Tag Archive | "Sammy Ochoa"

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RSL Hold Sounders 0-0 in Seattle

Posted on 03 November 2012 by Kyle Alm

Real Salt Lake all but wrapped up the #2 seed in the Western Conference when they held Sounders to a 0-0. Zach Scott had been sent off early in the match and Sounders were able to hold off for a 0-0 draw. Salt Lake and Seattle have had a burgeoning rivalry that is comparable to either of their Cascadia Cup opponents, the largest difference being that RSL and Seattle have played more meaningful matches against each other rather than geographic proximity.

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Michael Gspurning came off of his line to make a sliding tackle on Ned Grabavoy right at the edge of the box on a through ball from midfield. Nick Rimando was also active early making a save on Brad Evans, after the Sounders midfielder made a clever timed run to get in behind the defense. Rimando came up big twice to keep his sheet clean in the 33rd minute on consecutive. Sammy Ochoa worked very hard to get his header, pushing on Chris Wingert with both hands to get into position. Ochoa’s header was saved for a corner that Jhon Kennedy Hurtado would put on frame with a ducking header was met by a more spectacular save by Rimando than the last moments before.

Jeff Parke was issued a yellow card for a foul on Espindola right before the halftime whistle blew. Espindola would not return for the second half with a hamstring injury.

Sammy Ochoa, filling in for Eddie Johnson as Fredy Montero’s strike partner, had his best opportunity to score on a cross from Brad Evans in the 57th minute. Ochoa sent the ball sailing, and Sigi Schmid called immediately for his replacement, David Estrada.

The most dramatic moment of the match came in the 67th minute when Christiam Tiffert and Nick Rimando collided in the penalty area when Rimando was coming out for the ball. The RSL goalkeeper covered his face and kicking at the ground in agony. The match would be suspended for no less than 8 minutes while Rimando received treatment to stop the bleeding above his eye. There was a confused group of fans who were heckling Rimando during this time although he was clearly receiving necessary treatment.

Sounders attack in the second half was predictable, speculative, and ultimately impotent against Nick Rimando, who continued his brilliant performance despite his injury and swelling around his eye. Rimando read and picked out crosses and continued to show excellent reflexes and reaction saves. In addition to David Estrada, Mario Martinez (82nd minute for Tiffert) and Steve Zakuani (90th+4 for Mauro Rosales) were brought on to bolster the Sounders attack, with little to no effect.

RSL did not show much offensive firepower either, and Gspurning didn’t have nearly as much to do as his counterpart. Alvaro Saborio, recently returned from injury, did not appear himself tonight. Kyle Beckerman did not appear in the stat sheet much, but was effective in controlling the midfield and distributing the ball to keep his side organized. Javier Morales also had a relatively quiet night.

There was some extra time scuffling involving Osvaldo Alonso and some RSL players and even some staff from the look of things. If this is a burgeoning rivalry it blossomed tonight, the return leg, with so much at stake should be quite an exciting affair. Eddie Johnson should be back from his hamstring injury. Fabian Espindola’s hamstring is a question mark as of post-match, his availability is unknown at this point.

The way these two sides have played against each other, and other teams, have not yielded many goals for either side. Although RSL have shown several times that they can come to Seattle and get results, the advantage of playing at home for the return leg, and potential shootout, is clear.

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RSL Cements Second Place in Seattle

Posted on 18 October 2012 by Kyle Alm

Real Salt Lake came to Seattle three points ahead of Sounders in the Western Conference standings. Sounders, with a game in hand, were looking to usurp their rivals with a win and draw even in the standings.

© Jane Gershovich & American Soccer News

A day removed from a return stint with the US Men’s National Team, Eddie Johnson found himself on a private charter with Nick Rimando & Kyle Beckerman on the way to Seattle. Eddie Johnson played 90 minutes in both World Cup Qualifying matches and was quite productive offensively, scoring 2 goals against Antigua Barbados & getting an assist against Guatemala. Rimando and Beckerman did not see time on the pitch for the US and although it was unlikely that Johnson would play, it was a much appreciated gesture between these two rival sides.

Zach Scott would pick up a seemingly inocuous yellow card in the 10th minute for a foul on Fabian Espindola. Scott, filling in at center back for Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, has a bit of a reputation as a rough defender, getting a caution is not out of the ordinary for him. Scott would only remain on the pitch for another 20 minutes. Javier Morales was fouled by the Sounder stalwart and promptly sent off by Ricardo Salazar for his second caution.

Sounders had started a duo of Fredy Montero & Sammy Ochoa at forward, Eddie Johnson was not available after his stint with the US Men’s National Team. Ochoa was the player who made way for an additional defender after Scott had been sent off. Sounders already had a makeshift lineup to start the match; Zach Scott was an outside back playing in, Brad Evans was filling in for Scott on the outside, Marc Burch & Jeff Parke were the only defenders in their usual positions. Andy Rose dropped into the center back role until the substition for Ochoa was made. Michael Seamon would finish the match at outside back.

At the end of the first half Montero hit a shot that looked like it hit the outstretched arm of Tony Beltran. Replays would later show that Beltran had his arm next to the body and that Salazar had gotten the call correct. RSL head coach Jason Kreis had this to say about appeals for a penalty, “what lead to that play was Montero pushing on Olave, I don’t think Seattle is the only one that can make complaints about the calls tonight.”

It is certainly a truism that a team with 10 men is likely to lose to an 11 man team and on an extended timeline keeping possession and creating scoring chances will lead to goals in a probabilistic view. In reality it is still not easy to break a team down defensively. On paper you can see that RSL did dominate possession and scoring chances and had chances late to take all three points in Seattle were it not for the herculean efforts of Michael Gspurning. Two of those saves coming in impressive fashion in stoppage time.

For RSL getting a point on the road in Seattle is no smalll feat, especially considering the place in the table. However in the end they recognize that it was a match they had the upper hand throughout and still failed to win.

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Wondo Keeps Quakes Top of Table

Posted on 23 September 2012 by Kyle Alm

Seattle Sounders slim chance at winning the Supporter’s Shield was crushed Saturday evening in Seattle when the San Jose Earthquakes put on an offensive display that shows that they truly belong at the top of the MLS Table. The two sides have been building some bad blood recently, a couple of close matches, a couple of physical altercations, the same mutually exclusive prize in an unbalanced schedule and you’ve got a budding rivalry.

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It didn’t take long for the Quakes to get started, in the 2nd minute Simon Dawkins was given space to shoot from a yard beyond the penalty box semi-circle. It was a horrible start for Sounders at home, all Michael Gspurning could do was watch it sail into the top corner and voice his displeasure at his defenders. Although it is not uncommon to give a midfield player space that far away from goal, it was too much space and the shot was not challenged by a defender.

Sammy Ochoa starting in place of Eddie Johnson, suspended for yellow card accumulation, was given his first real opportunity to start in MLS action and made an important contribution when he was able to beat his defender with a flick and then crossed the ball, Fredy Montero tried for it near the middle of the goal, but it was just out of reach. Steve Zakuani was ready for the ball when the cross went past the Colombian, and finished unmarked to draw the Sounders level.

San Jose Earthquakes were the dominant team in the first half, they were able to pass the ball with more ease, get forward in dangerous positions, create crosses, and get shots on goal. Their winner came on a corner kick that was conceded by Adam Johansson & Michael Gspurning in an awkward fashion. The corner kick went over the goal frame and was sent back in by Victor Bernardez and flicked past Gspurning by Chris Wondolowski, who stayed on pace with Roy Lassiter’s record 27 goals from 1996. Wondowlowski has 22 goals now with 4 matches left in the season to catch Lassiter.

Zakuani, who had been the hero moments earlier, was caught on the back post after the ball had been played out initially, he stayed on the post for the second cross into the box by Bernardez. A player can’t be offside on a corner because of where the ball is on the end line, when a player is stuck on the post defending you can’t be offside then either. Wondowlowski would have been offside had Zakuani stepped off the post, Ianni gave space, and tried to close when he realized he was onside, but it was too late.

As much as San Jose came out screaming in the first half, their enthusiasm was considereably muted in the second half. Scoring opportunities, crosses, were all down in the second half as the Quakes looked to defend their lead in Seattle. Sounders looked better and did have a better second half, but when the opposing team is bunkering down to defend a lead you can’t help but look better than you did before.

Sounders only managed one shot on target the entire night, Zakuani’s goal. Jon Busch didn’t have a single save.

Usually rivalries are give and take, but it’s been all San Jose this season and the Sounders have been taking it. San Jose had always been a good offensive side that defended poorly, Frank Yallop has gotten his side organized and kept the goal differential on the positive side by 26 goals after tonight’s match. Sounders fans would probably start a rivalry with any team that Steven Lenhart is on.

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