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Seattle Sounders vs. Columbus Crew: Highlights, stats and quotes

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“Nouhou came on and did a great job. He kind of sparked the crowd and got in behind a few times. I was pleased in some ways that we were able to create that many opportunities, but just have to finish plays.” — Brian Schmetzer


Match Data

SUMMARY

Seattle Sounders FC 1 - Columbus Crew SC 1

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Venue: CenturyLink Field

Referee: Jair Marrufo

Assistants: Frank Anderson, Jeff Hosking

Fourth Official: Guido Gonzales, Jr.

VAR: Ricardo Salazar

Attendance: 33,080

Weather: 41 degrees and partly cloudy

SCORING SUMMARY

CLB - Gyasi Zardes (Luis Diaz, Artur) 33’

SEA - Raúl Ruidíaz (penalty) 79’

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY

SEA - Joevin Jones (caution) 36’

CLB - Luis Diaz (caution) 66’

SEA - João Paulo (caution) 85’

LINEUPS & STATS

Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Kelvin Leerdam, Yeimar Gómez Andrade, Xavier Arreaga, Joevin Jones (Justin Dhillon 85’); Gustav Svensson (Harry Shipp 69’), João Paulo, Miguel Ibarra (Nouhou 59’), Cristian Roldan, Jordan Morris; Raúl Ruidíaz

Substitutes not used: Stefan Cleveland, Shane O’Neill, Alex Roldan, Danny Leyva

Total shots: 17 (Ruidíaz, 6)

Shots on goal: 3 (Ruidíaz, 2)

Fouls: 10 (Ruidíaz, 3)

Offside: 1 (Ibarra, 1)

Corner-kicks: 10 (João Paulo, 10)

Saves: 2 (Frei, 2)

Columbus Crew SC - Eloy Room; Harrison Afful, Jonathan Mensah, Aboubacar Keita, Milton Valenzuela (Chris Cadden HT); Darlington Nagbe, Artur, Luis Diaz (Derrick Etienne 66’), Lucas Zelarayan, Pedro Santos (Youness Mokhtar 80’); Gyasi Zardes

Substitutes not used: Andrew Tarbell, Josh Williams, Sebastian Berhalter, Fanendo Adi

Total shots: 5 (Zardes/Zelarayan, 2)

Shots on goal: 3 (Zardes, 2)

Fouls: 9 (Nine players, 1)

Offside: 2 (Zardes, 2)

Corner-kicks: 1 (Zelarayan, 1)

Saves: 3 (Room, 3)


Post-Match Quotes

Sounders FC Head Coach Brian Schmetzer

On the penalty and re-take:

“The referees got it right. You could literally see it on the replay. You can’t step forward. You can go sideways, but you can’t step forward. For me, it was just like, ‘Raul [Ruidiaz] isn’t going to miss two in a row.’ He’s just not.”

On what the week was like preparing with the possible threat of the game being postponed:

“Our club — all of the doctors and everyone involved — gave us updated information all of the time. As a guy, from this city, I think we’ve handled the response fairly well. There’s been no panic. It’s on every news cycle, every platform, everywhere and we didn’t overreact. It is serious. I thought our preparation was almost like a normal week. You can’t say that those guys don’t think about it. We got the best information and were up to date. And the response by the fans tonight…I thought they were great.”

On getting Ruidiaz more involved in the game:

“We always try and work and refine the way the team plays. Last week we put a lot of effort into putting the ball into Raul, making sure he’s in the right spots … and how do we make sure we have guys on the same page. Tonight he was coming off the back line a little bit, was able to get the ball at the top of the box, had some shots from distance. Normally, when he’s a little higher inside the box, a lot of those shots are going to go in. We’ll refine that as well and we’ll keep working at it. We were very happy that he scored the goal. He was very happy with his attacking movements tonight.”

On the stats heavily favoring Seattle:

“Except for the one stat that I really like — goals. Other than that, I thought we played well in spurts. In the second half, when we were really getting on top of them, we created a lot of good looks and a lot of good chances. Jordan [Morris] created a lot and Nouhou came on and did a great job. He kind of sparked the crowd and got in behind a few times. I was pleased in some ways that we were able to create that many opportunities, but just have to finish plays.”

On Gustav Svensson and Yeimar Gómez Andrade playing together:

“Gustav was a beast. He wasn’t really supposed to play, but he did. It just shows his resilience and mental toughness. He was running out of steam and we wanted to make sure there was no injury risk coming from his first day back. For Yeimar, you guys saw what he brings. He’s a tremendous athlete. His recovery speed, his ability to duel with big forwards — Gyasi Zardes is a big guy. That was an interesting tactical matchup to watch, but he played very well.”

On what he thought when he walked out and looked up at the crowd:

“It was close to normal. When we first walked out for warmups, there weren’t that many people in the stands and we wondered if people were going to show up. By the time the game kicked off, there were a lot of fans here and they were great. They were loud. We heard them and I thought it was a great turnout.”

Press Conference: Gustav Svensson, Cristian Roldan, and Raúl Ruidiáz,

SOUNDERS FC MIDFIELDER GUSTAV SVENSSON

On your thoughts on the coronavirus here and the effect on the MLS game:

“I mean we will understand that safety comes first. It is important. In reality, it is more that a hobby that we are doing and we are fortunate it is a job. We understand that safety comes first. If it comes to that, it is something we have to deal with. Like I said, if people don’t feel safe coming, or if it comes from higher up that we should play games without any fans then we will have to accept it and we will have to try to do our best.”

On being back:

“It felt great to be back. I have been away for a couple weeks now. The start maybe came a little earlier than I expected … I felt like I had enough energy to contribute. I couldn’t continue more than I did. It is always nice to be out there again. It felt like home to be on the pitch playing in front of our fans, playing with your teammates. The goal it is difficult because I have not seen it. It is on the TV after an hour. It is difficult because I have not seen it. You have one thought when you are doing it live. It is another thing seeing it and talking about it after. That is what we will do and we will see how to fix those problems.”

On the intensity of the end of the game:

“I mean, it is good for the fans the way the game ended. It is not maybe the way we want to play. It was intense. We were very open in the back. We committed a lot of numbers forward to try to win the game. That also makes us vulnerable in the back. Yes, you want intensity but we want to control both sides of the field. Obviously we can push a little bit more especially in the first half. We can push a little bit higher to make the game more intense. We can make sure we press higher and win the ball higher and keep more possession and therefore create more chances.”

SOUNDERS FC MIDFIELDER CRISTIAN ROLDAN

On this week and preparing with coronavirus:

“We prepared normally … We do live in a bubble. Most of the time we are resting outside of practicing. So in a way it is a good thing for us that we are able to relax at home and not really leave the house besides practice. In that regard it was pretty normal. Understandable having less people at the game. You know you want to take the most cautious way of living. It sucks not having as many people at the game but we understand and everyone has to be safe out there.”

On your thoughts on the coronavirus here and the effect on the MLS game:

“Yeah, it would take out our advantage really. Having forty thousand fans here every week definitely gives us that extra push. But understandable, you know, if it comes from higher up, like Gustav said, you know, from a government standpoint you have to cooperate, obviously. Safety comes first. It would be a massive blow because we love our fans and we want them to be here but we also have to take the most cautious way of living at this moment.”

On your thoughts on playing in a new position:

“Well as a professional you have to understand that things change. Injuries happen the way in which we play. Going down. In each of the last three games, me having more of an attacking mindset than João. Switching roles a bit in that regard. Being more effective in the middle rather than being out wide played a part. Things change. When we have healthy players, maybe I end up at right mid. As long as they think I can contribute as a ten, eight, right mid. I am okay with it. In the end, I want to do my part for the team. I feel I have grown as a player. I feel I can play in those soft players as well as Nico and when he comes back I have my role on the team and I might end up on the right.”

SOUNDERS FC FORWARD RAÚL RUIDÍAZ (THROUGH TRANSLATOR)

On your thoughts scoring tonight and other players coming back from injury:

“I needed to score a goal. I am a striker and every striker wants to be on the scoring sheet. I felt great today with Gustav [Svensson] being back on the squad. He made me feel great. We need everyone on the team. For sure when Nico [Lodeiro] comes back he is going to help the team out and me out as well.”

On your thoughts the coronavirus here and the effect on the MLS game:

“I don’t think too much about it. It is sad what is happening all around. I hope a solution is found quickly and we can move on. I try not to think about it.”

On your thoughts on more touches today and were you feeling more involved:

“I felt really well today. I tried from every angle. I felt very well with the team. I felt like I was getting better with Cristian and the rest of the team. Unfortunately we were not able to achieve a victory which is what we wanted to do and we only got a tie. It was a victory we wanted to give to all the people who came to see us.”

COLUMBUS CREW SC HEAD COACH CALEB PORTER

On the match:

“Normally I would feel good about a draw on the road against last year’s MLS Cup champion on their home pitch, but I think our standards have been raised. I think in some ways we’re grounded a little bit with the feeing of the draw because our standards have raised. There’s a lot to learn from the game. They’re a very good team, Seattle. They definitely threw the kitchen sink at us in the second half. You saw it last week when they were down so good by us to get through. We bent a lot and even broke a little some so we’ll look at the film, we’ll get better. The good news is getting better without losing is the way we want to do it this year.”

On the biggest takeaway:

“The biggest takeaway is we can play with anybody in the league. When we pass the ball, play our game and control games, press from the front and play as a team, we can play with anybody. We showed that [tonight] for periods, but when we don’t play our game we’re going to be in an uncomfortable situation defending deep like we were for far too long. In the end, I thought it was a fair result that they got a goal. We scored a great goal and there were some good moments on the day. It’s never easy against the Seattle Sounders on the road. We got four points in two games and haven’t been beaten, but we have to be a lot better.”

On the penalty kick and re-take:

“I haven’t looked at it yet.”

On if Seattle did anything that was surprising:

“No, but I think we surprised them some, too. Seattle, as a team, when they push, as they did at the end…they’re used to winning games, especially on this field. If you can leave a game and not allow them to win the game…in the end, once the dust settles, we’ll probably feel a little bit better about the result. I’m still looking for improvement out of my team.”

COLUMBUS CREW SC DEFENDER JONATHAN MENSAH

On the game:

“It is an okay result but we will take it you know. It is a long trip. We will take this one and go home and prepare for the next one.”

On his feeling leaving with one point:

“At the start of the season you have to make sure you are bagging some points because down the road you need it. Disappointed but you know we still are happy with the point. Tough place to play and get a point. We will go home and prepare for the next one.”

On defending against a strong air attack and volume of attack from Seattle:

“We watched film and we knew that was one thing they do a lot of. We managed it well [the air attacks]. Their was one incident that brought a PK. We will watch the film and correct that. I think overall we did a good job.”

On playing with Aboubacar Keita this match:

“He is okay. He is a young player. You just need to talk to him. Stay locked in throughout the game and he did well.”

On Milton Valenzuela going down:

“I think he was holding the same leg so I was not happy with that. He played the whole half and then came inside for precautionary measures. So we just put him out to raise the leg.”

COLUMBUS CREW SC GOALKEEPER ELOY ROOM

On the penalty save and retake:

“Yeah, I thought it was a good save. I saw the clip so I knew where he was shooting. I thought it was a good penalty save. I think the linesmen said I was off the line. I don’t think he can see that from that side. It was his decision and I can not do anything about it.”

On getting a point but not seeming satisfied as a team:

“Yeah, I feel the same way [that the standard has been raised]. Maybe last season we were happy with this point. Of course the point is important and it is a difficult road game. I felt we were more in the game and especially how we conceded the goal like that. We had some chances also to score and they also had some chances. I think if we would have played some situations a little bit better we could have scored more. We have to learn from this but we will take this point home.”

On Seattle’s attack from the air:

“Yeah it is really difficult you know because they play like this. Of course I played also with [Kelvin] Leerdam and of course he is crossing every ball. It is one of the qualities of this team. We have to deal with it. Yeah it is hard to do but I tired to help the defense and the team when I can. A couple balls I can help the team but sometimes it’s better to stay and react on the balls. I think today we were unlucky.”