(Note: I will be filling in for Jose for the next week as he tries to pry himself from futbol and enjoy his week in Puerto Rico. I’ll be filing dispatches from practices today and Friday, and then Sunday’s match with Colorado.)
Last weekend’s draw with New York marked the midway point of the 30-game MLS season, and so I went out to talk with players and coach Sigi Schmid about how they feel about the first half. Our first-half story should be posted soon, but here is what a few players had to say:
Defender Tyrone Marshall: “I definitely see we’ve made some big strides going forward. Hopefully, now, the games we’ve been tying, we can put those away, and the games that we should win we will win. If we do that, we’ll be on top of the league.”
Schmid: “We’ve been in every game we’ve played … For the majority of the time, we’ve either been the better team or been as good as the teams we’re playing against.”
Goalkeeper Kasey Keller: “I’m happy with where we’re at. I kind of hoped that maybe we had turned about three of these draws into wins, and that would have put us in a really, really good spot, but I’m quite comfortable with where we’re at, with the way we’re playing, and I think we’re due to hammer someone pretty quickly.
We feel very very comfortable with where we’re at now, and with a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work, there’s no reason we can’t win three games in a row.”
Keller, by the way, also talked about the U.S. victory against Spain:
“Having everything go our way to get into the semifinal, it would have been a shame for it to go to waste. It’s a tremendous, tremendous result. It’s only the second time we’ve beaten a No. 1 team in the world. We were due for one.
We were very, very due to have a game like that, and I’m extremely proud of the guys for coming through. Sometimes, you have a few bad results and teams take you lightly, and good teams then rise when they’re given a lifeline. And we got a huge lifeline in the last game, and took advantage of it.”