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Seattle Sounders vs. LA Galaxy: Highlights, stats and quotes

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“When anything or anybody is in your face with difficult situations, you sink or swim. We’d prefer to stay alive and keep swimming. I think the ‘one game at a time’ mantra is overused by a lot of people, but really, truly, that’s what we have done.” -Brian Schmetzer

Well that was fun. There’s no question that the LA Galaxy dominated the early chances in the match, and fully deserved their goal due to some lackluster defending by the Sounders. However, the Sounders roared back later in the game and looked to be the team with more energy to keep pushing for goals in the heat.

And then there’s Jordan Morris, who had one of his best games as a Sounder. It’s not just his teammates that agree — he gets high praise from Landon Donovan as well, who was mostly ineffective in his return performance against the Sounders.

Seattle are 11-13-5, -1 goal difference. They have 38 points through 29 played, or 1.31 PPG. At this point the Sounders have clawed their way squarely back into the race for the last few playoff spots. Just three and five points behind the two teams above them with two games in hand, the Sounders are in the drivers seat.

MATCH SUMMARY

Seattle Sounders FC 4 - LA Galaxy 2

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Venue: StubHub Center

Referee: Armando Villarreal

Assistants: Corey Parker, Kyle Atkins

Fourth Official: Nima Saghafi

Attendance: 25,819

Weather: Sunny and 92 degrees

SCORING SUMMARY

LA - Robbie Keane 20'

SEA - Jelle Van Damme (OG) 35'

SEA - Jordan Morris (Alvaro Fernandez) 63'

SEA - Jordan Morris 73'

SEA - Osvaldo Alonso (Nico Lodeiro) 78'

LA - Robbie Keane (penalty) 85'

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY

LA - Robbie Keane (caution) 59'

SEA - Nelson Valdez (caution) 66'

SEA - Nico Lodeiro (caution) 81'

SEA - Román Torres (caution) 86'

LINEUPS & STATS

Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Tyrone Mears, Román Torres, Chad Marshall, Joevin Jones (Oniel Fisher 82'); Osvaldo Alonso - captain, Cristian Roldan, Alvaro Fernandez (Herculez Gomez 83'), Nico Lodeiro, Andreas Ivanschitz (Nelson Valdez 65'), Jordan Morris

Substitutes not used: Tyler Miller, Oalex Anderson, Zach Scott, Nathan Sturgis

Total shots: 12 (Morris, 5)

Shots on goal: 9 (Morris, 4)

Fouls: 10 (Alonso, 4)

Offside: 1 (Torres, 1)

Corner-kicks: 5 (Ivanschitz, 4)

Saves: 7 (Frei, 7)

LA Galaxy - Brian Rowe; Robbie Rogers, Daniel Steres (Alan Gordon 75'), Jelle Van Damme, Ashley Cole; Sebastian Lletget, Jeff Larentowicz, Baggio Husidic (Landon Donovan 67'), Giovani dos Santos, Emmanuel Boateng (Steven Gerrard 72'); Robbie Keane

Substitutes not used: Dan Kennedy, A.J. DeLaGarza, Mike Magee, Rafael Garcia

Total shots: 20 (dos Santos, 6)

Shots on goal: 9 (dos Santos/Keane, 3)

Fouls: 9 (9 players, 1)

Offside: 1 (Keane, 1)

Corner-kicks: 7 (dos Santos, 4)

Saves: 3 (Rowe, 3)

POST-MATCH QUOTES

SEATTLE SOUNDERS HEAD COACH BRIAN SCHMETZER

On if his team approached the game with a counter-attacking plan:

"I’m not so sure that the counter-attacking philosophy was our first goal today. I think on a hot day like today it was just to keep extended possession. I think the heat played a big part in the game in the sense that you could tell that the players had a difficult time maintaining a high level of fitness. These games are always very tough to make that happen. It seemed like after LA scored the first goal, my team responded and they were able to find that little extra gear if you want to call it that. So what might have been to people watching on T.V. a ‘counter-attacking’ style of football, what I think it was the mindset of my players just driving past or driving forward at the opportune moments. Because it certainly wasn’t the gameplan to bunker and counter. That was not our gameplan."

On if that was Jordon Morris’ best performance of the season:

"The two goals were fantastic but we played pretty well in Orlando as well. I’d have to re-watch it and I will re-watch it."

On what’s behind being 5-1-3 since the coaching change:

"That’s a tough one. Because I think what happened was there were numerous things. I can’t put my finger on it and say "this one thing did it" so obviously just reality is you’re going to get some bump with a new coach. I was on Sigi Schmid’s staff for a lot of years and I learned a lot of stuff. Maybe the messaging wasn’t coming across as we would have liked or whatever, but you get that bump with a new coach. You have the inclusion of Nicolas Lodeiro; that’s a big factor. He’s a massive part of our team. You saw the qualities that he brought today. And the only thing I would add to that is the Seattle teams have always been proud teams. They’ve always been prideful of winning and having success. And so what I tried to do was to get them to take ownership of the team. I met with all the senior players and said "Look, this is your team. You do the hard work so reward yourselves for all the hard work." And I think they bought into that real team philosophy as far as being together and really tight group."

On how the chase for playoffs motivates the team:

"It motivates us because it’s reality. When anything or anybody is in your face with difficult situations, you sink or swim. We’d prefer to stay alive and keep swimming. I think the ‘one game at a time’ mantra is overused by a lot of people, but really, truly, that’s what we have done."

SEATTLE SOUNDERS GOALKEEPER STEFAN FREI

His thoughts on the match:

"Obviously extremely happy with the result. For us, it’s been in a while since we’ve come down here and got a result. It’s big especially at a crucial time of the season to come down here against a good team and play a good game. I think one of the things I’m sensing in games now is that when we do take the lead, we don’t cower, we’re not afraid. We sense there’s an opportunity to get three points and we almost grow a little bit rather than shrink. So that’s a really nice thing to see the confidence and it’s a huge three points for us."

On the maturation of Jordan Morris:

"It’s amazing. Keep in mind this is a rookie we’re talking about that has a lot of expectations for himself, but also lot of people putting expectations on him. So it’s a lot of pressure and for a young guy. It can be difficult to deal with that. For him to stay calm and believe in his own ability and his teammates - and I think the team also reassuring him that we believe in him – has allowed him to grow and stay calm and just play his game. He’s an exceptional player."

On the performance of Seattle’s backline tonight:

"They’re experienced. They have lots of weapons, a lot of crafty players, a lot of guys that can shoot from distance. But we played well. There was maybe one little spell before we were able to get a little bit of a cushion: things got a bit hectic and we struggled to maintain possession after we were able to defend. Maybe that’s something we can get a little better at, but other than that we were bending but we weren’t breaking."

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FORWARD JORDAN MORRIS

On the importance of the team’s win:

"Super important. We were looking at the results last night and saw that Portland lost and three points would really help us in the fight for the playoffs, so it’s good."

On the team’s adjustments after halftime:

"I was thinking that maybe they would tire in the second half and the game would open up in the second half, especially on such a big field. It was really hot out there so the first half was a bit of a dog fight a little and then I thought it would open up and I think it did."

On his two goals:

"On the first one, the defender cleared it and I just kind of touched it around the guy and we were scrapping and I just ended up getting ahead of him. I know you guys don’t like it when I use the outside of my right but I had to use that one there. It’s just a little more natural for me and I’m glad it went it. On the next one, the ball was bouncing around the box and it just came to me and Robbie Rogers was kind of turned around so I just took it with my left and saw the space was open so I just passed it in there."

LA GALAXY HEAD COACH AND GENERAL MANAGER BRUCE ARENA

His thoughts on the second half:

"That was just an odd game. I think we should be going in at halftime up a goal or two. We come out and play pretty well to start the second half and I guess we have a breakaway that we miss. And then give Jordan Morris credit, he creates a great goal and we’re down 2-1. And on the day I think we actually played alright, but some absolute bad mistakes that hurt us."

On if this part of the season feels different from the same time last season:

"I think athletes’ and coaches’ jobs are to have short memories. Who even cares about last year, it has nothing to do with the result today."

On if Sebastian Lletget should have earned a penalty early in the second half:

"I think the referee had a tough game today. I think it was a difficult game for them. It may have ended up the same result, who knows? But it was a tough game for them today."

On if he’s in a state of disbelief after losing:

"It’s no disbelief. I saw it. That was the real McCoy out there. I saw every bit of it. I don’t think - as odd as it might sound - I don’t think we played badly today. We actually had terrific segments for long periods of time. I think we controlled, in some ways, the first half and had a real good start to the second half. Things fell apart with that second goal, for sure. It was an odd one. We created some good chances today. We could have had more goals, shouldn’t have conceded as many. What can you say? A little sloppy at both ends and it adds up to a lot."

His thoughts on the team’s defending today:

"The defending on the corner kick we give away an own goal. I think we have to be a little bit sharper, more alert there. The second goal, you saw what that is. The third goal was poor defending by our back line. The fourth goal was whatever … I don’t know how you want to figure that one out. Be my guest."

On if his team is thinking about their playoff position at this time:

"We’re thinking about winning the next game. It’s likely we’re going to be in the playoffs. Maybe not. Someone reminded me yesterday we were 99.9% chance of making it. I don’t believe that. It’s not100%. Playoffs are playoffs. Who knows where you end up? You see in both conferences things can change real quick. So who knows where we are?"

On Robbie Rogers’ performance:

"He played okay. He still has his moments on some plays. Generally I thought on the day he had a solid game. He hit the wall a little bit physically in the second half."

LA GALAXY MIDFIELDER LANDON DONOVAN

On the match:

"It was a little bit strange. It didn’t feel like a four-goal against game. And then one set piece and it’s 1-1. I think even to start the second half, if you had to predict, you would say it would either end in a tie or we would win. But you have to give them credit, they made some really good plays. Jordan [Morris] was terrific, obviously [Osvaldo Alonso’s] goal is one in a 100 and we didn’t do enough with the chances we had, so that’s the way soccer is sometimes."

On what makes Jordon Morris potentially special:

"Not potentially. He is special. First of all, his work rate is really good, so teammates love playing with him. Because as a forward, when you have a guy who works like that, it really helps your team. He’s relentless in the way he attacks, and he’s good in front of goal. The first goal was terrific the way he finished it. The second goal was really calm. Most players at that age shoot it immediately. He took a touch to his left and made it easy on himself. He’s got all the makings to be very good and I thought he was excellent today."

On his fitness:

"I felt today like I was back to normal. Even in Kansas City, I felt I was struggling. I had a week where I was really able to push myself this week, and then today there wasn’t a lot to do running wise but I felt like I was normal and could contribute again. So that was a good positive obviously, but it’s never fun when you do it in a loss."

On the team’s form going into the playoffs:

"This is a bad game, but in three games we’ve given up eight goals. Actually, our defense has played relatively well and we’ve given up eight goals. So there’s a lot to look at, and when you give up goals it’s not just defending or the goalkeeper, it’s the team that needs to take responsibility. I think a lot of us need to look in the mirror and wake up. Obviously, we wanted to win and get closer to the Supporters’ Shield and winning the West, but sometimes if you can take this the right way it can be a good thing in the long run and you can get a big wake up call. So I think we have to really look at this game and analyze it and everyone needs to look at themselves honestly."

On whether it’s attainable to win the Western Conference or Supporters’ Shield:

"Everything is attainable still until you’re mathematically out. For me, I’ve been in this league a long time, and as much as you want to win the West and win the Supporters’ Shield, this team feels comfortable going anywhere to have to play. That wouldn’t be ideal, but if find ourselves where we have to win a game on the road to advance, I don’t think we have any issues with that. Ideally, as we’ve found out in year’s past, if you finish ahead of some of the East teams and work your way through the West, then you can still get a home game [in MLS Cup]. First things first, we’ve got to correct some things but nothing is unattainable still."

LA GALAXY MIDFIELDER DANIEL STERES

On the game’s conditions:

"It was definitely tough. We’d had tougher conditions this year, whether it was in Kansas City or Chicago. We’ve been training in heat all week. I actually thought we had an edge on them the whole first half, starting the second half. Just giving away bad goals kind of killed us."

On Seattle’s comeback:

"It was quick and I’ll be the first to take blame for that. That second goal I’ll say I got fouled because I thought I did. That’s on me, and that goal basically killed the momentum of the game, even though it was 1-1. We still had the upper hand starting the second half. We were going to put pressure on them; it was going our way until then."

On Morris’ goal:

"I know he’s fast. Look, I don’t think he’s that much faster than me. Like I said I’m getting pulled back from behind and I thought I had good position on him. He got a little toe to it and I probably should have just gone through and I would have taken a foul or gone for the ball. He’s pulling my arm back and once he did that he was gone. I wasn’t going to catch him."

On looking ahead:

"We don’t like to take a loss like this at home going into the playoffs. We really can’t let it do anything to us. We’re still in a good spot; we’re still looking to get in the playoffs. Not like we’re fighting down in eighth position. We have to push on together as a unit and find a way to win these next three games and make a push. This game can bring you the best of highs and bring you right back down real quick. That’s what it did today."

LA GALAXY MIDFIELDER JEFF LARENTOWICZ

On the game’s conditions:

"Yeah, it was very hot, very hot. First half was I think hotter than the second, there seemed to be a breeze in the second. We knew all week it was going to be hot, it started at 91, went to 93, went to 97, so we were prepared to deal with it but when you get out there it's something different."

On what he thinks Seattle did better than LA:

"I think they just scored goals, they finished their chances. We developed a lot but we didn't score, I think that was the difference. The goal on the first half, the own goal, that one kind of takes it away from ourselves because I thought that we outplayed them for developing a lot of chances but then they get that goal and it gives them a bit of belief, but it was tough."

On thinking ahead to the next games and what the team has to do to clinch a playoff spot:

"It's just winning the next game, taking each game, game by game. Today was one that we knew if we won, especially with the way the results went yesterday, we would put ourselves in a great spot. It didn't happen for us. We've had these two games against Dallas at the end of the season kind of in our minds and next week is the first one, so we take it game by game. No team sits around thinking about a slide. We play the first place team in the West next weekend and deal with them."

On winning the Supporters’ Shield:

"Absolutely, I mean Colorado, we can't do anything about them, but two games against Dallas, last one at home maybe that one shapes up to be a special one. We will take care of this week and go into next week looking to win the game."

On whether he thought the team left too much space behind:

"Defensively? It didn't feel that way. We will watch the tape and see but it certainly didn't feel that way. Jordan Morris is a quick kid, I think that he pulls Dan [Steres] on the side line and he had a ton of space to run into there but I don't think it was a case of us leaving too much space."

On Sebastian Lletget’s play and playing with him in the middle:

"Well, Sebastian [Lletget], they moved him inside. He was always kind of a wing player and they moved him inside because obviously they like his mobility and ability to keep the ball as well. I tend to sit behind him and give him the freedom to go and you saw today he was up around the box, got a pass and clipped one to the back post, it was a nice play. Robbie always seems to be lurking on the back side and Sebastian [Lletget] did a good job finding him. He's playing great; he's doing a really good job."

LA GALAXY MIDFIELDER EMMANUEL BOATENG

On the result:

"Obviously we were up 1-0, we had some chances to make it 2-0 or 3-0 that we didn’t put away, so they tied it up in the first half and we had confidence in ourselves that we would come out the second half and get the next one. Unfortunately they had the chances and they took them. They didn’t have that many chances in the game, but the ones they did, they put them away. It’s tough but we will come back in here tomorrow, recover, look at tapes and try to get better for the next game."

On what the team needs to do to avoid the situation in future games:

"We have three games left and then it’s the playoffs. We’re still not in the playoffs yet, we need to win so next game we just have to come out aggressive and get the three points."

On not clinching a playoff spot and whether people asking about it is a distraction:

"We just have to take care of business and no one is going to ask that. Next game we have to come out, get a win and put it away and start preparing for the next game."

On whether not clinching the playoffs today is a missed opportunity:

"Absolutely, it’s a big missed opportunity. They’re a good team and when you’re getting closer to playoffs you want to be winning games like this and getting good results so we definitely didn’t do well enough, played well in some spots, but it definitely hurt us conceding those goals. We have to be better the next game."