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Sounders react to game/series/season

Post by Don Ruiz / The News Tribune on Nov. 19, 2012 at 12:26 am with 1 Comment »
November 19, 2012 12:48 am

Display before what proved to be final game of Sounders' season.
Here’s some of what the Sounders had to say tonight after their season ended with a 2-1 win — and 4-2 series loss — to Los Angeles in the Western Conference final.

On the game:
“First of all, congratulations to LA for getting to the MLS Cup Final. Obviously, the damage was done to us in game number one. I thought tonight we came out and played with good resolve, good energy. I thought we had a goal early from Eddie Johnson-I haven’t seen the replay so I don’t know if it was on or offside. Some people have said that it was on-that would have helped us. We had some good chances beyond that. We got one goal, got another goal early in the second half. We felt we were in pretty good shape being down two-nothing that we could get the third. I thought the penalty kick was a little bit of a harsh call, especially when you think of last week in LA, Sean Franklin had a hand ball in the box 15 minutes in and there was no call. That’s the way it seems to have gone for us a little bit this season. Again, we had some good looks and some good chances, scored a goal on a set piece which we thought was important. We tried to get some legs on at the end.”

On 2012 being the club’s first year without a trophy: “Well we got further [in the playoffs]. Maybe we’re the kind of team that’s got to go one step each year. The progress is, for me, the last six playoff games we’ve played last year and this year, we’ve won three. We’ve won three, we’ve tied one, we’ve lost two. The problem is the ones we lose, we lose three-nothing and we bury ourselves with that loss, but we’re winning 50-percent more of our playoff games. We’re showing the capabilities that we can win games, we just need to eliminate the losses by the size they are. LA lost their first playoff game against San Jose and came back to win. If we lost one-nothing in LA, we’d still be out there on the field playing.”

On hand ball that caused the penalty kick: “I thought it was a harsh call because there was nobody in the box, he wasn’t passing it to anybody, all [Robbie] Keane was looking to do was maybe draw a penalty and hit it into his hand. He’s a clever player, and he did well, but on the same token it’s like-an intentional hand ball is taking away an opportunity, what opportunity was there? There was no opportunity, he just purposely, clever move on his part, and I don’t know how far out [Adam] Johansson’s hand was or anything. Sometimes common sense might say that’s not a PK, whereas in the case down in LA, Zach Scott crossed the ball and Franklin leaves his arm out and keeps the cross from going over and we had people in the box. Different, but clever on his part.”

On taking Fredy Montero out: “I just thought we needed a little more energy. I thought David [Estrada] could give us some of that. David had a good opportunity to finish towards the end, as well. Fredy had some opportunities in the first half, we just felt we needed to put a little more pressure on their goalkeeper chase, get some fresh legs in there.”

On the biggest difference between this game and the first game: “I think we stayed with our tactical plan. Obviously, when they don’t have [Landon] Donovan there, they’re not as dangerous, so that helps us a little bit going into it. I thought we did a better job of making sure that they didn’t get out on the counter on us. That was something we didn’t do well in LA in that second half. The other thing was being able to have two strikers from the get-go, put some pressure on them helped us, as well.”

On Mauro Rosales being a last-minute addition to the 18: “Yesterday when he had trained, he felt he needed to be 100% going into this game, didn’t feel he was quite 100% when he trained before the game today. Everybody felt he looked good and I went back to him and said, ‘Look, maybe I need you for 15-20 minutes, can you play?’ And he said yeah, so we changed that around. Yesterday he didn’t feel quite up to it, today he felt better about it.”

On Zach Scott’s game: “Obviously, he scored a great header on the corner, he gave a good pass to Eddie for the assist. I thought Zach was pretty solid, thought it was one of, if not his best game of the year. I thought he was very good. He was good defensively and he was good with the ball.”

On his message to the team after the game and looking forward: “The general message to the team was we have to eliminate those three-nothing losses in the playoffs because we’re showing that we can win playoff games. That was the general message to them, to understand that we did make progress this year and we went one step further, but obviously at this stage we’re all disappointed. We need to make sure that the energy with which we played tonight is the energy we play with all the time. Sometimes that’s hard over the course of a 34-game season, but it’s something that we need to bring all the time.”

On a fourth place and a fifth place team playing for the MLS Cup: “It’s always been like that. Last year when the Galaxy won the Supporter’s Shield and the MLS Cup, I think that hadn’t happened for four years prior to that, I think it was us in Columbus in 2008, and prior to that it was the Galaxy in 2002. When you look at it, in the last 10 years the team that won the Supporter’s Shield has only won the cup three times. That’s what the playoffs are. Are the best teams always in the Super Bowl? I don’t think the New York Giants were the best team over the regular season last year, so that’s what happens. It’s a separate competition.”

On how his goal:
“It felt good. We knew that in order to give ourselves a chance we were going to have to have a good start to the game. We would have really liked to get two before halftime, but we just couldn’t get that second goal. I felt like we controlled the game from the first whistle until the end of the game, but sometimes in life you work so hard, but things just don’t go your way. I know each one of us can look ourselves in the mirror and know that we gave it our all. We played a complete game, and we couldn’t have done anything better. We wouldn’t change anything about tonight. We created chances, we worked hard, and we put [LA] on our terms, but sometimes in soccer calls just don’t go your way. [Robbie] Keane has been on fire throughout the second part of the season, and in the playoffs, and big players step up in big moments. He kind of put a stab in our hearts at that moment. We worked so hard, and we finally felt like we had gotten ourselves back in the game, and it was just painful today. Credit to them though, they did what they needed to do in the first game. It was tough to get back.”

On what the season meant to him: “This was a good opportunity for me. I couldn’t ask to be on a better team, in a better environment, or in a more professional organization. We have a good coach, a good group of guys, and if it wasn’t for these guys, I wouldn’t be in the position I am in today. Coming in as the new guy is difficult. Sometimes it take you a season to adapt to the type of play that they like to play, but we had a good group of guys, and they have been spot on with me every day.”

On what was there tonight that was missing last week: “We had a good 45 minutes in LA, but we just couldn’t finish our chances. I think tonight we got opportunities and finished them. I think the hunger in the box, and making the most out of our opportunities was the difference tonight. I think that we always respond when we are facing adversity. We always know how to turn things around, and we couldn’t have asked anymore from ourselves. We did everything right tonight.”

What was the hardest part about tonight: “We just worked so hard. Everyone had individual goals, and mine was to win an MLS Cup. I have never won an MLS Cup and I don’t know what it feels like. We were lucky enough to work with Jim Madrid, a sports psychologist, and he always told us to write down affirmations. Yeah we want to win an MLS Cup, but what does it feel like to win? How do we get there? What do we have to do? Before every game I ask myself those questions. How can I be effective tonight? What do I have to do to help the team win? I think the fact that we aren’t going to the MLS Cup is the most painful thing tonight. We all cry, we all have feelings, and we are all human beings. That really hurt today man, it still hurts. I’m probably going to cry some more later on, but its soccer, there is no success without failure. We will get it right next year.”

On the result:
“It played out kind of the way we expected it to. We were going to put them under a lot of pressure in a tight game. We really wanted to get near the goal, and we had a chance to get two of the goals. We got the one that we needed to keep the momentum going our way. We knew we were going to get a goal on a set piece, and we were fortunate there. It was a big whole to climb out of, and I think we all realize the importance of playing to zero on the road. So I think we are a bit disappointed there, that we found ourselves in such a big hole, and in the end we wanted to leave it all on the field.”

On difference between this week and last week: “We were a little relaxed at times in L.A, I don’t think we necessarily played bad, but I think we gave a little too much time and a little too much space. Today, we played with the right mentality, the right approach to the game, but it was something we needed to do, and it was a little too late.”

On the match:
“Tonight was important. I love this city, I love this organization, and I love the fans we have here. It hurts me as much as it hurts anyone else, but I think we just need to take this offseason step by step and see what happens. I was just happy to get back on the field tonight. I wanted to show that nobody is going to question whether I can still play or not. I don’t think anyone can ask that question anymore. I gave it all for the team tonight.”

On how he felt tonight: “You can go back to every game before I was injured and you won’t find a better performance than I gave tonight. Tonight was an important game. It was arguably the biggest game in the franchise’s history, because we were that close. I think everybody stepped their game up, and we had to. I think we gave everything we had against LA, and it is just unfortunate that we dug such a big hole. You just cannot do that against a quality team like LA. We had the ball in the net three times like we needed to. I don’t think Eddie [Johnson] was offside. I haven’t seen the replay, but I was right there, and from what I saw he was onside. We were up two goals, but then there was the penalty. I haven’t seen it, but whether it was or wasn’t a goal, it just killed our momentum. We had quality chances, and everyone gave all they had. I wish we would have won he game, but I am just happy to be back on the pitch playing soccer. All Sounders tonight should hold their head high, because we got farther than we ever have, and we have a good group of players. We are a team to be reckoned with. LA has a very good group of players, they have beaten most teams in this league, and we are proud of what we did well.”

On how it feels to do so much and still come up short: “It was too much of a hole. I still think that we could have beat LA, but you cannot get Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan, and David Beckham a three goal lead coming into the game. If they gave us that same lead it would have been the same result for them. You cannot give quality players a three goal start. Playing them at 0-0 is hard enough. We came back and did the same thing we did against Salt Lake last year, we came back and showed that they aren’t a team that is three goals better than us.”

Leave a comment Comments → 1
  1. derekyoung says:

    I felt like we tied it up before the PK. EJ was clearly onside for the first goal. But, unlike a lot of people I agree with the handball call so we lost this one fair and square. But at least we made it close.

    I’m good with that. Let’s go Tally Hall FC!

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