MLS Playoffs Western Conference semifinals – Seattle Sounders 0-0 Dallas FC (1-1 on aggregate)

Reactions after the game:


 Opening statement:

“Obviously we are very excited we advanced and moved on. Being able to defend well is an important part of winning a championship. I know all through the season people have been saying ‘well do they have a good enough defense to win?’ And I think we have proven over the past three or four weeks that we can play good enough defense for sure. Chad Marshall was outstanding out there again today, that’s why I think he is the Defender of the Year for me. I felt like we did well. On the other end of the field I felt like we had some really good looks. I thought their goalkeeper came up with a big save. [There are] possibilities on if it’s a penalty or if it’s not a penalty on Obafemi Martins. I thought we had some good looks and we just missed a little bit on our shots, but that’ll come. If you’re creating chances, that’s what you’re happy about as a coach. If you’re not creating any chances, then you worry, but I was thinking we were creating chances so I was pleased that way. Great effort by the guys putting themselves in the conference finals, and we will continue to go forward.”

On playing for the shutout:

“We talked about it—we said that we are not going to give up a goal and we are going to show that we can defend. On the same end, [we said] that we were going to get our opportunities to score. I thought we had good opportunities; we had good looks. I thought we had more shots than them, we had more opportunities, more shots on target as well—I was pleased with that part of it. It’s not like tactically we went out with a different plan; we would have played the exact same way.”

On advancing to the Conference Finals:

“In order to win MLS Cup you got to win the next series, and that’s what we did. We don’t lose at home when we’ve played our second game at home… That’s something we want to continue to do, and we have to keep moving along. It’s a journey.”

On looking ahead to LA Galaxy:

“We know LA is a good team. Salt Lake is a good team and their win last night was a little bit surprising… We know we have to be ready; we have to play well. We also know that we can play them, and even if we’re down we can come back. With LA I know there is going to be more opportunities with Clint and Oba, and there are going to be more chances just because the way they play. It’s going to be a great series.”

On Lamar Neagle’s substitution:

“I thought Lamar came in and did well. He came in and helped us out defensively, as well. He had some opportunities going forward. I thought he did what I needed him to do.”

On facing LA again:

“I guess that’s the way scriptwriters put it out. We knew the road would eventually go through there, as we knew the road would eventually go through us. It’s probably appropriate that the two of us meet. We just have to be ready and we will be.”

On the defense’s performance:

“I thought it was good. I thought it was a good defensive effort. I thought it was solid from Chad and Zach [Scott] from the middle of the back and I thought Leo Gonzalez had a very good game. That’s a difficult assignment dealing with [Fabian] Castillo. And DeAndre Yedlin, I know he is getting forward a little less, but his defending has certainly been rock solid. That’s an area of his game he knew he had to improve upon. I thought all throughout the game the guys were really cognizant of making sure they doubled up their speed guys and give them a chance to unfurl their game. We were a little surprised that they waited until 80 minutes until they tried to go with extra forwards and bring on [Andres] Escobar. We thought that was going to happen sooner, but it is the way it is.” 


On the defensive performance:

“I thought they were solid. I thought they did a great job. We played well, we created some great chances. I had two really good looks at goal; I should have scored at least one of those. I am frustrated about that, but I thought we looked good. We didn’t just sit back and try not to concede. We tried to go out and score one or two goals and tried to really take the game to them. I thought we played well.” 

On playing LA again:

“We are a team that believes in ourselves. To win the Supporter’s Shield we had to play two games against them and get the right result, so we’re a team that’s done well this season in terms of silverware, the U.S. Open Cup and winning the league. We have that confidence moving forward, so we feel good.”

On combining with Obafemi Martins:

“I loved playing with Oba. He’s a great player, a world class player. We have a good chemistry, I think you could see that all year. We work well together, [we] create chances for each other, and tonight together we created a good chance, a give and go, I played him and he played the ball back to me. I anticipated the keeper to be moving over to try to cover the far post so I tried to go near post with it, but I should have done a better job with that one. That’s one I should have scored on.”

On what the team did well tonight:

“We play with confidence. We didn’t sit back and tried not to concede. We tried to go out and win the game and get goals. We created good chances… At the end of the day we are happy going into the next round.”


On the game:

“Good game. It’s a credit to 20 years of work in this country for many people who are involved in the game. To see the crowd and the level of the two teams and the quality of play and passing – it was a great example of what we have done here in this country. I’m proud of it. I’m also very proud of my players. They did a good job. The plan was to be aggressive and put pressure on them the whole game, and there was much of the game where we felt we got what we wanted. We played against a very good team and very good players. We created some problems, especially in the counterattack, but nothing to regret. For me, it’s an honor to coach these players and I want to send a message of gratitude to them to allow me to coach them. It’s great – we’re proud.”

On Seattle’s approach:

“It changed some things. Seattle came in today with a more defensive initiative, in my opinion. We were more aggressive. The game was tied anyway in Dallas so it could go either way. We were just one goal away from advancing to the next round. We had our chances and they had theirs too. The game was very level. Both teams came out with a lot of energy in trying to score a goal and control. It was a good match.”

On his team’s second-half possession:

“I remember a little time in the second half when [Seattle] controlled the ball, but if you see the numbers and the stats, I think we controlled the tempo. There were some parts in the second half when they pushed the lines up, but I felt we ran well. We’re playing in their home and they tried to get some reactions, but in terms of the possession, I thought tonight our team did a great job. We kept it better than them.”


On the season overall:

“I think it’s positive. We have a group that is young. The group that you saw tonight – the majority of them are guys who have many years in front of them still. Maybe we don’t have big names, but we have a team. What you saw was a group of guys where everybody was sticking to the fundamentals that we created here and sticking to the tactics that we have. We have an identity. If I look back, I think the boys had a great season. But they know that I’m very demanding and I’m not happy. I don’t think we deserve to be out [of the playoffs]. There is a lot of work to do, but I’m proud of the season we had.”


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