Yesterday was fun. The Seattle Sounders earned a shutout, scored four goals, and welcomed newcomers Nelson Valdez and Roman Torres in style. Fans were loud. Nobody left the game early. It was a beautiful day to be a Sounder.
Obafemi Martins made his first MLS appearance since June 13, when he suffered an adductor injury in a game that will not be mentioned. Martins wasted little time getting back into a scoring groove — linking up well with Erik Friberg and Lamar Neagle to score in the 17th minute and put the Sounders up 1-0.
Martins nearly put the Sounders up 2-0 in the 30th minute, but Tally Hall stopped his penalty kick. The Sounders went into half up a goal and a man after Orlando City SC defender Tyler Turner earned a second yellow card in the 40th minute.
The second half was all Seattle. Martins got a second goal, Nelson Valdez had a beautiful header goal, and Thomás got his first MLS goal off a Román Torres assist.
The game ended with the Sounders winning 4-0 and out-shooting the Lions 21-5. Here's what the team had to say about the much-needed win.
Seattle Sounders FC 4 - Orlando City SC 0
Sunday, August 16, 2015
Venue: Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field
Referee: Kevin Stott
Assistants: Frank Anderson, Brian Poeschel
Fourth Official: Baboucarr Jallow
Weather: Sunny and 72 degrees
SEA - Obafemi Martins (Lamar Neagle) 17'
SEA - Nelson Valdez (Erik Friberg) 51'
SEA - Obafemi Martins (Thomás) 62'
SEA - Thomàs (Román Torres) 90'+2'
ORL - Tyler Turner (caution) 23'
ORL - Tyler Turner (ejection) 40'
ORL - Darwin Cerèn (caution) 61'
ORL - Bryan Rochez (caution) 77'
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Tyrone Mears, Chad Marshall, Román Torres, Oniel Fisher; Andy Rose, Brad Evans - captain (Cristian Roldan 81'), Erik Friberg, Lamar Neagle; Nelson Valdez (Thomás 56'), Obafemi Martins (Darwin Jones 66')
Substitutes not used: Troy Perkins, Gonzalo Pineda, Dylan Remick, Zach Scott
Shots on goal: 12 (Martins, 4)
Fouls: 14 (5 players tied at 2)
Offside: 3 (Valdez, 2)
Corner-kicks: 8 (Friberg, 7)
Orlando City SC - Tally Hall; Tyler Turner, David Mateos, Aurelièn Collin, Luke Boden; Darwin Cerèn (Pedro Ribeiro 85'), Servando Carrasco, Cristian Higuita, Adrian Winter; Cyle Larin (Bryan Rochez 67'), Kaká - captain (Lewis Neal 70')
Substitutes not used: Earl Edwards Jr., Corey Ashe, Tommy Redding, Carlos Rivas
Total shots: 5 (Cerèn, 2)
Shots on goal: None
Fouls: 14 (Turner, 4)
Offside: 1 (Collin, 1)
Corner-kicks: 1 (Boden, 1)
Saves: 8 (Hall, 8)
SOUNDERS FC 4 - ORLANDO CITY SC 0
SOUNDERS FC HEAD COACH SIGI SCHMID
"Welcome to the last 10 games of the season - hopefully it will be more like the first 10 games of the season. Obviously having some guys back made a big difference for us; [Obafemi Martins] obviously helps us - he gives not only his play, but he gives everybody around the team a little more confidence. I think [Nelson] Valdez had a great debut game. I think you see why we brought him here - his ability to battle and fight. [Romàn] Torres is a very calming influence in the back. I know there has been some talk of [Brad] Evans in the midfield changing positions, I thought Evans was solid in midfield. That's why he is captain of the team. I knew it would take some days to sink in. I thought [Erik] Friberg was excellent tonight. Even though he only got on assist, he was involved in the first goal, he was constantly [involved]. He put Lamar Neagle through there on what should have been a goal. He is very good at finding those gaps and getting the ball to the people who needed it. Obviously we were pleased today. It made it easier with them getting a red card, but also they got a red card because we were going at them and forced the defender into committing two yellow card fouls because we were constantly going at the young defender, and that was one of the things we wanted to do."
On scoring off set pieces:
"Yeah, we haven't scored anything off set pieces, and I think now with Valdez and Torres, as well, it makes us so much more dangerous now on set pieces. I've always said that the key is service, and I think Erik has been serving the ball fairly well for us and I think that has really helped us in that regard...It definitely makes life more difficult for the opponent. The key to all of that is service, and if we have good service we can get there."
On Obafemi Martins returning to the pitch:
"He is a valuable player to the team. He brings special quality. Like I said, the most important thing he does is that he gives everyone else on the field confidence. So they have confidence, and all of a sudden, as their confidence grows...it makes all of the difference in the world."
"Andreas [Ivanschitz] had a little bit of tightness in his quad. Again, we don't need guys to get injured and he didn't feel he was ready to go, he didn't feel that he could sprint 100 percent. So we will see how he is, possibly Wednesday could be his debut."
On snapping the losing skid:
"I think our guys were tired of what's been going on. I think with Oba coming back and [the new additions], there was an uplifted mood. The attitude of the guys - we talked about it before the game - ‘Hey, it's time. It's time. There's no more time to waste.' I felt they responded well to it."
On Oniel Fisher's start:
"We like him - that's the reason we drafted him. In preseason, I remember saying to Chris Henderson and Garth Lagerwey that this guy is going to help us. As the season goes on there will be a time when he is going to be able to help us. [He played] leftback, he is probably stronger at rightback than leftback, but I thought he played a very good, solid game. Defensively, we like a lot of things he gives. What I like about Oniel is that he is not in awe of the situation - he is going to come in and battle."
On the shutout:
"It was nice. After the game, Stefan Frei came up to me and said, ‘Did you see my save?' And I am looking at him perplexed and I said, ‘What save?' And he said, ‘Exactly! I didn't have any to make.' So, yeah, it was nice. It was nice to get a clean sheet as well."
On the fan support:
"We are very thankful to our fans who stood behind us through this very difficult stretch. I think oftentimes in a lot of cities, fans would turn on you. Our fans stayed behind us and kept believing in us. I am so happy we were able to reward them today. Their support is also why we're sitting here talking about this win."
SOUNDERS FC CAPTAIN BRAD EVANS
On the team's performance:
"Good, yeah it was fine. Obviously with the red card that changes things, so not as much pressure for anybody to create but for the first 30-35 I though it was positive. We came out and had a lot of bite and we said before the game this is where the bleeding stops, is today. We've said that before and we came out kind of iffy, but today I thought everybody from minute one was on the same game plan and it paid dividends."
On if a commanding shutout carries more weight than just three points:
"I think guys' heads will be obviously up and looking forward to the next game, but most importantly is that this all stays even keel. When the lows are low it can't be the world's ending and when you win 4-0 and break a streak it can't be we're the best team in the world. I think guys are good enough and smart enough players to realize there's still things to work on and we're not always going to win 4-0. We're going to have to come from behind but as long as we give effort and these guys play like they did today then we find ourselves with a good chance of getting into the playoffs."
On Obafemi Martins' presence:
"I think a player like that, it lifts us in a sense but a player like that demands respect from the other team. And a lot of teams have a striker up top where the forward is handled by one centerback, but Oba is a player where the team has a team-talk beforehand, and it's the responsibility of both centerbacks and it's also the responsibility of the defensive midfielder, and when that gets in the back of guys' minds they start lose track of what else is going on on the field so it frees up a lot of space for everybody else. Tactically that part of the game is obviously great for having him on the field because it takes two-three guys to slow him down and a lot of heads turn when he touches the ball so he was also playmaking tonight. That was great so it's good."
On Nelson Valdez:
"Good player. Very good player. He's like 5'9"-5'10" on a good day but he plays like he's 6'3." You can tell that he's played in Bundesliga for as long as he has and that's the demands of that league, is playing big and that's huge in this league as well. It's a very physical league and he held his own against two large centerbacks tonight, and obviously scoring the header shows his aerial ability. I thought he was very, very good today."
SOUNDERS FC FORWARD OBAFEMI MARTINS
On how it feels to be back:
"I'm so excited to be back. Seeing the team, playing a game with the team, it's been a while so I'm happy."
On the second goal:
"I tried to do what I can and it happened to be perfect, so good luck to me. And yeah, scored a good goal."
On playing with Valdez:
"I played with him at Rubin Kazan for a while, and played against each other, too, so we're quite close."
On if chemistry with Valdez carried over:
"We know each other. He's a good guy, so yeah we're happy to have him here. We can't wait for Clint [Dempsey] to be back, as well, for the team to be more solid. We're glad today that some of the other players scored, as well, so we're happy to keep the three points at home."
On how tough it was to watch the team lose:
"It's pretty sad for the team losing a lot of games but I'm glad that I'm back that I'm back and we won which is good for me, the staff and the players, as well."
On how he's feeling:
"I'm a lot better; I'm a lot better and can't wait to be better and try to do what I can to help the team."
SOUNDERS FC FORWARD NELSON VALDEZ
On how he feels playing in his first match with Sounders FC:
"I just can't really explain what I feel right now. Right from the beginning I fell in love with the fans, and I still have goosebumps from when I scored and saw all of the fans cheer with me."
On the fans:
"Just to have an ambience like this after losing eight of nine games, I haven't seen something like that. People here are very trustful."
On being reunited with Obafemi Martins:
"It was a very good feeling. It brought back the feeling when we played together with Rubin Kazan, and I feel like we're going to continue to play together like that, and it's a very good feeling."
On what the coaches see in him:
"I think the coaches trust my ability to hold the ball in front, my commitment to every single play and that I can exploit the speed from Oba."
SOUNDERS FC DEFENDER ROMÁN TORRES
On how he feels in first match with Sounders FC:
"I felt very, very good - it helped that I felt the support of my teammates, and I feel very good that we were able to take the win with us."
On the stadium atmosphere:
"It is just incredible, I have played in many other places - I have played in Colombia - but I have never seen something like this. It was very, very impressive."
On playing against Kaká and maintaining the shutout:
"We knew that he is a very important player on their roster, so we knew we needed to be concentrated on him throughout the game to keep him at pace. It was very important for us to keep them at zero."
On playing with Chad Marshall:
"I felt really good. It is all about communication and he understands a little bit of Spanish, so that helped a little bit, so we were able to communicate well and keep the clean sheet."
ORLANDO CITY SC HEAD COACH ADRIAN HEATH
On the match:
"Obviously really disappointed, bitterly disappointed, with our performance. Started sloppy and never really got a foothold in the game at any stage. I thought they were better than us in every department. Never got a grip on their front two. They were too good for us on the day. Then we compound ourselves by turning the ball over cheaply in the first half then getting a guy sent off when we had possession of a free kick in the outskirts of our own box. We haven't done ourselves any favors today - a really poor, poor performance."
On how to get something more out of this team:
"We have to do something, don't we? I can make excuses, but that's what I have to do - get more out of this group. I'm a little bit concerned about our away form at this moment in time. The differences in our home performances and our away performances are night and day. Individually and collectively we have to make it better. I'm including us as a staff as well - we have to get better because certainly today wasn't good enough. It was unacceptable, really, for the players we had on the field."
On the decision to start Tyler Turner at right back instead of Corey Ashe:
"Well, that's his position - he's a rightback. He's got to learn. He's got to play in places like this if he's going to have a future in the game. And today, it looked a little bit too much for him, culminating with getting sent off. I think it's the sixth game this year where we've had somebody sent off. Not really any of them have been for anything malicious so it's something else we're going to have to address because futbol is hard enough with 11, let alone going away from home and playing with 10."
On what he's seeing with the defense's struggles on the road in particular:
"It certainly doesn't help when you turn the ball over cheaply near your own goal, especially against the quality that we were playing against today. I think those two [Martins and Valdez] have played together before - you could tell that. They had good chemistry going, but we didn't help ourselves. If you keep turning the ball over 15 yards outside your own 18-yard box to good teams, good attacking players, then you're going to concede goals. It was poor today."
On David Mateos' performance:
"It was a difficult afternoon for him against two really good forwards. We didn't have a lot of protection in front of him and I think we turned the ball over too much in the wrong areas and put ourselves in really bad situations."
On their next game in Toronto:
"We have to regroup. We get back in the early hours of this morning then we have to get the group back together again and start going over it and see what we can do. We have to try and instill some confidence and get a better shape than we are. Next week is a huge game for us."
On whether or not Rafael Ramos will be available:
"Yeah, he will be back for next week."
ORLANDO CITY SC GOALKEEPER TALLY HALL
On how the team can improve defensively:
"Working hard in practice. Focusing on, you know, simple things. When it comes gametime, I don't think we execute very well. You know, when we're under pressure, just getting rid of it. Whether it's taking space defensively when we can. [They] play a short corner and pass it out to the top of the box, we have to take some space. We can't just sit there and watch them go for the ball. So it's fairly simple things. But it's, I mean, they're incredibly simple."
On overcoming the team's bad run of form:
"Well I think when you look at it, like I said, it's simple things which makes it incredibly frustrating [that] we're making those mistakes. It doesn't take much to fix them, we just have to take responsibility and put it on our shoulders and do it. It's a decision, and if you're not going to make a decision to do the right thing, that will speak for itself. That's all of us."
On his strong performance in front of his hometown:
"Yeah, it's always a special place. This [CenturyLink Field] is where I had senior prom. I lost [a game] that day too. I just remember looking out the window the whole time and looking at the field, and just wanting to be out there. So here I am, getting to play on the field, but that novelty wears off as soon as you get scored on."
On whether he saw something that helped him save the penalty kick:
"No, I just got lucky I guess. I thought about a couple of things that I could have done better on the last few penalties [I faced], and I just tried to explode and be big. Not give up too much space, and it just worked out this time."
ORLANDO CITY SC MIDFIELDER SERVANDO CARRASCO
On Seattle being a special place to play for him:
"Yeah, I had a great three years here. It was the first team that gave me a shot. I have some fond memories here, but of course it was one of those days that we just didn't play well. It's really tough to think about it right now, but we have to rebound and refocus as quickly as possible because we have some really big games coming up. So, now the focus is on Toronto, and trying to forget about this game as quickly as possible."
On staying positive during this run
"I think the team just has to stick together. I've been on teams that have gone through good times and bad times, and the only thing that gets you out of those bad times is fighting for the guy next to you. Now that we have nine games left, you know, a lot of these games are away from home. So, these are massive games, tough games, but I think defensively we have to be a lot sharper and a lot smarter. Way, way, way smarter for sure."
On preparing for Toronto FC
"Well I think it's similar to Seattle. They have some special players, guys who can really, really hurt you. Very, very dangerous. [Sebastian] Giovinco had a phenomenal game against us, but now that we've seen that, there are absolutely no excuses. So we just have to be ready for that. [Michael] Bradley is probably going to be back, Jozy [Altidore] is going to be back. They have a lot of star power but; you know. Now it's time to rebound, have a good week of training, and focus on the games coming up."
On conceding thirteen goals in the previous three away games
"Look, it's not just one player. It's from front to back, and from back to front. We're in this together and we just have to fight for each other. It's really that simple."