Kasey Keller

Off-Camera Observations: Kasey Keller on SEAvSJ

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Off-Camera Observations:  Kasey Keller on SEAvSJ -

Sounders FC returns to MLS play on Saturday when the team welcomes fellow Western Conference club San Jose Earthquakes to CenturyLink Field. Broadcaster and former goalkeeper Kasey Keller gives his thoughts on the match in the latest Off-Camera Observations.

On how the team moves on after a tough loss:

There have probably been meetings and people have said, “We need to get things back together.” You can understand the frustration. It was already an emotional game playing Portland plus it was an Open Cup match…but it’s done. You have to move forward and put that behind you. You have to see who’s available, who’s fit and who’s ready to go and get back to a way to get results.

We’ve talked about this for a while now. Early in the season when it was just Clint [Dempsey] and Obafemi [Martins] scoring goals, we knew there would come a time when other guys would have to step up. We have seen some of that. Marco Pappa is playing extremely well and Lamar Neagle has chipped in with some goals. It’s more crucial now.
We also talked about young players. They have come on and shown they are able to assimilate into the line up. Now they have to not only do that, but also produce within the lineup. They’ll be asked to do that now. If we want to stay in the race for the Supporters’ Shield, you need the whole squad to do that.

On the improvements since the last match against San Jose:

The last match against San Jose came early in Brad [Evans] transition from a midfielder to a centerback. He’s had huge growth in his progress since then. I don’t see any issue on the defensive front. I think the back line has looked great this season and it’s the reason why we’ve conceded the fewest goals in the league so far. That’s solid.
The defensive midfield has also helped to protect the back four and Stefan [Frei] is playing very well. The combination is key and has provided a great foundation.
With the possibility of Oba being out for a few weeks, it’s time for others to step up and score goals for the team. It will be interesting to see who can rise to the occasion and the opportunity.

On defensive successes at CenturyLink Field this season:

It’s been a concentration to step up higher on the field and to make things difficult for teams to get good goal-scoring opportunities. Opponents want to get a goal from 25-yards out…those goals happen, but they’re rare. If you put teams under pressure and don’t allow rebounds from six yards out or little combinations, crosses and tap-ins, then you will do well.
The team has reduced their errors in the final third. They clear balls that need to be cleared. Stefan has not had a lot of marquee saves, but he’s had clean handling. Those opportunities and that confidence another team has when a keeper looks shaky…that isn’t there this season when you’re playing against the Sounders. Teams second guess shooting from distance knowing it’ll be a clean catch by Stefan.
The team also knows how to make adjustments at the half and within the run of the game to improve the match in the second half and play better when they need to. That’s a sign of a good team, one that can figure things out on the fly and bend without breaking.



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