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Sounders beat Colorado Rapids: Highlights, stats, quotes

In what is no longer a trend, but a symbol of the 2015 style, the Seattle Sounders FC put on another possession clinic. This time a side with four rotational players starting held off the once surging Colorado Rapids. The 1-0 win came at the foot of Marco Pappa, but his was not the only strong performance. Clint Dempsey lead in shots (6). Andy Rose lead in key passes (4) and aerial duels won (7). Osvaldo Alonso had 102 touches (more than the top two Rapids combined). Alonso, Rose and Tyrone Mears all had four tackles. Zach Scott had four interceptions.

The dominance was thorough and varied.


Seattle Sounders FC 1 - Colorado Rapids 0

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Venue: XBOX Pitch at CenturyLink Field

Referee: Ricardo Salazar

Assistants: Jeff Hosking, Kyle Atkins

Fourth Official: Alejandro Mariscal

Attendance: 39,757

Weather: Partly Cloudy and 72 degrees


SEA - Marco Pappa 15'


COL - Jared Watts (caution) 44'

SEA - Osvaldo Alonso (caution) 55'

SEA - Brad Evans (caution) 64'


Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Tyrone Mears, Brad Evans - C, Zach Scott, Leo Gonzalez; Cristian Roldan (Chad Barrett 70'), Osvaldo Alonso, Andy Rose, Marco Pappa (Lamar Neagle 74'); Clint Dempsey (Micheal Azira 89'), Obafemi Martins

Substitutes not used: Troy Perkins, Aaron Kovar, Chad Marshall, Dylan Remick

Total shots: 15 (Marco Pappa, 4)

Shots on goal: 5 (Marco Pappa, 3)

Fouls: 12 (Osvaldo Alonso, 5)

Offside: 0

Corner-kicks: 3 (Marco Pappa, 3)

Saves: 4 (Stefan Frei, 4)

Colorado Rapids - Clint Irwin; Michael Harrington, Bobby Burling - Captain, Jared Watts, Marc Burch; Sam Cronin, Lucas Pittinari, Gabriel Torres (Juan Ramirez 45'); Dillon Powers (Vicente Sanchez 74'), Kevin Doyle (Charles Eloundou 83'), Luis Solignac

Substitutes not used: Zac MacMath, Dominique Badji, Drew Moor

Total shots: 16 (Sam Cronin, 3)

Shots on goal: 4 (4 players tied at 1)

Fouls: 14 (Lucas Pittinari, 3)

Offside: 1 (Kevin Doyle, 1)

Corner-kicks: 5 (Vicente Sanchez, 3)

Saves: 4 (Clint Irwin, 4)




Opening Statement:

"Obviously it was a great goal by Marco Pappa. I thought we played well in the first half - we dominated the first half pretty well. We had a couple of other good looks within that half. In the second half, I thought Colorado picked up their game - [Juan] Ramirez had an impact for them. I thought he played really well coming in for them in the second half and the game sort of changed a little bit. Even then, we had some great chances. Clint [Dempsey] worked his rear end off today coming off of a game on Saturday. He was making some runs and unlucky enough to get a goal and finish. I was really pleased with his effort and I just tried to get him off at the end to save a couple minutes in preparation for Sunday. For me, obviously I am happy with the three points; it is never easy playing mid-week games. There are a lot of young kids who stepped in, [Andy] Rose and [Cristian] Roldan, guys who haven't been playing a lot, and [Zach] Scott and [Leo] Gonzalez as well, all of those guys helped us. We were able to rest some guys as a result of that. As we prepare for the game on Sunday, I felt a lot of those guys stepped up and did really well."

On strengths of the club:

"I think we can still do better, but that's me and I am a coach. You never get entirely happy - there is still time for us to find those balls in behind, we need to improve our finish - some of those looks we had and it would have been a very complete game. Our possession has been good, obviously [Gonzalo] Pineda has been a very important part of that, so not having him there today and still being able to keep possession and control for a majority of the game was really important."

On not playing Chad Marshall:

"Just rest, as much as anything. He had taken a knock in the other game, so we felt maybe it's a good one to rest right now for this one. [Brad] Evans has been doing really well, he's been really healthy and really fit, so we figured we would go with him."

On Marco Pappa:

"I thought Pappa was good. Obviously he gave us a goal - I thought he was higher up the field and he came back without Pineda we needed him there to keep possession going, as well. We had talked about that - the mix of when to go high and when to go back - and I though he did well. It was [Roldan's] play that kept the ball alive on that goal. That's the thing with Cristian - he is a player who is always into the game, always alert, and he competes, he is a competitor. He made a couple of runs there in the second half where he was maybe unlucky as he came inside off of his left foot. Again, for a rookie playing a game, being at home is a little bit different than playing on the road sometimes, and getting the start, and I am very happy with him."

On Colorado's improvement in the second half:

"Ramirez. I think Ramirez came in for them and had a good impact on the game. He found the ball, he was bright, and he came inside off of [Tyrone] Mears. Mears is playing his second game [in five days] and was maybe a little fatigued. Ramirez made a difference, he started to beat people off of the dribble, and that made us shift some people and slide, and things started to open up. I think he was a key element."

On Obafemi Martins' return to the lineup:

"Yeah, it's good to have Oba back on the field. After not training for two weeks, rust, and with us not getting back until Monday it's not like we've had hard training days, so it's hard to get into the rhythm on those training days because it is less [strenuous]. I thought, as the game went on in the second half, his play and touches improved. He almost had a couple passes there to Clint that almost went in and I thought that was good, but he will get back to form."


On the game:

"I think coming into tonight's game I don't think I realized that with a win we'd go to the top until yesterday looking at the standings. A lot of guys try to just focus on how we're playing versus where we are in the standings, but the reality is once it comes to your attention that you can win this game and go to the top it gives you a little bit of motivation, especially playing at home and the nil-nil draw on the weekend gives you a little something extra to play for."

On weathering the storm in the second half:

"Dylan [Remick] came in [post-match] and said he was really nervous, biting his nails, but on the field it didn't feel that way. It felt like we were in control. It was a result of a few bad giveaways; it wasn't a result of them really breaking out and playing really well. It was a result of our mistakes, so from that end as long as we kept the ball we kept them at bay I think so for us on the field we were comfortable. They had a few chances, pretty routine for Stefan [Frei]."


On if it feels good to score:

"Yeah, for sure. It always feels good to score goals. I normally score some goals during the season and I was looking for the goal from the beginning of the season. I finally scored a goal but I'm more happy that the team got the points and we're at the top of the table. Now we're looking forward to our next game."

On the difference between the first and second halves:

"I think first half was much better than second half for sure. It was keeping the ball, having more chances. In the second half we were defending our goal more but still having good opportunities to score goals.I hope we can continue and build a good team for the rest of the season."

On last time hitting it that well with right foot:

"I don't remember because it might be my first time. No, maybe a couple of goals with my right foot. It feels good especially because it's my first goal of the season and I'm not used to scoring goals with my right foot. I hope this can be good for my confidence."


On getting the start:

"Any time you could play with the First Team it's a positive. Especially being 19 and all, the Coach has confidence in me. Obviously he wanted to rest some players but hopefully I did something with my chance and hopefully I made an impact on the game."

On his contribution to the goal:

"I think I slid - I'm not really too sure how it happened - but I think I recovered a ball or something and Marco just had a really brilliant moment, and when you have players like him and Clint and Oba, you have goals happen out of nowhere."

On the defensive performance:

"I think we defended well. I think the only thing we'll complain about is the amount of fouls we did on top of our box but I didn't think they had too many clear chances so I think we're pretty happy about that."


On the shutout:

"It's great. I think it's no small feat to get three shutouts in a row so I'm super stoked about that and really happy for the team. I think we even had chances to put the game away a bit earlier and let us breathe a bit easier, but we had good resolve defensively, bend and not break, and that's what we showed again today. Even though we had a couple changes in the back line and also on the wings, all the guys that stepped in did fantastic and we deserved the result today."

On passing out of the back:

"I think we're just a bit more aware of taking that risk because on the same token you don't want to play out of the back when it's too dangerous because you're going to give opponents - especially opponents that maybe sit back a little bit, you're going to do risky things you're going to give them a chance to counter. It's a fine line and I think we've done exceptionally well which is why we gets shutouts because we don't give away silly balls. We don't make silly mistakes and, like I said, that's why we're limiting opponents to difficult chances where they actually have to build and usually because we're solid defensively it results in shots from distance and that's all they got so obviously we're fine with that."


On the game:

"It was a game of two halves really. I think the first half, we were behind a little bit. We conceded a world-class goal - it was a great take. The mentality was a bit ... almost too respectful of our opponents in the first half. We didn't ever have the confidence to put the ball down on the carpet and play. In the second half, the mentality was much brighter, the thought to go forward was more aggressive. We found ourselves in some very good spots and had some very good looks at goal. I think the second half was a tremendous effort to try and get back in that game, but unfortunately we just ran out of time."

On the late change of Jared Watts for Axel Sjoberg:

"The way I manage this team is everyone understands their roles and responsibilities for each position. Whether it's a scratch right before the game or there is a sub at halftime, everyone understands what the roles and responsibilities are. That's not an excuse. I think collectively in the first half we were just a bit naïve, a bit overwhelmed and really didn't put our best foot forward."

On what changed at halftime:

"We had to go out and get the game. The guys were much brighter with their passing, much more positive with their passing and there was actually some movement off the ball that created some good exchanges higher up the field. More importantly, it was the mindset. Guys took it upon themselves to take responsibility for every pass, every movement forward and really attack the game the right way. We leave this game disappointed with the result, but I'm quite pleased with the effort in the second half. We have a quick turnaround on Saturday against a tough team in Portland so we have to make sure we bring it at the start of the game."

On the factors of many new players and the artificial pitch playing a role:

"Absolutely. Those are all variables and there were quite a few players out there who'd never experienced that so I'm sure it was a shock to them. But again, even when the bounces aren't going your way, you have to be able to contribute to a game in a positive manner. If you can't pass on the day, if you can't dribble on the day, whatever it is that you're meant to bring to the team, you have to contribute in some kind of way. I think in the second half, the guys overcame all these variables, all these obstacles, made no excuses and really attacked the game the right way. If not for a ball bouncing our way on a corner kick, set piece or one of those decent looks that we had outside of the box, it could've been a different game."

On some positives to take away from tonight's match:

"Like I said, I couldn't be more pleased with the effort in the second half - I really couldn't. But my expectations are high. We might be a small-market team, but we're a big-market mentality. We want to do some things. We want to win every game. There are big teams, but I look at those guys in [the locker room] and I'm saying you guys are big players. At times, a lot of the media, a lot of the people out there, we don't get the limelight. Irrespective of that, you have to believe you're a big-time team, you have to believe you're a big-time player. Again, I'm very pleased with the effort in the second half. I feel like on any given day we can beat any team in this league - I really do. I feel we're organized, everyone understands their roles. I feel we have players that make a difference, we have the right mentality and have 30 players committed to the cause. So for me, that trumps any other variable. In the second half, we showed that we can compete with anyone in this league and we can win whether it's home or away."


On his debut start:

"It was nice obviously to start but you want to win the game or draw the game or get something from it and we didn't so you don't enjoy it when thats the case."

On the difference playing in Seattle compared to Colorado altitude and then artificial turf:

"Yes it's difference challenges and it is something I have to get used to, and everyone else is playing in the same conditions so it's just a case of adapting quickly and you know realizing it's the way it is going to be and you just have to do it.

On having a deeper role behind Luis Solignac:

"Away from home playing against a good Seattle team, so you are playing it slightly different than you would do if you were the home team. Maybe and more on top and it is slightly more defensive when you are away from home, and we were trying to keep the game tight and maybe make it a one-nil win. That was our plan to try to keep it as tight as possible, and that position especially when you are away from home is to try and help the midfield as much as possible."

On the physical nature of MLS compared to the Premier League:

"Yes its pretty similar. It's physical, it is a lot of niggliy stuff, you know. Everyone is tough and fighting for wins. It is similar to England and there are strong guys out there making themselves and there presence felt on the pitch."

On the nature of the game and the Rapids and the second half improvements:

"It was a good finish by Seattle. Our game plan was to keep it as tight as possible, but when they scored the goal it maybe made us come out of our plan and out of our shell a little bit and press a touch higher. And we needed to try to equalize so we were a bit more on the front foot possibly in the second half because we were behind and we had to. You know we were not sitting behind trying to defend a lead or a nil-nil but we needed to come out and get a goal."

On competing on the road with a strong Seattle team:

"We got a good win on Saturday night and it would have been nice to get a draw or win tonight. It's not nice to lose but we had a few half chances and we could have got something from the game. We lost one-nil but we were in it till the very end. We had a couple of corners at the very end and we were never out of the game but it would have just been nice to get something tonight and get a little run going. I suppose after a few wins and after the win Saturday it would have been nice to get a win as we go home. It would have been nice to get three in a week but not to be. Turn around and go again Saturday and hopefully get a win at home."

On adjusting to the MLS travel schedule:

"You know, nearly a two or three and a half hour flight back tomorrow. I am sure it will be a very light session on Friday if anything at all and just getting our muscles and the blood going in our legs and things again and a match Saturday so it is a quick turn around. Every other team is doing the same thing so we can't use excuses."


On the game:

"I think the first half we had a little trouble finding the ball and just our sharpness on the ball and our lack of possession was defiantly a struggle in the first 35 min and pretty much the whole first half. I think during the second half we made some adjustments and I thought Juan (Ramirez #15) came in and changed the game for us offensively and got some good looks going forward from him and Luis had a couple good chances. All things considered in the first half we kind of shot ourselves in the foot a little bit and not coming out as sharp as we should have been but in the second half we made some adjustments and defiantly had some chances.

On the last-minute change putting Jared Watts in the lineup:

"I thought Wattsy did a great job tonight. It is his second year in the league and I think he is a true professional and he is ready when he is called upon. That is what Pablo preaches to the group that it is not just the 11, but all of us as a group. Watts had a good game tonight and it is a credit to him for being ready and being sharp when called upon."

On the response of the Rapids in the second half:

"Obviously they have a good crowd and it was a mid-week game and we have had three games in a week, but so do they. It is the time in the season when the games are starting to come. This is one thing we talked about in the locker room, the fact that look in a couple days time here we have another game at home so we got to take care of business at home and hopefully string together a couple of victories at home together. That is where are focus will shift to now."

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