Though Nicolas Lodeiro and Jordan Morris returned for the Wednesday night game against the Houston Dynamo, injuries, suspensions and callups still left the lineup a little thin for Seattle Sounders FC. Adding to that, Andreas Ivanschitz suffered a knee injury early on, which led to some adjustment to the shape of the midfield throughout the scoreless match.
The disjointedness showed in miscommunications on passing and runs. However, the Sounders still managed the lion's share of possession and dangerous looks on goal. Close chances rang off the posts or just wide for both teams, with neither able to make a shot count, even after the Dynamo were up a man after the 64th minute.
The Sounders were unable to lock in a playoff spot with the draw. They sit in 4th place in the West, with a 13-13-6 record. Two matches remain in the regular season,
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Venue: Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field
Referee: Drew Fischer
Assistants: Jeremy Hanson, Cameron Blanchard
Fourth Official: Allen Chapman
Weather: Cloudy and 59 degrees
HOU - Ricardo Clark (caution) 43'
SEA - Osvaldo Alonso (ejection) 64'
HOU - Will Bruin (caution) 64'
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Tyrone Mears, Román Torres, Chad Marshall, Tony Alfaro (Oalex Anderson 74'); Osvaldo Alonso - captain, Cristian Roldan, Herculez Gomez (Nelson Valdez 62'), Nico Lodeiro, Andreas Ivanschitz (Erik Friberg 16'); Jordan Morris
Substitutes not used: Tyler Miller, Zach Scott, Aaron Kovar, Nathan Sturgis
Total shots: 15 (4 players, 2)
Shots on goal: 7 (Anderson, 2)
Fouls: 6 (6 players, 1)
Corner-kicks: 11 (Lodeiro, 10)
Saves: 5 (Frei, 5)
Houston Dynamo - Joe Willis; DaMarcus Beasley - captain (Jalil Anibaba 73'), Keyner Brown, David Horst, Sheanon Williams; Collen Warner, José Escalante (Boniek Garcia 87'), Ricardo Clark, Eric Alexander (Marcus Manotas 73'), Andrew Wenger; Will Bruin
Substitutes not used: Calle Brown, Raul Rodriguez, Cristian Maidana, Yair Arboleda
Total shots: 11 (Bruin, 5)
Shots on goal: 5 (Bruin, 3)
Fouls: 16 (3 players, 3)
Corner-kicks: 5 (Escalante, 3)
Saves: 7 (Willis, 7)
SOUNDERS FC INTERIM HEAD COACH BRIAN SCHMETZER
On keeping emotions in check:
"The team has had that conversation already in the locker room after the game. I will certainly have a conversation with Ozzie [Alonso] regarding what happened on the field, but I am very confident that the team heard the message and I am very confident that Ozzie understood. He is beat up in there because he knows he did something that didn’t help the team, so he is already beating himself up. So we will solve it internally and we will move on."
On switching the roles for Erik Friberg and Cristian Roldan:
"We were just trying to solve a tricky situation – yes, that was true. I had Nico [Lodeiro] out wide, but we didn’t like the way it was going. I think maybe, again, we just weren’t sharp in that first half. The layoff may have hurt a little bit, Houston bunkering in may have caused us some frustrations – at halftime we tried to shift a little tactically to give Nico more space back in the middle of the field."
On the injury to Andreas Ivanschitz:
"It was upsetting to the flow because Andreas does a really good job out there for me. It changes things, but the team is capable of dealing with those changes. They are pretty resilient, so I don’t want to make a massive deal out of it. Injuries happen – next guy steps forward. [We have] plenty of confidence in Erik [Friberg] or whoever else steps up, that’s just part of the game."
On Tony Alfaro’s performance:
"Good – you guys saw him. He’s a confident kid, his passing is very good. He did a fine job. He is not a left back, but he stepped in. Again, to my point, the team steps up when they need to. It’s part of what we want to do here – we want young guys who can step up and play important minutes for us."
On the tactics of the match:
"My thought on that is that they were playing in a 4-1-4-1, so my idea in that is to try again on either side of Collen Warner to expose those little spaces in there. I thought the team did have some patience. If you look at it, we had 61 percent possession overall and that was with playing 25 minutes with a man down. So I think we did find some patience, I just don’t know if we were quite sharp enough in that final third. We had a lot of corner kicks, but we needed to get a couple more quality looks on goal to get us that first goal."
On the conversation in the locker room after the match:
"The conversation in the locker room was determined. We are going to go to Dallas and try to get a result. We won’t give up – things happen. We control certain things we need to work on and we’ve got training tomorrow. They’ve got to come in, we’re going to talk about it, we’re going to watch film and we are going to prepare for Dallas."
On the late substitutes:
"We want to win games. Cristian, again, just his versatility and determination playing left back, he is not a left back. Oalex [Anderson] came on and showed us flashes of what he can do. Jordan [Morris] put in a heavy shift – he went from center forward to playing right mid, where there is more work defensively. We went out there to try to win the game."
On another veteran being sent off with a red card:
"The frustration was the same that I had with Brad [Evans]. They work too hard – you have to understood that Ozzie has always had a fiery temperament from day one. I am not making excuses for the kid, but the fact of the matter is that he has given us everything since I have taken over. There have been talks about him being a MVP candidate for our team. What I want from him, what I want from Brad and what I want from the rest of the team, is to make sure that this stops because we can’t afford to shoot ourselves in the foot anymore."
SOUNDERS FC MIDFIELDER CRISTIAN ROLDAN
On the game:
"Obvisouly they still have a couple chances but Stef does well with them. 10 men, we still created chances, I thought we did fairly well with ten players. That was a positive, obviously the energy that everyone brought is definitely another positive."
On finding success using the sides of the field:
"Credit to Houston, they had a game plan and it worked a little bit to some point, we still got our chances and you know I think Nico [Lodeiro] created a lot of space. Credit to them, they made it very difficult for us to play through the lines but at the end of the day we could have scored on them and we could of scored even with 10 men."
On not having Alonso for the next game against Dallas:
"Yeah I mean it’s tough, [Alonso] is the heart of our team, he’s a guy who we need on our roster and on our field at all times. Whenever you’re missing him you’re missing the most important piece of our team so it’s difficlut to replace him, but at the saem time we have to you know, expect to play without him and go through the whole practice situation like if we weren’t going to play with him."
SOUNDERS FC GOALKEEPER STEFAN FREI
On the game:
"Yeah, we are tying to look at it in a positive way. The point will be helpful down the road. I’m disappointed because we missed a great opportunity today to take care of business, to reward ourselves for the hard work we have put in and ensure ourselves a spot in the playoffs and I think we had good spells but ultimately the one thing that sticks out obvisoulty is that we shot ourselves in the foot again by getting a silly red card, things we have to elimintate because we have enough quality, enough desire, enough will, enough everything to succeed and we have to control those emotions as well in order to be successful."
On how much being able to clinch a playoff spot gets talked about in the locker room pregame:
"Usually it doesn’t. But we have gone on such a tremendous run and it’s really nice to string together wins and climb the table, if you will. But this was an opportunity for us to reward all our hard work and get something out of it and not just get another win and I think we kind of blew that chance. That’s why I’m a little upset because I think we deserved to reap the rewards of the hard work we put in. But there are other chances left and we have to take care of it as a team."
On preparing for a quick turnaround in Dallas and not letting this result affect that game:
"It’s not going to. For one, we are aware that we have to keep our emotions in check and we can’t hurt the team as a whole by losing our cool, so I have confidence that it’s not going to happen again. On the other hand, we have to make sure we take care of kinks and bruises we got guys who got bruised up today but then hopefully get good time on the training field I think the confidence is still high but it’ll be a tough game in Dallas."
SOUNDERS FC DEFENDER TONY ALFARO
On his performance playing at left back:
"I think it was okay. I’m not usually a left back – center back is my position – but when the opportunity is given to you, you’ve got to take it and just do what you can."
On the ability of bench players to step up when needed:
"With the players that we have, I think everybody is capable of playing more than one position. That’s the good thing about if someone gets hurt, you know you have someone backing them up. Even if it’s not their natural position, you know they improvise [and will] do the best that they can."
On whether he suffered an injury at the end of the game:
"Yeah it was just a minor cramp, nothing too serious."
On how the team will prepare for the quick turnaround before facing FC Dallas:
"You know, whatever happened today, it happened. We got a point, which is not bad, but like you said it’s a quick turnaround. Tomorrow’s a new day so [we need to] focus, it’s a new game plan coming quick."
On how much time he spent preparing to play at left back:
"Like I said: a couple of days – two or three days – or whatever it was. It’s kind of quick. It is what it is, so you just have to kind of think back to the last time you played left back. A lot was said to me [by the coaches] and they worked a lot with me, but at the end of the day I’m happy with my work and how the staff helped me approach that position. All I can do is move forward from there."
SOUNDERS FC FORWARD HERCULEZ GOMEZ
On his overall impression of the game:
"It’s one of those games where we weren’t our sharpest, we weren’t our best, but even with 10 men we were pressuring and setting the tone for thirty-plus minutes almost, so we put them on the back foot [despite] being down a man at home. I thought that was a positive, but overall not too many positives. You can say that the character of the team showed: we battled and grinded out a very valuable point. But that’s a team we’ve now tied three times this year. My overall impressions are that those are three times we could’ve gotten a win. Those are points missed that are hopefully not going to hurt us in the end, but potentially could come down to it."
On his contribution to the game:
"I felt fine. I felt fine. I felt that I could’ve gone 90 [minutes] again. I’m feeling stronger and, you know, I’m hungry. I want to help this team. This is the time of the year where you have the feeling like ‘here we go again’. I’ve been here before and it’s fun, it’s exciting and it’s rejuvenating. Listen, I’m about the team. Whatever it takes. I’ll go out there and run through a brick wall for this team, so I’m here like everybody else chomping at the bit."
On players going down with injuries for the second consecutive match:
"We spoke about it last week, not only injury, but suspension. Soldiers are going down right now. It’s not a fun thing to see because you’re here day in and day out with these guys so you know how much they’ve put in. It’s frustrating when your teammates – a family member – goes down. We’re going to be there for Andreas [Ivanschitz] but now somebody has to step up. That’s a vacancy and I think there are plenty of guys here who are chomping at the bit, but it’s not about words it’s about action. So it’s going to be a tough week of training. Hopefully we give Schmetzer some headaches and make him think about who he’s going to put in there. But it’s not easy to replace a guy like Andreas, he oozes quality."
On whether Osvaldo Alonso was hard on himself after the game:
"I think that fire and that passion that makes him such a great player is sometimes a double-edged sword, but he’s so important to us he’s definitely going to be missed. I spoke to him after the game and you can tell he feels bad. I’m sure if he had to do it over again he probably would handle things differently. But we don’t have that luxury in life at times, and Ozzie is such a big part of this team and we’re definitely going to miss him. But like I said, one thing that’s been here throughout this run is no matter who is out there on the field we’ve been able to get things done. It has to be business as usual for us. We get Brad [Evans] back so that’s going to be a huge plus, but losing Ozzie – who for my money is the best defensive midfielder in the league – is going to be a hard one."
HOUSTON DYNAMO HEAD COACH WADE BARRETT
On the match:
"It was a hard-fought game. Looking at this one 10 days ago, anticipating that perhaps [Jordan] Morris might be gone and that [Nicolás] Lodeiro might be gone – Seattle has a very good team without those guys, but I think [those two] do change the dynamic. Obviously in the lead up to it, we knew those guys would be back and that puts into sharper focus all the things you need to do defensively because they can cause a lot of problems. I thought we did a pretty good job. I know they got through on a couple of pretty good chances in the first half – I still haven’t looked back at anything. But, for the most part, I thought we did a good job of limiting their space. Morris makes those good runs behind and Lodeiro picks a good through ball so you always have to be aware of those things. But I’m proud of the group. They came in and fought in a difficult place to play. In the second half, you never anticipate what might happen with the red card there. I was hoping we’d be able to create a couple more chances. Once that happened, we threw another forward on, hoping to create a couple more chances on goal, but that didn’t happen for us. That being said, I’m really happy with the shutout. We’ve given up a couple goals in the last couple games and I’m always pleased when we put in the defensive work like that. And it was from everybody in the group so it was a hard-fought point for us tonight."
On having minimum possession in the first half and if that was part of the game plan:
"It doesn’t bother me. You know when you come into a place like this that Seattle will have a bit of the ball. I want to be compact and tough to play against. We hit the post a couple times and had a good shot that [Stefan] Frei saved on Andrew Wenger’s left foot. We had three good chances in the first half, so possession doesn’t win or lose a game, but chances on goal do. It’s a big shift for our guys covering back and forth trying to shut down those passing lanes. Sometimes that takes away a little bit of what you can do going forward. But we came out with a shutout so we can’t complain about that on the road."
On forcing Seattle to play outside by clogging the middle:
"The few things you really have to pay attention to – Lodeiro picks up the ball, plays off people’s shoulders and works really hard to get on it. He’ll be on one side of the field and then two seconds later, he’s on the other side so you just constantly have to reference where he is. Then Morris makes good runs behind and causes problems, so you have to try to limit those things. Absolutely you want to try and clog the passing lanes into those players so they can’t have time and space. If they do find pockets in there, they can cause real problems. And I thought we did a pretty good job of doing that."
On Erik Friberg’s first-half chance and Joe Willis’ save and overall effort:
"You’re right, [Friberg] did skip through. Like I said, I haven’t looked back at any of the plays, but [Willis] absolutely did [make a great save]. Joe has been excellent. He’s very steady back there and has been excellent for us all year. Time and time again he’s made big stops for us. In a game like this, when you’re on the road battling and grinding, you need your goalkeeper to make a couple plays throughout the course of the game. There were a couple chances they had in the second half as well that Joe made some good stops on as well so it’s invaluable to have a guy like that on the team."
On starting Jose Escalante, Keyner Brown and Eric Alexander for the first time:
"I’m really pleased that those guys were out there tonight. I think this is an exciting stage for those players to come in. Eric has been in the league for a long time, so I know he’s familiar with it. He’s going to be a good player for us hopefully for a long time to come. Keyner has been a good pro, but also I’m very excited for him to come in at center back and get a shutout in his very first game in a tough place to play, so that’s a real accomplishment. Jose is a good, young talent. He still has a couple parts of his game that I think he can work on, but he came in tonight and didn’t seem intimidated by the environment or the circumstance. And that’s really saying something. He does have something special going forward. I’m really glad that all those guys got to play tonight."
On if they thought about trying to prevent Seattle from clinching a playoff spot:
"We’re after a lot of things in this game. It’s been a tough season for us, so we’re still after positive results. Everybody feels good after a positive result. It’s just so cliché to say, but there’s a lot to play for. We all have a lot to play for – I have a lot to coach for and the players have a lot to play for as well. Part of it is professional pride – you want to step on the field and compete and do well. If that happened to prevent them from getting into the playoffs, then that is what it is, but we were at it for our reasons, not theirs."
HOUSTON DYNAMO MIDFIELDER ERIC ALEXANDER
On what he saw tonight and what was working:
"You know, we knew that they pressed well and when it was broken in the middle we tried to move the ball quickly and get it up to Will [Bruin] and out wide to Andrew [Wenger] and Jose [Escalante]. We kind of tried to make them drop off a little. I thought we did it decent a couple of times and we were able to break out."
On your thoughts on finding space out wide:
"We knew they have a lot of good players in the middle and they try to clog it up in there. We knew they leave some outside spaces open. They do a very good job of pressing the ball on one side so if we were able to switch it we knew there would be space out wide."
On getting extended time on the pitch:
"It was good. It was nice to be involved."
On the team having four straight positive results on the road:
"I think we know the road is always hard to play on. It is a mentality thing. I think now we need to translate that into wins. That is something that is going to come with time and unfortunately we don't have very much time left. But I think it is a good way to close the later part of the season."
HOUSTON DYNAMO DEFENDER KEYNER BROWN
On making his first start for the Dynamo and having an extended amount of time playing:
"I appreciate the support of the community. I have been training hard for this opportunity. I know the game was very hard and Seattle is a very good team. They have great players. I feel very good. I will take one point. It was very difficult and I feel very good. I will continue to work hard for the next opportunity."
On keeping a clean sheet and shutting down the Seattle offense:
"Yes when we practice we practiced hard. They have very good players like [Nicolás] Lodeiro. We worked very hard to keep the score zero and today we did it."
On his header off the crossbar:
"I wanted to score. Yesterday when we were doing the set piece practice I did a good job so I told Jose to look for me today. He looked for me but I didn't score. I hope to score on the next opportunity I get."