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October 11, 2010 at 2:48 PM

Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid quotes from Monday

Here’s the full transcript updated at 2:48 p.m.

* * *

(Is there on update on if Brad Evans will be able to go this year?) “We’ll sit down and we’ll talk. Doctor Morris is here today so we’ll have a talk and see what’s best, because it’s a situation of ‘What can we get out of him this year?’, but it’s also a situation of ‘What’s going to make sure he’s ready for next year?’ ”

(On using extra defenders at the end of games) “If you watched the game, obviously a lot of their attacking came off free kicks and lumping balls into the box. At the end of the game we felt let’s just go basically into a 5-3-2 and have an extra man in the middle of the field that’s a good header. We can match up on the two strikers. They’re pushing third guys in there all the time so he can match up. We just felt that was the way to lock up the game at the end.”

(On playing Jaqua and Nkufo together) “It was good. It wasn’t a problem. I think with the smallness of the field, Jaqua’s size helped us a little bit there. He played two good early balls and was involved in both goals. I think he’s got the assist now for both goals, which I think he deserves. I thought he did well.”

(Not a combination you’ve used a lot) “It’s one that is definitely possible. Obviously Nkufo is playing well, Fredy Montero is playing well, but Jaqua also came off the bench and played well. It’s great to have those kinds of options. It’s like right now Sanna Nyassi is playing very well so it’s tough for Fernandez to get onto the field. It’s nice to have that quality coming off your bench and it’s also nice to know that if something happens, if somebody is injured or having an off day, you have different alternatives that you can go to.”

(On adding a friendly to a busy schedule) “Obviously as you look back to last week, last week was a great week for this club to win its second U.S. Open Cup, qualify for the playoffs all in the same week, to win three games in seven days. I think it was a tremendous week for the club, maybe one of the best in the club’s history. Now we have Chivas and it’s an opportunity. There’s going to be some guys on the field who haven’t played as many minutes as other guys. But it’s an opportunity for them to showcase and shine. And really, that’s where Fucito has found his rhythm, in those kind of games. It gives Jaqua a good chance to continue his rhythm, and that’s where he’s found his rhythm. It’s allowed defender like Tyson Wahl to have his rhythm, so when he was asked to come in and start for us he was able to do it in the Open Cup game. So those games are very important and we never give any games away. Having a game midweek allows those guys to get 90 minutes which is important for their fitness and just get their confidence and their rhythm so when they’re needed as we move forward they’re ready to go.”

(Does it make this game a benefit then?) “Sometimes you would like to rest, you’d like to get some training in and get some bigger numbers in at training. There’s a benefit to that as well. But I think the team right now is so engrained in this rhythm that it sort of worked out for us. Our philosophy, like I said, has been, ‘Hey, it is what it is. Let’s go ahead and let’s deal with it.’ I think when you approach things like that, just like the game, there’s different ways to win in games and there’s different ways to approach things. Having to go through all this, not adversity, but go through the travel and the amount of games, it allows us to find a different way sometimes to succeed. I’m a huge fan of boxing and Muhammad Ali and stuff when I was growing up. The thing you always think about is when he beat George Foreman just doing the rope-a-dope. So he found a completely different way to win that particular match. In other matches with him and Frazier it was just a slugfest when they were in the Philippines. What I thought was so great about him as a boxer was that he could find different ways to win matches. A team has to do the same thing, find different ways to win all the time. Dealing with this allows us to find different ways.”

(So you’ll schedule an intersquad scrimmage before the playoffs?) “No, probably not as good because then you have them kicking each other and they don’t want to go in quite as hard to each other. Yeah, you play a little bit of 11v11, but playing an outside opponent is always different than playing yourselves.”

(On playing friendlies this late in the season) “This is the latest friendly we’ve played so I’m sure we’ll sit down and evaluate it. Certainly our first year we had such high-powered friendlies with Barcelona and Chelsea. This year obviously for people in the soccer world, Boca (Juniors) was an interesting match and so was Celtic. But getting them in the summer is probably a little more beneficial. It’s probably a little bit easier for them to arrange those. I’m sure the club’s working very hard to get another opponent of that caliber, like the opponents we played in Year One, because it’s something that the fans deserve as well.”

(On acquiring Sturgis after a big injury) “Nate’s always been a talented player. He was an underage player on my under-20 team in 2005, but he was still young enough to represent the team in 2007. He’s been with the Olympic team, but the injury kept him out. It was a situation of feeling that if he gets over his hamstring and his issues there that he could be a valuable contributor to the team. He’s got quick feet, he strikes a good ball with both feet, he can open the game up. He’s not a center defender at this level, which he played a lot of at the youth level and in college, but he has sort of found a home for us in midfield and he’s panned out. Sometimes a player has an injury like that that’s more of a long-term type of thing. If you can deal with it and heal it, and he’s been very conscientious about staying with is exercise program to make sure he doesn’t fall back into it. He’s turned out to be a real positive.”

(The tactics of playing him and Alonso in the middle with attacking wingers) “For us when you play with aggressive outside players, with wingers almost, then the two (central) midfielders have to hold a little bit more. Then your forward has a little space to drop off. What happens is, as you play with more of a diamond for example the way Salt Lake plays, you have a guy like Morales and their wide guys are really midfielders tucked in, they’re not wide guys. They get their width with Morales pushing high and forwards like Espindola or Findley pushing wide. Or their outside backs come in late. So there’s different ways to basically skin a cat, but one of our strengths is Zakuani and Nyassi, and their speed and ability to put pressure on the opponents wide. That necessitates for our central midfielders to play more in conjunction and in unison with each other. At the end of the year, one of the reasons we couldn’t find that rhythm is because we missed Evans on and off for games, we missed Alonso on and off, and had to shift things around. Certainly Evans can play that role as well as Sturgis and the other guy who can play that for sure is Flaco. I think we have some good options there and some options wide.”

(On a fifth caution carrying over to playoffs) “No. We’ll double-check it, but if they get their fifth yellow in the last game of the season, they get fined but (the suspension) doesn’t carry over to the playoffs and doesn’t carry over to the following season either.”

(On Chivas de Guadalajara) “They are a good team and they are well-organized. They are a team that is going to keep possession of the ball. They have got some pretty experienced players with Bofo, Omar Bravo is another player, Arellano is another player, Jonny Magallon in the back — all of those guys have played for the national team off and on and are very experienced players. They have an American kid as well, Ponce, who plays for them some at left back and some at left midfield. So they are a good team. They’re a team that will keep possession of the ball. They will knock the ball around. They will play some of the guys who haven’t had as many games. But I think it’s going to be a good soccer game and I think the last games we have played at Qwest have been good games, have been entertaining games for the fans and have been good soccer games.”

(On Bravo coming to MLS) “Obviously he’s been a very successful forward there in Mexico and has had a lot of good years at Chivas and in the league. I think when you come into our league and play day in and day out it takes a little bit of time to adjust. The best players adjust pretty quickly, but it still takes 4-5 games. You look at Blaise, it took him a little bit of time. It takes you a little bit of time to adjust to the athleticism of the central defenders. I think that’s one of the bigger changes. Sometimes in Mexico it’s more of an intellectual, cat-and-mouse game between the center forward and the central defenders and here our central defenders and maybe a little quicker. Tactically sometimes you’d say sometimes their defenders are a little better, but it turns it a little more into a physical contest and it takes the forwards a little bit of time to adjust to that.”


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