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

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“I think we have a really good team, and a team that can really do some special, good things because that group is very close in there.” - Brian Schmetzer


Match Data
SUMMARY

Seattle Sounders FC 2 - Real Salt Lake 0

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Venue: CenturyLink Field

Referee: Alan Kelly

Assistants: Nick Uranga, Kathryn Nesbitt

Fourth Official: Rubiel Vazquez

VAR: Jon Freemon

Attendance: 37,722

Weather: 52 degrees and partly cloudy

SCORING SUMMARY

SEA - Gustav Svensson (Nicolás Lodeiro) 64’

SEA - Nicolás Lodeiro (Raúl Ruidíaz, Brad Smith) 81’

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY

RSL - Nedum Onuoha (caution) 28’

SEA - Nicolás Lodeiro (caution) 82’

RSL - Everton Luiz (ejection) 83’

LINEUPS & STATS

Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Kelvin Leerdam, Román Torres (Xavier Arreaga 49’), Kim Kee-hee, Brad Smith; Gustav Svensson, Cristian Roldan, Joevin Jones (Víctor Rodríguez 62’), Nicolás Lodeiro - captain, Jordan Morris (Jordy Delem 71’); Raúl Ruidíaz

Substitutes not used: Bryan Meredith, Nouhou, Harry Shipp, Luis Silva

Total shots: 20 (Ruidíaz, 8)

Shots on goal: 10 (Ruidíaz, 4)

Fouls: 9 (Lodeiro/Leerdam, 2)

Offside: 2 (Morris/ Ruidíaz, 1)

Corner-kicks: 9 (Lodeiro, 9)

Saves: 1 (Frei, 1)

Real Salt Lake - Nick Rimando; Donny Toia, Nedum Onuoha, Justen Glad, Aaron Herrera; Kyle Beckerman - captain (Sebastian Saucedo 80’), Everton Luiz, Jefferson Savarino, Albert Rusnak; Corey Baird (Joao Plata 73’), Damir Kreilach (Sam Johnson 76’)

Substitutes not used: Andrew Putna, Kelyn Rowe, Brooks Lennon, Marcelo Silva

Total shots: 7 (Savarino/Kreilach, 2)

Shots on goal: 1 (Kreilach, 1)

Fouls: 19 (Herrera, 4)

Offside: 2 (Savarino, 2)

Corner-kicks: 2 (Rusnak, 2)

Saves: 7 (Rimando, 7)


Post-Match Quotes
SOUNDERS FC HEAD COACH BRIAN SCHMETZER

On being in the Western Conference Championship again:

“It feels pretty darn good. It makes me think that all the people, people on Sounder at Heart and some other places think we have an old tired team, I think we have an experienced team, I think we have a really good team, and a team that can really do some really special good things because that group is very close in there. I am extremely happy to go to another Western Conference Final, I don’t care who we play. It’s a testament to those guys in there, and I know, this much I can promise, you and everyone else in this room, that that team will be ready. That team will be ready, and they will give it their all, they will fight, battle, scratch, pass, score, defend, they will do whatever it takes to win.”

What impressed him most, tactically, about the team tonight and how they adjusted:

“I mean, tactically, I’ll have to watch the tape again. I think that was just a gritty performance. You’re playing against a very talented RSL team, I have to give Freddy a lot of credit because he had his team ready, that’s a good squad and I hope he gets the job. And, you know, when you play against a 4-2-3-1 but it’s a different 4-2-3-1 than what we have, it’s a little more fluid. They interchange all the time, it was a challenging game for us tactically. We wanted to compress the middle of the field because that’s where all their movement was and let the balls go out to their outside backs, and at times we did that. But at other times the outside back would get the ball, we’d press, and then they’d just come and find a way to get it out to the other side and we were just chasing the game. So, again, we made a couple of adjustments at halftime and you know, they worked. But I think the majority of the game, the reason why we won the game was just because we kept attacking and kept attacking, and look, our team is too good for us not to score goals, so that’s what I was most proud of.”

On peaking in the playoffs:

“It’s a great group of guys, I have an outstanding coaching staff. I think from day one this organization was built on winning, and persevering in times of trouble. We don’t feel sorry for ourselves if things don’t go our way. We pick ourselves up, we go back to work, we do all of the little things that make us a hard team to beat. You know, there’s things that I take from different coaches, you know Coach Carrol is always positive and he’s always doing these things and he talks a lot about, you know, commitment and all of these things, and I listen to other coaches to kind of get what I say to the group, Alan Hinton, Jimmy Gabriel, a lot of guys I kind of listen to and then formulate and think about how can I say it in my own version, and those guys respond. You have leadership from different positions. I was very pleased with a clean sheet tonight. Stef leading from back there, Nico, Gustav another good performance, Cristian, so you know, overall, I think it’s just organizationally this franchise has always been about winning, and we want to continue that.”

SOUNDERS FC MIDFIELDER JORDAN MORRIS

On being able to play through full games:

“Yeah, it feels amazing. The resolve of this team and the drive of this team is great and we will await the result tomorrow. We are ready for either team and we are just looking forward to that challenge.”

On feeling gassed:

“Like I said, it’s been a long couple of weeks with the National Team and a tough game a couple days ago. But it will be good with a long week of rest so I’m looking forward to that.”

On playing in front of the home crowd:

“Yeah we are so lucky. We have the best fans in the league, and it’s a fortress, it’s hard to come here and beat us and so we love playing here and playing in front of our fans. They give us fight and energy and obviously we are hoping that we get another game at home.”

SOUNDERS FC MIDFIELDER NICO LODEIRO

On the difference between this game and Saturday’s game:

“I don’t know. We wanted to play it like a final game. It was difficult because we felt tired from the last game we played. We played 120 minutes, so today was really difficult. But in the end we wanted to play our heart tonight.”

On his chemistry with Gustav Svensson:

“Yes, in the first half I shoot my corner kick really high for the second post. And then [Gustav] said, ‘Nico, try going to the near post.’ So we tried this during the week. And I know Gustav is very good inside the post so I tried to put the ball to his head so that we would have good luck.”

On what happened after being up 1-0:

“Yeah we played good in the second half. Much better than the first half. In the beginning we had a lot of chances. In the first half we couldn’t score. The first goal was really important to open the game. After this we kept control of the tempo and they tried to play long balls. We had good defense. I think that was really important, the Gustav goal.”

SOUNDERS FC MIDFIELDER GUSTAV SVENSSON

On Nico’s performance:

“Yeah, it was a good corner, we’ve been working on that for a long time now. It was a great corner. We finally got the ball in the back of the net, we had a lot of chances to score. But the goalkeeper made a good game, it was difficult to get the ball in the net. Luckily we got one ball in and it helped us.”

On confidence from having played on World Cup teams:

“Yeah, I mean experience does help. I have to say that our fans helped today a lot as well. I think we had a not so good first half but our second half was really good. And that is because of our fans that helped us today.”

On how long Lodeiro and Svensson have been working on corner kicks:

“I mean he knows that I keep running on the first post there. So every time I’m open and he sees me he’s trying to find me. It’s been working out these last two games and a couple of games before. It’s a good corner as far as I’ve said.”

REAL SALT LAKE HEAD COACH FREDDY JUAREZ

On the match:

“We came, we showed up, we fought. We didn’t bunker in. We didn’t try to bore the game. We controlled moments of the game. We were missing that aggressiveness in the final third. The opponent was good as well. Second half corner kick (goal), just like last game. We were pretty good at corner kicks all year then the last few games we got caught on a couple. Listen, we’re happy with the guys. To come into this environment … we came, we fought and that’s what we asked of the guys. I’m so proud of them. I’m proud of what the group had to deal with this year. The respect they gave me to try and lead them. We can’t forget that the team has grown from last year to this year. We improved in points, got the home playoff game and we need to continue to grow. The goal is to learn from this and get better next year.”

On what Seattle did defensively:

“It’s a playoff game. Just like our defenders were hard to get by and their goal comes off of a corner kick. Then there towards the end we’re desperate, made some subs, leave less people in the midfield … we have to go for the game. What can we do? We had to make those subs so when you put in more attackers than defenders it unbalances the team a little bit. They played as hard as we did. We limited their guys and they did a good job against our guys. They’re a good team. Plus they’re in front of 40,000 fans or whatever they had tonight. Every time they do a big play the crowd is in it and it gives them more energy. It was good. From what I saw, our guys never backed down and kept going and going. I’m proud that we never put our heads down and were fighting until the end.”

On the team’s growth this season:

“We became a tougher team to beat first and foremost. We became a team that we were now … attacking and defending, attacking and defending. We weren’t pinned into our own 18 or our own half and trying to survive. We battled every team and became a harder team to beat. If teams were going to score on us then they had to really earn the goal.”

On the team’s fight until the very end tonight:

“That’s when you know a team is getting better and better. They’re believing. I hate to see all that shoving and stuff, but when it happens, you want to see your team together. And we saw a team together (tonight). I would’ve loved to get the win for the team and for Nick (Rimando), but we gave it our best. We can be proud of the team look forward to next year.”

On not getting into a rhythm in the attack:

“I thought our build out phase was very good. I thought our unbalancing in the middle was decent. We weren’t creating too many isolations on the other side – it wasn’t quick enough to get it to the other side so we only had one or two players to beat as opposed to having to beat the midfield line and the back line. On the turf, sometimes we’d get into a space and some other players who don’t usually have a bad touch were having some of those and (the ball) would get away from them. Their attacks in the first half came off of our dispossession – it was just a bad touch or a bad pass and then they’d run. They’re very good in transition and we wanted to control those moments. We did to a certain extent, but they weren’t breaking us down with ball mobility or anything. It was us breaking down with giving a bad pass and then spaces opened up. They did a good job on us and when we got to the final third there weren’t enough numbers going forward. That’s definitely something we’re going to have to improve on as a team. We do all of the other phases well – it’s really the final pass and arriving with numbers.”

REAL SALT LAKE MIDFIELDER ALBERT RUNSNAK

On the game:

“It is hard to speak on a game when you get knocked out. But overall, we stuck with our plan. We didn’t sit back. We had the ball more than usually we would on the road. It is just a shame that we didn’t really create 100 percent chance to score a goal. To conceded the first goal on a set piece you know it also kind of hurts you know. If it would have been a nice combination play and they would have scored a goal, then you kind of look at it differently, but you know from a set piece you know we always talk how big set pieces are. Many times this year they helped us. But at this moment and this game it went against us. All I can say is we have to learn from this. It is a new experience for many players in our group. Just improve on next year. There is not much more.”

On not creating many chances tonight:

“Whenever we attack they would lose the ball. They were in pretty decent shape with at least six players. It was just difficult to find the spaces between the lines. As I said, we did have the ball but a majority of it was at the back, which is ok but eventually you are going to have to create a chance. I think throughout the whole year we have been very good at it. There hasn’t been many games like tonight where we don’t create. It is just a shame that probably the most important game of the season we didn’t manage to score a goal.”

On what Seattle did to slow him down:

“Well obviously they would have watched our last game and the games before that where we were dangerous. They also had a plan to go with the game. It worked well. I mean under no circumstances what the other team does in ninety minutes that is plenty of times to create chances. It is one of the few games that we managed not to score a goal this year.”

On the team and steps forward this year as a team:

“We finished third, which is the best for so long. The regular season which was great you can say. That is how we earned a playoff home game against Portland. We managed to go past that. This is the next step that we have to get past. It has been last year also the second round of the playoffs we got knocked out by Kansas City and this year it is Seattle. So, you know in order for us to be a better club and to actually win something these are the games you have to go past. These are the games you have to find a way to win. So that is probably the biggest learning point for all of us.”

REAL SALT LAKE GOALKEEPER NICK RIMANDO

On playing the final game in his career:

“Yeah, I don’t know. I think it will all sink in tomorrow or the next week or so. Like you said, the coaches and my teammates and I gave everything I had to this last game. That is all I could ask for. Like I said out there on the field, I am so grateful for what soccer has given me. I appreciate everybody supporting me. Obviously, this is the end to my career, but maybe I’ll stay in the game somehow. Right now it sucks. We wanted to go a bit further you know, even though people didn’t have us in mind. The guys gave it their all. All we could have done was give it are all and I think that is what we did. Unfortunately, we didn’t come on the right side of the result. I enjoyed it all, even today. I enjoyed it, even stepping off that field. It was so real to see event the Sounders fans appreciate me and clap for me. It is a full circle for me. Starting in LA and ended here. I am appreciative of what soccer has given me.”

On the fans this year and their support:

“It has been special, you know. Who would have a thought a five-ten kid from the 909 would have got 20 years in this league. To be appreciated the way I have been appreciated in the league this year. I said it before but, that is why I wanted to announce it early. Win, lose or draw, I have to get things right with my body. I have to get my mind right. I have a life after soccer. My kids deserve my time. It has been awesome to take this ride with my group and with my coaching staff and all the staff. I couldn’t ask a better way to end my career.”

On his kids being here and their support:

“They mean the world to me. They gave me my passion back for soccer. I do this for them and the way they look at me when I am on the field. When I am off the field I know I make them proud. Now is my time to give back to them a little bit more and have some time with them. Yeah. I think anyone that has kids knows that feeling when your kids look up to you. They look at you in the eyes and you feel so proud, and for me I feel so proud to be their father. Like I said, there are more adventures to go, this is not the end. I hope they gave them some good memories.”

On his play tonight:

“They had some dangerous shots. They created a lot up top. Again yeah, I was ready for this game. I wanted to move on. The whole team wanted to move on. I was lucky enough to come up with some saves when I needed to. Unlucky that we couldn’t create more and put a couple by Stefan [Frei]. Seattle, they are a good team. Good team at home for sure. We wish them nothing but the best. When you have Jordan and Lodiero and all those guys, the guy on the left, Smith. These guys are a dangerous team and we respect them and what they put out there today.”

On his plans tomorrow:

“Tomorrow. I am going to take my kids to school in the morning. We land at two o’clock in the morning. Wake up, make them breakfast. Check them into school and then kick my feet up. Have a couple whiskeys maybe. Relax.”

On his shoulder:

“I have been playing all year with a torn rotator cuff. It acted up tonight. It has acted up a couple times. Today the turf, I dug it in somehow and it kind of woke it up. People thought I was kidding around when I said I have to get a couple surgeries to do after my career. It is my knee, my shoulder. I am a banged up old guy now. Get my body right like I said but relax, have time with my family. Reflect on what this sport has given me. Just take it all in and you know I feel like it is my duty to give back and we will see where that goes.”