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Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers: Highlights, stats and quotes

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"The whole game everybody fought until the end. That's something with this team, you won't see the spirit drop no matter what. You won't see the fight go away. That's one thing we really can control, how we come out on a given day." -Brad Evans

Counterattacks and an accidental goal by Diego Valeri were the undoing of the Seattle Sounders at Providence Park. Chad Marshall banged in a signature header to give Seattle life in the match, but the more they pushed forward the more space Portland found to exploit when a ball fell to someone in red.

Jordan Morris and Nelson Valdez had very notable misses, and Cristian Roldan nearly top-cornered Jake Gleeson from 30 yards out. Osvaldo Alonso will miss the next match due to yellow card accumulation.

The Sounders are 6-11-2, -4 GD. They are 9th in the West with 20 points, or 1.05 points-per-game. That's two-thirds the points of Real Salt Lake in 4th, and half the points of FC Dallas in 1st.

MATCH SUMMARY

Seattle Sounders FC 1 - Portland Timbers 3

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Venue: Providence Park

Referee: Jair Marrufo

Assistants: Frank Anderson, Jeff Hosking

Fourth Official: Mark Geiger

Attendance: 21,144

Weather: Cloudy and 70 degrees

SCORING SUMMARY

POR - Diego Valeri (Lucas Melano) 44'

POR - Diego Valeri (Jermaine Taylor) 50'

SEA - Chad Marshall (Andreas Ivanschitz) 59'

POR - Fanendo Adi (Lucas Melano) 64'

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY

POR - Jack Jewsbury (caution) 11'

SEA - Joevin Jones (caution) 37'

SEA - Osvaldo Alonso (caution) 66'

LINEUPS & STATS

Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Tyrone Mears, Brad Evans - captain, Chad Marshall, Joevin Jones (Dylan Remick 72'); Osvaldo Alonso, Cristian Roldan, Erik Friberg; Jordan Morris, Nelson Valdez (Herculez Gomez 77'), Andreas Ivanschitz (Aaron Kovar 72')

Substitutes not used: Tyler Miller, Oalex Anderson, Oniel Fisher, Tony Alfaro

Total shots: 13 (Valdez, 4)

Shots on goal: 6 (Roldan/Valdez, 2)

Fouls: 10 (Friberg/Alonso, 2)

Offside: 1 (Morris, 1)

Corner-kicks: 12 (Ivanschitz, 12)

Saves: 3 (Frei, 3

Portland Timbers - Jake Gleeson; Alvas Powell, Nat Borchers, Liam Ridgewell - captain, Jermaine Taylor; Darlington Nagbe, Jack Jewsbury (Ben Zemanski 65'), Diego Valeri (Jack Barmby 90'+2'), Diego Chara, Lucas Melano (Ned Grabavoy 83'); Fanendo Adi

Substitutes not used: Wade Hamilton,Taylor Peay, Jack McInerney, Zarek Valentin

Total shots: 16 (Valeri, 5)

Shots on goal: 7 (Valeri/Adi, 2)

Fouls: 12 (Melano, 3)

Offside: 2 (Melano/Adi, 1)

Corner-kicks: 4 (Jewsbury, 2)

Saves: 5 (Seitz, 5)

POST-MATCH QUOTES

Seattle Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid

General thoughts on the match...

"Hats off to Portland. The timing of their goals was really significant. Right before halftime, right after halftime. [Jake] Gleeson came up with some big saves, probably the biggest one on [Cristian] Roldan right after halftime that would have made the score 1-1 for us. They caught us on the counter, so we didn't do a good job defending the counters because two of their three goals came off that. That's when they were most dangerous. It was not adequate what we did defensively."

On Diego Valeri's performance...

"He was good, but we need to get tighter to him. If you give him that much time and space, he'll show you he's a good player. We gave him too much time and space."

On Jordan Morris' missed opportunities...

"He's been averaging, since the start of the season, a goal every other game which is a pretty good strike rate, especially for a rookie. He missed a chance obviously in the first half. [Nelson] Valdez has a very good chance, one that he shot over the top as well in the second half, not counting the header. It always comes down to making your chances. [Morris] is continuing to grow, he's continuing to develop. I thought there was another time where he cut inside where I thought he should have hit it, left footed or with the outside of his right. I don't care which. Sometimes we're looking to beat people and totally out play the guy before we shoot rather than shooting when we have a little bit of space. When you shoot when you have a little bit of space, then all of a sudden, guy sticks a knee out, guy sticks a shin out, it deflects and all sorts of things can happen. In the first half I thought we tried to lay some passes where we had some shots. Our midfield was guilty of that, Jordan was guilty of that as well."

Seattle Sounders FC defender Brad Evans

On Seattle's opportunities in the match...

"For all we talked about before the game, the game plan, Sigi [Schmid]'s game plan before the team meal last night, before the game today, I thought we executed it in the first half and maybe had to play a little ugly and see if we can get a result. I think tonight you saw a little bit more long balls playing into the channels. A little bit more long balls for them to throw it in and us to win the second balls and I thought both teams were pretty even in the first half. But I thought playing away from home we had two clear-cut chances. In saying that, we don't finish. They get a counter attack at halfway and we don't foul, we don't slow it down and bang, bang it's a goal. Worst possible time, going into halftime. Then coming down and what looks like a cross to me, I think everybody is prepped for a cross, dips in and finds the far post. Things aren't going your way. We keep fighting, keep fighting. Another good service from [Andreas] Ivanschitz to Chad [Marshall] and Chad rises up, bangs one home. We're playing good, playing confident. From a corner kick they come down and score off a counter attack. Teams aren't scoring, like I said before, these magnificent goals on us. It's errors on our part. We got to somehow cut these errors out and get focused. Sounds like a broken record."

On Seattle's fight for a comeback...

"The whole game everybody fought until the end. That's something with this team, you won't see the spirit drop no matter what. You won't see the fight go away. That's one thing we really can control, how we come out on a given day. That's playing hard, number one. You hope we have the technical and tactical awareness to turn it on at the right point and get results. The fight was there, even at 2-0. We don't just stop when it's 2-0. We have to find a result, one way or another. Unfortunately, you go down 3-1 and you're chasing. You look at Cristian [Roldan]'s chance and a ridiculous save from the keeper at 1-0 to make it 1-1 and it's a different ball game. Another unfortunate result for us."

On any surprising aspects of Portland's counter attack...

"No, I think. Obviously the speed of [Lucas] Melano. We all should have been aware of his speed. At certain points a fast player is going to catch you. He's fast. You could tell a defender to mark [Steve] Zakuani all day long, but the matter of fact is he was so fast that you just couldn't do it most of the time. A good player, a fast player is going to get his chances in the game. He did that tonight. He obviously set up the first one with his breakaway speed, turning the corner there. I think they've changed their style of play. Traditionally I think possession oriented and now playing a bit off the counters. A couple long balls into [Fanendo] Adi, playing off him, but when they go up 3-1, they bring in a couple players. Ned [Grabavoy] who can kind of control the game, a possession-type player. Credit to them, they can mix things up in the way that they play."

Seattle Sounders FC goalkeeper Stefan Frei

On Seattle's opportunities in the match...

"Yeah we did have opportunities. I think we also knew what [Portland] was going to do. They have a bunch of offensive-minded guys who, at times, their team almost separates where some guys cheat and stay up and go for the counter. We knew that was going to happen and counter they did. We should have been ready for it. Two goals of their three are essentially counters. We should have done better on that."

On defending Portland's counter attack...

"You just have to be very smart with how you go forward. You can't just have outside backs bomb forward, both of them at the same time and then the defensive mid is up there as well somewhere. Next thing you know, they have the four guys who are cheating and waiting up top get a ball and essentially it's four-on-four, if not four-on-three. With the amount of class they have there, we just can't really play that risk. We knew that's how they were going to play, yet I think we allowed them to do it a little too much for my liking. It sounds repetitive, but we had the first great chance and goals change games. In a hostile environment especially, you know you're not going to get too many of them. The game's completely different if we score that goal in the beginning. We didn't and then it sucks when you get scored on right before the half. Get into the half at 0-0 and that's a decent result. Then you can battle the first 10-15 minutes to get back into it again. That goal sucked and then obviously as soon as you come out of the locker room, you essentially get another one right away. Just concentration and execution."

On if there was more at stake than usual with the two teams meeting for the first time since Portland won MLS Cup last season...

"No, it's three points. Its three points with our rival. If you can't get up for these games then I don't know what you're doing here. Especially in the situation that we're in right now, we need every point we can get. It's do or die for us. For me and for, I think, most of the players the focus was three points and that slipped through our hands today."

***

Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter

Overall impressions of the game...

“Great win. Good performance, start to finish. Probably best performance of the year. I think it’s best performance of the year because it’s the first time since first win of year vs crew that we’ve had everybody healthy. It’s funny how that works out. So we start to put the group together a little bit more like we wanted to start the year and that’s not been possible. Like I’ve been saying we’ve done a good job of managing it and guys have stepped up and we’ve been grinding points to stay in the race. Today looked a little bit more like we want it to look, on both sides of the ball. Very aggressive. Possession and passing game was good. Our combination play was good. Defensively we were good. We gave up a few chances but it was a complete performance and it gives us a lot of mojo I think going forward. Sometimes you need a win like this to take that next level of confidence. Like I said this was the first game since the Columbus game that we had our core back. I got a performance from the guys like I expected. [Diego Valeri] is a good example. Big players step up in big games and make plays. I thought Adi was excellent. Darlington was excellent. I thought [Diego] Chara was Chara. Ridgy and [Nat] Borchers solid as always and Alvas. So all the guys that performed last year in a way to help us do what we did they all brought that today and I’m confident moving forward that we can continue that.”

On the importance of Diego Valeri…

“Obviously you need your big players, not just your DPs, but you need your key guys to step up and play well. We always get that. When you look at last year, when we needed big performances from our big players we got it. It gave me a lot of confidence coming into the locker room before the game looking at their team and our team and knowing what the guys are capable of and I had a lot of confidence and a lot of trust that we would get a good performance and a good result in this game.”

On the resilience of Lucas Melano…

“I think what you saw today was a lot of what you would call the ingredients that we want. You’ve got one winger that brings a lot pace and the ability to open up teams off the dribble with Luca [Lucas Melano]. You’ve got your 10 back is kind of the straw that stirs the drink and makes your team go in Valeri. Then you’ve got Nagbe as your second playmaker that comes inside. Then you’ve got your front man, your target that holds the ball and bangs and brings everybody into the game. Then you’ve got your ball-winner in Chara. So I think there have been some games when those ingredients aren’t all there. The goal was to have, today, the ingredients we wanted and you saw that. Luca is an important player in that he brings penetration. If we play with two wingers that both come inside or two wingers that are direct and dynamic then you don’t get that balance in how you put your team together and don't get what you want out of it. So I think Luca’s really bringing what we thought he could bring, opening teams up and running with the ball 40-50 yards on the counter. And he setup two goals so he will get goals, but I’m ok if he doesn’t if he’s sets up two goals because the two goals he set up a lot of those goals have to do with him. So are you the one passing it in the goal or are you the one running with the ball? You could argue what he did on the two goals is more important than actually finishing the play. Although Valeri had a really good finish on the first goal.”

On if he is concerned about the team’s production when Diego isn’t in the lineup…

“No, I would worry about that if he’s out, he’s not out. I think that’s something you can worry about every single day. Every single team could worry about that because the way the cap structure is set up with designated players. You are never going to be as good when you don’t have designated players and your key guys that are not designated players in your lineup. I’ve been saying it every single week, but we’ve still managed it. The way you manage it in this league is to have a good bench, to have a lot of depth. And that’s why we don’t make excuses about it because you have to be able to manage it. And if you don’t have a good bench, then that’s a part of this league and we’ve not done our job in building our roster right. So we always want our top guys in, but we are prepared for plan B if they’re not in. We are never going to be as good of a team without our top guys. It’s not rocket science. Just like Seattle today, they weren’t as good without [Clint] Dempsey and this year without Obafemi Martins.”

On the decision to start Jack Jewsbury and Jermaine Taylor…

“A little bit of rotation. Zarek [Valentin] and Ben [Zemanski] had playing a lot of minutes every single game. Jermaine Taylor is an international; he has played in a lot of big games. I just felt his size, his strength, his experience, mentally, in addition to having fresh legs, would be a key decision. And I just felt like with Jack, I like having guys in the lineup that know what the rivalry is about. They’ve been in the wars and Jack has. I knew he would be up for it. I knew he would bring everything he has. I also think he had good game last game so I wanted to reward him. His ankle got a little sore so we got Ben in and I thought Ben was really good in those last 20 minutes.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri

On coming back from injury to face Seattle Sounders FC…

“It was a great feeling because Seattle is the most important game of the year. The feeling is good when you’re playing in the games. I’m very happy about the team because our performance today was great. Like Caleb [Porter] was saying before, in every position, everyone had their best performance of the year. I’m happy to have this type of performance against Seattle.

On scoring his second goal of the match off of the post…

“I tried to put the ball there. Maybe someone had a deflection on it. I tried to put a hard ball into the goalkeeper and I was lucky, of course.”

On his first goal that Lucas Melano assisted on...

“He was holding the ball and fighting against two people and I tried to support him. The ball came to me and played a one-two pass with him. He was great because he waited for me. It was a great pace because he’s so fast, so I couldn’t follow him. He waited for me and I got on top of the ball, looked at the ’keeper and tried to put in the net.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Lucas Melano

On getting the win against Seattle Sounders FC...

“I feel very good because the team played together and played very well. The backline, midfielders and forward played well together all over the field. I’m feeling better and that’s good for the team.”

On his two assists in the match…

“I’m happy. I wanted to score a goal, but I wanted my team to win. In the end, it’s the same. I created a goal for Valeri and [Fanendo] Adi. We won and I’m happy.”

On watching Diego Valeri score two goals coming off of an injury…

“I am happy for him because he came back and scored two goals. He’s so important for the team.”

Portland Timbers forward Fanendo Adi

On scoring his goal…

“It’s important for a forward. We played very well. We created a lot of chances and the finishing was right today as well. It feels good.”

On getting the win against rival Seattle Sounders FC…

“Anytime we play Seattle is very big. We expect a tough game. They’re a very good team and we respect them a lot. It adds extra motivation playing against them knowing that we have to be on our best to get all three points. I think we’re absolutely at our best. We kept the ball very well, moved them around, and we got the goals needed to win.”

On building off of this performance…

“It’s very important for us right now. This is the biggest game for us in the whole season because Seattle is our rival and they’re a very good team. Right now, we’ll focus on the things we did right in this game and we’ll build on those things that we did well in the game today.”

Portland Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson

On playing in his first match against Seattle…

“It was good. I must admit this morning I woke up extra excited for this one. The fact that the fans have been lining up since Thursday morning, you can feel the tension in the air. For me, it was great. I liked that. The more pressure and the more emphasis you put on the game, the more I enjoy it. It was good.”

On building off of this performance for next week’s match against LA Galaxy…

“It was huge. Obviously you’ve got to take it day by day and game by game, but we’re now nine games unbeaten, which is huge. We want a few more wins mixed in with those, but today was huge. We scored three goals and restricted them to not too many opportunities, and I think that was a big stamp down on what we can do.”

On getting Diego Valeri back…

“It’s huge; he scored two goals today. You can’t put a price on that. He’s a great player; he’s a leader. He takes chances and finishes them, and he gives us such a different element out there. I like to sit back and watch him play sometimes. I forget I’m kind of out there because he’s so good. All the credit to him today. It was a Man of the Match performance out there from him.”