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November 15, 2010 at 4:16 PM

Sounders FC players reflect on Year 2 and the future

GYI0061993679.JPGPhoto credit: Josh Umphrey, Getty Images

We got a chance to catch up with a handful of Sounders players today for the last time this season. Here are the transcripts of those chats…

* * *

ALVARO FERNANDEZ, pictured above, via translator

(Impressions of your few months with the team?) “Excellent. Very good. Very comfortable. I’m adapting well and enjoying it.”

(Differences in soccer here?) “The biggest difference is really the passion for soccer. But it’s a very competitive league and there are great players. It’s a great league.”

(Did you feel frustration in coming off the bench and did Schmid explain why?) “I consider it to be normal. I had a trip to Uruguay that complicated things a little bit and I was also lacking a bit of condition. But no, it wasn’t a problem. Sigi didn’t explain it to me and I don’t really expect him to explain to me why I do or don’t play. I just do my job.”

(On the difficulties on the length of the season and being away from your family) “It definitely complicated the year a little bit. Being so far from my family was difficult but next year will be a lot different because my family will be here with me.”

(How do you feel physically?) “Definitely your body starts to feel it after you’ve gotten to the end of a long season but luckily we have a few weeks off to recuperate and to come at it again next season.”

(For next season, where would you prefer to play?) “I definitely feel more comfortable playing outside but if I’m asked to play in the middle I can definitely play that role as well and do that job. I feel comfortable there also.”

(Plan on going home?) “I’m trying to get out of here as soon as possible and just want to get home to be with my wife and son.”

FREDY MONTERO via translator

(Personally and team-wise, how did Year 2 compare to Year 1?) “The games matured us as a team. The first few games in the first months were difficult but we turned it around and I think there are a lot of good things from the season we can talk about.”

(What do you need to do to elevate yourself in the league?) “We really just need to strengthen ourselves as a team. The key will be focusing on those teams that we had a difficult time beating this year. If we can do that and do it from the beginning of the season, we’ll win the whole thing.”

(Thoughts on your future?) “Nothing is really clear yet. I’m just happy with what I’ve done this season. I’m happy with the team, the group of people and the quality of people I’m playing with. It’s been nice to be here for two years and I look forward to next year.”

(On if having goals to accomplish in MLS motivates you to stay?) “For sure the first option is to stay here, but I also need to keep my eye on what else can happen. My family is an important factor in all my decision making.”

(What are your offseason plans?) “I’m not sure what’s going to happen or what I want to do. It may be possible to go to Colombia, but right now I’m not sure.”

(Would you like to play with Juan Pablo Angel next season?) “Absolutely. He’s a great player and has had a great career scoring goals. It would be great to share my team and my jersey — and he’s also Colombian.”

(Who’s going to win the FIFA tournament tomorrow?) “We’ll have to take advantage of the fact that Zakuani is not here because he plays a lot — in fact he sleeps with a controller under his pillow (laughs).”

OSVALDO ALONSO, via translator

(On next season and if Europe is a possibility) “Up to now there’s nothing clear in that direction. I’m just not sure. I don’t really see anything like that in the future but if it comes along I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.”

(Does political status affect that for you?) “Nope, there’s no problem. Just at this point that hasn’t been any talk about that. If the moment comes I’ll be open to that opportunity.”

(What were your thoughts on Year Two?) “It was a great season: we won the Open Cup and had a chance to start in the playoffs. We didn’t continue advancing unfortunately, but it was a great season and we just need to focus on what our mistakes were and do a good job next season.”

(Surprised by Dallas-L.A. game?) “I was very surprised but that’s the way soccer goes and Dallas is a great team. They had the opportunity to win and they took it.”

(Who do you think will win the MLS Cup?) “I don’t know. Colorado and Dallas are both great teams and I think that will be decided at the game.”

(Where do you think you need to improve?) “There are always things to improve but next year we just need to improve in general and do what the coach tells us. Next year with a little more luck we’ll move forward and advance further in MLS and have a better season.”

(Who will win the FIFA tournament?) “It’s going to be a good tournament. We’re all really prepared. We’ll see what happens tomorrow night.”

(Concerned with teammates leaving this offseason?) “It’s a little troubling and worrisome that someone is going to leave but it’s the nature of the game. If someone goes then hopefully it will be good for their future and good for that team as well.”


(How is your brother Sainey doing after getting malaria recently) “I think he’s recovering pretty good. I think he went back to training too soon, so he got a little bit sick again. I think he’s pretty good now.”

(How do you reflect on Year 2?) “I think it was a pretty good year for the whole team. Looking back to 2009 and compared to this year, I think I had a better season. I just want to maintain that performance and pick it up from there next year.”

(What do you want to improve on?) “I think I need to improve on my fitness level and make sure that I work on my technique on the ball and especially on my crosses.”

(How frustrating was the end of the year?) “It was so frustrating. I think everyone was disappointed at the end of the season but that’s what it is. We’ll make sure we work hard and come back strong next year and go beyond that.”

(Are you worried about being protected in the expansion draft?) “I think right now it’s all in the coach’s hands. We did what we believed is right. The final decision comes from the front office. I think everyone is nervous right now, but at the end of the day it is what it is and anything that comes our way, we’ll take it.”

(Can it be a good thing to go to a new team and become a star — e.g. Le Toux?) “Right now I’m confident in staying in Seattle but if Vancouver comes up or Portland, that’s how soccer life is — you have to go with whatever team picks you.”

(What are your offseason plans?) “I think the offseason is all about resting and making sure you maintain your fitness, work hard on your weaknesses and come back strong.”

(Any international plans?) “Right now there are no international friendlies for Gambia because the federation has a lack of funds, so I don’t think they’ll be any friendlies for us.”

(On Zakuani stealing your trip to Paris when Gambia pulled out of international match) “Yeah, Gambia pulled out because of the lack of funds. I was pretty excited to play against Steve Zakuani. We talked about it. We said it was going to be me against you and a hard battle between the two of us (laughs). But it didn’t work out, unfortunately.”

(Who would win between you two?) “It was going to be a very, very big battle between me and him (laughs). Defensively, I think I can take him. Offensively, I think he’s also going to work hard to stop me.”


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