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November 15, 2010 at 7:40 PM

A season-ending stop & chat with goalkeeper Kasey Keller

SEA_Columbus_297851.JPGPhoto credit: Jim Bates, The Seattle Times

Here’s the transcript of our last chat with goalkeeper Kasey Keller this season…

* * *

(On experience and how much can it be gained on the fly?) “You never know how much experience someone gains until you come back and don’t make the same mistakes again. Then you say, ‘OK, they must have learned from their mistakes and now they’re experienced.’ But you can see in that game, L.A. had a pretty good balance throughout the season of ex-national team guys with World Cup experience who were able to come off the bench and combine with some of that youthfulness as well — and it’s a good combination. We’re a young team, but we have a great team and a great squad. I think if there’s one little thing that over these two years that would’ve been nice is to maybe have a little more experience. I think a tremendous amount of experience has been gained by our players and we will only be better because of it.”

(What do you think when you see the MLS Cup matchup?) “A little bit frustrated because I think we match up well with both those teams. Unfortunately we drew the one team in the playoffs that I think we matched up the worst against throughout the season. In saying that, Dallas only lost a couple games this year and two of them were to L.A., so they seemed to get it right on the day. Who knows what would’ve happened over two games if L.A. had to go in with a different mindset. Frustrated, because I really felt we could easily be there, but we’re not and we have to learn from it. Frustrating, but at the end of the year there’s going to be 15 teams that have the same speech that we had — it could be better and the goal is to win the MLS championship. Only one team is able to do that and everyone else has the same speech.”

(How do you compare the Dallas and Colorado attacks?) “I’m a big fan of what Conor Casey has done since his time back for Colorado. You combine that with the speed of an Omar Cummings playing off of him and it’s a pretty potent attack. In saying that, Harris and Ferreira, that’s not a bad 1-2 punch either for those guys. I think they play a little bit similar, where they both like to counter attack. It will be interesting to see which team controls the ball in that game or if they’re both just kind of playing English First Division style and getting it up the field, letting their big guys hold it up and see what they create off of that. I just hope for a good entertaining game as a neutral and just a good credit to the league.”

(On valuing MLS Cup over the Supporters’ Shield) “It’s the American system. I think those of us who are soccer people have spent so many years with the leagues around the world, where the team that has the best record wins the league. That’s not the case with American sports. We all know that from the Mariners having the best single-season record, the Sonics having the best single-season record and getting knocked out in the first round of the playoffs. That’s the American way and it’s a little bit tricky for those of us who are soccer people to see the way the rest of the world does it. I would love next year to win a Supporters’ Shield and deal with that problem. It’s not a bad problem to have. But it’s our system and it gives hope to those teams that get off to a bad start like we had. We could’ve won it this year and you couldn’t have said that after 14 games in any other league in the world. On that side of it, it’s cool.”

(On looking at season as a positive or negative) “I think you have to look at both. Obviously you have to take the tremendous positives out of this season — of pulling ourselves out of a hole, of getting more points, getting more shutouts, winning another Open Cup. At the same time the ultimate goal is to win the MLS championship. Every team’s goal at the beginning of the season — in this league in particular — is to win the MLS championship. When you don’t do that you’re going to be disappointed or you should be disappointed. Maybe a team like D.C. that had such a bad year this year might be saying, ‘We have to correct that and get into the playoffs.’ But for the most part, most teams are saying, ‘If we do it right, we can win this thing.’ There’s no Man. Us, there’s no Real Madrid, there’s no New York Yankees — these teams don’t exist in our league. There’s such parity that if any team gets their act together in the offseason or gets on a good run and finds themselves in the playoffs, they can win it. So there’s a lot of disappointment from that side of it with us because we got ourselves on that run and we knew we could’ve won it. But it didn’t happen this year.”

(Any announcement on contract status?) “Like I said, I would be very surprised if I’m not playing next year. Hopefully we’ll be making an announcement sooner rather than later.”

(What’s the offseason hold for you?) “I’m going hunting for a couple days next week. Then I got the Sounders cruise in January. I’m going to be watching some youth soccer games with my kids and just kind of hanging out and recovering after a long season. Hopefully getting ready for next year. Pretty simple.”

(How do you feel physically?) “I feel good. I feel great. Obviously you’re always a little banged up after a season, if you’re not… I don’t know what I would do if I felt perfect after a season. I would probably feel guilty that I didn’t do something right during the year. But by all means, if we had been playing this weekend and next weekend it wouldn’t have been any problem. I’m just looking for the break and getting ready for preseason.”


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