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July 14, 2010 at 4:10 PM

Sounders FC release conference-call transcript with coach Sigi Schmid and forward Blaise Nkufo

(On status for tomorrow’s game . . .)

Blaise Nkufo: “Well, it was my first training session today after 15 days off. I’m going to work on my own and, of course, I want to be a part of the team and playing tomorrow.”

(On extra pressure with team struggling . . .)

Nkufo: “Yes, for sure. I mean you have it all the time, of course. But this team in the league is in not so good of a position but it doesn’t matter. You can see the team is strong enough when you start to lose. But, again, today I saw players were really training well. They show character and I think we can hope from the next game to go back with the three points.”

(On impact of fans’ expectations . . .)

Nkufo: “Yes, the expectations I can understand. I was told last year that they want to see the team on the top [. . .] I think the team and the players have big expectations, too. We have to just find the way to be back in better position for the team and to deal with the expectation.”

Sigi Schmid: “Again, sort of repeating what Blaise said, one player is never the savior. It’s the team as a whole, how they perform and how the group plays and as you add different parts to that, the team obviously can improve. And, for us right now, there’s enough games, there’s enough points there and our expectations are to build upon what we did in the Dallas game, continue to play an aggressive style of soccer, going forward and trying to create chances. With the addition of Blaise, we get an experience forward who likes to get service from the flanks and knows how to position himself in the box. So I think at key moments that’s certainly going to help us and then we can live up to our expectations, which are just as high as the fans.”

(On how Blaise feels physically . . .)

Nkufo: “Of course. As I said, it was my first training session this morning and mentally – I think that’s the most important – I’m really happy to be back on the field and I’m ready to play the next months. There’s no reason for that.”

(On Blaise’s role within team . . .)

Nkufo: “Well, I think it’s always hard to explain what I can do for the team. Maybe the team can do something for me. But, I have experience and I’m going to watch and listen, too and I’m going to find, with the help of my teammates, my own way. That takes time.”

(On possible lineup for D.C. United game . . .)

Schmid: “Well, obviously we have to see how guys are going into tomorrow because Monday’s training was very light, Tuesday was a travel day, so today we trained. We have to see a little bit with Michael Seamon, how he is doing and how his ankle withstood training today. We need to replace [Miguel] MontaƱo. I haven’t made a final decision yet as to who’s going to start in that position, in that area. But the thing we know is we want to play in the same manner as we played last Sunday.”

(On Blaise’s experience in the 2010 FIFA World Cup . . .)

Nkufo: “It was a great experience playing in the World Cup. You can get the best team in the world. The team deserved to qualify and you grow up as a player [. . .] I think the experience will help me to handle this new situation, too. It was really a great experience and I hope I can share this experience with the young players, too.”

(On Blaise’s availability tomorrow against D.C. United . . .)

Schmid: “Obviously we need to get the ITC [International Transfer Clearance] and we’re hoping that comes in tomorrow, which would allow him to be on our roster. At this point, how many minutes he plays is something we are still talking about. I don’t see Blaise starting at this point because today was his first time with our team and we want to make sure we present a good opportunity to him and the team. But, certainly, we see how the game goes and we’ll see if the situation is right for him enter the game and for him to have an impact on the game. Every time you introduce a new player you want to be able him to introduce him in a manner in which he can be successful and that’s what’s most important right now.”

(On Blaise and the team finding immediate chemistry . . .)

Schmid: “It’s both. Blaise is going to get a look at his teammates, and he’s going to find a way to mesh with those teammates. So that means maybe him adjusting or doing some things that help them. But on the same token it’s also the team understanding that this is what he does well as an individual, and then his teammates to be able to provide him the service he needs to be successful. So it’s a two way street: the team adapts to him, but he also adapts to the team. The way you are a successful team is when everybody tries to help all their teammates do what they’re best at. And if they do that successfully then you get good results.”

(On FC Twente revealing his statue and what he will miss most about the club after winning the championship . . .)

Nkufo: “It was a great seven years. I really enjoyed the fans, my teammate [. . .] For me now the window is closed, and I need to transition quickly because I have a lot to do with my new team.”

(On Freddie Ljungberg not traveling with the team and transfer speculation . . .)

Schmid: “It is correct he didn’t travel because of the ankle. To the other thing, the speculation, those are speculations. Right now we have to prepare ourselves for this game and we can’t really be worried about that and focus on that.”

(On what Blaise’s experience brings to the team . . .)

Schmid: “Experience is obviously something that always helps. When you have youth on the team you get a lot of energy and a lot of endeavor, but you also get a little bit of inconsistency. And the thing that experience gives you is that you get a lot more consistency. So adding a little bit of consistency to all the youth and the effort will make us a better team. And finding that balance is what will make us as good as we can be. So right now with Blaise in the mix with hopefully [Brad] Evans returning in a week or two, with [Osvaldo] Alonso making his way back, even though Evans and Alonso are not really old players, they’re players that have gathered two or three years of experience, that will help us a lot.”

(On D.C. United’s early struggles and as an opponent Thursday . . .)

Schmid: “From our standpoint nothing much went wrong with them because they beat us. So I can’t really speak for D.C. I got to worry about our team. This is our sixth game in 18 days. It’s been a tough stretch for our team, playing that amount of games in a short period of time. We know we’ve got to dig and bring the physical effort. [Chris] Pontius had a very good game against us last time, coming off the left wing and scoring a couple of goals: a deflection, and one that Kasey [Keller] normally saves. He was very much involved in those goals. We have to keep an eye on him. With Simms being back at midfield for them that really helps solidify them in midfield, gives them that holding presence and somebody with experience. Jakovic is back now in the back, who is a Canadian national team player when he was younger that helps them in the back. They’ve played better soccer as the season has gone on. I think they made a lot of changes at the beginning of the year and that probably got them off to a slow start: coaching change and personnel changes.”

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