MLS: Seattle Sounders FC 3 vs. 2 Real Salt Lake

Sigi Schmid – Seattle Sounders FC Head Coach
(Opening Statement…) “Definitely an exciting game, for sure. [There were] a couple of fantastic goals-Lamar Neagle’s goal. Joao Plata had a great goal as well. There were a couple of good combination goals-the goal from Obafemi (Martins) and from (Javier) Morales, then a goal through a little bit of effort and determination by Andy Rose. We said at the beginning of the season that we are a team that is going to play from minute 1 through minute 90 or 95. That’s something we have showed off and we showed it again tonight. It’s tremendous to get the three points-it was a big win for us in terms of separation and terms of staying in first place and continuing to push for the Supporters’ Shield. Now we’ve got to rest up and get ready and we have an important game on Tuesday in Philly.”

(On playing Real Salt Lake…) “I think the two teams bring out another level in each other. I didn’t think in the first half we did a good job defending, I think we gave too much space to Morales. We didn’t pick him up enough and we usually do a much better job of keeping Salt Lake on one side of the field, and they did a good job of switching the ball on us and they opened the game on us. I thought in the second half our defending was better and that allowed to then start to create more chances, get more corner kicks, [and] get forward more. Obviously these two teams, and there are a couple others as well, that when you play them you are going to raise the game to the best level you can.”

(On preparing for Philadelphia…) “There was a lot of hard work for our game tonight. They’ve got to rest and recover, we will see what Philadelphia throws out there tomorrow. That is our next game, our next preparation. After Tuesday we will worry about New York on Saturday.”

(On Clint Dempsey…) “I thought Clint worked hard. Clint and Oba both worked hard together. We can see that in his numbers, in his touches, and in his running. He was unlucky on a couple of opportunities in the first half, he had some decent looks, but he will continue to get better…It’s not always about goals, it’s about setting up people as well. He did a great job setting up Oba and Oba does a great job setting him up. They can contribute both my scoring and by setting the guys up.”

(On Andy Rose…) “I thought Andy was an important sub for us today. He’s got a bounce in his step. He brings that energy-you saw right when he got on the field he went down to the left corner. His fitness level is good, he’s worked hard, [and] he is fresh. He’s eager to play. Those things together have really helped him. Obviously when we are trying to push forward his height and his ability in the air helps us as well.”

(On Lamar Neagle…) “I thought Lamar was much better today. I think in a couple of games he has struggled lately, but today, not just because he scored the goal, his overall play was better today. When he gives us that-and sometimes he comes from a deeper position, not always high on the front line…I thought there a couple of times he was able to collect the ball facing his defender coming at him, and I think that helped his game.

(On Neagle’s goal…) “I thought that was fantastic. It came out of nowhere. You don’t necessarily expect him to shoot that one and the ball drops and he gets it. He scored a great one against Salt Lake in Salt Lake a few years ago, and this one was from the other side with his other foot. One was left, one was right.”

(On early opportunities…) “Early on obviously (Rimando) came up with the big save. I think Oba was a little bit surprised that he was onside on that play. He just hit the crossbar there. We also thought the refereeing was all over the place at times today. But at the end of the day both teams have to deal with it.”

(On the lineup for Tuesday…) “We’ll see what team Philadelphia puts out there tomorrow. I am less concerned about Tuesday in terms of being fresh or fitness because they have to play a game as well. They will have fatigue. We are sort of going into the game equal. There might be a couple people we need to move a little bit, move around and make some changes, but we feel this group is a fit group and will be able to recover.”

(On Marco Pappa…) “He has a big game on Saturday. Obviously he is going to play 90 minutes on Saturday because that is a big game for his country. Marco has done ever so well, he has four goals for them in three games. He has really picked up the mantle for his country. I know that is something he has looked forward to do and something he and I have actually talked about it. I said that it is your turn, it’s your turn. Carlos Ruiz is a little older now, so it’s your turn to step up and be the man for Guatemala and he has certainly stepped up and has been the man for them in this tournament. We will see how he does in that game. He is going to fly directly from LA to Philly, so he will be there and we will decide if he is going to be on the bench or how many minutes we think he can play.”

(On combinations between Martins and Dempsey…) “It’s just common. At times I thought their passing was a little off today from what it normally is, but they still look for each other and still find each other. And that was just a great combination. You never want to grow complacent when you’re watching it and you got to realize you are watching some pretty impressive and skillful stuff when that happens.”

(On the game being stretched…) “It was stretched because we were trying to attack but there were times t looked like fouls to me, and then fouls didn’t get called. Then you get stretched because there is a guy out of position, he’s on the ground thinking he’s going to get a call and the ball is going the other way. It happened vice-versa a couple times, too, where I thought they were fouled and the ball went the other way. That added to the game being stretched. But I really the thought in the second half, even before the red card, we started to get the game under control and started to exert more pressure on them.”

(On the focus of the team…) “We want to win games. We want to get points. We want to try to make this a very special year. We have a special opportunity on Tuesday to win another Open Cup and Philly will be feeling motivated because this is their first opportunity to do that. We are going to be equally motivated, so winning always helps build confidence. Coming and winning late helps build confidence because no matter how long it goes you have the ability to come back.”

(On the comeback win…) “Again, it speaks to the character of the team. I thought the goal we gave up was a little bit soft and then the one with Morales he was wide open with the box, so we didn’t do well defensively, but then we came back and got two goals to put ourselves back into it. One of them was a little bit of a wonder strike by Lamar, but it showed us our character and our team’s belief. One-nothin’ is nothin’ and we can come back from that. The stats in this league are overwhelming that once you go down, you generally lose the game. So fighting that stat, and doing the opposite, is always a good thing and speaks of the character of your team.”

Jeff Cassar – Real Salt Lake Head Coach
(On Nat Borchers mistake…) “They are a dangerous team. They have good attacking players. We got caught and you never want to leave yourself exposed 1v1.”

(On the red card…) “I haven’t seen it yet but my staff has and they feel that it probably was a red card.”

(On the effect of the red card…) “Obviously that changed the game. We had to make a few tactical moves and for the most part it worked extremely well. We tried to get pressure to the service but you can’t get to everyone. Credit to Seattle for pushing for it but if it’s eleven players on the field for us it’s a different story.”

(On substitutions after the red card…) “Things work out that way. Ned Grabavoy had taken a serious knock before and was starting to hurt. We were playing Joao Plata out of position and he was doing great. He was running out of gas though and it came down to one play. It just stinks that it came down to us getting a red card and then pushing on to get that result.”

(On facing Seattle with 10 men…) “I thought we were doing a good job defending. They weren’t penetrating the middle on us. When they brought Andy Rose in it was a handful because he was running out of the midfield. I thought we held the fort down for most of it and we even did a good job on the goal. I think there was a foul that happened in the middle of the box during that play. When you crash the box and don’t get any of the ball but take out our players, that’s a foul.”

(On positive takeaways…) “There are definitely positives to take from this. I thought our possession when we decided to possess was fantastic. I think we could have done more of that. We need to get better at that and managing the game. The effort was there. You think two goals on the road in a tough place to play would be enough but I think it’s a different game with eleven players on the field. ”

(On facing Dempsey and Martins next…) “They are going to run wild. I think it’s about what we do. When our possession is good and we are in the right spots, we control the game. It was when they started getting rolling that we needed to be better with the ball.”

(On his message to Nat Borchers…) “I haven’t yet spoken to him. We will look at the video and see. Typically during those plays there are multiple issues, not just one. We will look at it and get better.”

(On moving forward…) “It’s time to regroup. We’ve got an extremely strong locker room. I think for sure our focus will be great this week. It’s about getting rest for some guys and getting fit for others. It’s about taking care of business at home.”

(On Ned Grabavoy’s injury…) “I haven’t spoken to him but I think he’s fine.”