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Seattle Sounders vs. Real Salt Lake: Highlights, stats and quotes

“I just challenged them to say, look, this is is a tough time. And there’s only one way we can go, which is up.” -Brian Schmetzer

Data Recap


Seattle Sounders FC 0 - Real Salt Lake 1

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Venue: Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field

Referee: Baldomero Toledo

Assistants: Apolinar Mariscal, Jeff Hosking

Fourth Official: Malik Badawi

VAR: Silviu Petrescu

Attendance: 39,508

Weather: 64 degrees and partly cloudy


RSL - Sebastian Saucedo (Danilo Acosta) 61’


SEA - Magnus Wolff Eikrem (caution) 18’

RSL - Sunday Stephen (caution) 24’

SEA - Nouhou (caution) 37’

RSL - Justen Glad (caution) 42’

RSL - Marcelo Silva (caution) 45’


Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Kelvin Leerdam, Kim Kee-hee, Chad Marshall, Nouhou (Jordan McCrary 67’); Jordy Delem (Lamar Neagle 58’), Alex Roldan, Cristian Roldan - captain, Magnus Wolff Eikrem, Handwalla Bwana (Waylon Francis 33’); Clint Dempsey

Substitutes not used: Bryan Meredith, Tony Alfaro, Harry Shipp, Felix Chenkam

Total shots: 10 (Neagle/Wolff Eikrem, 2)

Shots on goal: 3 (Three players, 1)

Fouls: 11 (A. Roldan, 3)

Offside: 1 (Neagle, 1)

Corner-kicks: 6 (Wolff Eikrem, 5)

Saves: 1 (Frei, 1)

Real Salt Lake - Nick Rimando; Danilo Acosta, Marcelo Silva, Justen Glad, Brooks Lennon; Kyle Beckerman - captain, Sunday Stephen, Albert Rusnak (Aaron Herrera 90’+5’); Sebastian Saucedo (Damir Kreilach 68’), Jefferson Savarino (Nick Besler 86’), Corey Baird

Substitutes not used: Connor Sparrow, Luis Silva, Ricky Lopez-Espin, Pablo Ruiz

Total shots: 6 (Beckerman, 2)

Shots on goal: 2 (Baird/Saucedo, 1)

Fouls: 16 (Three players, 3)

Offside: 0

Corner-kicks: 2 (Baird/Rusnak, 1)

Saves: 3 (Rimando, 3)

Post-Match Quotes


On what he said to the team after the match:

“You have to be honest with them first and tell them that, at the end of the day, that goal that we gave up was something we should have done better on. You’ve got to be honest with them that some of the chances that they created, maybe they could have done a little bit better on. You’ve got to be honest with them and say, ‘Look, you’ve guys got to sharpen up in training and make sure that some of the passes we gave away in the middle of the park are better.’ You have to just challenge them. And that’s what I did in there. I just challenged them to say, look, this is is a tough time. And there’s only one way we can go, which is up. So, they have to put the work in. They have to come ready to work on Tuesday, and make sure that they’re prepared – not just physically, but mentally to try and correct some of the things that we will show them on tape. And we’ll highlight some of the things they did accomplish some of the chances they did create.”

On RSL pressing more to start the second half:

“I thought Real Salt Lake did a good job pressing the entire game. We knew that was coming. Their front four presses. How do we break the press? How do we then get the ball in the attacking half of the field? I wouldn’t say it was just starting off the second half. I just didn’t think we could hold or sustain possession once we got past their press.”

On using two full backs as substitutes:

“Well, we had trained a while back with Nouhou and Waylon [Francis]. It was effective for us last year with Nouhou and Joevin [Jones], so that was early in the game. Losing Handwalla [Bwana] was a loss because I thought he was doing well on the left-hand side. The way we had set up the team was keeping Handwalla wider and trying on the other side to have Magnus [Wolff Eikrem] pinch in. So I wanted a true lefty to stay out wide and take people on, get down to the end line. You saw Waylon did put in that one good cross in the second half, maybe not enough actions down that side of the field, if I’m looking at it and being on honest. So that was one. And then on the other side, we knew we were going to bring in Lamar [Neagle] at some point. Choices on the bench were a little slim. Jordan McCrary came on and did a good job down in Portland. [He] gave us a burst of energy, good energy, and pushing Kelvin [Leerdam] up a line certainly puts him in a spot where he can certainly cross a ball. I think he’s one of our best crossers of the ball. So that was the thinking behind it.”

On Clint Dempsey’s performance:

“I think Clint has been a very good player for this club, for this franchise. I think he’s, you know, nearing the end of his career, and that’s not an easy position for him to play. It’s not his natural position. So when you ask that question – when you phrase it in that way – I don’t think that’s a real fair question to him. I think that you should take him for what he has been, what he is – a good goal-scorer. We just need to make sure that he’s in the right spots and that he gets the right service. That’s our challenge and that’s been our challenge. When Will [Bruin] was out there, Will does some of that heavy lifting for Clint. And Clint can pick spots and kind of do his thing. So it’s been a challenge throughout the season with injuries, but the one to Will is a big one.”

On Handwalla Bwana’s injury:

“It’s a foot injury. I don’t have an update for you guys, and I thought it made a big impact on the game. I thought the kid was playing well. I thought he was dangerous. He was breaking people down. That hurt us.”


On the match:

“[It was] frustrating. Another lost opportunity to get three points and potentially gain some confidence. And at home, which is very frustrating. We had a good first half, and we’ve just got take care of business in that first half and go into the locker room with something to show for it, I think. Then they like to cheat with numbers up top, and if you can’t take care of business and punish them, then they’ll punish you. I think they only had one or two chances, and that was it, and they took care of business. So, frustrating.”

On the team taking care of little things:

“We have some time off now, you know, recovery days. Those are important. What you do off the field right now, mentally, to get right. Get your recovery, whatever you need. If you need to go ice baths, you need to make sure physically you’re good to go. Or mentally. That’s what I was saying, little details. It’s not just about following orders on the training pitch. It’s about nutrition, hydration, doing the extra little things. Because right now, there’s no room for error to say, ‘I wish I had done this differently or that differently.’ I think everybody needs to take it upon themselves do whatever they can to make sure that they’re right, and to help the team get out of this funk.”

On the goal:

“An individual player making a move and taking care of his chance. He cuts in to get it on his right foot there and in position where the goal is pretty open for him. I stepped out to try and close the angles a little bit, and I think maybe that hurt me because he kind of got it over me a little bit. I think maybe I could’ve used my other hand to extend a little further.”


On today’s game:

“Difficult game. I feel like we didn’t give up too many chances up until the goal. It was a good goal, but I also think we could have done much better defensively in that certain play. Obviously, he hits a good shot, so you have to give him a round of applause, but at the same time, it’s what leads up to that point. That’s what we need to take care of because at the end of the day, if he doesn’t shoot, he doesn’t score.”

On playing with Clint Dempsey:

“Alex (Roldan) and I, our job was to run behind when Clint received the ball. In that space, he likes to receive the ball. I felt like we were doing a pretty good job, especially in the first half, but we just couldn’t keep the ball. Our goal was to get into the box as many times as possible and support Clint on a regular basis.”

On playing at Real Salt Lake in their next game on Saturday:

“It’s going to be a different game, RSL is going to have even more possession. We would like to dictate tempo, but the reality is we’re away, so we understand that it may be a different game. We may be defending for a little bit more, but at the same time, they’re a bit susceptible on the counterattack. If we’re sharp once we win the ball and play forward, we can get them on the break.”

On finding offensive creativity:

“I think keeping possession is one way. Another way is once we get it on the counterattack, play it forward, all teams in the world score goals off breaks. That’s the reality of things. You’ll score more goals on breaks than if you have 30 passes in a row and then score a goal.”


On what he was instructed to do when he entered the game as a substitute:

“Get forward as much as I can and try to help out, attack and try to get a goal back.”

On what he saw while he was in the game:

“We’ve got to find a way to start connecting the ball and just push forward as fast as we can because obviously we’re down 1-0 and we’ve got to attack. Where we have to get right is in that final third. We have to put our chances away when we get them. No matter how many we get, we’ve got to find a way to put it in the back of the net.”

On Coach Schmetzer’s message at halftime:

“We’ve got to make sure we stick together, we’ve got to put in that effort, we’ve got to fight, keep pushing, and find a way to get that goal back. We’ve got to be creative and come up with the result.”

On playing Real Salt Lake again on Saturday:

“It’s going to be the same message: We’ve got to get on the field, we’ve got to put our best foot forward, we’ve got to try to put our chances away. Defensively, just stay tight. Like any other game, we’ve just got to go in there with the right mentality and just find a way to connect in that final third.”

On how to keep losing results from snowballing:

“As a professional, you’ve got to know how to wipe the last game away. You’ve got to have a short memory because there’s always a next game coming up. You’ve got to be ready for it. If you’re dwelling on the last one, you’re not focused on the next one.”


On the game:

“This shows what happens when everybody is committed defensively. It’s not going to be pretty at times, but they got extremely organized and did an excellent job. It feels great. Great shot from (Sebastian Saucedo) – he hits that goal in practice at least seven times a week. It’s good to see him do it in an actual game. I’m really proud of the guys.”

On who stood out today:

“I’m not going to point out who took their opportunity because perhaps they’re going to think that they’re set in stone now, but I think everybody as a group. We talked a lot about that this week. It’s early in the season and we’re getting to the midway point soon, but we’re fine. We’re comfortable where we are. We know we need to get better, but guys stepped up, worked hard in the practice week and some of them got opportunities because of how they worked, and others because we know we have three games in a week and we have to rotate a little bit.”

On the team’s mindset:

“We knew at the beginning of the game that we were going to be under some extreme pressure. It doesn’t matter who they rolled out – Seattle is a very tough place to play with 40-something thousand (people), and on turf, but we got very organized and we had a good feeling coming into halftime. We knew that the game was going to open up. I thought, aside from our defensive work in the second half, we played some beautiful soccer at times and moved the ball really well. We knew there were going to be opportunities and we took advantage of the opportunities that we got.”

On the first half:

“In the first 45, I was very comfortable with how we were. We wanted to deny them as much as possible. We’ve given up a lot of goals lately and a lot of that comes down to me, to be honest, because I want to play a certain way. If that means we’re going to leak goals early in the season, then that means we’re going to leak goals early in the season, and hopefully be better for it in the end. We came in at the beginning of the game with an approach to set a line where we wanted to be and be very compact vertically and horizontally. They did that exactly. In the second half, it was just a sense. We felt there was going to be a shift and we’d have more opportunities. It kind of opened up a little more in the second half and we were able to find gaps. Guys like Albert (Rusnak), Kyle (Beckerman), (Sunday Stephen), (Jefferson) Savarino, (Sebastian Saucedo), Corey (Baird) – they moved the ball really well a lot of times and we created opportunities.”

On what adjustments may have been made on defense from last week to this week:

“Like I said, perhaps I experiment a little too much sometimes early in the season. I was putting offensive players on the outside and I stand behind that. I’m absolutely fine with that. I think that we took much more of a defensive approach - not that we don’t do that on a weekly basis - but this week, the players really seemed to buy into it. They understand that just because we’re sitting back at times, that doesn’t mean we’re a bad team or it doesn’t mean that we’re giving up. It means that we’re going to deny and we’re going to be very prudent in the way that we approach the game. Then things will open up, whether it’s through the counterattack or transition. That’s what happened today.”

On the goal:

“It was a beautiful strike. (Sebastian Saucedo) is somebody who hits that in practice in the run of play. It’s about time he did it in a game and it couldn’t have come at a better time. He has that quality and the confidence that he showed in front of this many people in this stadium. I’m proud of him.”


On playing today:

“I have no words, to be honest with you. It’s awesome to be back with the team and to get three points. We knew that it was going to be tough coming here, but we got the job done.”

On the defense:

“It’s all a mentality. We came out here and stuck to our gameplan and stuck to what the coaches told us. Overall, defense wins championships and if we’re sacrificing and giving 100 percent, then we’ll get three points and a result.”

On the game:

“We’ve been giving up a lot of goals in the back, but overall, the team today played very well. We now have to forget about this game and move on to the next one and stay consistent. That’s what matters.”


On the game:

“It was a team effort defensively. We focused in on defending as a unit all week. I think we all knew that the defending wasn’t good enough and we were letting in too many goals. The commitment today from everybody on the field – from the back to the front – and keeping tight lines was key for us.”

On if coach Mike Petke said anything before the game about changing the mindset:

“It was said all week that we had to do a better job, the commitment needs to be better, our defending needs to be better. I believe everybody that stepped out there did their job. We won our head balls, we won our challenges and (Sebastian Saucedo) had a wonder goal.”


On getting a goal:

“Yeah, this is what I want – to score goals as a forward. I think that’s what any forward wants is to score a goal or score many goals in their careers. I’m hoping to be on the right path to do that and for my team to be successful as well.”

On what he was feeling when the ball went in:

“It was a lot of mixed emotions and I didn’t even know how to celebrate. It’s an incredible feeling for myself and for my family.”

On scoring similar goals in practice and then finally in a game:

“It’s a matter of getting an opportunity and trying it in a game. When we were in Philly, my shots were all over the crossbar and this one was finally on target and went in.”

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