A belated statistics and quotes recap post comes to you from the depths of a post-Thanksgiving coma. Let this be your opportunity to relive the Seattle Sounders’ resounding victory at Houston Dynamo’s BBVA Compass stadium, in which they took a 2-0 lead in the series, with a return leg at CenturyLink Field yet to come. A victory, draw, or a one-goal loss puts them in the MLS Cup match for the second year in a row, and the second time in club history.
Seattle Sounders FC 2 - Houston Dynamo 0
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Venue: BBVA Compass Stadium
Referee: Christopher Penso
Assistants: Jeff Muschik, CJ Morgante
Fourth Official: Armando Villareal
VAR: Kevin Stott
SEA -Gustav Svensson (Nicolás Lodeiro) 11'
SEA - Will Bruin (Joevin Jones) 42'
HOU -Jalil Anibaba (ejection) 28'
HOU - Alberth Elis (caution) 29'
HOU - Tomas Martinez (caution) 44'
SEA - Nouhou (caution) 64'
SEA - Román Torres (caution) 88'
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC - Tyler Miller; Kelvin Leerdam, Román Torres, Chad Marshall, Nouhou; Cristian Roldan, Gustav Svensson, Nicolás Lodeiro - captain, Clint Dempsey (Victor Rodriguez 46'), Joevin Jones (Lamar Neagle 79'); Will Bruin (Henry Wingo 90'+1')
Substitutes not used: Bryan Meredith, Tony Alfaro, Jordy Delem, Harry Shipp
Total shots: 14 (Lodeiro, 3)
Shots on goal: 5 (Lodeiro, 2)
Fouls: 10 (Four players, 2)
Offside: 1 (Bruin, 1)
Corner-kicks: 5 (Lodeiro, 4)
Saves: 3 (Miller, 3)
Houston Dynamo - Joe Willis; Jalil Anibaba, Adolfo Machado, Philippe Senderos (Dylan Remick 59'), DaMarcus Beasley; Eric Alexander (Romell Quioto 72'), Juan Cabezas, Alex (Leonardo 32'), Tomas Martinez, Alberth Elis; Mauro Manotas
Substitutes not used: Calle Brown, Ricardo Clark, Vicente Sanchez, Erick Torres
Total shots: 9 (Elis, 4)
Shots on goal: 3 (Three players, 1)
Fouls: 8 (Cabezas/Martinez, 2)
Offside: 1 (Manotas, 1)
Corner-kicks: 5 (Martinez, 3)
Saves: 3 (Willis, 3)
Seattle Sounders Head Coach Brian Schmetzer
(on the approach he had for this game) “I would disagree that we came out tentative. I think the game up in Vancouver manifested itself in a tentative kind of chess match, but our intent was always to go and try and score goals. Now, the set piece that we scored early certainly helped, some of our attacking movements when (MF) Joevin Jones coming down the wing, some of those things that we worked on, yes, they manifested themselves into goals tonight. So, obviously, it looks like or it feels like that in the first half we were playing with a little bit more attacking punch, but that's the goal from the outset. Home or away, we feel that we have a good enough team to score on our opponents.”
(on his overall thoughts on the referees and the field conditions) “Number one, whether it's FIFA or U.S. Soccer, whoever, we don't talk about referees. That's out of our control. I thought the referee did a fine job. As far as the field is concerned, I know that the people here in Houston did a very good job trying to get that field playable and I felt it was playable. I didn't think that the field was poor. So they did an excellent job in getting it ready for the match.”
(on defeating the Houston Dynamo at home) “Well, again, we put a lot of work into our set pieces, that attacking movement with (MF) Joevin Jones getting in behind for the penalty and the red card, those are things that we work on. It's part of who we are. I wouldn't call it a statement against Houston or any other team that we play. I think that's just who we are. We tried to dictate tempo throughout our strengths and, again, it just manifested itself in a good way for us.”
(on what his game plan was for this game) “The actual tactical approach is the same thing that I've said. So we have (FW) Will Bruin trying to keep the team as high as he can. (FW Clint) Dempsey and (MF Nicolás) Lodeiro playing in between the lines, getting our outside backs forward. I know (MF) Joevin Jones who is usually an outside back played up a line today, but you saw his quality. Our set pieces, we're dangerous on our set pieces because we have guys that are good in the air. That is who we are. The tactics against Houston, I mean we know they're a good team. We scouted them on film, we knew it was going to be hard, but we play to our strengths and try and dictate tempo to other teams. So as far as coming back to Seattle up 2-0, we will approach the game the same way. That team is too dangerous to sit back and let them dictate tempo on our home field. That would be a mistake.”
(on the constant attack of the left side) “I'll open that up a little bit because I like the pair of (DF) Nouhou (Tolo) and (MF) Joevin Jones. I think both of them are pretty dynamic, although in different ways. Nouhou is all power and speed and Joevin has a little bit more subtlety to his game. I think what you find is when (FW Clint) Dempsey plays in between the lines and Nico (MF Nicolás Lodeiro) goes over there, and you have overloads on that side of the field, it creates problems for opposition defenses. It wasn't necessarily, again, a tactic that we said, ‘Okay, we're going to only attack down the left,’ because on the right side of our field we have a pretty good right back as well. So, again, keeping possession, maybe to your point, we wanted to make sure we established good possession, and we wanted to make sure our attack was going through the wing channels without forgetting about Nico and Dempsey in between the lines.”
(on the message he gave to the team after the game) “We're obviously pleased with the result, but we could have played better in the second half. And in my message to the group is we understood that we could have played better and we could have put that game away at 3-0 and then it would have made it more challenging for Houston to try and come back with a three-goal deficit. So the messaging after the game was, ‘You cannot fall asleep for any, any moment in time in this league. This Houston team, (Houston head coach ) Wilmer (Cabrera) does a great job; it's not over yet.’ And so what we have to understand is that we could have played a little bit better, a little smarter, gotten that third goal, and then we would have had a little bit more ability to improvise tactics.”
(on GK Tyler Miller’s performance) “Great. We have a mantra in this club: ‘Next man steps forward,’ and he did exactly that tonight. He made the saves that he had to, I thought he had good command of his box, he got a couple crosses early. So I thought he was very, very strong.”
(on the effects the long international break had on the team) “To answer that question, I would probably have to watch the tape, because I was kind of focused on my team in those first 15, 20 minutes, because we knew that could have changed the game. If they were on top of us in the first 15 minutes versus us dictating tempo to them, I thought that was critical for our success tonight.”
(on what MF Gustav Svensson has done for the team) “Well, he was a big part of that game in Italy and he pushed his team into the World Cup; and he's done a tremendous job for us all season long. You can tell he has a veteran presence, he's a very strong physical player, but he also has a good touch. His passing is very good, so we are really, really pleased to find him in the offseason and we're very, very happy that he's here.”
(on FW Will Bruin’s performance) “Okay, I like that. We could have two comeback players of the year. How about that? Will’s goal was a really well-crafted goal. The ball that (MF) Joevin (Jones) put in and Will's header was a very, very good header. I mean, that was a very good piece of technical soccer skill, so it's just testament to Will. He again has been a really good pickup for our club.”
Seattle Sounders FW Will Bruin
(on the impact of Dynamo DF Jalil Anibaba’s ejection) “I was yelling at (MF) Joevin (Jones) to play the ball across to me. I didn’t know he was going to get fouled, but you know – PK, red card. We got in dangerous spots, and when we get into dangerous spots good things happen. We capitalized on it too.”
(on his goal in the first half) “Yeah, he (DF Joevin Jones) played a great ball over the center backs. I was floating back; and when those balls come in and you can head it back to where it came from, goalies are frozen. It went in, so I was pretty happy.”
(on head coach Brian Schmetzer’s message to the team after the victory) “We were disappointed with that second half because it would have been nice to make it three- or four-nothing. It was good result at the end of the day; it’s two-nothing. We are not overlooking the game whatsoever. We still want to go out and win, have a good performance and we will enjoy this one right now.”
Seattle Sounders GK Tyler Miller
(on overall thoughts of game) “For me it’s always preparation. It’s the same. I mean at any moment you have to be ready and this was my moment. I felt like I was prepared for the game and I went out there and I had a solid performance.”
(on his thoughts warming up) “Leading up to this game, I was kind of embracing every emotion that came with it — like the nerves, the anxiousness, the excitement. So, I was really just trying to let it all soak in and really enjoy the moment.”
(on if the easy touches early on helped to calm him) “Absolutely. For any goalkeeper, especially a young one, they always want to get an early touch on it; and so for me to get a few touches with my hands, a few touches with my feet, it really helped me calm my nerves and get into the game.”
(on the backline and what MF Cristian Roldan and MF Gustav Svensson did defensively) “The back six was incredible. For me, it was an easy game. They were blocking shots left and right and they really had a tremendous performance. I never really felt threatened tonight and that’s always a great feeling to have as a goalkeeper.”
Seattle Sounders MF Gustav Svensson
(on overall thoughts of game) “We knew it was going to be a very difficult game coming here. So if you look at the result, I’m very happy. But as the game turned out to be, we scored two-zero and we were one man up. If you ask me, I think we should have done much more — not only scoring; we should have more possession. We should have just killed this game. (DF) Roman (Torres) had to take the yellow card. It’s just a little bit undisciplined sometimes and lack of experience I think. We have to learn from that. We have many more games to come next year, but now as I said two-zero is a very good result and coming to Seattle with two-zero on our backs, that’s a good thing.”
(on his main focus next to MF Cristian Roldan) “We had a game plan before the game, but when we got one man up, that changed a little bit. But the plan was to make sure they couldn’t counter on us because they had fast players on top. Obviously, the score, that was the plan before the game. So, happy to do that.”
(on the coach’s message to the players for next Thursday) “I hope we go for more goals. I hope we don’t just stay there and control the game. I want us to push forward. I was us to not only show our fans that we can score more goals at home. So, hopefully we are not just going to defend. We’ll see. We have a couple days now to prepare ourselves. First, we are going to have Thanksgiving. My first Thanksgiving in America, so that’s going to be fun.”
Houston Dynamo Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera
(on the game) “We started off well, we created quick options right away, set pieces with (FW) Alberth (Elis), but then we conceded the first goal on a set piece, to go behind 1-0. We spoke about if something goes wrong, we just need to keep playing, trying to do our job, and do not make silly mistakes where we have to play with 10 men. But it happened. And that's difficult. When you're losing 1-0 against a team like the Seattle Sounders and even though (GK) Joe (Willis) did very well on the PK, then we conceded the second goal too soon and we went to halftime. I told the guys that we needed to do a different type of job. We needed to defend a little bit better, and we have to take the risk to leave two forwards up front. So Alberth and (FW) Mauro (Manotas) went up front just to take a risk and to try to see if we could have got the ball right there and tried to counter attack and try to go at them. I think we have a few options, but we have to put that in. And we didn't punish them and…the game is over and now we have to think that we need; we have to prepare ourselves for Seattle. In Seattle, can we win? Yes. We're going to go with the mentality that we can win that game. Because we have a good team and we can be dangerous. We can defend better; we have to defend better. It's going to be a tough game, but we have to have a good mentality, and we're going to take risks over there. We're going to take risks, because that's the one option. So it's another 90 minutes at their home and we need to prepare ourselves for those 90 minutes. It's going to be the last 90 minutes for us or it's going to be some kind of miracle, and I believe in that.”
(on the importance of not giving up a third goal) “Important. It's always important. I told the guys, let’s defend with seven guys, and let's leave the two, (FW) Alberth (Elis) and (FW) Mauro (Manotas) up front, but let's try to defend better, let's try to be aggressive to defend. And they were, 2-0, they felt comfortable, only at the last minute, that counterattack at the last minute, that was very dangerous. But 2-0, it's not impossible. Nothing is impossible in soccer and we are going to take risk; we don't have anything to lose. So we're going to go over there to try to win the game.”
(on the penalty kick save by GK Joe Willis being an important moment) “Yes, definitely. They're a very good team and they were winning 1-0 on the first set piece. They took 1-0, so they were comfortable in that moment. And then with the PK, I thought that we could have done better after that. I told them, do not concede any goal. Let's defend. But I think it was a goal where we were asleep a little bit on that cross and then that was difficult. But at halftime we reorganized ourselves, we put in a plan. And the plan was good. That's fine, because when you are with 10 men, we created those options that we had and possibilities. I think it showed that we could score one anyway. It didn't happen so now we have to go over there with good mentality and we're going to enjoy ourselves. We're going to be dangerous, for sure.”
(on Seattle’s scoring opportunities) “I think one of the things that you learn in playoff, in games like this, set pieces are very, very important. So we have the chance and we missed. And then they had one chance and they put that in, and they have another one that they could have scored, but set pieces are really important because it's not easy to break defenses. Nobody's going to give you one inch. And then when we concede that, I think it was something that we kind of didn't expect. I think the players didn't expect that. But, anyway, we went after them, we have some good momentum, but then we lost the ball right there in the middle when we were attacking and they were going to counterattack. And then came the PK, which, you know, it's a soft PK, but they didn't score with that. But we lost a man. And right there is when we put ourselves in difficulties. I would rather to receive a goal with 11 men than stop the PK with 10 men.”
(on what his takeaways from tonight’s game) “Well, what I didn't want was a 1 versus 1 situation, (FW) Alberth (Elis) with the left back, because we don't need to create that. We didn't need to create that. So I said to Alberth, ‘Alberth, play more free and let’s not try challenging with him, because that's what they want. They want you isolated over there.’ So that's why I tried to bring Alberth a little bit more free in the middle to go in at the central backs because the central backs are very good, but they're slow. And we needed to go out there and in the second half they were more central, they were more free, they had more freedom and we created some good momentum, some options, they were talking and yelling at each other because we were dangerous when we had the ball.”
(on his lineup choices) “Well, that's your opinion. (DF) Jalil (Anibaba) has been playing as a right back, so now you want to see Leo (DF Leonardo) as a right back, which never happened and he hasn't played as a right back ever. Leo is a central back, and Jalil was playing well. The last series against Portland, no one complained about Jalil playing as a right back, so now when you lose, everyone knows how to do things different. We can say a lot of things different, but this game today with the 11 starters, they were the best team for us to play, but then we have to make some changes and then we have some injuries and we're going to reorganize the team. We're going to try to work and we will see who is going to be available to play against Seattle.”
Houston Dynamo FW Alberth Elis (translated from Spanish)
(on the outcome of the game) “We never expected this would happen. But this is football and there’s 90 minutes left. We are going to try our best and leave everything on the field in Seattle. This is football. We have to recover from this game, give our all and fight for our ticket to the final.”
(on the first goal of the game) “They scored a goal from a defensive error during a set piece. I don’t think we have conceded from a corner kick this whole season. Then we get a player sent off and it became difficult for us to get back into the game.”
(on what the team needs to overcome the deficit) “For a comeback, we have to play a perfect game if we want to win. We know it will be difficult like the game in Portland. But this is football and we know that anything can happen.”
Houston Dynamo MF Tomás Martínez (translated from Spanish)
(on not getting a result at home) “Well, I think it was a bad result. I think they took advantage of the opportunities they had. The first goal with the free kick, well, that also surprised us a little. It’s been a while since it’s been a free kick goal. I did not see the play; I was far behind, so I don’t know if it was a penalty or not. I think that it was because they did not say anything, but that they pulled out a red card. To be honest, it is questionable because it happened to us too. They pull it out and then the play is drawn, and they get yellow because I don’t know if there is a new law that says that once they have a penalty, they cannot give a red to the player. You can see that it was not done by us; we were with one man down and then we played a man down, and the penalty was a strong goal for us. We needed to hold more possession of the ball and stay open and see if we could create a goal. We could not score a goal. I think that during the second half they stopped attacking for a while; the ball did not come forward either, it was a rebound for them. Now we hope to play a good match up there so we can make a comeback as they have done to us here."
(on what needs to improve) “Yes, I think the games are very different, especially the playoffs. This team plays well they came over here and made the goals at the time and then played the ball."
Houston Dynamo FW Mauro Manotas (translated from Spanish)
(on the outcome of the game) “It’s a series of 180 minutes; there’s 90 minutes left. But obviously, we’re leaving with the sensation that we could have done a better job. We are going to work this week, go to Seattle and get a great result.”
(on if he believes that the team can overcome the current aggregate score) “Of course we can turn it around. We are going to work, and with God’s will and strong faith, do a great job in Seattle.”
Houston Dynamo GK Joe Willis
(on if the referees influenced the momentum throughout the game) “I think it’s hard to put blame on the ref for anything. At the end of the day, there’s two teams playing each other and we lost. It was tough; I think the goal killed our momentum initially, and from there it was an uphill battle.”
(on the changes needed for the second leg) “We will go with the same mentality that we came in with today. A few things didn’t go our way, but for the most part I thought we played pretty well. Seattle is a good team, credit to them. For the most part, we executed our game plan, but they were able to take advantage of a couple of plays.”