SEATTLE, Wash. - Kenny Cooper scored his first club goal for Seattle, but Sounders FC (2-2-0, 6 points) was undone by a second-half stoppage time game-winner, falling to the Columbus Crew (3-0-0, 9 points), 2-1, on Saturday night on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field.
Cooper put Seattle ahead in the 22nd minute when he got behind the Columbus defense on a pass from Obafemi Martins. Cooper beat his defender and slotted a right-footed shot past Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark from the left side of the box.
Columbus equalized on a penalty from Federico Higuain in the 59th minute following a foul in the box. Defender Djimi Traore was issued a red card for the foul and Seattle played the final 30 minutes down a man.
The Crew scored the game-winner in the fourth minute of stoppage time following a quickly taken corner kick by Higuain. Second-half substitute Justin Meram fired a right-footed shot from the left side of the box to the top corner of the goal as Columbus won its third-straight game to start the season.
Moments before Cooper's goal in the first half, Lamar Neagle had three consecutive chances for Sounders FC, beginning in the 19th minute. Gonzalo Pineda chipped a cross to Neagle in front of goal, who snapped a header that was saved by a diving Clark.
One minute later, Neagle got behind the Crew's backline on a through ball from Pineda, but Neagle's left-footed shot from outside of the box was tipped over the crossbar by Clark. In the 21st minute, Dylan Remick found Neagle with a cross but his header was saved by Clark.
Columbus nearly scored minutes before halftime when Higuain's chip attempt bounced off the crossbar and Bernardo Anor's headed rebound attempt rolled wide of the post.
Seattle's best chance of the second half came in the 57th minute when Martins chased down a loose ball near the end line. Martins cross bounced in the box but Osvaldo Alonso's headed attempt was saved by Clark.
Chad Marshall, who played the previous 10 seasons with Columbus, nearly scored in the 69th minute but his header from a Pineda free kick bounced wide of the post.
Sounders FC collected over $17,400 in donations for those affected by disasters like the Oso mudslide. With the Hanauer Family Foundation and Paul G. Allen Foundation matching $15,000, Sounders FC raised over $32,400 for the American Red Cross.
Sounders FC kicks off a three-game road trip next week, beginning with the first Cascadia Cup match of the season against the Portland Timbers. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. PT from Providence Park.
SEA - Kenny Cooper (Obafemi Martins) 22
CLB - Federico Higuain (penalty) 59'
CLB - Justin Meram (Federico Higuain) 94+
Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei, DeAndre Yedlin, Chad Marshall, Djimi Traore, Dylan Remick, Micheal Azira, Osvaldo Alonso, Gonzalo Pineda, Kenny Cooper (Jalil Anibaba, 60), Obafemi Martins (Leo Gonzalez, 86), Lamar Neagle (Sean Okoli, 76).
Substitutes Not Used: Marcus Hahnemann, Marco Pappa, Cam Weaver, Chad Barrett.
TOTAL SHOTS: 12 (Neagle, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Neagle, 3); FOULS: 13 (5 players, 2); OFFSIDE: 3 (Neagle, 2); CORNER KICKS: 5 (Pineda, 5); SAVES: 5 (Frei, 4).
Columbus Crew - Steve Clark, Josh Williams, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Michael Parkhurst, Waylon Francis, Tony Tchani, Wil Trapp (Justin Meram, 89), Bernardo Anor, Hector Jimenez (Ethan Finlay, 73), Dominic Oduro (Jairo Arrieta, 62), Federico Hiaguain
Substitutes Not Used: Matt Lampson, Chad Barson, Agustin Viana, Tyson Wahl.
TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (2 players, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Higuain, 2); FOULS: 17 (4 players, 2); OFFSIDE: 0; CORNER KICKS: 8 (Higuain, 8); SAVES: 5 (Clark, 5).
CLB - Hector Jimenez (caution) 8'
SEA - Djimi Traore (ejection) 58'
CLB - Wil Trapp (caution) 68'
Referee: Allen Chapman
Referee's Assistants: Jeff Muschik, Jeremy Hanson
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal
Time of Game: 1:51
Weather: Cloudy and 49-degrees
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.
* Sounders FC is now 4-2-3 in nine all-time MLS regular season meetings against the Crew.
* Kenny Cooper scored his first goal for Sounders FC, and has a goal and an assist in his last two games. He last scored on October 5, 2013, in Dallas' 1-1 draw at Real Salt Lake. Cooper ranks 18th in MLS history with 73 career goals.
* Obafemi Martins recorded his team-high second assist of the season. He has recorded a point in three-straight games for the second time in his MLS career, totaling one goal and two assists.
* With his substitute appearance, defender Leo Gonzalez became the fifth player in club history to make 100 MLS regular season appearances for Sounders FC.
* Midfielder Micheal Azira made his first MLS start. He made his MLS debut last Sunday at Montreal, playing the final 24 minutes as a second-half substitute.
* Defender Jalil Anibaba made his club debut, entering the match in the 60th minute. A total of 10 players have made their club debut for Sounders FC this season.
* Sounders FC honored NASL Sounders defender Mike England as part of the club's 40th anniversary celebration.
* Both teams wore black armbands in honor of former D.C. United midfielder, Shawn Kuykendall.
* Seattle's next three games will be on the road, with the next home match on April 26. Seattle's next four opponents are teams from the Western Conference.
Sigi Schmid - Sounders FC Head Coach
(On thought on games...) "Disappointed in the final result, I think our group deserves better than that tonight. I thought we had some really good chances in the first half we could have maybe gotten another goal in the first half that would have made the game a little easier. Certainly the penalty kick and the red card becomes a crucial play and you know then at that point they are a pretty good possession team then it's a little bit hard to chase it. Even then we got forward a couple times and then at the end of the game we didn't' react well. We had an issue with the referee, but we didn't react well."
(On if he thought final play had been stopped...) "Usually the referee positions himself outside the 18 when a corner kick is taken, I rarely see a referee's position almost inside the 6 yard box, so it looked like he was talking to our players and if you're talking to our players, why do you let the ball get played? Then he's back pedaling and if the ball had been swung in and he was in no position to make the call in the melee so. He had done that earlier in the game as well where he talked to one of our players and he let the quick free kick; you can't do that. If you're going to talk to one of our players then you got to stop the play. But that doesn't make an excuse for us for falling asleep and still more players need to pay attention there so we don't get caught."
(On Djimi Traore's red card...) "I didn't see it. I talked to some people who said he kicked him from behind. It's double jeopardy. Is it a penalty and red card or is it a penalty and a yellow? I saw a goalkeeper today in the game sit on a player outside a box and it was only a yellow card, where the goalkeeper was the last man, I think, so why is that a yellow and why is that a red? I don't know."
(On Sounders FC first-half play...) "We did what we thought we'd be able to do. We knew that they like to spread the field and they spread their players on the field and that when you can intercept passes you can get at them pretty quickly and the flank areas are open because their outside backs are up so high and obviously we got the goal off that kind of play. [Kenny] Cooper had another good look. Lamar [Neagle] had a really good look, as well. So those chances we needed to make sure that we bury those. In the first half it went the way we expected it to go. We had good opportunities and we expected the second half to continue to go that way."
(On playing with 10 men...) "I thought we handled it OK for the most part, tried to get some fresh legs on with Sean Okoli and Leo Gonzalez, and had to make the switch with [Jalil] Anibaba so we could get back to our four in the back. So I thought we handled it OK. We were getting forward at times. Obafemi [Martins] had done a lot of work. [Lamar] Neagle had done a lot of work so we tried to get them out so we could get some fresh legs, but obviously the last 10 seconds were not good."
(On Brad Evans...) "Brad wasn't ready to play tonight. His calf is still bothering him at this point."
(On Micheal Azira's play...) "I thought Azira was fine. I thought Azira played well. Again I thought the three midfielders, Osvaldo [Alonso], Azira, and [Gonzalo] Pineda were good."
(On Gonzalo Pineda's play...) "He's good with the ball, he's got good vision, he finds people, hit a couple of good free kicks and corners today. We were unlucky on [Chad] Marshall's header in the second half late off the one free kick, and found him in the one corner in the first half on the back post as well. Hopefully that will get better as we move forward."
Kenny Cooper - Sounders FC Forward
(On how hard it was to lose like that at the end...) "It was a tough one. Like you said, the guys put a ton of work in. Having the lead was good and unfortunately got a red card and weren't able to hold on at the end. The guys fought hard and you've got to give Columbus credit for fighting back the way they did."
(On Columbus taking the game to them...) "Yeah, they seemed intent on trying to play good soccer and keeping the ball. They've got good players obviously - Higuain, I think, is one of the best in our league. To give them credit, they fought till the end. They had a man up, but they battled till the end. I thought we battled to the end too, and you know, unfortunately, we walk away with no points."
(On scoring his first goal for the Sounders...) "It always feels good to score, whether it's yourself or your teammate. It's one of the best feelings in the game. In front of these fans, obviously, it's that much more special. It was a great team build-up. Oba [Martins] put me in so well and I'm just glad it ended up in the back of the net."
Lamar Neagle - Sounders FC Forward
(On a frustrating loss...) "Yeah, it's frustrating obviously. to get scored on in both the circumstances; the penalty kick, and then towards the end not being turned on and they get a quick corner kick right at the end. It's very frustrating I think, especially after the first that we had. I feel like it was one of the better halves that we have put together as a team. I definitely had a couple of chances that if I bury then it's a different story. I rather win ugly than look good and end up losing at the end."
(On if he thought the second corner kick was being sorted out by the referee...) "I mean in a circumstance like that. There was a scuffle kind of towards the end of the line and then all of a sudden the ball is in play. We can't do anything about it now."
(On how much does he look back at the first half and think about the miss chances...) "It's definitely going to be on my mind all night and all tomorrow. It's one of those things that, like I said if I put some of those chances away, I had plenty, then it's a completely different story. The game is deflated, they're out of it, they're away from home and we're up two, three goals. Yeah it's frustrating thinking about it."
(On how did he think the team handled playing with 10 men...) "I thought it was alright. I think we kind of pulled together. I should've dropped in towards the center probably a little bit earlier than I did, then coach brought me back in and told Oba (Obafemi Martins) that he should stay high and I should come in the middle. So I thought that kind of handled it a little bit better. They didn't have as much of the play closer to our goal. We're still trying to get a win out of it, trying to salvage anything that we can."
Chad Marshall - Sounders FC Defender
(On how did the handle playing with 10 men so well and what was the break down in the end...) "They had a close chance there before the corner. We just didn't react well enough, they had been playing it pretty quickly all night and unfortunately we feel asleep there on the last kick of the game and it kills us. So it's frustrating."
(On how do you go about getting over a loss like this...) "We'll look for the positives. I thought before the penalty kick we were fine, we were doing alright. So we'll look at the positives, learn from the mistakes, obviously we have a big game coming up this weekend so we have to learn from it and just move on."
(On if it feels like missed opportunities early came back to hurt them in the end...) "It's always nice to get early goals, but we have to be better at seeing out the point."
Gregg Berhalter - Columbus Crew Head Coach
(On the match ...) "I thought it was a good match. I probably would've paid for a ticket for that game. The first half was just up and down, up and down. Guys invested a lot in the game. I was pleased. Obviously to get the winner that late is a tremendous result for us and a great effort."
(On getting the result in such a tough place to play ...) "It's great. You see that we wanted to try and play and to play our game. We knew that it was going to be tough. We kept going and didn't give up. At times, it was a little sloppy and we got punished for turnovers. But in the end, we just kept going, and that was good."
(On goalie Steve Clark's performance ...) "He made some good saves certainly. We know that he can do that. We know that he has that ability. He's a fighter and a guy that relishes his chances. He came up big."
(On the team's passing ...) "That's what we want to do and that's how we want to play. The wet turf was good for that. You could zip the ball around, and the guys did that. It's tough to always control, but at times you see that the ball moves quickly and it's nice movement."
(On if he saw the team starting out this hot this season...) "I don't think you could've seen it. We knew we wanted to develop. We knew we wanted to grow as a team and improve. We made strides in every game that we played so I'm pleased with that. Our job is to keep improving."
(On what strides they have made ...) "It's how the guys have accepted the way that we want to play. That's been key because if it doesn't work with the group that you have, it's going to be very difficult. But they've taken it on, they've embraced it and they've put their little touches on it, and that's been nice."
(On his view of the penalty ...) "I think it's tough. If I commented on it, it opens it up for me commenting on every decision the referee makes. It's his job to referee the game, it's not my job."
(On their next game coming up against Toronto ...) "Toronto is a very good team. They've proven that they can win here (in Seattle) as well so it's going to be a tough game. We know that."
(On if Justin Meram is a guy he saw scoring a game-winning goal for them ...) "This is my coaching tips before he was going in -- I told him to score a goal (laughs). So I kept it real basic for him and he did that."
Steve Clark - Crew Goalkeeper
(Clark on the match and his performance tonight...) "It was a tough first half. It's nice to make saves. For me, that's all I really care about, keeping the guys in the game. Obviously to win like that, it's a fantastic win for us as a young team, and it was a great atmosphere."
(On what his defenders did differently to help in the second half...) "I thought we needed to keep a little more balance. They had a good game plan, so they were gonna basically leave some guys up there to counter us and it worked a little bit there. So we had to keep better balance and I thought we did that in the second half."
(On whether that adjustment was something they discussed at halftime...) "Yeah, I was trying to get it in the first half, but it was a little bit loud out there, thank the fans for that. But I thought their game plan was... they were confident in it, leaving three guys up top. It was kind of like a heavyweight fight, trade punches and they had won the first half."
Federico Higuain - Crew Forward (translated)
(On his thoughts on the game...) "We were superior tonight and we were able to win because of that.
(On the PK...) "We were fortunate to get the penalty kick and we converted it. Because of that we were able to win the game."
(On the team's passing...) "We were able to create our own luck because of comprehensive passing. We were a complete team tonight, in the sense of being able to put passes together and because of that, we were able to win."
Justin Meram - Crew Midfielder
(On if he felt pressured on the last shot, knowing it was the last chance for the team to win...) "You know, I practice that shot a lot, honestly, probably too much. It paid off tonight, so I'm just so excited for this club and the direction we're going. This win - that goal - was not just for myself, but for this team and to be 3-0 is incredible. It's the best way to start."
(On whether he would have predicted starting the season 3-0...) "It's always tough with all new faces, new coaches. But they've got us in the right system, they believe in us, we believe in each other - the guys back home, the guys here. I'm just so happy that I could make a difference."
(On whether he knew his shot was going in when it left his foot...) "When I hit it, my first touch kind of took me away from my body and I just thought that was the right type of shot, not with power but with placement. Like I said, for me, if I didn't score and we won, that's all we want, coming here. I'm glad I could make a difference and I'm glad we got three points and now we got Toronto next week."
(On how it feels to secure the best start in franchise history...) "It feels great. It's what we want. Now this game's over and now we look on to Toronto next week at home and all the amazing support we have back in Columbus."