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Quote Sheet: Seattle Sounders 2-1 Real Salt Lake

QUOTE SHEET
SEATTLE SOUNDERS 2-1 REAL SALT LAKE
OCTOBER 23, 2016; CENTURYLINK FIELD, SEATTLE

REAL SALT LAKE
Head Coach JEFF CASSAR

On the winning goal:
“They have great service with [Nicolás] Lodeiro and then some big boys that crash in hard. What’s really interesting is it’s not always the first person that scores the goal, it’s somebody who is more alert to the second balls. And they were on that play. But it’s two-fold – it’s making sure you don’t give away silly fouls that lead to those opportunities and to corner kicks, and then winning your individual battles. There’s not a lot of picking going on – they’re pretty straightforward with their runs so you really have to win your individual battle.”

On the general vibe of the team right now:
“What I just told the guys is I really liked what we did tonight. I thought it was a great effort from the guys on the field to do exactly what we wanted them to do. Especially in the first half, I thought we created a lot of opportunities from the way we were playing defense. It’s very positive. It’s a new season now. What I told them is we’re in the playoffs because of our body of work and what we’ve done throughout the year, and not from what we’ve done in the last four games. So we should be proud of where we’re at and now it’s about rest, recovery and getting ready for LA. It’s a very short turnaround and a lot of work isn’t going to be done on the field, but in the film room and making sure they’re rested and can bring the right energy.”

On how the team is health-wise going into the playoffs:
“Pretty good, I think. We have to see how Tony [Beltran] is doing back home. Yura [Movsisyan] is improving, but we’ll talk to the training staff tomorrow morning and really see how it is when we have our team training.”

On if whether Beltran is day-to-day:
“To be honest with you, I’m not 100 percent. It’s interesting because it’s his back and it flared up. Did it flare up to where he won’t be able to play? I’m not sure.”

On what they need to do shut LA down:
“They have dangerous players. Their lineup has looked quite different towards the end of the year, but we’ll talk as a staff and figure out our gameplan against them. Again, we have to play extremely well on both sides of the ball and make them pay for the mistakes they make.”

On how he felt the offense did with some key players out:
“I thought it was very good, in the first half especially. We were getting in dangerous positions, drawing a lot of fouls, which for me, I thought it was excellent by Seattle to make those fouls. But can we capitalize on those? They capitalized on the set piece and we didn’t. At the end of the day, that was the difference in the game. Can we realize that these are key opportunities for goal scoring? But I really liked the movement. I thought it was keyed off of very good defending and I believe for large chunks of the game that Seattle was very frustrated, but they found a way.”

On the difference in the second half:
“[Seattle] sat back a little more and gave us the ball in the back third and middle third. We started controlling the game and they were countering on us. It was kind of two different tactics – we had one in the first half and they had a different one in the second half. I thought it was a fantastic game played by both teams that came down to a dead ball situation, and we need to sharpen up on that.”

On if Seattle is a dangerous team going into the playoffs:
“Yes. Coach Schmetzer has done a very good job with them since he’s taken over. They play with intensity, but quality as well. They’re going to be [tough], especially playing at home. This is a very, very tough place to play. I thought, for the most part, we did a very good job of keeping the fans in their seats. Not at the beginning of the game, but after that we did a pretty good job of limiting their opportunities against [Nick Rimando]. I feel like that was a positive. They’re a fantastic team, are well coached and have a lot of talent.”

On the progress he’s seen Seattle make:
“Listen, they were a very good team earlier in the season and for whatever reason they weren’t getting the results. They made some additions with (Roman) Torres coming back, Lodeiro into the fold and (Jordan) Morris is growing and growing and growing for their team. But there’s just another level of tenacious defense and energy about the group. That’s mainly because they’re getting results. When you start getting results, there’s a momentum there. They’ve carried it and done very well.”

MIDFIELDER LUKE MULHOLLAND

On following the playoff situation during the match:
“Well obviously I got subbed off so I asked and found out the Portland scores, that we were in, even though it is not the way we wanted to enter the playoffs. We will view it as a second chance in a way, and also for some of our hard work we put in this year. It is not the most ideal way to enter the playoffs, like I said, but we will take it based on last year and the effort we put in over the course of the year. Obviously it has been in difficult times the last six or seven games but at this point and time we will take it.

On the LA Galaxy and their struggles at the end of the year:
“They have got superstars. They have been injured. Everyone is heading in stride and has difficulties at different times of the year. It is irrelevant right now to how the last 34 games have panned out. We are in the playoffs. We will play LA this week. We will go out to LA and give it everything on the field and if it is not enough it is not enough. But hopefully we will definitely confident that we can get a result there and then onto the next round.”

On positive things despite the poor results the past few weeks:
“Our results haven't gone our way, but like I said, we are still in the playoffs. I don't know how many points we picked up in the last games but we put ourselves there…We have been unlucky at times but I think our response is when things have not gone our way it has been good. There are plenty of positives we can take from today’s game. Last week we went to Kansas. So I’m feeling confident we can get a result.”

On his goal:
“I knew that Jordan [Allen] had his back to goal so I turned to get out of the way and tried to slip it through the defender’s legs and luckily it found the bottom corner. I was happy with that. It was a good response from going one-nil down so early in the game. I think that set the tone first. We just fell asleep with the second goal and the corner kick. I was unlucky. On the whole, plenty of positives to take again. We will take them and go to LA and give everything we got.”

MIDFIELDER KYLE BECKERMAN

On decision day and learning their postseason fate during the match:
“We actually kind of heard a little bit during the game – what the score was and what was going on. For us we really didn't have to. We were just trying to get in the game. Trying to tie it up. That was our focus throughout the game. We needed everything that happened.”

On the emotions of making the playoffs on a loss:
“Yeah I think we were disappointed we lost. I thought we fought. We played pretty well. I thought we could have got something from it. I think that is the first thought. That we are in now is a positive. Now we have a new season. We are looking forward to just going out there with nothing to lose and see if we can make a run.”

On playing LA with some previous huge matches in the playoffs against the Galaxy:
“Yeah I thought there was the possibility Landon would come back. I was hoping he would come to our team. Yeah we will face him again. They have a bunch of talented players. They are the third best team in our conference for a reason. They have done really well this year. We will have our hands full. We are looking forward to it and like I said we have nothing to lose and we will go out giving everything we got.”

 

SOUNDERS FC
INTERIM HEAD COACH BRIAN SCHMETZER

On the collective team effort to fill the hole left by Clint Dempsey:
“Well, the shot count was only 11. I would have liked to have generated a few more. But we did…just enough. [Alvaro Fernandez] – that first goal was probably our best bit of soccer the whole game. Cristian [Roldan] is just Cristian – opportunistic; right place, right time. Our set pieces have been pretty good, with Chad [Marshall] and Román [Torres] taking a lot of attention off some of the peripheral guys. So, filling – well, we can’t fill Dempsey’s shoes, but, yes, by collective, by committee, we did enough to beat a tough team tonight.”

On whether scores from other games affected any of the plan tonight:
“No. We needed to win this game for a ton of different reasons. No. 1, we needed to win it for Zach Scott, because of his service to this club. And then Ozzie [Alonso] reminded me that we have a few more games to go. We needed to win this game because of the fans out there. They were loud. They were absolutely loud. They were in the stadium early, they were loud. The players appreciate that; we appreciate that. And then we needed to win that game because the last two results we had weren’t wins and we needed to get into the playoffs on our own, so [that] we didn’t have to rely on anybody else, because we take responsibility for our actions and we wanted to make sure that we get a nice little bump with the confidence and everything that comes along with a win like this against, again, a tough team to beat tonight.”

On the resilience of the team to come back from RSL’s early equalizer:
“Well, I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t happy with it. It’s Soccer 101: After you score a goal, the next five minutes are critical. So we will definitely learn from that moment or hopefully we will be able to find some coaching points to let them watch film tomorrow. But their resilience has been strong since I took over. We’ve come back on many different occasions from deficits, so allowing a team back in the game, okay, we didn’t like to do it, but we always have confidence that the team can persevere and find a way to manufacture another goal or another chance or something to help us be successful.”

On if there will be one moment from the turnaround that he will always remember:
“It’s probably not going to be one [moment]. I’ve certainly have said in the past that we need to live in the moment, so tonight’s win was pretty special, because it gives us a home playoff game, it ensures us that we can thank the fans, we can thank the team for all of their hard work, all of that sort of stuff. I don’t know if I could put down one particular game that when I’m old and retired that I would think back to [it]. What I would say, though, is just the spirit of that team, that’s probably what I’ll think about.”

On Cristian Roldan’s play:
“The kid’s great. The kid is great. Again, I give a lot of credit to Gonzalo Pineda for his development, but the kid has blossomed. He does everything. That wasn’t his normal position tonight and he showed that he can still make an impact in games playing a positon that, yeah, he’s able to play that because he’s versatile, but his real best position is next to Ozzie [Alonso]. He’s a team player, a team kid, who gladly went out there and said, ‘I get it, I know, I’ll do whatever it takes for the team.’ So that kid has a really, really bright future.”

On his message to the team in the postgame locker room:
“Well, we gave Zach [Scott] and autographed photo of all his years of service and then I said we’re going to work tomorrow.”

On Jordan Morris looking banged up after the game and if he will play on Thursday:
“Well, he’ll play. He’s a tough kid. He lives through adversity every day with his Type 1 Diabetes and he’s a tough kid. All the guys – Chad got a little dinged up. It was a physical game out there. There were a lot of fouls, a lot of strong play. But he will persevere and he will be playing.”

On if he is able to take any time to enjoy the win:
“Probably for 15 minutes when I’m done with this, then me, Ante [Razov], Dave [Tenney], Tommy [Dutra], we’ll start figuring out what we’re going to do for training next week.”

On what makes this team dangerous in the playoffs:
“What you saw tonight: a determined team, strong team defensively, good goalkeeping, very good midfield play. Jordan, he’s a good player. We will cause teams problems because we’re a team, because the team believes they can win.”

MIDFIELDER CRISTIAN ROLDAN

On the match:
“It was very important. It was a huge win. The crowd was with us from the very beginning of the game and really from the beginning of the season, through the ups and down. It’s incredible to come back. Not a lot of teams thought that we had it in us and counted us out. At this point, I think people are a little worried about us.”

On starting in a new spot:
“It’s different. The right means it’s a little more sprinting so I got a little bit tired, to be honest. When I went back into the middle, I felt comfortable. Even on the right, I felt comfortable, but I feel like I’m more of center. [Schmetzer] still finds a way to put me in the lineup, which helps my confidence.”

On what he’ll remember about this run with Schmetzer in charge:
“It’s incredible. From the front office to the staff to ourselves. We always had belief. I remember talking to Garth [Lagerway] about our situation and I told him I’m confident in making the playoffs still, and this was at the point where we were almost in last place. Credit to everybody, including the fans, who didn’t give up on us.”

On his goal:
“I was put into the box to be a pest, to shield guys away from the big guys – Chad Marshall and Román (Torres). To pick for those guys and I was lucky enough to get away from my runner and kick the ball in the back of the net after a save.”

On what makes them so dangerous as a team:
“When we possess the ball, we make it hard for teams to come here and play. It’s difficult for them to attack when they’re so worried about defending the whole time. That’s the biggest part, but we can hurt teams in many different ways. You saw it today where set pieces became a big part of it, and also the interplay between our front four.”

DEFENDER/MIDFIELDER BRAD EVANS

On the match:
“For me I’ve been a little bit worried about my calf, so it’s good to get some minutes, number one, at game speed. Obviously we get the result, we shut it down and we almost get one or a couple more half chances also late in the game.”

On the importance of hosting the Knockout Round match:
“Yeah it’s massive, it’s massive. For us right now that’s a big piece to this puzzle that we’ve been trying to figure out. We definitely didn’t think we’d be in this position halfway through the year. A lot of pressures from outside and within the group, but what we do is we persevere. One way to do that is to put your head down and work, and we’ve all done that for each other. There is a lot of respect in this locker room for the changes that were made. A couple of new personnel obviously changed things for us. In saying that, this was obviously a lofty goal to get a home game in this play-in [match]. But it’s something that we achieved so we can put that in our back pocket. But knowing that we’ll relish it [the win] tonight, but come Wednesday night you know we’ll have a Kansas City team that will be absolutely buzzing here.”

On the self-confidence and belief within the team:
“I think it’s come from within. I think [Brian] Schmetzer has instilled a lot of confidence from day one. I think he took almost everybody individually and said, ‘This is what I want out of you’. But also he came in front of the group and said ‘whoever you are, top to bottom, if you’re not performing somebody else will, and I’ll find somebody else to do that job.’ And what does that do? That puts onus on us within the group to perform number one, but it also instills a confidence to know top-down we’re all in this together. So yeah, I think it’s definitely something from within. Saying that, we’ve got a big one on Wednesday night.”

On whether he is most proud of the effort of the team to make the playoffs:
“Yeah of course. I think you can go around and shake everybody’s hand. I do [that] every day. Even when we lose I go around and shake everybody’s hand and thank them for what they did that day. There’s going to be certain days where maybe it wasn’t there. Sometimes we all need a jolt or a kick to get us on the right track. And if that’s what it takes, then that’s what it takes. But I’ve always been a believer that it comes from within, so in saying that I’m a bit naïve that sometimes it has to come from a string of poor results to motivate guys. Maybe it has to come from sitting on the bench. Maybe it’s coming out and doing mandatory extra training. There’s different ways to motivate guys and different ways to motivate a team. But one thing that’s for sure is that we all stayed together. Nobody was pulling away from the group.”

 

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