Goats coach Real, players Soto, Fondy and Seattle’s Yedlin discuss tight game
By Michael Ligot, Seattle Editor
“It got a little shaky for us at the end, but that happens when you’re up 1-0,” said DeAndre Yedlin after his Seattle Sounders FC defeated Chivas USA by that scoreline Wednesday night at CenturyLink Field. “Credit to them, they put us under a lot of pressure. Luckily we were able to hold on.”
The Goats definitely felt they deserved better after a much-improved second half.
“I think the first half Seattle was better and Chivas in the second half, for me, in my opinion, was better,” said Chivas USA Head Coach Jose Luis Real, in an interview he gave in both English and Spanish. “In my opinion, the game must become at the end a tie, because Chivas answered.”
Reserve player Josue Soto, watching from the bench, mentioned clogging up Seattle’s midfield passing as a key in the Goats’ second-half uptick.
“We thought their central midfielder [Osvaldo Alonso] was getting the ball a lot, dictating the pace of the game, so we tried putting Carlos [Alvarez] in there, to kind of block that passing lane that was open,” said Soto. “We brought in a second forward [Eric Avila] to kind of pursue the game.
“In the second half, I think we got better than in the first, trying to get that tying goal. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.”
A major reason why it didn’t happen, despite Chivas outshooting Seattle 13-11, was the last play of the game, when Sounders goalkeeper Michael Gspurning dropped the ball and picked it up, which likely should’ve been an indirect free kick for Chivas in the Sounder penalty area.
“We must score at the end, at the last play, but unfortunately the referee finished the game,” shrugged Real. ”Tiro Inderect, normally is indirect. Must be.”
The tiro indirect would’ve only given Chivas a tie at best, thanks to sloppy marking on Lamar Neagle’s set-piece goal, a recent Seattle specialty.
“For me, was a mistake for our defense because the player of Seattle must have one mark for Chivas; he was alone, a big mistake for Chivas,” said Real. “Yes, desconstrado. Not in focus … Before the game, we talk with Chivas team about [set pieces]. But it was not enough, because they score.”
Yedlin lauded both Marc Burch’s service and Neagle’s finish on that goal.
“Burch serves a great ball,” he said. “So if we can get him into more of an attacking position with Lamar in there, who can jump, we though we can create some attacking chances, and we did.
“Yeah, very good goal, [Neagle's] a quality player. He’s one of those when you’re on the field, you kind of like to watch and see the chances he creates.”
Holding hot young Chivas player Erick Torres off the scoresheet was important for Seattle, as well. “Credit to Pat [Ianni} and Djimi [Traoré] for that. They did a good job on him, they were aggressive with him, they didn’t let him get on the ball, that’s when he’s really good,” said Yedlin. “Got him out of his flow.”
Torres still earns credit for his strong play of late, scoring six times in his first seven MLS games, including braces in his last two before meeting the Sounders.
“He’s been great, scoring goals,” lauded teammate Soto. “Something we needed, a consistent goal scorer, and he’s been that, so it’s helped us a lot.”
“For the league at this moment he is a big surprise I think,” said his coach Real. “Not for me, because I know him very well. Today it was not the best game, but I’m sure for the next game everyone going to be better.”
Another young player, Matthew Fondy from the USL’s L.A. Blues, came on for Alvarez at the hour mark, and impressed with his hustle, getting three shots and drawing three Sounder fouls.
“I don’t feel like it was a huge jump,” said the California-Santa Cruz alum, who scored 10 goals in as many games for the Blues before signing with the Rojiblancos. “I just wanted to bring energy into the game, work hard, keep trying, and get into the game.”
Interestingly, Chivas didn’t focus on the Sounders missing Eddie Johnson and Clint Dempsey to U.S. national team duty.
“No. Most important for every game, each game, for Chivas USA, is Chivas USA first, and next we gonna think of the opponent,” Real flatly stated. “All of the players are very important, they are on the U.S. team, excellent players, but for Chivas, number one is Chivas USA and next the opponent.”
Yedlin agreed that with the absences, the Sounders planned “the same way we usually do. Like I said before, we have great depth, got guys that don’t normally play today but did, [played] very well.”
For their next game, at home against D.C. United, Real thinks the young team will recover quickly from this third-in-eight-days encounter. “It is not easy to have many games because the players normally at this second of the third game are so tired, but [Chivas] is one of the youngest teams in the league, and I’m sure that fore the next game, gonna be good.”
Newcomer Fondy said of his participation in that game,” I hope to, I will work hard to do that.”
And the strategy, according to Soto? “We want to win.”