The STATE of Soccer in WASHINGTON
RENTON, WASH. - Seattle Sounders FC will face Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs beginning with the first leg on Friday, November 2 at CenturyLink Field. The kickoff time will be announced on Monday.
Sounders FC, the third seed in the Western Conference with a record of 15-8-11 and 56 points, will travel to Sandy, Utah for the second leg of series on Thursday, November 8.
Tickets for Seattle’s home match go on sale to the public on Monday, October 29 at 9 a.m. PT by visiting http://www.SoundersFC.com or by calling 800-745-3000. All playoff tickets will be distributed via Ticketmaster’s TicketFast print at home service. The Sounders FC Western Conference Semifinals are presented by Samsung Mobile.
Seattle and Real Salt Lake (17-11-6, 57 points) played to a scoreless draw in two of three regular season meetings. Salt Lake captured the only victory of the season series, winning 1-nil in Seattle on May 12.
In the 2011 West Semifinals, Sounders FC was eliminated by RSL, 3-2 on aggregate. After falling 3-0 in the first leg at Rio Tinto Stadium, Seattle pulled two goals back in the home leg but were unable to advance.
The four Conference Semifinals will be decided by two-game aggregate series, with the lower seed hosting the first leg and the higher seed hosting the second leg. If the aggregate score is tied after 180 minutes of play, two 15-minute extra time periods will be played in their entirety, followed by penalty kicks, if necessary.
The two Conference Championships will be decided by a two-game aggregate series, with the lower seed hosting the first leg and the higher seed hosting the second leg. If the aggregate score is tied after 180 minutes of play, two 15-minute extra time periods will be played in their entirety, followed by penalty kicks, if necessary.
MLS Cup will be a single championship match hosted by the higher seed. The finalist with the most regular season points will host MLS Cup. If the two finalists have the same number of regular season points, the tiebreakers for playoff qualification will be applied to determine the host team.
SEATTLE, Wash. - Sounders FC (15-8-11, 56 points) concluded the 2012 MLS regular season with a 1-0 loss to the LA Galaxy (16-12-6, 54 points) Sunday night at the Home Depot Center. Mike Magee scored the game’s lone goal, as Seattle will next face Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference semifinals.
Sounders FC will go into the MLS Cup Playoffs as the third seed in the Western Conference. The two-game aggregate series with Real Salt Lake will begin on Friday, November 2 in Seattle and will conclude in Salt Lake on Thursday, November 8.
The Galaxy broke up the scoreless tie in the 83rd minute. Robbie Keane laid the ball off to Magee at the top of the box and the forward finished the low 20-yard shot inside the far post. It was the first LA goal scored against Sounders FC this season after Seattle shutout the Galaxy in both their previous two meetings.
In the third minute of second half stoppage time, Brad Evans appeared to net the equalizer, but the goal was waved off due to a Seattle handball in the box.
Despite finishing without a goal, Seattle pressed offensively all game, finishing with 18 shots. In the 33rd minute, Fredy Montero hit the post with a header after Marc Burch found him wide open in the box. In the 66th, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado just missed wide with a glancing header on a Mauro Rosales free kick.
LA goalkeeper Josh Saunders finished with four saves en route to his ninth shutout of the season. In the 25th, he made a diving save on an Eddie Johnson’s header off a Burch cross. In the 59th, Saunders made another diving save when Montero got his foot on a cross from Tiffert, and in the 68th he made a point-blank stop on a Rosales shot in the box.
Sounders FC goalkeeper Michael Gspurning finishes the season by setting a franchise record with a 0.73 goals against average, edging Sporting KC’s Jimmy Nielsen (0.79) for first in MLS. Gspurning becomes the first keeper from outside the CONCACAF region to lead MLS in the category, and his average is the third best single season average in league history.
Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid
On tonight’s game:
“Obviously, you never want to lose a game by giving up a late goal like that. It was a game tonight that could have easily been 6-6. There were chances for both teams. I think you saw two very good teams playing against each other. Two good teams that have a lot of ability… that have a lot of ability defensively and to be able to get forward. A little bit of an error on our part on the goal. We didn’t shift over quick enough and were caught 3-v-2 on the other side of the field, and Magee finished it well. On the other end, we got denied two, three times by (Josh) Saunders on some pretty big time saves.”
On the atmosphere of the game:
“It had two good teams making sure they are ready for the playoffs— that gave it that playoff intensity. There is a lot of pride in those players that stepped onto the field and that pride was definitely evident. LA is the defending champion and they are not going to give it away easily. We are a team that wants to get there, so we will fight and scratch to get there. It was two teams going at it.”
On missed opportunities:
“A little break here or there would have made a difference. We hit the post early on, and they hit the post later on with Keane. Freddy (Montero)’s header was clean in, Eddie (Johnson) had a couple opportunities before he came off. In games like that it is a little bit of: are you able to finish chances when you get them and keep them from finishing their chances when they dominate the game. It is something that has to serve for us as motivation as we go into our next series of games”
On the team’s mood entering the playoffs:
“I think we are ready for the playoffs, tonight has to be a good motivator. Sometimes when you get slapped a little bit towards the end of the season it can be a good thing because it reminds you of how that feels and it is a feeling that you don’t want to have come back. I think this team definitely has what it takes to make a run at the championship. There is enough quality on the field, enough quality on our bench, and the desire is definitely there.”
On heading into playoff series with Real Salt Lake:
“Obviously we need to win at home and we need to get something on the road. We are at home first, last year it was the opposite, so we need to do the same kind of job that they did on us last year. Eddie (Johnson), we’ll see tomorrow exactly where he stands, we took (Jeff) Parke out just out of precaution, because he felt a little bit tight so we wanted to make sure nothing went wrong there. It is something where we have to see where we are at and see what players are available to us. Salt Lake have some guys with injuries as well. We are going to put out 11 players they will put out 11 players and they will decide it on the field.”
Seattle Sounders FC Forward Eddie Johnson
On his injury:
“I made a couple of long runs early in the game and (the) hammy kind of tightened up on me. My game requires making hard runs behind the back four. I tried to set the defender up, like I was going to come to the ball and check to the right. I felt a big cramp in my hamstring. I know what that feels like so I was smart, I came out. I didn’t try to force it, but there’s definitely something there. If I tried to play, I would have been restricted. The smart thing for me to do, what is best for the team, was for me to come out.”
Seattle Sounders FC Midfielder Brad Evans
On the attacking nature of the game:
“Both teams had chances. They were able to capitalize on their one shot from outside the box. I think that overall a decent performance from both sides. I think we’ve won every game, the last game of the season, so far. I don’t know if that’s right, leading up to the playoffs, so hopefully this is a good omen. And, we get off on the right foot next week.”
On the Galaxy’s performance:
“I think if you look at their lineup that’s the way they play. They push numbers forward. They have high quality players and anytime you are going to face that team – they are going to push numbers forward and try to attack. They catch you on a break and both teams like to counter attack, so it’s going to happen in this game. We were prepared for it and I think that both defenses made good saves, keepers made good saves. I think we were unlucky not to finish a couple of our chances. But, they finished theirs. It’s the name of the game.”
Seattle Sounders FC Defender Jeff Parke
On coming off early:
“I didn’t want to pull anything right now. Its crunch time and it’s more important that I’m healthy (rather) than being out there and trying to push through a game that doesn’t really have too much meaning for us. It’s just precaution and getting ready for next week.”
On the result:
“I didn’t expect for them to come out and push the way they did. I thought that they would rest more guys for Thursday, getting themselves prepared for an important game. They pushed the game and pushed the tempo. We had our chances, but we definitely didn’t expect a game of that magnitude. They played well, but I thought we had our chances.”