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Seattle Sounders vs. Sporting Kansas City: Highlights, stats and quotes

“I’m not always big on the stats – Jordan got his first official assist [of the season]. But he’s been assisting the team and scoring goals the entire year.” -Brian Schmetzer

The Seattle Sounders took care of business at home to extend their unbeaten streak to six games, defeating Sporting KC 1-0 thanks to Clint Dempsey’s headed goal in the first half. Two solid defenses squared off in the match, though Seattle had the better chances on the evening once they adjusted to SKC’s pressing style, and had a couple of golden opportunities go wide of the net.

Seattle are now 10-7-7, with a GD of +6. They have 37 points through 24 games, or 1.54 PPG. They’re in a three-way tie for first place on points in the Western Conference (Sporting Kansas City, Houston Dynamo), but they are in second place on tiebreakers.


Seattle Sounders FC 1 - Sporting Kansas City 0

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Venue: Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field

Referee: Baldomero Toledo

Assistants: Eduardo Mariscal, Anthony Vasoli

Fourth Official: Henrik Karlsson

VAR: Allen Chapman

Attendance: 43,530

Weather: 65 degrees and partly cloudy


SEA - Clint Dempsey (Jordan Morris, Cristian Roldan) 36'


SKC - James Musa (caution) 27'

SEA - Nicolás Lodeiro (caution) 45'+1'

SEA - Román Torres (caution) 66'

SKC - Jimmy Medranda (caution) 90'+3'


Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Kelvin Leerdam, Román Torres, Chad Marshall, Joevin Jones; Cristian Roldan, Gustav Svensson, Nicolás Lodeiro - captain, Clint Dempsey (Nouhou 87'), Jordan Morris (Lamar Neagle 90'+1'); Will Bruin (Osvaldo Alonso 59')

Substitutes not used: Tyler Miller, Víctor Rodríguez, Tony Alfaro, Jordy Delem

Total shots: 15 (Dempsey, 4)

Shots on goal: 5 (Dempsey/Roldan, 2)

Fouls: 11 (Torres, 3)

Offside: 6 (Lodeiro, 3)

Corner-kicks: 6 (Lodeiro, 6)

Saves: 3 (Frei, 3)

Sporting Kansas City - Tim Melia; Saad Abdul-Salaam, Erik Palmer-Brown, Matt Besler - captain, Seth Sinovic; James Musa, Soni Mustivar (Benny Feilhaber 63'), Jimmy Medranda, Gerso Fernandes (Cristian Lobato 72'), Daniel Salloi; Soony Saad (Latif Blessing 60')

Substitutes not used: Andrew Dykstra, Ilie Sanchez, Diego Rubio, Roger Espinoza

Total shots: 8 (Fernandes, 2)

Shots on goal: 3 (Three players, 1)

Fouls: 13 (Three players, 2)

Offside: 1 (Fernandes, 1)

Corner-kicks: 3 (Saad, 3)

Saves: 4 (Melia, 4)



On Stefan Frei earning his fourth straight shutout:

“I’ll address it in the sense that when we made that announcement in the locker room, the first thing that Stef did was start pointing at all of his teammates and saying, ‘No, it’s you guys, it’s you guys,’ because that’s the kind of character that Stef has. Certainly when you talk about scoreless streaks, it goes to the goalkeeper. When you talk about scoring streaks -- you know, [Clint] Dempsey’s 50th goal for this club – that’s another individual stat on the other end, the attacking end. But the team, front to back, defended well – including Clint – in front of Stef. And from Stef going the opposite direction, the team was helping us get the ball front to back [and] give Dempsey his one chance that he needed. So I think the overall team performance in all of the statistical categories is something that team in there, that group of players, really believes in. We always hear it from Stef, but you listen to Clint on all of his interviews and he’s a team guy. He will do whatever it takes to help this team win. And I think that’s what really is important for me in breaking a team record of 400 plus-or-minus minutes [without conceding a goal]. That’s really important because it’s a team record.”

On Jordan Morris’ impact on the attack when he’s consistently threatening on the wing:

“Well, he got that assist from the right side, and we had talked about when Nico [Lodeiro] takes a corner kick way over here [on the left], well Jordan can just recover here [on the right], and he was pretty effective from there. So it gave us some ideas as a coaching staff, like ‘Hey, we can move pieces around and stuff like that to get Jordy untracked.’ But the ball was tremendous. It was a tremendous ball across and Clint does what he did. So we were very pleased with Jordan’s effort. And again, the statistics – sometimes, to Mark’s point, I’m not always big on the stats – Jordan got his first official assist [of the season]. But he’s been assisting the team and scoring goals the entire year.”

On being at the top of the Western Conference:

“I think I said this at training the other day, but ask me when there’s like five or six [games] left. Right now, yes. Obviously it’s a nice way to end a Saturday afternoon, but there’s some other games that are going to take place later this afternoon that might interrupt us being in first place. So what we’re doing is just making sure that we take care of our stuff, our business. We have a favorable schedule down the stretch and we’ll just see what happens. If we take care of the games here at home, we’ll see what happens.”

On the boost Osvaldo Alonso provided when he checked in:

“[It was] great. You didn’t get to see the spirit of the group just rise up. And then his composure on the ball was great, it helped us because we weren’t having a very good possession game today. So I think he came and helped us in those critical moments. And then you can tell he’s a little feisty there at the end – things got a little heated – so that’s the kind of game that Ozzie enjoys playing, actually. So it was great to have him back.”

On the impact of a consistent starting lineup on the shutout streak:

“It’s been a massive help. Look, Chad Marshall, three-time [MLS] Defender of the Year, does great, right? A lot of individual accolades for that guy. Román Torres is a beast, you know, he does a really great job. We all know how good Joevin Jones is. Until we had that fourth piece of the puzzle, we were a little disjointed. So having some familiarity on a back four is always suport important. Now what I would add to that is this: When Nouhou steps on the field, he does a great job. It gives me the flexibility to push Joevin up a line. When Brad [Evans] was out there, he gave us some of that senior leadership that helped us. So I think overall, our team defending, if we’re looking at a back four unit, has been pretty good. When we’ve had the right guys on the field, I think it’s been pretty good.”


On the feeling of the team now versus two months ago:

“I would say confidence, which is what happens when you get on a streak like we’re on. But also there are just defining moments during a season where the team just has to dig deep and show a lot of character and moments that stand out to me is being 3-0 down versus New England and…drawing that game, and then being 3-0 down versus D.C. United and coming back and winning 4-3. I think those type of gut check moments a team can fold but we showed resilience and character and it helps with the momentum.”

On the consistency of the lineups:

“Things are going really well, but we are able to have that competition for spots and we have been fortunate enough to have a pretty consistent lineup but we’ve had players that need to step up when they are called and that just shows how much depth is on this team. We hope to keep pushing and end this season on the right note and it’s all about making that push for playoffs.”

On reaching the 50-goal mark:

“It feels great. The team is well balanced. I want to chip in with goals and help this team win and do some cool things so I’ve enjoyed my time here but there’s more to accomplish as I finish my time here.”


On the 400-minute shutout streak:

“It’s a total team effort. It’s a record that is only achieveable as a team. Everyone deserves full credit. There’s offense and defense and sometimes people try to focus too much time on player’s roles. We think that a goalkeeper is the first attacker and a striker is the first defender. When we achieve something like this defensivly we all share in the spoils.”

On the growing consistency on the back line:

“The consistency always helps because you get to figure out what player’s tendancies are and it lends to erase some errand passes. Again, the fact that we’ve had to go to depth has helped as well, we have shown that we have it.”

On the feeling of this season’s win streak compared to last season:

“Every season is different. I think that it would be nice for once to really start a season on fire but I think we have enough veterans to know that in this league and in sports and a team sport environment that every team will go through ups and downs and there will be cold streaks and hot streaks, the challenge to make the cold streaks a small as possible and maximize the hot streak for as long as you can. That knowledge has allowed us to not panic, just keep your head down, show up for work, bust your butt in training and get better and at some point things will turn and when they turn you want to maximize that hot streak.”


On the overall team’s performance:

“Yeah it was a team performance, a total team effort. You know, I don’t know if it was 13 or 14 guys that ended up playing today that made an impact. That’s a good side right there [in SKC] they have good players coming off the bench and you can see their quality regardless of their midweek game. They are ready to play and you know it took all 13-14 guys to end up winning that game.”

On the similarities between last season and this season:

“I feel like this year we have a lot more quality players I would say. Last year, much like today, we grinded out games. This year in these last couple games we are able to score three or four goals and that’s the biggest difference between last year and this year. They feel like totally different runs, but we are just happy to be back where we belong.”

On the game feeling like a grind:

“Their style is really good, their players fit their style really well. They bomb their right backs and left back forward. They make it very difficult, they spread the field, and that makes the game very difficult even at home.”


On the match:

“I think we put the effort in. The game came down to one chance. They scored and we weren’t very dangerous in the attacking third. We lacked a little bit of a final push. We’re just mentally and physically tired. When you bring in so many changes like we did, it’s a little bit disjointed in the team, but more importantly, those guys aren’t all 90 minutes fit. That had a little to do with it as well. We have a couple of days off and we’ll build up to our next games. [The days off] are well deserved and needed.”

On what James Musa brought to the game after his recent signing:

“He actually played pretty well. I thought he was calm and cool in the game and the moment never got to him. I thought his positioning was good. He was good on the ball, he was confident...actually think he had a really good game.”

On any adjustments made when Seattle brought Osvaldo Alonso in for Will Bruin:

“That didn’t really affect us at all. It was more getting Benny [Feilhaber] in, getting Latif [Blessing] in, bringing [Cristian] Lobato on…trying to get something more in the attacking third because we had to get back in the game. Originally we maybe wanted to bring Jimmy [Medranda] off, but he was playing well and I thought he could manage the 90 minutes so we got through it that way. We just didn’t get enough time to get those guys in.”

On how the team handled the Open Cup and road trip:

“I don’t think we got worked over by any means today. I thought we were good on the ball. Like I said, the only thing we weren’t really good on was we weren’t dangerous in the final third. We didn’t really put a ton of pressure on them in and around the goal. Outside of that, I thought our game was good. They had one chance and scored…three points. That’s the way it goes sometimes. I thought we handled it pretty well, especially with the number of changes we made. Seven changes is a lot for a team to have to deal with.”

On if any adjustments need to be made defensively:

“When you have guys who are away for international duty for as long as they are, you’re going to be a little bit inconsistent in some areas on the field. Our results have been good. No doubt, with regular training, I’m not really concerned about that at all.”


On making his MLS debut:

“I thought it was alright. I kept the ball well. I gave it away a couple of times. I don’t think it was too bad. I am disappointed with the result. I don’t think we created many chances to be honest. When you don't’ create chances, you probably aren't going to score. I had one shot on target. I think it was our only shot. We probably could have done better. I haven’t seen it back.”

On his mental preparation and the team’s preparation:

“The coach just said go out and have fun, enjoy yourself and take it as another game and rise to the occasion sort of thing. I thought I put my mark on the game, and made a few good plays and did what I needed to do. Overall it could have been a bit better I think.”

On the feel of the locker room after the match:

“Obviously we have a week of training now before the next game. I guess we just were in the final of the Open Cup and we have 10 games to go and we are at the top of the table. Just push on and win the next 10 games, nine games, whatever.”

On playing in Seattle and the atmosphere:

“The atmosphere is great. It is a nice stadium, great fan base. It was fun to play and a great environment to play my first game in.”


On the loss:

“It’s tough. That’s how it goes sometimes. We just have to re-group and I think there were some positives that we can take from the game. There was a bunch of different guys with good performances. We had some new guys step up, get some good experience in a difficult place to play. We just have to use this moment and make it stronger for our final push.”

On playing with a different lineup and having some success:

“It is probably a credit to the way we play and guys being ready when their number is called. We have a very certain way that we want to go about things and everybody is locked into that. So it really doesn't matter who is on the field. We are going to keep the same style of play. Each position has a certain set of characteristics and responsibilities that go with it. You have to give the credit to the guys that sometimes don’t always play, but most of them did well tonight, and took advantage of their opportunity.”

On preparing for today’s game after the 120-minute U.S. Open Cup game:

“I mean, I feel fine. I would feel better if we would have gotten a point. It would feel even better. It is just something that you have to be ready for. Take care of your body on and off of the field. There are always times during the season where weeks come up like this. This is why we put in the work in preseason to prepare your body to get through it.”

On preparing defensively for Morris, Dempsey and Seattle's offense:

“We just play the way we always play. We try and have a good block in front of us. As a back line we try to stay together, have a high line. Overall, I thought we did well. We always come in here with a good amount of confidence. Typically we play well. At the end of the day, Clint made a good play. For the most part I thought we did a good job with both of those guys.”

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