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August 29, 2010 at 12:07 AM

Sounders FC 2, Chicago Fire 1 — Sigi Schmid quotes

(Opening statement) “Obviously we’re pleased with the result. And we’re pleased with the fact that the history in this league is if you go down a goal you generally lose. So the ability to be able to come back after going down on the penalty kick call — which I haven’t seen on the replay yet so I don’t how it was per se — but obviously it was a call I thought at the time against the run of play. I thought we kept our composure in terms of defensively we kept our shape. They had some good speed but I thought we dealt with that well. I thought we kept their players in check pretty much all over the field which is good defensively. And offensively I thought we created some things coming forward. There are still a little bit better that we can do. We can always do better. Certainly our two goals were very good. Great cross by Tyson Wahl on the first goal and certainly a good ball from Sturgis and good run from Fredy Montero on the back post on the second goal so we are very happy.”

(On the emotions of a late winner) “It’s pretty exciting. When you do all the hard work and you win one like that, and you score late like you do, it’s just such an outstanding feeling. That’s something that sometimes becomes defining moments for teams in a season and hopefully this will help us in terms of becoming a defining moment for us.”

(Did you have any greetings with Ljungberg and how did his return affect things?) “We shook hands at the end of the game. We didn’t talk before the game; he was all business getting ready for the game. But we shook hands after the game, not a problem. He’s a great player, I’ve always said that. I thought we kept him in check pretty well throughout the game. I know our fans were booing every time he touched the ball and I didn’t think there were a lot of boos so that means he wasn’t touching the ball all that much, which is good.”

(Was that Montero’s best game you seen?) “Well he got two goals, so a lot of times people just measure your game by goals. I think he’s played games as good, but certainly I think his motivation tonight was good and obviously his finishing I thought was good tonight when he had the two chances, so I was very pleased with that.”

(On Montero taking a knock to the back?) “He got nailed early. They’re a pretty physical team. C.J. Brown is a pretty physical player. We thought there were a lot of knocks and bumps and bruises. There’s a lot of guys that are pretty bruised up in there, but that’s just part of the game when you play them.”

(On Osvaldo Alonso’s play) “Alonso was what we expect of him all the time. You sort of get used to him winning the ball and covering the ground that he covers, but I thought he did a great job especially because they really played more of a 4-4-2 with a diamond in midfield and let Ljungberg play as the attacking midfielder, instead of the second forward. So that means Alonso had him a lot more and I thought he did a good job of getting to him and getting tight, but also helping other people to cover and when he wasn’t there Sturgis was there. But Ozzie, he has a huge workload that he takes into a game and he covers a lot of ground and he wins a lot of balls. As Bora (Milutinovic) said, you can’t play if you don’t ‘recuper’ the ball.”

(On Montero’s play) “He’s a player who drops off the front line a little bit, that’s where he feels most comfortable. So he’s a player who also is a good passer of the ball. An old coach told me a long time ago that dribblers don’t make it in this game and what he meant to say by that is when you look at the great dribblers in the game whether it’s a Georgie Best or a Maradona or a Messi, they are also very good passers of the ball. I think Fredy Montero has that ability and so if you are a good passer of the ball and then you can dribble as well and have something extra that is spicing on the cake kind of thing, or the icing, something like that. I get all those things all confused – the icing, spice, something like that.”

(On the significance of the game in the playoff run) “We knew what the importance was. It puts us in a situation now where even though Chicago has three games in hand on us, they need to win all three of those games to pass us. If they tie one of those three, they stay behind us. Toronto tying also puts us in a situation where even if they win their make-up game, if they do that they can’t pass us. San Jose losing tonight was good for us as well. The only result that went against us was the Colorado result with Houston. It’s all about us gathering points and we’re now at a level where we have 32 points and that’s based on 22 games at this stage. So getting close to that 1.5 (points per game) average and if we can get the next one we’ll be at that average.”

(On Tyson Wahl) “I thought Tyson had a good game and obviously with Leo being out, who’s been very consistent for us at left back, it was a decision, ‘Who do you come with?’ I felt that Tyson had been looking sharp at practice. I felt his passing could come in handy and it was certainly a good pass on the first goal. I was very happy for Tyson. I was happy for him to be able to grab hold of his opportunity and do so well with it.”

(When was the decision made to start Tyson?) “Well when I talked to you guys I hadn’t made a decision until today. But we made that decision Thursday.”

(On league parity and getting into the playoffs) “You look at the last two years. The last two years Salt Lake won the championship. New York was the last team in and they got the MLS Cup. So being the last team to get in the playoffs doesn’t eliminate from it. The thing is, what reality is, is the first series — and we’re ahead of ourselves here — is home and away. It’s just that you’re playing the first game at home. So it’s a matter of, can you win your home game? Can you at least draw on the road? And you get through your first series. So you really got to do well in one away game (in the Conference finals). If you can muster the effort in one away game, all of a sudden you’re in the MLS Cup. So it’s not as difficult sometimes as people think. We’ll take either one.”

(On crowd support) “I think our crowd has always rooted for us. I think they’ve always been very strong in our favor and our behalf, even when we were having a hard time at the beginning of the season. They never failed us. They never turned on us. They were constantly supportive of us. That’s something our players and we as a coaching staff, we really appreciate. When you win a game like this in such dramatic fashion at the end, it just gives everybody an electric buzz, and that just adds to the fervor. But I think our support has been non-wavering.

(On attacking Chicago on the wings) “Our final ball can certainly always use improvement and use work. They basically packed in with seven, they had their four defenders and the three in the diamond behind Ljungberg also stayed in, and a lot of times they were more inside than outside. So they clogged up the middle. C.J. Brown is the type of player when you make a run, he’s going to get a piece of you somewhere along the line. He’s going to hip check you, he’s going to hold you, he’s going to grab you, he’s going to kick you. That’s just the way it is so sometimes it’s difficult to free up inside. I think we were inches away sometimes. Our cross was there but was inches away. But we scored off two crosses, so that’s not bad.”

(On Nkufo) “Blaise I thought was good, had a good impact. I took him out because I thought he’d got beat up pretty good. I thought he covered a lot of ground as well, and helped us out. With Jaqua we were trying to get some fresh legs on at the end of the game.”

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