In the 20th MLS regular season meeting between the Seattle Sounders and LA Galaxy, the visitors from Carson, California went home with a point. It was a match of high profile debuts for the Sounders, but they couldn't translate that new energy into more than one goal, despite several chances that looked sure to end up in the back of the net.
The Sounders are 6-12-3 on the season, good for 21 points and 9th in the Western Conference.
Sunday, July 31, 2016
Venue: CenturyLink Field
Referee: Drew Fischer
Assistants: Corey Parker, Apolinar Mariscal
Fourth Official: Jose Carlos Rivero
Weather: Mostly sunny and 68 degrees
SEA - Cristian Roldan (Nelson Valdez) 49'
LA - Sebastian Lletget (Steven Gerrard, Giovani dos Santos) 78'
LA - Jelle Van Damme (caution) 65'
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Tyrone Mears, Brad Evans - captain, Chad Marshall, Joevin Jones; Osvaldo Alonso, Cristian Roldan, Nicolás Lodeiro, Clint Dempsey, Jordan Morris; Nelson Valdez (Herculez Gomez 57')
Substitutes not used: Tyler Miller, Zach Scott, Oniel Fisher, Alvaro Fernandez, Andreas Ivanschitz, Oalex Anderson
Total shots: 18 (Dempsey, 5)
Shots on goal: 8 (3 players, 2)
Fouls: 12 (Dempsey/Roldan, 3)
Offside: 4 (Valdez/Morris, 2)
Corner-kicks: 2 (Dempsey/Lodeiro, 1)
Saves: 1 (Frei, 1)
LA Galaxy - Brian Rowe; A.J. DeLaGarza, Jelle Van Damme, Daniel Steres, Ashley Cole; Giovani dos Santos (Baggio Husidic 90+1'), Jeff Larentowicz (Mike Magee 71'), Emmanuel Boateng (Sebastian Lletget 63'), Nigel de Jong; Steven Gerrard, Robbie Keane - captain
Substitutes not used: Clement Diop, Leonardo, Dave Romney, Alan Gordon
Total shots: 10 (Gerrard/Keane, 3)
Shots on goal: 3 (Keane, 2)
Fouls: 12 (3 players, 2)
Offside: 4 (Keane, 3)
Corner-kicks: 3 (Gerrard, 3)
Saves: 5 (Rowe, 5)
SOUNDERS FC INTERIM HEAD COACH BRIAN SCHMETZER
On how the draw feels:
"Like a draw – like vanilla. Look, the guys played hard. Absolutely no complaint about their commitment to the game, it’s just that we needed to score the second goal, third goal [and] the fourth goal. It’s not good and we are all frustrated."
On Nico Lodeiro’s debut:
"He was very good. We just need to fine-tune to make sure that he and Clint [Dempsey] figure out the right spacing. I thought a couple of times we could have done a better job of keeping Clint a little higher, which would be my preference. Get Clint closer to goal because we will need to rely on Clint to score some goals. Other than that little glitch, you saw his ability to cover ground at a high level, connect passes, run the team – there were a lot of positive out of that. I think together, Clint leads the front line, Nicolás leads through the middle, you’ve got experienced guys in the back – I was encouraged."
On the pressure of stepping in as Head Coach:
"I have zero pressure as far as what Joe [Roth] and Adrian [Hanauer] decide at the end of the year. That’s not pressure. The pressure I put on myself is to make sure that I do a good job. Those guys deserve that I do a good job – that team deserves that we as a staff, and me as a coach, do a good enough job to make sure they are ready to go every gameday. That’s the pressure I feel."
On the 4-2-3-1:
"Part of the reason for that formation, and certainly moving forward we will revisit that as we look at the tape and watch, but [the LA Galaxy have] dangerous players that like to play in that soft area. I wanted to put someone next to Ozzie [Alonso] to help with that, and that was Cristian [Roldan]. That was the starting point for the lineup choice."
On overlapping the outside backs:
"We’re going to have to do more of that. Again, it’s my responsibility and the coaching staff’s responsibility to give the players the confidence to go forward at the right times… It’s my job to make sure they feel confident, and we’re certainly going to work on that so it’s part of our game. We cannot have teams collapse on top of Clint."
On Cristian Roldan as a two-way player:
"I have always thought that Cristian was more of a two-way guy. I don’t think we can limit people or put people in a box. I think the game demands many different facets, and I think Cristian is certainly capable of scoring goals, coming from deep, really pushing at people – you saw him the last game getting into the box with his head, he’s actually very good in the air. I don’t view Cristian as an ‘Ozzie replacement’ or a guy who just plays next to Ozzie – he can do both things. The beauty of that pairing is that I expect the same out of Ozzie."
On the post-match talk in the locker room:
"I came in after the game; I said my piece. I got my frustrations out, then we cleared everybody out of the locker room and let the players talk. They did it themselves. It’s Clint, Brad and Nico – those are the guys who talked. It was loud – we obviously didn’t hear what was said because it was through closed doors – but I knew they had a conversation. They worked too hard today. We are all frustrated. They worked too hard to not get a result and not put that team away earlier."
SOUNDERS FC MIDFIELDER NICOLÁS LODEIRO (THROUGH TRANSLATOR)
On how he feels following the match:
"Sad because we wanted to win."
On this past week:
"It was hard; it was a fast week, learning to cope with a new team, new players. It was a hard week."
On the crowd at CenturyLink Field:
"It was beautiful. I had heard about the fans and they proved that they are amazing, amazing fans."
On what he said to the team after the game:
"We have to continue working; we have to continue on this road. This is the right path; we have to stay concentrated for 90 minutes and not give anything away."
On playing with a new team:
"It was hard to adapt – obviously a new team, new players and perhaps not enough time to get accustomed to each other’s’ play."
On if anything surprised him:
"The only surprise was the synthetic field. I had never played on a synthetic field before so I had to get used to it."
SOUNDERS FC DEFENDER BRAD EVANS
On the draw:
"Throughout the game we had a number of opportunities to seal the win and then just a bouncing ball in the box. We talked about it before the game – that is the danger zone. I hear, "Leave it," assuming it was Stef [Frei]. It wasn’t – I’ve just got to hook that thing clear. So a little miscommunication, but even so we had two or three chances after that to bang away some goals, but obviously nobody in here is satisfied with a draw, especially at home, but at the end of the day the dialogue in here after the game was that if we keep playing like that we can find ourselves getting on a good run here."
On defensive effort:
"We were solid tonight, but still didn’t get the win so that’s the most important thing that matters. We’ll continue to build, continue to limit teams from having chances, and now the test is, ‘Can we get a few results on the road without a loss? Then we come back home for two, so this is a big stretch – a big three-game stretch for us. We’re going to a difficult place that has also had a coaching change in Orlando, so you always expect to see a little jolt, a little burst of energy so it’s going to be a tough situation. Difficult weather, difficult place to play, but at the end of the day we’re all in this together to make a run at this thing."
SOUNDERS FC MIDFIELDER CRISTIAN ROLDAN
On the draw:
"I think all of us were disappointed. You see the locker room and people have their heads down because we thought we deserved more, we played really well. Sometimes that’s just the way soccer is and honestly the story of the season."
On Nicolás Lodeiro making his debut:
"Very good. He’s a guy that keeps possession [and] a good guy in the locker room. When you’re in trouble you honestly pass it to him or Clint. They wiggle out of trouble."
On his goal:
"I think I crossed it in. I think Nelson headed it up; he had an amazing hold up play and managed to pass it back – I was asking for it. I think they wet the turf a little bit beforehand and it went in."
On the mood after the match:
"It’s a little bit disappointing I think. We thought we deserved more, honestly. We had our chances, somewhat of the same story this whole year and we have to just look forward to Orlando, an away trip and we have to come back with a victory."
LA GALAXY COACH BRUCE ARENA
On if this was a good draw:
"Yeah, I think those conditions today were brutal for both teams. The field was difficult to play and it was probably 100 degrees on the field. That was a rough day for us to sneak out of here with a point ... we’re out of town real quick and we’re not looking back."
On what Nicolas Lodeiro changed about Seattle’s look:
"They have another player in the mix who is obviously comfortable on the ball. He’s a good passer, he can keep it … they added another good player."
On the quick free kick that led to Jelle Van Damme’s yellow card:
"The referee can’t allow them to block the ball into play. You can’t say we shouldn’t take the kick. He has to call a foul there."
On the explanation from the fourth official:
"No, we weren’t given any explanation. The referee has to blow his whistle, put the ball back in play and possibly give a yellow card."
On the second-half plan to get back into the match:
"I think you saw it. Get (Sebastian) Lletget and (Mike) Magee into the game. Sometimes those things work and sometimes it doesn’t. I’d like to say it’s all planned and choreographed, but it’s not. Certainly having a fresh player in helps. I thought (Lletget) did a good job there. We were dangerous and they were certainly dangerous. There were shots saved off the line. I think we saved two and they saved one. It was just difficult. At the end of the game … a lot of players were exhausted. It got real hot out there in the second half. It was difficult. We shouldn’t be playing games at this time of the day at this time of the year on artificial fields. It’s really difficult on the players and takes away from the quality of the game."
On playing in Seattle without Sigi Schmid on the opposing bench:
"Yeah, you know somebody is going to tell me to take a hike one day as well. (Schmid) has given so much in this country at every level – collegiately, professionally, internationally – and is so well-respected by all of us. It’s sad when you see that, but at the same time, we know what we sign up for. No one ever tells us we have a job for life so we understand that. My respect certainly goes to Sigi. I also understand that it’s a business and the Sounders do what they think is in the best interest of their team, and fair enough. But we’ve temporarily lost one of the great people in the game in this country. We were around in the days when nothing was happening, we didn’t have a professional league and we stuck in there and built our collegiate programs. I played my last collegiate game against Sigi in the NCAA semifinals so we have a history going back a long time. It’s certainly sad when you see something like that for a person who has done so much for this game, so much for Seattle and for this organization here. This team has been among the best in the league for the eight years he was here. I wish him the best and I know he’s going to be back in the game in some capacity."
LA GALAXY GOALKEEPER BRIAN ROWE
On the match:
"Definitely a difficult match. I mean, I think [Nicolás] Lodeiro is a great addition for them, a new formation for them, kind of bottom of the table with nothing to lose, and they came out with a lot of energy and ready to play. That’s a great point in the end for us. It wasn’t our best game. Personally, it wasn’t my best game, but it’s good to walk out of here with a point and we can hold our heads high."
On the performance of Jelle Van Damme:
"Huge. He had two goal-line saves for us, which is always big. A.J. [DeLaGarza] had one last time we were up here. They missed a couple of good opportunities that were close, so it’s one of those ones where you kind of count the clock go down and you’re just happy to walk out of here."
On his last save of the match:
"It deflected, I’m not sure who it deflected off of. There was a bunch of…guys in there. It was coming towards me and then it kind of just deflected back towards the near post."
On whether his positioning was affected by Seattle pressing high:
"Yeah they were getting guys forward, especially on a couple of their counters, so we needed to be tucking inside and dealing with the outside threats. They’d be playing it wide and through. So [I was] just trying to be me off my line to close the space down and make it difficult. Morris got around me one of them, and I at least just tried to make a tough angle for him and Jelle did a great job of covering and making a save on that."
On going undefeated during the month of July:
"Oh it was a huge month. I mean, getting our guys back like Gyasi [Zardes] and [Robbie Keane], getting a couple of consistent lineups here, I think we’re definitely moving in the right direction going forward. I think this was a big game for us, too. We haven’t been down a goal in a while I don’t think, and to be able to come back on the road was huge for us."
On how the team has improved over the season:
"I think we’re coming into places, and being able to get a late goal like that after being down just gives you confidence moving forward. Knowing that if we give up a goal, we know we’re going to get some opportunities to try and stick in the game. I thought I could’ve done better on that goal there, but the team stepped up and sort of picked me up."
LA GALAXY MIDFIELDER JEFF LARENTOWICZ
On the team improving at grinding out results over the course of the season:
"Yeah absolutely, I think a couple of guys said it in there that earlier in the season it seemed like some of those bounces, some of those results, weren’t going our way. We’ve fought hard to turn that around and I think we’ve done that this month."
On the team going undefeated during the month of July:
"I think one thing that players who’ve been around the league know is that these are the dog days of summer. July, August, it gets difficult. But at the same time, if you can come together and get points, you’re going to be in a good spot towards the end of the year. It was an important month. Next month is bigger. Today is the 31st I believe. It’s a positive for us for sure."
On how both teams played at the beginning of the match:
"It seemed like it was a perfect storm for them: new coach, new player, a full stadium at home, another arrival as well. We knew it was a tough game, but I thought the first half to keep it tight was good. Second half they obviously continued to push, but for Sebastian [Lletget] to come on and get the goal was huge and I thought we continued to push until the end."
On how much the team missed Gyasi Zardes:
"Yeah Gyasi is a great player and he’s been playing well for us. You know, he’s a versatile guy that plays in a number of spots, so we obviously miss him. But I think one thing that the team has showed throughout the season is that we’ve got players at every position. We will continue to miss him but obviously we’re happy with the guys that come in to perform."
LA GALAXY MIDFIELDER SEBASTIAN LLETGET
On how he felt scoring his first goal of the season:
"Amazing. Honestly, it’s been a long time coming now. I knew I was just going to enjoy every minute I played, and if I came on I just had to think: I’m going to score, I’m going to make a difference in the game. Fortunately enough it fell for me."
On making a big impact as a substitute:
"Well, I mean, the coaches and the players expect fresh legs and I was just going to give us much energy as I possibly could. I got the goal and obviously that give us a different spirit, and we almost got the second actually."
On why the team is performing so well at this point in the season:
"It’s just the chemistry. I just think the chemistry has really caught on and the philosophy – everybody is really buying into it. The manager has done a good job of voicing it and we listen, and we’re just really coming together."
On whether his goal will give him confidence going forward:
"Yeah absolutely. Now we’ve got a tough couple games – I know they’re all going to be tough from now on – but we’re only focused on the next one and [we] can’t wait."