Here’s some of what the Sounders had to say tonight after opening Desert Diamond Cup action with a 2-0 win over New England:
Sigi Schmid – Sounders FC Head Coach
(On the game…) “Overall I was pleased. I thought the goals were good. Obviously the penalty was well taken and deserved because it was a hand ball. The other goal from Eddie Johnson was a very, very good goal, probably reminiscent of his first goal last year with us, as well. So if that’s a predictor of the season, it’s a good thing. I was pleased. At times, I thought our combinations were good-we sprung people in at times. David Estrada I thought worked very, very hard for us. It was good to have Ozzie [Alonso] out there. Brad [Evans] did a good job. Overall, I was pleased.”
(On the cohesiveness of the first group…) “Obviously a lot of guys were sick and missing and so forth [against Portland]. Was I surprised? No, probably not because I still want us to be better. Playing the game now we can really draw some conclusions and we can see some things that we want to work on-how we build out of the back, how we look to play forward back and through, getting the balls into the strikers’ feet, into their feet a little bit early. But we haven’t had Eddie around. David was coming off a sickness in the last game. Ozzie wasn’t out there. Brad wasn’t here. With all the different personnel it was hard to work on that. Now it’s something we can continue to work on.”
(On what he liked defensively…) “Defensively I thought we were pretty good. I thought they got behind us a little bit on Adam Johansson’s side with [Chris] Tierney coming forward and Lee Nguyen out there, but for the most part I thought Leo [Gonzalez] held them at bay on their side. I thought we were good with crosses-Michael [Gspurning] did well. I thought we got to a lot of clearances. Jhon Kennedy [Hurtado] and Djimi Traore did a good job in the middle for the most part. Obviously they’re playing against a guy like [Jerry] Bengston, who’s been scoring goals on a pretty regular basis for Honduras and is fit and closer to in-season form right now because of all the training he’s gone through. It was a good test for them. I was pleased with that. I was also pleased with the defensive contributions we got from Steve Zakuani and Mauro Rosales because them helping defensively at the right times is very important for us, and it thought that worked out fairly well.”
(On Marcus Hahnemann’s play in the second half…) “Marcus is a quality goalkeeper. He’s a guy who, for us, there’s a lot of reliance on him. It’s a great feeling to know that if something were to happen to Michael, like it did last year, that we’ve got a guy like Marcus around. Obviously, he’s quality. He made some good saves, came out well and dealt with some crosses, but we left him on an island at times, so we needed to defend a little bit better in the second half.”
Eddie Johnson – Sounders FC Forward
(On his goal…) “It was a perfect ball and it was up to me. There was a 50-50 chance he was going to stop me or I was going to get by him. I thought it was a great performance from us in general. Brad Evans hasn’t been here the whole preseason and myself. Ozzie has been hurt, it was his first game back. It was good to have all our players back, have a healthy team and get three points tonight.”
(On how the goal gives him confidence…) “It’s good for me. We know how big this year is. We know the ambition and goals that we have in this organization-to win an MLS Cup. Each year you want to grow as a team, you want to grow as individuals. You want to get better as a player. You want to get better as a team…I have an important role to play within this team and at the end of the day I want to win a championship, and that’s what we have to do.”
(On the game…) “For myself, coming back and it being my first game with the team, the guys are just out there trying to form that chemistry on the field. We know it’s not going to be pretty. We know we still have like three more weeks before the start of the season, but it’s good to start the preseason off with three points for us.”
(On how he felt out there…) “It felt good to get out there with the team. I’ve been away with the national team and preseason with your team is good. You want to play as many games as you can and you want to get that understanding before the start of the season. For me, it was about getting familiar with the guys that were on the field with me today, working hard, getting fitness out of this game and trying to be dangerous in front of the goal. I was very fortunate to get a goal today and I’ll take it, but like I said, the most important thing is three points against a good Revolution team.”
(On how preseason has changed in MLS over the years…) “I just think the league is different in general. I think getting the right competition, the right preparation before the season, and I think having these tournaments is good. We’re going to face each other at some point this year during the season. You couldn’t ask for a better competition to prepare us for the upcoming season. Like I said, the league has grown, gotten a lot better, a lot faster, a lot better players in the league, and every team has their own identity. The MLS is heading in the right direction. I was very fortunate to be a part of the MLS media stuff in New York, and just being there and seeing the growth of the league, I just can’t imagine five-ten years from now how much bigger it’s going to be.”
Brad Evans – Sounders FC Midfielder
(On the intensity of the game…) “It’s preseason and it seems like you have one of these games every preseason. I’m not surprised at all, you just have to keep your head. There’s no reason for rash challenges and things like that. Unfortunately we were on the wrong end on a couple of them and the instigator on a couple, as well. We have to keep our head, keep our composure. The main thing is the fitness and stay healthy number one because you don’t want something stupid leading up to the first game in almost two and a half weeks now. We have to stay smart, keep our head, and focus on what we have to work on-possession, keeping shape, and getting our fitness.”
Below is a game account and statistics provided by the club:
Brad Evans and Eddie Johnson each scored goals as Sounders FC defeated the New England Revolution, 2-0, in the first match of the Desert Diamond Cup at Kino Sports Complex.
In the 26th minute, Mauro Rosales’ short free kick was blocked by the wall, but a hand ball was called on New England, issuing Seattle a penalty kick. Evans converted low and to the right to give Sounders FC a 1-0 lead.
In the 45th minute, Johnson chased down a pass from Adam Johansson on the right side, cut to the middle around a defender and curled a left-footed shot inside the far post to make it 2-0.
Seattle pressured again in the 71st minute after back-to-back corner kicks created pressure amidst a scrum in front of the goal, but the sequence ended when Seattle was called for a hand ball.
Michael Gspurning played the first half in goal for Sounders FC and Marcus Hahnemann came on for him at halftime. Hahnemann made crucial saves in the second half, snatching a hard shot out of the air in the 69th minute and cutting off a well-paced cross in front of the goal a few minutes later.
In the 83rd, the Revolution pressured the goal with some consecutive shots in a crowd, but the initial attempt was saved by the head of Alex Caskey, then Hahnemann stopped the next attempt before the ball was cleared.
It was a physical match with six cautions (five for Seattle and one for New England) and two ejections (one for each team) issued.
Sounders FC returns to action with another preseason game on Saturday, February 16, when they take on Real Salt Lake in Tucson. Kickoff is at 3 p.m. PT and will be streamed live on SoundersFC.com.
SEA – Brad Evans (penalty) 27′
SEA – Eddie Johnson (Adam Johansson) 45′
Seattle Sounders FC – Michael Gspurning (Marcus Hahnemann 46), Adam Johansson (DeAndre Yedlin 63), Djimi Traore (Mikael Silvestre 46), Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (Zach Scott 67), Leo Gonzalez (Marc Burch 64), Mauro Rosales (Alex Caskey 64), Osvaldo Alonso (Andy Rose 38), Brad Evans (Servando Carrasco 67), Steve Zakuani (Lamar Neagle 64), David Estrada (Travis Bowen 67), Eddie Johnson (Sammy Ochoa 46).
TOTAL SHOTS: 4; FOULS: 13; OFFSIDE: 6; CORNER KICKS: 2; SAVES: 5.
New England Revolution – Bobby Shuttleworth, Chris Tierney (Scott Caldwell 41), Jose Goncalves (Darrius Barnes 46), A.J. Soares (Steve McCarthy 46), Andrew Farrell (Kevin Alston 46, Bilal Duckett 58), Lee Nguyen (Donnie Smith 46), Clyde Simms (Tyler Polak 38′), Kalifa Cisse (Andy Dorman 46), Gabe Latigue (Sainey Nyassi 46), Diego Fagundez (Juan Toja 26, Matthew Horth 46,Dimitry Imbongo 69), Jerry Bengston (Marko Jesic 46).
TOTAL SHOTS: 15; FOULS: 12; OFFSIDE: 4; CORNER KICKS: 6; SAVES: 1.
SEA – Leo Gonzalez (caution) 18′
NE – Jose Goncalves (caution) 25′
SEA – Eddie Johnson (caution) 25′
SEA – Osvaldo Alonso (caution) 32′
SEA – Djimi Traore (caution) 43′
NE – Sainey Nyassi (ejection) 79′
SEA – Marc Burch (ejection) 79′
SEA – Travis Bowen (caution) 83′
Referee: Juan Guzman
Weather: Clear and 54 degrees