Despite losing Clint Dempsey to a red card in the first half, the Seattle Sounders took care of business at home, completing their 2017 regular-season campaign with a 3-0 win over the Colorado Rapids that secures them a first-round bye in the playoffs.
Seattle finish the regular season with a record of 14-9-11, +13 GD. They have 53 points through 34 games played, or 1.56 PPG, and they finish second in the Western Conference, tied for first on points with the Portland Timbers, but losing the wins tiebreaker.
Seattle Sounders FC 3 - Colorado Rapids 0
Sunday, October 22, 2017
Venue: Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field
Referee: Christopher Penso
Assistants: Mike Rottersman, Jeremy Hanson
Fourth Official: Baboucarr Jallow
VAR: Fotis Bazakos
Weather: 58 degrees, mostly cloudy
SEA - Will Bruin (Kelvin Leerdam, Clint Dempsey) 9'
SEA - Nicolás Lodeiro (penalty) 64'
SEA - Nicolás Lodeiro 90'+4'
SEA - Clint Dempsey (ejection) 24'
SEA - Román Torres (caution) 29'
COL - Stefan Aigner (caution) 32'
SEA - Cristian Roldan (caution) 51'
COL - Kortne Ford (caution) 61'
COL - Axel Sjoberg (ejection) 62'
SEA - Joevin Jones (caution) 90'+1'
COL - Alan Gordon (caution) 90'+3'
SEA - Nicolas Lodeiro (caution) 90'+4'
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Kelvin Leerdam, Román Torres (Tony Alfaro 90'+1'), Chad Marshall, Nouhou; Cristian Roldan, Harry Shipp, Nicolás Lodeiro - captain, Joevin Jones, Clint Dempsey; Will Bruin (Henry Wingo 85')
Substitutes not used: Tyler Miller, Aaron Kovar, Jordy Delem, Lamar Neagle, Oniel Fisher
Total shots: 18 (Lodeiro, 5)
Shots on goal: 6 (Lodeiro, 3)
Fouls: 11 (Nouhou, 3)
Offside: 1 (Shipp, 1)
Corner-kicks: 3 (Jones, 2)
Saves: 2 (Frei, 2)
Colorado Rapids - Tim Howard; Eric Miller, Kortne Ford, Axel Sjoberg, Mike da Fonte (Alan Gordan 57'); Bismark Boateng (Bobby Burling 68'), Mohammed Saeid, Marlon Hairston, Stefan Aigner; Dillon Serna (Joshua Gatt 60'), Dominique Badji
Substitutes not used: Zac MacMath, Mekeil Williams, Ricardo Perez, Luis Gil
Total shots: 5 (Aigner/Badji, 2)
Shots on goal: 2 (Aigner/Gordon, 1)
Fouls: 17 (Hairston, 4)
Offside: 2 (Hairston, 2)
Corner-kicks: 2 (Aigner, 2)
Saves: 3 (Howard, 3)
SOUNDERS FC HEAD COACH BRIAN SCHMETZER
On the importance of a first-round bye:
"It's massive; it's massive. We need all the help we can get [for players to get healthy]. My mantra has been, ‘next guy step up, next guy steps up,' so we would have dealt with it. However this next game would've ended up. However the table would have ended up, we would've gone through and done our normal routine. That's a pretty tough group, a pretty resilient group. So, yes, it's nice to have those extra couple of days. But at the same time, being in [the locker room], they want to play. They want to keep these games going because they're feeling good about themselves."
On the team's offense:
"I'll answer it this way: So if you watch the first goal -- the build-up play -- good possession, [Clint] Dempsey plays a ball over on the right-hand side [and] Harry [Shipp]’s movement of diving inside to create that space for Kelvin [Leerdam]. Kelvin had a tremendous performance today [with] his ability to get to the end-line, and then also have a little bit of patience down there. Because he was kind of waiting, waiting, waiting for the right pass, he makes a pass and [Will] Bruin puts it in. That goal was a quality goal, and I think that is just a bunch of good soccer players making some good plays. And each one of those plays – you know, Dempsey's a good passer of the ball, Harry came in and did a good job tonight, Kelvin was strong and Will was doing what he's supposed to do, which is score goals. So, the team is playing to its strengths, and our home form has been very good."
On Dempsey's red card and how it affects the first playoff game:
"Well, it means the next guy has to step forward. That's number one. And I will reserve judgment until I see the replays. Obviously, I want the team to play with control of their emotions. That is paramount because in critical moments you need to have a clear mind, and you need to make sure you're making good plays. So, I will watch the tape, I will sit down with Clint and figure out his version of it, and we will proceed because I'm now allowing one play to derail what we can accomplish. That won't happen. That I can guarantee you."
On the tactical adjustments he made when Dempsey was sent off:
"We flattened out the two lines – [we] played a 4-4-1 with Joevin [Jones] and Harry dropped down a little bit. Again, Will scored the first goal – the winning goal, you would say – but he really did the lion's share of work up top, solo on his own. So, credit him. It goes back to that conversation Will and I had about what he is he good at; scoring goals or defending. He did both of those tonight."
On Will Bruin's form:
"I think he's been pretty consistent all year long; I don't know if he's rounding into form, or whatever. I think the goals that Will has scored are, again a testament to who he is. He's a battler; he's a fighter, he gets in, he makes his run inside the box very well. I'm really just pleased that he's scoring some timely goals, but he has a lot of help that makes that a little easier on him."
On the referee's decisions to go to the VAR:
"Are you talking about the penalty that wasn't called? Okay, that could've been a penalty, could not. That's not going to get replayed. They were talking; I know that they talk. But I don't know if it was, you know, bad enough. Again, I have to watch that tape. VAR is something that, you know, is something that I think is good. We were on the receiving end of a call that got reviewed and didn't go in our favor, but I'm still in favor it. I still think it's a good thing."
SOUNDERS FC FORWARD WILL BRUIN
On scoring three goals in the last two games:
“Yeah it’s good. I mean, we have been putting good balls in the box and creating havoc. If I consistently make that near post run, something is going to happen and we are going to get one or draw a PK so it was a good result.”
On the overall feeling of the offense:
“Yeah I think it’s clicking pretty well. Everyone knows their roles, everybody knows where they need to be, that’s great tactically and the goals will take care of themselves.”
On why he came to Seattle:
“This is exactly why I’m here. Personally, I haven’t been to the playoffs in three years so personally it feels good. It’s fun.”
SOUNDERS FC MIDFIELDER NICOLÁS LODEIRO (THROUGH TRANSLATOR)
Overall feeling on the win:
“We feel good I think. Very good day for us. We are happy, we are happy because we won the game and we can say thank you for the victory for our fans. It’s a great day for us.”
On dropping back next to Roldan:
“It’s a new position. I feel good with Cristian because we train a lot in the last week. Today was a good show close to Cristian.”
On the changing momentum of the game after Dempsey went off:
“I think the one thing for us was when we finished the first 45 we went into the dressing room and we talked about what he have to do going forward and how to play with more concentration and await our moment.”
SOUNDERS FC GOALKEEPER STEFAN FREI
On the feeling of the win:
“Great performance, we made it difficult on ourselves. We’ve said it in the beginning, finding the first goal is important, and we were lucky to find it very early in the game. I think it probably would of allowed us to dictate a bit more, us using our possession based style to pick them apart, and we shot ourselves in the foot a little bit with that red card. Those are mistakes we have to eliminate in the playoffs. But it provided us with an opportunity to find ourselves in a very difficult position. We didn’t bunker in right away, we tried to maintain possession.”
On having the best home record in franchise history:
“Our support has always been tremendous, home and on the road, for that matter. It’s a hostile environment for teams to come in. It’s not hostile in a way that teams are getting targeted by fans, but players get the sense that we are very strong and very comfortable at our place so it’s going to be a long day for them. We need to continue that and home field advantage is massive and we need to take care of those games or else it’s going to be a short lift on the playoffs. It’s a good year for us.”
SOUNDERS FC MIDFIELDER HARRY SHIPP
On being out on the field and playing today:
“It was nice, it’s always nice to be out there and remind them I know how to play soccer. I thought it was tough being down a guy for that stretch of time but overall I thought everyone played well and put in a shift defensively and put in a enough chances to win.”
On playing simple:
“It’s fine. I pride myself on making good decisions with the ball and know when to push it and when to slow down and keep possession. Being down a guy you’re not going to have as much possession as you want. It limits your chances.”
On the handball:
“Being down a guy I was trying to help Kelvin [Leerdam] all game. I saw a guy come inside and make a run in case the ball got passed him. Trying to do my job defensively. I honestly didn’t see the ball until it hit my hand, that’s what I tried to tell the ref.”
COLORADO RAPIDS HEAD COACH STEVE COOKE
On the season:
“I’ve just said to the players that I wanted to thank them greatly. In a season like this that hasn’t always gone the way you would’ve liked…certainly in the last seven or eight games they’ve given absolutely everything. It speaks to the character of the people, especially the senior players. I just had special words there for Alan Gordon, Bobby Burling and even Tim Howard. These are senior, senior players and to get this far in their careers by showing that character…not always when it’s going in your favor, the lights are on and everybody loves you – it’s the days when it’s not so easy. Those players in there have shown that character, especially in those difficult days. They’re people that these young players can emulate and hopefully build a career because these are traits that can carry them throughout their careers if they hope to have one. It’s not always about the most talented – sometimes one of the major talents is effort and commitment and being a great teammate. There are some guys in there who have done all of that and more this season.”
On the game today:
“I have a lot of respect for this club. Since their inception, they’ve been one of the clubs to chase. They’ve been a terrific group of people off the field and they’ve done a wonderful job in their business world. They’ve done a fantastic job in terms of how they’ve engaged the fans. Certainly from a playing standpoint…they’ve done a terrific job with that as well. Sigi Schmid, in days gone by, built this club on a very strong foundation and Brian Schmetzer is a top-class professional and a top-class human being who deserves every success. I wish them nothing but the best in the playoffs because I think they could push teams all the way again and maybe go get the trophy.”
On his expectations for the playoffs:
“I think it’s going to be exciting. One of the great reasons it’s exciting is that some of the teams a little lower down are coming into some good form at the moment, even with San Jose winning again today. They’re sneaking into the playoffs at the right moment. There’s a history of teams doing that and going on to big things. For the first time in a few years, the Eastern Conference is probably a bit more competitive in my eyes than the West. I would expect when it comes down to an East vs. West final, it’s going to be really interesting. Unfortunately I’m going to be sitting back watching it and trying to learn as much as I can in that period as we’ll be building for our offseason. I think it’s going to be exciting, not only for the teams that are in it, but a lot of fun for fans all around the world to watch.”
COLORADO RAPIDS DEFENDER KORTNE FORD
On his rookie season:
“It was a great year. I got a lot of minutes, more than I expected. It is just nice to have some experience, especially a building block going into next year. I know it is not the season we all wanted, but for my first year as a pro it has been a great experience. Like I said it is a great building point for going into next year.”
On today’s game and the two red cards:
“That’s the game. You know there are going to be a lot of those [red cards]. I don’t really think the score reflects how we played. Three-zero. I really don’t. Like I said, that is the game, it happens and with all the VAR and stuff that is stuff we are going to have to get used to with the new rules.”
On going into his first offseason:
“You know, take the first couple weeks off and get the body healed. After that, get back in the gym – activation, lift and do everything we can’t do in the season.”
COLORADO RAPIDS DEFENDER BOBBY BURLING
On the season:
“You know it is a bit of a roller coaster, night and day from the previous year. Fortunately, it ended with the same team. How ironic that is? Credit to the staff and the group, going through a coaching change is never easy, and a credit to the staff that took over to keep pushing this thing to the end. I thought we had some decent results at home to finish the year. Some young guys got some good minutes at the end of the year. It is time to look back and reflect on our time together and that being said going forward into the next year and trying to be positive.”
On your thoughts on who you were most impressed with this season:
You know I think in a season that is difficult as a team, you kind of try to highlight individual performances. Obviously, Badji is one that sticks out to me. We really wanted him to get him his 10th goal tonight and he wanted it as well clearly. But you know that is kind of how the game is sometimes. A cruel game. We miss the penalty there and they come down and get a penalty. That is the game in a nutshell. Badji had a great year and going forward he is a great player and he has a lot of future ahead of him. Hopefully more time up front in the nine role, I think it is where he has shown his worth.”
On the flow of the game with red cards and each team playing with 10 players:
“You know at half time we are in a good spot. Obviously, we are down one nothing and it is not the best of half time results, but that being said with a man up and opportunity to push in the second half and get a first goal back and possibly a winner but it is not always that easy. Like I said our penalty chance was a great chance for us. Flip it the other way and that is what happens. Fortunately, we didn't get the bounces tonight and you could argue that all season. It is a game that is played by two teams and we were not good enough tonight and best of luck to Seattle moving forward.”