Saturday, May 18, 2019
Venue: Talen Energy Stadium
Referee: Marcos de Oliveira
Assistants: Jose Da Silva, Eric Boria
Fourth Official: Lorant Varga
VAR: Jose Carlos Rivero
Weather: 70 degrees and clear
SEA - Nouhou (caution) 56’
PHI - Kacper Przybylko (caution) 72’
PHI - Fabrice-Jean Picault (caution) 83’
SEA - Jonathan Campbell (caution) 86’
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Saad Abdul-Salaam, Kim Kee-hee, Román Torres, Jonathan Campbell, Nouhou (Kelvin Leerdam 71’); Cristian Roldan, Jordy Delem (Handwalla Bwana 76’), Alex Roldan; Nicolás Lodeiro - captain, Will Bruin (Raúl Ruidíaz 79’)
Substitutes not used: Bryan Meredith, Brad Smith, Harry Shipp, Henry Wingo
Total shots: 6 (Six players, 1)
Shots on goal: 1 (Bruin, 1)
Fouls: 14 (Nouhou, 3)
Offside: 3 (Bruin, 3)
Corner-kicks: 4 (Lodeiro, 4)
Saves: 6 (Frei, 6)
Philadelphia Union - Andre Blake; Raymon Gaddis, Jack Elliott, Auston Trusty, Kai Wagner; Alejandro Bedoya, Haris Medunjanin, Jamiro Monteiro, Brenden Aaronson (Fabrice-Jean Picault 77’); Kacper Przybylko, Sergio Santos (Ilsinho 57’)
Substitutes not used: Carlos, Aurelien Collin, Fabinho, Anthony Fontana, Michee Ngalina
Total shots: 20 (Monteiro, 7)
Shots on goal: 6 (Monteiro, 3)
Fouls: 11 (Monteiro, 3)
Offside: 3 (Santos, 3)
Corner-kicks: 6 (Medunjanin, 3)
Saves: 1 (Blake, 1)
Seattle Sounders FC
Head Coach Brian Schmetzer
On tonight’s match . . .
Well if you look at this sheet of paper, statistically it was not a good game for us. Credit to Jim [Curtin] and the [Philadelphia] Union, who controlled large parts of the game. When I look at the faces in the locker room, when I look at the players on the field giving it their all, giving them chances to win at the end of the game on a couple set pieces and stealing a couple passes, I can’t ask for anything more from my guys. We flew out on two days rest and for them to put on a performance like that, and some guys who played all three games, it was a monster performance. I don’t think there is any team in the league that won’t take seven points in a week. So whatever this piece of paper says, we are pleased.
On playing three center backs . . .
Well I thought [Jonathan] Campbell came on and did a really nice job. We were concerned a little bit about Kim [Kee-Hee] and Román [Torres], they have played a lot of minutes. So the reason for it was put an extra center back and carry the load and allow our outside backs to do some of the work up the wings, and I thought it worked well.
On Stefan Frei’s performance tonight . . .
He asked ‘how old is Ilsinho’, he asked us. Stefan had his work cut out for him tonight, but he’s done it many times and kept us in games.
On players getting their first starts of the season . . .
Alex [Roldan] and [Jonathan] Campbell did great, exactly what I needed them to do. They weren’t flashy, a couple missed balls but exactly what they needed to do.
On looking back at the three matches this week...
Just seven points, wins, excuse me, draws like this that feel like a win, are way better than what Jim [Curtin] is telling his team.
On his message to the team at halftime . . .
We wanted to make some tweaks, push Nouhou up a little bit more and get more involved. We needed one more guy to join the attack, one more guy to extend possession on their side of the field; it didn’t really work out how we drew it up on the board.
On his frustration with missed opportunities . . .
We don’t micromanage those guys; the players on the field make decisions. Part of our plan was to make sure we were effective on our counter attacks, at the end of the day we created some chances and that’s all I can ask from the guys.
Goalkeeper Stefan Frei
On his thoughts of the match . . .
I thought we put a lot of energy into this game, it was difficult to battle. We were okay in the first half you know, nothings considered us changing tactics too we still stuck with trying to play out of the back and maintain possession at times and as the game moved on we kind of started cheaply giving the ball away at times, then that lead us chasing the ball a lot of times and that’s where allthe work came in, a lot of defensive work. Everyone was willing to put it in and put in a solid effort to grind out a point and a shutout. For us to start this spell of road games with this level of commitment is promising and I like to see it.
On playing with three center backs . . .
It changes everything. I mean we now have obviously the center back who is now facing the middle, so what do the center midfielders do? We slide our outside backs a little bit higher aswell, but you know that’s tactics, it starts with wanting the ball, trusting each other with the ball. If something happens, if a mistake happens, then guys being able to or willing to sacrifice themselves to erase errors, I saw a lot of that today and it was very good.
On picking up a point on the road . . .
That is one of the points I made to the group before we stepped on the pitch, you know we tookcare of business at home, that’s great, that’s what we expect of ourselves we need to do. But this game was an opportunity for us to really set the tone on what we want to achieve on the road onthese four games. Not just what we want to achieve but also what we’re willing to put in toachieve those things. Obviously, we want to win and get three points, but I said we got to keepputting things in the bank whether it’s one point or three points, one point we did today and thegood thing we also put in the bank again is that confidence and our display of willingness to sacrifice ourselves and leave everything on the pitch and it will pay off in the future.
Midfielder Alex Roldan
On his first start of the season . . .
It was great to be in the lineup to contribute to the success our team has had this year. Tough game going away from home, good team out there that they had, they moved well offensively and then defensively they put a lot of pressure on us. We had to stick it out there to the end and we were able to get a point out of that and I was glad to be out there and help the team.
On his individual performance . . .
It’s been awhile since I’ve started and had a lot of minutes, just trying to get a feel of the game and then try to connect my first passes and work hard defensively but I thought I did well, I thought the team did well defensively, they put a lot of pressure on us and we were able to overcome that so I think overall, we did a pretty decent job.
On getting a point on the road . . .
It’s crucial to come out with some points in these away games, you have to overcome adversity when you go away and I think that’s what we did today. Like you said, three away games left before we get a big stretch of a break but this kind of moves us forward, so hopefully we can get some momentum going into the next away games.
Defender Jonathan Campbell
Head Coach Jim Curtin
Opening statement . . .
Some nights it doesn’t go in. We talked in the pregame with the lineup and the formation that Seattle [Sounders FC] put on the field that it was going to be an exercise in trying to break down the team that put serious numbers behind the ball. We challenged the guys before the game, can we be disciplined enough to not give up counter attacks. A very organized experienced Seattle team that had three big center backs in there. It wasn’t going to be a night where balls just chipped into the box were going to break a team down. I have to give full credit to our players, I think they left everything on the field. I thought we dominated the game, had control, but just couldn’t find that final touch in the box. A lot of good performances, it feels negative because we had an opportunity to take two more points, but I think there’s a lot of positives from the game. It’s a very good Seattle team, top team in the Western conference. One where I think we had control of the game again. Outside of the restart or two, that’s the only thing that really threatened us. And overall, I thought guys like Brenden Aaronson had probably his best night as a pro, and everything but the final goal for him too. Frustrating night, but one where when we step back, and we just analyze and watch the performance, our ability to rest, defend, press, all those things I think our guys checked a lot of boxes in a positive way. We will look at the tape, we’ll try to get better and prepare for Portland [Timbers].
On what was missing in the final third . . .
I think if Marco [Fabian] is in he brings the ability to shoot from distance, that could maybe soften up the defense but even when Ilsinho would beat two, three guys, there’s still four big bodies in the center part of the red zone so it was a tough night overall. Credit to Seattle, they made a lot of blocks, [Stefan] Frei made a lot of good saves. We put them under about as much pressure as we possibly could; I think we had a lot of possession. We had some possessions with a purpose, but the final shot, the final weight of pass was just a little bit off, a couple bounced and maybe we didn’t get our best efforts on goal all night. I don’t think it’s from lack of effort, I don’t think it’s anything to have concern about, I think it was a really good performance, but one that leaves you feeling a little bit empty because it deserved the three points.
On Brenden Aaronson’s performance . . .
I think Brenden’s night was his best game for the Union. So again, this a high praise, and now Ernst and I want him to not be good, we want him to be great. And the difference is now maybe finishing one of those plays off, because he had good looks, he had good movement all night, he had good service, he played good through balls, he really worked tirelessly, defensively, you can see the energy he has even when we subbed him off, he’s at a full sprint to come over because he has such a high soccer IQ and he wants to win, so I can’t say enough good things about Brenden and the way he’s playing, I’m really happy with that, but overall, the whole team also is helping him, they’re making his job easier, he has a good support staff in there with him. And it’s frustrating also Marco [Fabian]’s hurt, another great piece that could help tonight, but he’s on the mend and hopefully he’ll be back for Portland as well.
Marco Fabian injury update . . .
It’s the same ankle, so it’s no new injury or anything new. It just had swelling, and again he started training this week, and it wasn’t that he re-aggravated it, it’s just that he hit a point where you’re not yourself and that explosiveness wasn’t there, he felt like he was not able to push off, accelerate, strike a ball, with his foot the way he wants to, and things just don’t feel 100 percent, and in this game you have to be at 100 percent because the matches are at such a high intensity.It’s not long term or anything like that, but he’s obviously another piece that could really help the team.
On Sergio Santos’ performance . . .
It was good, we talked at half time I think a little bit, it’s tough because the formation they play doesn’t help his strengths which is opening up and running in behind, so he had a guy up his back hanging on him almost the whole game. I think we maybe could have used Sergio a little bit more in behind. A couple times we had some spells of possession where we were just going side to side and now Sergio’s almost posting up at center back, and with those three center backs that’s exactly what they want, what they don’t want to get into is a foot race with Sergio. I think it was good, but I think you just saw glimpses of what he is at his max. It’s a tough night all around offensively for us. We produced a lot, but at the same time, the final play just was a little bit off, if we create that many chances I still like our odds moving forward for sure. But overall Sergio, good night, but we’re going to demand more.
On Seattle Sounders FC’s defense sitting back . . .
Look, when we saw the lineup I think it was that they respected us. I think they’ve watched us. Obviously, Brian [Schmetzer] is a great coach and has his team well organized and he has a lot of experience with their team. So, once you see that they’re going to change their formation and come here and maybe sit a little deeper, yeah that is certainly a sign of respect. I think we have earned more respect from the league for sure. It’s something that you’re trying to build on a weekly basis. I think that were not sneaking up on anyone anymore; that parts over. So now we have to find ways when teams do sit in at our home stadium to break them down. I think you saw that too. If not for lack of effort, you saw Ilsinho come into the game and he couldn’t give anymore than he did. I’ve said it before; sometimes it feels crazy because you know how talented he is to not put his name in the team as a starter. But, you also have a history of his age and injuries and he could really change a game as you guys saw tonight. I thought Ilsinho was excellent too. There is a respect factor for sure that we have earned now in this league. That in a way makes it harder for us because we’re not sneaking up on anyone. Credit to the players, they deserve all the credit. They’ve done a great job in the intensity that they are playing at. We’re getting better each game which is a good thing. It hasn’t been steps backwards. I think it’s all been steps forward in every performance that we’ve had. This was another good one. Well it wasn’t three points; it was still a very good performance.
On possibly changing the formation near the end of the match . . .
Yeah, we thought about it, but at the same time, once [Raul] Ruidíaz comes in now that’s fresh legs and a real danger on the counter. So, we discussed going to three at the back with the lone striker, but again, it would also kill you to lose a game like that too. I think we were still creating enough. Ray [Gaddis] was getting forward and we certainly got our outside backs forward tonight and had enough numbers in and around the goal. The problem was they also had ten guys in the box sometimes too. It’s just a lot of blocks. So a personnel change there, even a formation change it was almost like we were playing two in the back for the whole second half to be honest. With just [Auston] Trusty and [Jack] Elliot dealing with one. You worry if you pull one of the defenders off, it was so stable, and all the sudden you get countered and then I’m answering a different question. So, yeah it crossed our mind. I still think we were aggressive with how we approached, but it just wasn’t our night in terms of getting that goal.
On defending Seattle Sounders FC’s top players . . .
In a weird way, tonight was one of our better games. Ernst [Tanner] has kind of envisioned this thing going. I think our rest defending was about as good as it was. Our recoveries were in good spots. Our forward passing was good. We took away a guy like [Nicolas] Lodeiro tonight, who was also a little quiet. [Christian] Roldan was pretty quiet. We did a good job because we were aggressive. This isn’t a disrespectful thing but the best players in the world, under pressure with two and three guys running at them at all times to make them uncomfortable, it’s gonna be difficult for them to play. I think that our players deserve credit for the work rate that they put in. I think they swarmed the ball for a majority of the ninety minutes and maybe two or three chances we could clean up defensively. Overall, it’s a testament to the guys and the tempo they made this game be against a team that, again, was sitting back and did it well. They deserve credit for the point as well.
On Kacper Przybylko’s recent performances . . .
Kacper still has a great night tonight. His ability to hold up the ball, to let us breathe, to win flicks, I thought still, he was great. He’s playing, at times, against three center backs up there and he did an excellent job. So I can’t say enough good words about his work rate offensively, defensively he’s doing everything that we ask of him. We love that header back, absolutely, but he is a striker and he wants to score goals. I can’t say enough good things about what he has brought to this team. Again, it’s a testament to how hard he’s worked because the guy has been out for the better part of eighteen months. Now, to finally fully get fit, to put the minutes in that he is putting in at maximum effort, he’s a handful for anybody to deal with. Any center back does not want to play against him, because he is very dangerous. Im happy with how he is doing and I’m proud of himto be honest. We have a real top striker in Kacper and, again, tonight was just one of those nights where margins are small in this league. Goalkeeper makes a few good saves and wish we got the three points.
Goalkeeper Andre Blake
On making his first start after injury . . .
Yeah it feels good to be back, you know the guys in front of me did a wonderful job. They made it easy night for me and it just feels good to be back.
On if he had nerves on his first goal kick . . .
No I was fine, I did kick it in the week. I knew I was fine. Again, it’s about the mental aspect of it, and for me I tried to talk myself through it and not think about it and I was fine.
Midfielder Brenden Aaronson
On almost scoring in tonight’s match . . .
Which shot? I had a couple. The one at the end of the game I wasn’t over it as much and almost cut back too much so I need to be over the ball a little bit more, but it happens to the best of us.
On his individual performance . . .
Yeah, I mean once you connect that first pass you always feel pretty confident, so after that I felt pretty confident and just did my thing.
On trying to break down the low block . . .
I mean, yeah, when a team sits back like that it’s frustrating. You’re going to get limited chances, but when you have those chances you need to score.
On what his team can improve on for next match . . .
I mean, for me, finish my chances for sure. I need to finish. That’s a thing I guess I’m learning and need to get better at and the ball movement had to be quick tonight, we were quick and created so many chances we just need that finishing touch.