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Sounders beat Toronto FC: Highlights, Stats, Quotes

With the 2-1 win the Seattle Sounders FC move into third place in the Western Conference and fifth in the Supporters' Shield standings. They are also one of five teams with three or more wins in their last four matches. Toronto FC now sits at fifth in the East and 12th in the Shield.

The following highlights, stats and quotes are provided by the team.


Seattle Sounders FC 2 - Toronto FC 1
Saturday, September 5, 2015

Venue: Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field
Referee: Ted Unkel
Assistants: Jonathan Johnson, Mike Kampmeinert
Fourth Official: Tyler Ploeger
Attendance: 39,960
Weather: Rain and 64 degrees


SEA - Obafemi Martins (Clint Dempsey) 6'
TOR - Eriq Zavaleta (Ashtone Morgan) 59'
SEA - Clint Dempsey 77'


SEA - Zach Scott (caution) 19'
SEA - Osvaldo Alonso (caution) 30'
TOR - Marky Delgado (caution) 68'


Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Tyrone Mears, Zach Scott, Chad Marshall, Oniel Fisher; Brad Evans - captain, Osvaldo Alonso (Leo Gonzalez 89'), Erik Friberg, Lamar Neagle (Nelson Valdez 61'); Clint Dempsey (Gonzalo Pineda 81'), Obafemi Martins

Substitutes not used: Troy Perkins, Cristian Roldan, Andreas Ivanschitz, Chad Barrett

Total shots: 11 (Dempsey/Martins, 4)
Shots on goal: 9 (Dempsey/Martins, 4)
Fouls: 13 (Fisher, 4)
Offside: 6 (Dempsey/Fisher, 2)
Corner-kicks: 5 (Friberg, 5)
Saves: 3 (Frei, 3)

Toronto FC - Chris Konopka; Ashtone Morgan, Clement Simonin (Jordan Hamilton 81'), Eriq Zavaleta, Josh Williams; Michael Bradley - captain, Jonathan Osorio, Marky Delgado, Herculez Gomez (Jay Chapman 74'); Robbie Findley, Luke Moore

Substitutes not used: Joe Bendik, Ahmed Kantari, Chris Manella

Total shots: 8 (4 players, 2)
Shots on goal: 4 (Osorio, 2)
Fouls: 6 (Simonin, 3)
Offside: 0
Corner-kicks: 3 (Bradley, 3)
Saves: 7 (Konopka, 7)




Opening statement:

"It was pretty clear to everybody that watched the game, and even in the Portland game, the guys really put the effort in from Stefan Frei to Oba [Martins] and [Clint Dempsey], the guys that came on with Nelson, Pineda and Leo, they all worked extremely hard. Was the game the prettiest game? No. But the fact of the matter is what wins championships is grit and determination and a little bit of good defending and timely goals. We have a combination of all those things and I was really pleased with the effort the group showed tonight. For the record, that group is a tight-knit group and they are doing it for themselves. They all work hard from day one in preseason up to the last game of the season. They are a very committed group to each other, and the influx of players has raised the level. It is a good group and I can't say enough of how proud I am of their effort tonight."

On containing Michael Bradley:

"Michael Bradley is a tremendous player and you used the right word: we contained him in spells. They had a decent tactical formationtonight. They gave us some problems with their possession and Bradley was kind of doing his thing wherever he saw fit to fling balls, so it was a little unorthodox. We hadn't seen that so for good portions Toronto played well and certainly Michael had a lot to do with that."

On defensive performance:
"I'm very happy with the back four. Zach Scott is a tremendous competitor. He has been around here for a long time and I can't say enough good things about Zach. Torres certainly is an imposing man and a big part of our group, but Zach filled those shoes very admirably tonight. [Oniel] Fisher was okay, Tyrone [Mears] was good and Chad [Marshall] was good. The problem we seem to have is we have been giving up too many set piece goals and we are going to plan on working on that next week. It's not always the initial ball that comes in, but when it gets cleared out how do we adjust and step up, who's marking whom. I was not happy one of their guys was wide open on the six, that wasn't my intention or their intention either. We are going to work really hard to correct that."

On emotions going into game as Head Coach:

"I wouldn't say nerves. I would probably say more determination because I didn't want the game and effort those guys put in to go to waste. I was determined to think of everything we could as a staff to figure out a way to win the game. At the end of the day, it's just Oba and Deuce doing what they do."


On returning to the team and making an impact:

"It feels good to help the team out. It's been frustrating for me to be out for as many weeks as I was, especially after missing the games I missed for the Gold Cup. So I'm happy to get back and contribute to this team. We want to do great things, so we've got to keep fighting and make sure we're in a good position at the end of the year."

On the chemistry with Martins:

"We've always had that pick-up style with each other, and understanding of our movements and where we want the ball. We were able to play give-and-go passes and just make stuff happen. It's something that you can't really teach. We just have that understanding."

On the team's mindset heading down the stretch:

"We've just got to keep fighting as a team and keep getting sharp. We didn't get a clean sheet, but it was good that we were able to make it difficult for them. Stefan made some big saves. And for us to score goals, that's what we need to do. If we can keep it tight in the back, keep creating chances in the attacking third and keep getting good looks in front of goal, I think we'll always have a chance to do well."

On how he feels physically:

"I felt OK. I still don't feel 100 percent that I can go out there and sprint, but I wanted to be out there and be able to make an impact how I could. I felt that I could go in and make an impact, and I felt like I did tonight."


On having Dempsey and Martins back together on the field:

"They're high-quality players. Any time they're on the field, you strike fear in the opponent's eye. It also gives the guys around them confidence. That's why they're two of the best players in the league. We're very fortunate to have them on our team, and we hope we can keep them healthy. Hopefully we'll get a few more results and some momentum, and find ourselves in the playoffs."

On playing right midfield:

"Any time you go into a new position, one thing you can control is how hard you work. Maybe things aren't as clean as you'd like, or positioning isn't as good as you'd like, but you can control what you do with your legs and how much you put in effort-wise. I thought I did thattonight. Some things could have been better - more service, linking up with the guys and creating a few more chances - but other than that it was fine."

On having three straight MLS road matches coming up:

"It's a tough task. We've got to know that we're still fighting for our lives here. Any result could send us skyrocketing or we could find ourselves below the red line, so that's the reality of being in a tight conference. Knowing the situations of other teams, we've still got to pick up our points."


On returning to the starting XI:

"I'm happy. It's been a while since I've been in the starting lineup, so I'm very happy to be back and that we got the three points. I look forward to getting three more points in San Jose."

On responding to Toronto's goal:

"We talked about it before the game: ‘We have to get three points, and it doesn't matter how. At the end of the day, we have to walk away with the three points.' And we did it. I'm happy for the team and for the players who gave everything they had."

On his yellow card:

"It is what it is. The ref made the decision, and I have to keep quiet and keep going. It's part of soccer. I have to look forward now."


On the match:

"We have no excuses in that locker room. I'm proud of the effort. I thought the guys played great and laid it all out there on the field. I thought we deserved something out of the match, but ultimately, these games come down to a play here or a play there. And that's what it was in the end. We had some very good performances and some guys who haven't played 90 minutes in a long time who went 90 minutes today. And a group of guys who hadn't played together ever in the back who dealt with some very good players. I'm very proud of the group, but like I said, I thought we deserved something out of the match. We laid it all out there."

On any defensive adjustments after the first Seattle goal:

"Throughout the whole game, it was protecting the space behind us a little bit, recognizing when the guy on the ball had an opportunity to play behind us and maybe dropping a little bit quicker. That was the majority of what they had against us - guys checking, going and sprinting in behind, and balls being played in behind us so we were having to manage that a little bit. But that's coordination sometimes and those three guys [in the back] haven't played together a ton - at all really - so they're trying to coordinate with the drops and the steps and the passing of two very good forwards that are very clever about their runs. I thought they, by and large, got better at it over the course of the game and had strong performances."

On Eriq Zavaleta getting the equalizer at the time:

"It's great for him. He comes back to Seattle, which is where he was previously in terms of his contract, so to score a goal I'm sure felt sweet for him. But ultimately I'm sure he's disappointed, like the rest of the group, that we didn't get something out of the day because that's what it's about. It was good for him to feel the back of the net."

On rating the team's depth looking forward:

"I would take this group into most stadiums and play like that with that kind of effort and feel pretty good about us being able to get a result. We used a lot of players deep into our roster, but they're all quality players. I've been saying that since day one - that we have a very deep roster. It's just sometimes hard for guys to get minutes with some of the other guys who normally get the minutes. When called upon today, they were excellent. That's all I can ask and they just need to continue to work because you never know. Last week we were quite healthy and this week, all of a sudden, we were very depleted. That's how fast things can turn. It's getting late in the season, we're getting through the grind of summer, national team call-ups, the various things that affect the depth of the roster. Guys were ready. They competed today, which is all I've asked of them."


On the match:

"It is a very hostile environment and it is tough to play at a place like this. The guys were up for it and coming in we wanted to put ourselves in a spot that maybe we could get something out of the game at the end. We did pretty much everything we needed to do but we were just a little bit unfortunate."

On young defenders playing in front of him:

"I didn't change much. You just have to manage the guys in front of you and hopefully get everything out of them as you possibly can. They were basically at full strength and we were missing four or five guys that are consistently in our line up so I think it shows that we can come out here and get the results if we put ourselves in a spot that possibly we can get something out of the game."

On the challenges of facing Dempsey and Martins:

"They are both obviously world class players and yet you always have to be on your toes with them. Oba's shot in the first half is moving all over the place and is the same thing you get with Sebo [Giovinco] when he is in the game, and [Martins] is the same type of player that you have to be ready for at any time."


On the game and failing to earn a point:

"Yes I think we came in with a good plan and executed it almost to perfection. But obviously a couple plays went their way and we walk out of here without a result. The boys fought hard and it is one I think we could have got a result from but indeed it is a tough pill to swallow."

On the team using three defenders that are not used to playing together:

"Guys have played together in training before and there is a pretty clear plan that Greg has put out for us. This is something that we have felt comfortable with. They were able to get behind us a little bit too much but other than that I think we kept them at bay. It's a good team, a desperate team that has some talented players. They made some plays and were able to win the game."

On scoring against his former team:

"Yes it was fun to get my first goal against the team that I spent so much time at is always fun. It would have obviously been better if I could do it with the result, but at the end of the day it is good to get my first goal and move forward from there."

On teachable moments defenders can take away from tonight's match:

"Obviously you can not let good players have time and space to make the game and they did that tonight. We will take that and learn from that and maybe make it harder for an Oba Martins or a Clint to have the space and time they had at times, but like I said I thought for the majority of the game we did a good job at keeping them at bay. At key moments big players score big goals and that is what they did and we didn't get the result we wanted tonight."

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