The deck was pretty well stacked against the Seattle Sounders heading into Tuesday’s U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 match against Real Salt Lake. The Sounders were on short rest, were using a lineup not so different from many S2 games and were facing what was effectively a first-choice RSL lineup on the road.
Despite giving up 30 shots and being pretty thoroughly outplayed, they managed to pull out the win.
That’s mostly thank to the heroics of goalkeeper Tyler Miller, whose only goal-allowed was off a penalty, made several stellar saves during regular and extra time and then stopped a pair of penalties in the shootout.
Seattle Sounders FC 1 (4) - Real Salt Lake 1 (1)
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium
Referee: Alex Chilowicz
Assistants: Eduardo Mariscal, Brad Jensen
Fourth Official: TJ Zablocki
Weather: Cloudy and 82 degrees
RSL - Joao Plata (penalty) 43'
SEA - Nelson Valdez 51'
SEA - Herculez Gomez - Scored
RSL - Juan Manuel Martinez - Scored
SEA - Jordan Morris - Scored
RSL - Joao Plata - Saved
SEA - Zach Scott - Scored
RSL - Kyle Beckerman - Saved
SEA - Erik Friberg - Scored
SEA - Herculez Gomez (caution) 42'
RSL - Javier Morales (caution) 93'
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC - Tyler Miller; Oniel Fisher, Zach Scott, Tony Alfaro, Dylan Remick; Nathan Sturgis, Cristian Roldan, Zach Mathers (Erik Friberg 64'); Herculez Gomez, Nelson Valdez (Joevin Jones 100'), Oalex Anderson (Jordan Morris 79')
Substitutes not used: Charlie Lyon, Tyrone Mears, Michael Farfan, Aaron Kovar
Total shots: 16 (Valdez, 5)
Shots on goal: 5 (Anderson/Gomez, 2)
Fouls: 16 (Fisher, 4)
Offside: 5 (Valdez, 2)
Corner-kicks: 5 (Friberg, 3)
Saves: 8 (Miller, 8)
Real Salt Lake - Jeff Attinella; Tony Beltran, Justen Glad (Chris Wingert 119'), Aaron Maund, Demar Phillips; Luke Mulholland (Jordan Allen 72'), Javier Morales, Kyle Beckerman; Juan Manuel Martinez, Yura Movsisyan, Joao Plata
Substitutes not used: Jamison Olave, John Stertzer, Omar Holness, Nick Rimando, Olmes Garcia
Total shots: 30 (Morales/Martinez, 6)
Shots on goal: 9 (3 players, 2)
Fouls: 10 (Phillips, 3)
Offside: 1 (Phillips, 1)
Corner-kicks: 17 (Morales, 10)
Saves: 3 (Attinella, 3)
REAL SALT LAKE 1(1)-1(4) SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
RIO TINTO STADIUM; JUNE 28, 2016
Seattle Sounders FC
Head Coach Sigi Schmid
Overall thoughts on a defensive performance:"Obviously we dodged a few bullets. Salt Lake was all over us for a good period of time. We had guys who haven't played 90 minutes in a while and they're asked to play 120 minutes. So guys are cramping and stuff but the main thing is character can beat talent. Talent and character can take you a long way but if you only have talent with no character you aren't going to go far."
On his back four and Tyler Miller:"Tyler was solid. The last time he was here he was obviously disappointed and I think he got rid of those demons tonight. He got rid of some of those demons by some of the saves that he made in the game. The one going to his left in the overtime was fantastic and coming up with two big saves in penalties."
On Alfaro and Scott in the back-line:"Solid. I haven't seen the penalty. It seemed a little soft; the referee said he tripped him, that's what he told me. I didn't think it was a trip I thought it was a push. But at the end of the day I thought they did a good job. Zach [Scott] was good helping Tony [Alfaro] organize and Tony every time we've asked him to play has been good and consistent."
On any worries on this game and PK's:"We hadn't practiced penalties. One of my assistants said we should practice them but I said that we'd be OK. I learned a long time ago you take your best guys and have them shoot first and third. Then you fill in second and fourth and no offense, Roldan was going to shoot fifth. We weren't sure if Gomez was up to hit his, Sturgis would've been third but he was cramping so we knocked him out of hat position and put Zach into it. All the guys came through great."
On what this means for the team:"We've had that happen you know. We talked about Toronto three years ago we were going through a bad patch and we went down to San Jose and the same thing there, they played their starters and we played our reserves and beat them 1-0 at their place and it got a little ugly at the end of the game. That win started to propel us into a good run of form in the league as well."
Goalkeeper Tyler Miller
Overall thoughts on the end of the game:"I mean I had to command the team on a hard fought game. For 120 minutes we really put in the work and it comes down to PK's and it is kind of luck and doing your research. It was good, I had two saves and I can't ask any more of the guys they buried their PK's and we came away with the win."
On his back line:"They played amazing. There was a lot to deal with. The heat, the altitude and I mean the whole game they really put in the work and shut down Salt Lake's whole top line."
On the group attitude before the PK's:"We just wanted to come away with something today. We had fought the entire game really putting in a team effort and we didn't want to come out of here without a win and we got that."
Looking forward:"This is a huge boost of confidence for the team and the fans too looking at this game. I think that we'll take this game and really run with it and it'll show in the MLS and the next round of the Open Cup."
Forward Herculez Gomez
On the win:"That's all it was heart and character you know we really had our backs against the wall, the first half wasn't good enough, we could've done more in the second half and we came out, and dedicated ourselves with working with each other, and I think it came through, they are not easy to prepare against. They are very good with the ball and their possession game is something else, and their attacking third is very tough to deal with."
On Tyler Millers performance:"He came up really big, he is a very good keeper, he is very young, and will have plenty of room to keep growing and that sounds exciting to the fans especially because of his great performance."
On his excitement tonight:"I'm fired up every night, I thought the door was left open for a few of us to prove ourselves, with this opportunity this week and beyond for everybody here, this game against this team and we did it in a way that has got to be grounds for us."
On playing against Beckerman:"I love Kyle. He is a great guy, we are both fiery guys on field, and he will never back down neither will I. I love challenges you know, on the field. I think there is a lot more conversation than people think there is and it's just that."
On the win propelling the team forward:"It's a start, I'd love for these things to pour into waters so things go well for us from here on out, but it is up to us. Now, it is easy for us to talk about it now, but for it to be it, its something else, but this is definitely a positive."
On the teams bond:"Absolutely, what we just went through, our bodies were giving out like my legs were giving out. Players like Christian, Nelson, Fisher, everybody was just giving it their all, and it's so cliché to say leave your all out there, but this was one of those moments, and you see guys going through that, and you still have a little going through your tank. I think it opens your eyes to appreciate it all."
Defender Zach Scott
On the heart and character of the team:"Yeah, I mean sometimes it takes a game like that, where you are on the road and you are playing a good team, a first team, and you know it goes 120 minutes and to penalties. You pull it out and that's a little bit of momentum for the next couple of weeks. To be honest though, it is just one game and I don't think people read to much into it, other than what we said we wanted to do for the game and play as a team and leave it all on the field."
On Tony Alfaro's performance:"He has been great and is one of those young guys with almost an old soul. You know I feel like he is very similar to how Jordan came into the team. Just a very humble guys that soaks up information and looks to improve everyday and that's all you can ask in a young guy."
On the games battle:"Yeah, I think Salt Lake is very similar to Seattle in that we take the Open Cup very seriously. We always said when we enter tournaments or a game we play to win, you know we are obviously looking to mix up the lineup, but the team we put out is a team we expect to win. You know credit to Salt Lake, because we were on the gun in portions of the game, but I feel that we created chances. Obviously PKs are a crap shot and we took ours well."
On how he is feeling:"I feel fine and I love this."
On who he wants to play in the next round:"I dislike them both equally, so it and it would be fun to knock out either of them out."
Real Salt Lake
Head Coach Jeff Cassar
On RSL's lull in play after the equalizer:"I didn't see that. Maybe I need to re-watch the game obviously. I felt like we were the aggressors the entire night. You know what I mean, the goal was against the wrong play and then after that there wasn't much more that they did besides a deflection and a great save by Miller. I think they had a team that was really concentrated on the defensive end. They worked extremely hard together, their goalkeeper made a number of very good saves, and they got a result. I'm not disappointed in the way we played at all. You know if we play like that I think we are going to win a lot of games and really do some good things. I don't think we took our foot off the gas, you know they put a lot of numbers behind the ball and it was tough. And we still created a ton. I think we can be a little bit more proactive as we are attacking what we are doing in the back, because that is just... that shouldn't happen."
On the opportunities his team had:It could be that, it could be the final quality of the final ball. You know I think we were right there so many times but sometimes it takes just a hair better pass. Again, I though the goalkeeper did great, I thought we created opportunities from service, from the outside backs, you know. We were creating opportunities all over the place. What should have happen is we should have won in regular time. But, it happens, you know it is what it is. We have got to move on we have a huge game against UC."
On Seattle's goal:"You know I have to look at how it happened from before. But I haven't had a chance to talk to Justin about it and Jeff. But it looked like it was handled completely and then you know. I don't know if it was communication, or if it was choices being made. I'm not going to address it right now, I want to look at it, and I want to talk to the players and kind of find out what they were thinking and what happened. But obviously from the outside that can't happen, you know it's a very unearned goal. And if you want to win championships and trophies you can't be giving up goals like that. With that being said I thought they both rebounded, Justin and Jeff, rebounded extremely well. Jeff made a fantastic save off a deflection by Justin and I thought Justin really regrouped, which is good. Sometimes you make these mistakes and you learn from them and you grow so that they don't happen again."
On who should take the penalty:"Honestly I didn't see that, I'm not trying to dodge your question by any means I didn't see that. That is the first time I have heard of that so I will talk to the players and see what was going on but I honestly can't address that because I haven't spoken to them."
On the how the PK shooters are chosen:"Listen, there is different ways, we don't have a set one. I think it is important that the players communicate with each other, and have respect for each other and get through it. I think we have done that for the most part. It could be a different person on a different day, but I don't necessarily believe in picking one person. But, I do believe that if a person is feeling extremely confident and there is respect involved then they will pick."
On the team's U.S. Open Cup performance:"I mean I take that we lost, its over now. It's not something we can dwell on too much. Once you are out of the cup, you are out of the cup, its done. It is what it is and now we move on and we take care of the business we need to. We can't be talking about this game long, at all. The coaches can but you know its over, and you know it is something that we really wanted to do well in as a club, and organization. The players were really involved, I think we did enough to get a result tonight, I really do. But we also did something that really put us behind the eight ball a little bit. We created enough chances, we really did. Their goal keeper, Miller, did a very, very good job."
How do you prepare your guys for a game in three days:"You know, no drinking. I mean listen, the way we played, I thought we were aggressive from the get-go; I don't think they had a lot of opportunities to score. Are there things we need to sure up a little bit? Yep. We need to not be naive, where dangers can come from nothing. So improve in those areas, this is something we should be disappointed in, but not something to hang our heads about."
On having Attinella in goal for PK's:"Honestly, no. Myself, staff, players, we have the up most confidence in Jeff. I thought he did a good job in them, I mean heck there was some pretty decent PKs that they took. And we didn't put any pressure on them by making ours, and they weren't under as much pressure as they normal would if we were putting ours away. But, no there really wasn't."
Goalkeeper Jeff Attinella
On the team's mindset as the game goes into PK's:"PK's are just such a crapshoot. They put their balls in their corners and their goalie made a couple big saves. When it comes down to penalties in a game that we feel like we dominated - it's a tough loss, but we have to turn it around quick for Friday. And look, I think we have a group that can do that."
On what happened on Seattle's goal:"I was trying to play off my line and help with those balls over the top. The wind was blowing pretty hard and they were hitting them pretty far. It's just a miscommunication - that's all it comes down to. It can't happen and it's something that Justen and I will learn from. We'll move forward and hopefully it won't happen again."
On if it will be tough to bounce back in 3 days for DC:"It's weird. We played really well tonight and there are a ton of positives to take away from this game except for the result. And then in games where we haven't been playing our best we've been grinding out a win. Maybe it's soccer evening out a little bit, but I really liked the way that we played tonight. If we can find the energy and come out that way on Friday - we have a little bit of a break after as well. I think we have a group that can dig in and find the energy and put a performance together like tonight."
Defender Tony Beltran
Thoughts on losing a game over a shootout:"Extremely disappointing. Disappointing in the fact that we let it get to that point. We just didn't have our shooting boots on tonight, so many chances. You can't fall to our fight. The boys fought for 120 minutes, and we really pushed. We were trying to find that goal, but it just really didn't happen tonight. Sometimes soccer goes that way, unfortunately tonight was one of those nights and now we're out of the tournament."
Thoughts on being the aggressors and losing:"I thought we came out very strong and we controlled the tempo of the game. I thought particularly the midfield was playing through them and finding space. When we get our midfielders high on the ball and we dominate possession, that's when we really are dangerous. We played good soccer tonight. We just couldn't find a result."
Thoughts on having Kyle back and better possession:"Of course. Kyle has got so much quality. Not only soccer wise, but as a leader. He's just tremendous talent. I thought the guys did a fantastic job stepping in, John and Luke while he was away, but obviously Kyle is a special player and it's great to have him back."
Thoughts on getting ready for the match on Friday:"There's no time you know to dwell on this game. We'll go home, we'll get rest tonight, because now it's about Friday. Obviously we're frustrated to be out of this tournament, you know we wanted to win this tournament, but it's done. We'll watch the tape, we'll learn from it, but we have to move on very quickly."
Thoughts on the guys playing several minutes in the past couple weeks:"I think it is a lot, but we take care of ourselves and we're all professionals, we have an incredible medical staff behind us and I think we all know after this Friday game we'll get a little bit of a break as well, so we'll fight on, and push on."