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Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers: Highlights, stats and quotes

“When guys have their chance, they have to step up and have the concentration to put balls away. So that is something that we will train on, and train some more, and train some more, until we can get it right.” -Brian Schmetzer

The Seattle Sounders failed to put away a Cascadia rival for the second time in a week, extending their unbeaten run after their 1-1 draw against the Portland Timbers at CenturyLink Field. The team is frustrated with their current offensive form, but will find some comfort in their much improved place in the standings over the last few weeks.

Seattle are now 11-7-9, with a +7 GD. They have 42 points through 27 games, or 1.56 PPG, and they sit in first place in the Western Conference.



Seattle Sounders FC 1 - Portland Timbers 1

Saturday, August 27, 2017

Venue: Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field

Referee: Mark Geiger

Assistants: Frank Anderson, Logan Brown

Fourth Official: Baboucarr Jallow

VAR: Victor Rivas

Attendance: 51,796

Weather: 78 degrees and mostly sunny


SEA - Cristian Roldan 18'

POR - Diego Valeri (penalty) 45'+2'


POR - Sebastian Blanco (caution) 20'

POR - Lawrence Olum (caution) 70'

SEA - Nouhou (ejection) 90'+3'


Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Kelvin Leerdam, Román Torres, Chad Marshall, Nouhou; Osvaldo Alonso - captain; Cristian Roldan, Nicolás Lodeiro, Clint Dempsey, Jordan Morris (Lamar Neagle 83'); Will Bruin (Victor Rodriguez 61')

Substitutes not used: Tyler Miller, Aaron Kovar, Tony Alfaro, Jordy Delem, Oniel Fisher

Total shots: 17 (Roldan, 4)

Shots on goal: 6 (Roldan, 3)

Fouls: 14 (Lodeiro, 3)

Offside: 1 (Bruin, 1)

Corner-kicks: 2 (Lodeiro/Rodriguez, 1)

Saves: 2 (Frei, 2)

Portland Timbers - Jeff Attinella; Zarek Valentin, Larrys Mabiala, Roy Miller, Vytas Andriuskevicius; Diego Chara, Darlington Nagbe, Dairon Asprilla (Lawrence Olum 61'), Deigo Valeri - captain, Sebastian Blanco; Darren Mattocks (Jeremy Ebobisse 76')

Substitutes not used: Kendall McIntosh, Alvas Powell, Ben Zemanski, Amobi Okugo, Victor Arboleda

Total shots: 15 (Blanco, 4)

Shots on goal: 3 (Valeri, 2)

Fouls: 14 (Blanco, 4)

Offside: 0

Corner-kicks: 6 (Valeri, 6)

Saves: 5 (Attinella, 5)



On where his head is at after the result:

“Disappointment. I’m going to go back to the Vancouver match, as well. You’re playing your two archrivals, you have chances in Vancouver to put that game away and you have chances to put Portland away and you don’t do it. I’m disappointed. I think, again, everybody in the locker room is disappointed. I’m going to comment on the game because Portland was very good in the first half, so you have to give them some credit. But then in the second half, I thought we came out and created some clean looks on goal that we should have put away, and then the last 10-12 minutes is just throwing everything and the kitchen sink at the goal, and they were able to keep it at 1-1. So, I’m disappointed.”

On what the team did differently to create more chances in the second half:

“Well, the game was an open game from the get-go. I said at halftime that it was more like a track meet than a soccer match. Jordy [Morris] got himself in twice on good through balls, he got himself in in the first half a couple of times through. It was going to happen, we were going to get our looks. I don’t think it was anything different, just a renewed sense of concentration, doing what we do best. What are Jordan’s strengths? Getting in behind. What are Will [Bruin’s] strengths? Back to goal, No. 9, and getting guys involved in the play. The guys as usual came out in the second half willing to prove that they could put on a better performance than the first half.”

On whether the team adjusted to Portland’s high press:

“I would say it wasn’t the high press, I would say it was the failings of our own club. I didn’t think that we played good soccer in that first half. Sometimes teams get into a cycle. So Portland in the first five minutes of the game kind of had some corner kicks, pinned us back and everything, and then we had to get back and defend for longer periods of time. Then we’d win possession of the ball and then we’d miss an easy pass, or we’d have to defend, defend, defend, and they had us under a little bit of pressure, and instead of having that little bit of composure, we’d just kick the ball down the field and they’d retrieve the ball and put more pressure on us. We weren’t able to break that cycle, and then guys get tired because they’re defending so much. Then their legs get heavy and their minds slow down, and they can’t make another pass. I think we fixed it halftime, so I would say it’s mostly our doing.”

On what’s been missing the last two matches:

“I can’t remember the Vancouver stats, but I remember we had a lot of shots from inside the box. Tonight we had 12 from inside the box, total of seventeen. Duels, again, we won 55 percent of the duels. Our passing was good – they out possessed us because of that first half. I can’t put my finger on it. When guys have their chance, they have to step up and have the concentration to put balls away. So that is something that we will train on, and train some more, and train some more, until we can get it right.”

On how the international break will impact the team’s ability to work over the break:

“That’s a very good question, a very astute question. I’m very proud of the fact that this club has nine internationals, and I don’t know if that included [Jordy] Delem or not, so that could have been 10. It shows that the organization is acquiring very, very good players – players that play at a high level – so that’s something that’s very, very good for me as a coach. I think we’ll have a couple training days before we come back. And I think with every international player that leaves – I’ll use Cristian [Roldan] as an example. When he came back [from the CONCACAF Gold Cup] he really found his form. Jordan was the same way. When Jordan went away during that little break there in the Gold Cup, I think he came back and he scored some goals there, so that was good for his confidence. Each situation is different, but we’ll still have a couple of training days where we can impact the players. The season is a long season, so that’s September 10th against the [LA] Galaxy or whatever, we still have five more games after that plus the playoffs.”

On Jordan Morris missing two chances:

“Young players go through ups and downs, senior players go through ups and downs. Fredy Montero was a streaky guy, Clint wasn’t scoring as many goals earlier in the year. Jordan will find his form. What I was pleased about was that Jordan actually made the right movements and got in on goal. So the last final piece of the action – yes, he is a young player and he needs that experience – I think it would really help him if it he was able to finish one of those. It would help his confidence, but he scored a winning goal for the U.S. team [in the Gold Cup Final], and hopefully he’ll come back to us ready to go.”


On the feeling in the locker room after the game:

“Mixed feelings. You know we felt like we were the better team today. We created chances, we were unable to finish them and similar storyline to Vancouver. You know they tie it up. So we feel like the team that lost points today.”

Walking through the opening goal:

“Yeah I mean it was a set play. I closed in, I tried to react to it. You know Román was kind of tusling for the ball. I thought I could make a play and get closer and it ricoched off my shin and it went in so I’m going to celebrate.”

On what was missing in the second half to get the winning goal:

“Just that final shot. You know that communication between me and Kelvin on the header, missed opportunities in the final third one-v-one. Just needed to be better in the final third and score that one chance we get.”


On the comparison to the Vancouver game:

“The Vancouver game we had a lot of chances. We were up 10 men and still we draw. This game with the atmosphere you know it’s a different game, a rivalry game. They had more control in the first half. But in the end I feel that we had bigger chances. I feel that we could have won.”

On the crowd size:

“During the game you don’t watch it. But during the end you see it. Especially when Nouhou got a red card then you hear everything. It’s nice, it’s very helpful for us when our fans are supporting. I didn’t even think we played the best soccer we can, but we had the support of the fans. By that we created some chances.”

On how Portland sat in during the second half:

“Yeah we tried to play a little bit short and play a long ball to the side, but it was difficult to have some tall guys in the box and you could see that we could only break it down on the side and with the speed of Jordan [Morris]. We should be reminded of the good things about this game. We are still undefeated. We will try to play better soccer next game.”


On what needed to be done in the final third:

“I believe it was about being more composed and making better decisions. We were getting the last few passes wrong. We were possibly playing a little bit rushed. But even with that we were creating opportunities.”

On the crowd size:

“It’s very impressive. The way that they support, we feel that support always. We are happy to have fans like that and that’s even another reason why we want to win. I feel like we are one of the MLS teams where even if we play on the road we have fans supporting us and here at home always feeling it in the stadium so that’s very encouraging.”

On whether or not the games tonight and in Vancouver feel like losses:

“Yes [they do.] Truth is that they do feel like losses, we feel that we deserved the results. We created situations but missed many opportunites. We need to have those opportunites but also the chances to materialize those opportunities.”


On the match:

“It’s a good result. We came here for three points – you saw that in the first half. We didn’t come in here to sit back. We came in here to attack and to win the game…I was really pleased with that first half especially. I thought they were a bit better probably than us in the second half. Jeff [Attinella] came up with a couple of big saves. We had a couple little half chances and could’ve kept the ball a little better. I thought a lot of that had to do with fatigue. This is our third game and we didn’t have the luxury of rotating too many guys, so a good number of guys played all three games. You could see that a little bit in the second half. For us to come in on the road, missing a couple guys still, playing a very talented team, a team that’s used to scoring goals late…for us to get the point, we’ll take it.”

On what this result told him about his team:

“What I liked most about it is we came in and played aggressive. We pressed them and I think they had a tough time building out of the back in the first half. We were on the ball and we were the aggressor in the first half and that was the goal – to come in here and play on the road like we play at home, and I thought we did that. We’ll continue to play that way home and away. If we follow that formula and the guys execute like they did, we’re going to be a tough team to beat. This is another game where we closed it out. Even though we didn’t win, we never gave up the late goal and that’s real pleasing from a mentality standpoint. If you’re in a double-leg playoff situation, you take the draw in this leg and go back to Portland and you’re in good shape. This is the type of result that you have to get sometimes on the road.”

On how this result helps in the final stretch of the season:

“It’s good because we’re in a good run of form. Only a couple of losses in the last 11 and I think in the past seven games we’ve only lost one. We’re starting to hit our stride a little bit and we’re closing out games. We’re defending better. We’ve always been a good attacking team all year and we’ve shown that in every game. I like the balance right now of the team and I like the mentality of this team. We have two-week break and we’ll use it to our advantage then we’ll make that final push in these last six games.”

On goalie Jeff Attinella’s performance tonight:

“Yeah, they got behind us a few times, but Jordan Morris does that. He’s quick and he makes really good runs. We need our goalkeeper to make plays and there have been some games where we haven’t gotten that, but he stepped up big time and preserved the point for us. If he doesn’t make those saves then obviously we’re disappointed, we’re hanging our heads and feeling a little different in the match.”

On allowing the goal then responding to it:

“You felt like when the ball bounced around three or four times then went in…’Really?’ All you can think is, ‘Cruel,’ because in the first 17 minutes we were the only team playing and were aggressive. I loved the start of the game. I had a good feeling because my team was playing really well after the goal. I kept thinking, ‘I’m not worried because we kept getting chances, kept threatening,’ and I knew the goal would come. Again, I love this team’s mentality right now. That was the one thing missing – a little bit of defending, a little bit mentality in closing out games – and we’ve been able to correct some of those things. We were better on set pieces, even though we gave up the goal…that was a bit of a fluke. Some of the other late balls served in we had our zone aligned. In my opinion, this is the best set piece team we’ll play. They’ve got some big boys. Matchup-wise, we were worried about that going into the game, but I thought our guys showed a lot of bravery in those moments. Late in the game, you saw [Sebastian] Blanco defending and [Darlington] Nagbe defending. Vytas is showing a lot of improvement standing guys up late and not getting beat one-v-one. Again, every ball that went into the box, Larrys [Mabiala] or Roy [Miller] are in there to make a play versus a few games where it just seemed like the attacking team was always going to get an easy goal late in games.”


On the two saves on Jordan Morris during the match:

“Yeah, I mean he got in behind, but I just tried to stand him up and try to read what he was doing and fortunately I got a hand to both of them. He is a great player and I hope he scores against Costa Rica.”

On the differences in the two halves and stopping the pressure in the second half:

“I think we did a good job responding. Obviously, the first goal was a bit soft. I think our team did a good job of kind of digging out of that hole in the first half. They kind of got on the front foot in the second half. A credit to us. It’s away at Seattle, it’s not going to be an easy game. I thought we did a great job defensively of buckling down. Our guys up top were running hard and keeping the ball for us. A game like this ‘Rivalry Game,’ on the road, it’s going to go back and forth. There's a lot of positives to take from the second half as well.”

On the positive results over the past few games:

“Well, we lost to Toronto, but we are on a decent little run. It is three straight positive results, two wins and a draw. We just have to keep it going. We have a nice little break to get healthy. I know I am going to enjoy these off days and I’m sure everyone else is too. Just get healthy and get ready for this stretch run.”


On getting a point on the road:

“It is a good point. It is a very good team, top of the table. I think we did really well. Especially in that first half, I think we dominated. They pushed it in. I think it is a really good point seeing as they are on the top of the table.”

On the penalty:

“We talked about it in the pregame talk. They have got two bigger defenders that are a bit slower, they are really good at reading the game, but I thought my pace would be an advantage. I took full advantage of that in the first half. On the PK I felt contact. I fell. I didn't try to draw for it. It was a good ball by [Diego] Valeri. I was going to take a shot. I just felt my foot completely blocked from under me.”

On getting more playing time with [Fanendo] Adi out:

“The goals need to come. I think I am playing really well, but as a striker you are going to be judged on goals. I hope I am helping the team and when I am doing good it is good but at the end of the day the goals is what matters most.”

On heading into these last six games of the season:

“We need to just keep doing what we have been doing. I think we have been playing really well, keeping the ball and creating chances. Hopefully we put some more of the chances that we created in the game in the back of the net. I think we will be perfectly fine. We are definitely trying to be in first place. That should be our aim.”


On getting a point in Seattle for the first time since 2012:

“It is a good point. We wanted to win. We play for that. I think the first half was the way we wanted to play. In the second half, they put a lot of numbers forward. They pressed a little bit better. We got a couple of chances but we couldn’t score. We will take the point but I think that…we deserve a little bit more.”

On the feel of the team after a streak of some positive results:

“It is good. We are confident. We are really pleased with the way we are playing. We are trying to dominate the game with the ball and with movement, creating chances, stepping as high as we can from the back. We are playing in a good way. We got a point, too, which is important in this part of the season.”

On responding to Seattle’s goal and the team’s mentality:

“It says a lot. They got the goal from nothing. A pinball situation and they were lucky. We kept going and kept playing in a good way with the ball, and creating chances. Mentally I think it talks a lot about this team. It is good. We are improving in that way. That is good.”

On his play with 16 goals so far this season:

“It is good, good. To be honest, I don’t think a lot about that. I think about helping the team. It helped to get a point, which is important here in this stadium. We have that feeling that maybe we could have got three points.”

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