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Seattle Sounders vs. Vancouver Whitecaps: Highlights, stats and quotes

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“Big-time players make big-time plays, right? Tonight, you saw [Clint] Dempsey making some big plays.” -Brian Schmetzer

Patience and relentlessness were the key for the Seattle Sounders as they worked to break down the Vancouver Whitecaps’ defensive posture in the second leg of the Western Conference Semifinals. Seattle eventually found the moment of magic they needed in the 56yh minute through a goalward drive by Cristian Roldan, a quick series of touches by Will Bruin and Harry Shipp, and a fantastic left-footed strike from Clint Dempsey. The Whitecaps had no answer offensively, and the Sounders move on to vie for the title of Western Conference champions.


Match Recap

SUMMARY

Seattle Sounders FC 2 - Vancouver Whitecaps FC 0

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Venue: Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field

Referee: Baldomero Toledo

Assistants: Eduardo Mariscal, Adam Garner

Fourth Official: Hilario Grajeda

VAR: Drew Fischer

Attendance: 39,587

Weather: 44 degrees and rain

SCORING SUMMARY

SEA - Clint Dempsey (Harry Shipp, Will Bruin) 56'

SEA - Clint Dempsey (Victor Rodriguez, Nicolás Lodeiro) 88'

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY

SEA - Nicolás Lodeiro (caution) 9'

VAN - Cristian Techera (caution) 38'

VAN - Fredy Montero (caution) 49'

VAN - Nosa (caution) 58'

SEA - Román Torres (caution) 68'

VAN - Kendall Waston (caution) 82'

LINEUPS & STATS

Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Kelvin Leerdam, Román Torres, Chad Marshall, Nouhou; Cristian Roldan, Nicolás Lodeiro - captain, Harry Shipp (Victor Rodriguez 67'), Joevin Jones (Gustav Svensson 60'), Clint Dempsey; Will Bruin (Lamar Neagle 90'+1')

Substitutes not used: Tyler Miller, Tony Alfaro, Jordy Delem, Henry Wingo

Total shots: 20 (Dempsey, 10)

Shots on goal: 5 (Dempsey, 3)

Fouls: 7 (Leerdam, 2)

Offside: None

Corner-kicks: 6 (Lodeiro, 6)

Saves: 1 (Frei, 1)

Vancouver Whitecaps FC - Stefan Marinovic; Kendall Waston - captain, Marcel de Jong (Brek Shea 81'), Tim Parker, Jake Nerwinski (Jordan Harvey 36'); Christian Bolanos, Cristian Techera (Alphonso Davies 64'), Yordy Reyna, Nosa Igiebor, Aly Ghazal; Fredy Montero

Substitutes not used: David Ousted, Nicolas Mezquida, Tony Tchani, Bernie Ibini

Total shots: 7 (Bolanos/Montero, 2)

Shots on goal: 1 (Bolanos, 1)

Fouls: 15 (Montero, 4)

Offside: 1 (Reyna, 1)

Corner-kicks: 1 (Reyna, 1)

Saves: 3 (Marinovic, 3)


Post-Match Quotes

SOUNDERS FC HEAD COACH BRIAN SCHMETZER

On Nouhou’s performance and whether it was related Joevin Jones’ substitution:

“I don’t know why it would be, Joevin came off with a tight hamstring. So, it seems like it’s the end of a long year and guys are pulling up a little bit. Nouhou’s performance was very good. He’s a kid with tremendous upside, but he does have to work at his game. And we’ll make sure we try and progress him as we need to.”

On clutch performances from the team’s best players:

“[It matters] A lot. So, you had Nelson Valdez last year, who played many times for his country, score the goal to propels us, kind of get us past [Sporting Kansas City]. I think Nico [Lodeiro] in the Dallas series last year got us kind of going pretty good. Jordan Morris in Colorado, scoring the away goal. Big-time players make big-time plays, right? Tonight, you saw [Clint] Dempsey making some big plays. The first goal was a really good effort from distance, and the second was just his instincts inside the box. It certainly was a good play by Nico and Víctor [Rodríguez] to get the ball in quickly, even though some of us might have been saying slow it down. But those guys made the plays when they needed. Clint made the plays when he needed to.”

On Carl Robinson’s approach over the series:

“Well, I’m not going to comment directly on Carl’s tactics. But I will comment on the stuff, in general, that’s happened to us over the course of the season. There were games earlier in the year where teams would drop back and defend well and try and counter on us. I thought that gave us issues at the beginning of the year. I think over this two-legged series, with Vancouver playing to their strengths, we just needed to be very careful and very wary of [Yordy] Reyna and [Fredy] Montero getting out on break. So, I think we scouted them enough, we watched enough film, we kind of knew their tendencies, and we were just trying a little cat-and-mouse game of which team could come out on top because Carl knew our tactics, too. I mean, he kind of knew our tactics, too. So, I thought that was an interesting side note. But, I think again, to Geoff’s question, the players on the field made the plays. Our guys made the plays. I think Montero might have had a chance or two, but Dempsey came up tonight and made the two goals.”

On what went through his mind when the goals went in:

“After the first goal, we were busy trying to figure out what we were going to do next because one-nothing was actually a very dangerous lead for us. A very dangerous lead for us because any goal by them would have not just given them momentum, but given them a chance to come out with the aggregate victory. So, we were determined to try and figure out a solution to get the next goal. And then when the second goal went in, there was some relief because there wasn’t much time left on the clock, and certainly, I felt we could kill the game out.”

On how special of a player Clint Dempsey is:

“He’s worked hard at his craft for many years, starting when he was little kid and his mom and dad took him to all of his games and all that sort of stuff. His finishing and his ability to just find goals in moments is tremendous. Ever since he’s come here, he’s scored some pretty big goals for this club. And obviously, you guys know the storyline behind him scoring big goals for his country. So, we’re happy to have him, and tonight was one of was one of those textbook nights where he shows up and does what he does best.”

On whether they changed defensive tactics at halftime:

“We tried to press them from the first minute, so if it didn’t really happen, that’s my bad. Maybe when you get them in at halftime and you make little adjustments or you can poke a guy here and say, ‘Hey, I need you do this,’ because you get an idea of how the game is manifesting itself. So, that was some of it. Again, it comes down to the team. We’re talking a lot about Clint, but the rest of the guys behind him – and in front of him because Will Bruin did a good job pressing high – all of those guys deserve all the credit in the world because we needed to come out and press and dictate tempo of the game, knowing that they’re a good counter team. So that was again a little cat-and-mouse we had to play to make sure we were pressing high, trying to make attacking movements, and then watching out for what was coming behind us.”

On managing the break between now and Western Conference finals:

“Well, I gave them the day off tomorrow. They can enjoy the victory, and then we’ll go back to work. We’ll watch game film, we’ll do all of our normal stuff. We’ll try and get a couple of practice games against some of the S2 guys that are around, and stuff like that. We’ll try to get them fit. Obviously, the international guys are going to be gone. So, it will be a challenge. It’s a couple of days more than what we had last year because this was a Thursday night kickoff instead of a Sunday. But we’ll adjust, we’ll make do. I think the guys by the end of that next training session will be really sick of us, and they’ll really be ready to play, so hopefully we can use that to our advantage.”

SOUNDERS FC FORWARD CLINT DEMPSEY

On his contribution tonight:

“It felt good for us to get the win, move on. Our goal this year has been to repeat, so we kept that alive and, you know, I look forward to the next game, the next challenge, but it felt good to get the win.”

On coming back after the suspension:

“Regardless of suspension anytime you can come and help the team it feels good. But I’m not the only one who helped our team today, we kept the shutout. Back line, midfield, the goalie played well, it’s important for us to get a clean sheet.”

On the challenge of breaking down Vancouver:

“It was just getting possession. There were times in the game where we were losing the ball too easily and you know letting them have more of the possession. But once we got more control of it and kept better possession in the attacking third, we were able to get better looks in front of goal. We just kept getting better and better looks and you know there could have been a few more.”

SOUNDERS FC MIDFIELDER NICOLÁS LODEIRO (THROUGH TRANSLATOR)

On the patience of the team:

“From the first moments we showed that we were the team that wanted to win. There was only one team out there that wanted to win and it was us. We got the goal first. We played patiently to get the win.”

On playing a full season and reaching the Conference Finals:

“I feel much better after playing an entire season. I went from less to more. The league also got a lot more competitive so I’m happy with the possibility of being back to the Final, and to show it was not just luck last year.”

On what Rodríguez brought to the match:

“A lot of things. He played very well. He’s a great player. We need him a lot, so when he comes in he helps a lot because we got the ball all game after he came in.”

SOUNDERS FC MIDFIELDER HARRY SHIPP

On being able to open up Vancouver:

“The first 20 minutes or so we were a little impatient. You want to come out and get that goal and come out flying. I think for us you kind of saw the second half of the first leg. As the game wears on there’s going to be gaps that open I think the key is to keep the ball. Make them move, make them run. I think you have to trust that as you make them work the gaps are going to be bigger. You’re going to get a goal.”

On the preference of having an open game:

“As an attacker you want an open game but you know you take what you can get. We knew coming in that they were going to make it tough. It wasn’t a shock you come in expecting that. As the game went on, as guys started to get more tired, eventually they are going to wear down.”

On the assist of the first goal:

“The ball came out from a free kick or corner. I won it and I saw that Cristian played in and I won it, and Will [Bruin] kind of flicked it on and you know I was going to shoot at the last second I saw Clint out of the corner of my eye and I got snipered right as I was hitting it on to him so thank goodness I wasn’t planning on taking a shot myself, or else I would of looked pretty stupid. You know whenever you see Clint in the box you want to find him because he does what he did tonight.”

SOUNDERS FC MIDFIELDER VÍCTOR RODRÍGUEZ (THROUGH TRANSLATOR)

On the overall feeling:

“Very happy. It’s easy for me to play with my teammates. I’m very happy for us and our fans, thank you for your support, I’m very happy to go to the Conference Finals.”

On sitting out the first leg:

“It’s definitely frustrating to not be able to play when you’re not available and to be able to support your teammates in the field. But of course I am very happy to be able to play some minutes and achieve the ultimate goal which is to move on to the next round.”

On what Coach Schmetzer told him when coming into the match:

“He for sure wanted to keep possession because we were playing ahead but he wanted to make sure they weren’t getting closer to our box and to take the game to their side.”

SOUNDERS FC DEFENDER KELVIN LEERDAM

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC HEAD COACH CARL ROBINSON

On the match:

“First of all, congratulations to Seattle. They deservedly beat us over two legs. I said in the lead up that it was going to come down to a mistake or a bit of quality, and in the first goal, I think we got both – a mistake in clearance by us and the quality by Clint. You have to give them credit for that. We just weren’t quite good enough to get over that hump and get to that next level, which was the final of the Western Conference. Every player in there, every staff member in there, deserve a lot of credit for the hard season they put on and I thank them very much.”

On if having one shot on target is acceptable:

“Well, it’s not acceptable because you need to put shots on goal and on target to score goals. We got in some very good areas and we didn’t execute. That’s the difference between us and them today. They had a number of shots on goal, on target, and obviously Clint pops up with two. As I said, the better team won over the two legs.”

On if Seattle’s best players were better than Vancouver’s best players:

“Yes. You saw the two key players I put in the lineup today – it was a little bit risky I knew – with [Cristian] Techera and Yordy [Reyna]. As a manager, you make gambles, and I gambled today because on Sunday I wanted to be safe with them, but today we knew it could be our last game. If the risk didn’t work today, their players come out on top. You have to give them a lot of credit, but I won’t fault those guys in there – they worked their socks off for me.”

On if he put added pressure on his team by predicting a 1-0 win:

“No, because we wanted to try and win the game. I couldn’t say 1-nil to Seattle, could I? So I said 1-nil to us. If I would’ve said 4-nil, I would’ve put more pressure, which wouldn’t have happened since we had one shot on target. We had confidence going into the game and the game panned out exactly as I thought and conceding the goal changed it.”

On if he has any regrets with his strategy:

“No regrets whatsoever. Obviously we regret not winning the game, but as I said, we were beaten by the better team over two legs. Sometimes you hold your hand up in futbol and that’s what I’ll do today.”

On if the team needs different players going forward:

“Yeah, look, we’ve come up a bit short. We managed to win the playoff game against San Jose, which was great, but we’ve fallen short again this year. We know where we are. As I said, I won’t fault the players in there. Sometimes you have to accept where you are in futbol and we know where we are as a club, which is fine, but we did come up a little bit short. We’ll have to get our thinking caps on. We’ll have to go back to the well and see what we can do because we need to come back better next year. That’s a level we want to try and achieve.”

On how they can get to the next level:

“We just have to try and find better players. I believe we’re in a better place than we were two years ago when we went out to Portland, who went on to win the MLS Cup. Better players make you a better team. What’s the difference in the teams today? Quality. Clint steps up, but not just Clint – they’ve got wonderful players. We’ve got really good players as well, but we were slightly off it today.”

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC DEFENDER KENDALL WASTON

On the emotions in the locker room now after tonight’s loss:

“Obviously everybody is sad about the result, but I think we can’t doubt from here with our head down. I think we have to feel proud of the season that we made this year, but obviously we have things to improve on. This bad feeling has to help us to know what to do and take this experience to help us next year. I think the club is developing in every area so hopefully we can improve each year.”

On on the team only having one shot tonight:

“We know that. It’s obvious [that it has to be better]. Now it is easy to talk about the game, what we could have done or not done. Sometimes little details, little details change games. Now we just have to look forward.”

On if the team played too conservative in the two legs:

No. I think we play very good defense…When we were attacking, we tried to do our best. Seattle is a great team. They know how to manage the game, especially here at home. I think the minimal chances that we created, we were not sharp enough. We just have to keep going.”

On where Clint Dempsey ranks in comparison to others you defend in MLS:

“Well he is a great player. He is a special guy that if you give him a minimum of space he can do things like tonight. So, for me he is one of the best players in the MLS.”

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC GOALKEEPER STEFAN MARINOVIC

On the feeling in the locker room after the loss:

“Pretty disappointing to be honest. We felt like we sold ourselves a little bit short, I felt in this last game. We can take solace though, I think in our performance throughout the season leading up to the end. Also the last two games we had at home. First feeling is disappointment.”

On Dempsey’s first goal:

“I can’t really remember exactly, I would have to look at it again, but I think I had a pretty good look at it, but he just kind of curled it away from me in the top corner. So it was a good goal. But still, no matter how a person scores I’m disappointed in myself. I am always asking myself if I could have done more. I am not one hundred percent sure.”

On the offense:

“I felt we just didn’t click up front like we have before. I felt like we did have the space up front to play. It just didn’t happen tonight. It is a question that the coaches will ask themselves after the fact but I can’t really comment on it right now.”