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Sounders vs. Portland Timbers: Highlights, stats and quotes

Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer: “[Cristian Roldan] is a nice young man – his mother taught him well. He is a very good soccer player, so somewhere along the line he has gotten good coaching. And he is a kid who will do whatever it takes to help the team win.”

With their 3-1 defeat of the Portland Timbers, the Seattle Sounders extended their unbeaten streak to four matches. Two goals from Clint Dempsey and a late header by Cristian Roldan from a well-worked corner kick routine were enough to secure the three points for the Sounders. A late Fanendo Adi kick saved the Timbers from being shut out, but more than anything it showed how much Caleb Porter’s side could have used him from the start, had he not been scratched from the lineup for apparently missing the team flight.

Roldan was probably Seattle’s best player on the night: he earned the penalty for Dempsey’s first goal, assisted Dempsey’s second from open play, and then scored a goal for himself. Roldan deflected praise to himself and stressed that it was a team effort:

"No, I think it’s the team. We’re connecting at all different levels. We’re defending together as a group and we’re attacking almost six guys. It’s a change in dynamic in the team and I think it’s working for us."


Seattle Sounders FC 3 - Portland Timbers 1

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Venue: Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field

Referee: Alan Kelly

Assistants: Adam Wienckowski, Kyle Atkins

Fourth Official: Kyle Atkins

Attendance: 53,302

Weather: Partly cloudy and 71 degrees


SEA - Clint Dempsey (penalty) 61'

SEA - Clint Dempsey (Cristian Roldan) 80'

SEA - Cristian Roldan (Brad Evans, Nico Lodeiro) 83'

POR - Fanendo Adi (Alvas Powell) 90'+3'


SEA - Andreas Ivanschitz (caution) 37'

SEA - Joevin Jones (caution) 40'

POR - Diego Chara (caution) 42'

SEA - Nico Lodeiro (caution) 84'


Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Tyrone Mears, Brad Evans - captain, Chad Marshall, Joevin Jones; Osvaldo Alonso, Cristian Roldan, Nico Lodeiro, Clint Dempsey, Andreas Ivanschitz (Erik Friberg 71'); Jordan Morris (Oalex Anderson 89')

Substitutes: Tyler Miller, Alvaro Fernandez, Herculez Gomez, Zach Scott, Nelson Valdez

Total shots: 17 (Dempsey, 6)

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

Fouls: 8 (Alonso, 2)

Offside: 1 (Roldan, 1)

Corner-kicks: 6 (Ivanschitz, 4)

Saves: 5 (Frei, 5)

Portland Timbers - Jake Gleeson; Alvas Powell, Steven Taylor, Liam Ridgewell - captain, Vytas; Diego Chara, Jack Jewsbury (Ned Grabavoy 81'), Diego Valeri, Darlington Nagbe, Lucas Melano (Fanendo Adi 72'); Jack McInerney (Jack Barmby 78')

Substitutes not used: Chris Konopka, Amobi Okugo, Taylor Peay, Jermaine Taylor

Total shots: 16 (Valeri, 6)

Shots on goal: 6 (McInerney, 3)

Fouls: 14 (Vytas, 4)

Offside: 0

Corner-kicks: 3 (Jewsbury, 2)

Saves: 2 (Gleeson, 2)



On if there was any doubt surrounding who would take the penalty kick:

"No – not any doubt, at all."

On Stefan Frei’s big save on the 1-on-1 chance:

"Stef had a very, very good game tonight. He is a great goalkeeper. That save was a massive turning point in the game – 1-1 is miles different than us getting a little bit ahold of the game. In those moments after we had scored, I thought Portland did a good job of putting us under pressure. There was a disparity in shots, like 10-3, then during that 10-15 minute period, it jumped very quickly to 10-8, 10-9. So credit them for giving a good response after we scored our first goal, but Stef came up big time."

On the play of the outside backs:

"It was a good performance overall as a team. If I am going to single anyone out, I am going to say both Joevin [Jones] and Tyrone [Mears] have had very good games as of late. I think the way we play, with Andreas [Ivanschitz]’s position a little wider and Nico [Lodeiro] coming in, we need our outside backs to go. We worked on that this week in training. The timing wasn’t right in the first half. I think derby games are hard to play – it was hard for us to find any kind of rhythm, but in the second half they found their rhythm and both Tyrone and Joevin have done great jobs."

On changes that have led to the unbeaten run:

"I think I have gone on record many times to say that group is a committed group. They needed some spark. Nico’s arrival, the obvious [change] of a coaching change, whether it was me or not – the team is going to get a little bump. When you have a committed group of players that are committed to each other and committed to winning…that is a proud team. Their response has been tremendous. Starting with [Clint] Dempsey coming back after missing a penalty – that is leadership. Ozzie [Alonso] has been playing great. Cristian [Roldan], what a fantastic performance by that kid. All of them – Brad [Evans], Chad [Marshall], Stef like we talked about – that is a committed group. When you have that, it makes my job much easier."

On Cristian Roldan’s performance:

"He is a nice young man – his mother taught him well. He is a very good soccer player, so somewhere along the line he has gotten good coaching. And he is a kid who will do whatever it takes to help the team win. I think his commitment to the team, his eagerness to learn, all of the qualities he has, that is what you see out there. He is a tremendous talent and we are only hoping for bigger and better things for him."

On Roldan improving to a next level:

"I am going to demand that he goes to the next level because I have confidence in him. He can go to the next level. Where that is, I can’t say – but he allows me to have a little bit of freedom. When I inserted Erik [Friberg] into the lineup and moved Cristian out wide, he didn’t miss a beat. Overall the team was great and Cristian has a big part in that."

On the set pieces:

"Good. We’ve been training on set pieces, trying to throw a few wrinkles in there, but overall good. When you have guys like Chad Marshall [in the air], Nico swings a good ball, Andreas swings a good ball, Dempsey is good in the air, Cristian – I am happy to have those guys in there."

On the message in the locker room:

"I think we just found some rhythm to the game. There were some minor adjustments in the spacing, but at the end of the day I think we found a little bit of rhythm. Again, the derby matches are hard. They are not easy to play – there is a ton of emotion on both sides. You have to give Portland credit; they played well. They came in with a gameplan and for 45 minutes it worked. We were a little frustrated when they came in at halftime. I just urged them to have a little bit of patience, make sure their spacing is good and just try to find some rhythm to the game, which I think they did."


On the team’s performance:

"I thought the team performed really well. I thought the game was really tight in the first half. Once we got the goal, it opened things up. They tried to press forward to get the equalizer and we were able to pick them apart. We pretty much put in a perfect performance except for conceding that one. I’m happy in the direction the team is going – I think you can see that we are dangerous in the attacking third, doing a better job at keeping possession and having solid play."

On the team’s form:

"It’s back to everyone having fun. I think we are circulating the ball well and people are getting good looks, it’s not just one person or the other. I think everyone is getting good looks. When you’re doing that, creating good chances, and having opportunities in-game to get the right results, that’s when you’re having the most fun and that’s the run we have right now."

On the mindset when a team is playing well:

"It’s always easier when you’re doing well because you’re not second-guessing it, you’re thinking about the positives. It’s the best run we’ve had all season. We’re enjoying how we’re playing and the style we’re playing. Hopefully we can keep it going and we can make it to the playoffs."


On his goal:

"Brad got a flick on it. I think when I picked a guy for Chad Marshall, I was free because they were more worried about him. I was in the right spot and able to get a head on it."

On his recent run of good form:

"No, I think it’s the team. We’re connecting at all different levels. We’re defending together as a group and we’re attacking almost six guys. It’s a change in dynamic in the team and I think it’s working for us."

On whether the spacing of the team led to goals in the second half:

"I mean I think it was more like just feeling the game out in the second half. I think after we went 1-0 it kind of changed the dynamics of the game, and the second goal happened as well and also changed the game. I think goals changed games, and I think that’s what happened today."

On the speed of Jordan Morris and the team as a whole:

"I think people are worried about Jordan’s speed for sure, me not so much [laughs]. But Jordan, you know, is a strong guy. It’s not just him being fast. He’s super strong so if he’s able to get a hand on you, and you’re not going to win the ball very easily. For Jordan that’s his game: speed, strength and getting behind teams. I think we’ve been taking advantage of that, especially with Nico [Lodeiro] playing balls in behind."


On the 1v1 save by Stefan Frei:

"He had a couple of them. Stef had an awesome game tonight with big plays, and that was a massive one. I think on another day he probably finishes that, but at the end of the day it’s all about finishing your chances. Earlier this year I could say the same thing for us: not finishing our chances and you don’t get a result. In this league if you don’t do that, the other team is going to bang away a few goals. That’s the sign of a good league. So in saying that, [we] dodged a few but we came away with a goal."

On whether the match needed a goal to jump-start it:

"Yeah I think it was always going to a back and forth game. We’re always going to push at home and that leaves gaps. I think if you ask around we were a bit sloppy at times, and maybe that’s nerves. Maybe that’s a bit of pressure from Portland as well. They did a good job of intercepting passes, getting behind the ball, and catching us quick on the counter. So it was always going to be that type of game. It was who was going to finish their chances, and we were fortunate enough to do that."

On the commitment and feeling of the team recently:

"I think the whole time the group has been committed. Maybe we just needed a bit of a jump-start. So that came, and we relish that right now. If that’s the case for the way that our record is going right now then we’ll take it and we’ll put it in the bag and carry it on to Houston. Both teams are out fighting for their lives so it’s going to be a scrappy game. It’s going to be a really, really difficult game in a tough place to play. So expect a battle in Houston and we’re focused on the next game."


On his assessment of the game:

"A lot closer than 3-1. We were there [for] 60 minutes, and then a chance – a very good chance – to go up. Another chance on a set piece to go up, and we gave up a PK. And then we had another chance go 1-1 [on a] breakaway. I know it seems like I say it every week: these are goals. These are goals. We got punished on the one goal we gave up from the run of play, and then the set piece. So they scored on two set pieces: a PK and then a free kick. I mean obviously the one from the run of play that we have to do better on. We have to do better on all three. But it’s a lot closer game than 3-1. I know because I watched the game, and you look at the stats we were right there: 16-17 on shots. You know, ironically we played much better in the second half, but we end up giving up three goals in the second half. So it’s not what everybody wants to hear. Ultimately, it’s 3-1 right? But, for me it’s a lot closer game and it could have been different. [If] we score the goal, we go up, the game is different. We don’t get unfortunate with the PK, the game is different. If we score the goal that we should’ve scored [to make it] 1-1, the game is different. Ultimately, you know, that’s just words, but it’s reality when you look at the stats, when you look at how the game. If you know the game and you watched it, we were in the game and we were there. We’re there [for] 60 minutes and we’re getting chances. We’re knocking on the door. But we’re falling short. We’re falling short. We’re giving up the first goal and we’re not capitalizing on the chances, good chances, that should be goals."

On Jack McInerney not scoring when 1v1 with Stefan Frei:

"You know, it’s unfortunate because he’s had a couple of those. When you look at the D.C. game, he missed on a breakaway that would’ve made it 1-1 for us in that game. There’s a reason he’s scored goals in this league. He’s a bit snake bitten right now. It’s unfortunate because we’ve lost points because of it. Those are very good chances. Those are chances he usually scores. So you have to continue to have faith in the player. Obviously we train around goal every single week, but he certainly froze up in that moment – a couple of moments actually – because there was a really good chance that he had when it was 0-0 when Jack Jewsbury dummied it. He had a clear shot from about 12 yards out, and that’s normally a goal for him…Obviously the best chance in the game was the one where we should’ve been 1-1 and the whole game is different. That’s a goal. He knows it, feels bad about it, but strikers miss chances like that. Dempsey missed one as well, an easy one. Even the best players miss those sometimes, but you’ve got to keep working with these guys and keep putting them in positions. And a lot of it is psychological."

On lining the team up in a 4-4-2 as opposed to a 4-2-3-1:

"Yeah it’s our preferred system. The only reason we really played two up front was because we felt that the guys we had healthy, that a 4-4-2 fit putting Jack Mac on the field. The plan was always to go 4-2-3-1. Obviously there was one decision that was changed. Other than that we trained all week to play 4-2-3-1. All I can tell you is what I see, and what saw today was: we were in the game, the game was tight. We expected it to be a tight game. We made it a tight game. And 60 minutes [we] were knocking on the door getting chances. The PK was unlucky. It was a PK, but it certainly changed the game. The first goal always changes the game in soccer, but this was a lot closer game than 3-1. Anyone who knows the game can watch that and see it. That’s clear. If you look at the stats they tell the exact same story."


On the game:

"Yeah obviously we are disappointed and we realize we have to be better on certain circumstances. You know for us it was an interesting game. When you look at the two halves and you look at the second half we actually probably played better and created more chances than we did in the first, but we got punished at the other end with the PK, set pieces and what not. So it has to be better and I think we realized that. It sounds like a broken record from what we talked about earlier in the week but on the road when you get your chances you have to make the most of them and we were not able to do that tonight."

On the second half being a stronger half for the Timbers:

"Yeah I think we were a little bit more on the front floor. We were able to posses the ball. I think we came in at half time and even though we were able to create some great chances on the counter in the first half, we wanted to have a little bit more of the possession of the ball and play on our terms. I thought we were able to do that quite a few times in the second half and got some great looks. Unfortunately we were not able to capitalize on them and if you do not do that you are going to get punished."

On the mood of the team after the loss:

"Obviously we are disappointed in it. It is tough. It will take a day or two to sink in but then that is behind us and we will realize we have them back at our place. If you get three points at home we will be going in the right direction and that is what we plan to do."

On playing Seattle again in a week:

"Yeah I think it is a little odd that you're playing a team back to back, especially in a rivalry game. It is especially nice after the result tonight that we can get back on the field and get a good performance at home in front of our fans."


On the attitude of the team currently:

"Yeah I mean we are still confident. I think we played fairly well tonight in periods of the game. It just came down to them final moments. Obviously Clint Dempsey came up with the moments to put the ball in the back of the net. Obviously it has come to the business end of the season. We just need to start turning out results and start winning games. That is the main thing now."

On getting results and when that needs to happen:

"You know like I said it is the business end of the season. We can't keep saying we played well and we did this and did this right. It all comes down to winning games. We’ve got to try and figure why and try to win the games even if they are dirty or if they are ugly. We have got to start winning games and try to win three points. Similar what we did last season but we need to figure that out now."

On what they can take from tonight's match going into next week's game against Seattle:

"We played very well in points of the game and had our chances. We have to take the positives from the game. We opened Seattle up a few times. We need to try that a few more times and put the ball in the back of the net like they did tonight. It makes for a good second game next week and we will be looking forward to it."

On the changes from the previous against Seattle:

"Well I don’t think Clint was playing in the last game, either, and I think [Dempsey and Lodeiro] are two really big players for them. Losing Oba [Martins] was a big loss to any team. But losing him was a big loss to them. Well you know hopefully we can stick three past them like we did last time and nullify their attack and it is something to look forward to."

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