Here’s some postgame reaction to the Sounders 3-1 win over Los Angeles tonight in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal match:
Coach SIGI SCHMID
On Nate Jaqua) We’re going to have to name him Mr. Open Cup pretty soon. He was unlucky. The header he had early went off the post. And then he finally got a goal. I think he’d like to have a couple of the other chances back. He could have finished with three or four tonight for sure. It was good to see him get a goal. I think that was very important for him as well as our team, obviously. But I’m very happy that Nate got a goal tonight.
On taking the competition seriously) We always take it seriously. Now we have Dallas in the next round, and we’re at home, so that’s a good thing for our. Our guys really respond to the fans and the intimate atmosphere here. I think it’s tremendous and gets the fans a chance to see it up close and personal. But we have a tough semifinal game. Dallas is a good team. But our goal is always whatever we enter we’re going to try and win.
On the lineups) I thought both teams put out a mixed lineup. I thought they obviously put out a mixed lineup. They had some guys with injuries they weren’t going to take chances on. We obviously took some guys out of the lineup too and tried to rest some people as well. We’re not going to apologize, they’re not going to apologize. Both teams came out here to compete. I think there’s only really been one team that said really, ‘Hey we’re not coming out here to compete in the Open Cup,’ and that happened last night.
On his goal) I just saw the build up in the right side. And me being on the left, it’s kind of tough for the back line to watch the other outside mid coming across, and that’s what I did. I ran between two of the defenders, Flaco saw me, played a great ball, and I just wanted to get a flick on it. It’s kind of tough for the goalie to read where it’s going it I run across the wrong way. I got a flick on it, I think it touched off of one of the defenders as well and it went in.
On Starfire) The atmosphere is so crazy – it’s so intense and intimate at Starfire compared to Qwest. There’s a lot more people at Qwest obviously, but at Starfire they’re right on top of you and you can feel the crowd a little bit more. We just seem to get a lot more goals here. It’s nice playing here and it’s nice for the Open Cup that we do play here.
On getting two quick goals, but could have had more) We definitely came out strong. I think that kind of goes with being at Starfire: right away we can get on top of them. And then we got an early goal, and that aways helps – that kind of keeps their head down. With our crowd that’s got to eat at the other team.
On being up 2-1 at half) We knew we could score more goals. Especially here, especially the way we were playing. We were definitely dominating offensively and creating a lot of stuff. It could have been like six goals tonight, but we definitely didn’t have any doubts going into the second half.
Goalkeeper TERRY BOSS
On the early leads) I think the guys did a good job. We came out and everyone looked really sharp. From the opening kickoff I think it was evident to everybody how bad we wanted to win and how important the U.S. Open Cup is, not only to us but to the city and the whole organization.
On facing LA set pieces) We did face a lot of set pieces. It was one of those things where we wish we didn’t have to face as many as we did, but we ended up doing a good job. Guys I thought did a good job of battling in the air and we took care of them. We were fortunate not to give up a goal on set pieces with as many as we took, but it was definitely nice to get out of there without giving one up.
On teams taking USOC more seriously) I think it was great that L.A. (put out) and you could tell it was important to them too. I think that this tournament does mean a lot to a lot of team. You could that there’s momentum around the league in how valuable it is to other organizations as well. I think that ups the ante a little bit and it definitely makes this win a little more sweet.
On Sounders defense) Our whole team did a good job but specifically the back line, Jeff and Ianni and Zach, everybody did a great job. Leo is such a good one-on-one defender. He did a great job for us. They definitely did. We didn’t breakdown that many times so it was nice to walk away with only one goal.
On the match) “I was able to get that first one early and I had a couple of other ones I would have liked to put away, but that’s how it goes sometimes. The bottom line is that we got the win and we’re moving on to the next round.”
On making it this far in the U.S. Open Cup with the Seattle Sounders FC in each of his seasons with the team) “Yeah, it’s great. We’ve got a good opportunity now. I think we have the game here at home again. It’s fun playing here. I love it. I love the fans that come out. I’m looking forward to it.”
On this match helping confidence going forward) “I think we have a lot of confidence going forward. I think that’s why we’re playing well right now. It’s just something if you can keep using that momentum going forward. For myself, it was nice to get a goal. Usually when you get that one (goal), then (more) start to follow. I had a couple of other chances I would have liked to put away, but that’s how it goes sometimes. But I’ll use that as good momentum for myself and we’re moving forward.”
On if it means more that the L.A. Galaxy brought out some of their first string talent this match)
“I think around this stage guys start realizing that if you win a couple of games then you’re in the final. And everybody wants to be in the final, so why not? It’s a great opportunity. They had a good team, a good squad out there. They put the pressure on us that first half, especially after they got that first goal and it was 2-1 at halftime. But we were able to come back in the second half, fought hard, and Lamar (Neagle) got a great third goal and we were able to put it away.”
LA coach BRUCE ARENA
Thoughts on the game)
I thought Seattle start of the game was excellent, our reaction was poor, and we were dominated in the first 25 minutes of the game. We got our feet under ourselves in the last 15 minutes of the first half. I thought we ended the half playing well. 2-1, given what we saw in the early going, was a pretty good position to be in. We came out in the second half and did all right, then obviously the third goal broke our backs, but I thought if you take away the first 25 minutes—which might be a pretty stupid statement—it got better. Obviously at 3-1 we dug ourselves a hole. That’s the way it is.
Thoughts on the venue) The field and all of that is tough, but you know, both teams play on it. It’s fine, it’s all part of it. What are you going to do? We didn’t react real well to it technically or tactically, and the better team won the game.