It was a third match, just four into the season, with one of Seattle Sounders FC or its opponents down a man. This time it was the Houston Dynamo that could not capitalize on their advantage. Obafemi Martins first half goal was enough for the healthy Sounders to earn another victory. Stefan Frei with a defense lead by Chad Marshall and Brad Evans earned their third shutout of the year.
It was not a pretty victory for the Sounders. They were outpossessed 56 to 44. Houston outshot Seattle 15 to 5. But that defense won the battle in the air (22 to 11) and on the land (23 to 15 on tackles).
The following highlights, stats and quotes provided by the organization.
Seattle Sounders FC 1 - Houston Dynamo 0
Saturday, April 4, 2015
Venue: CenturyLink Field
Referee: Ted Unkel
Assistants: Corey Rockwell, Paul Scott
Fourth Official: Allen Chapman
Weather: Partly cloudy and 52 degrees
SEA - Obafemi Martins (Clint Dempsey) 39'
SEA - Andy Rose (caution) 17'
HOU - Luis Garrido (caution) 39'
HOU - Ricardo Clark (caution) 45+3'
HOU - Jermaine Taylor (caution) 52'
SEA - Gonzalo Pineda (ejection) 56'
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Tyrone Mears, Brad Evans-C, Chad Marshall, Dylan Remick; Andy Rose, Osvaldo Alonso (Zach Scott 73'), Gonzalo Pineda, Lamar Neagle (Micheal Azira 60'); Clint Dempsey (Leo Gonzalez 87'), Obafemi Martins
Substitutes not used: Troy Perkins, Aaron Kovar, Marco Pappa, Chad Barrett
Total shots: 5 (Martins, 2)
Shots on goal: 2 (Alonso/Martins, 1)
Fouls: 11 (Mears, 3)
Corner-kicks: 3 (Three players, 1)
Saves: 2 (Frei, 2)
Houston Dynamo - Tyler Deric; Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor, Raul Rodriguez (David Horst 26'), DaMarcus Beasley; Boniek Garcia (Leonel Miranda 72'), Ricardo Clark, Luis Garrido (Will Bruin 64'), Nathan Sturgis, Brad Davis; Giles Barnes
Substitutes not used: Joe Willis, Rob Lovejoy, Alexander Lopez, Chandler Hoffman
Total shots: 15 (Barnes/Sturgis, 4)
Shots on goal: 2 (Barnes/Clark, 1)
Fouls: 13 (Barnes, 4)
Offside: 1 (Taylor, 1)
Corner-kicks: 7 (Davis, 6)
Saves: 1 (Deric, 1)
POST-MATCH QUOTES: SOUNDERS FC 1 - HOUSTON DYNAMO 0
SATURDAY, APRIL 4, 2015
SOUNDERS FC HEAD COACH SIGI SCHMID
"I thought the first half was pretty even. I liked our energy, I liked that we were aggressive and came out in that regard. They had a little more possession early in the game, but I thought as the half wore on it got better for us - we started to combine and do some things. We had a great goal from Oba [Martins] and Clint [Dempsey] combining. In the second half, obviously the game changes with the red card. It's a little bit forced into because we probably played Ozzie [Alonso] 10 more minutes than we wanted to. We wanted to play him 60 and we pushed him to 70 because he was sitting in there and he was doing a good job there. We probably would have brought on Marco Pappa if we were playing 11-v-11, but when the game changed we decided we wanted to go a little differently. We brought Zach Scott in just from the standpoint of we thought we needed one more headerer of the ball in there because all they were doing was dumping balls across. They got a lot of great chances, it's just a matter of them being strong and making sure we cleared balls and looking for opportunities to maybe counter. It was difficult - Clint did a lot of work for us in terms of going down in the midfield when we went down a man...It was a workmanlike effort, and we will never apologize for three points."
On Chad Marshall and Osvaldo Alonso returning:
"Obviously those guys are important. Marshall helped us today, especially against a team like that, with his heading. Ozzie has such good instincts when he sits deep in midfield. He reads the play really well, he is quick to anticipate and react...In the second half when he was running out of gas he almost gets a goal. Those two guys, and Oba and Clint's returns, certainly made a big difference for us."
On the lineup:
"It was good, even though we were running out of midfielders, then [Gonzalo] Pineda gets the red and I know I have to take Ozzie out. So we put [Andy] Rose into the middle of the midfield, so in retrospect we should have put [Cristian] Roldan on the bench as well, but that was a decision we made earlier based on what we thought we would need. It was good to have the whole team available."
On Dylan Remick:
"I thought Remick played well today. He was good, he was aggressive. I thought he did a good job. His confidence has grown again this year. I think Andres [Correa] is a very talented player, but he is also adjusting to defending a little bit, and I think Remick is ahead of him defensively and Andres is ahead of him offensively because he can certainly do good things going forward. Remick is a little bit ahead of him, so that's why we came in with Remick today."
On emphasizing the backline:
"We went to five in the back. We were talking about, do we shove [Brad] Evans into the midfield and keep it like a 4-4-1 which we could have done? And Leo [Gonzalez] came in later, but I didn't want to make Dempsey play as a wide midfielder. We decided to stay with the five in the back and allow [Tyrone] Mears and Remick to be able to push out wider when their centerbacks were sent forward, so that was the idea behind it. Again, I thought it made us solid in the air with the crosses that came."
On Gonzalo Pineda's ejection:
"I haven't seen the replay so I can't say for sure. The referee says he came in with his studs, so if he came in with his studs it's similar to [Kellyn] Acosta's card the week before, so there are really no arguments there. It was a game where we had to roll up our sleeves a little bit because they had [David] Horst, brought in Will Bruin, so now all of a sudden you have some big targets in the air, so that was the reason why we made some of the decisions we did."
On field adjustments after the ejection:
"I think normally we don't have to change a whole lot, so sometimes when you go a man down we will play a 4-3-2, and Oba and Dempsey will drop in. Knowing we had to take out Ozzie and we lost Pineda - that's two central midfielders - it changes. Say [Lamar] Neagle got the red card and you still have Ozzie and Pineda, I would probably play more of a 4-3-2, but it just made more sense to me to strengthen the back and absorb the pressure."
On starting Alonso rather than subbing:
"In this situation we felt that he was at least 45 minutes fit, so I think it's a lot easier for him to warm up and start the game and just prepare than to come in off the bench and somehow he suffered a setback, we would have to burn another sub. So we said let's go ahead and start him and if something goes wrong, then we can make the sub and he came through, from an injury perspective, very well."
On Stefan Frei:
"We're always worried a little bit when he gets kicked there because he had a broken leg, and he's pretty bruised. You can see some cleat marks - the guy got him pretty good. He felt he could keep going; when you're in a game like that the adrenaline takes over, and he will probably be really sore and limping around tomorrow, but he was able to carry through."
SOUNDERS FC MIDFIELDER OSVALDO ALONSO
On his first start of 2015:
"I'm happy. It's been a long time since I've played. To win this game, even with 10 men, I feel so happy. I can't describe this moment for me."
On playing an extra 10 minutes than expected:
"[Sigi] asked me after halftime, and I said, ‘I'm feeling good.' And then after Gonzalo went off with the red card, I had to keep playing. But I was happy to play 70 minutes...It's tough when you can't play, but I feel happy. I'm ready to play again."
On how he feels:
"I feel good. I'm tired, but it's getting better. I hope next week I can play 90 minutes."
On the match:
"The game is always a battle. We play physical. Unfortunately we got a red card, and we had to figure out a way to play a man down. But we did that, so I'm happy for the result, and I'm really happy to come back."
SOUNDERS FC DEFENDER DYLAN REMICK
On his first start of 2015:
"It's fun to be playing with the guys out in CenturyLink, participating and helping out the team, doing whatever it takes to get the W. It was enjoyable for sure."
On playing with five men in the back:
"It's just one of those things where you take it as it comes. Everybody has played with five in the back, three in the back, so it's really not that big of a deal. It doesn't really change the role, we are just trying to get keep the ball out of the net, especially with 10 men."
On how the defense responded after the ejection:
"I thought everyone was great. They didn't really get any clear-cut opportunities or great goal scoring chances, which is really good. It's obviously not the prettiest soccer when you're playing down a man... I think everyone held tough really well, the team stayed together and we all fought for each other."
SOUNDERS FC DEFENDER TYRONE MEARS
On playing a man down:
"It's very, very difficult to maintain that for pretty much the second half. It shows we can play the ugly game and we can fight. From a defensive point of view, I was very happy with that. It shows that if we go a man down, we can still win the game. Coming off the pitch we felt very happy."
On his knee injury:
"Yeah, it was an annoying one. I overstretched and landed on it funny - just a knock, I am good."
On moving forward from the back:
"It's what the coach wanted when I came here. They said it was a fantastic opportunity of going forward, a lot of attacking plays, but we got to improve the other side defensively, and we are working hard on that. Not just the backline, the whole team."
HOUSTON DYNAMO HEAD COACH OWEN COYLE
On the match:
"There's no getting around how disappointed we are. There aren't too many teams that come to Seattle and say they're disappointed to not win the game, but we are. I think we played in a very controlled manner in the first half. Seattle was limited to very few, if any, chances. You've got to give credit, though, to a wonderful player in Obafemi Martins. But it's a disappointment, coming in here believing you should win and coming away with no points. That was even when it was 11-v-11, then the sending off and it was one-way traffic, waves of attack. Fair play to Seattle. They defended with vigor and that's what you'd expect of them. My disappointment is we had chances to open things up, get a win or a tie even. For all the shots on goal we had, we never got one behind the goalkeeper in the back of the net. That's something we'll look to do better in those areas. In terms of the application and work effort, we have a very good group of lads, and that's a disappointment given all of our effort and then leave with no points."
On if there was anything they could've done differently:
"We have to make better decisions in the final third. It's as simple as that. There's obviously something we can do better because we never scored. But in terms of how we approached the game playing a very good Seattle team, everything we asked of them, they did, but in that final third. When we make those decisions, we have to be better. They're not scoring goals and that's something we could've done bettertonight."
On the lack of goal scoring so far this season:
"Looking at it, you say you've conceded three [goals] in five games. You went to LA Galaxy, you went to Seattle, and with all due respect, could've won both games...I have players that if we make better decisions in the final third, the goals will come. We dominated the gametonight and we should've won, but haven't. It's a sore one to take."
On what needs to change going forward:
"There are a number of things. First and foremost, don't give up soft goals. We've conceded three goals this season and with all due respect, it's not been due to a good passage of play from the opposing teams. Quality opposition can hurt you if you make key mistakes and we did that tonight. We'll have to learn from that quickly. Over the course of the season, we'll be fine. We stood toe-to-toe with the team that won the Supporters' Shield last season. I've got no doubts moving forward. Stuff to work on - absolutely, but I've got an awful lot of positives to take from tonight as well."
HOUSTON DYNAMO FORWARD GILES BARNES
On not scoring a goal:
"Those were three points that slipped out of our hands. We need to be more creative in the attacking third, we need to push forward more and take some chances. The game's about who scores more goals at the end of the day, and we were lacking in that area. That's three points disappeared because of a lack of concentration."
On what to take from the game moving forward:
"I think defensively we have been great. Possesion-wise we have been fine, but we lacked a little bit of creativity moving forward."
On positives to take from the night:
"[Sounders FC] ran away with the Supporters' shield last year and they are a great team. They have superstars in there and we more than held our own. It's back to the drawing board on Monday and getting ready for our next game."
HOUSTON DYNAMO GOALKEEPER TYLER DERIC
Thoughts on the game as a whole:
"We are disappointed we couldn't get a goal. Overall we played a really good game, possession was great, movement was great and we defended really well. You have to give credit to Seattle. With a team like that, when you make a mistake they punish you and that's what good teams do. They have talented players and all credit to them for holding on but the game was there for the taking."
On Obafemi Martins' goal:
"I think we gave the ball over cheaply. He had a lot of skill and good strength to hold the ball and create an angle to get the strike off which is why he has played all over the world. I could have done better, but that is the game and those are the margins that we play in."
HOUSTON DYNAMO MIDFIELDER BRAD DAVIS
On not scoring a goal:
"I think we all feel like we let one slip away tonight. I think we came here and battled pretty well, but it's been the same story, we haven't been able to find the back of the net. We have had possession and gotten into the right spots, but the decision-making and the final bit in front of goal hasn't been sharp enough. It's definitely frustrating and that's something we need to keep fighting through and trying to figure out. Definitely we are disappointed walking out of here without at least a point. We all feel we should have gotten more out of that game."
On future decision making:
"You look at our past games, and I hate to bring this up, but when you look at the goals we give up, they are self-inflicted by turning the ball over in the midfield. Bad mistakes in bad spots and when we get up a man, we need to realize what's working like moving the ball across the middle and spreading them out a bit. We kept trying to chip balls in the middle when they have 10 guys standing on their 18 and that's hard to do. We need to be able to figure these things out to figure out what's working and what's not working, so our decision-making just needs to be better. There were times when we went up a man that we kept trying to do things that weren't working. We're a young team that needs to figure that out but now we are five games into the season and we feel like we have let some points slip here. This is a tough place to play and when you let points walk away you never know what can happen. It's tough, but it's the same story. We have next week to try to turn it around."