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Seattle Sounders vs. Minnesota United: Highlights, stats and quotes

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“Although the score line looks 4-0, that game was not just 4-0. That game was tough. It was hard to play.” -Brian Schmetzer

The Seattle Sounders dominated the scoreline with a pair of goals in each half against Minnesota United FC, but they are the first to admit they were under some significant pressure in phases throughout the match and were lucky not to have conceded once or twice. Even given that they had the benefit of a couple of bounces, this Sounders performance was ruthless. They had so many scoring chances they could afford to miss half of them, and Minnesota’s defense was left spinning in place over and over again.

Seattle now have 34 points through 23 games, or 1.48 PPG. Their GD improves to +5. That’s good for fourth in the Western Conference, though they are currently in a three-way tie for second on points with the Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas.


MATCH SUMMARY

Seattle Sounders FC 4 - Minnesota United FC 0

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Venue: TCF Bank Stadium

Referee: Jose Carlos Rivero

Assistants: Jose Da Silva, Adam Garner

Fourth Official: Baboucarr Jallow

Attendance: 22,649

Weather: Rain and 73 degrees

SCORING SUMMARY

SEA - Will Bruin (Clint Dempsey) 9'

SEA - Clint Dempsey (Chad Marshall, Gustav Svensson) 18'

SEA - Jordan Morris (Nicolás Lodeiro) 71'

SEA - Clint Dempsey (Joevin Jones) 73'

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY

SEA - Joevin Jones (caution) 68'

MIN - Sam Cronin (caution) 74'

LINEUPS & STATS

Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Kelvin Leerdam, Román Torres (Tony Alfaro 75'), Chad Marshall, Joevin Jones; Gustav Svensson, Cristian Roldan, Nicolás Lodeiro - captain, Clint Dempsey, Jordan Morris (Aaron Kovar 76'); Will Bruin (Brad Evans 64')

Substitutes not used: Bryan Meredith, Oniel Fisher, Harry Shipp, Jordy Delem

Total shots: 18 (Dempsey, 6)

Shots on goal: 7 (Dempsey, 3)

Fouls: 14 (Bruin, 3)

Offside: 3 (Morris, 2)

Corner-kicks: 5 (Lodeiro, 3)

Saves: 4 (Frei, 4)

Minnesota United FC - Bobby Shuttleworth; Jerome Thiesson, Michael Boxall, Francisco Calvo - captain, Ismaila Jome; Sam Cronin, Ibson (Collin Martin 80'), Miguel Ibarra (Johan Venegas 69'), Kevin Molino, Sam Nicholson; Abu Danladi

Substitutes not used: Patrick McLain, Jermain Taylor, Brent Kallman, Collen Warner, Brandon Allen

Total shots: 11 (Danladi, 5)

Shots on goal: 4 (Danladi, 2)

Fouls: 11 (Nicholson/Danladi, 3)

Offside: 3 (Danladi, 3)

Corner-kicks: 4 (Ibson, 3)

Saves: 3 (Shuttleworth, 3)


POST-MATCH QUOTES

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC HEAD COACH BRIAN SCHMETZER

On Seattle’s overall mood and how everything seems to be going their way …

I’m not so sure I’d say everything was going our way. They made it awfully difficult for us. At 2-0 they found a renewed sense of energy and put us under pressure at key moments. Out in the second half we missed a couple goals that we might have scored on and then [Stefan Frei] had to come up big on a couple of different occasions to keep us in the game. So, although the score line looks 4-0, that game was not just 4-0. That game was tough. It was hard to play. [Adrian Heath] had his team prepared and we had a little bit of quality there that maybe pushed us through.

On whether the counter-attack was an area of emphasis this week …

No. We were trying to actually step high and press higher up the field and win possession of the ball higher up the field. That just manifested itself. Again, give credit to Minnesota for pinning us back a little bit. That’s how that manifested itself. We were looking to press high all the time.

On what is working so well defensively for his team …

We’ve had some consistency along the backline. Gustav [Svensson] and Cristian [Roldan] have done a good job marshalling the front of the back four. I think the guys on the outside, even [Jordan Morris] and [Nicolás Lodeiro] today, had to defend at times. We charged Clint [Dempsey] with doubling down on either [Sam] Cronin or Ibson and he did his part. You couple all of that with Stef’s goalkeeping … makes it a pretty good team effort, defensively.

On whether it’s a boost that all three main forwards (Will Bruin, Clint Dempsey and Jordan Morris) are getting hot at this stage of the season …

Sure, sure. It was good for Jordy to get off the snide, because he deserved it. He’s putting the work in at training, doing a little extra work every day at training to stay sharp. Bruin and Deuce (Dempsey) have been doing that all season long. I’m extremely pleased.

On whether he’s seen anything different out of Morris since he came back from the Gold Cup

Just renewing energy. A sense of commitment and confidence. You saw how he can fly by people at times and now we’re just working on finishing all of those chances.

On the sense of stability that Kelvin Leerdam brings …

He’s a wing back, but they have to defend. Joevin [Jones] is a good defender. They’re both good defenders. Yes, they like to go forward. Yes, they’re technical players, yes, but they both defend. Whether it was going to be Brad [Evans], whether it was Kelvin, just having that little bit of consistency in the lineup has helped tremendously.

On whether the team has a “true Seattle Sounders style” for the 2017 season yet or if it’s still a work-in-progress …

That’s actually a really good question. It’s still a work-in-progress. I look at the stats, we’ll watch the film, we’ll analyze, we’ll reflect on what we did as coaches. The stat that I love when I always look at the stat sheet is “duels won.” So, this time we had 61.3 percent. So, I know that the enthusiasm and the desire is there. Sometimes the soccer this season has been a little up and down, but they put it in every game and that’s what I’m most proud of.

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC FORWARD CLINT DEMPSEY

On his goals and assist …

Yeah, it felt good. We still could, you know, sharpen up and we could have had a few more – I could have had a few more. We gave away too many balls tonight, though, that led to counter-attacks. But we did well once we got through the line of pressure. Then we were able to open the game up and be a little bit more clinical in the final third.

On Seattle’s unbeaten run and what is clicking for the squad …

Team has a lot of character. You saw that in the D.C. game; we were down, but were able to come back and win. First time being down in a long time. All started early in the season, then we went on a run at that time, coming back in the New England game. This team has showed all year, we just gotta keep believing. And this run has been good to keep it going.

On whether he enjoyed the high pressure against him early on …

I mean, if were able to play through, then the game opens up for you. So, we just have to break that line of pressure that they bring. We had some good chances and good looks. But at the same time, you know, maybe we were a little too opened up and got countered too many times. But we will study the tape, we will work at it and make sure were sharp for next game.

On the couple more goals and assists he said he could have had and what they were …

I mean, the first one, pretty much [Chad Marshall’s] goal, I owe him bomb dinner. There was a defender coming, so you don’t know if he had a chance to maybe clear it, but it looked like it was going in. I probably need to get him a nice meal.

On where he would take him …

Wherever he wants to go. You know, that’s up to him. I got to make sure he’s happy.

On Sam Cronin closing in on him for the second goal …

Yeah, it almost took too long, really. I let the ball come across me. I could have taken a shot, but I cut it a little hard. I shot it with the left, but it almost caught me in between, so I had to cut it back again to get an open look. It went on frame and went in.

On closing the gap on Kansas City at the top and whether the team is peaking at the right time …

I think we are on a good run, like you said, the seven unbeaten games. But yeah, you want to keep building, keep working hard to sharpen up to be better. But things are looking good, we are where we want to be in terms of putting ourselves in a position to make playoffs at the same time, though we aren’t just happy being in third. we want to keep fighting, pushing to finish strong for playoffs to be in the best situation. To get a higher seed to get in the tournament. So, that’s the goal try to repeat like we did last year.

On what the team can sharpen up as it heads down the stretch toward playoffs …

Being a little more sharp with our possession, you know, not let ourselves in too much of an open game.

On whether it’s tough to question things after a 4-0 win …

Yeah. But still, though, I think that game could have went a different way if Stef didn’t make two huge saves – one kick save in the beginning of the second half and the one where he pushed the ball on the corner. We could have scored more goals, still could have scored more goals to just limit the chances of our position in front of our own goal and try to keep doing what we are doing on attack and sharpen possessions.

On Stefan Frei’s crucial saves and what that does for confidence …

It took some pressure off you if he’s making big saves like that. You know, they’re not able to get that momentum going behind him, because once they do, once they score, they start to believe they can come back into the game. So, that was huge for us to make those type of saves.

On his job of going up against Ibson and Sam Cronin in midfield …

I mean, I wouldn’t say exploit. I mean, defensively it’s just trying to get on you and try to not let them make the game. But still, they found areas in the game when they were able to get good possessions to get on the half turn and found the possession to the game for them. At the same time, you know, just try to follow them and put pressure on them and make it difficult for them. And then on the attack you try to get in the gaps, try to get in the pockets, try to rotate our players whether it’s me, Jordan, or we’ll just rotating positions and follow execution. You know, once we get past their line of pressure when we are building out of the back and move forward, just passes moving forward and give ourselves an opportunity to get a good look and try to go in. Get a shot off the buildup. I think we did that a few times tonight and I think it really helped us kind of get the goals.

On whether Jordan Morris has improved since returning from Gold Cup …

Yeah, I mean, he’s always working hard and always trying to score goals. I think the team is playing better than what we were earlier in the season. Obviously, his confidence is high for him with how things went in the Gold Cup, but at the same time you know he’s working hard all year and is doing good for us and he will continue to do well. So, we aren’t worried about him.

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC GOALKEEPER STEFAN FREI

On the clean sheet and highlights from the match …

The shutout was good. You know, it’s really good we’re clicking up top. And for chances we’re sharing the scoring, which is really good. You want guys to get confidence up there and not just one, but a few. But you know, I think the team played well. It’s difficult. This field is very difficult to play on. Obviously, our style is possession based and I think we could have been a little sharper, but in my opinion, it was difficult. It doesn’t matter because of the shutout and defensively we played well. And we finished our chances and took this one.

On the team defending in front of him …

No, I mean, we want to do whatever we can. It’s never going to be easy or simple, tactically shifting and defending. Sometimes things break down and it’s about not giving up. It becomes desperate, but every single guy on this team does whatever they can to every last second to not allow them to score and that’s what defending is about. And we did that well today as a team.

On Kevin Molino’s threat in attack …

Good player, he’s a technically sound player. We knew that they’re good players. It was a bit surprising they kept lumping the balls in, because I thought we have some big guy and I was able to come up.

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC FORWARD WILL BRUIN

On how it seemed to work “out there” for Seattle …

When we get one early we feel like we can play free. I think it’s maybe the fourth game in a row with a clean sheet. When we’re clicking, going forward and finishing our chances, we’re gonna get plenty and that’s that.

On whether things are clicking for Seattle right now …

Yeah, I’d say so. I think there’s still room to improve, because I think we could have scored seven or eight tonight, but that’s just mentality and I think some of the other guys would say the same thing. It’s just repetitions and it’s good to be starting to click.

On whether Seattle anticipated a “wide-open affair” from the beginning …

We knew that they like to play in transition, so we knew there were going to be moments where it was going to be open. Obviously, down the road we’d like to keep it a little tighter, but being able to get some goals early dictated how the game was gonna play, because they had to chase us. I think we did a good job countering them when it was 2-0 on their counter.

On whether he likes the high-pressure emphasis as a striker playing up top …

I love it, because with high pressure we get them uncomfortable with the ball in good areas. Just one pass and you’re in the box. I would love to high press every game, but it’s high risk, high reward.

On his goal that was set-up by a Dempsey pass …

I think he and I have been starting to click and the timing was right. He put it a perfectly weighted ball and I was just trying to put it back in. I know defenders like to try to reach and block balls, so if you can get it between their legs, it’s gonna go in.

On whether there was a certain area of the Minnesota back line that he was looking to exploit …

They played a pretty high line, so we wanted to get them to turn and chase. I noticed they didn’t really know if they were going to play an offside trap or follow the runners. That was something we were trying to get after and once making a turn, it opens up space for the [Nicolás Lodeiro] and the [Clint Dempsey] in there who are left to do their thing. I think we did a pretty good job with it.

On how he’s feeling having scored five goals in the past nine games …

It should be more. As a striker, you always want to score more. I could have scored in LA. It’s not necessarily something I’m content with. My job is to score goals, and you stay on the line when you score goals, so that’s what I want to keep doing. Hopefully it will keep going.

On what is going now that wasn’t going so well earlier in the season …

I think we’re finally healthy. At the beginning of the year we had a lot of injuries. We had some weird ones, so lineups were shuffling a lot. Guys stepped up and did well, but now I think we’re getting that consistency with health. Knock on wood with guys being healthy and staying fit. With a consistent lineup, that really goes a long way.

MNUFC HEAD COACH ADRIAN HEATH

On how the 4-0 defeat reflects the team’s performance …

It’s strange emotions of the feelings after the game, because I thought between both boxes we actually played some really good football tonight. And at two-nil [down], even at halftime, I thought if we scored the next goal, we would have an opportunity to maybe keep ourselves in the game. We also knew that every time that they broke on the counter-attack, with the pace that they’ve got, with [Jordan] Morris’ pace and [Clint] Dempsey and [Nicolás] Lodeiro’s guile, that we were going to leave ourselves susceptible. And they’ll probably think at the end that they could have had more goals. But, I said in here last week, that we scored goals last week at really opportune moments for us. And we had a couple of really good opportunities at two-nil today to go to 2-1. To keep the crowd involved. To keep everybody engaged in the game. And, you know, we don’t take the chances and then they go down and get another one. So, disappointed in the end. I thought the lads tried really hard. But, at the end, the extra quality that they had came through.

On Abu Danladi’s dangerous efforts on goal …

Yeah, he did. I thought we started the game well. We got him in some good, opportune moments and maybe he rushed his finish a little bit, but he’s showing glimpses of what we thought he could do. He kept the center backs honest all afternoon. I think we’ve had some good performances tonight. It’s a strange game to think that we’ve got beat four-nil and yet parts of our game I thought were very good.

On the main positives from the match …

I thought the shape that we had and the fact that we got people getting [Kevin] Molino on a lot more ball in their half of the field. I felt that Sam Nicholson had another good 90 minutes under his belt. I thought [Michael Boxall] did well again. And at the end of the day, we’ve got beat by a very quality team. Don’t let us kid ourselves here. They’ve got internationals in nearly every position on the field, that’s taken them however many years, continually improving and improving to put it together. And we have to be realistic to that. You know, I don’t know what they paid for their front four, you know, whatever they paid for Lodeiro, whatever they paid for Dempsey, to bring him back and salary, etc. They’ve got one of the best young strikers in the country in Jordan Morris. And then they’ve got a really experienced goalscorer in the division in [Will] Bruin. So, they’re a quality side. They won the whole thing last year. Let’s put it in perspective. And we’ve been able to compete tonight. We have been able to compete. We just haven’t taken our opportunities when they came along.

On adjustments to the lineup with an extra week to prepare for the Seattle trip …

Well, I think the game will be different in Seattle anyway. The fact is that we are at home and we have to take the game to them and we have to open up. It certainly won’t be as open as we were tonight, but it’s going to be a difficult place to go. You look at their record of four or five years at home, probably taken more points at home than most teams. So, it’s going to be a difficult game. But hey, it’s one that we’ve got to look forward to. Get ourselves prepared. And we’ll go again.

On the sold-out crowd’s support …

I thought the supporters were magnificent. Never stopped. Kept going toward the end. I think they can see that we’re working on it – we’re trying. It’s not an easy first season. I know what it’s like. I’ve been through it. And it’s difficult sometimes to maintain your enthusiasm and keep upbeat when you’re getting beat like you’ve done today. But I know we’ve got quite a lot of pieces to work with moving forward.

On what the sellout means for the club and the whole organization …

Well, I think that we’re relevant in the city, which is something that we wanted to be. I think it’s a testament about how the game is growing. I think it’s a testament of what we’re trying to achieve here. And the crowd have been great. They can see the guys are trying. At times, we've been short of quality. That’s pretty evident. But I can’t fault the players tonight for lack of energy and lack of work rate and desire. We’ve just got beaten by another team with better quality.

MNUFC FORWARD ABU DANLADI On his chances in the match …

Thing just didn’t go my way and as a team in general tonight. I got chances and just couldn’t finish it. [Stefan] Frei, the goalkeeper, saved a bunch. Just have to learn from that. It felt like everyone was working hard. We just got caught off guard on their goals. They’re just a really good counter-attack team. Just weren’t able to stop them from doing that and that’s how we end up conceding four goals. I think, in general, the team and everybody worked hard. And everybody, you could see, everybody didn’t want to lose and played with their heart.

On the increase in supporters over the past few weeks …

Definitely. Keep getting more and more fans. They deserve better results. They come and they cheer for us when we lose and when we win. They deserve better and we’re gonna try and come back strong and give them what the deserve. I really appreciate them coming and supporting us, because it’s hard when a team’s losing and having to stick with the team. Our whole fan base is just incredible. They’re awesome. I’m happy to play on this team and just have these people around the team as well.

On the chance that will stick with him after this match …

I would say the ball that [Frei] saved with his foot. Which, I mean, I don’t think I could have hit it any other way. He’s a good goalkeeper as well. Not just me, a bunch of people on the team got good chances as well. And he was able to save it. It tells you how good of a goalkeeper he is. But even good goalkeepers get beat. Next time when we go there in two weeks and just learn from this game and try and do better.

On getting to play Seattle again with two weeks to prepare …

Definitely. Finding a way to stop the counter-attack and try to keep playing the way we’re play. Press as a team, work hard and come out and do our best. I think when we play like that we always get a result. That’s something that we can learn from it. Just go back and looking at what we did wrong and what we can do better in the next game.

MNUFC MIDFIELDER SAM CRONIN

On his takeaways from the match …

Tonight, conceded goals at really poor times. Kind of self-inflicted errors and obviously they have the quality to punish us and they did on four occasions. Their goalie made some great saves. But that’s the way it goes sometimes. Last week we were on the other end of four-nil, so obviously consistency is a problem for us that we need to address. We still concede too many chances too often. So, we need to improve on that aspect.

On remedies to fix the inconsistency …

From my experience, when you have seasons like this, the mentality and the approach to training goes a long way. To dig yourself out, there’s no secret formula. A whole group of guys just needs to keep on practicing like every day’s a gameday each and every day. Then slowly but surely just build yourself out of it.

On this week’s training level not being as high …

No, I thought it was okay. Obviously, the staff is looking at different things from the game and they want to see certain things accomplished in training. For the most part, guys approach training in a good manner and work hard and challenge each other. We’ll just have to make sure to continue to do that.

On the increase in supporters at TCF Bank Stadium …

The energy tonight was great. From the very beginning. I mean more than we deserved if I’m being totally honest. They deserve huge respect and kudos on behalf of all the players and we appreciate it so much. Obviously, we go and lose four-nil and go applaud them at the end of the game and they give us an applause. That doesn’t happen in a lot of places. If anything, we need to make sure to repay their support of us because it’s nothing short of brilliant.

MNUFC DEFENDER MICHAEL BOXALL

On playing well but things not bouncing MNUFC’s way … Yeah, I think it’s beyond frustrating. We’re consistently doing the right things throughout the game and then maybe just one lapse of concentration or one little slip up or one bounce goes their way and bang, they finish their chances. So, I mean, that’s what good teams do. Obviously, expansion teams, we’re still working on that cohesiveness and how to deal with all situations. So, with new teams, it’s almost like you find new ways to lose or new ways to give up the game. So, it’s the frustrating part of the game, but we’ve got a lot of time before the next game to do everything we can to give it back to them when we go out there.

On what the team can take from this loss in anticipation of the match at Seattle …

I think, with a team like Seattle, I think obviously the first 20 minutes of the second half I thought was probably our best patch of the game, where they barely got out of their half and we had attack after attack after attack. … to get something out of there. Then they just stopped all of our momentum with their third goal. I think with the next two weeks preparing, I think we just need to learn with our attacking shape … because obviously they’re very dangerous on the counter-attack. I mean, that’s where most of their chances came from. When we’re back and organized it’s tough to break us down. But I think we can improve on our attacking shape a bit.

On the chemistry in defense now that they have been together for two games …

It has in a way, but obviously always room to improve. But I think we’ve still got a ways to go. Obviously playing alongside two quality players and having two class players in front of you who you can just give the ball to and they’ll get out of any situation. But I think just knowing, we just need to do more work on the training field so we each know how each other reacts to every situation when we turnover the ball. Yeah.

On whether it felt like Seattle Sounders was playing exceptionally fast …

Not particularly. I think the only times where they gave us real problems was when we put ourselves in bad spots or made bad reads and stuff. So, I think as a new team, most of your undoings are because of yourself.

On Clint Dempsey and Jordan Morris’ quality and whether it stood out …

Not really. I mean, obviously I’ve played against some world-class players. So, it’s tough to compare to that just coming off the [Confederations Cup]. No, they’re good players. They keep the ball, they keep it simple. They do the simple things right all the time. So, it’s not like any single moment that wows you. They do all the simple things 100 percent.