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Post-game quotes: United 3 - Seattle 3

D.C. UNITED HEAD COACH TOM SOEHN
On making another late comeback

“Overall I was a little disappointed in some of the performances on our side. We gave them a lot opportunities and in environment like this you can’t afford to do that. Again the group was resilient and the guys who came in impacted in a big way. We fought back to get a point on the road.”

On why his team is able to comeback on the road
“I think some of it is the guys we are bringing in off the bench. Brining in them late in the game they have the ability to break teams down and it happens a lot.”

On what happened to his team defensively in the first half
“I think we let the environment takes its toll on us. We still have a few inexperienced guys and it is the first time they have been into a place like this. The energy Seattle brought, we backed down quite a bit. When you’re playing on the road you need all 11 guys to play well and we were way below that tonight. But there were certain guys that I would give credit to who fought and competed.”

On Josh Wicks helping save this team
“For Josh’s sake I don’t think he is at fault for any of the goals. We broke down defensively and a lot of the chances they had came from the breakdown defensively. That is a little discouraging.”

D.C. UNITED MIDFIELDER CHRIS PONTIUS
On his goal tonight

“I cut back to my right a couple of times and I knew they were expecting that. [Tyrone] Marshall was on my right and when you put balls in dangerous spots good things can happen. Obviously there defender couldn’t do anything about it, the ball just went in.”

On how the team is able to comeback on the road
“We talked about chemistry all year and we all like each other and have a great locker room. We just kept battling today and a couple of shots here and there. Things went our way.”

On adjusting the atmosphere to tonight’s game
“Yeah, especially after their first goal, the momentum changed. It allowed their fans to get into it and it is a loud stadium. I don’t think many of us have played in anything like that, I know I haven’t. It was definitely something we had to adjust to. In the second half we calmed down a little bit.”

D.C. UNITED GOALKEEPER JOSH WICKS
On having a sense his team would make a comeback

“I always think we are going to comeback. Our players are good enough and our team has the heart. The stadium was very loud today, my teammates could hardly hear me. I always feel we are going to comeback.”

SEATTLE SOUNDERS HEAD COACH SIGI SCHMID
On whether the game went how he expected it would

“Like I said yesterday, the day before the game, it was going to be a game of chances. Today was an exciting game, for sure, and there were a lot of chances. Obviously, neither team won. Overall, I’m biased because I’m the Seattle coach.They had enough chances—maybe four—and they scored three out of four.

Obviously we tried to make some changes in the second half to get some fresh legs on because a couple guys, I thought, were tired. Even though they were still having an impact, the momentum of the game was shifting, and even with the changes, we still dropped in too much and gave them a little too much of the ball. Hats off to them. They played with a lot of energy and they kept pushing the issue, but once Montero scored the goal to make it 3-1, I think we had three good chances: Freddie Ljungberg’s chance where he was in, Sebastien’s [Le Toux] chance where he was in, I’m trying to think if [Steve] Zakuani had one, or Nate [Jaqua] had one. I think we had three good chances to make it 4-1. If you make it 4-1, the game’s over. We close up shop and we all go home happy. But we didn’t do that.”

On how the team is feeling right now
“Obviously, it doesn’t feel good. It doesn’t feel good. This is a game we should’ve won tonight. We should’ve won it going away. We should never have given up the goal in the first half. They really had nothing in the first half. And then we battled back. Alonso [Osvaldo] scored an unbelievable goal. But again, we had enough chances to do it. So it’s very deflating when a team comes back and ties you like that. It’s just something that [we need to work on], managing games, being better at finishing chances. On the other side of the equation, the positive side of the equation, we’re creating opportunities. I mean, if we were a team that wasn’t creating opportunities, I’d be really, really worried. But we’re creating opportunities. We’re creating good opportunities. Our timing’s starting to become better in the box. The cohesion between Ljungberg and Montero is becoming much better. Montero’s very comfortable right now out on the right flank, and there’s a lot of good work there. Even being out there, he’s still getting three, four, five quality chances a game. That’s something that we can continue to build on. So it’s a matter of just building: building our relationships, building our fitness as well, for those players also, because their roles are different. They’re a little more active. All those things will come. There’s times when that final pass, the timing’s just off a little bit. Once the timing gets there fully—and the timing gets better every week, today we scored three goals—it will be good.”

On the importance of Ljungberg being able to go back and forth interchanging with the forwards and mids
“That’s what we’ve tried to do. We’ve tried to create a system of play. We didn’t have a preseason where we had Ljungberg and Montero playing together. So we’ve been trying to figure this out as we’ve been playing in the season. I think them being able to figure it out right now, and balancing each other off, has certainly improved. The interchanging, I thought, in the first half was very good. In the second half, I think as we got a little bit tired, Freddie Ljungberg sat up high and made Nate come underneath him a little more. That is probably not the ideal way to play. Now you got Nate trying to play balls through to Freddie, instead of Freddie playing balls through to Nate and to Montero. It threw us off a little bit. But it’s getting better and better every game, and their ability to place-change with each other has improved.”

On whether the team came out of tonight’s game all right physically
“Yeah. Obviously, it’s a tiring game. It’s an emotionally draining game because of the way the result went at the end, so it’s more emotionally draining than maybe it is physically draining. But…we got to regroup. We got to see where we’re at with the wounded. I think we’ve come out of it pretty well. Evans had a little bit of a shoulder [injury] on that one play where he got taken down. And [James] Riley, I think, might’ve rolled his ankle a bit. Aside of that, I think we came through okay.”

On the Sounders’ own goal
“I mean, it was just a ball that hit off somebody and hit off Tyrone and then went into the back of the net. The problem with two of the three goals, and even the other goal as well, but certainly the first goal and third goal, is that we’re too far off guys as they’re sending in crosses. We’re just not impacting the cross. If they’re a good player, they’re going to be able to pick out targets. So we got to do a better job of closing down the cross.”

On why Zakuani didn’t start
“It was just, I didn’t think he could go three times, 60 or 70 this week. I thought by him coming off the bench…[Le Toux] has a better engine. He’s fitter. So we decided to go that way. Obviously, we were playing well. I thought Zakuani could’ve come in and really put a mark on the game in the last 30, but he’s a young man. He was probably a little bit disappointed not starting. I think that reflected in his play a little bit.”

On how he felt about the team’s defense overall
“You know, I’m disappointed in some of our final actions of defending, but when you look at it overall, you say, ‘How many chances did we really give up defensively?’ In the first half, we really didn’t give up much of anything, but we gave up a goal. So obviously, that’s not good. And in the second half, I think we gave away possession in midfield. So it’s more a concern of us bunkering in a little too deep. That’s something that somebody’s got to trigger out on the field, because as you can tell I’m pretty hoarse as it is, so I can’t trigger it from the bench.

And obviously, we gave up a couple of goals. It’s still a matter of, in decisive moments, we have to be better. We got to close down the cross. We got to make sure we keep with our marks. We got to make sure we don’t get dropped in too deep so they can spread the ball around on us. We got to be a little bit better that way, but we don’t want to play like a rock, and just play with a line of five and a line of four.”

On Osvaldo Alonso’s performance
“Alonso, he was a starting player for us before he got hurt, so it’s what I expect from him. He’s got a good shot. He certainly showed that today. He’s probably our best defender at being able to recover the ball, break up plays. I thought he did a good job of that overall. So I was very pleased with how he did his first game back. We’ll have to evaluate how he is fitness-wise now, going into Saturday.”

On how he’ll plan the next game with only two days in between
“I’d like to think we have three [days]. Obviously, it’s an emotional one, but that’s what it is now. You got to forget about it and you got to get focused on the next task. New York, in New York, is going to be difficult. Their backs are against the wall. They’re a desperate team. They’re playing for their jobs right now. They’re playing for their coach. They’re playing for more things than just trying to get a result. So that’s obviously going to come into play. We’ll have to judge where we are fitness-wise, physically, and that’ll determine our game plan.”

SEATTLE SOUNDERS GOALKEEPER KASEY KELLER
On DC coming back and tying the game

“It’s part of the game. Our lack of discipline is killing us, and from multiple things, but you don’t pick and choose when you mark a guy. You don’t pick and choose when you run with your runner. You don’t pick and choose when you decide to make a run and put pressure on the ball. You do all the hard work. At 3-1 at home, you close up shop. You just make sure. Instead, we don’t have the discipline to do it. We don’t have the discipline to say, ‘Okay, I’m not going to go forward this time. I’m not going to try to flick a ball over somebody’s head and do something special. I’m going to do my job and make sure that this stays 3-1 at the very least.’ Until that comes into our game, we’re going to throw games away.”

On why he thinks things broke down for the Sounders
“The game’s pretty simple. Unfortunately, we want to make it extremely complicated. If I was neutral, I’d think, ‘Yeah, that’s a great game.’ But unfortunately, there were 28,000 non-neutrals in the stands today. I don’t know. We played like, ‘Hey, you attack, we’ll attack.’ No. It doesn’t work that way. You’re winning, so win the game. Mistakes are going to happen. That’s all part of the game, but it’s the little things that you have to keep doing every time. Every time. You don’t get to take a vacation halfway through a play. ‘I’m a little tired, I’m not going to run this time.’ Every time, you do your job. Unfortunately, we’re switching off at times, and it’s killing us right now, and we’re paying the price for it. We could have, quite comfortably, won this 4-1. They should have been pushing, and we should have been disciplined enough to hit them on a counter and get the fourth one instead of throwing two goals away. It’s simple as that. There’s no excuse. We rightfully got booed off the field at the end of the game. It’s inexcusable.”

On whether this was the most disappointing game of the season
“No, we’ve had a couple others. But this is up there. Like I said, you’re [at] 3-1, up at home, you’re creating lots of chances. I wouldn’t have cared if we would have not created one more chance the rest of the game. That’s the mentality. If they give us something, great. If they don’t, it doesn’t matter. We close up shop and it’s over. We clear the ball when it has to be cleared. [The mentality should be,] ‘I tackle when he has to be tackled, I run with my guy. I bite, I scratch to get a result.’ [The mentality should not be,] ‘No, I’m not going to run with them, because if it breaks down, then I’m going to have a better chance to go forward and maybe score the fourth goal.’ It doesn’t work that way. You’re going to get found out. You’re going to get found out, and we’ve been found out tonight, and hopefully people will learn from it, and if they don’t, then hopefully they’ll be gone and we’ll find somebody else who will do a disciplined job.”

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FORWARD STEVE ZAKUANI
On why he thinks he didn’t go in until the second half

“We’ve got three games this week, and it’s probably that you have to rest one [forward], and today I was the guy to rest. It was a bit different, but no big deal.”

On how the team will put this game behind them
“We have to win. We have to go off into New York, and get this result out of our heads, I think. It’s going to feel like a loss. They scored really late…That’s not easy to take in…The way to get it out of our systems is to go to New York and to get three points.”

On what he wanted to do in the game when he came in
“You just come on and you kind of see what the game gives you. Most of it, I think, is to get running right away, to catch up to the speed of the play, and if you get a good opportunity, then you take it. If the game’s open, I’m going to try and do what I usually do.”

SEATTLE SOUNDERS DEFENDER TYRONE MARSHALL
On the ball that hit him and went into the Sounders’ goal

“I didn’t have control over where the ball was going, which was unfortunate. It went in. But we dominated the game. We kept plugging away. Opportunities dropped for them…We need to do a better job of managing the game, taking our time when we need to, and just manage the game. We’d come out of here with three points instead of one, because we dominated the game. The difference between us getting three points and coming away with one is just a foul here and there, kicking the ball out of bounds. Yeah, it happened. They kept plugging. They scored on my goal. We just have to pick up our heads and move on. It’s one of those things where we let three points get away tonight. We have New York on Saturday and we just have to get back on the pitch and go back to work and try to get three points on the road.”

On Coach Schmid remarking that the team wasn’t putting enough pressure on offensive crosses
“Well, I mean, it’s good point. The guy got a pretty good ball in, Santino [Quaranta] hit a good ball in, and from the other side, I think [Chris] Pontius hit a good cross. But at that particular time, at that late a state in the game, we need to be as close as we can. But unfortunately, it didn’t happen. We can probably do a better job, too, with the runners. I don’t like to get into the situation saying, ‘We could’ve done this and this,’ but in the run of play, things happen. It just happened where we miss a ball. He could’ve headed it—Santino could’ve headed it—and it could’ve gone in, but it missed him and hit my head and went in.”

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