Some quotes are via team release, others are from postgame reporting…
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SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC HEAD COACH SIGI SCHMID
On the game
“On this field it is always tough because there are always a lot of turnovers, and it is tough to string together passes. We dropped in a little bit, so that invited them to play long balls into our box. It wasn’t the prettiest game, but at the end of the day in the second half we finished a couple of goals well. Coming off a big game on Tuesday where you could expect a let-down maybe from the team, we showed character to stick with it and somehow found a way to do the job.”
On having higher aspirations than just making the playoffs
“We want to do more things in the playoffs than just qualify for them. We qualified last year. It is certainly a tremendous accomplishment for our club to qualify for the playoffs in or first two years and to win two Open Cups so far. We have more wins this year than we did last year. We have won four in a row on the road now. Those are all positives. We are not afraid of who we’re going to play. Whoever comes our way, we will prepare for them.”
On clinching playoff berths in back to back years in Kansas City
“It is funny, because when I coached the Galaxy, we ended up clinching here as well, and one year with Columbus we clinched here, so it has been a good place that way. I’ve also lost a few games here. They are team that obviously made a lot of changes this year and a team that is still growing together. They are not a team I want to run into every day.”
On the goals
“I think Sanna’s just on fire right now. It took him forever to score one, and now he can’t stop scoring. It was a great combination with Nate Jaqua. Jaqua put a good ball in to him. Neilsen made the first save, Sanna stayed with it and put away the rebound. And then Fernandez’s goal, again it was a good ball by Jaqua. Good first ball by Fernandez, he got the ball back from Jaqua and then once he got in the box, he made a great move to open himself up for the left-footed shot. So individual players, they were able to turn the game. Jaqua as well really helped us. It was one of those games where you needed some fresh legs and they both provided what they could. That’s been our team this year, especially in the last 14 or 13 games. Different people stepped up and contributed at different times.”
On whether or not his team would have won this game earlier in the year
“We definitely would not have. Now, our character and our belief is much stronger. Without having gone through the adversity that we had at the beginning of the year, we might not be as strong character-wise, but having gone through that, we are now strong.”
On goals for the next two weeks after clinching
“We just want to make sure that we keep our rhythm. We’ve got to be smart. Be careful if we’ve got anybody carrying injuries or little knocks. I think sometimes when teams clinch and sort of know their positions in the playoffs, they start resting guys and the team loses its rhythm. It’s important for us to maintain our rhythm but also be smart and if we do have somebody with a nagging injury, maybe we’ve got to rest them a little bit.
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC MIDFIELDER SANNA NYASSI
On your goal
“It was a missed clearance and then I took the ball from the midfielder. Took the defenders on and played it to Nate Jaqua, he played me through and I tried to finish but the goalkeeper made a save and it came back out and I banged it in.”
On his recent scoring form
“I just want to keep it going. I’m on fire right now, scoring four goals in three games. It’s making me have more confidence. I have to keep it going.”
On getting his own rebound to score
“I wanted to finish it on the shot, but the ‘keeper made a great save, but the ball comes back at me, and I bang it in.”
On advancing to the playoffs
“Yes, I’m excited to advance to the playoffs in this game to make sure that we are on the safe side.”
On the Open Cup victory
“It is good to have more silverware in our records. Last year we won it, and we defended our title this year. That was just like a bonus to us.”
On the Seattle fans that traveled to Kansas City
“We have a bond with them. We have great fans, great people in Seattle. We have a lot of traveling fans. Sometimes when we travel away they travel with us. It was good to pay them back with a win tonight.”
What’s your scoring secret?
“Just make sure I train hard and when I get home I make sure I have enough sleep. I rest a lot. I sleep a lot. It makes me have more energy to play. It’s my only secret.
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC GM ADRIAN HANAUER
On what the win means
“It’s been a good week. A good four days. Again, I always say it, but I’m just happy for the guys. Rough start, stuck with it, believed, worked hard, turned it around. The locker room is a pretty happy locker room. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us still, but another one of our preseason goals checked off.”
Is getting into the playoffs worth celebrating or is this the gate opening for more?
“This is the gate opening. You have to appreciate and enjoy this part of the accomplishment but it’s just the start. Hopefully we do more damage than we did in the playoffs last season.”
On Seattle’s ability to get results when playing less than their best
“That is a good observation. In the beginning of the year, there is no chance we would have grinded out a result in this game. Now the guys are more disciplined. They believe more, and they step out onto the field thinking that we are going to with the game. This wasn’t the prettiest game, but we got the result and that’s all that counts.”
On clinching a playoff spot
“If feels great. I think we were confident, but you never know, and it is good to just have that stress behind us – to be able to focus on our last two games, and to then move onto the playoffs.”
On their road support
“We’ve had tremendous road support all year. It has been remarkable. We had 200 in Chicago, and they just followed us all over the country. I know it is really important to Sigi (Schmid) that we show them the appropriate amount of respect and love because they help us. They helped us grind out a result today.”
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC DEFENDER JEFF PARKE
On the PK, did you foul him?
“No man. It was a situation where he’s running, I’m running just a little behind him, I’m going to cut his angle off. His foot comes up, trips me, and then he falls. It will be different when you see it on the replay.
On the slow first half
“The way the field is, they’re coming out with a different gameplay. It’s all or nothing for them. It was an important game for us to win, to get a result. But they know their field is small, it’s tight, they get after their opponent quick to shock them. We did well to fight it off and come out with a result.”
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC STEVE ZAKUANI
On the result
“First half was very sloppy and maybe we had to crash back down to earth after the Open Cup, but we stayed in there. Then Sanna got the goal. Then after his goal we got a second. I think earlier in the year we didn’t kill games off, but we’re starting to.”
Were the struggles their doing, your doing, both?
“We weren’t our best today. I don’t think we made five or six good passes together throughout the whole game. I think they were desperate. It’s a small pitch so they’d just dump the ball down on us — and they have some good players — but we were able to withstand that and once we did, we said we’d get one on the break. And we did that with Sanna and then Flaco. That was big.”
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC FORWARD NATE JAQUA
On your involvement in the goals
“Yeah I was able to play one in for Sanna when he made a good run in, then he did a great job finishing it off. Then another one where Flaco kind of knocked it down to me and I knocked it back to him and finished a great goal as well.”
Are those assists as satisfying as goals?
“The win is what’s satisfying. I’m just happy to be out there and contributing. To make the playoffs is great for us. That’s what’s satisfying.”
On frustrations watching
“I didn’t watch much of the second half because I was warming up. So I didn’t see much of that. But it’s always frustrating to be on the bench. You want to be out there. But it’s one of those things where when you get in you want to make the most of your opportunity.
Are you celebrating this or is there work to be done?
“There’s definitely work to be done. I think last year we were maybe a little more happy and content with making the playoffs. We didn’t quite know what we were capable of when we made the playoffs. This year we’re happy to get in but also looking to get to the final and see what we can do.”