penalty and I thought there could have been another one, but I am pleased we got the victory and I am pleased we got the shutout. A big save by Stefan (Frei) on the PK."
(On winning his 200th game...) "I've been coaching for a long time and it's fantastic to finally get it. I was starting to wonder if I was going to get it. It's a reflection of a lot of great players who have played for me. It's great-this can be the year I can get 200 as part of even bigger success I get at the end of the year."
(On the performance of the back line...) "It's nice to have Chad (Marshall) back, I'm sure you guys saw that yourselves. He makes good plays, he wins headers, he helps break up attacks, his knowledge of when to step in his very good. I thought he was very good. I thought Djimi Traore was very good as well. I thought he was a little unlucky on the PK. I haven't really seen a replay on it but according to the assistant referee he said his arm was extended over his head. You guys have the benefit of replay so you can tell me if it was over his head or not."
(On the team's adjustments...) "I think we played better defensively. I think we played better in the second half than we did the first. Those two were positive things. We missed a little bit on our passes-sometimes we go a little too narrow, we need to go wider at times. The times we did go wide we had some things created for ourselves-we can still get better and we will."
(On Frei's PK save...) "I thought the PK was harsh...Obviously it was a big save."
(On Brad Evans playing right back...) "Brad played fine. Obviously he can play right back, he can play right midfield for us, he helps us out anywhere on the field. He has some guys who are playing their way back into form. Marshall being out for two weeks, so his fitness isn't back to where it was, and Gonzalez still trying to get his game fitness, and Traore is trying to get to his game fitness as well. All those things impacted us, but I thought Brad, wherever we stick him, does a good job."
(On the improvements made during the game...) "I thought we were a little more aggressive bringing the ball forward with our outside backs, I thought that was better in the second half. I thought Marco Pappa and the rest of the team we tried to play more balls behind their back line in the second half. I thought they had a high line in the first half and we didn't stretch them enough, and I think that helped."
(On Martins' red card...) "He can't play next Saturday so his chance of getting minutes on Wednesday are great."
(On the biggest key to the game...) "It was them bringing the ball forward a little quicker, more than anything. That's something we talked about at halftime. We thought at times when we got the ball out wide to our outside backs they didn't come forward, they didn't move their midfield. And when you don't come forward a little more aggressively, then their midfielders have to move and players, angles open up that you can move balls into."
(On the physicality of the match...) "Houston is an athletic team, they are a strong team, and sometimes games go like that. I think we out-fouled them by three or four, but I thought there were some fouls that weren't called going the other way. That's just me-I'm a coach, so I look at it with those colored glasses sometimes."
Chad Marshall - Sounders FC Defender
(On the injury...) "I had never had a neck or back injury before, so I didn't really know how to go about it. It was kind of just waiting, a day-to-day thing, and eventually it got better."
(On wanting to return earlier...) "I think I didn't know how close to something I was. Luckily I didn't play and hurt my neck and have to make a sub in the second minute, so it happened at practice."
(On the shutout victory...) "It's always good, especially at home. Stefan Frei made some huge saves for us tonight. It's always nice to get a zero and get three points at home."
Djimi Traore - Sounders FC Defender
(On the victory...) "A big credit to Stefan Frei for stopping the PK. He showed everyone he's one of the best goalkeepers. I'm very pleased for him because we've had a few PK's and that's the first one he has stopped."
(On the handball in the box...) "No, I tried to protect myself. I don't know what I can do with my hand [in that situation]. I put it in front of my face and that's the decision of the referee. But to be honest, it was very hard for the ref today. He gave so many yellow cards and a red card."
(On rehabbing from the injury...) "Yes of course. I'm not young, but I worked hard to get back. I was ready two weeks ago, but the coach waited for the right time to put me in when they needed me and I was pleased we got the win."
(On avenging last year's loss...) "It was a physical game. Houston is a good team and last year they beat us badly...we did our job today."
Marco Pappa - Sounders FC Midfielder
(On scoring goal...) "It's always good to score, it helped us win a difficult game. I think the save made by (Stefan) Frei gave us confidence to win the game. We're happy with the result and now looking forward to the next game."
(On enjoying scoring a goal...) "You have to enjoy scoring goals, it's a part of the game. But more importantly we got the points after two difficult games where we failed to score. So we're happy with result and I think it's good for our confidence."
(On ending scoring drought...) "It's important for the confidence of the team. We failed to score the past two games, that's the past and now we have to live in the moment. Now I hope we can continue in this way."
Stefan Frei - Sounders FC Goalkeeper
(Thoughts on the game...) "Overall I don't think it was our prettiest of games but we fought hard. We brought that energy and toughness; sometimes you're going to be in those games and you have to be able to match and surpass the intensity of the opponent. Have the power and willingness to sacrifice your body and just work hard. We were able to find the net twice luckily and get the shutout on top of that."
(On the stutter step to PK...)"Stutter steps are there to try to get them an idea of where the goalkeeper is going, and as a goalkeeper you want to wait as much as you can to not give that away, so I tried to hold my ground as much as I could . Once I thought he was close to taking it I went as hard as I could to my left side and luckily he went the same way."
Dominic Kinnear - Houston Dynamo Head Coach
(On his thoughts of the game and his team's performance...) "We made a couple of mistakes and little bit of luck goes their way, and there you have it. I thought it was a pretty even game. I thought we looked real good in the first half. They came with a good push of energy in the second half, but I thought we looked good. It just takes a little deflection to swing the momentum greatly in their way."
(On whether there are any positives he takes away from tonight's game...) "When you lose 2-0, um, no. I thought we played well, but that only gets you so far."
(On whether he feels the road to the playoffs this season is more difficult than in previous years...) "It's always difficult. I think every year is the same, trying to get there. It's hard, and once you get there, it's what you do. That little spell of games without a win has put us in a hole, so we have to start winning some games if we want to make the playoffs."
(On Beasley's and Guarino's performances up to this point and what he hopes to see from them...) "I thought they were good tonight. I thought they both looked good tonight. I think they've been good the two games they've played for us. They've been good additions to the team."
(On what he hopes they bring the team before the end of the season...) "Well, good play, quality, depth, experience, and some good energy."
Brad Davis - Houston Midfielder
(On adjusting back to MLS after the World Cup...) "The game's the game. I've been playing with these guys for nine years I think it is. These guys are like my brothers you know so I'm excited to get back, try and help the team and get back integrated to MLS. That was fun, unbelievable -it was the highlight of my career without a doubt but I hold onto memories and I'll hold onto them for a long time but you've got to be able to come back and tune in and try and get your mind right to try and help your team again."
(On knowing if you'd be playing with DaMarcus Beasley while with him in Brazil...) "No, I had no idea; pleasant surprise though. Everybody knows the quality that he has and what he's going to bring to our team for the next few years so we're excited to have him for sure."
(On the difficulty with the field...) "You know astro turf is never good to play on I think if you ask anybody around the league. I think as players we don't like it but both teams have to play on it so it's an even playing field so it's not ideal, not something that we want or necessarily look forward to but it is what it is."
(On no road team winning in this series in 13 games...) "I don't know, couldn't really tell you. I can tell you that Seattle's got a good squad. We've come here and we've played some good games and been unfortunate not to walk away with points. If you look at tonight we had an opportunity with the penalty that I missed in the first half. I had an opportunity to put my team up 1-0. We're playing well; we're getting good opportunities on the road. It's just things like that. We had a few other opportunities to score some goals and unfortunately we didn't. The game was wide open and they score off a deflection and then they get a penalty and convert it. So it's not like we were played off the park by any means or anything. I think it was back and forth, wide open game and we were just unable to take our chances.
Tally Hall - Houston Goalkeeper
(On playing near home...) "It's always fun to come home in the area you grew up, looking at the landmarks. Coming here in August - it's a beautiful time of the year so it's fun but it's unfortunate that we played really well - credit to Stefan Frei making a great save on the penalty and but I thought we came here and played really well. I think we're unlucky to come away with a loss."
(On the playing field...) "It's turf so it's never going to be the same as grass. It takes a bit of getting used to but it's in the league; I don't think we're getting rid of it anytime soon so you just have to deal with it."
(On the first goal...) "I thought I was going to save it before the deflection so when it changes direction it's difficult. It's a really big field and at the same time it's a game of inches. That first goal, just another inch the other way I'm making the save off the deflection and the penalty comes and it hits the wrong part of my knee and bounces in. So, game of inches, changes everything."
(On coping with playing a good game as a goalkeeper but having things go against you...) "You do it long enough and you just realize it's a team sport so it's not something where you think okay I need to have a good game and that's that. You need to be an integral part of the team, to make the right decisions with the ball and make the saves the team needs so it's not really a situation where I'm going out there and hoping I have a good game and it doesn't really matter what the team does so you have good games when you win. We didn't win so it's hard to look at it and say - it's actually very frustrating when like I said you're inches away on both goals and it just didn't go our way."