By John Zielonka

SEATTLE--Santos Laguna forward Herculez Gomez volleyed the rebound from Carlos Quintero's shot past Seattle goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann in the 54th minute. The goal was enough to give the visitors from Mexico a 1-0 advantage heading into next week's second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League competition.

The Sounders' defense rebounded from their poor defensive effort in their last MLS matchup. Head coach Sigi Schmid promised a tongue lashing to his team before the second half and at the end last week's match.

Seattle played tighter defensively and managed to hold the possession edge. The difference in play failed to result in a goal with forwards Eddie Johnson, newly acquired designated player Oba Martins and David Estrada out of the lineup with injuries. Hahnemann replaced regular goalkeeper Michael Gspurning. The Austrian was suspended for the match due to an accumulation of yellow cards.

MLS veteran midfielder Shalrie Joseph made his first start as a Sounder and looked impressive in his distribution and physical presence. He played for 72 minutes before being replaced by Andy Rose.



Man of the Match: Herculez Gomez

Herculez Gmez

(Wikimedia Commons)

"I don't recall whose shot (Carlos Quintero) forced a good save out of Marcus Hahnemann, but I was fortunate to get on the end of the rebound, that was pretty much all that happened, after that it was just a blur."--Herculez Gomes, Santos Laguna forward

"It happened pretty fast...the ball bounced to their player. He was dribbling and I was tracking back. He shot and Marcus saved it, but Herculez got the rebound."--DeAndre Yedlin, Sounders FC defender

Seattle's depleted forward lineup

"[David] Estrada couldn't play because of his eye. Eddie [Johnson] came out of the game [at Salt Lake]-we thought it was just his toe, but he complained of his hamstring, as well. With his hamstring, he couldn't go. Oba [Martins] tried to play in Salt Lake, had a little bit of an injury going into that game and tried to play-something that had bothered him when he played with Nigeria. He felt he could maybe get through it, and that game didn't make it any better, it made it worse. We figured if we tried to play him today, we didn't know how long that would knock him out. Those three guys were not options for us."--Sigi Schmid, Sounders FC head coach

Shalrie Joseph's Seattle debut

"It was my first game in a couple of months; you could tell I wasn't as sharp as I would like to be. The more we practice together, the more we work together, I think as I said the sky is the limit and we got to start winning games."--Shalrie Joseph, Sounders FC midfielder

"He's (Joseph) a good distributer of the ball, I think he finds people forward, but he's another guy who hasn't played a 90-minute game in an awful long time, so he's rounding into fitness. I thought in the first 45 minutes helped us. It sounds like a broken record but it's true-unfortunately we're still trying to get to know each other."

Second leg at Santo Laguna

"Obviously they're a very good team. Their front three are as dangerous a front three as you're going to run into anywhere. They got in a few times, but I thought for the most part we held them at bay, which was good. Obviously we were missing some people, so we just now have to go down there and play pretty much a perfect game. That's not impossible. It's difficult, but it's not impossible."--Sigi Schmid

"I think that is the great thing about our team. This team keeps working for more. Our coaches have kept us pretty humble up until this point. We know that we're playing a good team, and they have done a great job to get here so we have to respect our opponent. By no means is this already assured for the next leg. We still have a lot to play for."--Herculez Gomez

"I think the biggest one is we give ourselves the best chance of winning if we go in there and put in an honest effort. I don't think any of us could have said the last couple of games was the Seattle Sounders we want to represent."--Zach Scott, Sounders FC defender

They said it

"At the beginning, it was difficult for us to have control. We were not so aggressive going after the balls and allowed them to have better control in the first half...For the second half, we tried to improve our cohesiveness inside the team so we can be more compact and we can go after those spaces and control better those spaces, take control of the ball and then after that, take advantage of those areas that are open ones when you have better control of those spaces. It generated multiple different opportunities for us to score. We could have had more than one or two potentially."--Pedro Calxinha, Santos Laguna head coach

"Being called a Sounders' reject (before Seattle joined MLS), being called any kind of reject digs deep and it fuels fire. I didn't have the easiest go at the beginning of my career so any chance I can get to redeem myself is a good chance."--Herculez Gomez

By John Zielonka

Real Salt Lake dominated the first half of play and held on to beat their visiting rivals 2-1. Four games into the 2013 MLS season, the Seattle Sounders sit at the bottom of the Western Conference standings with one point (0-3-1).

Scoring for the home side were Robbie Findley in the 8th minute of play and Luis Gil in the 35th minute. The Sounders closed the gap to one goal on Brad Evans' first of the year in the 57th minute.

Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid lambasted his team on television after a pathetic defensive effort in the first half.

Without the acrobatic saves of Seattle 'keeper Michael Gspurning, Real Salt Lake could have scored several more goals. Seattle was outshot 25-8, with Gspurning making seven saves to keep the margin of victory to one tally.

Findley left the match after his first tally of the game with an apparent groing problem. Seattle forwards Eddie Johnson (78th minute) and newly acquired Obafemi Martins (62nd minute) both exited the match early due to what appeared minor injuries.

Man of the Match: Michael Gspurning

Gspurning

(soundersfc.com)

The Austrian native faced a barrage of shots the entire evening. His leaky defense gave Real Salt Lake numerous opportunities that could have doubled or tripled the numbers of goals scored.

Seattle's early season winless streak

"We're picking and choosing what times in the game when we want to play. We have moments in the game where three or four guys are involved and some other guys aren't involved, then some other guys get involved and others aren’t. We have yet to have a game where all 11 guys are involved for the whole 90 minutes. Players have to take hold of the game."--Sigi Schmid, Sounders FC head coach

"We didn't play well. They could have been up 5-0 on us at half. We improved our play in the second half - we did what we could, but the game was lost by then. At 0-3-1, our record is not good. We have to take what's coming our way: the criticism, the backlash - we deserve it, but the good thing is that the season is still young."--Steve Zakuani, Sounders FC midfielder

"You work hard, you should be better than that - we know we're better than that, especially for the first 45 minutes. Now, it's time to react, and we don't need more talk – we need more action on the pitch."--Djimi Traore, Sounders FC defender

Robbie Findley's goal and injury

"It always feels good as a striker to get that first one off your back. Hopefully the rest will start flowing, but we're getting the opportunities and I will get more goals.

"I'll take a couple of days and see how it (the injury) feels and then do what I need to do to get back in. It happened when I took the shot, that's when I felt it. I tried to go on, but I couldn't."--Robbie Findley, Real Salt Lake forward

"I think he strained his groin and I actually believe he strained it on the goal...Often times you have a feeling that forwards are going to score multiple goals once they score one, but then he gets hurt, so I guess if you press me for an answer I'd say that I'll take the goal with the injury, but we will get him back quickly."--Jason Kreis, Real Salt Lake head coach

They said it

"We really created a ton of chances. It could have really gotten away from them if we would have finished one more. All in all that team is not going to lose too many games."--Kyle Beckerman, Real Salt Lake midfielder

"Well there is going to have to be a lot of soul searching from the guys in the locker room and from us as a staff as well."--Sigi Schmid

"We talked before the match about how I'm really looking for improvement, about how we are starting our games, especially at home. And I think that tonight we saw that when we do that, that when we focus on getting a really positive beginning to matches it will often time lead to good things at the end of matches and good results."--Jason Kreis

By John Zielonka

The Portland Timbers earned a 1-1 draw against the Seattle Sounders on Rodney Wallace's goal in stoppage time. Wallace's tally negated Eddie Johnson's goal in the 13th minute of play on a perfect cross from Steve Zakuani.

Wallace, Rodney

Rodney Wallace (mlssoccer.com)

The match also featured the appearance of Obafemi Martins, Seattle's newest and highest paid striker from Europe. Martins arrived the day before with enormous expectations to replace the departed Fredy Montero.

Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid lamented his team's inability to maintain their attacking momentum after the 20 minute mark. The Timbers waited patiently until the end of the match to take advantage of a poor Seattle clearance to earn their second point of the MLS season.

Seattle's poor showing and Portland's comeback in the second half

"I thought the first 20-25 minutes were good. I thought we stretched them and I thought we created some chances, got our goal, as well. After that, I think we let them into the game a little bit. I think our play was a little bit too slow. Our movement to the ball was too slow. It seemed like they were obviously pressing and were more ambitious in terms of winning 50-50 balls than we were, and that certainly turned the tide of the game. In the second half, we really didn't turn that around as much as we should have, maybe Tuesday was still in our legs a little bit."--Sigi Schmid, Sounders FC head coach

"We've come back in games. Even in the Montreal match, we were pushing the game and had chances to tie the game. This team, they have that ability to come back so I think we were all very composed. We knew we had at least 45 minutes to score a goal and at least get a point out of it."--Caleb Porter, Timbers head coach

Rodney Wallace's late goal

"We were attacking at the moment. We had a few chances prior to the goal. When I saw the first deflection, I saw that [Andrew Baptiste] had an opportunity to cross the ball, and I wanted to make sure I wasn't in an offside position, so I got in the right spot, the ball came, and I finished."--Rodney Wallace, Timbers defender

"He (Rodney Wallace) came off the bench for us and made a goal so I'm real happy with him, but it was a team effort. Everybody, at the end of the game, I thought really went to another level. It wasn't pretty, but they dug deep, they battled, they fought, never gave up, never quit. In the end, to score that goal, it was fair because they were rewarded for their effort."--Caleb Porter

"The goal was just solid, there was nothing else I could do. It was unlucky that it was in the last minute."--Michael Gspurning, Sounders FC goalkeeper

Eddie's Johnson early goal

"It was one of those goals where we (Steve Zakuani and Johnson) have the relationship and understand how each other play. I know when he gets the ball I have to find the seams inside the box and get free."--Eddie Johnson, Sounders FC striker

Debut of Obafemi Martins

Obafemi Martins Llevant

Obafemi Martins (Wikimedia Commons)

"I thought it was better to come now and see the place, and I am going to the (Nigeria) National Team now...It was a little bit hard. I went to the embassy and that took a little time for the travel and all. [Adrian Hanauer] really wanted me to stay so I can go straight to the national team, but I decided to come straight (here) to see the team and play as soon as possible."--Obafemi Martins, Sounders FC forward

"It was the loudest it's ever been at the Clink when he came out. The fans know the importance he has on this team and I thought he had a good debut. He was inches off from getting an assist with me today and he showed up in the 20 minutes what he can do and bring to the team. We're excited he is here."--Eddie Johnson

"It's difficult for him having just flown in and so forth...We didn't want him to play too many minutes. He laid a great ball across that Eddie was almost on the end of. He hasn't trained with the team, he doesn't know the team, per se. He'll get better, and the things that he can do-his quickness and things like that-will show through."--Sigi Schmid

They said it

"Not only did we get a point, but they lost two points. It gives us a lot of belief moving forward. This team has a lot of mettle. I'm most proud of our effort defensively. We dug deep. We gave up a goal and obviously it was a counter again and we got punished for it. But overall, for 90 minutes, we defended very well against that team."--Caleb Porter

"It's a step in the right direction. We're fighting ourselves. We're fighting a lot of adversity. We could easily be 0-3 right now. This group could be sitting on zero points, getting ready to blow this thing up. We never panicked, we never wavered. We understand that we made mistakes, still, and there's a lot of improvement that we can still make. When you get a point out of a game like this, it's very, very promising and positive and takes us in the right direction, so we're excited."--Will Johnson, Timbers midfielder

"I thought we started well. We haven't started games well this season, so I thought this was our best start to a game and we got the lead. Normally we make that stand up. Now there's something that went right and you have built on what went right and eliminate what went wrong."--Sigi Schmid

By John Zielonka

Seattle entered the second leg of their two-game aggregate-goals CONCACAF Champions league encounter against Tigres UNAL down 1-0. The Sounders utilized three second half highlight reel goals from DeAndre Yedlin, Djimi Traore and Eddie Johnson to win 3-2 on aggregate. Elias Hernandez had the lone tally for the visiting Tigres.

Traore Djimi

Djimi Traore (mlssoccer.com)

Referee Elmer Bonilla's decision to send off the Tigres' Manuel Viniegra was the biggest factor in Sounders' victory. He ejected Viniegra after whistling him for his second caution in the 45th minute of play. The Mexican team played down one man the entire second half.

Both teams felt the ejection by Bonilla played a major role in Seattle's historic win. The Sounders became only the third MLS team to get to the Champions League semifinal round.

The ejection of Elias Hernandez

"He (Bonilla) allowed the opposing team to be too aggressive against us. He let go many of those fouls that should've been punished. I don't want to take away anything from Seattle's victory. They didn't need this kind of help, but playing against 12 is harder than usual."--Ricardo Ferretti, Tigres head coach

"The red card hurt us. Obviously we were down a man over half of the game. I think we were working hard to take the lead, but hey were attacking with numbers. It was tough to hold them off, we were on our heels, and they got those three goals, two really amazing goals so you have to tip your hat to that, but it's just unfortunate that we had to get that red card in the way that we got it."--Jonathan Bornstein, Tigres midfielder

Goals by DeAndre Yedlin and Djimi Traore

"Obviously DeAndre's goal was fairly early in the half...it was about 10 minutes in. that I think helped turn it for us, and then Djimi's goal was such a fantastic goal. That's the type of goal that gives a shot of adrenaline to everyone on the field." Sigi Schmid, Sounders FC head coach

"I saw the ball floating up and I just tried to get the right timing on it. Luckily I got a good hit and it took a deflection and went in."--DeAndre Yedlin, Sounders FC defender

"When I saw the space in front of me and I saw nobody coming to close me down. I tried and it worked. If you never try then you are never going to score goals."--Djimi Traore, Sounders FC defender

They said it:

"I think that it was a great soccer night. When we went into the locker room Sigi said that we are not playing like us, and we knew that. We knew that we needed a quick first goal and we knew it was possible. When Tigres made the mistake of getting the second yellow card they gave us a chance we never would have had. When they gave us that chance we took care of the rest."--Michael Gspurning, Sounders FC Goalkeeper

"I have plenty of confidence in my whole team and all the different members I have on my roster. The proof of that is that during the game before the red card expulsion, we were playing well, we were winning 1-0 and we had an opportunity for 2-0, but something like a red card changes everything. We know that Seattle is a very strong team and 11 against 11, it was going to be a difficult game. But 11 against 12, it becomes even more complicated so that's what happened."--Ricardo Ferretti

"We came out and played and took risks. We were down 2-0 and really had nothing to lose. We just went out there to make the most of our chances. We had some chances in the first half and the first half wasn't our best, but we still had chances to put ourselves back in the game. But when you score two goals like that, the way (DeAndre) Yedlin scored and (Djimi) Traore scored, you feed off that energy and we had the momentum. [Tigres] going down a man really helped us out."--Eddie Johnson, Sounders FC forward

By John Zielonka

The Sounders host Tigres UNAL on Tuesday night in the second leg of their CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals matchup. The Mexican League visitors hold a 1-0 lead in the two-game, aggregate goals series.

JosephES1G1319

Shalrie Joseph (mlssoccer.com)

Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid will field another makeshift lineup with midfielder Shalrie Joseph and defender Adam Johansson still recuperating from their injuries.

Midfielder Steve Zakuani and midfielder/forward David Estrada participated in Sunday's training session at CenturyLink Field. According to Schmid, both will be evaluated on Monday to determine their playing status for Tuesday's match.

By John Zielonka

The Sounders lost 1-0 to the Montreal Impact before a drenched 38,998 fans at Century Link Field in Seattle.

Davy Arnaud scored the only goal in the 35th minute. Arnaud flicked the ball over Michael Gspuring after receiving an excellent pass from Felipe Martins.

YEDLIN DEANDRE ES1G1148

DeAndre Yedlin (mlssoccer.com)

Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid used a lineup that included rookie DeAndre Yedlin at right back to replace Adam Johansson. Mauro Rosales stepped in to play at forward behind striker Eddie Johnson. Marc Burch, Patrick Ianni, and newcomer Shalrie Joseph were some of the other significant injured from Saturday's match.

The Sounders had two golden opportunities to equalize in the second half. Midfielder Brad Evans and Johnson hit the post in the 66th and 80th minute, respectively.

Johnson accounted for six of Seattle's 15 shot attempts, of which three were on target. Montreal totalled nine total shots with five of those on goal.

The diminutive Yedlin is the Sounders' first homegrown player to start. The 19-year-old Seattle native made quite an impression with his deep runs from his right back position. Seattle may have found a versatile sparkplug who can play on offense and defense.

Man of the Match: Davy Arnaud

The Montreal captain notched the lone goal of the match to give the Impact a hard fought win in miserable conditions.

"Felipe timed the ball really well. I knew he saw me running and he played a great ball. I wasn't sure who was to my right but I figured I wouldn't have a lot of time so I had to hit it pretty fast after I took my first touch."--Davy Arnaud

"The guy in the middle was really free. I thought maybe he'd stop the ball or I have to do something to close the distance to him. The guy made a perfect goal I have to admit. He kicked it perfectly over me."--Michael Gspurning, Sounders FC 'keeper

Seattle's depleted lineup

"Leo [Gonzalez] has been playing left back for us, so [Marc] Burch being out, it wouldn't have changed our lineup. [Pat] Ianni being injured, [Adam] Johansson being injured, Estrada being injured, Neagle not being available. Those definitely affected things in terms of our lineup and our lineup choices."--Sigi Schmid, Sounders head coach

DeAndre Yedlin

"Making your rookie debut is always a very emotional and fun night and thought he played really well. He was very cool and composed with the ball and he connected his passes. He really played to his strengths."--Andy Rose, Sounders FC midfielder

"He did well. He is a very confident player. He is one of those guys who just goes out and plays futbol. He is fearless and has fun when he is out there because he is playing with his friends."--Steve Zakuani, Sounders FC midfielder

"Obviously a loss is never the result you want, but it's good to get a game under my belt and see what it's like to play with the first team and get to start. It was definitely good for my experience."--DeAndre Yedlin

They said it

"It was lucky in this situation because you're going against a very good team. We also had two or three chances to make it 2-0 and we also hit the post. So that's the game and it was a little bit of luck to have here because Seattle is a good team. And when you have 40,000 in the stadium, it's not easy to play."--Marco Schallibaum, Impact head coach

"We got slapped in the face today and we have to go to work and pedal through it. Of course it's tough because it's the home opener and everybody is expecting to win - the fans, the players, everybody and then you lose. That's soccer and we just have to look ahead to the future."--Michael Gspurning

"At the end of the day I think we can play better, but hats off to Montreal. I thought they did a good job defensively. They made it tough. They compacted the middle. We didn't get wide enough, especially the left hand side in the first half. I thought it got a little bit better in the second. At the end of the game I thought we carried the game."--Sigi Schmid

The Sounders acquired midfielder Christian Tiffert after more than 280 appearances in Bundesliga on July 27, 2012. As recently as the 2010-2011 season in Germany, he led the league with 11 assists and notched two goals in 32 starts.

Tiffert

(Soundersfc.com)

Based on those lofty credentials, Seattle applied the designated player tag to Tiffert. At the time of the signing, head coach Sigi Schmid lauded his newest acquisition.

"Christian is a player who fits this mold and brings a lot of experience from the top league in Germany," Schmid said. "His leadership and versatility make him a good fit for our club."

During his half-season in Seattle, he tallied four assists in 16 MLS appearances. This lack of production may have sealed his fate for the upcoming season. Tiffert is not training with the Sounders in Arizona.

In the meantime, Seattle obtained MLS veteran Shalrie Joseph and named him as the team's third designated player. According to general manager Adrian Hanauer, this was the only way to get the deal done.

With the departure of Fredy Montero to Colombia earlier this year, the Sounders were expected to utilize his DP slot for a striker.

Schmid and Hanauer are non-committal about Tiffert's status with the team.

"There are things that are being discussed in regards to Christian, and part of that is really a better question for Adrian [Hanauer] as to where that is," Schmid said on Friday. "He's not with us right now. He's training on his own there. He seems to be doing all right with the things that were bothering him at times. But now it's gone into maybe another phase that Adrian can address better than I."

"We realize that gives us three designated players between Mauro [Rosales], Christian [Tiffert) and Shalrie, but we also have two weeks left and we still have the ability to buy a player out if we decide to do that to open up a slot for a regular-salaried player or a designated player slot if that were something we decided to do," Hanauer said after the Sounders acquired Joseph on Feb. 19.

By parting company with Tiffert, the door is once again open to replace Montero with a big-name signing.

Sounders FC owner and general manager Adrian Hanauer shared his thoughts during a press conference on the acquisition of Shalrie Joseph and other potential moves.

1024px-Shalrie Joseph warmup 2010

(Wikimedia Commons)

Hanauer praised the 10-year MLS veteran Shalrie Joseph and his ability to play as a forward, midfielder and back.

"His [resume] kind of speaks for itself, but the things that we still like and that we felt would be particularly useful to our team is his versatility," Hanauer said. "He can play anywhere through the middle of the park. He's done well as a forward, he's obviously done extremely well as an attacking midfielder, he's done well in the holding midfield position, and he did okay at centerback."

The Sounders GM noted Joseph's capabilities as a leader on the pitch, experience and skills as a passer, vision and capabilities in the air.

There was speculation Seattle would use its last designated player slot to replace departed striker Fredy Montero. According to Hanauer, the Sounders needed to move quickly and that it was the only way to get the deal done.

"It was effectively the only way to get the deal done...Otherwise, we wouldn?t have done it," Hanauer said. "We realize that gives us three designated players between Mauro [Rosales], Christian [Tiffert) and Shalrie, but we also have two weeks left and we still have the ability to buy a player out if we decide to do that to open up a slot for a regular-salaried player or a designated player slot if that were something we decided to do. We rather have not absorbed the designated player slot, sure, but it was the only way to get the deal done."

Despite Joseph's arrival, the Sounders are leaving their options open for additional moves before the start of the season.

"I'd be lying if I said we're not also very interested in acquiring another forward. And I'd be lying if I said that wasn't a player who could potentially fill that designated player position, of which we?ve got three right now. That kind of gives you a heads up that we are considering all of our options over the next couple of weeks."

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John Zielonka

John Zielonka is a lifelong fan of soccer. He previously lived in Detroit and attended numerous NASL matches featuring the Detroit Express. John follows the local soccer scene and is the Seattle correspondent for Goal.com, where he writes about the Seattle Sounders and MLS for Goal.com. Internationally, he's viewed matches at the World Cup, Confederation Cup, England's Premier and Championship leagues.



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