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Seattle Sounders vs. Toronto FC: Highlights, stats and quotes

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“Overall, there is a lot of frustration in that locker room. We are tired of the same storyline of extended possession and getting a bunch of chances [and not scoring]. That storyline is getting very old, very fast.” -Brian Schmetzer

It was another frustrating day at home for the Seattle Sounders after they failed to overcome the early one-goal deficit to Toronto FC and recorded their first loss at CenturyLink Field in 2017.

Referee Jair Marrufo called the foul on Román Torres as Jozy Altidore went down in the box in the 23rd minute, and the Sounders again played from behind for the rest of the match after the US international slammed home the PK. This time there would be no miraculous comeback in the final minutes; the Sounders failed to break down a stubborn TFC defense. The Sounders are not happy.

Seattle are now 2-3-4, with a goal difference of +2. The have 10 points through nine games, or 1.11 PPG, and they sit at eighth in the Western Conference.


MATCH SUMMARY

Seattle Sounders FC 0 - Toronto FC 1

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Venue: CenturyLink Field

Referee: Jair Marrufo

Assistants: Frank Anderson, Adam Garner

Fourth Official: Baboucarr Jallow

Attendance: 41,468

Weather: 54 degrees and sunny

SCORING SUMMARY

TOR - Jozy Altidore (penalty) 23'

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY

SEA - Jordy Delem (caution) 13'

SEA - Osvaldo Alonso (caution) 46'

TOR - Chris Mavinga (caution) 70'

LINEUPS & STATS

Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Jordy Delem (Harry Shipp 57'), Gustav Svensson, Román Torres (Tony Alfaro 74'), Joevin Jones; Osvaldo Alonso - captain, Cristian Roldan, Nicolás Lodeiro, Clint Dempsey, Jordan Morris (Alvaro Fernandez 71'); Will Bruin

Substitutes not used: Tyler Miller, Brad Evans, Seyi Adekoya, Zach Mathers

Total shots: 12 (Dempsey, 4)

Shots on goal: 2 (Dempsey/Morris, 1)

Fouls: 10 (4 players, 2)

Offside: 1 (Svensson, 1)

Corner-kicks: 8 (Lodeiro, 8)

Saves: 4 (Frei, 4)

Toronto FC - Clint Irwin; Nick Hagglund, Chris Mavinga, Justin Morrow, Jason Hernandez; Raheem Edwards (Armando Cooper 63'), Michael Bradley - captain, Marco Delgado, Benoit Cheyrou, Jay Chapman (Jonathan Osorio 65'); Jozy Altidore (Tosaint Ricketts 80')

Substitutes not used: Alex Bono, Tsubasa Endoh, Jordan Hamilton, Oyvind Alseth

Total shots: 11 (Altidore, 4)

Shots on goal: 5 (Altidore, 2)

Fouls: 14 (Altidore, 4)

Offside: 0

Corner-kicks: 5 (Bradley, 5)

Saves: 2 (Irwin, 2)


POST-MATCH QUOTES

SOUNDERS FC HEAD COACH BRIAN SCHMETZER

On the substitutions:

“I just felt that the ankle was still bugging Jordan [Morris]. He is not 100 percent, and Román [Torres’] hamstring got a little tight. Those were subs that were made because we had to.”

On what was missing in the match:

“[We are missing] the final pass, final movement, a little luck. A little bit more desire to get in the box and make stuff happen. Guys have to make plays. We, as a staff, have to make sure we are putting guys in good positions so they can make plays. Overall, there is a lot of frustration in that locker room. We are tired of the same storyline of extended possession and getting a bunch of chances [and not scoring]. That storyline is getting very old, very fast.”

On Gustav Svensson’s offside call:

“I watched the replay – the linesman was correct; the decision was correct. Gustav [Svensson] made a play on the ball and froze the goalkeeper. I don’t have any issues with that – the refs didn’t lose the game. At this club, we will never blame the referees for why we lose games. They have a hard job to do and they do their job to the best of their abilities. The fact of the matter is that we have to make plays.”

On if the team was playing with a sense of panic in the final minutes:

“I wouldn’t say it’s panic – I would say that, yeah, we were desperate to score. We were sending numbers up front and getting counter-attacked too much for my liking. That’s just the way the game goes. When you’re down a goal, you’ve got to chase it.”

On how the finishing could improve:

“We could train more, but I think we’ve trained a lot on how we attack. I think our attacking movements are pretty good – it’s just getting the monkey off our back and getting the first goal. Against LA and against New York, we scored first and ended up winning the games. The rest of the season has been a challenge.”

On what was said in the locker room after the match:

“Reality is that we lost a game because we couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net. Reality is that we are still a good team. Reality is that no one is in panic mode. Reality is that we know there is no magic formula that we can, halfway through the season, start to change things around, so they need to start thinking about how they can help the team win. The message to the coaching staff is that we need to help them be successful. We need to give them the tools, the confidence, the training to be successful.”

SOUNDERS FC GOALKEEPER STEFAN FREI

On what Frei saw from his team:

“A whole lot of possession, decent chances, no goals, no points. I thought we played well but it’s difficult when in this league you go down in games it would be relaly nice for a change to start with a strong and go ahead. Make things much easier. Especially with the way we play. But when we are chasing and they are countering it makes it difficult. We played well, but in the end we have to start awarding ourselves with points because that’s the only thing that matters.”

On improvements on counter-attack defense from last week to this week:

“We did alright. There wasn’t too much. Jozy [Altidore] made the best of his few chances that he ad and that’s what makes a really good striker obviously. I think we should have been a bit smarter. We know that he likes to check, lay off the ball, and move off the ball and that’s how he gets that PK and that other chance in the second half. So a bit tighter there but theres’ always going to be chances in games that’s just the way it is. We need to stay strong and keep working hard and turn all that possession and those chances into some goals.”

On the tough road trip ahead:

“We’ve already had a tough spell of road games and done alright. It is what it is in this league, it’s nothing new. You’re going to have to go away from and get some points. A bit frustrating because you have to get points at home. You have to take care of our business at home. We weren’t able to get too much out of these two games at home which sucks we got to move on and learn from it and put in a good week in practice. Because there is a quick three games coming up that we need to be healthy for and hopefully get some good results.”

SOUNDERS FC FORWARD WILL BRUIN

On what was missing from the final product:

“The final pass. We were getting in decent spots but we didn’t have any conviction on the final pass to finish. That was the difference, one-nothing.”

On the significance of the crowd:

“Yeah for sure the crowd is great as always and it’s very disspointing to not be able to reward them with goals and a result and that is something that is something that we take a lot of pride in playing in front of them. We have to get better from there.”

On what Toronto’s defense was doing to keep top four off balance:

“They got their one PK goal and then they put 9 to 10 guys behind goal for the rest of the game hoping to get on the counter. You know when there’s a mass of people in the box it’s hard to find things and you know we just have to learn from this that you can’t be susceptible to this.”

SOUNDERS FC DEFENDER GUSTAV SVENSSON

On Toronto missing some players and coming with a different lineup:

“When you hear that they are changing the lineup you have different thoughts in your head. But none of them are, ‘this is going to be a more easy game.’ My experiecne is that it is a more difficult game. They put hungry guys in, but the game was I feel like many other games we’ve played this year. We control the game, control the ball, but we let them score and we can’t score. We have some work to do.”

On what’s missing on the final third:

“I don’t know I think sometimes we have too much possession. That we are not as sharp in the last third when we have the ball. Not that much. If we have one chance to score we may be more sharp than if we have the ball [a lot more.] Sometimes we are not as focused as we should be.”

On the comfortablility of the back four:

“I think we play good. The way we play it’s very difficult sometimes, we play with a lot of guys up front. We want to have possession and we want to be on their half so we push our fullbacks up very high. Sometimes it’s difficult for us in the back but I think we do a pretty good job so I’m pretty comfortable.”

TORONTO FC HEAD COACH GREG VANNEY

On getting this result despite missing some players:

“We have a deep team. We have a lot of talented guys. My toughest job this year is trying to keep the guys happy because they all want to play and they’re all worthy of playing. When certain guys can’t make the trip for one reason or another, then it’s an opportunity for other guys to step up. And guys all across the board stepped up defensively where we were missing a few guys and it was a gutsy performance. There were some very good moments of soccer for us and then a whole 90 minutes of grit and determination and heart.”

On this week, getting four straight wins and leading the Eastern Conference:

“It’s a great run. We knew we were inches away at the start of the season just missing opportunities to get results. We came away with a lot of draws in that stretch, but we knew we were close. This is a different type of performance today when you come on the road, after a mid-week game, coming into a stadium like this against a good team -- it’s a different type of win. It shows that we’re not just a good team, but we’ve got a great team that, in tough circumstances, can really gut out a win. It’s an important week and we now have to turn around and play Columbus, who’s another Eastern Conference foe that’s accumulating points. We’re going to try and keep it going. We have to run the streaks as long as you can.”

On Jozy Altidore’s performance today:

“Part of what we did today was try to make Jozy the focal point as the striker and allow him to play a little more central and have other guys working around him, underneath him and off of him. When [Sebastian Giovinco] is in that role, it’s more of a two striker combination and that’s a whole different beast in and of itself. In this game, on the road, we decided to overload the midfield a little bit to try to deal with them and to have moments where we could keep possession, work off of Jozy and get opportunities over the course of the game. He played outstanding. Another gusty performance for Jozy. It’s been a long time, I think, since Jozy has played three matches in a week at the length that he’s played so it’s great to see him continue his form.”

On if it’s sunk in that the team is off to its best start in team history (19 points in 10 games):

“It hasn’t sunk in because I’m still taking in this game. Two weeks ago, a lot of people were concerned because we weren’t necessarily turning some of those games into wins. But we knew we were close and it was a matter of working through a few things in getting the season started. How quickly the feeling can change when you have a couple weeks where you put together at set of wins. This group is building on the momentum. Today was a gutsy performance as much as it was anything and you have to have those over the course of the season. A lot of guys stepped up – guys who’ve been playing a lot, as well as guys who haven’t been playing a lot. They all stepped up and were outstanding today. We’re happy to be where we are, but we’re not content. We’ll keep pushing.”

On if this was a statement win today:

“It’s nothing compared to the (MLS Cup) final, but our message in a tough week was to come take a little bit of something back if you can. In terms of motivation, I think that helps a little bit when you’re grinding out at the end. Getting a result in the champion’s stadium, it means something. And, as I said to the guys, in a long season, there are a few defining moments and for us, this could be one of those when you come into a tough place to play, in a short turnaround, with a really tough flight and grind out a great result.”

TORONTO FC DEFENDER NICK HAGGLUND

On coming out of Seattle with a win on a short week:

“It is a road three points. I think that is a great look for our team. I think it shows are depth. I think it was a group performance by our team.”

On having played all three roles on the back line this season:

“I think I have been in the system for a while and I kind of know how each one works. Being in the middle definitely helps me to look at both sides and what is going on. I think getting to play the middle was really good for me as my development as a player.”

On the team having the best starting record in Toronto FC history:

“Obviously it is good to have the best record in history at this point of the season but I think it is just one game at a time. We are looking at Columbus now. Just Columbus. We are going to put a performance out there. Three points. Three points and we will just see what happens.”

On the difficulty playing the strong Seattle offense:

“I think they have a lot of talent. It is a credit to the guys, we grinded today. There was a lot of great performances from everyone. From the midfield, to guys that stepped in. I think it was really good and I am proud of the guys and the way they worked.”

TORONTO FC MIDFIELDER MICHAEL BRADLEY

On preparing for the game:

“We spoke before that if we wanted there was a million excuses today. Short rest, brutal travel day, early kick off, turf, a few guys at home – you name it. Good teams with real mentalities find ways on all types of days to compete and to win. I thought the mentality and the spirit, tactically we had things spot on. We played against a good team in a good stadium, that is never an easy place to play. I really felt like we had things totally under control. I think this is a big win. Momentum counts for a lot in this league. We had momentum coming in and now to pick up another three points against a team like that in this stadium keeps us moving forward. A lot of different guys got on the field today which is big. We feel like we have the best team in the league. Not just 1-11 but 12 and on, but obviously that gets put to the test at different times. It is up to us to prove that. I think, every guy that stepped on the field today came through in a big way.”

On your thoughts on guys playing well today:

“You don’t get anywhere with two guys or three guys or even just eleven. Over the course of a long season you need a team. You need every single guy ready to contribute big ways when there moment comes. We have a lot of good players. I spoke about a few weeks ago after one of the home games. Look, our best attacking players are some of the best attacking players in the league, and rightfully so. They get a lot of attention and a lot of credit for everything they do for our team in terms of goals and assists and being dangerous. For people who don't really watch, for people who don't know really what they are watching, people who don't really watch with a close eye, it is easy to look past so many of our players. So many of our young players continue to improve in big ways. I think really across the board we have a lot of good players that kind of fly under the radar and I think again those are words it is up to every single guy and us as a group to make sure when we get the chance to prove that, that we do. I think today was a big win. Very proud, and again we want to keep ourselves going. We will enjoy this for a little while but the turnaround is quick. It is a big game in Columbus on Wednesday and we are going to go there ready to come away with another result.”

TORONTO FC FORWARD JOZY ALTIDORE

On the penalty and penalty shot:

“I just tried to create a little space for myself and Jay Chapman played me a good ball, return ball, I felt the contact and I could've have kept going, he fouled me and I tried to score the goal and that's pretty much it.”

On the tactical setup and how it suited you:

“Obviously we played the 4-5-1. I thought the extra midfielder in the midfield helped us a lot. Gave us an extra guy to play with. I thought Jay and Marc [Delgado] were really bright, really sharp on the day and helped us create a lot of danger in the first half.”

On the great start for Toronto and how important that is after 10 games:

“Yeah obviously it is good for us going forward in terms of the mindset. It is good for the fans. We are obviously trying to do something special here. It is a work in progress for sure. But I think we have had a really good start and it is important for us to just keep going and try to build on this.”

On winning and wanting to play again soon:

“Yeah it is a bit of a catch-22. Because, obviously it will be our third, fourth game in a short span of time. It’s tough but I think the guys are up for it. We do a good job of keeping ourselves fit. Yeah, Wednesday is another big match for us.”