New England Revolution's Kei Kamara (13) battles Seattle Sounders's Zach Scott during the first half of an MLS match today in Foxborough, Mass. Michael Dwyer Associated Press
New England Revolution's Kei Kamara (13) battles Seattle Sounders's Zach Scott during the first half of an MLS match today in Foxborough, Mass. Michael Dwyer Associated Press

Sounders Insider Blog

Seattle Sounders FC and the Puget Sound soccer scene

Sounders Insider

Sounders lose third straight, 2-1 at New England

May 28, 2016 06:58 PM

UPDATED May 28, 2016 09:25 PM

NEW ENGLAND 2, SOUNDERS 1

The bottom line: The Sounders scored first but couldn’t hold on, losing 2-1 to the New England Revolution. The loss was the third straight for Seattle, which falls to 4-7-1 on the season. The club remains winless on the road. New England inches ahead in the all-time series, 5-4-1.

The goals: Seventh minutes: Sounders’ Aaron Kovar scores first MLS goal. 24th minute, Lee Nguyen equalizes with penalty kick after hotly disputed handball-in-box call against Erik Friberg. 80th minute, Femi Hollinger-Janzen provides the winner from just atop the penalty area.

Sounder of the match: Rookie central defender Tony Alfaro had a solid 50 minutes in his MLS debut, relieving Brad Evans who took a shot to the head.

Never miss a local story.

Sign up today for unlimited digital access to our website, apps, the digital newspaper and more.

Key moment: Referee Fotis Bazakos awarded what seemed an outrageous penalty when Zach Scott’s clearance went directly into Friberg. The ball didn’t seem to actually hit Friberg’s hand, but even if it did, it seemed a clear case of ball-to-hand, rather than hand-to-ball.

Notes: The Sounders started 10 of the players who started in the loss to Colorado the week before. The only change was Herculez Gomez starting for Clint Dempsey, who is away with the U.S. national team. … Chad Marshall, who had been reported "all in" last week at training, was held out of the game-day roster. However, he traveled and it reported possible for the Wednesday match at D.C. United. ... Kovar scored his first MLS goal. ... Alfaro made his MLS debut.

Next match: At D.C. United, 5 p.m. Wednesday, Channel 13.

Quotes: Head Referee Fotis Bazakos

On awarding New England a hand ball in the first half:

Bazakos: “From my position, I observed [Erik] Friberg’s arms raised away from his body. Then I observed his arm making contact with the ball.”

Seattle Sounders Head Coach Sigi Schmid

Opening Statement:

Schmid: “Basically, I thought we started the game well. After we scored the goal, it seemed like we took our foot off the gas for some reason, and we weren’t playing as aggressively as we did earlier in the game. I haven’t seen the replay of the penalty call, I just heard it was a harsh call. Obviously calls like that change games, so there’s definitely an impact on that. They [the Revolution] were the better team, and at the end of the first half, for sure. They controlled possession and created more dangerous situations. I thought the second half was pretty even until we really opened up towards the end. We had some chances, they ended up scoring a goal where they just reacted quicker than we did. It wasn’t a play or anything, it was just a ball that popped free, everyone slipped, and Femi reacted quicker than our guys did.”

On the condition of Brad Evans after withdrawing due to an injury:

Schmid: “I don’t know. He obviously got hit in the head with the ball.”

On how much a questionable call affects the team psychologically:

Schmid: “It has an impact on the team, especially when things aren’t going well for you. You are finally on top on the road and we knew New England gave up a lot of goals at the beginning of the game so we tried to put pressure on them early on and that was successful for us. Then you get done in by a call that you don’t think is a PK, it certainly brings you down psychologically.”

On how the team reacted after the penalty:

Schmid: “I didn’t think we reacted well in the first half. After we scored the goal, not just the penalty. When we scored the goal, I didn’t think we played as well. In the second half, we came out and played better. I thought when [Cristian] Roldan came in, he helped liven our game up a little bit.”

On the play of Aaron Kovar in his first full MLS game:

Schmid: “It was good, it might have also been his first full 90 minutes. It was good, he hits it with his opposite foot, normally he is a lefty and likes to hit it with his left exclusively, but he is somebody that we need to start getting goals from and from the rest of our flank players. We haven’t gotten anything from Herculez [Gomez] yet, and we hadn’t gotten anything from Kovar, so it was good. It was good to see us get a goal from there.”

On Tony Alfaro’s minutes tonight:

Schmid: “I thought he did well for a young kid getting thrown in his first MLS experience. He was thrown in without a real warm-up. I thought he was pretty solid and consistent. You can obviously see that he is very comfortable with the ball and he is a good passer. I thought overall his defending was good.”

On if replay will ever find a role in soccer:

Schmid: “It should. I was told by the fourth official that they are not even allowed to look at the replay at halftime, which is amazing to me. It seems like you would want to look at it and know if you made or didn’t make a mistake but apparently that’s just the way it is being done right now. I think that penalty kicks and red cards, there’s always a stoppage in play. It takes time. It takes time before the penalty kick is taken, it takes time before a player goes off the field with a red card, and I think those situations can easily be reviewed by having a monitor. You already have a fourth official with an earpiece and I think that needs to happen in our sport because too often games are decided by bad calls.”

On what could have been better from the team on the goal scored by Femi:

Schmid: “We just needed to react quicker. We thought we had stopped the play, and we had stopped the initial play, and then when people slipped we just reacted late. [Erik] Friberg was just a millisecond late on blocking the shot. We just needed to react quicker and it was a seeing eye ball that went right in the corner. We had one in the second half that just went wide from a similar type of situation, so a foot here, a foot there is the difference.

On regrouping before Wednesday’s match against D.C. United:

Schmid: “We plan to win every game we play. We are going to go out on Wednesday night and play to win that game. Obviously, guys have to catch their legs again and we have to go forward and we have to put this one behind us.”

Seattle Sounders FC Goalkeeper Stefan Frei

On his thoughts on New England’s PK:

Frei: “I mean, it’s a really close distance. I think Erik [Friberg] tries to actually move his hands in. The opposite of what you would say would happen on a PK, when you know you move your hands out and out of the way and then you influence the play. At this point, the ball is going to hit him straight in the chest and puts him in here. But, it’s excuses. He called it and we have to live with it. So, six I think out of 12 games we’ve given up a PK and I’m a firm believer that you make your own luck and unfortunately, right now, opposing teams are finding luck on their offense and we’re not really finding any luck. Maybe we have to push a little higher up and kind of force a little luck offensively for ourselves and that way we get those breaks to go our way. We didn’t today and we didn’t get any points.”

On Tony Alfaro coming in early for an injured Brad Evans:

Frei: “I think he did well. Not an easy task to deal with seasoned veterans like Kei [Kamara] and other tricky players. I thought we did well defensively. It sucks to give up two goals again on PK. Obviously, it’s not much we can do. The other one, maybe we’re just as a unit a bit too deep to allow that guy [Femi Hollinger-Janzen] from his back, get up and take a touch and then bang it in. I think there needs to be someone there. Maybe it’s the midfield that needs to be a little bit higher. We just need to be a bit sharper there to make sure we can close it down and not let them get a easy shot off. But, I’m happy for him, for his debut and hopefully more to come.”

On whether there was a sense of defeat after Lee Nguyen’s PK goal:

Frei: “In the end it doesn’t matter. We’ve had so many games where bounces are not going our way. We’re not getting the luck that we need and again, we still lose games. You can’t sit there the whole season and be, oh, we’re unlucky because in the end you’re not going to make the playoffs because of it. Like I said, I think maybe we need to be a bit more imposing on our opponent and just create our luck up top for ourselves. So, who knows? We get a PK or a deflection goes in or whatever. Right now, we’re putting ourselves in positions where the opponent is getting lucky and scoring on us. Three easy goals. Like I said, six out of 12 games, you’re essentially starting the game down one [or] zero [goals] because we’re giving up PK’s with at times not our fault. I think some questionable calls at times, but it still hurts us.”

On Brad Evans contributions as a leader and the impact of losing him in the middle of a game…

Frei: “He’s our captain and we all look up to him and he leads, you know. So, it’s tough to see him go out. Hopefully, it’s not too serious and he’ll bounce back quickly. But, like I said, I think Tony [Alfaro] was ready, which is good. Like I said, it wasn’t an easy task for him. We have some depth and hopefully Chad [Marshall] will come back soon as well. I’m not too worried with our defensive four. We have some depth that we can rely upon. So, we’ll have to keep on chucking away and somehow find wins. ”

On the quick turnaround with a match against DC United on Wednesday:

Frei: “Quick turnaround, but there is a break looming after that so give it all you got. I mean, we have to start digging ourselves out of this hole. [It] is starting to be a bit too deep for my liking, so we really have to start climbing the table again. You don’t want to keep on saying that the season is long and you can bounce back because unless you’re going to eventually bounce back, then you’re not going to climb out of it. I think we’ll just make sure that we’re physically okay for Wednesday. Short trip at least, and then leave it all on the pitch because we know we have a break.”

Seattle Sounders FC Defender Tony Alfaro

On if it is sometimes better to not know you’re coming into a game instead of thinking about it:

Alfaro: “Yes, definitely. I think, not knowing [when it’s] just unexpected and just having to go and play I think is better cause that way you don’t think about it really. You have no time to think, you just go in and you got to do your thing, you know.”

On if getting a couple touches early helped him moving forward:

Alfaro: “Yes, I think it’s important when you go in [at the] start of the match to make sure your first touch is clean, it’s precise, that way you get more comfortable during the match.”

On playing against Kei Kamara:

Alfaro: “It’s an honor, getting to play against one of the best guys in the league. It’s definitely a test for me. Like I said, he’s one of the best and as a young guy you know you look up to this. You remember these moments forever and you just got to live the moment.”

On who started the jersey swap between himself and Kei Kamara:

Alfaro: “To be honest, he came up to me. Kei, [Kamara] I’ve known him for a while now. Obviously, he played at Dominguez [Cal State University-Dominguez Hills]. Yesterday, he and I were getting some ice cream so he kind of mentioned it to me yesterday, ‘You know if anything happens, we’re exchanging jerseys.’ So I’m glad it was that way.”

On if Kei Kamara had a message for him when exchanging jerseys:

Alfaro: “He just said ‘Congratulations. ‘You played well, keep it up, keep working hard.’ From a guy like him, I learn a lot from him. I see where he’s been and how far he’s covered, so, it’s good.”

On what he has done the last couple weeks of training to be ready:

Alfaro: “Mentally, being under 18, I think you always have to have a positive mindset and yes it does start at training so just having good days at training and it goes on to the games so just being positive and just always mentally focused is the biggest thing.”

New England Revolution Head Coach Jay Heaps

On Femi Hollinger-Janzen’s game-winning goal:

Coach Heaps: “Just so excited that he was able to get in there and do what we see every day. He brings so much energy. He’s a goal scorer when he gets the opportunity. We felt like Teal [Bunbury] came in and added a great spark and then as the half went on we wanted one more one more level of spark and I really thought Femi [Hollinger-Janzen] brought it.”

On Andrew Farrell’s play at right back tonight:

Coach Heaps: “I thought he was excellent, I thought he did a really good job. I think we’ve obviously had some issues at times with injuries, with trying to find the right backline. The idea was that we knew Farrell, he’s such a good right back and we thought well, do we want to get him in his most comfortable spot. And London [Woodberry] played a lot of center back in college as well and he’s athletic and he and Jose [Goncalves], I thought London and Jose had a great partnership and it was really well controlled by Chris [Tierney] on the left and Farrell on the right. So, we were happy that we were able to work on that all week. It was an idea that we had been talking about for a little while and finally it came the right time to do it.”

On Femi’s goal and his composure:

Coach Heaps: “Excellent. I think in his mind he’s thinking, ‘I can score at any moment,’ because he’s a goal scorer. I think guys are keying on our other guys and he’s able to come in and think to score. I think that’s what you really want from a guy, especially a young player out of Indiana and I think that was a striker’s mentality. I’m outside the eighteen, I’m close enough, he was probably on the ground, saw the line and he just let it fly and the goalie [was] screened and great goal.”

On the talking points at halftime:

Coach Heaps: “I think the talking point was, we were a little bit unfortunate to be down a goal but – excuse me, had given up a goal – but we were excited that we were able to fight back before and I think we just stuck to our game plan. I think our game plan was really sound tonight. We were going to press them at the right times, get some turnovers at the right spots, and then just continue to be relentless and I thought we were today.”

On Lee Nguyen’s play after not being named to the Copa America roster:

Coach Heaps: “Look it’s always disappointing. We had a long conversation with him about not being selected and how he can use this for the positive and I think he’s a real player with motivation and when he plays well, we play well. So, I’m excited that he did not take it the wrong the way. He took the news and he said, alright, I’m going to go for it. He’s also been wearing the captain’s arm band and I think that’s just for what he does on the field for our guys. He not a big, loud, go get ‘em, rah rah guy but, he’s having the individual conversations, he’s having real dialogue with players on an individual level and I really like seeing that and his growth overall.”

On getting two out of three wins on the home stand:

Coach Heaps: “Well, it’s important that we continue to be difficult to play at home and I think last week it was pretty tough, it was a pretty tough result for us. Really, the first game was in the bank and the second one didn’t sit well with us, so we wanted to make sure we came out here before the break to give everything we had and not give anything away and push this team as far as we could push them.”

On Kei Kamara’s performance:

Coach Heaps: “He’s giving everything we want. He’s working hard and he did a lot of pressuring tonight and he was key to our game plan in terms of that. I think he’s been unlucky. He’s been close. He’s been a little bit more creative than we expected. He’s been laying balls off and getting guys in places, but look, I think teams know and they’re marking him and since we’ve had him we’ve had two goals every game. It shows, because maybe he’s not the benefactor, but at the same time, we’re creating a lot of opportunities around and whether it’s hand balls or balls across the six or guys are getting on the end of things, I think we’re continuing to press and push. I think Kei [Kamara] is going to settle in. I think a couple of times, he’s had a couple different [players providing] service. First game, [Chris] Tierney wasn’t there, we had to move things around and now Tierney’s back in, and [Andrew] Farrell played out there. I think once we get everyone on the same page and we continue to put the service in for him, he’s going to read the game and his runs will be a little more accurate and the service will be a little better.”

On if Andrew Farrell could play more at right back:

Coach Heaps: “I think it’s something you’re going to see more of. I think it’s something that we’ve talked about for a while; I think it’s been about a couple weeks. Farrell is such a great player for us and I think what happens is sometimes the center back, he’s matched up man and he can’t read the game in terms of playing as freely as he’d like. Tonight, you saw, it was a little different energy from him. He was freer, able to step in and win balls, able to play balls without having immediate pressure on him, getting in good angles. It’s something we’ve talked about and tonight I thought he bought into it and had a great game.”

On Scott Caldwell not making the 2016 AT&T MLS All-Star ballot:

Coach Heaps: “Did he make it or didn’t he make it? I don’t know, I don’t follow that stuff, but I know that he should’ve. I’m going to answer that based on the fact that the guy is awesome. He puts it out there every game and every training session and every film session, and anything we ask of him, he lays it all out there. I don’t think I could speak higher of another player. He really is top class all the way around, person, player, you name it.”

On if there should be video reviews or coaches’ challenges in soccer?

Coach Heaps: “Yeah, can we go back a couple of weeks and keep going and keep going? Do I get as many as I want from the beginning of the year? Absolutely.”

New England Revolution Forward Femi Hollinger-Janzen

On his reaction to getting the game-winning goal:

Hollinger-Janzen: “I was really happy when it went into the back of the net. Initially, I didn’t see it go in and then I saw guys cheering and knew it was in then. Very happy to get the game winner there and just got to keep going.”

On why he chose to shoot instead of look around when he slipped after first getting the ball:

Hollinger-Janzen: “Yeah, I saw the space in front of me and the goal is in front of me, so I just hit it.”

On whether or not he initially panicked when he slipped:

Hollinger-Janzen: “Not really, no. I just saw the space and just hit it.”

On how this goal compared to his first goal for the Revs:

Hollinger-Janzen: “It feels just as good. Yeah, definitely.”

On his mindset coming into the game when it’s tied:

Hollinger-Janzen: “Before every game, I just tell myself, you know, I got to go in there when I get the opportunity and work as hard as I can and try to get something for the team.”

On how he feels heading onto the field when coming from the bench:

Hollinger-Janzen: “I’m really excited when I get to go in. Not really too nervous going in anymore, just excited to get out there and start playing.”

On whether or not he has learned anything as a rookie from his teammates:

Hollinger-Janzen: “Yeah, Teal [Bunbury] and Charlie [Davies] – I’ve mentioned them before – have done a great job taking me under their wing and teaching me things. They’ve also taught me to be composed and calm in situations like that and other aspects of the game when times are tough, just be relaxed and keep playing.”

On whether or not he imagined he would have such a big impact on the team so soon:

Hollinger-Janzen: “No, definitely not.”

On how the fans give him a boost:

Hollinger-Janzen: “Definitely. You know, the fans are awesome. Every time I go in, they’re just cheering and that definitely gives me a boost going in.”

On whether or not he could hear the “Femi, Femi, Femi” chant:

Hollinger-Janzen: “Oh, yeah. It’s pretty awesome.”

On his performance with the team affecting how teams are scouting the Revs:

Hollinger-Janzen: “No, I just keep going in every game just, you know, go with the mindset I got to play hard.”

On whether or not he was surprised he had time to set himself up for the game-winning goal:

Hollinger-Janzen: “Yeah, I did think the defender was going to be closing in a little faster, but he didn’t so I had that space to hit it.”

New England Revolution Defender Andrew Farrell

On returning to his original position at right back:

Farrell: “I felt good. You know, obviously when you get three points it feels good to be out there. I think the guys played well. Obviously, [we] went down early, fought back and you know, got the good result, which is something good to have before the break.”

On whether he feels more comfortable at right back:

Farrell: “Yeah, I mean, whatever coach needs. I’ll play wherever he tells me. It felt fun to play out there, at first with Juan [Agudelo] and with Teal [Bunbury] out there, and Scotty [Caldwell] kind of coming in the middle and London [Woodberry] back there. It felt great. Obviously, through the week I had to work on it. A little more fitness than playing center back, but it was fun, and again, glad that we got the result.”

On how important it was to get this result before the Copa America break:

Farrell: “We needed it. Obviously, things in the East are kind of jumbled and three points goes a long way and so we knew that coming with a team like Seattle—obviously without Clint [Dempsey] — but still a really, really good team. We knew we had to come out with energy and the crowd was great again and we kind of fed off that after we went down. Then, you know, when Femi [Hollinger-Janzen] came in, the guys we subbed in, they made a big difference and obviously Femi got the goal, and we held off at the end and that’s a big important piece there: going up 2-1 and then holding off for a good 10-15 minutes.”

On the energy Femi Hollinger-Janzen brings to the team:

Farrell: “He’s a hungry kid. Obviously, he likes to play, enjoys to play. He’s getting his minutes when he comes in, he makes an impact which is what you want to do when you have 15 minutes to perform. So, I think he’s doing great. He keeps on working, keeps on being hungry for success and he’s helped us along the way and a great three points.”

On the talking point at half time:

Farrell: “Obviously [the score is] 1-1. Thought we had a couple chances that we kind of messed up on, but we were right in it. Obviously, we didn’t have as much possession as we wanted to, but I think in the second half, I thought we found guys like Scotty [Caldwell] and Kelyn [Rowe] did really well. And then finding Lee [Nguyen] in little pockets in behind and Diego [Fagundez] coming inside, getting Kei [Kamara] and Lee combining and stuff and you know, just—we were in it, you know? It was 1-1, 0-1, and not to come off the field without three points.”