Sounders FC v Estudiantes de La Plata
February 27, 2009
Notes: Technical director Chris Henderson arrived at team hotel Friday afternoon, following the training game at Estudiantes…Players who did not appear in training game underwent fitness training on adjoining field…Sounders FC were guests of Estudiantes for postgame lunch at the team’s golf course clubhouse…TV cameras and reporters from both ESPN Argentina bureau and TYC, the most popular all-sports channel in Argentina, attended the game and interviewed both Fredy Montero and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado afterward.
Quotes from Sigi Schmid
(On the first game in Argentina) “Obviously it was a very good result for us, winning 3-1. I thought we made a mistake in the first half and allowed a goal, but overall it was good for us to get our legs under ourselves. It took us awhile to get used to the rhythm. It’s also the first time this year that we’ve played a team that’s played a 3-5-2 . So it was something we haven’t really trained on yet, but it’s something the guys had to adjust to. In the second half the guys adjusted to that and obviously the introduction of Fredy Montero into the game as well. But mainly changing some things tactically for us, having the forwards sit in the middle more, you got a better control of the game. We created a number of chances. We could’ve had more than three (goals) at the end of the day. So I was well-pleased.”
(On what he saw in the second half that he didn’t see in the first) “What happened in the second half was Nate Jaqua stayed more in the middle of the field. He wasn’t doing as much defensive chasing and work. Fredy, as well, stayed in the middle of the field. That’s something we talked about at halftime because in the first half Roger (Levesque) and Nate were all over the place defensively. And when we won the ball it was tough for us to play in to anybody and hold the ball and we didn’t have good shape offensively. So by them staying in the middle of the field, we had better shape offensively and when we won the ball we did a better job that way. We did a better job of making it more difficult for them, the No. 5 in midfield, to play balls forward. That helped us get the ball back quicker as well.”
(On his expectations going into the game) “My expectations are never anything going into these games because you’re not quite sure what kind of team they will throw at you. Estudiantes today was a collection of players who are in their first team pool but who aren’t getting games right now and some of the talented younger players that they’re looking at, like the No. 5 (Leonardo Morales) has played for the under-20 national team for Argentina, and like (former Uruguay star Enzo) Francescoli’s son also played, the No. 10. It was a good test for us and it was also a good fitness exercise for us.
Quotes from Nate Jaqua:
(On how the progression of the game) “We started a little slow obviously and we weren’t playing quite that well. I think the heat got to us a little bit. But we were able to kind of come back in the second half and put some good things together and score three goals and able to get the win.”
(On what was lacking in the first half) “A little bit more composure, a little bit smarter running and little bit smarter with the ball. We were able to keep the ball a bit more so we weren’t putting in bad situations and able to do more stuff in the final third and get some more shots up and obviously score those three goals.”
(On what difference Montero makes to him upon entering the game) “It helps quite a bit because defenders respect him quite a bit and he’s able to get by 1-2 guys and when you’re able to put people out of the game, the more things open up. His ability to beat people opens up a lot of stuff for us.”
(On the first goal) “The ball got played into Sanna, and Sanna was able to give me a touch and I was able to push it through and get by my defender and just try to keep it down and away from the goalie.”
Quotes from Fredy Montero (through a translator):
(On the game, generally) “The game was good, it was very useful for what we are looking for. It gives us confidence and we get to know each other with every game we play. It will serve to reach the start of the season in the right shape.”
(On the two goals he scored) “It was very beautiful, the first goal. I kicked it from far away, and the second one was a very good play by Alonso.”
(On his thoughts about Argentinean soccer) “Argentina, to me, is one of the best football countries in the world. It’s very demanding, Argentinean soccer. I don’t think they care which team is ahead. They’re coached to always keep trying to win.”