SIGI SCHMID, Sounders FC coach
(Opening Statement…) “Obviously we’re happy with the win. We’re really proud of the way we came back after they scored the first goal. I was really happy with how we came back, to go up 2-1 at halftime. Once we were up 3-1, we wanted to make sure the fans stayed involved and stayed interested, so we decided to make it 3-2 there at the very end. Overall I’m very pleased. We talked about getting the last two home games, getting two wins which would get us to 45 points. We’re at 42 now. We have the same amount of wins as last year. We’ve got more shutouts than last year. So there are certain things even with the bad run at the beginning of the year that we’ve improved upon and we need to continue to play well and I thought at times today we played some very good soccer, football. The ball was moving. There was the one combination we were very unlucky not to get one, the 3 v. 1 break with Jaqua at the end. But we got some timely goals.”
(On whether it’s a relief that Nyassi scored…) “I think it’s a bigger relief for him. We kept saying if he could finally get one, and I told him in the locker room I’m not going to wait two years for the next one. He’s got to keep going, he’s got to continue to get some goals. It was good, he scored it with his left foot so it was good. He had the one opportunity in the first half where he had a bad first touch. If he gets a good first touch there I think maybe he gets his goal there. We’ve been working more with him on finishing, finishing. He’s improving all the time, he’s a valuable player for our team.”
(On what Nkufo does to make everyone around him better…) “Just the connection. He gives us that connection up front. He’s able to check off, he holds the ball, sometimes you see him take more of – a lot of times you see him just play one- and two-touch stuff. He connects his passes, he knows where people are. That helps us. He and Zakuani are starting to build up a really good relationship with each other. That’s a positive. Also it’s nice when you get goals off set pieces, free kicks, and we’re starting to do now that as well, and this is the most important part of the year and season.
(On concern about Montero’s recent lack of scoring…) “I’m not going to worry about that right now. I thought Fredy had some good looks. Today he had a couple shots blocked, there were a couple times he should have shot and a couple times he should have played where he tried to shoot. Right now the team’s flowing. His timing will come. He’s a goal scorer, he’ll get his goals in the future and if he saves them all for the Open Cup and the playoffs, I’m okay with that too.
(On avoiding playoff drama by winning now…) “No, we want to make things easier on ourselves. We want to make sure no one develops a heart condition on the team. That everyone is good. We set the goal. I’ve always felt for me that the magic number is 45. It gets you there for sure, I think. It’s a game, a point and half per game and we’re within striking distance of that. We’ve got three games to get there so we need to win one of the last three.
(On the severity of Jeff Parke’s first-half injury…) “It’s a dislocated finger; he’s not a goalkeeper, come on. Hopefully he’s not catching the ball, although there were a few hand balls early…He dislocated his finger so they were able to snap it back into place there and they just taped it up. It was good to keep him out there and keep the consistency. You don’t want to burn a sub that early in the game like they had to burn a sub when Attakora got injured. He should be fine. He’ll probably be a little sore.
(On Tuesday’s meeting with Columbus for the Open Cup championship and playing his former assistant Robert Wazycha, now coach of the Crew…) “He’s a good coach, they’re a good team. Like I said after the game in Columbus, that’s (the final score) not the separation of the teams. We’ve played them here twice over the last two years and tied both times. It’s going to be a great game. It’s going to be an exciting game. It’s going to be a game that the fans don’t want to miss, but it’s also going to be a game between two good teams that are in form and that are playing – obviously they still play later tonight and we’ll see how they do. It’s great to be at home. Being at home the last week for us has been tremendous and we’ve got to continue to concentrate, focus, and play well. If we continue to get timely goals and we got a goal in that game off a corner kick, we had a goal today off a set piece so if we continue to do that it’s going to continue to keep us in the forefront.
BLAISE NKUFO, Sounders FC forward
(On come-from-behind victory . . .) “It was important to comeback, especially before the second half because I think they scored on the first chance they had and it could be, for us, difficult. But we reacted very well as a team. It was a great pass off of [Osvaldo] Alonso and Steve [Zakuani] scored and after that I scored the 2-1. I think we showed a good character again.”
(On Sanna Nyassi scoring . . .) “I’m really happy for him because he is a young player. He has a nice character, a nice personality and he wants to do the best. I have spoken with him a lot [. . .] and I am looking forward to his next goal on Tuesday.”
(On today’s game plan . . .) “We knew that in the backline that they don’t have players with quality and that we should press them and make it difficult. I think that was the key. We pressured them, especially in the first half. That’s why we came back in the game.”
SANNA NYASSI, Sounders FC midfielder
(On the celebration following first career goal…) “I jumped on Blaise [Nkufo] and everybody fell over me, screaming, excited.”
(On finishing after chances in the first half . . .) “Since the first half, I felt that it was a team I could score against. I should have scored at least two goals in the first half, but of course I wasn’t able. When the second half came I made sure I took my chances.”
(On finally scoring first goal . . .) “I think since I broke the deadlock, now I’ll keep scoring for sure.”
(On number of times Sigi Schmid coached on finishing opportunities..) “Uncountable. All the time he talks to me about finishing my chances. I make sure that I make the goalies make saves. Even if I don’t score if I make them make saves, my teammates can finish the rebound. I make sure I work on that in training all the time.”
(On importance of the win…) “It was important to get a win because right now things are tight for us, and we need to make the playoffs for sure. Last year we made the playoffs, but we didn’t go far. .. We make sure that we win all the remaining games we’ll get there.”
STEVE ZAKUANI, Sounders FC midfielder
(On come-from-behind victory . . .) “I don’t think it was so much they were ahead because they were playing better than us. I think we were playing well, so we just kind of carried on doing what we were doing. We could’ve had three penalties in the first ten minutes because there were some clear handballs in their box. Then they score, that happens. And then it was important that we score before halftime and we got two. Once you do that, we are at home, we had the momentum and the game became a bit easier. I thought it was a very, very good performance. That last goal from them leaves a sour taste in your mouth. But overall, I thought we played great today. It was very good.”
(On Sanna Nyassi scoring . . .) “So happy, so happy. At halftime, I told him, ‘You’re going to get one,’ because he should’ve had about nine in the first half. But no, I said to him that he is going to get one because he was playing very well and he’s in the right positions. It was a great finish with his left foot, I think. Fantastic. Very, very happy for him.”
(On the game . . .) “I read something that Sigi said yesterday that Blaise opens up space for us. You can see that Fredy [Montero] has more space than he had previously. Sanna [Nyassi] has more and so do I because he holds the ball so well. You can run off him. And then you have guys like Ossie [Osvaldo Alonso] and [Nathan] Sturgis who were finding me today and are doing very well. So it’s just one of those days where things worked together, worked well. I enjoy playing with Blaise. I think me and Leo [Gonzalez] we did better together in the second half. So it’s just a lot of things fell our way. I think for them they came in to chase the game so they couldn’t really double-up or triple-up or something. It was a lot more space for us.”