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Seattle Sounders vs. FC Dallas, Western Conference semifinal Leg 1: Highlights, stats and quotes

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“In the second half, our team made the necessary adjustments, but they also made the necessary plays ... When you are trying to win an MLS Cup, you have to make plays.” - Brian Schmetzer

That’s right, the Sounders are staring at another 3-0 scoreline after a Western Conference semifinal first leg. But this time, they are the ones heading into leg 2 with a massive advantage. The job is not finished, but as Cristian Roldan says, it was “definitely a relief” to see those three goals go in at home.

Nelson Valdez, after earning a start, broke the stalemate with a powerful goal, and created a scoring streak for himself. Nico Lodeiro, Jordan Morris and Joevin Jones took care of the rest.

Some notes:

  • Joevin Jones now holds the franchise record for postseason assists with three.
  • Nico Lodeiro’s brace was the first in Sounders’ MLS playoff history.
  • Last night marked Zach Scott’s 350th career appearance for Seattle across all competitions.


Seattle Sounders FC 3 - FC Dallas 0

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Venue: Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field

Referee: Ricardo Salazar

Assistants: Chris Strickland, Danny Thornberry

Fourth Official: Fotis Bazakos

Attendance: 37,073

Weather: Showers and 52 degrees


SEA - Nelson Valdez (Joevin Jones) 50'

SEA - Nicolás Lodeiro (Jordan Morris) 55'

SEA - Nicolás Lodeiro (Joevin Jones) 58'


DAL - Maynor Figueroa (caution) 85'


Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Tyrone Mears, Chad Marshall, Zach Scott, Joevin Jones (Oniel Fisher 83'); Osvaldo Alonso - captain (Brad Evans 79'), Nico Lodeiro, Erik Friberg, Jordan Morris; Nelson Valdez (Herculez Gomez 56')

Substitutes not used: Tyler Miller, Aaron Kovar, Michael Farfan, Tony Alfaro

Total shots: 11 (Lodeiro/Morris, 3)

Shots on goal: 7 (3 players, 2)

Fouls: 5 (Gomez, 2)

Offside: 4 (Morris, 3)

Corner-kicks: 2 (Lodeiro, 2)

Saves: 3 (Frei, 3)

FC Dallas - Chris Seitz; Maynor Figueroa, Matt Hedges - captain, Walker Zimmerman (Mauro Rosales 73'), Atiba Harris; Kellyn Acosta, Victor Ulloa (Tesho Akindele 66'), Carlos Gruezo, Ryan Hollingshead; Michael Barrios, Maximiliano Urruti (Carlos Ruiz 80')

Substitutes not used: Jesse Gonzalez, Aubrey David, Norberto Paparatto, Juan Esteban Ortiz

Total shots: 11 (4 players, 2)

Shots on goal: 3 (3 players, 1)

Fouls: 12 (Gruezo, 4)

Offside: 1 (Urruti, 1)

Corner-kicks: 6 (Acosta, 5)

Saves: 4 (Seitz, 3)



On starting Nelson Valdez:

“Number one, Nelson deserved it because of his work throughout the season. I thought he was on a high after scoring the winning goal against Sporting Kansas City, and to be honest we lost a couple of players. It was kind of a thought process that the staff had on how we set up the team. At times we had Nelson up here, but then push Jordy [Morris] underneath but a little higher, to make sure he can still get in behind. That allowed us to get Ozzie [Alonso] and [Cristian] Roldan back together. With a team concept – about getting the best 11 players on the field – and trying to get them in the spots where they can be effective.”

On the three goals in eight minutes:

“It was great. The fans loved it. I think the fans deserve that – they have supported us all year, through thick and thin. If I am looking at it again from a true soccer perspective, the goals were pretty good…The counter-attacking, the speed, the quality; I think they were three pretty quality goals.”

On if the second leg will feature the same lineup:

“I don’t know, we will have to get everyone back healthy and make adjustments. There are some pretty tired guys in there. That was three games in eight days. They are pretty beat up, pretty tired. We will watch film, get the trainers to get their jobs done, get the players healthy and we’ll come up with a plan for next Sunday.”

On making halftime adjustments:

“In the first half, it was a typical first-round game of a two-leg series – teams are feeling each other out a little bit, they had switched to five in the back. They called it a 3-5-2, however you want to call their lineup. Two teams feeling each other out. In the second half, our team made the necessary adjustments, but they also made the necessary plays. We are talking about making the necessary plays. When you are trying to win an MLS Cup, you have to make plays.”

On Joevin Jones’ performance:

“That’s what we expect of him – that’s his job. He is a really talented kid; he has a ton of talent. I think you saw a good performance from him tonight. Not just because of the two assists, [but] all-around. He is very good at one-v-one defending and Dallas has some fast attacking players, so it was a good all-around performance for Joevin.”

On the defense stepping up:

“It’s the next man forward. We have talked about it and talked about it and talked about it. Those guys in that locker room work hard every day. The next man steps up and everyone understands the roles of the position. They might interpret their roles a little differently because they are different personalities, Zach [Scott] is different than Román [Torres], but Zach knows what is expected of him and he steps up and does his job…It’s just a testament to the team that the next guy can step up and they get it.”

On the mood of the club:

“It’s determined. We all understand it and we talked about it after the Sporting KC game. [We discussed] how to play better soccer. It’s always in the details…I was extremely pleased with the way they were able to interpret the game tonight and take what the team gave them. That’s what made us all, as a coaching staff, proud. They were able to incorporate some of the ideas and get a breakthrough win like tonight.”


On his goal:

“I just want to be thankful to the team and with the coach for the trust in me. The only way that I could answer with that trust was just to score more goals and then continue to play the way that I played tonight.”

On the team’s defending:

“I think we had very clean defensive play today and we were not giving any type of opportunity to Dallas to develop.”

On whether starting the match changed his approach to the game:

“It’s hard because when you go from the beginning you have to mentally prepare that you are potentially going to play 90 minutes, whilst when you enter as a substitute you have more expectation on an amount of time to play. So I have to prepare accordingly for that.”

On the importance of the result:

“I think we won the lottery by having a clean sheet in this game and then having the advance of three goals, but still we have not accomplished anything yet. We still need to be mentally prepared for the game going back into Dallas. There is a reason why they finished the league in first place. They are a good team and we can’t take anything for granted. We have to be prepared.”


On how he feels after the match:

“Good, good. I mean, tired, but things have been going well and this was a huge result for us, so we have a lot of confidence.”

On Joevin Jones’ performance:

“All season he’s been putting in balls like that. He’s a great player and when he gets into the attack and it changes the whole dimension of the game. He [played] great and got two assists tonight, so he’s doing awesome.”

On how he felt playing out wide:

“Yeah I liked it. I was playing kind of a little out of position, but staying a little bit higher. And I like it out there because there’s a little more space and you can get the ball and run at people. Nelson [Valdez] is more of a forward that likes to have his back to goal – that’s not as much me – so he did well holding the ball up there and it was good to get some space out wide and take people on to create some stuff.”

On his thought process when he got the assist:

“Yeah I like going to my left there and making that move, and I saw the space open up and I was one-on-one in the box. [When you are] one-on-one in the box, you try to take someone on and put a ball across. Nico [Lodeiro] made a great run and was in a great spot and finished it, so it was good.”

On whether his chemistry with Lodeiro has continued to develop:

“Definitely. I think the first few games we were still figuring each other out. You know, maybe I wasn’t making runs when he wanted me to, and things like that, but it’s been awesome. He’s done so well and helps me out a lot. He’s given me a lot of assists so I was glad I could pay him back today.”


On scoring two goals in a big playoff game:

“Well I am very pleased that it was a great match. We got the result, but the point is that there’s still 90 minutes to play. But the most important part is that the team played well, especially in the second half.”

On Valdez scoring another goal:

“We are very pleased for Nelson. He’s a great person and an exceptional professional, and very important for us especially because of the experience he brings. We all admire him for his work and we are very pleased for the goals he scored.”

On how his chemistry with Morris has evolved:

“Indeed there is a great chemistry [with Jordan] from the moment that I arrived. We talk a lot. He’s also a great person and we talk about soccer all the time. What you see on the pitch starts from the practices. Also with Cristian [Roldan], they are all together and always looking to learn.”

On the importance of scoring two quick goals:

“Well to me it’s not only to score the goals. More than anything it’s the assists [and] to support the attack, the defense and be there in the midfield. But of course [I am] pleased to score the goals.”

On how he feels after three games in eight days:

“Tired, but [that is] normal. We are all very, very tired, but the normal pace of the three games. But there is no pain and we are all very well physically, and now we have an entire week to prepare for the next match.”


On his emotions when the team scored the third goal:

“[It was] so exciting. Also relief, because we don’t want to go into Dallas with a 1-0 victory, because Dallas is really good at home. So seeing three go in [was] definitely a relief more than anything, to be honest. Super excited, though. Those guys deserve a ton of credit. I think it was a team performance and the adjustments that we made at half time definitely helped.”

On Jones assisting Valdez again:

“Not at all [surprised]. Joevin serves a good ball. When he gets forward he’s a danger. And then Nelson obviously does all the hard work, but he is a winner. Inside the box he’s a poacher and that’s why we have him up top. He’s there for a reason. And if anybody deserves it more, like I said last week, it’s him. He’s an awesome guy to have in the locker room.”

On the importance of keeping a clean sheet:

“Yeah that was the most important thing at that point. You know, obviously, I think we had that one chance with Jordan [Morris] when it was 3-0 to add the fourth, but I think the goal was more to keep that clean sheet because then it makes it a two-goal game for them at home. Now it’s more difficult for them, now that they didn’t score away, so hopefully we can sneak one in and maybe they have to score – I think it’s five goals if that’s the case.”


On the game:

“In the first series of the playoffs, with that result it’s tough, especially because you don’t have too much time. But I have to keep the optimism for the group that has overcome during the year. We’ll keep fighting. Tonight we played against a very good team. I thought the first 20 minutes in the second half for Seattle, they were very sharp and we allowed them to get those spaces and to score those goals. Seattle punished us and I thought they were much, much better, especially in that part of the game. In the first half, I thought we had control of the game. Honestly, I didn’t see much happen. They had two chances in the left side – two crosses – but we had some moments where we couldn’t balance the game. We did have a few plays where our game plan did work, especially with Mikey [Barrios] and Maxy [Urruti] trying to get in behind. But it was pretty level, the first half. In the second half, like I said, those first 20 minutes, Seattle outplayed us and we have to accept that.”

On if Seattle’s lineup choices surprised him:

“No, not really. It was expected. After the last game when [Nelson] Valdez scored, we expected him in the lineup. Other than that, I thought it was the same team that’s been playing before.”

On if any adjustments were made on Joevin Jones after Seattle’s goals:

“We tried to change the model we had…we tried to get in his back and use the space that he was leaving. As I said, in the first half, everything was controlled. Other than those 15 or 20 minutes when we didn’t have our heads on the field…we could probably be more mature and control it. [Jones] comes with the first cross and then the other one with the counter so I thought he did a very good job and I have to give credit to him.”

On how his team could’ve been more mature after Seattle scored:

“The first goal took us by surprise because we had the game controlled and we didn’t expect for the game to be unbalanced with that play. We had center backs in the box and after the cross, we were neutralizing that in the first half so I didn’t see anything in those plays. But after that goal, I thought we could be more mature and have more composure on the field and not let them score the second one. In that part, we should have been much better. But, as I said, I have to give credit to a team who brought intensity to those moments, took advantage of a field that they know and an atmosphere that they know.”

On how the final score tonight will change how he’ll approach the next game in Dallas:

“In this series, there is no tomorrow. We overcame a difficult result last year when we left this field and we will try to do the same. I think this team has shown during the year that we can overcome difficult situations, and why not this one, as well?”


On responding to tonight’s result:

“We will try to prepare for the next game as best as possible knowing that it is another 90 minutes. If they scored three goals then we can do that, as well. It is going to be tough. It is going to be a difficult game over there in Dallas. It is not done. It is still a lot to do and the team has to change the pace and look forward to getting a positive result. Obviously three-zero is a tough, tough result to come home with, but we have done a lot of coming back this year and we hope for having a better game.”

On on being in Seattle again:

“The best! It is always the best times, playing in front of the fans that cheered me on for three years. It was awesome for three years. Obviously I’m coming in here with different shoes. I try always to play as a professional, to play the best for the team I play with, but I always have a great time coming back here. Seeing all the people and the Seattle Sounders workers that I spent a lot of times and good moments with always makes me happy.”


On on tonight's game:

“I think we had a good first half, we wanted to take that intensity and how we were doing it, how we were taking control into the second half but obviously that didn't work. Tough, tough to give up three goals. It definitely hurts and it is a hard one to swallow but we have another game on Sunday so we have to get ready and move on.”

On making up the three-goal difference in the second leg:

“It is a big game and a big quota to overcome, but like you said we have done it once or twice this year and we have proven that. We have to keep the patience and take this result with a lot of responsibility and a lot of character and move on and get ready for that game on Sunday.”

On this team’s character and fighting and overcoming spirit:

“We have that mentality. We like to overcome things. We like to prove people wrong and we have two great accomplishments this year. This is one more game. Win or go home. We are going to come out with everything and try to get the result.

On what was different in the second half:

"I think that we held our game plan and executed it well in the first half. We wanted to take that into the second half and try to push for that away goal. Obviously after that and giving up that first goal, I think we lost concentration. In ten minutes, three goals.”