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Seattle Sounders vs. LAFC: Highlights, stats and quotes

“Our sport is brutal at times when you can look at this stat sheet. At the same time, I could just turn it over and say it doesn’t matter because we lost 1-0.” -Brian Schmetzer


Seattle Sounders FC 0 - Los Angeles FC 1

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Venue: Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field

Referee: Jose Carlos Rivero

Assistants: Brian Poeschel, Michael Kampmeinert

Fourth Official: Alex Chilowicz

VAR: Timothy Ford

Attendance: 40,070

Weather: Partly cloudy


LAFC - Diego Rossi (Carlos Vela, Mark-Anthony Kaye) 11’


LAFC - Benny Feilhaber (caution) 69’

SEA - Tony Alfaro (caution) 79’

SEA - Tony Alfaro (ejection) 83’

SEA - Nouhou (caution) 90’+4’


Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Jordy Delem (Lamar Neagle 80’), Román Torres (Magnus Wolff Eikrem HT), Tony Alfaro, Nouhou; Gustav Svensson, Cristian Roldan, Henry Wingo, Nicolás Lodeiro - captain, Harry Shipp (Handwalla Bwana 64’); Will Bruin

Substitutes not used: Bryan Meredith, Chad Marshall, Waylon Francis, Alex Roldan

Total shots: 22 (Bruin, 5)

Shots on goal: 7 (Seven players, 1)

Fouls: 12 (Svensson, 5)

Offside: 4 (Four players, 1)

Corner-kicks: 12 (Lodeiro, 9)

Saves: 0

Los Angeles FC - Tyler Miller; Steven Beitashour, Dejan Jakovic, Laurent Ciman - captain, Joao Moutinho; Mark-Anthony Kaye, Benny Feilhaber, Latif Blessing, Carlos Vela, Diego Rossi (Jordan Harvey 90’); Marco Ureña (Tristan Blackmon 80’)

Substitutes not used: Charlie Lyon, James Murphy, Rodrigo Pacheco, Omar Gaber

Total shots: 5 (Rossi, 2)

Shots on goal: 1 (Rossi, 1)

Fouls: 12 (Feilhaber, 3)

Offside: 1 (Blessing, 1)

Corner-kicks: 1 (Feilhaber, 1)

Saves: 7 (Miller, 7)


On the reasons behind his lineup selection:

“There were some choices with rest. There were some choices with injury concerns. Those are the reasons why.”

On Handwalla Bwana’s debut:

“Good way to start. Hitting the crossbar on your second touch is not a bad thing but I wish it would have gone in. He probably wishes it would have gone in, would have continued to add momentum and build steam. But you guys got a taste of what he brings – not just his youthful enthusiasm but also the little bit of quality he has. He scored some good goals for us in preseason, so he was good.”

On positives from this match:

“I don’t know. That’s a great question because I really don’t feel like there’s a ton of them other than the fact that the team never gave up. The team never gave up as is evident by winning a majority of their duels. We got a man sent off and they continued to press forward. They continued to press to try and get the tying goal. There was never ever in any second of any of us sitting on that bench and I don’t think anybody up in the stands that didn’t see the effort that they put into the game. So that’s probably the positive.”

On how aggressive LAFC came out in the opening 20 minutes:

“We talked about that before the game. We understood that this was their first game and they are going to come out and they are going to play and be lively and all of that sort of stuff. Again, if you talked about the emotions of the game, we had told our guys to be ready for that. We wanted our guys to use the crowd. I think the guys felt that. The Brougham End was jumping an hour before kickoff so the fans were doing their part. I think other than that goal, which was a well-crafted goal in some sense, but if I’m a perfectionist, Jordy [Delem] has got to get on the inside of them. How [Carlos] Vela got the ball a couple of misplays there, but other than that it was even. It did take us awhile to get in, but once we got ahold of the game I thought we were goal-dangerous and created a ton of chances.”

On removing Roman Torres at halftime:

“We’re limiting minutes towards Wednesday.”

On executing in the final third:

“I’d have to look at all the replays of all the chances that we created but if you looked at the ones in the first half, the ones I remember, Harry [Shipp] was wide open, the ball comes across to Will [Bruin], he drops it down, I think [Laurent] Ciman is the one that blocked that. Nouhou’s shot from distance I think Tyler [Miller] gets a hand on it. In the second half, there are too many that I could remember including the deflection off the crossbar, Lamar’s [Neagle] header late on the corner kick. There were a ton, a ton of chances created so I wouldn’t say it’s from a lack of execution. I would say it’s from a lack of from the little last piece of concentration to put the ball in the back of the net, just some unlucky bounces. Our sport is brutal at times when you can look at this stat sheet. At the same time, I could just turn it over and say it doesn’t matter because we lost 1-0.”

On comparing today’s loss to previous season’s slow starts:

“I think it’s too early after one game in the middle of this fixture congestion plus the injuries that we have right now that we’re dealing with. I think it’s a little early for that assessment. I certainly have that in the back of my mind. The coaches, the trainers, the medical staff, we all need to make sure that guys are healthy, ready to go after a short offseason, so ask me that question after a few more league matches then I’ll be able to better answer it.”

On second-half tactics:

“I think a little bit of it was at halftime I think the guys came in and were a little frustrated with their own performance. We obviously made the change to bring Magnus [Wolf Eikrem] on and I think that combination of having Nico [Lodeiro] play next to Cristian [Roldan] is effective and allows us to get the ball forward. And I think again it was just the normal course of a game. They came out hard and used a bunch of energy. They were up 1-0. Sometimes teams when they are up 1-0 they let their foot off the gas a little bit. The home team, the team that’s losing, picks up the tempo, picks up the energy. I think it was a combination of just many things. Mostly it’s just that the players in that locker room don’t quit and they don’t like losing.”

On discussion of using Clint Dempsey as a late sub:

“There was some, but we decided against that. That’s one of those choices that I have to wear. Could he have come on as a late sub? Maybe. We’re trying to limit his minutes early on. We’re trying to make sure that he’s ready for Wednesday.”

On whether Tyler Miller’s performance was a surprise:

“No, that’s Tom Dutra’s hard work right there.”


On being unable to score:

“It’s always easier to score when you have one or two goals, the opponents have to open up more. We had chances today – we had a lot of them – we just missed that last quality of shooting or passing. That’s something we have to work on. But, it’s early in the season. It’s always hard to lose games, and it’s always hard to lose your first game at home, for the fans. We just have to make sure that we come out better on Wednesday.”

On when the team will shift its focus to CCL:

“It always takes a day or two, especially when you lose. Like I said, we had so many chances that we probably should have won this game, or at least tied it. But that’s soccer. Tomorrow we’re going to have a meeting about this game, and then we’re just going to not talk about this anymore and just focus on Wednesday. When we play so many games that we have, it’s an experienced group.”

On the team’s creativity:

“I think we create a lot of chances, we have possession, we have good balance, it’s just the last part of shooting or passing that we’re missing right now. It was a decent game, just a bad result.”


On the match:

“It was a disappointing match. Obviously, we want to get results at home for our fans, and I think they deserve it. Today was an example of how goals can change games. Today, they managed to take care of one of two chances and they were able to bunker down afterward. For us, it was chasing the rest of the game and trying to have that one bit of quality to even it up.”

On the fast start by LAFC:

“To be honest, I think it’s all on us. I think, historically, we don’t show up for the first 20 minutes. And then all of a sudden in the second half, we turn it on. It’s almost like a switch when something happens – they hit the post, they score a goal, they get a good chance – and then we start playing well. I think we need to work on that and implement the high-energy, high-intensity style of the first ten minutes of the game.”

On the chances the team is creating:

“I think we’re happy with the created chances. We crossed the ball quite a few times, we had a lot of set pieces throughout the game. I’m not disappointed about that. I think we still lacked that one bit of quality in the final pass, but [we were] unlucky for bits and pieces in the final third. For me, what matters most is keeping a clean sheet at home versus a team that’s going to bunker in. If you can keep them at zero, I think we would’ve been in better shape, because now we’re chasing and trying to even it up. And if not commit more players forward, and in a transition moment they can score at any moment as well.”

On whether the team is eager to refocus on SCCL:

“Totally, that’s the benefit of playing in CONCACAF. I think if we can continue to play and be involved in CONCACAF, it’s fantastic for our team. Our goal is to start well in MLS and also continue as far as we can in CONCACAF, if not win it. At the same time it’s really nice, but also, for me as a player, as an eager player, I would prefer to have a bunch of MLS games, as well, and prove to the league that we’re still contenders. Because now for two weeks, we’re 0-1. But we have to focus on CONCACAF and realize that that’s our goal at the moment, and wait for MLS to reappear.”


On his MLS debut:

“It was an incredible atmosphere. I mean, I was so nervous, so scared, but unfortunate with the result. We created a lot of chances, we just couldn’t finish. But it was a good start for me, to be honest.”

On hearing the announcer and fans say his name:

“It was a dream come true. All my life, just being to be able to sit in the stands, watching for like seven, eight years. Being able to actually come on the field is something I’ll never forget.”

On his performance:

“I was told to come in change the game and I tried to. But, after we went one-man down, it was a little harder to change the game.”

On whether he thought he would make his debut today:

“I did not, I did not. I wasn’t expecting it, but the coaching the coaching staff believe in me, believe in my ability, and being able to give a young guy a chance to prove them. I took the chance.”



On the match result:

“It’s a great win. The first 25 minutes I thought actually the football was pretty good. After that it was more about fighting and defending, but you know when you’re starting out as a team, you have to learn how to win different kinds of games. A lot of guys gave big efforts. I thought Tyler Miller was very good in goal. Mark Anthony-Kaye, first game in the league, does a very good job of holding things together in the midfield. Very good goal. Good movement, great finish by Diego [Rossi]. A lot of positives, great to win. Still a lot of work to do.”

First impressions after playing against Sounders FC:

“We talked today. We only get one chance for it and you got to show what you’re all about. I don’t think we showed football-wise what we are capable of but that’s only going to get better. I’m very confident as we build this team that we’re going to see some real football. It’s not easy coming here. Wet turf, obviously Seattle’s record at home over the years is really strong and, yeah, winning the Western Conference two years in a row. For us, we’ll look at the positives but believe me, we don’t brush over the details we need to improve.”

On Carlos Vela’s debut:

“Carlos was so excited for today and you know he is a special attacking player, but look at all the other things he did today. He’s chasing back, he’s holding the ball under pressure, he’s organizing guys around them so the leadership that Carlos shows and that Laurent Ciman shows with a young team, those players, Benny Feilhaber, really important. Carlos was great today.”

On Laurent Ciman:

“Laurent is a warrior. He starts preseason and obviously is excited then I think he kicks the ground in the 45 minutes in one of the friendlies and his knee just flares up a little bit. But when we got to the end of last week, it was easy to see that in his mind, he was playing. So then you size everything up but he was in training every day this week. He was very energetic. He was positive with guys and takes real pride in leadership. He and Carlos in a very short time have forged a really good relationship so those are two important guys and you can see the leadership part with them, with Jordan [Harvey], with Benny [Feilhaber], with Steve Beitashour, for a new team I think that’s going to be really good.”

On how his team played:

“I think we were more confident to play the ball a little faster. Some of our movement to get from outside in to move where Diego moved quickly into that space. I would say from outside in, the little ball through, we had a chance early with Latif on the header. I think there was some really good moments early on. After, they pushed us deeper and we played way too many long balls today. Way too many balls that are just up in the air for Marcos [Ureña] to fight for. That’s not really what we’re looking for. That’s really the result of getting pushed deep and there’s pressure with guys on the ball, but in time I feel like we’ll improve that.”

On Diego Rossi:

“Diego is a talent, man. When you play at Peñarol, you also get hardened. It’s not an easy club to play for. He grew up there playing with guys like [Walter] Gargano and Maxi Rodriguez and you learn not only how to play but how to carry yourself and how to fight. Diego scores a great goal and until we took him out late, he’s also working very hard. You’re going to see a lot of good things from Diego.”


On the win:

“It was good. Obviously to get the one-zero win was a great effort by the team. I think there is still a lot of things we can work on as a team and collectively we can get better at. So we are just continue working, but to come away with the first win in LAFC history is amazing.”

On playing back in Seattle against your former team and if it gave him extra energy:

“Yeah, I mean I definitely knew a lot of guys on the team. It was a funny experience because before the game I was saying hi to everybody, but for me I was mentally preparing the entire time. I think everybody saw what I was capable of out there. It was overall a great game by the team.”

On his pregame interactions with old Seattle teammates and if there was any trash talking:

“I mean nothing like too much. Everything is friendly, everything is good humor, good banter. Everybody out there at the end of the day, it is ninety minutes playing soccer game and you are out there having fun. I asked Stefan [Frei] if we could trade jerseys the next game when they are in LA.”

On the defensive performance:

“Yeah, the defenders were amazing today. It was an entire team effort. This is not an easy place to come and play. For me I was just doing my job back there. Whenever I am called upon I am there to help bail our team out and I was just happy to make all those saves today.”

On his emotions today:

“It was pure happiness. Everything LAFC has done over the last three years to put this club together has been amazing. We come there and maybe no one has high expectations for us but we have high expectations of ourselves and I think you saw that in our effort and our fight tonight.”

On his first win coming here in Seattle:

“It is just a win. For me playing here in Seattle was a good moment for me to be back here because I really enjoy this city, I really like this city and enjoy this organization. But for me it is just a game. The fact that we could do it with a new group of guys that maybe people don’t have that high expectations for, but like I said we have high expectation for our club and what we are going to do this year.”

On the LAFC ownership:

“We have a great ownership group. There is a great mix of everybody but it is a family. That is the biggest way that a club can thrive is when a club has a family organization and that is what we have here.”

On his time in Seattle:

“Training under Tommy Dutra and Stef [Frei] as well as Brian Meredith and the other goalies that I got to train with, for me this was a great kind of bringing everything full circle. I had a great two and a half years here. A lot of good development over that course. To be able to come back here and put on a good performance meant a lot to me.”


On the match today and how the team played:

“I think it was great. I think the team performance was really nice. We worked hard. Of course it was a difficult game. They played really well. The team never gave up and always tried to win the game and we have three points.”

On the goal:

“It was nice. I think we practice a lot this type of play. Always I take the ball and Diego goes toward the goal and I find the space for him, so it was a nice play. The important thing was that we got three points and we have to keep working.”

On if he has played in hail before:

“I played in hail, yes a long time ago. I don’t really love to play like this. The game, the league, we have to play. There is no excuse for anybody.”


On today’s match:

“It was a very good result for me. Personally, it was a very good feeling to come in and score my first goal in my first game. We knew what kind of opponent we were going to play and it’s a tough team to play at their home. We worked very hard during the preseason to get where we are. We came here to win and that’s what we did.”

On his feelings on scoring the goal:

“It is a very beautiful feeling not just in my debut but whenever I can. Thankfully it happened today with my new team. Carlos gave me an excellent pass. We know the type of player he is. It was a great start to the season.”

On the feelings of the team and thoughts on the season:

“We are doing very well. We are a close-knit group. Obviously, everyone is new but we have gotten along very well from the beginning and that is extremely important especially for an expansion team. The biggest thing is for us to stay together and with the win that makes it easier.”

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