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Sounders vs. Minnesota United: Highlights, stats and quotes

“I was very proud of them to figure out a way to close that game out.” - Brian Schmetzer

A moment of João Paulo brilliance and some stout defense was enough to see the Seattle Sounders through to their first home win since July, allowing them to maintain their two-point lead atop the Western Conference standings.

MATCH SUMMARY

Seattle Sounders FC 1 – Minnesota United FC 0

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Venue: Lumen Field

Referee: Alex Chilowicz

Assistants: Jeremy Hanson, Chris Wattam

Fourth Official: Timothy Ford

VAR: Joseph Dickerson

Attendance: 33,130

Weather: 70 degrees and clear

SCORING SUMMARY

SEA – João Paulo (Nicolas Benezet, Nicolás Lodeiro) 22’

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY

SEA – Yeimar (caution) 37’

MIN – Osvaldo Alonso (caution) 47’

MIN – Adrien Hunou (caution) 49’

MIN – Chase Gasper (caution) 77’

MIN – Jacori Hayes (caution) 85’

SEA – Shane O’Neill (caution) 90’+4’

LINEUPS & STATS

Seattle Sounders FC – Stefan Frei; Kelyn Rowe, Yeimar, Shane O’Neill, Nouhou, Jimmy Medranda (Brad Smith 64’); Cristian Roldan, João Paulo, Josh Atencio (Fredy Montero 78’), Nicolas Benezet (Cristian Roldan 63’), Nicolás Lodeiro; Will Bruin (Alex Roldan 88’)

Substitutes not used: Stefan Cleveland, Danny Leyva, Ethan Dobbelaere, Léo Chú, Abdoulaye Cissoko

Total shots: 10

Shots on goal: 5

Fouls: 11

Offside: 1

Corner-kicks: 6

Saves: 4

Minnesota United FC – Tyler Miller; Bakaye Dibassy, Chase Gasper, Michael Boxall, Romain Metanire; Franco Fragapane (Jacori Hayes 70’), Wil Trapp, Ethan Finlay, Osvaldo Alonso, Hassani Dotson; Adrien Hunou (Fanendo Adi 66’)

Substitutes not used: Dayne St. Clair, Jan Gregus, Joseph Rosales, Fred Emmings, Brent Kallman, Jukka Raitala, D.J. Taylor

Total shots: 15

Shots on goal: 4

Fouls: 15

Offside: 1

Corner-kicks: 6

Saves: 4

POST-MATCH QUOTES: SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC 1 – MINNESOTA UNITED FC 0

SOUNDERS FC HEAD COACH BRIAN SCHMETZER

On snapping the winless streak at home:

“We discussed it. We brought it out in the open about our home form, because obviously there was a lot of reporting on our home form, so I figured I’d just get it out there. We addressed it, and I think you guys will see on our [tape]. Every game for this club is important, whether it’s home, away, Leagues Cup, regular season, preseason, Open Cup – every game matters to us. That’s just the message I reinforced. MLS is weird; it’s hard. There are things that we don’t control. For us to have a blip, for us to have a bit of a dip in form at home – I don’t have the answers. But what I do know is that that group of players in there is committed for every single game. And as long as they commit for every single game and every single competition, we have to be okay with the result sometimes. They’re not always going to go our way. I was very proud of them to figure out a way to close that game out, because Minnesota put us under pressure in the second half. They put us a lot of pressure in the second half, so kudos to them.”

On how he felt the team responded to Stefan Frei returning as starting goalkeeper:

“I think the team plays the same. Stefan Cleveland did a good job. Spencer Richey did a good job in the state of Texas. I think the team is the same. It gives them a little bit of an emotional boost, but as far as their actual play, their tactical play – I think goalkeeping is such an important position and we are blessed with three really good goalkeepers, so from a tactical standpoint I think the team plays the same. It’s just that little bit of an emotional lift getting your co-captains back on the field.”

SOUNDERS FC GOALKEEPER STEFAN FREI

On getting the home win today:

“It’s important; I was trying to make this point to the squad before the game that, for me, it’s been pure joy and pride to watch how well we’ve done while I’ve been gone. Really, finding ourselves in a good position on the table. The only reason why we do this is to get good seeding in the playoffs, so we can play more games at home. For that to really count and matter, we have to make this a fortress again. We have a few opportunities left to do so. Today wasn’t pretty, but we won. We kept a clean sheet. It’s a good start.”

On returning to the lineup for the first time since suffering a knee injury in May:

“I got about two hours of sleep last night, so… (laughs). Butterflies are important because it shows that you care. If you don’t have any butterflies, something’s wrong. It was good. It felt really good to hear the ‘Boom, Boom, Clap,’ to see the fans. The national anthem before was really good. It felt good for me to be back out there, personally. In the game, I felt comfortable. Definitely mentally draining. That’s something that you can’t really practice – for 90 minutes to have to be so sharp and so focused. Hopefully I’ll get better with that. It’s just such a pleasure to be back on the pitch and an honor to be back on the pitch for the squad. I don’t take this for granted at all; I think it’s really special. I love the group that we have. We have a very skilled group and I’m excited for what we can achieve with this group.”

SOUNDERS FC MIDFIELDER JOÃO PAULO

On Stefan Frei’s return to the lineup and the strength of Sounders FC’s roster:

“Definitely important to have a sound, full roster. All of the players really add. You cannot think that you can get far or to the playoffs playing with just 11. We need to be a prepared team playing with 18, 20. We’ve demonstrated that and probably with even more players, especially with some of the young players that are just showing up now. And this guy [Frei], by my side, we missed him. We like what the [backup goalkeepers] did; they did great work. But definitely the sense of security and the energy that he gives, it’s important to us.”

On what made the difference today to secure a home win:

“We played a solid match, probably not even our best. There have been other matches we played better at home, but didn’t get the win, so today we played in a certain way. After we scored the goal, we were a little more careful in the way we defended, the way we attacked. We didn’t want to leave room for counter attacks. Probably toward the last third of the match, we kept a little bit more of that safety. And the other times that we have played at home without getting the win maybe influenced that.”