It took the latest goal in Seattle Sounders history to move to the top of the Group Stage of the 2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League. The late nature of the win, with all of its dramatics, distracts a bit from the fact that by so many measures a victory was the just answer.
CD Olimpia did not create danger, only taking six shots and only two of those were in the danger area. They were also out-possessed. The Sounders C team dominated possession metrics 69.8% to 30.2%. Seattle's third team completed 79% of their passes and their numbers in the attacking half were better than Olimpia's passing anywhere. Sigi's reduced strength team won 75 duels. Olimpia only won 46.
The 2-1 victory feels spectacular. Brad Evans did a wonderful thing. But that game, based on all the data available should have been a victory. Gladly, it was.
Seattle Sounders FC 2 - CD Olimpia 1
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Venue: Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field
Referee: Kimball Ward
Assistants: Graeme Browne, Ike Innis
Fourth Official: Wilson Da Costa
Weather: Clear and 83 degrees
OLI - Albert Elis (Oscar Salas) 5'
SEA - Erik Friberg 90'
SEA - Brad Evans (penalty) 90'+7'
OLI - Romell Quito (caution) 49'
OLI - Carlos Mejia (caution) 50'
OLI - Arnold Peralta (caution) 58'
SEA - Thomàs (caution) 59'
OLI - Ever Alvarado (caution) 80'
SEA - Brad Evans (caution) 90'+8'
OLI - Fabio de Souza (caution) 90'+8'
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC - Troy Perkins; Micheal Azira, Jimmy Ockford (Román Torres 81'), Zach Scott - captain, Dylan Remick; Thomàs (Brad Evans 74'), Gonzalo Pineda, Cristian Roldan, Aaron Kovar; Darwin Jones (Erik Friberg 62'), Lamar Neagle
Substitutes not used: Stefan Frei, Andy Rose, Victor Mansaray, Oniel Fisher
Total shots: 16 (Aaron Kovar, 5)
Shots on goal: 7 (Aaron Kovar, 2)
Fouls: 13 (3 players, 2)
Offside: 2 (Remick/Ockford, 1)
Corner-kicks: 5 (Roldan, 3)
Saves: 1 (Perkins, 1)
CD Olimpia - Noel Vallardes - captain; Fabio De Souza, Bryan Johnson, Oliver Morazan, Johnny Palacios; Carlos Will Mejia (David Meza 83'), Arnold Peralta, Oscar Salas; Albert Elis (Javier Estupinan 73'), Rommel Quioto (Roger Rojas 90')
Substitutes not used: Edrick Menjivar, Elmer Guity, Jonathan Tejada, Michael Chirinos
Total shots: 6 (Carlos Mejia, 2)
Shots on goal: 2 (Alvarado/Elis, 1)
Fouls: 21 (Carlos Mejia, 5)
Offside: 1 (Estupinan, 1)
Corner-kicks: 1 (Quioto, 1)
Saves: 5 (Valladares, 5)
POST-MATCH QUOTES: SOUNDERS FC 2 - CD OLIMPIA 1
2015-2016 SCOTIABANK CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP STAGE
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 19, 2015
SOUNDERS FC HEAD COACH SIGI SCHMID
"Obviously we left it for late - it would have been a lot easier if we would have scored some goals earlier. I thought we were the better team throughout the match. We created some good chances - Thomàs had a really good look, [Aaron] Kovar was unlucky with the goalkeeper making a good save, Kovar in the second half hits the post, Lamar [Neagle] had a couple of missed touches in the box when he was in clean. So I thought we put the pressure on them. We kept fighting and battling to the end...A thing I am happy for about this group, because this group has struggled scoring goals, and I didn't think they needed to lose tonight, so it's nice for them to be able to step off the field and win."
On Brad Evans' penalty kick:
"It's what I expect from Brad...I know Brad, I know how he feels inside, and there's always going to be that little bit of frustrations, but that doesn't change the effort that he puts into the team. Today we asked him to play wide right, we pushed him up front a little bit as we tried to push for the goal because he is the kind of player who can do that and adapt to that. He did what he needed to do. He's good on penalty kicks and finished it well."
On the match's heated emotion:
"As a player, I have been in a few of those situations and as a coach I've been involved in a couple of them. Sometimes, that's just the way things go. Certainly things got a little bit extreme there...Obviously that's something for CONCACAF to look at."
On the comeback win:
"It means a lot - it means a lot for their confidence, it means a lot for their own self-ego in this regard, but also for the group as a whole. It shows, ‘Hey, this stretch is behind us. We want to go forward and we want to win games.' I thought our play was decent - we tried to get behind them early on in the game and cause them some problems that way. We wanted to press them because we knew a lot of their guys played in their last two league games, so we thought they would fatigue in the second half, as well. We wanted to try to press the issue."
On young players stepping up:
"Obviously it feels good. We have to be real with where we are right now, and we have to be sure we go and get a result when we play at Salt Lake, so there are certain guys we just didn't want to push today and put under that pressure. Neagle was one of the guys we came back with today, and he has carried a big load for us in terms of minutes played, so I want to give him a rest here somewhere along the line so that he can freshen up. It was good for the confidence for some players like Kovar, I thought Roldan had a decent game in the middle of the field as well, for those guys to continue to grow. When you give them opportunities, and guys hopefully grow into those opportunities and make use of them."
SOUNDERS FC MIDFIELDER BRAD EVANS
"I think we actually had a good start to the game. You know, the first three and a half, four minutes, we were moving the ball and put in a couple crosses. Then they score off of a second-chance free kick, and then we're chasing the game at that point. It's tough to defend on the road going up that early. Looking at the possession at half-time it was like 70-30, so that will start to rack up, especially with tired legs travelling across the country. We piled on the pressure in the second-half, [we] leave it a little bit late, but the most important thing is the three points."
On the decision to take the penalty kick:
"So obviously we all look on the board [to see] whose mentioned on PK's, and Gonzo [Pineda] and I think [Cristian] Roldan were up there. This past weekend my name was number one, and Oba took it, and it is what it is at that point. So I gave the ball to Gonzo [Pineda] because his name was up there, and then four of our players run over and say, "Brad you take it. Sigi wants you to take it". So I listen to the coach, and I take it. It's three points, and we advance. It's not meant out of disrespect to Gonzo [Pineda] by any means, I listened to the coach. At this point it is what it is. I'm sure he's mad but I'm going to reach out to him, and hopefully we can come to an agreement that the three points is the best overall outcome."
On the conflict with the Olimpia at the end of the game:
"So in the beginning I put the ball down and the keeper is standing there for a good three minutes, and at that point it becomes the referee's responsibility to push the keeper back on his line so I can take the penalty kick. The referee doesn't say anything; doesn't push the goalkeeper back. More guys come crowd around. I put the ball down [and] he touches the ball once so I re-touch the ball. He comes back, I push him and that's when a melee starts. He's talking trash, so I score a PK [in the] 97thminute he's going to hear back. I think we all know the outcome from there."
On how the end of this match will affect the match in Honduras next week:
"I think it's going to be a fiery game. You know, I'm sure they'll be out for blood obviously. But now we've got four points sitting in the group. We've got two games left, and I think if we get one more win we find ourselves in a great position of advancing. We can't hedge all bets on one more win, but if we go down there and get a good performance and good win, and play like we did tonight we should be okay."
On how the win reflects on the character and mentality of the team:
"I think all these guys are fresh, minus Lamar, and Lamar still had a very good game coming off only Monday-Tuesday days rest. It says a lot about this group of guys. This was kind of like, for some guys, a second chance. I thought that everybody played extremely well. We make a couple of key subs, those paid dividends tonight, and I think we can all go home happytonight."
SOUNDERS FC GOALKEEPER TROY PERKINS
On the team's mentality after the win:
"We've got to be flying right now. I think from the bottom player on the roster to the top player on the roster, we have to really be flying. Two good results back-to-back at home, and one was really hard fight tonight. I think we played really well this past weekend, so we've got to be flying right now."
On Friberg's goal:
"I loved it. The guy who slipped an injury is coming off the field, clapping at our fans, and, thirty seconds later we score a goal. So I think a little bit of justice done there."
On the backline containing CD Olimpia's threat on the counter:
"I think they did really well. They [Olimpia] weren't incredibly dangerous. We knew that's what they wanted to do, and once again we get bit by a set-piece. I think overall they [the backline] did really well."
CD OLIMPIA HEAD COACH HECTOR VARGAS
On the fight at the end of the match:
"It didn't end the way that I expected. I don't think we were expecting something like that. I believe that towards the end, the level of the referee was not at the same level that the match required. You never want to see a game where the referee is not at the level of the game."
On whether the penalty was rightly called:
"Yes, I believe it was really a penalty kick. Every game has things between the lines that happen throughout the game and as the game progresses, there are things that happen that affect the game, and this was affected by that."
On the Seattle crowd:
"It is a really nice and beautiful ambiance. I'm from Argentina so I'm used to people being very engaged with the game. It's very nice to see here and in Portland, where we also had a chance to play. We see people engaged and we see people enjoying the game."
On the team's strategy:
"We knew what we needed to do. We knew that they were going to have possession and we knew we needed to have speed to go beyond their line up forward, which tends to be a little slow. That was our chance to have an opportunity. Everything is valid. If it is legal, it is valid, and we've been playing that way."