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Sporting KC vs. Sounders: Highlights, stats and quotes

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Five points from a three-game roadtrip against teams in the thick of the playoff race is hardly a bad haul. But you can bet the Seattle Sounders were flying home thinking about what could have been. Facing a severely depleted Sporting KC, the Sounders were able to counter with a lineup that was as close to full strength as we've seen in quite some time.

Andreas Ivanschitz and Nelson Haedo Valdez were starting out wide, Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey were at forward and Osvaldo Alonso was patrolling the central midfield. The Sounders got off to a slow start, but still managed to go into halftime with a 1-0 lead after Martins put away a Gonzalo Pineda pass for his seventh goal in seven games and fifth straight with a tally.

And it looked like Dempsey was about to give the Sounders a 2-0 lead after Valdez found him with a perfect cross, only to see the shot go right at Jon Kempin. That chance proved costly -- as did another doorstep opportunity later -- as late sub Dominic Dwyer found the equalizer in the 79th minute. In fact, Sporting KC nearly came away with all three and would have if not for some stellar goalkeeping from Stefan Frei.

So instead of heading home in the thick of the Supporters' Shield race, the Sounders now will likely just need to focus on getting a home game. They've got the LA Galaxy next.

Score 1 2 F
Sporting KC (12-9-9, 45 pts) 0 1 1
Seattle Sounders FC (14-13-4, 46 pts)
1 0 1


Sporting Kansas C
ity: Jon Kempin; Amadou Dia, Erik Palmer-Brown, Kevin Ellis, Jalil Anibaba (Saad Abdul-Salaam 66); Paulo Nagamura (Soni Mustivar 46), Jordi Quintilla, Mikey Lopez; Bernardo Anor (Dom Dwyer 74), Jacob Peterson, Connor Hallisey

Subs Not Used: Trey Mitchell, Jimmy Medranda, Marcel de Jong, Amobi Okugo

Seattle Sounders FC: Stefan Frei; Tyrone Mears, Zach Scott, Brad Evans (c), Oniel Fisher; Gonzalo Pineda, Osvaldo Alonso (Erik Friberg 73), Nelson Valdez (Lamar Neagle 84), Andrea Ivanschitz (Marco Pappa 64); Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins

Subs Not UsedTroy Perkins, Chad Marshall, Cristian Roldan, Leonardo Gonzalez

Stats SKC SEA
Shots 12 9
Shots on Goal 7 3
Saves 2 6
Fouls 15 7
Offside 1 1
Corner Kicks
5 2


Misconduct Summary:
SKC -- Paulo Nagamura (caution; reckless foul) 35 
SEA -- Osvaldo Alonso (caution; tactical foul) 44 
SKC -- Erik Palmer-Brown (caution; reckless foul) 82

Scoring Summary:
SEA -- Obafemi Martins 14 (Gonzalo Pineda 2) 32  
SKC -- Dom Dwyer 11 (Amadou Dia 1, Jacob Peterson 2) 79

Seattle Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid

On whether or not the result was frustrating...
It's just a little frustrating. But when a team plays a lot of reserve players, those guys are going to put forth their best effort. They want to play. You saw a lot of them collapse on the field after the game because they left everything on the field. You can never put too much stock into that. We've gotten good results with a reserve team in the past. It was a situation where we weren't as good as we needed to be in the second half. But we had two great chances with Dempsey in front of goal. If he scores one of those two, then the game is over.

On Peter Vermes holding Dom Dwyer out for most of the game...
I wasn't surprised. We thought that was what he was going to do because the emphasis was on the Open Cup Final. So we know Dom [Dwyer] was going come in at some point, but it didn't surprise me he held him that long.

On Seattle's effort tonight...
It's a tough week for us because with the game we had midweek we had one training session. Our goalkeepers were beat up and our reserve team was playing. So we had to have a training session without goalkeepers and it's not always the best session, our team doesn't like that. Then we had a travel day where we couldn't train. It got us out of rhythm a little bit this week. I'm not too concerned and I'm not too worried. I think our rhythm at training was not very good this week because of the circumstances of the games and the travel.

On the closeness of the Western Conference...
We felt we maybe could get three points out of here and we were close to it. It wasn't meant to be obviously, with their goal close to the 80th minute. It's something that for us to go on the road and get a point, it's still a good thing. A lot people left us for dead a while ago. I think we resurrected ourselves. We are still learning each other. We have new players in [Nelson] Valdez and [Andreas] Ivanschitz. And today we didn't start [Erik] Friberg or [Chad] Marshall. So we are also learning each other and learning the group.

Seattle Sounders FC goalkeeper Stefan Frei

On the team's urgency pushing forward...
It's still a result on the road but I think we're all a bit disappointed because we put in a really good first half and had our chances in the second half to put them away. Then I think the heat and the humidity kind of zapped our energy level a bit and made it difficult and then obviously they came back. It was a good effort, a better effort for us so I think that's why we are a bit disappointed to leave with just one point. But it keeps the train rolling and the points coming in so we need to focus on the next one.

On team's performance on set pieces...
We didn't give one away today, sometimes it gets dicey that's just how the game is. Set pieces are an integral part of football, and you want to be scoring goals on set pieces and making sure you don't concede because if you concede like we did in the past on set pieces then you're not going to go places. I think we've gotten better at it obviously, but there is still room to improve. But like I said, disappointing because I think we put in a good shift today.

On Dom Dwyer's impact off the bench...
I think it just gives them a moral boost because he's a player everybody knows - he fights, he works hard, he doesn't give up. And you see that on the goal. He looks like he's not going to get there and he puts in that extra effort and barely gets his foot to it. I think if we take care of the game before hand, they might not even sub him in. I think we had our chances to go up, 2-0 or 3-0. Unfortunately, their keeper made a couple of brilliant saves.

On the tightness of the Western Conference...
It is [really tight]. With that being said, I think if you go back two or three months and said: you're going to Kansas in a tough environment and you're going to get a point, we would have probably said yes, we'll take it. It keeps the train rolling for us, it keeps the points rolling in and that's important. We're going to go back home now and make sure we take three points there.

On Dom Dwyer's performance...
You know he's not going to give up on the ball. Weather it's a high ball and some players would give up, he's going to go in and try to win it. As a goalkeeper you have to treat every player and every ball with the utmost respect. He proved that he's a threat and that he can find himself in position to take care of the chances he gets.

Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Gonzalo Pineda

On the 1-1 draw...
I think that probably on paper that a draw is not bad, but the game we played in the first was a little disappointing. I think we created some chances and played a good positional game but at the end of the day we have only one point and that's difficult.

On the game's tempo in the second half...
The change that they did in the middle for the second half with number 93 [Soni Mustivar]. It overwhelmed us in the middle and that created for them a better space to play and move and we could never solve that issue. I think they had some good chances wide and good chances.

On the midfield with Andreas Ivanschitz and Nelson Valdez out wide...
I think we had some good looks. In the first half we were a little bit more fresh and I think we had a better idea of how to create some chances with the two of them out there.

Sporting KC head coach Peter Vermes

On Sporting KC's 1-1 draw against Seattle...
It was a very good performance for a group of young guys who don't play a lot. At the same time, they were playing against some players on the other team who obviously have a tremendous amount of experience. I think Seattle is a superpower in the league based on their market and everything else that they do. Right on the edge of the U.S. Open Cup this Wednesday, and with a game this past Wednesday, we've expended a lot of energy. So for those guys to come in and play 90 minutes and help us get a result was great. Obviously they had a couple of chances they probably should have put away. We also had a couple here at the end, so I think the three points could have gone either way. It's only one point, but it was good for us to get the one point for sure.

On the performance of Bernardo Anor...
Bernardo was good. I thought he held up the ball well at times and went well 1-v-1. He was good, and like I said, the guys had a very good performance.

On Sporting KC's lesser-used players stepping up...
The bottom line is that the guys who played tonight—what I'm pleased about is a lot of times when players are given an opportunity, they don't take advantage of it. And I thought the guys tonight did that. I'm happy for each individual player and I'm happy for the team because we needed a point at a minimum. More importantly, what happens in situations like this is you talk all year long about guys on the roster. And we've played every guy on the roster. Tonight was a big difference in the lineup, and those guys got a real feeling that they have a major impact on what the season looks like. For them to take that opportunity and play the way they did—and have the energy at the end to almost win it—was great. They won the crowd over towards the end. They got them into the game and the environment was what it's always like. But they won the crowd over as the game went on.

On Sporting KC's standout performers on Sunday...
I thought Jordi [Quintilla] and Mikey Lopez did a really good job. I thought they had good energy. I thought Jordi was really good on the ball and opened the game up quite a bit. Connor [Hallisey] again did a very good job. Erik Palmer-Brown and Kevin Ellis had a good relationship and didn't give up too much in the back and were pretty smart on the ball for two really young guys. EPB is 18 years old. All the guys just did a good job.

On Dom Dwyer making a difference as a second-half substitute...
I think he always has an incredible work rate. I think the difference is that he comes into a part of the game where the other team has expended a lot of energy throughout 70 minutes of the game. So he comes on with 20 minutes left and does what a goal scorer wants to do—he tries to score. So he was very dangerous and very mobile. I thought his mobility didn't allow them to get as many shots on him as central defenders usually are allowed to get away with. He's done this in the past for us—he came in [off the bench] and scored a tremendous goal against Colorado. When he comes in he brings a level of energy that is very, very helpful to the team.

On Sporting KC's improvement throughout the game...
In the second half we were much better in possession and we were starting to get in and around their goal. I think when Dom came on, he had a different objective and that was to be a little more spearheaded towards the goal, which pushed their line back and opened them up a little bit more. We kept losing a bunch of really easy balls in the first half, which put us on the defense a lot. In the second half, they kept losing balls out of the half, and the next thing you know we were counter, counter, counter. With Dom in there, he had good energy and his mobility was really good. That caused a lot of havoc for them.

On choosing to rest several regular starters...
At some point I've got to make a decision to give some guys some rest. On the precipice of the Open Cup, it just seemed like there were some guys who needed it. And some guys are banged up, to be frank. I've always said to the guys to trust in me all the time. I've got to trust in them as well.

On Soni Mustivar entering the match at halftime for Paulo Nagamura...
My whole idea was to get him and Nagamura involved in the game—one to start it and one to finish it off, just because I wanted to have some experience on the field and it was an important place to have it. Another thing about Mustivar is that he is very mobile and he won a lot of balls, which he sort of was the spearhead to starting the counter for us. The good thing is he only had to do it for 45 minutes today, not 90.

On the performance of Amadou Dia, who recorded the game-tying assist...
I've said all along that he's been very good for us all year. His only issue is that he doesn't have enough games under his belt in experienced moments. Tonight was a big step forward for him as well as Connor [Hallisey] and [Saad] Abdul-Salaam.

Sporting KC forward Dom Dwyer

On the team's effort tonight...
The team put in a fantastic effort. There were a lot of guys who don't always start games for us and they came in and did a fantastic job. Seattle is a very good team and we got a fantastic result. 1-1 is not a bad result against a very strong Seattle team.

On the confidence the result gives the team leading into the Open Cup Final...
This is very good for us. It shows that we can put out any side and get a result and now Peter [Vermes] has some hard decisions to make on Wednesday.

On what the coaching staff says before entering the match...
They are telling me to just come in and make a difference, to try and get something in the game. I got a bit, but I wanted another one and should have gotten another one. I'm pleased to get a goal, but I definitely wanted another one there.

On how the equalizing goal developed...
It was a great play between Jake [Peterson] and Amadou [Dia] down the line. Jake got Amadou in behind and, in training every week, he shows that he can split that ball in-between the goalkeeper and the center backs. I checked away and checked far post and he sent it in perfectly. I just had to slide in and run it into the goal.

Sporting KC defender Amadou Dia

On Sporting KC's young lineup earning a 1-1 draw...
We knew it was a young squad, but we were going to go out there and try to do our best. That was the whole attitude before we came into this game—to try to get as many points as possible.

On his assist to Dom Dwyer in the second half...
I just saw Dom [Dwyer] creeping in at the back post and I tried to slip it in as hard as I could and luckily he got a toe to it. I thought at first (the pass) was a little bit too hard, but when I saw the ball go in the net it was a huge relief. We do a lot of pattern play during practices, and that's one of the ones we work on. I think we executed it almost perfectly.

On Clint Dempsey missing multiple scoring chances...
It was very fortunate, and it's a good thing he did. We tried to take as much advantage of it as we could. As soon as you see him miss, it's like "Okay, let's pick it up and get going."

On Sporting KC's lesser-used players stepping up...
To me and I'm sure to the rest of the guys, it's just another game where we try to get as many points as possible. Plus we're at home, and the atmosphere at home is always the same—always incredible. Sometimes we don't play that much, but when we do we want to make the most of it.

On Sporting KC's improvement throughout the game...
They got tired, and as they got tired, we got more and more energy. When everyone saw Dom, the reaction of the crowd when Dom came in was a huge boost of confidence and energy.