Seattle 2-1 Real Salt Lake
The Sounders continued rolling through their Desert Diamond Cup competition and clinched a spot in the Desert Diamond Cup final with a 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake. But the highlight of the match belonged to Mario Mario Martinez, whose 66th-minute wonder strike might be the goal of the preseason. (Click here to watch)
Phillip Lund added a goal of his own in the 7st minute (and showed off some dance moves) that wound up being the game winner. Real Salt Lake’s John Stertzer made the match interesting when he cut the lead in half in the 87th minute but it was too little, too late for the RSL attack.
Phillip Lund, Seattle Sounders FC
On scoring goal
Always nice to score a goal, especially I have not been playing a match in seven eight months now so it was good to have some play time and then you score a goal that makes it nice.
On the celebratory dance
Ezra told me he thought I would score today and if I scored I promised him I would dance.
On if the dance was a particular dance
No, no it just came to me
On experience in camp
I have been sick a few days before so in the beginning it was very hard for me, I was very low on energy, so in the beginning it was very tough for me but hopefully I can get around it.
On differences between camps in the US and Denmark
We didn’t do it for so many days, we only stayed for a few days. We would play 1 or 2 matches in 2 4 days and then go back and train so we didn’t stay two weeks.
On how it feels to have a longer stay than usual
Yea of course because then you can know the other guys a little bit more outside the pitch and on the pitch.
On enjoying Arizona
Of course I am; we came from Seattle where it’s almost raining everyday so here it’s a little bit sunny so that’s good.
On Danish Summer
Well I would say the Danish Summer is better, right (laughter) but yea it’s pretty good weather here.
Sigi Schmid, Seattle Sounders
On what he got out of the game:
It was just another opportunity to play our ﬁrst team or ﬁrst group for 45 minutes and it gave us a good look at the second group as well. They came in and did really well. Mario Martinez joined us yesterday, he just got in yesterday so we sort of held him until the second half and scored a great goal. What can you say?
On what he told his players:
Well, if you play and try not to get injured, you’re going to get injured and if you go half-ass into the tackles, when you say it that way, you can’t quote that, if you go half-hearted into the tackles you know, then things…you have to play normal, you know, but you don’t want to go late. You don’t want to slide tackle people from behind, things like that. So, we picked up an injury again today on that tackle, we picked up an injury in the last game but for the most part, you’ve just got to play the game like normal.
On his plans for the Veracruz match:
For us, it’s an opportunity to play against a team that plays a lot of style or Mexican style of play which is different than what we normally see in MLS so, for us it’s good preparation, you know, to play against a team that plays like tat because a lot of times those teams play a little more in a 3-5-2, you know they push up. The way they defend, as a group, is a little bit different than MLS and it gives us preparation in that regard and preparation for teams.
On lack of preseason matches early:
I don’t like to scrimmage early. I like us to get our ﬁtness work. A lot of coaches like to put scrimmage games in even after two, three days of practice and I’ve always been a coach who did the same thing in college where the periods of time were even shorter. We did one week of training in Seattle where we just met once a day, got everybody into rhythm again and we did a hard ﬁtness week at Casa Grande and we ﬁnished that off with a game against Portland down here and this phase now is about games. We’re trying to divide it out into phases so we’re not pushing the guys physically when they’re really tired and then force them into a game because in a game, your instincts take over and you do something that maybe your body’s not ready for and you pick up an injury that you don’t even think of.
On his reaction to the announcement from Robby Rogers:
I mean, I love Robby. Robby’s a great kid. I’ve known Robby since he was nine years old. Him an my youngest son were friends, they played together on the same youth teams from the age of nine to sixteen so I’ve known Robby, I’ve known his folks, I’ve known his family for a long time and you know, I’m very proud of the step that he took. I hope he didn’t feel he had to step away from the game to do that because I think the game can accept that. I’m just happy for him and I want to see Robby be successful. I was his coach but, I’m also a friend and he had some great years form me at Columbus. I wish him nothing but the best. It was a courageous step.
Brad Evans, Seattle Sounders FC
On his general thoughts of the match:
I think the ﬁrst 25 minutes, not much ﬂow to the game because of all the fouls and everything. For whatever reason, the past two games that we’ve got into have been physical. I don’t know why but you deal with it and kind of move on but I think that they played their typical game and that’s…in the midﬁeld and play a tight diamond in the midﬁeld, connect their passes, play it out wide. Not too many quality chances from them. I think we created a little bit more chances, you know, catching them on the counter.
Jason Kreis, Real Salt Lake
On general impression of game
I think it was typical, I thought that it was a little bit of fatigue performance on our part; we’ve been working our guys extremely hard, the training session yesterday was like a normal training session…so we’re asking a lot form our players tonight and it was exhaust and fatigue…that led to chances of goals against us but that’s ok because now we can talk about what we can fix to not allow goals on us.
New England 3-1 New York
Following a contentious 2-0 loss to the Sounders on Wednesday, the Revolution came out strong against the Red Bulls in a 3-1 win that puts New England in the driver’s seat for a spot in the Desert Diamond Cup final.
New York was the first team to draw blood when Juninho found space at the top of the box and whipped a shot into the right corner of the net in the 11th minute. The 1-0 lead lasted for awhile until the 53rd minute when the Red Bulls were called for a hand ball in the box. New England’s Lee Nguyen converted the penalty kick to tie the match.
Five minutes later Jerry Bengston provided the highlight-worthy goal of the second match when he headed an across-the-pitch cross from Donnie Smith into the left side of the net. (Click here to watch)
New England put the match away for good when Marko Jesic scored the team’s third goal in the 88th minute.
Matt Reis, New England Revolution
On his general thoughts about the match:
General impressions of how the team formed today and what you saw from back there. It’s a work in progress, preseason. We talked about just getting better game in and game out. I think the ﬁrst half, their ﬁrst team in there, they were pretty organized and it’s tough for us to break down even though we did create a few chances early on. They have a lot of quality guys that can do a lot of damage. Second half I thought we really settled in and we were comfortable and we were really on the front foot for the whole second half. That showed and I think we deﬁnitely played one of our better games.
On how he feels about the back line:
Good. Winning kind of glosses over a lot of things but there’s a lot of things that we can work on and that we need to work on but, just getting comfortable playing the ball out and knowing where guys are is key and I think we’re getting there.
On how he compares this year’s team to past teams:
Well, our last preseason I don’t think we lost a game and we didn’t ﬁnish the season as we’d liked so preseason’s preseason but, we’ve deﬁnitely got lot of talented players on the roster right now and we’ve got a lot of talented players that are trying to make the roster so that makes us a better team we’re really working hard and there’s a lot of pressure on everybody to perform. I think we’re in a good spot but we’ve got to keep trying to get better.
Lee Nguyen, New ENgland Revolution
On general impressions:
It was a good start, we’re improving, some of the guys still need to get fit, myself included but I liked what I saw from the team and you know we’re building on this game and going forward.
Yeah the penalty kick and, you know, I’ve been practicing with Bobby with Matt and it’s just one of those things where you know I was expecting him to guess and I just went down the middle.
On trying to chip it:
Yeah I was hoping for him to guess left or right and I was just gonna chip it down the middle.
On balance between being a preseason game and having to look good for the coach:
Before the game started, you know, we were going in to play we know it’s preseason but at the same time we’ve been practicing for a month a month or so now and we wanted to go out and play with these guys keep the ball on the ground and try to play our style and you know whether we go out there and get beat or win 5 0 doesn’t matter we weren’t gonna try and change the style.
On changes throughout the match:
Yeah you know before the game Jerry talked to us and told us a lot of the guys are gonna play half a lot of the guys are gonna play 60 minutes and some of the guys are gonna play 30 so we were all prepared, we knew what we were gonna do and how long we had to play so we were just happy to show our stuff and just try and get that chemistry down cause you know there’s a lot of new guys a lot of changes but at the same time everybody that came in they knew what they were doing.
On second half tactics:
I think it had a lot to do with preseason and it was our second game here together and a lot of the guys still, I guess would say little jitters but we started to compose ourselves after, you know, half an hour and from there we just started playing and building our confidence after that.
On expectations and what has been seen so far that is likeable:
Yea you know, last season I kinda joined the team a couple of days before the first kickoff and it was great to start with them fresh off preseason this year and a lot of the same guys came back so it was good to play with the core guys again and it’s my first trip to Tucson as well so a lot of the guys told me that it was gonna be a great preseason and that the fields are great and the hotels are great so I was looking forward to it.
On perspectives of this season v. last season:
You always try and build on your previous season, you always wanna do better so that was my goal and my attention coming into this season, to work and get fit and to improve from last season.
Jay Heaps, New ENgland Revolution
On how the game went:
I think that actually first hald we were happy with the way we moved the ball but after ten minutes we were…and we made a mistake and he scored and the next five minutes I thought New York controled the match but then as the half went on we started to do well and then second half came out and definitely had another gear.
On Juan Toja:
He’s bringing that and where he is fitness is wise he’s got a long way to go, he knows it right, he played 20 minutes there at the end and did really well but he’s tired but you can see the more he’s on the pitch for us the idea is he comes up with players coming run off of him, he’s hard, he plays with confidence he plays on either flank, either side, we wanna give him some freedom and he’s doing well he’s tough to defend.
On tonight’s game in the context of spring training:
I think it was, I think we had a couple defensive let downs, you know at this point we were playing really well and it happened again tonight but tonight was our best response to that. We came out, you know, controlled, played the way we needed to play and turned the game around in our favor.
I thought he was really good, I think he, you know, in the first half showed he could find those gaps and spaces and turn and go and be dangerous and Lee’s really playing well he’s free and you can see him on that right flank going for the cheeky moves and doing different things and drawing fouls and you know Lee had been waiting a while because of his shoulder surgery so now he’s just starting to get himself back to where he was when he had the surgery.
On the second goal:
It was a driven ball back post and we’re working on free kicks and we’re working on second balls and Donnie was in a good spot defensively to put it back in and Jerry is known for finding the ball inside the 6 and that’s where he’s at his best.
Mike Petke, New York Red Bulls
On general opinion of match
First half, very exciting stuff, both sides of the goal; aggression on the offense, creativity going forward, balance on the midfields…second hand comes out, we’re very flat, first ten minutes.
Luis Robles, New York Red Bulls
On impressions of game
Well, that’s what preseason is, us getting all the rust off, getting the kicks off, defense was a little shakey at the beginning but we got it together and I think once that PK came in the second half it kinda took the wind out of us, but nonetheless this is preseason and there’s gonna be some stuff that we need to fix and we’ll go back to the drawing board next week…we got two more games before the season starts.
On feelings after a PK
A pk is what it is, at the end of the day, you try to get a good read on the guy and even after the game you say “hey, you went exactly where I was going” and maybe I was a fraction of a second too early and he was able to adjust but I like my chances going into a pk but we all know that the odds are against the goalkeeper and it’s something we have to brush aside and move on, unfortunately it was at the time for us we needed to regroup and we just didn’t, we got frantic after that.
Desert Diamond Cup Finals scenarios
Seattle Sounders: No team can get more points than Seattle’s six points (New England is the only club that can get at least six points), which puts them right into Saturday’s final.
New York, New England and Real Salt Lake all have a shot at the final. The Red Bulls have to beat Seattle and hope for a draw in the New England-RSL match or an RSL win. Since the first tie breaker is goal difference, the best result for the Red Bulls (should they win) is an RSL win. Right now New York’s goal difference is -2 while RSL’s is -1. If there is a draw in the New England-RSL match, the the Red Bulls are tied with the Revolution, who has a goal difference of 0.
For New England, the scenario is pretty simple: win and they get into the final regardless of what happens to New York. If the Red Bulls lose, then New England only needs a draw to get into the final.
For RSL a win is the only route to the final, regardless of what New York does. Should the Red Bulls win, however, RSL will need to have a better goal difference to get into the Desert Diamond Cup final.