At times it felt like the Seattle Sounders were sure to score, and at times it felt like it would be another very frustrating evening at CenturyLink, but Andreas Ivanschitz dropped in a perfect ball from the corner, Clint Dempsey did what he had to do to score, and Seattle can finally put a few precious points in their 2016 bank account.
Sigi Schmid and his players expressed relief in their comments after the match, but they also said they knew the points were coming. As Stefan Frei said: "We have enough veterans to know that and not start to panic." Let's see if this experienced team can start to build some momentum in the coming weeks.
Saturday, April 2, 2016
Venue: CenturyLink Field
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Assistants: Jeff Hosking, James Conlee
Fourth Official: Baboucarr Jallow
Weather: Partly cloudy and 54 degrees
SEA - Clint Dempsey (Andreas Ivanschitz) 79'
MTL - Hassoun Camara (caution) 64'
SEA - Andreas Ivanschitz (caution) 68'
MTL - Lucas Ontivero (caution) 75'
MTL - Donny Toia (caution) 78'
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Tyrone Mears, Brad Evans - captain, Chad Marshall, Dylan Remick (Joevin Jones 74'); Osvaldo Alonso, Cristian Roldan, Clint Dempsey; Aaron Kovar (Jordan Morris 57'), Nelson Valdez (Oalex Anderson 68'), Andreas Ivanschitz
Substitutes not used: Tyler Miller, Zach Scott, Oniel Fisher, Herculez Gomez
Total shots: 12 (Dempsey, 4)
Shots on goal: 3 (Dempsey, 3)
Fouls: 8 (Alonso/Dempsey, 2)
Offside: 1 (Valdez, 1)
Corner-kicks: 3 (Ivanschitz, 3)
Saves: 4 (Frei, 4)
Montreal Impact - Evan Bush; Hassoun Camara, Victor Cabrera, Laurent Ciman, Donny Toia; Eric Alexander, Kyle Bekker, Harry Shipp (Patrice Bernier 72'), Ignacio Piatti - captain, Lucas Ontivero (Johan Venegas 78'); Dominic Oduro (Anthony Jackson-Hamel 69')
Substitutes not used: Eric Kronberg, Wandrille Lefevre, Calum Mallace, Maxim Tissot
Total shots: 12 (5 players, 2)
Shots on goal: 4 (5 players, 1)
Fouls: 16 (Ontivero, 6)
Offside: 1 (Oduro, 1)
Corner-kicks: 2 (Bekker/Ontivero, 1)
Saves: 2 (Bush, 2)
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC HEAD COACH SIGI SCHMID
On the match:
"I was pleased with our team. I thought we came out in the first half in the first 20 minutes and played really well. We still have to get to the point where when we're dominating like that, we have to finish some of those goals. It'll make it a lot easier for us. Certainly we had some chances to ice the game towards the end and we didn't use those chances. Sometimes when you're in a little bit of a bad run like we were in the first three games when things aren't going your way, when that first one does go your way...you grind one out a little bit. I thought we played well at times tonight and from there, the road gets easier and everyone can take a big sigh and a breath of fresh air."
On talking with Andreas Ivanschitz about dissent yellow cards:
"I'm going to have a strong word with him on that. Obviously he's unhappy with what he's seeing out there on the field. A lot of times, guys are getting fouled and the referee is maybe not stepping in, in [Ivanschitz's] opinion, but he's got to keep that opinion [to himself]. I know Baldomero [Toldeo] made eye contact with me and he was upset with Andreas because he was talking to him in a very agitated manner. So I told Baldomero that I'd talk to him and get him calmed down. After we got the goal, I brought Andreas over and talked to him."
On Aaron Kovar starting:
"I thought he did alright and put a good shift in out there on the field. As I've said before, it's difficult to come into a game as a sub and catch the game. Some guys have that capability to do it - like you saw Oalex Anderson catches the game. But Kovar is a guy who is better off starting when he plays. Our situation with the internationals was one that it made sense in this game for him to start. And we had confidence that he could go play. He's played well, he's trained well."
On changes to the overall formation:
"Yeah, it was still basically the same. We really just switched [Clint] Dempsey and [Andreas] Ivanschitz. Ivanschitz plays it a little more two-way out there and we also wanted him tucking in the midfield a little bit more in this particular game because we wanted [Cristian] Roldan to shift over and be a lot more with [Ignacio] Piatti. I thought Roldan, [Osvaldo] Alonso and [Tyrone] Mears did a pretty good job over there. I don't think Piatti really got many chances to run at our team. So part of it was a tactical shift for this game and Dempsey in the middle. We wanted to put him in that spot on the field because we think he's our most creative player to get the ball and get touches."
On holding Montreal without a goal on the counter:
"It was a relief. Obviously that was something we talked about to a few individuals, as well. A couple of times I thought we were just taking it to the corner...things like that just slowing it down. I was a little disappointed in some missed opportunities on the counter. They don't realize that they they've got to get back first on that. Those things we'll talk about and work on, but it was good to see us hold it together and not give up any real clean chances towards the end. Now we can get some confidence knowing we can get through it."
On the final third:
"I think we're getting opportunities. You look at the one where [Nelson] Valdez hits Kovar - how often have we seen that happen? That doesn't happen all too often. A couple times our final passes need to be better, need to be sharper. That's why we brought Clint inside a little for some variety. We wanted to attack a little bit more centrally and not through the wings only. I think we succeeded in that. Certainly we still need to get better. I think our ability to keep possession in the final third has gotten better from week to week, but we need to get better in terms of finishing."
On the return of Brad Evans:
"Brad helps us because he talks and he's a leader. Zach Scott is a talker as well, and he helps us that way. But Brad, after having played so many years in midfield, is just very, very comfortable on the ball. As a result, it changes our passing a bit and how we're able to play in the back."
On Dylan Remick's first start:
"I thought he was good, he was solid. He's trained well. You try and tell players that you don't know when your opportunity is going to come along. Joevin Jones ended up getting back a day later than we expected. He missed a flight and had a bad travel itinerary from [Trinidad & Tobago] so Dylan's opportunity was here and he took it. He put in a lot of energy into the game. He cramped up...but that's just a reminder for everybody that you've got to train hard so when your opportunity comes it doesn't have to be a 60-minute opportunity."
SOUNDERS FC FORWARD CLINT DEMPSEY
On how it feels to score for both the U.S. Men's National Team and Sounders FC in the same week:
"It just feels good to be winning again, for both club and country. It was an important win for us. We needed it. Hopefully we gain confidence from it. It was a clean sheet. That's big for us. There are some things to build on, but it was good to finally get three points."
On rotation of starting lineup over the beginning of the season and how chemistry is building in the final third:
"We have to get closer to Nelson [Valdez] because sometimes when he's on his own it's very difficult for him. We have to get numbers closer to him. We have to move the ball a little bit better. Sometimes it's not on for a cross, just to bring the ball back out and keep possession in their half. Maybe us just doing a little bit better job of finding when the right time is to try to play in those tight spaces and maybe we can create some better chances for ourselves."
On how National Team performance affects club performance:
"Any time you are doing well, it helps to keep you on a rhythm. In this game, it only takes one game to turn things around for yourself. You feed off it and vice versa. Having a good club game can help you go into the National Team and perform there as well. Any time you are playing well it's a good thing. You take confidence from it and you try to keep building on that momentum and riding that wave."
On positional change at beginning of the match:
"It wasn't too different in terms of me and [Andreas] Ivanschitz. We were interchanging in the last games. But yes, I did play more centrally for most of the time, which I wasn't in the previous games. We still interchanged throughout the game, especially more so in the first half. In the second half I tried to get closer to Nelson [Valdez] and stay a little bit further up the field. I thought we played well again at home, just like we did against Vancouver. I thought we were unlucky that game. Tonight we had a little bit of luck on our side and I thought we put in a good performance in terms of how we passed the ball and moved it in possession.
On preference of position and where he likes to play most:
"I just like being involved in the game and getting touches on the ball. I feel like if I am getting touches I can influence the game in that way. Whatever allows me to get touches and get the ball in the attacking third, that's the position I like the most."
On looking for connections for a goal in the run of play:
"I think we need to do a little better job of being a little more patient. We get a little bit excited and we are trying really hard. You can't fault our effort as a team in terms of how we try to do work, but at the same time we can be a little bit more patient in terms of bringing the ball back when it's not on, keeping the ball in their half, making them have to defend, making them have to step to players and then find that open guy and find spacing and find better shots on goal. I think we are still getting used to each other and still trying to figure out the best way that we are going to play, but also it comes with confidence too. We are on a bit of a slide with the three losses in a row. It was good to finally get this win and I think you'll start to see the boys being more confident because we got the clean sheet. I think you'll start seeing us play a little bit more with our chests out and things will happen from there. "
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC DEFENDER TYRONE MEARS
On the match:
"It's a big relief to get the three points. Like I've said before, we've not been worried about the performances. We were strong and we had a good mentality tonight. [Aaron] Kovar coming in was excellent There was a lot of pressure on some of the young guys - Cristian [Roldan] as well was excellent. So it's a good start and we've got to build from this."
On the formation change:
"With this game, there were some guys coming off of international games so it was a little bit forced tonight to make those changes. But the guys that came in were excellent. They showed a lot of energy and a lot of courage. It was a pressure game being at home. After the three losses, we needed to win."
On what Clint Dempsey brings in the middle of the field:
"I believe he's better inside because he gets more of the ball and when he's got the ball at his feet, he's dangerous. He's one of the most dangerous players in the league so we need him on the ball as much as possible. It's good that he's interchangeable with Andreas [Ivanschitz] because it messes with teams because they don't who to mark or who to pick up. We needed a big player to get us a goal and he did that."
On any nerves as the game was nearing the end:
"Yeah, there's a little bit of nerves. But the problem with our game, though, is from back to front. We keep the ball, create space, create chances, but we just need to finish some of those chances. When we have a few of those opportunities, it changes the game. Instead of 1-0 where it's a real grind, it's two or three-nil and an easier game."
On having Brad Evans back:
"He's our captain. He's been here through all of the MLS seasons. He's a rock. He's one of those guys you play him in any position and you'll get a performance from him. Certainly it's good that we have options because Zach Scott, he didn't do anything wrong. He's experienced and played really well in these last few games. But yes, having Brad back is a big bonus for us."
SOUNDERS FC GOALKEEPER STEFAN FREI
On how it feels to get both a win and a shutout:
"It feels great. We didn't really start to panic. Obviously we had some results that didn't go our way, but we still believed in our ability that we have in this locker room and I think from front to back, defensively and offensively, technically in the middle, we have it all and we are confident in ourselves and I think we have enough veterans to know that and not start to panic. It's great to finally get some points and get on the board."
On how Sounders FC defender Brad Evans affects the defensive performance:
"Well for one, he's our leader. We know that, so it's good to have him back. We know what he brings and you know what you get with him. He works his butt off and he hustles. He is a very steady player. It's a bit of a calm presence."
On performance of Sounders FC left back Dylan Remick:
"He did really well. I was upset when I saw him get hurt because I think he had a really good performance. Obviously it was good that we had someone behind him who is reliable as well. But hopefully it's just a knock because he did really well. It bodes well for us to have competition in all spots."
MONTREAL IMPACT HEAD COACH MARIO BIELLO
On play of Montreal midfielder Johan Venegas in final minutes of the match:
"[Venegas] came in well. He created a couple of chances and had a couple of shots on net. I sensed there was some urgency at the end of the game. Would I have liked us to manage it a bit better - that set piece? Yes. But in the end, we pushed hard to try to get the equalizer. We didn't, but overall I thought defensively we were solid. We managed the game well in different moments and again, we gave up a set-piece that maybe we should have been better on."
On Montreal forward Anthony Jackson-Hamel's growth and development:
"I think [Jackson-Hamel] is gaining experience. This is what it's about - a very young player. As long as he is able to learn and grow from his experiences he is going to be better off. The next game is coming soon and he needs to forget about this and get ready for the next one."
On how the match could have been different if Montreal forward Didier Drogba had played:
"Obviously Drogba is an important player on our team. He brings a different dynamic to this club. With Didier up top holding balls up for us it makes a big difference for sure, especially the way we want to play and the attention he is going to pull when he plays. You know, we have accepted that fact and now it's about moving forward and he will be ready in the next couple weeks."
MONTREAL IMPACT GOALKEEPER EVAN BUSH
General thoughts on the gameplay and Montreal's chances:
"I thought it wasn't bad. I don't think we had as many clear-cut chances as we would have liked, but we created chances still - half-chances, crosses in the box, things like that. Ultimately I think it should have ended 0-0, but we gave up a poor goal on a corner kick and that was it."
On whether or not Montreal's continued struggle with defending set-pieces is a concern:
"Yeah of course it is. We can't back away from that stat for sure. It has been different things every time. Tonight it was multiple things. It was poor from me coming out. I came for a ball that I misjudged. It kept carrying and I thought Morris was the only guy inside the six, but Dempsey was there as well. He put it away for an easy header. It was poor from me and we probably should have been marking as well, but I'll take the blame for that one."
MONTREAL IMPACT FORWARD DOMINIC ODURO
General thoughts on the game:
"I thought we played a good game collectively. You could see we were very organized. We tried to find a way to score until the end. It is difficult for us now, but as a team we are a better team now than we were before the game because we showed that we can fight and be involved during 90 minutes. Unfortunately we took a goal on the free kick. This is maybe the fourth time we have taken a goal like this this year, so we have to work on that. We have to find the key and find a way to be better."
On team defense of set-pieces:
"It's a problem. It is a clear problem. This is what brings us the frustration. We have the feeling that we do a good job on the field and because of the free kick we come out of the game frustrated. We have to work on that collectively. We are early in the season and we are going to do everything to be a better team."
MONTREAL IMPACT DEFENDER DONNY TOIA
On whether or not Montreal deserved a loss:
"No, I don't think so. We had our chances to score, but sometimes you come up short. I think we need a little more urgency going forward to possess the ball a little bit better going forward with the final pass, but it starts from the back - me playing the ball forward to our forwards and our midfielders. All around we worked hard and gave everything we got but unfortunately we came up short tonight."
On whether defensive effort to stop Seattle's 3-on-1 break suggests Montreal is a "no-quit" team:
"Yeah, absolutely. But on the other side, defense is my number one job. Whether I'm up top trying to go forward and they try to counter-attack us, my priority is tracking back and playing defense. It's the way I have always been taught to play, to play offense and defense. It's just a mentality I have had ever since I was young playing soccer. Doing that is just natural."
On Montreal's defense against set-pieces:
"We just have to be stronger and make sure we mark everybody up. We go through them. We watch videos on that. I guess we just need to be more focused. We cannot turn off for a second because you see what happens when we do that. They capitalized on it. We just have to be better all around."