The Seattle Sounders were shut out at home by a Colorado Rapids that is unexpectedly among the elite in the Western Conference. The match at CenturyLink Field could have been a respite before a tough road trip and a chance to pocket some needed points. Instead the Rapids found a set piece goal and did enough to limit Seattle's chances -- chances the Sounders didn't look ready to do much with anyway.
After a performance that was good to very good everywhere but the finishing touch, the squad was disappointed all their work was fruitless. Coach Sigi Schmid declined to blame the team and found it hard to pinpoint one area where the side really struggled going forward, except for the "only stat that counts" -- finishing.
The Sounders are 4-6-1, good for eighth in the Western Conference.
Seattle Sounders FC 0 - Colorado Rapids 1
Saturday, May 21, 2016
Venue: Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field
Referee: Ismail Elfath
Assistants: Jeremy Hanson, Mike Rottersman
Fourth Official: Baboucarr Jallow
Weather: 56 degrees and cloudy
COL - Axel Sjoberg (Marc Burch) 43'
COL - Jermaine Jones (caution) 44'
COL - Marc Burch (caution) 60'
COL - Mekeil Williams (caution) 79'
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Tyrone Mears, Zach Scott, Brad Evans, Joevin Jones; Osvaldo Alonso, Erik Friberg, Clint Dempsey; Aaron Kovar (Herculez Gomez 66'), Jordan Morris, Andreas Ivanschitz (Oalex Anderson 79', Dylan Remick 83')
Substitutes not used: Tyler Miller, Cristian Roldan, Tony Alfaro, Oniel Fisher
Total shots: 17 (Dempsey, 5)
Shots on goal: 4 (Dempsey, 4)
Fouls: 8 (Dempsey, 3)
Corner-kicks: 10 (Ivanschitz, 9)
Saves: 1 (Frei, 1)
Colorado Rapids - Zac MacMath; Mekeil Williams, Bobby Burling, Axel Sjoberg, Marc Burch; Micheal Azira, Sam Cronin - captain, Jermaine Jones, Dillon Serna (Marlon Hairston 77'), Luis Solignac (Eric Miller 83'); Kevin Doyle (Jared Watts 90'+1')
Substitutes not used: Chris Froschauer, Dennis Castillo, Dillon Powers, Conor Doyle
Total shots: 9 (Doyle, 3)
Shots on goal: 1 (Sjoberg, 1)
Fouls: 11 (3 players tied with 2)
Offside: 3 (3 players tied with 1)
Corner-kicks: 2 (Burch, 2)
Saves: 3 (MacMath, 3)
SOUNDERS FC HEAD COACH SIGI SCHMID
"Obviously disappointed in the result. I can't fault the guys in the locker room - I think they gave it everything they had. I thought for the majority of the game, we controlled the game. I thought we created chances - goals change games; we didn't finish. Some of the chances we had would have changed the game around. We knew they were going to be dangerous on set pieces because of their height advantage. We got caught on one. The effort of the guys I thought was great. I thought our play was good as well. We need to get the ball in the back of the net. At the end of the day, it's the only stat that counts."
On what the club is missing:
"We are getting the ball forward, we are keeping good possession, we are creating good chances, we are getting into crossing positions, guys are getting decent looks on goal, so it's tough to say, ‘Okay, it's this one thing.' Experience for some of our players helps because it makes you cooler, more deadly. At the end of the day, we did a lot of training this week by trying to put them in front of goal as much as we could. We will continue to do that. I walk away as a coach where there is a game where it's going to be one, two, three, four and they will fall in the back of the net, but tonight was not that night."
On finishing in the final third:
"Sometimes the ball could be crossed a little bit sooner. We could cut back on somebody. I think playing the ball, moving again, looking for the one-two's - I think we did that. I thought guys slipped in. Obviously when you don't score goals you're going to say, ‘Hey we could have done this better or that better and get really nitpicky.' On the same token, the overall production was good, but we didn't get it in the back of the net."
On the midfield play:
"I thought we did a good job. Before this game we talked about playing through the lines, making sure we're running at their back four, and I think we did that... I thought we did a good job of that. Again, it's like 95-percent of our play is really good. It's that last five percent - finishing. If we finish some of those chances today and we walk away winners, everyone is going to say that we played a very, very good game. But you don't score and they say, ‘Oh there's got to be all kind of things wrong.' We have to stay positive, stay focused. We know we are playing good soccer and we will continue to play good soccer. We've to continue to believe in ourselves and hopefully that belief will come out to results."
On Zach Scott:
"I thought Zach was good, I thought he was solid. I thought our whole backline [was good] - there was an error or two that occurred, which you can always find. Zach was solid."
On Military Appreciation Night:
"It's fantastic. The people who give their service to our country and with the way the world is nowadays, everything they do is much appreciated. Anything we can do to help recognize them and honor them is significant."
SOUNDERS FC DEFENDER BRAD EVANS
On how the team played against a first place team:
"Yeah, I mean first half we controlled pretty much everything until I gave the ball away and gave up two conrner kicks and on the second one they score. Right now it seems one mistake, one goal allowed and we are still losing games so that's the narrative right now and it's going to be tough to break especially with two road games. At the same time we gotta buckle down guys gotta come in we gotta work and we gotta right the ship."
On controlling the majority of the possession throughout the game:
"Possession doesn't win us games. Banging away goals and keeping it to zero in the back does. I think right now we would rather all take a sloppy victory than a high percentage loss, high percentage possession game loss at home."
On not being able to point to something specific to blame losses on:
"Yeah it makes it hard. Talking after the games it makes it tough - all I can say is that is was my mistake that led to a goal. And if we elimate that mistake maybe we keep it to zero throughout the whole game. That's really the only thing I can think of. We have a couple chances in front of goal to finish and we just don't. And we give up a corner kick in the back and game over."
On the importance of staying positive throughout these tough stretches:
"Massive. Any time we can go on a run here and win four or five in a row and be well above the red line. I don't think anybody thinks the season is lost or anything. Gusy are still coming in and working extremely hard. Guys coming in as subs are putting their head down and worked. We were down one-nothing and to see those guys come in and work hard and try to make a difference that kind of spurred us on until the end we just couldn't break through. The overall mood in the locker room has to stay positive. We can't come in with heads down and pointing fingers. We don't really know where to point right now so the most important thing is to come together and rally guys, to stay positive. These next two games are an opportunity to right this ship."
SOUNDERS FC DEFENDER ZACH SCOTT
On losing at home to first place club:
"It's definitely one of those games where I thought we put enough effort, energy, desire into it and that's something they have been lacking in past games. The quality is something that we need to pick up now and it comes from the back all the way to the front. It's not that forwards aren't doing enough it's that we aren't getting them the ball quick enough we aren't getting them the right balls and front to back we just have to be better."
About having lots of chances:
"Yeah and that's exactly what soccer is, especially when you're struggling, it's making the most of your chances. Espeically a team like Colorado is doing just that you know one really good chance and they put it away and unfortunately all the half-chances that we had didn't add up to a goal but I think the quality is there we just have to stick with it we are also at this point we are going to find ourselves behind the gun and slowly moving ourselves further and further away from a playoff spot if we don't pick it up."
On frustration of having chances and not getting a result:
"We had stressed how important free kicks, corner kicks, set pieces all that stuff was we worked on it a ton this week because they are a good team. Unfortunaltely they put it away so we are just going to have to look at the video and figure out what went wrong and get back at it. That's all you can do at this point is hope that there's no heads being bowed and get back at it in practice and turn it around. We have to."
COLORADO RAPIDS HEAD COACH PABLO MASTROENI
On the game:
"It takes a lot of concentration, it takes a lot of effort to not get a lot of the ball. Seattle came out sharp and imposed themselves on the game. We talk about concentration and finding ways to win games, and today was one of those where I felt it wasn't what we chalked up. They did a good job of beating the press and we were a bit slow to react as far as the support behind the press. We made some adjustments at halftime and in the second half, we defended really well and I thought we had some of the better opportunities to go another goal up. In football, rarely do things go your way and you must have a certain type of mentality and a certain type of group to overcome things and be comfortable being uncomfortable. Tonight the guys played probably one of the most courageous games of the year to this point. Seattle is a great team, well coached, difficult place to play, on turf, rain - you can make a million excuses. They were sharp tonight, but you don't make excuses - you find ways to win, and I couldn't be more proud of that group."
On capitalizing on their limited opportunities:
"We're up in some metrics as far as goals and goal differential, or else we wouldn't be in the position that we're in. We've taken care of home this year and done a really good job of that. Then to come on the road - I think we've gotten eight points in six games. Winning is winning. There's not a bad win. This is not a beauty contest."
On if the patience creates the winning or the winning creates the patience:
"I think it's all intertwined. First you've got to believe. You've got to believe in yourself as an individual, you've got to believe in what we're doing as a group. You've got to believe that even when you're down, as we've been this year on the road, that you're going to come back. Then that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of belief. With that belief, the men have done some great things. What I'm starting to feel with this group is there's not test that's too big and there's no task that's too daunting. They fear nobody. We're still the underdogs and we'll continue to fight our way through the season."
On how his team is playing for each other:
"It's a really selfless group. The group inside that lockerroom is one of the tightest teams I've ever been a part of. I'm kind of on the outside as the coach, but to be part of that group Monday through Friday in that clubhouse...the camaraderie, the older guys taking the younger guys under their wing and talking to them about what it takes, leading by example. We have a great group of leaders in that locker room. We have young guys that are hungry to prove themselves and whenever called upon, they step in and do a great job. That's team. That's why we coach and that's why we play."
On Jermaine Jones' play:
"He creates such a presence on both sides of the ball. Michael Azira and Sam Cronin work really well as a tandem and Jermaine in front of them...he's able to unlock defenses with his movement and his passing, yet he comes back and helps out in midfield, too. He wins balls and snuffs out attacks from the opposing team. He's a leader every day in training. He's a leader in the locker room so it's a role he's really enjoyed and looks to continue when he comes back from Copa America."
On what the difference is this year:
"(A courageous mentality) is a huge part of it, but we've also brought in guys like...Marco Pappa, Micheal Azira, Mekeil Williams, Jermaine Jones and now Tim Howard - a slew of players that come from winning organizations. They're winners. They weren't just accidentally chosen; they were guys that have had success, that, when asked if they were willing to come in and make a difference and be a leader in this group, everyone was excited about the project. We had a great preseason and now, it's not easy, we're not winning games by flying through the league. But you look at the scores around the league -- there's no one that's winning games easily. This is the reality of football in America. It's unlike any football in the world. I've had the opportunity to play elsewhere and there's no football like the MLS, so if you don't adjust to it, if you don't have the right mindset, if you're not willing to fly six hours on a plane then play the next day, then you have no chance. So our mentality, as well as the addition of those players, has been outstanding."
COLORADO RAPIDS DEFENDER MARC BURCH
On returning to Seattle:
"I try not to listen to whether or not [cheers] are good or bad from the sidelines, but it's nice to hear that people still support me a little bit."
On the Rapids success this season
"We believe. We really believe that we're going to win. We believe that we have a chance in every single game. Every single guy fights for each other, we work hard, I think we're really organized and [are] taking advantage of our opportunities. We didn't have many tonight, but when we did, we put them away."
On two similar wins against Seattle
"We're just trying to win games no matter what it looks like really. You know, there have been some bad halves we've had, but in the end we were always giving ourselves a chance. We're not giving up a lot of goals, so I think we might be the best defensive team in the league right now, and we are looking to continue that. If you can score one goal, and you don't give up any, you're going to win."
On assisting from a corner and stopping a goal-bound header on a defensive corner
"Oh man, yeah my first corner was terrible...I was like real disappointed. Luckily Sam [Cronin] kept in play and got us another one. I knew I could hit it; I was hitting some good ones yesterday. So, I just hit it in and he's [Axel Sjoberg] pretty tall so it's a good chance he's going to head it in. And then, you know, you take your role on a defensive corner - you're either on the front post or the back post. Clint [Dempsey] got a good head on it and I was just in the right spot at the right time."
COLORADO RAPIDS DEFENDER AXEL SJOBERG
On the Rapids growing reputation as a ‘resilient' team
"We just work really, really hard for each other. Both the guys in front of us and the backline, the guys next to me, we die for each other on the field and that is probably why we [are] winning games right now."
On the goal
"You know, it was just a good corner-kick. I just got free and got my head on it."
COLORADO RAPIDS GOALKEEPER ZAC MACMATH
On winning twice in a row in Seattle for the first time
"[We're] just a bunch of guys that fight for each other and a team that is really committed to defending. You know, just the commitment of the guys staying together all night long even when we weren't playing our best. We took them out [of the game] and to grind out a win on the road is a big accomplishment for this team."
On whether making big saves during the match boosted his confidence
"Absolutely. You know, I got some good hands on some Clint Dempsey shots, which was big for me and big for the team to know that they have me back there covering there back. It builds confidence for the whole team."
On the organization of his backline throughout the night
"It was great, you know, I wasn't worried once on any of the crosses or all of the balls deflecting around the box. We did really well just, you know, staying with the men and clearing the ball as much as possible."
On whether he was concerned about Seattle getting 17 shots
"No. I think that was the type of game that we were kind of facing tonight. You know, it wasn't our best night. We just were kind of taking it [offensive pressure] and we kind of knew we had to do that coming into the half up one to zero, and the guys [Rapids] did really well with it.
On a top of the table match against Philadelphia next weekend
"I think it is going to be a great matchup. I'm excited to play against my old team, and hopefully we can come out with another victory."