The match was feeling a lot like an away game at Houston. A strong start for the Sounders, who couldn't quite break down a stout Dynamo defense, gave way to a somewhat sloppy period of tired legs and minds. Houston managed their one goal and looked to hang on for the narrow win.
Then, in the dying moment, Nicolas Lodeiro showed he was still sharp even after 90-plus minutes in Texas heat. Although it feels lucky any time you snatch a point late, it was a just reward for a long match of hard work from Nico and his teammates.
Zero points just wasn't going to cut it at this point in the season and the standings, and the players and coach knew it. They admit they were exhausted, but struggling for the life of their season.
The Sounders are now unbeaten in 5, earning 11 points over those games. Seattle are 9-12-4, -2 GD, with 31 points putting them at 8th in the Western Conference. By points-per-game, they are in 7th and barely outside of the playoffs.
Seattle Sounders FC 1 - Houston Dynamo 1
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Venue: BBVA Compass Stadium
Referee: Armando Villarreal
Assistants: Jonathan Johnson, Jeffrey Greeson
Fourth Official: Caleb Mendez
Weather: Partly cloudy and 86 degrees
HOU - Andrew Wenger (Ricardo Clark, Will Bruin) 75'
SEA - Nico Lodeiro (Joevin Jones, Andreas Ivanschitz) 90'+4'
SEA - Cristian Roldan (caution) 50'
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Tyrone Mears, Brad Evans - captain, Zach Scott, Dylan Remick (Andreas Ivanschitz 78'); Erik Friberg (Joevin Jones 58'), Osvalo Alonso, Cristian Roldan, Alvaro Fernandez, Nico Lodeiro; Nelson Valdez (Jordan Morris 57')
Substitutes not used: Tyler Miller, Román Torres, Herculez Gomez, Oalex Anderson
Total shots: 6 (Lodeiro/Morris, 2)
Shots on goal: 2 (Lodeiro/Morris, 1)
Fouls: 9 (Valdez, 4)
Offside: 2 (Roldan/Fernandez, 1)
Corner-kicks: 3 (Ivanschitz, 2)
Saves: 3 (Frei, 3)
Houston Dynamo - Joe Willis; Sheanon Williams, Raul Rodriguez, David Horst, Jalil Anibaba; Collen Warner, Alex, Boniek Garcia (Eric Alexander 90'), Ricardo Clark, Cristian Maidana (Andrew Wenger 61'); Erick Torres (Will Bruin 60')
Substitutes not used: Calle Brown, Abdoulie Mansally, Agus, Mauro Manotas
Total shots: 22 (Clark, 5)
Shots on goal: 4 (Torres, 2)
Fouls: 7 (Garcia/Warner, 2)
Corner-kicks: 3 (Garcia, 2)
Saves: 1 (Willis, 1)
Seattle Sounders FC Interim Head Coach Brian Schmetzer
(On the team never giving up) "It was great the way we persevered, because the other team played well. So we have to give away some credit, but our team doesn’t stop believing. Starting with (GK) Stefan (Frei) coming up [the field as an extra attacker at the end of the game]. Sometimes you think that’s a bit dramatic, but he believes we can get something out of the game. The final, little action there was good enough to get us a draw. I think the overall tactics of the game, we did what we needed to do to get out of the first half. (F) Jordy (Jordan Morris) has that chance to make it one – nothing, changes the game. They come back and score a goal. We weren’t able to clear the ball out of our defensive end. Then it’s a dog fight, and they never stop believing and they ended up equalizing. "
(on the ball that appeared to be saved off the line by Joe Willis and not called a goal) "I have to see it on tape. I haven’t seen it yet, so I can’t comment on it."
(on MF Nicolás Lodeiro playing so many minutes and any concerns if he’ll be fresh for this weekend) "He’s fine. He’ll be fit. (MF) Ozzie (Osvaldo Alonso) did it. (D/MF) Brad (Evans) did it. There’s a lot of guys that did it. We made five changes tonight, so there’s five guys that played. We’ve got one extra day this time. It was tough tonight. I know [the Dynamo] have a game on Saturday, so it will be tough for you guys. But with one extra day I think we’ll be OK."
(on what the Dynamo defense did that stifled Seattle tonight) "We have respect for our opponents, and we give credit where credit is due. I think losing (F) Clint Dempsey, he’s a big part of our team, so that certainly had something to do with it. Just getting (MF) Álvaro Fernández involved a little bit, that was his first game. I wouldn’t say we were out of sync, but I just don’t think we were creating as many chances as we had in the last four matches. So we’ll look at the tape and we’ll try and get better."
(on D Román Torres making the 18-man roster tonight after tearing his ACL last September) "I went out on record to try and say that I was going to try and find him some minutes in the game. I never promised Román that. I tried, but just the way the game rolled out, I couldn’t. We’re very happy to have him here because he’s such a positive presence. He was one of the first guys jumping up and down off the bench when we scored, so that’s a positive. We’ll just see what we can do against Portland to get him some minutes."
(on subbing in F Jordan Morris while the game was 0-0) "[Was the game] For the taking? From our stand point, yes. It was 0-0. One goal maybe gives us all three points. He had his chance. He’s got to make that happen. He has to have that mindset of when I get my one chance, I’m going to put it away. So that’s just the learning curve that he’s going through. Give him that chance another time, he’ll put it away. Three chances, he’ll put away two. Seven, he’ll put six of them away. We’ll just keep building him up, building him up, because obviously the kid is a big part of our team. So we’ll need him."
(on getting four points over the last two matches on the road) "Sure. Any guy will tell you in this league getting a point away from home is good. So you win your home games, you draw your away games. That averages two points a game."
(on how the finishing of F Jordan Morris compares to MF Nicolás Lodeiro) "We had a couple other half chances. The one that Flaco (MF Álvaro Fernández) laid back for him (Loderio), I thought he may have been able to hit it first time, but Nico has many more years of experience than (F) Jordan (Morris). Jordan is going to get there. We feel strongly that Jordan is going to get there. The issue is not if. It’s just a question of when. He’ll get there. He has had some very big games for us this season, and we know it will continue."
(on how the five changes tonight will help them be fresh for Sunday) "The fact of the matter is this team doesn’t believe, doesn’t think, they are tired. They are mentally strong enough to understand that the mind is a powerful thing. That if your legs are heavy, your mind can still work and you can still be effective for the team. That’s what they believe in. They believe that if their legs are a little bit tired, that there’s someone behind them that’s going to cover for them. That’s what those guys believe. So you’re asking me if they’re going to be tired, maybe, but they have such a strong mindset that they can persevere."
Seattle Sounders FC Midfielder Nicolás Lodeiro
(on how he felt tonight in Houston’s heat and the overall outcome of tonight’s match) "I feel very tired, it was a difficult game, especially because of the heat. It was really humid; it was a difficult game."
(on how it felt to get a point on the road and the game coming up this Sunday against Portland) "Yes, the important thing was not to lose. We wanted three points, we got one point. We’ve got an important game coming up that we’ve got to get ready for."
(on his tying goal at the end of the game) "Truly, it was a play on the left side. [Seattle Sounders FC Midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz] sent it to [Seattle Sounders FC Midfielder Joevin Jones] who sent it across and I was there and was able to score."
Seattle Sounders F Jordan Morris
(on fighting until the end of the game) "Everyone knows where we are in the season and what we need to get done. To fight back like that was great. It was a hot day out there, but to show that resiliency and to get that point, it was big time."
(on the role he played as a substitute) "[My role was] coming on and try to stretch their defense a little bit. Hopefully, open some space on the middle because they were trying to sit off a little, trying to open some space for Nicolas (Lodeiro) and those guys in the middle, just getting in the box and trying to make a goal."
(on Dynamo GK Joe Willis saving his shot in the 71st minute) "Like I’ve been saying for the last few weeks, I need to get better with my finishing, I’ll be the first one to say it. It is frustrating. I want to score to help the team win. He [Willis] came out, I just tried to lift it over and I didn’t get the contact that I wanted. I just have to do better with that one."
Seattle Sounders FC MF Cristian Roldan
(on the last minute goals in both meetings with Houston this season) "To be honest we didn’t have very much opportunities. Maybe three clear chances. But we were down 1-0, we pushed forward. Credit to the guys who didn’t give up. We’re now undefeated for five games or so. The guys have the right mentality and hopefully we can bring that to Portland."
(on the close chance for Seattle that Willis appeared to save at the goal line) "I didn’t get to see it. We dug ourselves in the goal. Me personally, I could’ve done better, I could’ve just kicked the ball out, but that’s for another game. I just have to look forward to Portland. But as long as we keep creating those chances, then one is bound to go in. Obviously, maybe that call goes another way and we’re looking at 1-1 earlier in the game."
(on the squad rotation for Seattle with three games in eight days) "We have a deep squad. Guys are motivated to play. They’re urging to get into the starting lineup. That’s good for the starters. It creates some competition and whoever is playing well gets to play. We get to use these games where maybe Clint (Dempsey) isn’t able to make it to get these players on there. These guys are willing to contribute."
Houston Dynamo Interim Head Coach Wade Barrett
(overall thoughts on the game) "I felt like we were a little bit off in the first half. I wasn’t really sure what their lineup would be, but having [Seattle Sounders Midfielder Nicolás Lodeiro] in there, I thought caused some problems. I could have maybe made an adjustment with our formation. I thought we looked more secure in the second half. That being said, even though we were a little bit out of sorts, I thought they didn’t have a whole lot. They flashed some balls across the front of goal. I thought for the most part, even being a little bit disjointed, they didn’t have many chances in the first half. You guys can probably tell me if I’m right or wrong about that. I don’t remember too many of the chances they had. In the second half I thought we were more secure. We talked about this game in that it was going to be a fight and a battle from minute one to minute 90. I also expected that the changes that we might be expected to make going into the last 30 would come in and help us because this is a tough place to play. They had a game, even if they were playing some guys who didn’t play, on Sunday. You know, it’s a long travel. I thought getting into the last part of the game was a real advantage for us. [Houston Dynamo Forward Will Bruin] brought in excellent energy, [Houston Dynamo Midfielder Andrew Wenger] brought in excellent energy. We got the goal, we looked good. It looked like we were still in control of things. We had some spells of possession where we kind of spread them out. They looked a little bit kind of dead on their feet for a few minutes and the end was the end. You guys saw what happened. We can’t take away any of the disappointment, every single person is hurt. I am. Of course we’ll be asking questions about what we could’ve done differently, maybe what I could’ve done differently. But it comes down to one play; you’ve got to make another play and I told the guys in the locker room, it’s on us now. It’s on us to decide what team wakes up in the morning, what team shows up tomorrow night for training, what team shows up on Friday, what team shows up on Saturday because it can go two ways. I know what I want. And maybe it is…maybe it’s a conclusion that we won’t make the playoffs. If that’s the case, I know which way I want the season to go and I want us to fight and scrap for every single point and for every single minute. That’s what I expect out of the team and I have expectations for what team is going to show up tomorrow and they know that, too."
(on if the draw feel like a loss?) "Yeah, it’s always tough when a game ends this way. There were probably a couple of opportunities for us to extend the lead. Like I said, it looked like there were some spells towards the end where they looked dead on their feet and we had some good breaks, but it didn’t work out for us to get that second goal, which would’ve given us that extra security heading into the last couple of minutes. But you know, regardless of what it feels like, it’s still one point. I said at the beginning of this, if you pull seven points out of nine [assuming the team wins on Saturday] in a three game stretch, we can take it. Most guys, most of us would say yes and it’s still on the table for us. So of course we’re disappointed, but we got a point out of it. They’re probably one of the most high-flying attacks in the League and we did a pretty good job of limiting what they did. We got a goal that could’ve given us three points tonight. It didn’t happen tonight. All the same, we have to decide who’s going to show up in the locker room tomorrow night. I know what my attitude is going to be. I’m ready to fight and scrap, I’m ready to play again on Saturday."
(on if this is the first time he’s felt that the team has a choice to make) "No, I mean I say they have a choice, they absolutely do. I know what I expect and I’m pretty confident that I know which team is going to show up. But you know, you look at how the game goes and it’s disappointing. It really is, but if we come in with the right attitude and the right fight, then three points are on the table again on Saturday."
(on how the team stifled Seattle’s offense and MF Nicolas Lodeiro for the majority of the game) "We talked about ways you could try to limit the balls into [Lodeiro] in the first place. When he does get it, what you should expect and our guys were well prepared for that. Again, I’ve said this before – you can be prepared, that’s one thing but actually doing it in a game is a little bit more difficult. [MF Alvaro] Fernandez caused some problems coming in from the wing, kind of getting into that uncomfortable area as well. It wasn’t just Lodeiro. They also made some good changes. [Jordan] Morris is an asset on the team, he is a good guy to bring in. We did a pretty good job, but, again there is always one more play to make until the final whistle blows."
(on if the players take the losses as hard as the fans) "That’s up to everyone to have their own opinion on that. I’ve just been in the locker room and the team gives its heart and soul every time they step out there. So just because a game doesn’t go your way it doesn’t mean that they didn’t give every single thing they could. So I have no doubt about that."
(on if there is any concern about using players that played a lot of minutes today being ready for Saturday’s game) "No, this is MLS. This is what we have to prepare for, that is why you have a roster full of guys you could choose from. Yeah, some guys will be tasked with playing again, so their recovery starts right now. We will have everything they need between now and then to be ready. We also have some fresh, hungry guys on the side that are going to come in. I put responsibility on their shoulders to lead things as we go into the weekend. So they’ll have to be fresh. I’m confident we have the guys that have the hunger to get out there."
Houston Dynamo MF Andrew Wenger
(overall thoughts on the game) "Disappointed. A frustration that you can’t really explain at this point and it looked like we were pretty good for ninety minutes and there were one or two mistakes at the very end that they did well with and capitalized on."
(on if he saw anything that broke down on Seattle’s goal on the final play) "Yeah, I could’ve been a little bit deeper to pick up the ball when [Houston Dynamo Defender David Horst] headed it down, we could’ve been quicker to get out, then it’s just making a play in the box."
(on if he will let the frustration of tonight’s outcome get to him, or will he move on to Saturday’s game) "I think, look, we’ve been through this position before and we’re going to keep striving to get it right, whether it’s this year or building towards the future…we have to look forward to something…because this isn’t good enough."
Houston Dynamo MF Collen Warner
(on what will it take for the team to bounce back) "A short memory for sure. The team is in a good way and we have been playing well. Of course, we are getting results. Going forward, we need to look toward the next game and be positive."
(on how different this draw was compared to previous results) "Every draw at home is a win we should have had, or a win we would have liked to have and that is way we look at them. With this situation of the points [and nine games remaining], it will probably impact us a little bit more. As a team you really want to win at home and that is what we are striving to do every time we get out on the field."
(on what it was like to see Seattle score late in the game) "It is not great. For me personally, it is usually my job to be responsible for that player [Nicolas Lodeiro] when he is in the box. I thought I was in a good position, the cutback was pretty well (done) and he kind of dropped off my shoulder. It was just one of those balls you expect to be there and cut off the ball, then we you see the player and the ball it is never a good feeling."
Houston Dynamo GK Joe Willis
(on what to expect next from the team) "I expect us to come out fighting. At this point it’s been a tough season. Guys are pretty upset, and the only way for me to take out that frustration is to do it on the field. We know what it feels like to win games. We know what it feels like to lose games. Hopefully we can take all this energy that we have built up and move in a positive direction."
(on what could have been done better on the Seattle goal) "I’d have to see it again. There were a lot of bodies in front of me. I think we had everyone back just trying to block the goal. They had everyone forward just trying to get a goal. It was a bit of a mad scramble at the end. I’d have to look at it again."
(on his feeling the moment when Seattle scored the tying goal) "It’s heartbreaking. Unfortunately, it has happened too many times this year. It’s almost all too familiar of a feeling, but it’s definitely heartbreaking especially coming off of the win this past weekend. We had a lot of good energy, good momentum going into this game, and it looked like we were going to finish it off, but it’s just not the way it went."