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Seattle Sounders vs. Houston Dynamo: Highlights, stats and quotes

“They have a target on their back, maybe it’s the target right here above the crest ... teams are going to come out and press us. That’s the lesson we learned” -Brian Schmetzer

The Seattle Sounders were hoping to continue a fortunate pattern of stealing a point in Houston, and after a horrendous first half they nearly pulled off just that in the second 45. The Sounders looked a step slow and far too casual with the ball as the game began, and were left in the dust as the Dynamo forced turnovers in midfield and sprung their speedy wingers for attack after attack on Stefan Frei’s goal.

Two goals down, Seattle took much better care of the ball later in the match, and Joevin Jones figured out he could have free reign on the left, leading to some great chances and a Clint Dempsey goal. Despite pushing for a second, the Sounders could only manage the consolation goal as they move on with their road trip to start 2017.

Though the Sounders looked to be shaking off rust left and right, it was encouraging to see the squad come out focused in the second half, looking much more like the Sounders that won MLS Cup.

The Sounders are 0-1-0, -1 and will next take on Montreal Impact on March 11.


Seattle Sounders FC 1 - Houston Dynamo 2

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Venue: BBVA Compass Stadium

Referee: Ricardo Salazar

Assistants: Ian Anderson, Jeffrey Greeson

Fourth Official: Nima Saghafi

Attendance: 20,758

Weather: 58 degrees and showers


HOU - Erick Torres 20'

HOU - Romell Quioto (Alex) 42'

SEA - Clint Dempsey 58'


SEA - Chad Marshall (caution) 33'

SEA - Román Torres (caution) 67'

HOU - Erick Torres (caution) 81'


Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Gustav Svensson (Henry Wingo 85'), Román Torres, Chad Marshall, Joevin Jones; Osvaldo Alonso - captain, Cristian Roldan, Alvaro Fernandez (Will Bruin 76'), Clint Dempsey, Nico Lodeiro; Jordan Morris

Substitutes not used: Tyler Miller, Tony Alfaro, Oniel Fisher, Zach Mathers

Total shots: 14 (Dempsey, 4)

Shots on goal: (Dempsey, 2)

Fouls: 11 (3 players, 2)

Offside: 2 (Lodeiro, 2)

Corner-kicks: 9 (Lodeiro, 9)

Saves: 3 (Frei, 3)

Houston Dynamo - Tyler Deric; AJ De La Garza, Adolfo Machado, Leonardo, DaMarcus Beasley; Eric Alexander (Andrew Wenger 86'), Ricardo Clark (Boniek Garcia 70'), Alex, Alberth Elis (Vicente Sanchez 74'), Romell Quioto, Erick Torres

Substitutes not used: Calle Brown, Dylan Remick, Jalil Anibaba, Mauro Manotas

Total shots: 17 (Torres/Quioto, 4)

Shots on goal: 5 (5 players, 1)

Fouls: 9 (Elis, 3)

Offside: 0

Corner-kicks: 7 (Alex, 5)

Saves: 3 (Deric, 3)


Seattle Sounders Head Coach Brian Schmetzer

(on his overall thoughts on the game) “They were obviously harder, but it was a home match, playing against the champs, and they got two goals. Second half was a different story. We talked at halftime, we made some adjustments, we scored a goal, just couldn’t find a second one. That is what we learned tonight. Teams are going to come out, and if we aren’t sharp from the minute the referee blows the whistle, that type of performance is going to happen.”

(on the second half adjustments) “Just better possession of the ball in their half of the field. That team played with three guys who stayed high, so we were able to pin them back in the second half and create multiple chances. That was basically it, it was one correction. A little more patience.”

(on FW Clint Dempsey’s return from injury) “It was good. Probably ran him out a little longer than I wanted to, but that’s my decision. That’s something that Clint and I discussed: if he was ready to go 90 (minutes). It was a good goal, a timely goal, we just needed someone to get one more.”

(on MF Gustav Svensson’s debut) “Very steady, very steady guy. Good soccer player. He was put to the test tonight against some really fast guys out on the wing, so it was a good test for him to learn what it’s all about in the MLS.”

(on enjoying more possession in the second half) “Well, it was the stuff I said already with the other questions, but it was basically just, I wanted them to have more patience, even though we were down 2-0 which seems counterintuitive. If we were a little more patient, it seemed like they tried to find the right pass, the killer pass, the first time, instead of waiting for the ball to come to this side and that side, gaps start to open up, then that pass might have been a better pass than the original we tried to push through.”

(on DF Joevin Jones’ standout performance) “He was great. He carried a lot of our attack down the left-hand side, and you saw him for what he is. A really skillful, technical, fast, young, fit player.”

(on Houston’s first fifteen minutes) “That’s how they set their team up. It’s a counterattacking team. We’ll see how that plays out the rest of the year. It’s a dangerous game he’s playing. When it works, nights like tonight, then yeah, congratulations to (Houston Head Coach) Wilmer (Cabrera), but it’s a bit risky at times.”

(on the second Dynamo goal) “It was nice. I mean, maybe we could have stepped a little higher; I’ll have to watch it. The first goal, when you give away fouls on the top of the box, that stuff happens. We’ll correct that. And the goal, you certainly do have to give the kid credit, he struck it very well.”

(on describing the mission for the rest of the season) “The mission is a difficult one. It’s not one that we cannot do. I think you saw in the second half there was some very good play, some good attacking movement, and with a little bit of luck we could have finished a second goal. But the mission is to not go down by two goals away from home, because anybody that follows MLS knows that if the home team scores first, it’s awfully difficult to come back.”

Seattle Sounders forward Clint Dempsey:

(on getting back on the field after missing the end of last year with an irregular heartbeat) “It’s just fun to be back playing the game you love and get back to competing at the highest level. It’s good to join back up with the guys who have done so well last season winning MLS Cup, and just trying to play a part in seeing if we can repeat. We didn’t get off to the start that we wanted, but in the second half we played really well, moved the ball really well and started getting more of a flow. We looked dangerous; looked like the team that was going to equalize the game, but we just came up a little bit short.”

(on the goal he scored) “It was a good ball in. The ‘keeper made a push save and I was just able to get a good first touch on it and tried to place it in the corner. I was fortunate enough to be at the right place at the right time to be able to get on the end of that.”

(on Houston’s play in the first 15 minutes of the game) “I think they came out with a lot of energy. They were dangerous; they were causing problems for us. I thought we were also a little bit rusty, some of our passes were kind of going astray, we weren’t keeping possession as well, and therefore we weren’t getting into a good rhythm. I also thought the call was harsh on the first goal. I didn’t think that that was a foul, but at the end of the day it is what it is and you try to bounce back from that. And then the second goal, it was a loss of possession. It was a ball played to me; I tried to get past one guy and then it was a 50-50 challenge. I ran into another dude and the ball went away, and unfortunately it bounced right for them and we were kind of backing up. I thought it was a great goal by them. So now you’re going in 2-0 at half and you’ve got to look at yourselves, and I thought the guys did a good job of coming out in the second half and fighting and showing character and trying to get something from the game. It looked like we were going to get a point at the end of the day, but we just came up a little bit short.”

(on the team’s response after halftime) “Well, the game was going to open up. They weren’t going to be able to press and have as much movement and be as tight on us as they were in the first half. The games always kind of open up and I thought we did a good job of keeping possession and moving the ball around good and getting a little bit more of a rhythm. I think everyone started playing with more confidence and we were moving the ball well, we were getting the ball wide. I think that’s when we were causing problems with some of the crossing and some of the give-and-go’s, and I think we looked like a team that was dangerous. In the first half, we weren’t causing enough problems and I think that just came down to us not getting into a rhythm and you could just see the difference in the second half with that.”

Seattle Sounders forward Jordan Morris:

(on how Houston started the game) “Yeah, I think like coach was saying to the team, they’re going to come after us. It’s away from home, the first game, they’re going to be fired up. And two good goals from them, so I think we’re going to learn from that. Talk about it and absorb the pressure. Especially because it’s going to be away from home, too. We have to learn from our mistakes there.”

(on what was different about the second half) “We just came out and played our game. We know we have the quality to do well. We came out and just played the way we know we can play. Hopefully we can carry that forward.”

(on the challenges posed by Houston defenders Adolfo Machado and Leonardo) “They are both good defenders. Fast, physical. I’ve got to to try to do a little bit better. But give them credit, they played a good game.”

(on the mood in the locker room after the game) “It is frustrating. We know we are better than what we showed. Especially in the first half we didn’t really show it. We always want to get the season off on the right foot and everybody in this locker room hates losing. So hopefully we can turn around next weekend.”

Seattle Sounders defender Gustav Svensson:

Houston Dynamo Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera:

(on the win) “So far, it’s been tough. A win over the reigning [MLS Cup] Champion in the opener of the 2017 season is a positive. We’re really happy, but it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be tough. We have to be measured about what we believe, but we continue to believe in what we’ve been doing and hopefully this will get better. We’re going to try to grow game by game.”

(on FW Erick Torres’ goal) “Well, it was good for him. It’s not just my emotion. I think if you’re a Houston Dynamo fan, you felt relief that Erick scored a goal. And it’s good for him. It’s good for the team. It’s good for the fans. It’s good for the club. It’s good for Erick Torres. It’s good for everyone, because it’s been – I don’t know how long – two years and he hasn’t scored for us. Now, in this first game, he scores. It’s positive. He works hard, he played 90 minutes. It’s going to give him confidence and everyone around him.”

(on whether things went according to his plan) “Yes. This is going to be us. We’re not going to be a team that’s going to be possession-oriented, because we don’t have those types of players. We have attackers; we have guys who are dynamic. We have midfielders who work hard. So this is going to be the Houston Dynamo. We faced a team that is very good – the reigning champions, with very talented players. But we were able to create options, to score and then we were able to hold their attack. We knew after a 2-0 halftime score, that they were going to come and we wanted to be able to not only hold them, but also have the possibility to create more options [to score]. We tried, and we conceded a goal and I think some of the fans thought, ‘Oh, my God. This is going to be similar,’ but no, the team kept a good mentality and worked hard and it was good. We created some other options and we were able to finish strong mentally and won 3 points. At the end, that’s the most important.”

(on Seattle having more possession and control in the second half) “Nothing specifically. I knew that they were going to have more possession than us, so I told the guys that they were going to have more possession than us, but it’s not just about having possession; it’s also about being sure that when we attack, we need to be more effective. We’re not going to be possession-oriented because we don’t have the type of players to do that, but we’re going to attack. We’re going to attack. We have the speed up front. We have players who want to score and attack. You can’t have everything in life. It’s like having the blanket on the airplane – you can either cover your feet, or you can cover your head, but you cannot cover both – so that’s us. And this is going to be us. This is going to be us working hard, this is going to be us believing in what we do, and this is going to be us facing every team with a good mentality, good intensity and thinking that we’re going to play the Dynamo way.”

(on the influence of forwards Romell Quioto and Alberth Elis) “Yes, positive impacts so far because they keep everyone busy. They kept the two wide backs for the Seattle Sounders very busy. So yes, they’re very good. Again, the opponent is very strong, very talented. That’s why they’re the champions. They’re not the champions because someone handed it to them. They earned that and they have good players, talented players, but we kept them busy. We kept them working hard and they had to take care of our guys, Alberth, Erick (Torres) and Romell doing what they like to do – attack, going 1v1, until they got tired. Then we got some fresh legs in and continued doing the same thing. That’s us. We’re not going to change.”

Houston Dynamo DF DaMarcus Beasley:

(on whether the Dynamo can keep up the pace they showed tonight all season) “I guess we’re going to see. Obviously there are some games you can’t play that way. But obviously with the weather, a little bit cooler, guys can sustain that pace through 90 minutes. It was good to see. The top three pressured, the whole team did a good job of working for each other, and obviously some things broke but we defended as a team. We gave away a couple good chances for them but hopefully we can see the tape and get better at that next week.”

(on his feelings when FW Erick Torres scored the first goal) “It makes me feel like we got a new player. I am so happy for him. Because he works so hard, even last year when he wasn’t scoring he still came to training every day and worked really hard. Even though he wasn’t playing, wasn’t scoring, he’s a guy that this year we’re going to count on, a lot. He knows that, I think he feels reborn, he came into preseason with his weight down and fit and ready to go. You can see that today with him pressuring with the top three. I am ecstatic for Erick, he has been working so hard and he got his reward tonight. And hopefully he can do that for the rest of the season not just one game.”

(on seeing Seattle FW Clint Dempsey back on the field) “Yeah, we had a couple conversations after and before halftime. It’s good to see him back. He’s a good friend of mine. I’ve been playing with him since I was 19, 20 years old. He’s a fighter, he’s a great character, great player; I don’t even have to say what he is as a player. It’s great to see him back, being back to full strength. It’s only going to help, obviously, Seattle but more, help the national team. Whenever (U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach) Bruce (Arena) decides to bring him in, whatever he sees fit. He’s going to be a real force for the national team and the next year and a half for the World Cup, well the qualifiers and hopefully the World Cup.”

Houston Dynamo MF Ricardo Clark:

(on the start to the new season) “Yeah, obviously we had a few instances last year where the end of the game wasn’t the best for us, but it’s a new year and a new team, and I thought we finished the game well. I think that’s a positive moving forward, I think we had a good game overall, came out well in the beginning, but the good thing is that we have a lot more to show and to give.”

(on the first half being fun) “There’s a lot of energy coming into the game; it was building up all preseason, this was king of our final buildup, so to say. There was a lot of energy, a lot of excitement, and playing at home adds to that. Like I said, I think we took advantage of that and did well.”

(on Erick “Cubo” Torres finally scoring for the Dynamo) “I’m happy for him. You know he’s been putting in the work this offseason and it paid off. He has a good mentality this year; he’s been playing with confidence, if he keeps it up then there’s many more to come.”

(on Clint Dempsey returning to the field after missing the end of last season with an irregular heartbeat) “Yeah it was great to see him back. I think he’s great for U.S. Soccer, what he’s done in the past, I think he still has much more to go in the future, and the national team needs him back and in form, and scoring a goal tonight is great for his confidence moving forward. I think he’s going to be good for his team and his country for a couple more years.”

(on the energy from the front three for the Dynamo tonight) “Yeah, those guys, that’s what they do. Their job is to get forward and create, and that’s what they put their energy into, in games, and that’s what we want them to do. Credit to (Dynamo FW) Romell (Quioto) for finishing it off early so we could get up 2-0 and get a little bit of a cushion. That was huge for us.”

Houston Dynamo DF A.J. DeLaGarza:

(on this overall thoughts on the match) “I thought we brought some good energy. Hopefully you’ll see a lot of that this year, what we did today, with the energy and the pressing. Obviously, we’re still learning about one another, so I think it can only get better. You saw, there were some flaws in our zones so we just have to do a little bit better at organizing. But for the most part, we’ll take three points after no one jawed us in to win this game, we’ll take it and move on.”

(on the difference between a “fun” first half and the “holding on” of the second) “I think that happens to a lot of teams around the world. When you’re up two to zero you get a little comfortable, the other team comes out after a little bit of halftime talking, fired up and wanting to come after you. At the end of the game you had (Seattle DF Román) Torres up top. Thankfully they didn’t try to launch too many balls up to him. Last year, this team wouldn’t have held on, so it’s good to see that we did. I think we can still do better at the end of the game, maybe taking the ball to the corners instead of looking for the third goal with just a couple minutes left. But, we’re still learning one another, and we’ll correct everything.”

(on the test of facing the champions as a new team) “We were talking about it just now, about how we were tired. When you think about it, we did play one of the better teams in this league, one of the better attacking corps teams in this league, who are very good defensively as well, so we definitely played one of the better teams, and the way we came out, at the end of the day we got a W, so we’re looking positive.”

Houston Dynamo FW Alberth Elis:

(on winning the game) “First of all, I am thankful to God. I think, we are happy with today’s victory. It wasn’t easy. We knew they are the reigning champions and that they were going to be complicated. I think, we are at home, we have to make ourselves be felt and we have to try to add points at the end.”

(on his first MLS game) “I think this is a league, you might say, where there is a little more freedom. I think normally there is a lot of one-on-one and I think that’s my forte, therefore I feel really well playing on the sides.”

(on debuting against the reigning champions) “Of course, that’s what we wanted to win. I think this was an important game to earn trust and now I am ready for the next.”

Houston Dynamo FW Romell Quioto (Translated from Spanish)

(on how he feels about a successful preseason) “I was excited with our preseason. It was good preparation for the regular season.”

(on if the team was nervous going into today’s opener) “No, we were calm. Our players are mature and we were ready.”

(on why the team struggled in the second half) “We lost the ball and that made things difficult for us, but thankfully we were able to hold on to the win.”

(on what it means to have Honduras so well-represented on the team) “That’s one of the reasons why we work so hard – to be able to represent our country and we will continue to do so.”

(on the chemistry between him and FW Erick Torres) “We work really well together and want to make sure we continue to communicate to work even better.”

(on his goal celebration when he ran from the corner of the field to hug Dynamo Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera on the bench) “When something good happens, you always want to celebrate with the whole group, including the coach.”

Houston Dynamo FW Erick Torres

(on his feelings after the game) “Happy, happy for these three points, for the team and that I was able to score my first goal. I really wanted to celebrate; I really wanted to score my first goal. Thank God it was possible and we got the three points.”

(on the team’s dynamic) “No doubt. I think during the first half we knew we had to take the lead, go to halftime with one, two or three goals on our side and that’s what we did. In the second half, the defense did a great job. During the first half, we went with the lead, we did our job. During the second half, the defense worked on keeping the score and that we didn’t get the score tie.”

(on his free kick) “That’s something that people haven’t seen me do a lot, but I try to practice them as well; I try to analyze what my teammates do on free kicks. I saw it was an area where I have seen my ex-teammates in Mexico, (defender) Raul Lopez, who usually goes to that area and seeks the goalies post; I remembered that it always works for him. I decided to take the ball. I talked with (FW Romell) Quioto and (FW) Alberth Elis about blocking the keeper’s vision. That’s how it went. Well, thank God that worked out, to the post of the goalie and he thought it was going over the wall.”

(on his mood after being able to score again) “It was very important for me to be able to score. To be honest, I released a lot of the pressure I had for scoring, but those are soccer things. I always l take that pressure as a professional. I knew that the fans are expecting things from me; that’s just a reality. The front office and the owners of this club are expecting many things from me as well. I take everything as it comes, I trust my qualities, I know what I am capable of doing. Now that I was able to score, I feel much better, I feel much more confident to keep working during the week and go for all other ones that will come this season.”

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