Sounders Blog with John Zielonka
Monday, June 10, 2013 @ 7:56pm
The US Men's National Team practiced on Monday for its Tuesday night World Cup qualifier against Panama in Seattle. Current players Michael Bradley, Sacha Kljestan, and former USMNT player and current television commentator Alexi Lalas provided their thoughts on the match.
The soccer pitch in Seattle will be played on a grass on top of FieldTurf. Bradley openly criticized the field conditions as being less than ideal.
Kljestan fielded questions for a national stadium to host World Cup qualifiers rather than using different venues.
Lalas analyzed head coach Jurgen Klinsmann's coaching style, his use of multiple lineups, Landon Donovan's potential return to the national team, and a prediction on tomorrow's game.
Below is the video I shot at today's practice.
Sunday, June 9, 2013 @ 10:31am
SEATTLE--Sounders FC forward Lamar Neagle scored the game winning tally late in the second half to lead the home side to a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps in front of 53,679 fans, the MLS largest crowd this year.
Lamar Neagle (soundersfc.com)
Seattle midfielder Andy Rose scored his first goal of the year in the 9th minute to give the Sounders an early 1-0 lead.
Vancouver responded with two goals by forward Camilo Sanvezzo in the 10th and 26th minutes of play, respectively. Sanvezzo utilized headers on both goals give the Whitecaps a 2-1 lead heading into the second 45 minutes of play.
Referee Hilario called a foul on Vancouver when Neagle was taken down in the penalty area in the 69th minute. Servando Carrasco stepped up to take the kick and scored to even the score at 2-2. Carrasco earned his first ever MLS goal in 29 appearances for the Sounders.
Lamar Neagle's late goal
"It was a good build-up play down the right side. I saw [Obafemi Martins] one on one, so once he made his move toward the line to beat his guy I knew I had to get in front of my defender and it would be an easy pass right to the near post."--Lamar Neagle, Sounders FC forward
"He's just done really, really well. He got the assist on the first goal on the ball that he slipped in to Andy Rose and he scores. You can't ask a lot more of a forward than that."--Sigi Schmid, Sounders FC head coach
Vancouver's set piece success
" I don't think it's something that happens all the time. I think we need to go back to the training ground, we need to work on our defending of set pieces because I thought we got some of the marking assignments wrong a little bit."--Sigi Schmid
Seattle's second half comeback
"I think we're disappointed tonight. We felt like we could have gotten more, especially going in 2-1 at halftime."--Martin Rennie, Vancouver head coach
"...we came in at halftime and said that we were going to come out the same way we did the first half, and that's exactly what we did. We created some chances and when we scored our second goal the fans were behind us and that really pushed us to a totally different level."--Servando Carrasco, Sounders FC midfielder
Camilo Sanvezzo's brace
"We have been training a lot. Kenny (Miller) and I have been working a lot together and he made a very good move which got me free. I just tried to stay in god position and make a good finish."--Camilo Sanvezzo, Vancouver forward
"Great balls in from Russell, as well. There's lots of things to build on from this game and obviously Camilo's goals and Russell's assists. Camilo also had a fantastic free kick that was rebounded that we really had a good chance to make that 3-1. At that point it would have been hard for them to get back."--Martin Rennie
Large crowd and atmosphere
"We love big crowds. We seem to do well. We don't want to send them away disappointed, so we want to keep the game exciting, keep the game close. We're able to showcase ourselves in front of people who don't normally get to come to our games. It was a great contingent of fans from Vancouver as well that followed their team. It had a tremendous atmosphere."--Sigi Schmid
"Well one of the big reasons why we are here is because the atmosphere is always tremendous here in Seattle. The support from the fans for their team is outstanding."--Jurgen Klinsmann, USMNT head coach (attended the game in preparation for the US' World Cup qualifier against Panama on Tuesday)
Saturday, June 8, 2013 @ 9:29pm
Seattle Sounder midfielder Brad Evans was the hero in the US Men's National Team win over Jamaica. Evans scored in stoppage time to seal the win.
Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann played Evans as a defender. Klinsmann's inclusion of the Seattle Sounder into the lineup paid off with Evans goal.
The team made the long trip from Jamaica to Seattle in preparation for Tuesday's match against Panama. Evans and Klinsmann held court with the media during halftime at the Seattle versus Vancouver MLS matchup.
Here is the video I captured:
Saturday, May 11, 2013 @ 5:27pm
By John Zielonka
SEATTLE--The Seattle Sounders started the season with three defeats and one draw in their first four games. With their 4-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes earlier today, Seattle now is unbeaten five matches.
The Sounders surround midfielder Mauro Rosales (no. 10) after his goal from a free kick (Photo courtesy of Jane Gershovich)
Forward Lamar Neagle scored in the 28th and 54th minutes of play. Midfielder Mauro Rosales struck his free kick from outside the box in the dying minutes of the first half that eluded San Jose 'keeper Jon Busch. High profile forward Obafemi Martins struck in the 93rd minute to tally the last of Seattle's four goals.
Man of the Match: Lamar Neagle
"I knew I had to take advantage of the chances I was given so it ended up working out. The first one was from a little closer, so that wasn't as hard."--Lamar Neagle, Sounders FC forward
"He's (Neagle) always been--I've said it before--he's one of those guys that's a gamer. Sometimes at practice you sort of scratch your head and you say, 'what's going on?' but then once he gets the opportunity in the games and he performs well, it's his game performances that'll keep getting him on the field. Obviously, this afternoon's performance was pretty solid."--Sigi Schmid, Sounders FC head coach
Reasons for Seattle's turnaround
"There's a lot of pride in that locker room and there was a lot of disappointment when we didn't get off to the start we wanted. We had a little bit of a distraction called the Champions League, as well, that held our focus and we accomplished some things there. We were the first U.S. team to knock off a Mexican team in a head to head, and I think that can't be minimized as to how big that was. And we were right there--we were one goal away from possibly advancing to the finals. We did well there and maybe our focus was a little too grey on that in those games sometimes. I just think the guys know their quality, they know they're better than that, and since that game everybody's sort of been very determined about turning it around."--Sigi Schmid
"One of the reasons is because we are a full group training every day, full group in the locker room trying to do our best. When we are like this, with all of the players that stepped up today, we were in good form and it's much easier."--Mauro Rosales, Sounders FC midfielder
Mauro Rosales' first half goal
"It's over the wall, top corner. I think John Neely gets it, but it's just so much pace and it touches the post as well. I mean, if you think about the placement, two of them hit the post and the other one was a and great blast from sort of 14 yards out. For us, it's that Seattle did well and deserved to win because they scored four goals."--Frank Yallop, Quakes head coach
"That was a great goal. The only way to prevent that is to not give away a foul there. We know they are good on service, so we need to defend a little better on our box."--Sam Cronin, Quakes midfielder
They said it
"We're getting healthier for sure. I think something we started talking about was, we've got to find our passion and our determination and our grip. If we can find that part of our game, as I told the team, the soccer will follow. On the road trip we played with a lot of passion and determination and grit, and today the soccer followed a little bit. We have to continue to that. We were talking about climbing the ladder of the standings, and we're starting to do that now. The team's confidence certainly is growing."--Sigi Schmid
"Was it a four-goal sort of drubbing loss? It was. I felt that we had chances to score, but you've got to hand it to Seattle. They scored some good goals today and three goals were very good. They come out of the gate quick. They had a good start to the match. We started to kind of get into the game and then they scored right before half time It makes it tough. We are a team that prides itself on never giving up, and we didn't, but four-nil never sits well with anybody."--Frank Yallop
Wednesday, April 3, 2013 @ 4:12pm
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
"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
Sunday, March 31, 2013 @ 3:28pm
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
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 arenâ€™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 â€“ 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
Monday, March 18, 2013 @ 11:26am
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.
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 (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
Wednesday, March 13, 2013 @ 8:50am
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.
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
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