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Sounders vs. Real Salt Lake: Highlights, stats and quotes

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“Aside from a goal and an assist tonight, he makes everybody around him better. I am not going to sit here and put too much pressure on his shoulders, but the attention he is getting is deserved.” -Brian Schmetzer

The Sounders held on to defeat Real Salt Lake at home after two first-half goals from Nicolas Lodeiro and Jordan Morris put them in a great position to do so. Yura Movsisyan managed to create a chance out of nothing in the second half by blocking Stefan Frei's distribution at the top of the box and finding a wide open Joao Plata, who slotted the shot into the net. It was a rare lapse in a strong performance from the Seattle.

Lodeiro showed he is too much to handle, even for a disciplined MLS team with strong defensive midfield players and a game plan. According to brad Evans, this isn't even Lodeiro's best:

"I still don’t think he’s got his travel out from under his legs yet. I think we’re still yet to see the best of him, and that will come in the coming in weeks."

MATCH SUMMARY

Seattle Sounders FC 2 - Real Salt Lake 1

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Venue: Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field

Referee: Kevin Stott

Assistants: Chris Strickland, Kermit Quisenberry

Fourth Official: Dave Gantar

Attendance: 39,491

Weather: Sunny and 76 degrees

SCORING SUMMARY

SEA - Nicolás Lodeiro (Andreas Ivanschitz) 24'

SEA - Jordan Morris (Nicolás Lodeiro, Clint Dempsey) 37'

RSL - Joao Plata (Yura Movsisyan) 62'

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY

RSL - Justen Glad (caution) 90'+4'

LINEUPS & STATS

Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Tyrone Mears, Brad Evans - captain, Chad Marshall, Joevin Jones; Osvaldo Alonso, Cristian Roldan; Nicolás Lodeiro, Clint Dempsey (Herculez Gomez 90'+1'), Andreas Ivanschitz (Erik Friberg 69'); Jordan Morris (Nelson Valdez 83')

Substitutes not used: Tyler Miller, Zach Scott, Alvaro Fernandez, Oalex Anderson

Total shots: 18 (Dempsey, 6)

Shots on goal: 5 (Roldan/Lodeiro, 2)

Fouls: 7 (7 players, 1)

Offside: 1 (Dempsey, 1)

Corner-kicks: 6 (Lodeiro, 4)

Saves: 3 (Frei, 3)

Real Salt Lake - Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran (John Stertzer 87'), Jamison Olave, Justen Glad, Demar Phillips; Kyle Beckerman - captain, Javier Morales, Luke Mulholland (Omar Holness 85'); Juan Manuel Martinez, Olmes Garcia (Yura Movsisyan HT)

Substitutes not used: Jeff Attinella, Chris Schuler, Chris Wingert, Phanuel Kavita

Total shots: 9 (Mulholland, 3)

Shots on goal: 4 (4 players, 1)

Fouls: 13 (5 players, 1)

Offside: 0

Corner-kicks: 3 (Morales, 2)

Saves: 3 (Rimando, 3)

POST-MATCH QUOTES

SOUNDERS FC INTERIM HEAD COACH BRIAN SCHMETZER

On the hype of Nico Lodeiro:

"He’s going to get hyped because he is a Designated Player…and he has come to turn things around. The whole team has had a hand in that; it’s not just one person. If I am still a little hesitant…it’s a team game, it’s a team sport. He’s had very good games. He is a very talented soccer player. He makes everybody around him better, but the whole team rises up with him. That could be his biggest contribution. Aside from a goal and an assist tonight, he makes everybody around him better. I am not going to sit here and put too much pressure on his shoulders, but the attention he is getting is deserved."

On if there is a different value to a win:

"For this squad, no. They are already mentally tough enough – a win is a win. I don’t think we need any reality checks anymore at this point in the season."

On his biggest takeaway from the win:

"The effort – a total team effort, from front to back. We missed the penalty, Stef [Frei] gives one up, a couple other plays we could have made the game easy for us – put all those aside, again if you guys are honest about the game, that is an committed group, they are committed to each other and you can’t take away [their effort]. Everyone is going to make mistakes, but their effort is 100 percent and their team chemistry and bonding is at 100 percent."

On the team’s defensive performance:

"Part of the reason why we took Jordan [Morris] off is because he was winded because he was defending in our half of the field. That’s a very possession-based team. You saw that when they got in their little triangles it’s hard to chase balls all the time. Clint [Dempsey] has been doing a very good job…Lodeiro is pressing forward at the right moments, Ozzie [Alonso]’s performance today was tremendous. I thought Ozzie was fantastic. The guys in the back did great; I thought it was another strong game by Tyrone [Mears]. I could go down the list and write a commentary on each player. It was a good team-defending performance."

On the atmosphere surrounding the team:

"I think that the team needed something, whether it was change, whether it was the same coach and a different message, whether it was figured out themselves that they are in this together. They do the hard work. People congratulate me as I am walking off the field, but I don’t know why. They should be congratulating the players because they are the ones putting in the effort and the hard work in training and games like today. You saw their body language after the game today – they were tired. I am not so sure it is one certain thing, but I do believe it is their group mentality that makes them play the way they are playing now."

SOUNDERS FC DEFENDER BRAD EVANS

Opening statement:

"We got another good result at home [and we] keep climbing the ladder. I thought we played really, really well in the first half. We came out with a lot of bite. Those second balls I think really disrupted their play, but credit to them they come out. It’s difficult, you know, you have a lead and you’re playing against a good team. They’re not in third place for no reason; they’ve gotten some big results this year. So they come out and put us under a bit of pressure and make a switch with [Yura] Movsisyan. He’s a true target forward: big, strong and fast. So, [he is] a little bit more dynamic than [Olmes] Garcia so I think he changes the game for them and they play with a bit more confidence. To me, they were switching the field left and right trying to undo as a little bit. But we held strong aside from the one goal."

On the confidence of the team going into the match against Portland Timbers:

"Obviously a massive one against a rival, as are the teams that are within shooting distance for us points-wise. We still have two games in hand on them, so it’s difficult not to get wrapped up in that stuff. The reality is it’s now I think 11 games left, so the clock keeps ticking on the game count and we’ve got to pick up results. We’re at home, [it is] a rivalry game and the sparks are flying."

On the biggest difference on the pitch since Lodeiro joined the team:

"I think he’s provided a spark for sure. He brings something that not a lot of players have: creativity. He sees passes that not a lot of players see. You’re starting to see more and more players like that in the league, but when he is on the field he pushes the guys around him to be better, as well. That’s all that you can ask from a player of his caliber. I think he’s taken a lot on his shoulders. He knows the situation that we’re in, the history of the club, and he’s taken it in stride coming in. I still don’t think he’s got his travel out from under his legs yet. I think we’re still yet to see the best of him, and that will come in the coming in weeks. I’m excited to see what the next few weeks has for us as we push on."

On the change in effort from the team over the last few weeks:

"To be honest I thought the effort was there, we were creating chances before and it was a matter of finishing chances. If you go back, you know, one or two months ago we were getting opportunities, it was just a matter of banging them away. And little things can change the course of a season. This is a good enough league so that if you don’t finish your one chance, you’re probably not going to get any points. That to me is indicative of a good league in that other teams will make you punished no matter where you are in the standings, and that’s what happened to us. So credit to the guys for banging away a few chances, and it gives everybody confidence and takes some pressure off the defense. We’re at home, so number one we want to get a win."

SOUNDERS FORWARD JORDAN MORRIS

On getting a goal:

"To go up 2-0 was nice and we were definitely on top of them. It was a great ball by Nico – so yeah, it felt good."

On the developing chemistry with Lodeiro:

"We’re clear on our roles. With crosses, I look to go near post if I’m the first person in the box. He put in a great ball. Right when he came in, he said he was going to look for me on those runs so he’s been awesome. A great addition for sure."

On how reassuring it is to know that the ball will be there if he can make that run:

"Yeah, it’s nice. Clint [Dempsey] and I can stay a little bit higher because Nico operates underneath. And Clint likes to also operate underneath so it helps me stay a little bit higher and both those guys can find me on those runs. They’re both very good at that, so it’s awesome to play with players like that that if you make a run, you know you’re going to get the ball."

On his preference of running wide or straight toward the goal:

"Of course I want to run straight toward the goal if that’s on. I’m not as much of a get out wide, cross the ball kind of guy so I definitely try to make my runs angled in towards the goal if I can."

On the near goal he had:

"I think I played a little one-two with Clint and he got taken out. I saw that and then kind of played the ball. They were pretty open at that point because I think the other center back stepped with Clint and took him out so I just touched it and ran. I didn’t know Clint got back up and was running all the way down the field. I didn’t even look up because I thought no one was with me. I don’t know if I could’ve passed him the ball because he did all that work to make that run. But yeah, I took a little too big of a touch because I saw their other center back come running in and tried to slide and toe poke in. It went a little bit wide."

On being more comfortable being creative:

"I feel like at the beginning of the season I was hesitant and just didn’t want to make a mistake. Now I’ve very comfortable playing with all of these guys. It’s a lot easier to feel like I can try things, do different things and take people on and play my game more, which I wasn’t necessarily doing at the beginning of the year."

SOUNDERS MIDFIELDER NICO LODEIRO (THROUGH TRANSLATOR)

On getting a win against another Western Conference team:

"We’re happy to get another victory at home. This is the route we want to be taking -- getting three points each game. This is the beginning of more."

On what still needs to be worked on:

"Work hard. In futbol, anything can happen so we just have to keep working hard doing what we’re doing and things will go well for us."

On his first MLS goal:

"I’m very happy. I hope it’s the first of many, but the most important thing is winning today."

On how it’s been going with Clint Dempsey and Jordan Morris:

"It’s good to play with players of such class, like Jordan and with Clint. They’re well known all throughout the world so it helps my level of game when you have world-class players playing in front of you like that."

On using his shoe as a phone during his goal celebration:

"The call was something I had with my father. When I played in Uruguay and Montevideo he wasn’t always able to get to my games, so a phone call to him was what we had to connect us and really talk about the result on the field."

REAL SALT LAKE HEAD COACH JEFF CASSAR

On what they saw from Nico Lodeiro:

"Just being able to see the first goal on replay, our numbers around the ball were very good. We spoke a little bit at halftime and there was one thing about being in good shape and the next thing is being tight enough to where you don’t allow them to pull that off. Again, I thought our numbers were right around the ball and at the end of the day, it was a really special finish from a special player. It’s not so much about the goal, it’s about what led up to the goal. I think we could’ve been closer in denying the ball once it went wide. I thought we got better at that in the second half."

On how their game plan for Lodeiro differed tonight versus in practice:

"He plays right wing and did everything from the left side of the field so it’s definitely team defending when it comes to him because you can’t have someone follow him all over the field. He’s top class – a top class player. Today he was a difference maker and at the end of the day, Designated Players are supposed to be difference makers on the field, and he did his job today. That’s something that we have to make sure we’re doing as well."

On replacing Olmes Garcia at halftime and what he saw from Yura Movsisyan:

"I think Olmes has been doing a fantastic job for us. I think Yura was working his way back to full fitness and we wanted to give him the best opportunity to succeed. It also would’ve given us the option to move Olmes out wide if we wanted to do that. We are kind of limited with our attacking options right now with some injuries that we have so need to have our best options at the end of the game."

On their mindset entering their upcoming homestretch:

"I think we need to re-watch this game as a group. You can come up with the best game plans and be tactically sound, but if you turn the ball over as cheaply as we did in the first half, nothing is going to work. We got better in the second half and it was a much better half for us. We need to see where we made mistakes as a team collectively, but also see individually where we can get better. If we can each get better individually, we’ll get better collectively as well."

On his team’s attacking performance:

"Seattle has a lot of dangerous players in their attack and they make you defend. We didn’t win the battle of making them defend as much as we wanted to. Again, you have to have the ball to do that. I didn’t think we changed the point of attack nearly enough as we wanted to. Every time that we did, we were able to do a lot more things that we wanted to do. I would say we need to improve."

On the differences he sees in the Sounders now versus in March:

"I’m not sure exactly what’s going on in their locker room, but I think it’s a mentality. You can see a more aggressive team, all the way from the front to the back. Obviously they’ve got a little bit of spirit about them right now and they’re at home. When you give up goals at home, the crowd really gets going here. What I do like from our team is the response we had in the second half. That’s definitely something to build on because there’s no quit in this team. We haven’t quit in one game this in entire season and it showed again tonight."

On the team’s playoff position after this loss:

"Our playoff position is a lot better than Seattle’s right now. We’re still in the same position as when we started. It was an opportunity to push ourselves further away because if you look at all of the other results from the weekend, they actually worked out fantastic for us. We just didn’t capitalize on the opportunity."

On what changes tactically were made at halftime:

"It was really just changing the point of attack. Our outside backs were open all the time and then every time we jammed things into their numbers, it caused a turnover. Every time we changed the point of attack, spread them out and made them open up a bit, we were able to accomplish more of what we wanted to. So it was make sure to not lose the ball cheaply, move the ball quickly, look to get in behind more and up the intensity of our defense when we were around the ball."

On the team’s goal:

"Our aggression in the second half was there, both defensively and offensively. But that’s a big-time player making a big-time play. You have to put them under pressure to make them fold and we did it on that play, but we just didn’t do it enough."

REAL SALT LAKE DEFENDER JUSTEN GLAD

On how RSL prepared for Nicolas Lodeiro:

"Yeah we did a lot of video and stuff. Obviously he’s a quality player. We knew we had to be careful for what he could do whenever he was on the ball. But, kudos to him; he played a good game and they [Sounders FC] got it done."

On his foul on Erik Friberg:

"Yeah, I wasn’t trying to do anything malicious or anything. I thought I was going to get there [but] he took a touch, and he was in on goal. I kind of had to do what I had to do. I made sure he was alright after the play. I thought he was okay; I’m glad he was okay."

On the mindset of the team going into their next home stretch:

"Yeah we need to win. Obviously the race in the [Major League Soccer] Western Conference is tight. A couple of games [and] we just need wins. We need the points to solidify that playoff spot."

REAL SALT LAKE DEFENDER TONY BELTRAN

On his impressions of Nicolas Lodeiro:

"Yeah I thought it took us a while to figure it [how to defend Lodeiro] out. Our outside midfielders were coming inside and were passing him on and they were finding some dangerous space, but credit to Lodeiro he’s a quality player. I thought he was very, very dangerous for Seattle tonight."

On the difference in RSL’s attack in second half and impact of Yura Movsisyan:

"Of course, Yura is a quality player, but Olmes [Garcia] worked extremely hard in the first half and nothing against his performance. I thought in the second half as a whole we were smart on the ball. Yura was a part of that. Coming in and, you know, kind of tricking the goalkeeper on that one [play] and finding Joao [Plata]. It was a big time play, but unfortunately we couldn’t get the second [goal]."

On the tactical changes RSL made:

"Yeah I think playing here is always tough. It’s such a big field and you have to adjust to the surface. I thought in the first half our style of play was very open. Like I said their outside mids were finding a lot of space, coming inside and their outside backs did a good job of overlapping. I think in the second half it was a little bit of a better job of making them play around us, but it took us too long to figure it out."

On the mentality of the team in their next stretch of games:

"No game is going to be easy from here on out. We have a lot of big matchups against Western Conference opponents, and I think we have to take care of business at home. You know, we’re very frustrated with this result today. You know, I know everyone is eager to come back here and play this game again, but we have to focus on what’s in front of us. That’s some consecutive home games where if we’re going to make that playoff we’ve got to take care of business."

REAL SALT LAKE FORWARD YURA MOVSISYAN

On how he felt after playing 45 minutes:

"Yeah, I felt good. It’s tough when you don’t play for three weeks, but I felt good. It was good to get in there for those 45 minutes."

On the play preceding Joao Plata’s goal:

"I don’t think he [Stefan Frei] saw me coming, or he was just trying to go around me, but I kind of read what he was going to do. I just put my foot out there and afterwards I was just looking for a clean shot. I saw our guys filling in and, you know, I didn’t have a clean shot but I saw Plata wide open, so I just tried to get the ball to him."

On whether he was trying to play mind games with Frei on the play:

"Well, yeah I was kind of trying to stay behind him. Make him feel like I’m being too lazy to run back so he could try one of those [throws]. But that’s one of those things that you pull off one in a million, or one in ten thousand, you don’t really get that [often]. You’ve just got to be really smart with that. I got lucky."

On the team’s attacking efforts throughout the game:

"I mean I thought we had plenty of chances to score; myself I had two to score. I think in these away games -- especially when you have the whole league rooting for Seattle -- it’s tough. You know, you’ve got to score early. You’ve got to not get scored on early. That’s the key. But, I mean I thought we had a good reaction second half. Seattle’s a good team with their individual players, their crowd gets into it, they have some fantastic players but I thought we did a good job second half. Good reaction and we came up short."

On the next three home games after tonight:

"Yeah we’ve been talking about building up after every loss, but we’ve just got to learn and not make the same mistakes again. It’s very simple as that. I think we’ve done a great job you know, we’ve been pretty solid getting a lot of points, especially away. It’s tough anytime you come in play in Seattle, especially with their crowd and the turf. So I thought maybe we could have come out with the tie, but we’ll get another crack at it soon. We’ll go for it."