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March 25, 2010 at 11:03 PM

Seattle 2, Philadelphia 0 — postgame Sounders FC quotes

Head Coach Sigi Schmid
(Opening statement…) “Happy with the three points. The first goal was excellent. We played good. With the second goal, we were fortunate. Montero did well. He played good for the first 60 to 65 minutes to stay high and occupy two central defenders. They took a physical tact early in the game, which is to be expected. Overall, the good news for us is we can play much better soccer than we did tonight. That wasn’t our best soccer for sure, but sometimes you need to win when you’re not playing your best soccer. Good to get our nerves as well as their nerves out. In the first game, you come out with nothing to lose. Next time we play them it will be easier to understand what they’re doing. I thought Jhon Kennedy Hurtado played well in the back and Fredy Montero was good and active for us. I know we can play better.”
(On Philadelphia…) “They utilized short passing and things like that. I didn’t expect them to come out in 4-4-2. Roger Torres did well coming off the line and finding the ball at midfield. Their short combos were good, but at the end of the day, nothing got behind us or penetrated us. They did a good job trying to hold onto ball and kept it close.”

(On Freddie Ljungberg injury…) “He took a knee in the back from Toni Stahl. He’s pretty sore back there. He wanted to try to see if he could go in second half, but after a few minutes, he let me know he needed to come out… It was a difficult game for him. It happened twenty minutes in, he took a shot in the back. I can’t talk too much about Freddie’s game. He tried to tough it out and work through it. I know his game. It’ll be there.”
(On Steve Zakuani…) “He got into end line and found a person in that cross. Last year he got into the end line and didn’t find anybody. This is something that will improve as the game slows down for him. Pleased with the first goal. Montero did a good job of holding the ball, and a good job of getting the ball on his left foot, then Evans from midfield. That was one like you draw it up at practice. Zakuani is getting better and working on parts of his game. Good to take a tackle and realize that his arm and shoulder are still working.”
(On goals…) “Our scoring drought is over. It’s always good to score goals. The stadium erupted when we scored. It was tremendous. I was the last one to celebrate on the second goal because I was waiting for the offsides flag. I didn’t see the far defender.”
(On physical play…) “We know teams play us physically. The card on Danny Califf was an off the ball challenge. It’s not what you expect at times, but it didn’t take us off guard. The pressure on us too. People are asking what’s Seattle going to be like? Can they replicate what they did last year? Maybe that was in our minds as we went out there. Overall, I’m pleased we can get three points and I’m pleased to get the season off and rolling.”
(On game atmosphere…) “It was emotional. I was pumped up before the game and I think the guys were pumped up going out there. It hasn’t lost its luster. The rain didn’t dampen anything, it just made us a little wet. It’s almost a dream every time we step on the field.”
(On overall impressions of team…) “We were able to deal with the physical nature of game and still get a couple goals and not give anything away at the back. With a team that plays high line, we should attack a little quicker. Guys like James Riley helps get the ball out of the back. Overall, we’re going to be okay.”
(On Steve Zakuani’s offensive improvement…) “He is a player with tremendous potential. Now he’s taking guys inside and outside. Coming inside is something he tried too much last year. He had a lot of work to do last year as an outside midfielder to be connected defensively. He understands that better and now his focus is on other side of it.”
(On Fredy Montero’s goal…) “It was absolutely brilliant. We talked about him moving his game up the field, being closer. Good header he scored on. He had other good looks where he could have pulled the trigger quicker, but he did everything I asked of him tonight. To see him sacrifice himself was tremendous.”
(On Zach Scott…) “With Zach, what you see Is what you get. He gives you an honest effort and the best that he has. He has gotten a lot more confident with the ball. Nobody is going to burn us on our end of the field. He got forward and hit a couple good crosses for us.”
Forward Fredy Montero
(Opening statement…) “We knew they were going to pressure. We had a lot of responsibility. Luckily we scored two goals and got off on the right foot this season.”
(On goal…) “One of the toughest goals to score in my professional career. I had only opportunity to stick it in that small space. Luckily it went in.”
(On new season…) “Certainly it was a great moment to be back here one year later. The crowd expected a winning team last year and now the expectations are even higher. Luckily, we started well. There’s always room to improve, but a good start.”
(On Philadelphia defense…) “The most difficult was to find spaces. Spaces were reduced because the other team was pressuring. Luckily we found some spaces and made it a good game.”
(On goal celebration…) “All goals scored are to be celebrated. Hopefully I will score with my head or my left leg or whatever it is.”
Midfielder Brad Evans
(Opening statement…) “Hopefully starting something this year like we did last year. Important to start with three points and put the pressure on early. Not as smooth or connected as last year, but almost harder to play teams with a man down. We can play better, but it’s good to have three points.”
(On goal…) “Zak had the ball and when he has it, there’s always a chance to have a cross. It got by two defenders and I caught it well with my foot and put it to the far post.”
(On physical play…) “We saw it last year. Everybody tried to hack Freddie, that was the name of the game and it resulted in a lot of wear and tear. It’s not indicative of how every team is going to play us. If they play physical, we use to our advantage and use set pieces. We expect it. Any time you play against skilled forwards, the only option is to foul. Otherwise you give them space and it is very difficult to defend.”
(On different mentality from last year…) “Last year, if we’re home and win 2-0, not much talk about let’s play better. We were happy with three points, but now we’re focused on playing better soccer. It’s not just about three points anymore. We need three points, but we need to play better to play with the best teams. We want to play better soccer and get better.”
(On places to improve…) “We held them to zero, so credit goes to the defense. We need to be more connection and find Freddie’s feet more. Fine tuning is going to make us better. From last year’s game, we used more up and back and through to Zak, so little things I remember last year we can do more of. We will look at the tape. They made it difficult with bringing Torres in with his left foot made it a little tricky for us. Figure it out and get better this week.
(On playing against former teammates…) “No dialogue. Focus on the three points. For me, that was it.”
Midfielder Steve Zakuani
(Opening statement…) “Good win. Great way to start a season. First fifteen or twenty minutes we kept the ball really well and weren’t chasing. We did defend well. They weren’t really penetrating us, so we felt comfortable. Then we score and they get the red card and that adds pressure and from there we did a good job controlling the game.”
(On shoulder…) “I did wear a brace for a long time in Spain, but since I’ve gotten back we’ve played two physical teams and felt okay.”
(On team chemistry…) “We know each other now. We’re friends and not strangers. Now we’ve played over 30 games together, so it’s a natural progression. We knew where each other would be. We made runs and knew where each other was going to be. It’ll only get better.”
Midfielder Roger Levesque
(Opening statement…) “Not our best performance that we’re going to have this year. It was pretty nasty conditions, but it’s about winning. We came and did our job and scored two and won a game. I thought they had a lot of the ball without putting on a lot of pressure, which was fine with me. It would have been nice to get that third goal and get everybody a free haircut, but oh well.”
(On Philadelphia…) “Really thought they were going to play a different way. We worked all week on them playing a 4-5-1 and they ended up playing a 4-4-2 and even a 4-3-3, so it took us a while to figure that out, but we scored early. The sending off was a shame. I know they were excited and wanted to have a good showing, but it’s a shame when guys get sent off.”


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