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Seattle Sounders vs. FC Cincinnati: Highlights, stats and quotes

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“It’s one game, first game of the season. But I will give you this, because of the new playoff format, we are very cognizant of what we need to accomplish in order to get one, two, maybe even a third home game here.” - Brian Schmetzer


Match Data

SUMMARY

Seattle Sounders FC 4 - FC Cincinnati 1

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Venue: CenturyLink Field

Referee: Christopher Penso

Assistants: Jeff Hosking, Nick Uranga

Fourth Official: Victor Rivas

VAR: Hillario Grajeda

Attendance: 39,011

Weather: 42 degrees and mostly clear

SCORING SUMMARY

CIN - Leonardo Bertone 13’

SEA - Kelvin Leerdam 27’

SEA - Jordan Morris (Nicolás Lodeiro) 33’

SEA - Jordan Morris (Víctor Rodríguez, Nicolás Lodeiro) 43’

SEA - Raúl Ruidíaz (Víctor Rodríguez) 87’

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY

CIN - Fanendo Adi (caution) 46’

LINEUPS & STATS

Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Kelvin Leerdam, Kim Kee-hee, Chad Marshall, Brad Smith (Nouhou 84’); Gustav Svensson (Jordy Delem 90’+2’), Cristian Roldan, Jordan Morris (Harry Shipp 77’), Nicolás Lodeiro - captain, Víctor Rodríguez; Raúl Ruidíaz

Substitutes not used: Bryan Meredith, Will Bruin, Román Torres, Handwalla Bwana

Total shots: 24 (Rodríguez, 8)

Shots on goal: 9 (Ruidíaz, 3)

Fouls: 6 (Marshall, 2)

Offside: 0

Corner-kicks: 6 (Lodeiro, 5)

Saves: 2 (Frei, 2)

FC Cincinnati - Przemyslaw Tytoń; Alvas Powell (Caleb Stanko 86’), Nick Hagglund, Kendall Waston - captain, Mathieu Deplagne, Roland Lamah; Leonardo Bertone, Victor Ulloa; Eric Alexander (Darren Mattocks 61’), Corben Bone (Kekuta Manneh 73’), Fanendo Adi

Substitutes not used: Spencer Richey, Forrest Lasso, Blake Smith, Emmanuel Ledesma

Total shots: 7 (Bertone, 3)

Shots on goal: 3 (Bertone, 2)

Fouls: 13 (Adi/Hagglund, 3)

Offside: 1 (Adi, 1)

Corner-kicks: 1 (Bertone, 1)

Saves: 6 (Tytoń, 6)


Post-Match Quotes

SOUNDERS FC HEAD COACH BRIAN SCHMETZER

Opening statements:

“I think we honored someone we all cared about tonight prior to the game. Sigi’s [Schmid] passing was certainly a sad day for all of us and I just want to go on the record today and say we will miss him, and he was a great friend. So thank you.”

On Cristian Roldan and Svensson’s abilities and communication:

“Well, we are going to take a look at that because you know at 3-1, any two-goal lead is kind of tricky. And at the beginning of the second half, we actually weren’t pleased with some of the play by the guys that are supposed to take care of the ball and establish tempo. So Gustav [Svensson] and Cristian [Roldan] are obviously talented players, but I think it took them a while to get ahold of the game in the fashion that we wanted them to. We want to make sure that we address that and that it gets corrected.”

On Morris and Rodríguez switching spots during the game:

“I give my players freedom as long as when they switch positions - and it’s a little bit easier for the two wide guys - that they know the job and responsibility of the player that they are switching with. It gets a little tricky, you’ve seen it with Víctor [Rodríguez] and Nico [Lodeiro]. But I actually encourage that at times because I think it unbalances your opponent. So both Jordan [Morris] and Victor had good games and were very effective regardless of what wing they were coming off of.”

On Rodríguez being healthy and being effective:

“I want to pump the breaks a little bit because I think we could have been even more lethal, more effective. I think there were times where Víctor got himself in really, really good spots. But then that last pass, that last decision, maybe we could have done a little bit better. In a game like tonight where you’re creating a ton of chances it looks really, really easy. But what I need out of Jordan, out of Víctor, out of Nico is that in those hard games when you’re struggling to create three, four, five quality chances, they make the right ones. And that’s what we are striving for.”

On the feeling after FC Cincinnati’s first goal:

“You always worry a little bit. You always think ‘oh my God here it goes again, our record against expansion teams, so on and so forth,’ but we weren’t in panic mode at all. I thought we started off the game fairly well. The first 10 minutes I thought we were all over them. Goals like [Cincinnati’s first goal] certainly, it was an impressive strike, for sure. So you just got to give the opponent some credit, which was, you know, establishing possession, being goal dangerous, we wanted to play in their half of the field, which I think we did. And then when Kelvin [Leerdam] scored it brought us back to even. I thought we were able to impose our style of play. How we wanted to attack them, and then we got the next couple of goals.”

On the Sounders’ first opening win since 2015:

“Again I’m going to pump the brakes, it’s one game, first game of the season. But I will give you this, because of the new playoff format, we are very cognizant of what we need to accomplish in order to get one, two, maybe even a third home game here. So that is for sure on everyone’s radar, coaching staff, players, we understand how vital points are going to be with the new format.”

SOUNDERS FC GOALKEEPER STEFAN FREI

On the response after going down 1-0:

“It was great. I think it was against the flow a little bit, and obviously it was a great strike, and we took it as that. We tried to move on and I think we did move on quite well. We responded well. I was also happy after the way we responded after every goal that we scored, all the way down to our fourth goal. You know they kick off and we retain possession within five seconds. That’s great to see and I was really happy to see that.”

On going forward after this win:

“It was good, I liked the way we scored the goals. We scored them in different ways – a little bit of individual brilliance and a lot of overlapping and dangerous crosses. There was a pleathora of different attacking modes on display today. That was one thing that was missing a little bit last year, we would have possession and possession and nothing else. I think today we scored out of possession, on counters, over the flanks.”

On seeing Morris score:

“Very happy for him, he deserves it though. From the moment when he turned pro I think the reason I knew he would be a good player is because he is level-headed, he’s humble, and he puts in the work. And those are all good things to have when you have to go through a difficult time. I think the supporting staff around him have done a really good job to get him back. I think a night like this is going to do the best for his confidence. Super happy for him and hope to see more.”

SOUNDERS FC FORWARD JORDAN MORRIS

On how it feels to be playing again:

“It felt amazing, it’s what gave me the motivation last year to keep working hard during the tough times, was this moment to come back and hear that crowd noise. It was a very emotional night. To get the three points was huge after the last couple years’ slow start, it’s good.”

On the celebration after the first goal:

“It was amazing. It was, like I said, an emotional moment and my teammates helped me get through last year because there were some tough times. You came in this year and they understood that maybe it was going to take a little time to get back to the full, and having my touches right. It was really, really special.”

On things he worked on this offseason:

“I’m in a different position so I have to adjust my game a bit, so continue to work on the crossing and finishing aspect as well. I’m going to have to shift my game a little bit because it’s a different position but it was a good start.”

SOUNDERS FC DEFENDER BRAD SMITH

On how to plan for counterattacks:

“As soon as I see myself able to release myself when we’ve got the possession of the ball, when it’s being switched over, it’s perfect timing for me to go and it causes huge problems out wide. That’s the way modern-day fullbacks have to be and I think that it worked really well.”

On the response from Cincinnati’s opening goal:

“I think the goal shocked everyone. I feel we dominated the ball and it came out of nothing, really, and shook us. You have to respond. We responded well and held the ball, and second half we absolutely dominated the ball and they couldn’t really get near us.”

On Morris’ first goal:

“It’s a horrific injury. I think a lot of players have done it. I’ve done it myself, and coming back from that is a dark place and time. It’s a long injury. For someone like Jordan [Morris] who is such a hard worker and such a nice kid, very talented and to go back and score two goals on his comeback was amazing. Everyone is happy for him, you can tell by the celebration.”

FC CINCINNATI HEAD COACH ALAN KOCH

On the game:

“I think the game was as difficult as we knew it would be. I don’t think Seattle was higher or lower than any level that we thought they’d be at. We thought they’d be at a high level and they were at a very high level. We knew it would be a tough place to come play and it was a tough place to come play. I was pleased to see the positives. I think when our players were calm and confident and when we possessed the ball, I thought we looked very, very good. But that was only short little spurts during the course of the game. I think at times we gave the ball away way too easily and that’s what allowed Seattle to punish us a few times. The positives are when we’re calm and composed and when we take care of the ball we look like a very good team. We obviously have to stretch those moments and make them longer, but if you make mistakes and give the ball away to a team as quality as Seattle they’re going to hit you. It’s almost the worst possible thing you can do in a game on the road is score too early against a good team because obviously they came to life and kept on coming at us. I thought the second half was better in that we managed the game well. I was just disappointed to concede the goal at the end because it would’ve been nice to get a shutout in the second 45 minutes.”

On the difference between the first half and second half:

“The game is different. Both 45s were completely different. You start at 0-0 so how you approach that game is different for us and for Seattle. When they’re 3-1 up at halftime they’re going to play a different way, too, so the game was different from that perspective. I thought at times our defensive shape was good and at other times we weren’t very good defensively. And that’s how they were able to create chances and then capitalized on those chances.”

On starting Corben Bone in the No. 10 role:

“He deserved it. He’s been fantastic for our club. As this club is growing, he was very good in preseason. I think he went out and played the way Corben is capable of doing. He’s very calm and composed and that is an avenue for us to possess the ball. I think he was part of that group that was good at possessing the ball at times.”

On Leonardo Bertone’s goal:

“That was a fantastic goal. Those are the goals you dream of scoring and unfortunately for him it wasn’t a game winner tonight.”

On Seattle scoring often off the right flank:

“We spoke to the guys about three main things going into the game. One is your work rate. The second thing is your discipline and how we asked them to play and how they’re composed. And the third think is problem solving. You have to go on the road in a situation like this and you have to problem solve. (Seattle) did a very, very good job of overloading the flank and we have to deal with that. If it’s 1-v-1 or 2-v-2 or if they put a third player there against our two, we have to slide over collectively as a group. Our back four and our midfield too. I don’t think we did a good job of problem solving that in the first 45 minutes.”

On if he anticipated Seattle would attack from the right side:

“We anticipated that they’d come at us from all over, which they did obviously. Then they started having success in the first 20 minutes of the first half. Give them credit – when things are working you just keep going at it. On the flip side, we have to problem solve. When we’re suffering a little bit in one area we have to manage that.”

On if the first Seattle goal was unlucky:

“Yeah, those are tough moments because we go score a great goal, we’re 1-0 up and playing with confidence then you almost take a hit to your stomach from that perspective. That was a little bit unlucky. And I think the second one was a deflection off of Nick (Hagglund). That was going wide and it’s not Nick’s fault that it hit him and went in. You come on the road and know it’s a tough place to play and the guys played well for the first 20 minutes then you have two goals that are … I won’t call them unlucky, but that’s part of it. It does take a lot out of you and to concede the third one right before halftime was difficult and that changed the game.”

On heading to Atlanta next:

“There was definitely growth tonight and we’re going to need that growth because next week is going to be even more difficult. The schedule that we’ve been presented with is very difficult so nobody should be surprised by how tonight went. There were good moments and there were tough moments. Now we need to continue to grow in those good moments and try to minimize the tough moments. It’s not going to be easy because going to Atlanta is probably even more difficult than what we faced tonight.”

On if it’s somewhat of a relief that this inaugural match is finally over:

“No, because we lost. I don’t think we’ll ever be satisfied with losing a game. I think we just want to get ourselves ready for the next one as quickly as possible. We know that’s going to be a tough challenge. We’re looking forward to getting back to Cincinnati tomorrow and start preparations for the next game.”

On this team still getting to know one another:

“We’re never going to make excuses, that’s for sure. We came on the road tonight in a tough place and we lost, but we’re not going to make excuses for losing the game. We have to be realists in terms of factors. The factors are we played against a quality established team. They’re a very good team based on how they finished last season. They were flying and they came out of the gates tonight flying yet again. We’re not surprised by it and I’m not surprised by some of the challenges that we’re facing. This is all part of our growth as we move forward and get ourselves ready for the next challenge. I can guarantee you one thing: By the time this team plays the 34th game, we’re going to be significantly better than we were in the first game tonight. And that’s going to be part of our growth. We’re going to go through that and ride the ups and the downs. Tonight was tough. We’ll put it behind us and get ourselves ready for the next one.”

On goalkeeper Przemystaw Tyton’s game:

“He did make some great saves and I think our defenders made some good clearances too during the course of the game. When you’re facing a barrage like we did tonight there are going to be moments when you concede goals. I don’t necessarily blame him or anybody for any of the goals that we conceded. You concede a goal collectively, as a group. Seattle was very, very good at creating those chances. It was a little lucky at times, but they capitalized on the moments.”

On why it appeared Seattle played at a different speed:

“Cohesiveness. They’re a lot more cohesive than we are right now and that’s to be expected. How comfortable they were together and how they possessed the ball – it shows they’re an established team. We had positive moments. I’m actually looking forward to going back and watching the game tonight because we had some very, very good moments. It was probably our best moments that we’ve had through the course of the preseason and this first game where the guys looked comfortable and played with confidence. And when we play with confidence, we look very, very good in those little moments. But there are there other moments where you concede a goal and maybe put your head down for a couple minutes. You can’t put your head down for any amount of time in this business or you’ll get yourself in trouble.”

On the support the team received from their fans tonight:

“I don’t think we’d be in MLS if it wasn’t for our fans so it’s awesome to reward them. For them to come on the road and lose with us is a tough moment for all of us, but the fact that they got rewarded with a fantastic goal in our inaugural match … at least we gave them something. And hopefully we can continue to give them more and more as we progress.”

FC CINCINNATI FORWARD CORBEN BONE

On the match:

“Obviously, it is not what we wanted, but we move on and learn from it and go from there.”

On the team’s play:

“I think we started pretty well, scored a goal and then they scored some goals. They put us under pressure. We tried to respond in the second half a little bit. They are a good team. Credit them. We can learn from it and move forward.”

On their response after Seattle’s first goal:

“Once they scored to tie it up, it is even once again. We have to refocus and try to concentrate and stay in the game, and try and find one ourselves. It didn’t turn out that way unfortunately. Like I said, it is the first one and we can learn from it and hopefully move forward.”

On their first goal and what it means to the franchise:

“It was a great goal by Leo. It was a fantastic strike. Definitely a great moment. A great goal. That was a great moment and one that will be remembered for sure.”

FC CINCINNATI DEFENDER NICK HAGGLUND

On tonight’s game:

“It was a tough game. It was a learning experience. It was our first MLS game. We have to take the lessons from this and build on this. We still have 33 games left. You lose soccer games. When you lose, your character comes out and you see what happens the next week. Hopefully we can learn from mistakes and move on to the next one.”

On the deflection goal:

“It went off one of my cleats and into the goal. It happens. It is a part of football.”

On the team and the rest of the season:

“For sure. We came out in four, three, two, one and we have been working on that for about a week. It is something for us to build upon. I think there were some good things. Obviously our start was good, we went up 1-0. Hopefully we can build off those kinds of things. Even if the team has been together, you are learning every game, when you play together. We can’t make any excuses for ourselves but we are going to grow together as the season goes on. Hopefully the culmination of 34 games has us enough points to make the playoffs. So we just take it one game at a time and one week at a time to learn from our lessons and that is all we can do.”

On the FC Cincinnati fans that traveled to Seattle:

“It was incredible to look up there. They were so loud. We walked out onto the pitch and they started chanting F-C-C. I just looked up there and those are my people, those are the people I grew up with. It was cool to look up there and they all made the trip and were loud.”

On the first goal for FC Cincinnati:

“To go up 1-0 in that kind of fashion with a great goal from Leo was incredible and it put belief in the group.”