Another frustrating loss for the Seattle Sounders comes in the form of a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Western Conference rivals LA Galaxy. Robbie Keane’s strike bouncing in off the crossbar was all LA needed, after which they locked down play as much as possible to clog the Sounders attack.
The strategy worked, causing the Sounders to rack up many low percentage shots. However, a few very promising chances went unfinished as well. The coach and the players speak to the unluckiness of failing to find a goal on 22 shots and nine corner kicks, but that seems to be yet another chapter in a sorry story so far in 2016 for the Rave Green.
The Sounders are 5-10-2, -7, last in the Western Conference at 17 points (1 PPG).
Seattle Sounders FC 0 - LA Galaxy 1
Saturday, July 9, 2016
Venue: Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Assistants: Jeremy Hanson, Eduardo Mariscal
Fourth Official: Baboucarr Jallow
Weather: Cloudy and 67 degrees
LA - Robbie Keane (Gyasi Zardes, Dave Romney) 15'
LA - Dave Romney (caution) 69'
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Tyrone Mears, Chad Marshall, Zach Scott - captain, Joevin Jones; Osvaldo Alonso, Cristian Roldan (Herculez Gomez 83'), Erik Friberg; Jordan Morris, Clint Dempsey, Nelson Valdez (Oalex Anderson 64')
Substitutes not used: Tyler Miller, Tony Alfaro, Oniel Fisher, Aaron Kovar, Andreas Ivanschitz
Total shots: 22 (Dempsey, 7)
Shots on goal: 5 (Five players, 1)
Fouls: 12 (Valdez, 4)
Corner-kicks: 9 (Friberg, 6)
Saves: 3 (Frei, 3)
LA Galaxy - Brian Rowe; A.J. DeLaGarza, Daniel Steres, Jelle Van Damme, Dave Romney; Baggio Husidic, Jeff Larentowicz, Steven Gerrard (Mike Magee 85'), Gyasi Zardes; Robbie Keane - captain (Alan Gordon 90+2'), Giovani dos Santos (Sebastian Lletget 76')
Substitutes not used: Dan Kennedy, Leonardo, Rafael Garcia, Emmanuel Boateng
Total shots: 7 (Keane, 3)
Shots on goal: 4 (Keane, 3)
Fouls: 13 (Van Damme, 4)
Offside: 1 (Keane, 1)
Corner-kicks: 4 (Gerrard, 4)
Saves: 4 (Rowe, 4)
SOUNDERS FC HEAD COACH SIGI SCHMID
"I just [for] the guys in the locker room – I thought we battled, I thought we fought. I thought we left it all on the field. I thought we dominated the game. You can look at statistics, it doesn’t matter – there is only one statistic that matters in the end, but I certainly cannot fault them for their effort, for their character and their play. It’s frustrating."
On the tactics:
"Tactically, we wanted [Nelson] Valdez to battle up front and help us connect and be able to play balls back. [Clint] Dempsey, we know he would drop back a little bit, so we wanted [Jordan] Morris to push up on the left side and get in, which he obviously had a great chance getting in in the second half. All of that worked out for us."
On his message to fans:
"I feel for them, but I really feel for the guys in the locker room because I think this season we have had six penalty calls against us and we have had zero for us. I don’t know if anybody else in the league has that stat, but it’s not just the penalties or stuff like that. All of which you can ask of your team is to create chances, to fight and battle, to work hard, to work smart for each other, to make your teammates better - we did all that. We came away with nothing; we came away with a goose egg – it’s frustrating, but I feel strongly that if we continue to do that it will turn around."
On Nelson Valdez:
"It looked like he was starting to fatigue and we wanted to get more speed with Oalex [Anderson]. We felt that Oalex could give Romney some problems and get behind him…It worked, but we didn’t get a goal."
On Clint Dempsey:
"Thought Clint gave a lot. He battled – obviously in midfield, he got double-teamed at times [and] that made it difficult. I think he had seven shots for us in dangerous situations. I was happy with him."
On the need for reinforcements:
"I think you could always use reinforcements, but if you look at the game today – if you just landed from Mars and you looked at the game and nobody told you what the score was – who do you think the guy from Mars would say who won the game?"
On creating 22 shots and 0 goals:
"I am trying to think – not since I played way back when and we outshout a team 38-1 and we lost 1-0, and that’s when I played. Fresno State, of all people. Did we hit enough shots on time? Yeah, but I think we can shoot a little bit sooner. I can’t go in there and say, ‘This is wrong, that was wrong, you didn’t do this’ or, ‘You guys didn’t put in the effort.’ The guys worked great that way. At some point, you’ve got to feel it’s going to change."
SOUNDERS FC MIDFIELDER CRISTIAN ROLDAN
On having 20+ shots and 0 goals:
"I think we have all played in a couple of those games. I mean the ball just didn’t bounce our way in the final third. I guess we have to live with that today and practice on it during the week and look forward to Dallas on Wednesday."
On the inability to finish chances:
"I mean it’s unfortunate. On another day two of those go in and we win the game. They had one opportunity and took advantage of it, credit to them. Sticking 10 guys behind the ball and not allowing us to score and get clearer chances. But we just have to be a little bit better in the final third."
On being on the bottom of the table:
"Obviously we are realistic we know where we are at and where we want to be headed. That’s higher up the table. I thought today was one of the better times we have played this year. We just have to take advantage of our opportunities. We will be just fine."
On it being months since scoring at home:
"I don’t think anybody looks at it that way I don’t think anyone knew that stat coming into this game. Even on the road we are not scoring. That has been our emphasis for sure that’s why we play two up top. I think we have looked better than any other game this year."
SOUNDERS FC GOALKEEPER STEFAN FREI
On what he saw on LA’s goal:
"Yeah they did play a through ball and I think we were in pretty decent shape it’s unfortunate because Zach [Scott] slips in an unfortunate moment. I think Chad does the right thing and slides over to force him to do something because otherwise he’s probably going to open something up and curl something far side and then he actually puts in a difficult cross and puts it in right in stride. Keane doesn’t get too many but he slams one off the crossbar. Again we are in a game where we aren’t giving up a lot of goals. We give up one goal and we have 20 something shots and we can’t find the back of the net. That seems to be our issue."
On the next stretch of tough games:
"They are all in conference games which means they are huge games. Six-point games. I thought even though we lost today we had some of that confidence from the last couple of games. The friendly and the Open Cup. It felt okay, like we were in charge we had numerous chances, we had lots of possession, hopefully we aren’t going to get too down on ourselves now we need to really try to keep a little bit of that confidence that we were able to build throughout that stretch of games. Like I said, six-point games in tough environments."
On keeping fans behind team through tough losses:
"I mean I don’t think I have to beg the fans to keep supporting us because they see we are working hard, we are working our butts off. It’s just not clicking for us we aren’t finding the back of the net. We are creating tons of chances I would argue we are creating more chances per game than we were last year. Unfortunately we are missing the class where we can finish those chances. I don’t doubt that they will keep on supporting us. We always know that at some points it’s gotta turn and we have to keep on believing in each other and ourselves. It’s all you can do at some points."
SOUNDERS FC FORWARD HERCULEZ GOMEZ
On the vibe among the younger players:
"I love the young guys on this team. I only wish that they were more willing to make mistakes because that’s the only way you’re going to learn and one you’re going to get better. I think that we have done more than we’ve asked of them. If we are asking the young guys to get results then we are in a bad position. There are guys that we need to groom and teach them the right things. Nowhere in the world are you going to see a team where it’s all young kids and they are figuring it out by themselves. We need to be there for them."
On the unity of the locker room:
"It’s been difficult to get a healthy 18 all year, it’s been difficult to field the same lineup twice, so that trust still hasn’t been earned. We are professionals, this is what we do for a living. I’m sure you guys have heard this before that we need to figure it out."
LOS ANGELES GALAXY COACH BRUCE ARENA
On the match:
"I felt we did a real good job. This is a very tough venue to play in. The conditions were difficult for both teams. Passing wasn’t very good on the day. We’re learning…we lost points in maybe three or four games this year in similar games on the road. It’s good to see we’re growing and understanding what we need to do to close out games. We did it a week ago in the Open Cup at Portland and we’re beginning to do that now. It’s three clean sheets in a row – two league games and one Open Cup game – so that’s good. I thought our guys did a good job … the whole back line. Brian Rowe continues to grow in the goal. I think [Jeff] Larentowicz and [Baggio] Husidic did a real good job in front of the back line. On the break at times we were dangerous with the combination of [Robbie] Keane, [Steven] Gerrard, [Giovani] dos Santos and [Gyasi] Zardes. On the day, you know you’re going to come in here and it’s never going to look very good. You just have to get a goal and grind it out, and we did."
On if the defense is starting to come together:
"Yes, and I think Leonardo can play for us – he’s still due back. And Robbie Rodgers will be back in about a month. [Ashley] Cole should be available soon so I think we’ve got a pretty good back line."
On Dave Romney’s play:
"He had a good, solid game. He played here last year and had a tough one so I think that experience has helped. Over the last six weeks or so, he’s played very well."
On if the game plan was to attack early:
"I think you always want to come here and not fall behind. Like I said, in the case of the Sounders, I think it’s difficult playing on this field and chasing the game. You don’t have the greatest control or confidence on the ball. To get an early goal is always a big plus for a team psychologically, and certainly never good for the team that’s trailing. We wanted to have a good start and obviously getting the first goal of the game is something we’d like to do, and we were fortunate enough to be able to get it."
LA GALAXY GOALKEEPER BRIAN ROWE
On whether his confidence has grown as he continues to record clean sheets:
"No, I feel the same every week. I mean, of course the more games you get under your belt, the more confident you can be with your teammates, the more confidence they have in you and the more comfortable you can be. I don’t think it’s so much me as it is the team did a great job today. We showed some grit at the end of the game. There’s been a couple of games during the season that in the same situation like that: we get an early goal and give up a late lead. I really thought we showed some great grit. Guys got in front of a lot of blocked shots, marked them and got tight. It’s a tough place to come up here and play a; so that was a great result."
On the performance of Jelle Van Damme:
"He was huge. Him, Dan Steres, A.J. and Dave Romney stepped in and those guys did a great job defending. It’s not easy: they have a couple of players up top that move around well and they’ve got some good talent. I thought we did a great job of staying tight on them and making sure there were no free crosses and no free shots."
On what was going through his mind when A.J. DeLaGarza blocked Morris’ shot off the line:
"I think after he hit it, I saw it was going right at AJ [DeLaGarza], so I was just hoping he would be able to make a play. So, I definitely owe him a beer tonight. Jordan [Morris] did a good job of taking a touch on that, I just tried to put as much pressure on him as I could and try to maybe make sure that he couldn’t look up and see where he could place it in the goal. I think he just kept his head down and tried to finish and A.J. was in a great spot there."
On the team effort in getting the clean sheet:
"No, I mean I had a couple of saves but they didn’t really test me the most on frame I think. So I think a lot of the pressure came from our guys putting their bodies in front of the ball in the box. There were a couple of knock-downs that were 12, eight yards out that our guys just threw their bodies in front of and we cleared. So as we get further down the season and into the playoffs this is a good experience. It’s a tough place to play and being able to close out a game like that is massive."
On whether the team is getting over their struggles on the road:
"Yeah I think we are finally figuring out that last little piece to close those games out. Whether it’s getting a zero-zero draw or just sneaking out a one-zero win, it definitely makes life a lot more fun in the locker room and with the guys afterward when you’ve got confidence in everyone on the field and knowing that guys can step on and do their job. We still had a number of chances going forward that we were able to create. Keane-o had a great one with the cross by Gyasi and finishing that one early. A second goal would’ve put the game away, but I think we showed a lot of character tonight getting the win."
LA GALAXY FORWARD ROBBIE KEANE
On the team’s defensive effort after taking an early lead:
"Yeah, as you said we defended very, very well as a group. Good performance all around, even though it wasn’t the prettiest game. It’s very difficult when you’re playing at 12:30 and the pitch is very, very dry it’s hard to move the ball quickly for both teams. We got the early goal and we held on. As you said, a couple of months ago we probably would’ve lost that or drew, so obviously it was a good three points away from home. Especially coming here in difficult circumstances playing against a good team. All in all it was a good day."
On the team holding onto positive results:
"I think it is important that when you put in a performance like we did today, it’s important that you continue to carry on and not rest on your laurels. That’s something we certainly look at and we can continue to defend and play the way we do. We always have other players in the team that can score goals, and that was the case today."
On Seattle controlling the game in the second-half:
"That’s normal when you play away from home. [Home] teams tend to have more possession, especially if you’re winning and they are chasing the game. But we could have been a little bit more clever, in terms of the final pass maybe, at times we probably could have gotten two, three or four goals. So that’s something that we have to look at. When you’re playing away from home, and if you’re defending like that, it’s important that you can beat them on the counter-attack. We had a good few occasions where [you need] that final pass to take a couple of people out of the game on the counter-attack. We did it at times, but probably not enough."
LA GALAXY DEFENDER A.J. DELAGARZA
On the team defending well over the past couple of games:
"Yeah like you said, it takes one game. Obviously our win last week was big at home, and coming to Seattle with obviously one of the most hostile environments in MLS, and the [new] turf with the new noon kick-off, it didn’t affect us too much. We defended a lot tonight and we had to. Those are games that we lost points on earlier in the year, and we got out of here with the win today."
On what was going through his mind when Jordan Morris went past Brian Rowe:
"Well, he went by me first. It was a great ball in and I think if that’s grass, that kind of skips by, but it hit the turf and bounced straight up and hit off his shin right into his path. At that point I just tried to cover B-Rowe and hoped he could make a play so I didn’t have to. Luckily he hit it kind of close to me and I was able to just reach out and poke it away."
On whether his clearance on the line was a tough play:
"Not when he kicks it pretty close to you, but you just want to be in a good position I think. It was a tough play, he has the whole goal to shoot at, so you just try to make yourself big."
On whether his block affected the crowd and changed the momentum of the match:
"Yeah I think if they scored that, then the momentum switches, and the rest of the half we are in their fan zone. That’s all you really hear is them [supporters]. The intensity keeps rising and the pressure keeps rising, so thankfully we were able to get a shutout."