There's not really a great argument to be made that the Seattle Sounders "deserved" a point in Saturday's 1-0 loss to the Chicago Fire. The first 30 or so minutes featured the Fire missing chance after clear chance and Troy Perkins was the main reason the game was scoreless as it ticked over into stoppage time.
But that's still a painful point to drop.
For all their struggles and lack of "deservedness", the Sounders had managed to get to stoppage time in position to at least steal a point, if not claim all three. When they lined up for that deciding free kick, they had thrown their numbers forward and were looking intent on going for a point.
We know what happened next. Gonzalo Pineda left his free kick woefully short, the Fire got off on the break, and, despite managing to get numbers back -- there are five Sounders defenders marking three Fire attackers -- they manage to give up a virtually uncontested shot from about 12 yards out. It was an entirely avoidable loss, and quite possibly the worst performance of the Sounders season.
The Sounders have now claimed just six points in their past seven and have lost four of five. If there's a silver lining, it's that they are still tied on points for first in the Western Conference and history has shown us a run like this is hardly definitive. Last year, the Sounders claimed just seven of 21 available points during a rough patch right around the same point in the season.
Yes, they are still missing five key contributors. But if this team is as deep as they like to think they are, they need to start getting results.
Saturday, July 11, 2015
Venue: Toyota Park
Referee: Allen Chapman
Assistants: Kermit Quisenberry, Kyle Atkins
Fourth Official: Mark Kadlecik
Weather: Cloudy and 74 degrees
CHI - Jason Johnson (Michael Stephens) 90'+2'
SEA - Andy Craven (caution) 80'
CHI - Razvan Cocis (caution) 82'
CHI - Adailton (caution) 84'
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC - Troy Perkins; Tyrone Mears, Chad Marshall, Zach Scott - captain, Dylan Remick; Lamar Neagle, Osvaldo Alonso, Gonzalo Pineda, Cristian Roldan (Micheal Azira 83'), Thomás (Andy Rose 69'); Chad Barrett (Andy Craven 65')
Substitutes not used: Charlie Lyon, Jimmy Ockford, Leo Gonzalez, Darwin Jones
Total shots: 9 (Lamar Neagle, 3)
Shots on goal: 2 (Chad Barrett/Andy Craven, 1)
Fouls: 11 (Cristian Roldan/Lamar Neagle, 2)
Offside: 1 (Lamar Neagle, 1)
Corner-kicks: 2 (Cristian Roldan, 2)
Saves: 5 (Troy Perkins, 5)
Chicago Fire -Sean Johnson; Patrick Doody, Eric Gehrig, Adailton, Palmer; Shipp, Matt Polster, Razvan Cocis, Patrick Nyarko (Jason Johnson 65'); Kennedy Igboananike (Michael Stephens 83'), Mike Magee - captain (Guly 70'')
Substitutes not used: Jon Busch, Greg Cochrane, Chris Ritter, Matt Watson
Total shots: 16 (Harry Shipp/Mike Magee, 3)
Shots on goal: 6 (Guly/Jason Johnson, 2)
Fouls: 13 (Razvan Cocis, 5)
Offside: 2 (Kennedy Igboananike/Guly, 1)
Corner-kicks: 6 (Harry Shipp, 5)
Saves: 2 (Sean Johnson, 2)
Seattle Sounders Head Coach Sigi Schmid
On the match:
"I thought overall Chicago was the better team. I thought we did a good job of defending and holding on there, I thought Perkins played well in goal. Came up with obviously a big save towards the end. I thought Marshall and Zach Scott made a couple of good plays as well. We need to be smart enough to get through and hold on to a zero-zero at the end of the game."
On it being frustrating giving up a goal in stoppage time:
"It's very frustrating. Because it was a counter attack goal and it was a couple of blown assignments. At the end of the day the fault lies with me. We need to play better than we did today. We didn't play well today."
On what he told the team after the match:
"Exactly that. We didn't play well enough today. We need to play better."
On what needs to be worked on before facing Colorado:
"Play better. It's all about playing better soccer and making better decisions, and holding on to the ball. Making sure that guys are in right spaces. I thought Shipp and Magee ran the game and we need to make sure we run the game."
On absorbing the Fire pressure during the game:
"I think we absorbed it all right. We gave up way too much at times. The reason we gave up so much was because offensively we didn't play well enough. When we hold on to the ball more, it relieves us of the pressure. So it's our offense that hurt us."
On asking any more of Troy Perkins:
"I thought Troy was good. He stepped up. That's why we signed him and have him play tonight. Stefan's been playing well but Troy had a very good gametonight."
Seattle Sounders Goalkeeper Troy Perkins
On letting one mistake take the tie away:
"One mental mistake, really, it cost us. Credit to the guy who scored the goal on the Fire. It was a good finish. He did well. But it starts well before that. We have to hold ourselves accountable for that and move on. We need to learn from our mistakes and just keep plugging away. It's a tough loss."
On trying to take advantage of the counter attack:
"We have not talked about sitting back and trying to counter at all. We knew that they were going to come out pressing, so that sort of dictates the way you're going to play to begin with. We knew eventually they'd open up. I think in the second half our possession was better and our movement was better."
On missing players to national team call ups and injuries:
"It's not easy when you're losing. When you're missing guys and you're winning, you don't think about it. Certainly now you're thinking about that, but you know, no one is coming back any time soon. We have to turn around now and figure out a way to win."
Seattle Sounders Midfielder Cristian Roldan
On the mood of the team after the game:
"It was mixed feelings. Obviously it was bitter for us. I thought we'd sneak away with a point at the end, and then they scored a goal and it's a whole different feeling if they don't score that goal."
On Sigi Schmid's message to the team after the match:
"We just have to be more careful. When it's the 87th minute and we're putting the ball in to the box and we are committing guys forward, we have to be more careful with that. We need to be aware of where people should be at the same moment."
On the trouble Chicago gave Seattle:
"I think Harry Shipp did a really good job today. I think the guys coming in to the middle of the field were effective and it's hard to stop those when there is four or five guys and three of us in midfield."
On how hard it's been to the team with injuries and national team call ups:
"It's difficult, especially with the guys we don't have. Our guys are good enough and everyone that is here is here for a reason. We should be able to play just the same and while those guys are crucial to our team, we need to step up."
Frank Yallop, Chicago Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer:
On the match
"Obviously great to get three points. I thought we played well enough to get three pointstonight. Although late, much needed goal and very good to get three points at home. Looking forward obviously to our home stretch we got coming up. Very pleased."
On the importance of the fresh legs
"It was very important, if you look at the two guys Patrick and Mike, guys that are still not at hundred percent. It is important for our subs to come on and make a difference. And I think JJ and Mikey combined greatly for the goal. Terrific finish and obviously won us the game. I have been pleased with the spirit of the squad and we have been through some rough patches in the last few weeks. But we stuck together and are looking forward to our next game. We are looking forward to the Open Cup game coming up as well, so tonight was a very important three points. We spoke after the game on the field and I said to the guys, ‘this is the feeling you want to have. You know, you worked hard to get this very important part. We have put our bodies through turmoil and fight, knocks, bumps, and bruises and you come out victorious.' I thought we deserved to win tonight, we fought hard, we tried to win the match and we were lucky, which is important."
On the play of Patrick Doody
"I am happy for Patrick and it was a solid good performance. If you look at Seattle obviously they are a good side and top of the West for a reason. And it is not just having both Dempsey and Martins out. They are tough to play against, they are good defensively. I thought we did great stuff early in the first half. In the first thirty minutes I thought we dominated and should have scored but we didn't, that was disappointing. But we kept going, we scored but a little late but we scored, that's important."
On the health of Patrick Nyarko and Mike Magee
"Mike got a knee to the back, he's a little sore, so I guess one good thing is we haven't run him into the ground for Wednesday, that's good news. Patrick looked like he got a knock but then he had a play afterwards where he didn't look too bad, dribbling the ball and playing. I have to see the medical staff and see how he is feeling and doing. But I thought both guys did well, after all it is just a long layoff for them to spark all the time is tough. They did a great job tonight, held it 0-0 and end up playing well the first half to maybe get ahead in the match. But again, we saved minutes for them which are important forWednesday night."
On the importance of getting a late goal
"I think, I have been around this game a long time and you talk about different parts of the game, late goals scored and blame. To be honest it is the same type of thing if they score early. If you score late it changes for us all the time. We talk about not conceding late goals but we seem to do it quite regularly and early in the season. I think for us throughout the season but tonight was a good example; they have a few little sniffs and a little chance but didn't score. I feel Larin's goal against us was a word class goal. And if you look at the D.C. goal, I mean you don't see a better goal then that. Those two goals are what really hurt us and we lost because of it. So good to get through this defensively and it gives you confidence going into the next match. I thought we put our bodies on the line tonight and I was really proud with how the boys fought and dug in and got the goal and then didn't let it go. I thought it was good."
On the central partnerships in midfield and defense
"I thought Razvan especially was outstanding tonight, he covered so much ground. He is really coming into his own now, playing like the great professional we know he is, he is playing very well. And Polster is obviously a young kid that is learning and his enthusiasm I love, and he gets kind of caught up in that position once in a while but I'd rather him do that and learn from it then being timid and not getting himself out around the field. So very happy with those two in the middle and I thought both Adi coming off injured in the game in Houston and he worked very hard to get himself ready for this game. He is probably still sore here and there but I thought him and Eric were outstanding again. They fought; they battled and didn't want to give anything up. I think that is important and I talked to the guys and when we had a video meeting after the Houston game and I showed a ton of clips where we out fought Houston and we didn't win the game. I thought we fought tonight and didn't allow them to bully us and I thought that is important enough in our league and for us moving forward. Forget the players that are playing and if you don't want to fight, it is bad for your teammate and yourself. Often you are in the wrong spot and the last little spill. In the last couple games we have had there was desire to win the match and that is important."
On what was said to Jason Johnson before he entered the match
"Yeah, I said, ‘get on the right wing, cut in and shoot in the far corner.' No, I didn't I just said make a difference. Just get up and down wherever you're playing. We do tend to mix it up a little bit, we were going to go three in the back but we decided to put JJ up front. Just get dangerous, we need a goal so whatever you need to do to get it onto to your left foot and get a strike off, please does it. It's not really one instruction it is more be forceful, be positive, get your shots off, and get your crosses off because that is what we need in this game. He was on for 15 minutes, give everything you have and close them down when they have it. And when you get a chance to goal go at them, get your shots and crosses off and he did that. It was a wonderful goal; I haven't seen a better goal this season. Well I have seen a few against us but for us this season this is a great goal. I am very happy for him and a good kid as well."
Patrick Doody, Chicago Fire Defender
On making his MLS debut
"As a Homegrown guy, it's something that I've thought about for quite some time. So to make my first appearance at home, with my family here, and obviously, more importantly with the win, in that type of fashion, it was a really special night, something I won't forget."
On the match
"It was awesome. Even though it came late, I'm not lying, we really thought it would come, and we kept at it defensively, didn't really give them much. It was a special play, special moment, and I think it was just a fun night for the Fire, fun night for the fans and just a really big team night."
Jason Johnson, Chicago Fire Forward
On the goal
"It was quite simple. It was a good ball from Mikey Stephens. Good counter attack and I just had one thing on my mind, to shoot. That's pretty much it. No doubt. Even before the ball was played, my mind was set to the option I did. Sometimes it goes on the other side of the post but I'm thankful that it went in tonight. It was great for the team."
On the recent struggle to get goals
"I don't think the team has been struggling to get goals. What does it do for the team? I think it was great. It was a great team effort tonight to get a win and get us back on track for the next couple of games. Good momentum for the team to get a couple more wins in the next few weeks."
Michael Stephens, Chicago Fire Midfielder
On the match
"I think it started in Houston more than tonight. Houston was a good effort, I think tonightwe just continued on what we did there. But I think that was a big game for us, things were more positive in training this week and then we continued into the game, but I think Houston was a big turning point for this team."
On recovering from his injury earlier in the season
"I was out longer than I would have expected, I was out for four weeks, that takes a toll on you, obviously you lose some fitness. I've been back for the last three or four weeks training hard, trying to get back into the team so hopefully tonight helps me get more minutes."
On what the coaching staff has said about his role in the next four to five games
"Not as much as far as what my role is in the next four, five games, but we've been in communication about things they want to see me doing. We have an open dialogue. These are coaches that are honest and communicate with the players well, so I've had good conversations with them and haven't felt like I've been out of the team fully, so I've just been biding my time and waiting for my opportunity."
On the goal
"I saw that I was on a break and knew that I wasn't going to beat the guy with my speed. I saw Jason coming around my shoulder and I thought, ‘the chances of him beating this guy with his pace are a lot better than mine,' so I let him go. It was a central midfielder caught in a left back position. Playing central midfield, you're not used to being in that position so I just round-footed him a little bit. He thought I'd go outside and the inside would open, but he's not used to being in that position."