Friday, December 2, 2016

Dallas draw Seattle in the first leg of Western Semis – reactions

November 3, 2014 by  
Filed under MLS

Leg 1 MLS Playoffs Western semifinals – FC Dallas 1-1 Seattle Sounders

FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja

Opening thoughts on the game…

It was a very good game from our end.  I think it was one of the best ones of the season in terms of the energy, the discipline and the urgency that we had for many sequences of the game. The series is open – it’s the first 90 and it’s a tie.  We’ll go to Seattle and try to see what we can do.  

In the first half we dominated and the second half I think it was the same.  I didn’t remember too many parts of the game where we struggled in the back.  We did very well and we’ve always had the initiative to create and go up front. That’s something that we’ve preached all year; to have a team that always has that initiative to go and attack. Even though we’re a team in transition in many parts of the season, this was one of those games where we moved the ball pretty well. I’m impressed with what this group of players showed – they showed today, nationally, that we’re not just a playoff team, but a team that can play against anyone.

Goalkeeper Choice…

Part of our philosophy is to try to create a sense of inclusion. I think that with Chris and Raul, it has been very balanced.  Both of them have had a very good season and stepping up when it was needed.  Tonight it was Raul.  

On missing Mauro Diaz tonight…

It’s hard to say how a game would have turned out with a different person. What I have to say is that the players that were on the field today did a great job. The way I read it and the way I see it, I thought that the people that were on the field today were the right ones.  For some reason during the season it happened many times that there was an injury or a suspension, but this team is not afraid to play anyone. We have a sense of inclusion here, we’re part of this program. 

Could it have been different with Mauro?  It could have always been different when you have that talent there by him, but I don’t think too much about that. I don’t think about what I don’t have. Tonight we had this group of players and they did an excellent job. Now we have Mauro back and we’ll see how we prepare for the next one.

Do you feel like you’re going to Seattle with nothing to lose? 

We always want a win. We always teach and preach to this group of players that we’re not less than anyone here. I have heard many times that Seattle is the best team in the league and they have achieved two trophies this year and that’s the club that everyone is expecting to win it, but we’ll see. Not that we can’t do it – I know that we can do it.  This group of players can do it. In that locker room believe in that – maybe in the league they think differently, but we’ll be ready for the next game on Monday.  We showed today that it’s a challenge for them also to face FC Dallas.

Player injuries…

That tells me that this group is learning that in this game it’s very unusual to play without pain.  It’s normal – today I had four players who came out to the field with some sort of pain. The youngsters need to understand that at the professional level you normally play with pain. Victor [Ulloa] was close to not playing this game, but he came through and he played one of his best games.  He showed himself that pro level is different.

Seattle Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid

On tonight’s game…

We’re happy with the result. We talked about making sure that in game one we put ourselves in a position to win it in game two, and we’ve always done a good job of being at home in a second game, and winning the second game. We defended a little more than we would have liked. They (FC Dallas) had a little more possession and played with a lot of energy, but on the same token, when you really look at clean chances, I thought we had as many, if not, more clean chances. If Oba(femi Martins) scores the breakaway early in the game in the first half, that changes the whole complexion of the game. I was very proud of the professionalism of our display in the second half and scoring the equalizing goal.

On his team’s reaction to going down a goal…

I thought we reacted very well. I think that’s the change in the maturity of the team. It’s taken a while for us to get there. Generally when we’ve knocked ourselves out of the playoff round, it’s been in the first game and that was something we talked about an awful lot. At halftime we said ‘We’re okay as long as we don’t give up another goal. We’re okay. We’ll get one.’ I thought we could get two and we were close to getting two, as well, in the second half.

On Marco Pappa giving up the penalty and assisting on Seattle’s goal…

He was able to fight through it. Obviously, with the penalty kick, you can’t leave your feet there, but it happens. Escobar is a quick guy and he (Pappa) was trying to help the team out and trying to defend. Then he hits a good free kick and sets up the goal for us. We talked at halftime that we felt we could get a goal off a free kick or corner if we had good service.

On managing time of possession…

We knew they would come out with a lot of energy. As I always say, games take on their own life. We felt we could possess the ball and get through, but for some reason, they were pressuring us a lot, and they had a lot of possession so we were really on our heels. I think it took us the first 20 minutes and then we started to play a little bit, but even in that time period we were close to breaking on opportunities to counter.  The plan wasn’t to sit back and counter, but the plan was to sit back and see what they bring us.

On a 1-1 final with away goals carrying weight now…

We still need to win at home. We definitely don’t want to get a 2-2 tie at home, but having an away goal certainly helps. It means they (FC Dallas) know in order for them to come out with anything in Seattle they’ve got to win the game and if they’re not going to win the game, they’ve got to get two goals. It puts a little more pressure on them, to a certain extent, but I know we’ll play better being at home and playing in front of our crowd is a good thing for us.

On a 1-1 draw on the road…

Pleased with the 1-1 draw, especially going down a goal on a penalty kick and then coming back and equalizing, we’re happy with that.

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